My head reels and spins, faster than the earth itself
It possesses no orbit and no continental shelf
I’m trying to comprehend what’s going on in the world
To me it’s as unfathomable as the mind of a girl.
A demagogue waits and purrs, like a cat with all of the cream
As we wonder how it’s happened, a real answer we can’t glean
While history is grabbed by it’s coat tails, so grubby
By dishonest men, the sordid and cruddy
Who tell us that cockroaches will swarm to our shores
To take away our freedom and to settle old scores
Dehumanised waste, we should chuck in the bin
Without a second thought, then collect our wages of sin.
Money still flies around, though far too high for the many
As food banks welcome more of the sick and the needy
Then we watch as a dying city sends it’s last tweet
But do nothing to help, as we find the receipts
For the bombs and the missiles, more important than beds
Oh what was I saying? I’m losing my thread
Too many have gone, but we shall remember
As we pick up the pieces of these long dying embers.
I wish you all the best and good tidings to all
I hope you stay safe, not to stumble and fall
It’s the end of another, but they’re always the same
We never seem to learn and we’ve no one else to blame.
I’m afraid of growing old
I’m afraid of being cold
I’m afraid of not seeing my children
And of what tomorrow may hold.
I’m afraid of brown envelopes
I’m afraid of what’s inside
I’m afraid of becoming poor
And of not being able to provide.
I’m not afraid of the dark
But I’m afraid of what I can’t see
I’m afraid of meeting new people
And of bumping into thine and thee.
I’m afraid of any change
I’m afraid things will stay as they are
I’m afraid of having to stay in
And of ever going afar.
I’m afraid of not being able to help you
I’m afraid of not knowing what to say
I’m afraid of going to sleep
And of the dreams I have when I may.
I’m afraid of being in pain
I’m afraid that it’s all been in vain
I’m afraid of dying first
And of leaving her alone and afraid.
When Deb, my wife and I first split up it was a horrible time. It was all over misunderstandings, frustration and emotional separation after so many bad things having happened. We could cope anymore. I moved into my mother’s and it was a nightmare. I felt really ill, but didn’t know what was wrong. I couldn’t cope with anything. I was falling apart. Deb eventually let me back in the house, we were still friends, but we were still split up.
A year prior to this I had joined Myspace to help promote the band I played guitar in and part managed. I hadn’t been on the internet for long and had never been involved in any social media groups. I didn’t know what I was doing. However, I suddenly found myself with loads of strangers chatting to me. I became really friendly with a few but one in particular became quite close. I felt like I could tell her anything and I hadn’t done that for a long, long time. It was normally the other way around, where people told me their problems. I had found the ear I subconsciously craved and desperately needed. She was called Dee.
Anyway, after talking for almost a year I eventually told Dee that Deb and I had split up. She went quiet for a short while, but then she suddenly declared her undying love for me! I found it so weird, but I knew that I liked her a heck of a lot and loved chatting with her. I was flattered and went with it.
After a while she called me up on the phone and said that she wanted to move to Newcastle, because she knew I wouldn’t move away from the lads. This was happening so fast! I just seemed to go with it all. I was swept away on a tidal wave of strange emotion. She’d been a model and that, but that don’t impress me much, because I’d been out with models before and all apart from one were a total pain in the arse. The one that wasn’t broke my heart. Looks always came second to personality for me, but Dee seemed to have both and she seemed so lovely.
I agreed that it would be great to meet. Soon after she stated that she was having problems and couldn’t get to Newcastle for that first meeting, so I said that I’d go and meet her instead and then we could take it from there.
…she was from New Jersey, USA!!!!
It was all organised very quickly. I asked her where we would be staying – at her house or a hotel or what? She said that although she was getting divorced from her husband he was still living with her until his new place came through, so she’d sort a hotel. The deal was that she’d pay for the hotel if I paid for my flight. Ok, I thought, but then when I asked which hotel we’d be staying at hotel she said it was a surprise. I was ok with that at first and it added to the magic a wee bit. However, I mentioned this to a few friends, who were asking about the details and when I told them I didn’t know they thought I was mad! No change there, apparently!
