The long goodbye

June 2014

A relationship that breaks down puts you through a period that feels almost the same as grief. Well that is what it feels like to me. It is well documented on my Facebook account that my long term relationship of 16 years came to an end just after Xmas. There is no animosity and no bitter feeling, just an acceptance that what once was is no more.
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In fact we still live in the same house and to those on the outside they would not really know that much is wrong, but that all comes to an end when September comes and it approaches everyday as the usual long hot summer kicks in. We both then go our separate ways, her to the UK and me almost certainly to Spain.
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The trouble is it has produced a long slow death, one that is inevitable but elongated. Neither one of us can move forward with our lives, and each day for me at least brings thoughts and fears of that single moment when it is finally over. The thought that not hardly one day has passed in sixteen years when we have not talked or seen each other, then suddenly it will all be gone forever.
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Then I wonder if I will ever meet anyone else again, what have I to offer? How will I deal with loneliness? The thought of starting again with someone else fills me with fear. Do I even have the energy?
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There is another part of me that seeks adventure and of course Spain will offer me that, but I wish I could see the future to see how it pans out.
Andy

 

Music was my first love and it will be my last

I can, given the right inspiration write a good yarn or two, and usually have no problem expressing myself through the written word, but musically I am about as useless as a for sale sign stuck into a wheelbarrow full of sand in the Sahara.
Yet I love music, and often thought of myself years ago as poet who could write the lyrics that could change the world. All I needed to do was to learn to play an instrument of some sort.
The story though begins way back when I was a five year old boy and ready start my musical career off, all I needed was the right encouragement and guidance. I found however a conspiracy to halt my budding future before it had even a chance to take off.
It started with a glockenspiel which to me is a wooden version of xylophone. Not I admit the kind of instrument to get the heart pounding or inspire the latest Bob Dylan to surface, but class A of Meadow park infant’s school was never going to be that anyway.
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The girls seemed to be given all the favourable instruments and it seemed already that a life of possible percussion lay ahead of me. In fact I can remember it annoying me that flocks of girls skipped around the class with recorders seemingly already mastered. Were they born that way? The best I could do was to produce a high pitched shriek that killed songbirds from a distance. This was actually in my favour as I found out the recorder was really only meant for girls or future gay men.
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The accident that got me barred from further glockenspiel activities was I still feel to this day an injustice, I had been told to leave it alone but inspiration is hard to hold back in a five year old boy and I had watched in envy as a huddle of girls played simple little tunes like they were born to it. That was right up to the point when another lad pushed the instrument over and everyone ran away. I seized my chance and reinstated it to its rightful place and began to play or at least thump it when the door opened and in came the teacher who had previously told me to keep away from the ruddy thing. It was at that point that the glockenspiel chose to fall apart, obviously hideously wounded from its fall and in some way weakened further from my over enthusiastic playing. I can see how this looked but was terribly unfair.
I was made to stand outside and informed that my final humiliation would be to be demoted to what was deemed to be the second lowest of all instruments the cymbal in the up and coming school musical event.
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Rehearsals turned out to be another bad day in my music career. To cut a long story short I was sat behind the boy who pushed the glockenspiel over and he had become my arch enemy number one. He was at the bottom of the pecking order in holding the only musical instrument that ranked below the cymbal, the triangle.
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I don’t know what came over me but I chose my one and only opportunity to shine by clashing the cymbals together at the right moment but on his head. He was apparently quite deaf for a few days which I think was a serious advantage in that orchestra.
My punishment was to be demoted to the triangle but without the little wand to hit it with.
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Later my challenges with the violin and guitar will be revealed

Andy Beveridge

Acceptance the route to freedom

One of the gifts we are given in life is the ability to explore our thoughts and expand our reasoning powers. To better understand how we think and more importantly why we perceive things to be how they are is extremely powerful.
To do this with conviction we have to accept certain things that our emotions bring into play, these are born from different experiences which have been built up layer after layer throughout our lives.
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For instance the acceptance that it is alright to cry can be a breakthrough on its own, because pent up emotions like grief or anger act like a pressure cooker with no safety valve. Something has to give and it always does and often when you least expect it.
It can take one tiny trigger to release this stored energy and often it is not directly associated with the original problem. This can make it difficult for family or friends to understand where a sudden outburst of emotion has come from which sometimes compounds the problem further, and creates “a nobody understands me” feeling.
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It can be as easy as saying I allow myself to feel upset or afraid or lonely. Allowing your-self this freedom from inside is kind of like releasing the safety valve slowly.
It worked for me. I was once a child that had to grow up too quickly and in the end I became an adult who yearned to be a child. Essentially I became two different people in one body for a long time. I had an ultra serious side now seen through adult eyes, but inside I was breaking up with conflicting emotions. I still battle a little with that today, but the moment I allowed myself to express those feelings was the day I finally saw some light.
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This enabled me to view the world in a different way, and no longer bound by chains that had no right to be there, I became far more interested in how others also perceived their world. I know now that we don’t all see it the same way.
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Acceptance is a word that can bring so much change.

