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A New Year

For once I am not going to start this blog with empty declarations and promises of commitment. After 18 months I am now wise to the fact that these are not the things which will make me write, they will just make me look like a fool when I don’t. So, whatevs if, when I opened the blog folder on my laptop, I counted 15 unfinished blogs from the last 6 months? At least it proves that the intention and commitment to write is still there, even if I am unable to close the deal on most occasions….it’s when I stop trying that I will really worry.

On New Year’s Day I was travelling back from Swansea and had in my hand a carrier bag with a Welsh Dragon on it (Tesco has really zoned in on local Patriotism). After 5 hours on the megabus and with a big-ass hangover, I was in no mood for a chat but when I got to the final leg of my journey, a bus stop at Victoria, a smelly old tramp clutching a bottle of booze started muttering at me and pointing at the bag. After about the fifth attempt at understanding what he was saying to me all I could think was, “Please leave me alone, I’m so tired, I just want to get home…”


And then all I could think about was what a massive cunt I was and how this man probably had no home to go to, and clearly just wanted to talk about a home he had once known. So I listened harder. In the 7 minutes until my bus arrived I deciphered that he spoke fluent Welsh, was from Pontypridd, had played rugby for them in the 70’s and knew Tommy David (big in Welsh rugby, apparently). But it was when I actually looked at him, and into his eyes as he was slurring, mostly indecipherably, that I saw something else. I saw my friends, and myself and felt the recognisable pang of ‘There but for the grace of….’

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Whether due to alcoholism, circumstances, his own bad choices or a combination of everything, this man is simply where he is right now and does not deserve my judgement, just my compassion, which is a small thing for me to give. After my initial reluctance, I am glad I was able to give him that, and a blueberry muffin too which I hadn’t quite managed to get my chops around on the bus.

It has been a rocky start to the year, with a break-up, illness and a sudden death shaking many of my beliefs already – and it’s not even ‘epiphany’ yet! But, as my wonderful yoga teacher said this morning, let’s make 2014 the year of love, of giving and receiving it as openly as we are able (fnar fnar). But as cynical as I can be sometimes, this is not a bad foundation to start from and after yet another failed relationship, I have to learn from it and find a way to open my heart and trust in the moment, not in the possible future disappointments which have clouded so many of my decisions. As the last few days have proved, life is too short. My fear of the future which I bring into the present every day, must no longer stop me from making, at least some, commitment to that future.

So, I am off to the EE shop to sign up for my first 24 months contract – 24 MONTHS! It’s a really good deal, but as I said to the poor woman in the shop…What if I change my mind? What if I hate the phone? What if I drop it in the toilet? What if I use more than my data allowance? What if I die?? She (kinda) laughed and in her best salesperson voice said, “Well, the insurance policy on this phone is really cheap”.

So, and this is not a resolution but more a statement of intent, I intend to stay committed to this blog, to becoming a writer and to the idea that 2014 will be the year of love, in whatever guise that might be. Even better than my phone insurance, I have the best possible insurance policy for life in the shape of amazing family and friends and, while not always cheap they are all one can really wish for when yet another epiphany rolls around. Which is a strong reminder that even if like me you’re an atheist, you can still believe in love and embrace the opportunity for renewal. Happy 2014.

It’s All About … Them!

‘Amazing April – A Month Of Me’, is sadly drawing to a close. I’m sure you’ll all be devastated and miss my yoga updates on Twitter! The short report is that I do feel stronger and healthier, but sadly not rested, it’s amazing how busy you can be…when doing nothing! (I believe there’s a song about that? Check out the link below if you don’t know it)

Busy Doing Nothing

Anyway, what better way to celebrate the end of a month dedicated to me than by dedicating a week to other people. A ‘them party’ rather than a ‘me party’ if you like. My friend Yvonne Biggins has convinced me that it is a good idea to join her and ‘Live Below The Line’ from 29th April to 3rd May, i.e. next week! This means I will be living on £5 for 5 days…everything I consume during that time will have to come out of one solitary 5 pound note.

Now, I realise this might not sound like a difficult challenge for some of you, but for someone who spent £25 on salad things for lunch yesterday, even though I am unemployed, I think it is going to be quite difficult. The £5 must include any and all seasoning, and staples like milk and bread and I will sadly not be able to utilise anything from Emily’s vast kitchen cupboards…not even a pinch of salt!

The point of this challenge is to raise awareness for the 1.2 billion people in the world living in extreme poverty. In the western world we have a tendency to take things for granted, the incredible choice available to us on a daily basis we see as a basic human right…but too many people are not that privileged. I have chosen to raise money for the same charity as Yvonne, Positive Women, who are doing incredible work in Swaziland empowering women to understand their rights and value in society and to help them and their children through education and support. If you can spare even just a couple of pounds to donate to this extraordinary charity and to make my grumpy hunger pangs next week more bearable I will be forever thankful, as I’m sure will Positive Women…if I reach £100 they can feed a child for 5 months.

I will of course keep you updated/bore you on my progress and what my diet is going to consist of…porridge…rice…I may also have to put my wussy wheat intolerance to one side for a while, which could have interesting consequences…which I promise NOT to share! Links to donation and charity details below…