Even Deb, my wife, said that I should let people know where I was staying, so I asked again, but just got the whole surprise thing thrown at me. I wasn’t too bothered really and said that I’d be fine. This was my new found happy go lucky attitude until I got through check-in at the airport and they gave me a few cards to fill out including a visa. This asked for an address that I was going to be staying at and as I didn’t have one I frantically sent her a text, before the flight took off, explaining the situation. It would have been 3:00am over there, about five hours behind us and she’d probably be asleep. She’d hopefully get this message before I arrived 10.30am (ish) their time and she’d then, simply, forward the address to me. No problem.
I got talking to the guy next to me, who asked why I was going to US. Big mistake!!
He got my life story, but I had him laughing most of the flight. At the time I just thought I was a total fruit loop, because of the whole not knowing for sure about my background, getting loads of therapy and medication and that, so I mentioned stuff like that as well. Nothing was held back. I was and am very open and don’t mind telling anyone anything really, so he got loads of stories, about all sorts of things, from me and I got that he was an interior designer from Birmingham, called Derek and went back and forth regularly to upstate New York, was married and had one daughter. That was it!
Anyway, as we got in I turned my phone on, because I needed the address and checked for messages. I’d told Derek about this and when he saw that there were no messages at all on my phone he started to worry for me! Dee was supposed to be picking me up at Newark airport, the same one where the 911 flights went from, so I thought I’d best try and ring her, although I knew this was not really allowed. No answer! And again, no answer! Oh shit! I left a message, frantically stating that I needed the address of the hotel.
After telling Derek, the poor sod next to me, my life story on the plane I suddenly felt sorry for him and thought his senses must be completely battered. As we sorted out the rest of our hand luggage and belongings I apologised to him, but he shook my hand and thanked me for the company. Derek said that it was the best and, seemingly, shortest flight he’d had ever. This was, more than likely, because I’d not shut up, other than when we had grub, for the whole journey! I still thought he’d run away from me at the first opportunity, but was surprised to find that he walked off the plane with me and said he wanted to see what would happen!
I tried making more calls as we walked and talked, but just got absolutely nothing.
We headed to customs and stood in line. I felt sick! There were loads of armed guards about and the checking officers were armed as well. I got to the front of the queue and this huge, security guard stood in front of me, looking very stern and serious. He asked for my passport, which I gave him, looked at it and back and forth at me. I thought to myself “He knows. He’s waiting for me!” in that paranoid way I have, because nothing is ever easy! He then asked for my green card visa thingy. I gave it to him and he looked at it, looked back at me again and asked why there was no address on it? He started quizzing me. It felt totally silent all around and I could feel dozens of eyes turning towards me. It was the two massive eyes staring directly into mine and the owner of said eyes that I was more concerned about.
Oh, no! He was being polite and direct in that way US cops are polite before they pop your ass!
“You need to provide an accommodation address for the time you’re going to stay in the United States of America. Is your journey for business reasons or are you on vacation?”
He wasn’t happy, but hearing the word “vacation” in an American accent, made me feel good, but only for a split second, then I went back to feeling shite again!
“Are you travelling alone, sir, or are you meeting someone here?”
He said a few other things, but I didn’t really hear them, because my mind was quickly working out a response, whilst telling me that I was a fecking idiot and shouting at me “What the fuck are you doing here, you stupid pillock? You should be at home watching the World Cup on telly with the kids, but you’re here, in America, about to get arrested!” I could almost feel my inner mind rolling his eyes at me, again!
So, I took a deep breath and said to the humungous, heavily armed and quite angry, man in front of me:
“OK! OK! Now, looking at this from your point of view you’re obviously going to be worried that I’m trying to get into your country under false pretences, maybe take a job, against the law and then stay as an illegal alien or something like that. But! Look at it from my point of view…!”
He butted in,
“SIr! Who, are you visiting?” He now had his hand on his rifle.
“Well… I’m visiting my girlfriend.”
“OK sir, then what’s her address? We can put that on this form.”
“Errmmm! I don’t know her address!”