Andy Beveridge

 

How a stubbed toe can turn you into the walking dead

It is well documented if you are a visitor to my Facebook timeline that I have been suffering an injury this week. I have chosen every possible moment to whinge about it including the middle of the night when the cat was the only listener.

It was caused by bashing my big toe against a step, the kind of accident that warrants thirty seconds of swearing and the overwhelming desire to be left alone, then disappears as quickly as it came.
Not this time though, because it had manifested itself overnight into gargantuan sized foot that bore no resemblance to what had carried me around the day before. Yet the x-ray revealed no broken bones, and yet I was so sure that it would have created an image so distorted with fragments of bone that it would have better been suited to representing an archaeological dig.
Apparently it is an impact injury (fairly obvious I thought) that crushed nerves and tore the cartilage surround the joint. This I am told is far more painful than a break and thus warrants extreme amounts of whinging. So there!

Treatment came in the shape of a couple of drugs one of which was Tramadol. I had never come across this medication before but I will surely remember it for some time to come.
The first tablet of which there were to be three a day brought on a mild and relaxing few hours. In fact I could have sat back in a field of poppies writing folk music or penned a medieval poem about dragons and kings. The second tablet taken just after mid day changed my mindset completely. This was more like the walking dead and I shuffled through the rest of the afternoon with my mind trying to desperately to remember who I once was. Even the cat became a bit wary as I lumbered across the room, one foot trailing behind.

The third tablet basically removed the few remaining brain cells left and turned me into a drooling mess. I watched television without knowledge of what the program was about, I stared at things like there were mysteries to be discovered inside of them.
However today is a whole different ball game, and I awoke bright and early with the foot almost back in shape and the pain reduced to just a low ache. With some of my brain cells returning I made the decision to not take the rest of the medication. Maybe one day when I need to sleep they might get a use. At the moment I have no desire to return to the ranks of the walking dead.
So, no more whinging I promise although I may share with you the story of how I once got a Jalapeno pepper in my eye.

Andy Beveridge

A broken toe and a pretty mean mosquito

A broken toe or at least the knuckle part has rendered it almost impossible for me to walk across the room. I must look like a very poor surfer as I flay my arms out in every direction with each step.
The thing is I don’t really know how I did it. I mean I can remember stubbing my toe on the step the day before but that was one of those swear like mad for thirty seconds and then it was gone moments. Waking up this morning with my foot swollen and in so much pain does not make sense when related to that.

The Cat, who I rescued from a life in a hedgerow only a few months ago I might add, has shown his true colours by allowing me to sit down before demanding the door to be opened. I was expecting a little more in the sympathy stakes than that. Billy-Bob (Named because he has an almost toothless grin and was the only name I could think of that sounded like a hick name) has taken over the house and nothing would change my mind that they remember that they were once worshipped as Gods.
To add to my woes I have come across what must be the meanest mosquito in the Northern hemisphere. I have a six foot fourteen stone frame and yet she chose the one spot that would cause the most discomfort. You got it she bit me on my broken toe. I now can’t satisfy the overwhelming urge to itch it without sending a thousand volts of pain shooting up my leg.
Seeing as I have an almost Budistic way of thinking about the natural world it seems a little unfair to be honest.

Andy Beveridge

PS: Female because only they have mouth parts. Make what you will of that.

Trump That Ego!

I really do not get what all this fuss is about in America at the moment. There was an election and one candidate won and the other lost. In my humble opinion both candidates were a joke right from the start, but at the end of the day you have a new president.
All these marches (Well parades really) what is that going to achieve? What difference does it make? Just because you don’t like the democratic vote does not give you the right to go and lay on the floor like a child in a tantrum.
What has made any country great has always been the people and not the elected leader and it pays to remember that. Most of the people moaning and it would have been the same no matter what the outcome, do not have first -hand knowledge about Trump. From what I can see and my knowledge too only comes from the media, points to him being an ego fuelled business man who knows how to win.
That ego might well be the point here as it needs feeding and Trump needs to be successful because of it. He can’t be bought that is for sure and so success and possibly a second term would feed that ego well. That could well be to the benefit of the American people.
The media paint a pretty bad picture of him morally wise and if only half of it is true then he would not be the kind of person I would want at my table but corruption and low moral standards fits in well previous holders of this title. However, his morals do not make him bad at his job. You employ someone to do a job it is not necessary that you are required to like them as well.
Clinton herself had plenty of corrupt moments and I am sure we would have seen the same bleating and moaning if she had got in but she didn’t so buckle down for the ride.
The most sensible thing people can do is to get behind him and wish him the best. If you were on an aeroplane and you happened to dislike the pilot you would still wish him the safest journey possible, well Trump leads your country right now and you are part of that journey.
If Trump makes a mess of things, then everyone opposed to him can say we knew it would happen but until then you are only guessing. I am not a fan of his but I have a sneaking feeling that he might do better than people think.
The media is dividing you as a nation and its not Trump or Clinton that is doing it. Most of you do not know these people with any first- hand knowledge any better than I do. You gain your opinions and understanding from a media that will be heavily leaning towards political views it supports. This mass control is painful to watch.
America is a great nation and it is great because of the people not its leaders whomever they are. Once the media divides you it creates pits of festering hate and frustration that spills into the very fabric of society. This does no good to yours or anyone else’s cause or beliefs.
As for the voting system, well if you disagree with the fairness of that, it would seem to me that might well be a reason to push for change. That said, would you have been happy with it if it was your chosen candidate that won? Have you been happy with it in the past?
People need to come together and dividing a nation because of a political power is just weakening no matter what your view or stand point. You can’t change it by violence or spitting hate as that just breeds more and allows those that want carnage to slip in under the radar and add their bit.
Trump may well go on to be the worst President ever, I can’t and nor can you know that at this stage. Everything we say will be heavily influenced by a media that is feeding off the hysteria it has created. Unless we sit with him one day we can’t possibly know his real intentions, second guessing or jumping on the next doom laden story will not help the common man or even back up your own views.
He got in instead of a corrupt lawyer, so on a personal level I think both candidates were about as poor as you could get and viewing from a distance it has all the hallmarks of a giant game show, and just like a game show it’s the media running it.
Pull together and not apart, you can’t change a single thing no matter what your views by spitting venom and dividing.

Andy Beveridge

Should Religion be Taught in School?

As soon as an atheist like myself mentions religion the theists gather up their weapons ready to pounce. I sometimes feel the venom before I have finished writing.
So, when the subject came up on the topic of whether religion should be taught in schools I think some people were prepared for my views to be somewhat controversial. However, in truth, I feel that religion is a very important part of our history, and it should definitely be taught in schools.

By that I don’t mean children should be indoctrinated into any particular religion of that country and nor do I think for one moment that they should be coaxed into thinking that the word of the Bible or any other holy book should be thought of as factual. What I would rather see is the history of all the main religions being taught so that children could see how people’s thought patterns from different cultures and throughout history have shaped society.

We also need to remember that religion was our first real attempt at science as it looked to the stars and made us try and explain our existence. We of course knew nothing then and so were mostly just guessing. There is a reason why bacteria and microbes and viruses are not mentioned in the Bible, this was simply because man did not know they existed.
Religions have given us other things that are worthy of mentioning, we have wonderful pieces of art and some of the architecture spawned by a belief in a certain religions introduced us to a creativity that may not of existed if those beliefs have not been followed. I find it hard to gaze up at a Cathedral and not be awed by the sheer beauty and power of such buildings. Some of the buildings and architecture of the Moores intrigues me and make me think about the history of that area. Other Gothic type buildings take me in another direction and this is all good for the senses and it is completely possible for us to enjoy this but still not believe in the religion that spawned it.
No I think the history of religions should be taught in our schools but nobody should be forced to believe in a particular type of religion. As that is simply brain washing a person into believing that a certain type of religion is the real one and the others are fake, somewhere someone will be saying the exact same thing about theirs.

History, culture and art are all things that should be taught and various religions have had their influence in that, and so to learn about them and how they shaped our lives is very important.

Andy

 

In Memory of TK Chin

I never met TK Chin in real life although I knew her for a number of years online. In truth, the percentage of time that TK spent in my life was very small but the impact she had was massive. I always felt happy and relaxed when we spoke. There was never a hint at anything other than friendship and yet she knew how to flatter without being sexual or romantic and that is a skill in itself.
A lot of her life was private, I don’t even know what the intials TK stood for, I never knew if she had a boyfriend or partner, I don’t know all that much about her business really and yet we talked about the world and all its amazing beauty with a passion we clearly both shared. Food and travel and a love for nature were very high on her own interests and most of our conversations centred around those three topics.