“What do you mean? You don’t know!”
“Well, I don’t know where she lives. She’s supposed to be meeting me here and taking me to a secret hotel that’s meant to be a surprise, so I don’t have that address either.”
“How do you not know where your girlfriend lives, sir?”
“Well, erm, this is my first time over here and I’ve, well, I’ve never met her before.”
I could hear everyone in the room’s subconscious minds saying those same two words. It felt like there was a collective gasp and everyone was waiting for an explanation, not least, the man, in front of me, holding a rifle and looking very angry and confused!
I had to say something and quick!
“OK, listen! Now, you’re worried, but, please look at this from my point of view. I’m coming over from England to meet my ‘girlfriend’ that I’ve never met before, because we met on the internet, on Myspace. Do you know Myspace? I was promoting my band, I play in a U2 tribute band and we met on there and chat to each other! So, she’s not really my girlfriend, in the true sense of the word, as we’ve not met before, but we’re supposed to be meeting here, she’s coming to pick me up. Well, she said she would, but I can’t get in touch. I’ve rung her and left messages, but she hasn’t replied and, as I said, she hasn’t told me where we’re staying, because it’s supposed to be a surprise!”
Silence! I was shaking by this time. I had nowhere to run. They’d shoot me down! I took a big gulp of air and started making noises out of my mouth, but didn’t really know what I was saying:
“Now! When I meet her, if she turns up that is, she may be lovely and it’s all a misunderstanding and that, but she also may turn out to look like you. She may even be a number of blokes, that’s men, pretending to be someone called Doreen and the next you may hear about me is when my body is fished out of the East River in a suitcase! I’m only supposed to be staying for just over a week, then I’ve got to get back to work and get back to my kids in Newcastle, that’s in the North East, if you haven’t heard of it. I don’t want to stay indefinitely in America, part of me wishes I’d never bothered coming at all now and I hope you can see that I’m not making any of this up and I’m much more worried about the current situation than you?!”
There was a brief pause and almost complete silence. It was, now, definitely apparent that everyone in the four queues, waiting to get through customs, had stopped and there were dozens of people and guards listening to my every word and waiting for the guard’s reply. His face looked like it was going to explode and I thought that I was either going to be arrested, beaten up, like in the movies and sent home on the next flight; or, arrested, beaten up, like in the movies, put in an orange jumpsuit and given tickets for a long term holiday in Guantanamo Bay!
My whole body seemed to have the energy drained from it and I thought I was going to collapse and faint, but in the blink of an eye, the stern look, on the face in front of me, slowly changed, his pouting, closed lips, were pulled into his face, then the corners turned up, ever so slightly, whereby the guard couldn’t hold it in any longer and started laughing his head off. Real huge belly laughs, like Oliver Hardy, in one of those rare occasions where he gave up his rolling eyes look and just let rip at Stan!
“Man, I’ve never heard anything like that before. I love your accent! Go on through and good luck man! I think you needs it!”
Everyone started laughing as he handed me my passport back. I looked around, smiled, saw Derek, my plane buddy grinning at me with a hint of pride and I walked through, gingerly, as they were still bliddy armed, but with an almost new found sense of celebrity status!
I went for my bags from the carousel and not only was Derek still with me, but a number of other people seemed to have tagged along to see how the story ended.
We all headed out together, but I felt at this point I wanted to be alone. Loads of people were standing waiting at arrivals. Some had name cards, some were hugging family and friends and, all of a sudden, I noticed that, there, stood waiting for me, was Dee. She didn’t look exactly like her photos on Myspace, she looked chubbier and a bit older, but it was definitely her. I pointed her out to Derek. He shook my hand again. Smiled and wished me good luck, then finally walked away from me into the throng of anonymous people.
I walked towards Dee and tried to smile, but the whole emotion of everything had hit me and I couldn’t raise a proper one. I wasn’t very happy to be honest because it dawned on me the situation I had been put in, was a bit annoyed, very anxious, extremely tired and wanted some answers. She looked very sheepish and on edge, but at least she was there and at least she wasn’t a huge, 6 feet 4 inch tall, Samuel L. Jackson lookalike.
Dee was actually only around 5 feet tall and wore jeans and baseball boots, so she looked tiny! We hugged, quickly, but it was a nervous, just touching and wanting loose as quickly as possible hug and I didn’t feel comfortable at all. There was something wrong.
I wasn’t bothered about the fact that she was over weight, in comparison to her photos, but her skin was blemished and pock marked as well. That wouldn’t normally matter to me, but all I could think of was that she hadn’t been truthful and sent me up to date photos. I felt disappointed in her and a quite let down. I knew in the pit of my stomach that I no longer had any feelings for this lass and I was supposed to spend almost two weeks with her in some fabulous hotel. I wasn’t looking forward to this anymore at all. I did, though, think of one other word, as well: drugs!
We spent the next hour looking for her car because she couldn’t remember where she’d parked it! We walked around every floor of the parking lot, then she decided it may have been a different parking lot. There was me carrying my back pack and dragging a suitcase with her walking ahead of me, with a bouncy stride, as if she was feeling for every step. She was off her head! I watched her every twitchy movement and she also kept pressing the button of her car keys to trigger the alarm and, hopefully, for goodness sake, reveal the whereabouts of the vehicle. Dee had asked the usual questions like “how was the flight?” and stuff like that, but wasn’t really talking, just cursing about being lost. I didn’t feel like talking at all, for once!
After an hour of wandering around and feeling like a zombie stuck in various parking lots, every now and then hearing the little, double bleep sounds of car alarms, getting excited, but seeing someone else heading to the teasing source of the elusive sound, finally, we found our treasure, in the first parking lot and on the first floor we’d tried all that time ago! By the time we were driving in a big, black, pick up truck, type thing, I was shattered. I decided to ask questions as she was no longer able to avoid me by walking ahead. I told her about the green card and that I’d phoned and sent numerous texts, including a one hours earlier to alert her to the problem. She said she hadn’t got that text and further explained that her phone was ringing whist she was driving on the way to the airport and couldn’t answer it. She then claimed to have forgotten to ring or text me when she got there! I wasn’t happy! I figured that she may be telling the truth, but doubted it very much.
I asked if we could go straight to the hotel but she wanted to take me to New York, Manhattan! This was a place I’d dreamed of visiting, but I didn’t feel like going right now. She seemed like she was on a mission, ignored me and drove to Manhattan.
I was in awe of the place, but was not happy. It was frustrating that Dee wasn’t listening. As we drove along the west side of Manhattan she said we could go to Washington Square in the Greenwich Village area (another place I wanted to visit) as she had some friends who hung about there and she wanted to see them. I didn’t!
She eventually parked up and we walked over to an entrance to the square, her bouncing ahead again. She looked around, seemed a bit frantic for my liking and quickly came to the conclusion that her friends weren’t there and we should go to another park instead. I put my foot down and said that I wanted to go to the hotel. She reluctantly agreed and we drove off, back to New Jersey. She then decided that she wanted to be a tour guide and took me to view the houses that are on the opening credits of The Sopranos and other places I wasn’t really interested in. It was all very nice, but I just wanted to go to this secret hotel, freshen up and maybe have a sleep. Having told Dee of my expressed wish she seemed to go a bit more introverted and seemed to drive aimlessly. I repeatedly asked her where the hotel was and she kept assuring me that it wasn’t far. I asked what it was called, so that I could look out for it, because, to me, she seemed lost. She ignored me and drove along the main highway, looking from left to right. ”It’s not far,” she kept repeating. Then all of a sudden she jolted her head up and declared that we’d found it. She pulled off the highway and headed into a motel car park. It looked ok, if a bit scruffy, but certainly wasn’t the great surprise she’d promised. Maybe this was the surprise. I doubted it! I was past caring! She told me to stay in the car and she’d sort the reservation. I said that I needed to stretch my legs, got out of the car and she went into the motel reception . I waited a second or two and then followed her. I listened in and heard her ask if they had a room. I knew then that my suspicions had been right. She hadn’t booked anything at all. I popped my head in through the door when the lady said that she did have some rooms and declared
“Can you make sure we have a twin room please and not a double?”