She saw life as something that needed to be explored, and I will always fall in love with people who do that, because it bleeds into me and how I feel about this brief moment in time we have on this planet. TK embraced everything and that is why she has left so many friends like me mourning her death.
Her death came as a shock to us not just because of her young age but also because she seemed so alive. She kept her illness to herself right until the end and in a way, that amplified the shock to us her online friends. We have to respect that she had her reasons and I guess she felt that she would not lose her fight, I know for a fact that she loved life so much that she would have held on to the very end.
Her legacy to me is that it has made me think very deeply about letting people know if you care or love them. Live each day and squeeze the beauty out of every drop of rain and shard of sunlight. Learn and grow and plan and take action. Never say goodbye to a life that was not lived at the end of your own journey. Fill it when you can with knowledge and positive energy.
TK lived her life in a way that many do not and her love of travel and food I am sure would have led to many books on the subject, I can only imagine how her life would have unfolded.
TK Chin you are gone now, but thank you for being what I consider a true friend. In truth, I and hundreds of other people will keep you alive with our memories for many years to come.

Andy Beveridge

Old England Gone

Where did we lose the England we once remembered? Was it back in the day when we welcomed the mixing pot of cultures that was supposed to open up a door to a new world of food and art? Was that the beginning of the end?
We can’t blame the influx of early migration for what is happening on our streets now. We did gain by opening our arms to other nations. Britain became alive with color and vibrancy and it was a good thing that it shed its dour grey meat and two veg image. There were early warning signs back then though.
People like Enoch Powell were largely considered bigoted racists and in truth I think some were but he was not completely wrong as one thing began to happen which I think was the turning point. We did not heed the one clear warning that made sense. We started to allow communities to isolate themselves and create little pockets of their own culture and beliefs. This meant we were no longer just enjoying new experiences and being educated, we were no longer learning and growing we were being separated.

Of course, many were peaceful, large China town areas sprung up in cities and largely are no problem as an example, but this was not the case in other minority communities that were growing all the time. Black and Asian strongholds became larger and to the point where there were some areas where it was not safe to be a white person. This in turn bred a backlash and atrocities happened on both sides of the fence so to speak. This should have been the warning but it went unheeded.
Instead of the promised multi culture Britain embracing each other in a sharing and learning community we simply allowed fractures across the very fabric of society to form, fractures where a dis-chanted youth quickly flooded into and reinforced the growing separation.
Even then our England could have been changed but saved.

Then in marched the liberalism that strengthened the belief that all minorities must be protected to the point that they can do no wrong. With this attitude raising a flag of surrender to our common ground so high it could be seen from around the world we opened up the floodgates. For every refugee that ran to our shores and needed help, another would be alongside them with no real rights or need to be here. This grew until it was so out of control that it was almost impossible to say how many illegal people lived in the UK. Many of these people sought anonymity amongst their own kind who had built up large areas within our cities of their own.
Unlike the first generation who did at least in part understand their role in a changing Britain this second generation looked on it like it was and is their right. Many not carrying the patriotism of past generations and most feeling ties to their bloodline.
Then came the biggest mistake of all. We not only allowed separation but we pandered to other belief systems like religion. We should have tolerated people living in our communities as long as they embraced the western world with its own values already embedded in by the blood still staining the ground of two world wars. Instead we did nothing but watch our society crumble and be taken over as Mosques appeared among the old Victorian buildings and memories of an old England began to fade. Not the odd one or two but currently 1700 and around another 2000 prayer halls.
This was the mistake, allowing religion to set its root in our soil and how we are suffering for it. It is too late to stop this now and those that support Islam are growing at a rate that means for certain a change in how the country will be labelled in the future.
Of course, not all Muslims are bad people in the same way that not all Catholic priests are child abusers, but as the Islamic stranglehold continues so will radicalism grow in direct proportion too. As our governments have seemed powerless to come up with a solution the inevitable will happen and there will be a rise of vigilante style groups often under the guise of a minor political force appearing on our streets. This will only damage things further and innocent people on both sides of the fence will mostly be the victims.
We should have stopped all this when we could have and not allowed other religions to take a foothold in our society. The people yes, but not the open support of a belief system that did not belong in England. There is much talk of deporting known extremist supporters but you can’t deport a person born here.
Our only hope now lies with the Muslim community itself, we need them to inform British police of possible radicalised members of its Mosques. They need to stand up and teach their youth the values needed for society to continue in a place of tolerance and positive growth.
All religions die out in the end as others take their place but for the next few generations at least the melting pot will become a cauldron of hate.

Andy Beveridge

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