Dee’s face dropped and asked why. I stated that I wanted a twin room. I was quite annoyed now and said that my decision final, because I wasn’t sharing a bed with her. The lady said that all of the rooms were twin doubles anyway, so I could do what I liked. Dee paid for the room and we were taken round the back of the motel, surrounded by trees and taken to a very basic room. She went to give me a hug when we walked in, but I avoided her and headed to the bathroom for a shower after getting a few things sorted out. After getting washed and having a lie down, for an hour or so, with me not speaking to her again and making a point of lying on the bed she wasn’t on, she piped up and stated that we should go back to Washington Square and get some food. I agreed and we drove back.
We went into a pizza place and sat and chatted for a bit. I decided that I’d give her the benefit of the doubt and try to be as nice as I could. I thought that she may have been worried that I would chicken out at the last minute, not turn up and she would therefore, lose her deposit if she’d booked a place. I put that to her and she adopted that excuse. I was fine with that, but wished she’d been more honest and just given me her address as a forwarding one!
We had fabulous pizza and a glass of wine, sat outside of a restaurant just off Mulberry Street, with staff who treated you as if you were a long lost relative, then headed off into Washington Square again. Walking in I thought of the history surrounding this place, wondered about some of the famous people who had spent time wandering around this park. It was beautiful. I noticed a cordoned off section that was made into a dog park. I was just thinking of what a great idea that was when Dee suddenly changed again and said that her friends were in the centre of the park and she’d be back in 5 minutes. She bounced off. I watched her walk up to this group of guys and thought “why are they dressed in winter puffer coats when it’s June and flaming at that?!”
I walked up to them, three were talking to Dee doing various types of weird hand shakes and another three, looking like a real bad ass bunch of Run DMC mofo lookalikes, were pouting and checking out the whole area.
Shit! She was doing a drugs deal!
I had just scraped into the country by the skin of my teeth and now the girl I was with was doing a drugs deal with 6 of the meanest toughest and realest gangsters that you would not want to meet in a dream. I went straight up to her, kept my head down, touched her on the arm and said,
“Come on, we’re going.”
She protested and said she was just chatting with her friends. I said that I knew what was going on and we were going – NOW!
I was not a happy bunny!
One of the guys took an extra interest in me and said
“Hey man, where you from? Are you from England?”
I tried again to get her away from them and whilst attempting to do so, replied rather succinctly,
“Yes, now fuck off!”
I suddenly had a double take and saw myself standing behind myself watching the scene and saying to myself: “You didn’t just say that did you? Please tell me that you didn’t say that? Do you realise that you are in deep doo doo here?”
The three security types were looking at me and shifting their eyes to look around. I noticed that they each had a hand inside of their black puffer coats. I had a quick, closer look at these big, ridiculous coats and suddenly realised that the obvious reason they had them on, obvious to everyone other than me up to this point, was to conceal copious amounts of drugs, but also copious amounts of guns as well.
Guns! Shit! Then, to my surprise , one of the other Ice T lookalikes laughed and said,
“Ha,ha, ha, that’s great man! We love England! Your accent is really cool,man!”
I’d got away with it. Phew!
Instead of walking away, I strangely found myself turning to this guy and told him in my strongest, hardest, toughest Geordie voice (that to them just sounds like Hugh Grant with a sore throat), yes, you guessed it:
“Hey! Just FUCK OFF!”
I recoiled within myself. What was I doing? Two words came to mind: Death and wish! I couldn’t believe it and knew I wouldn’t get away with it a second time! Great, I’ve just got here, I’ve just managed to get in to America and I’m now going to be either arrested and deported for being party to a drugs deal in broad daylight or I’m going to get gunned down in sweaty blood and maybe that guard from the airport will remember me after all, as my body is, in fact, fished out of the East River in a suitcase! SHIT!
They started pleading with me that they were just doing some business and that I should have some too! They seemed to be happy with me, so I spoke to them again:
Third time unlucky?
Dee, assured me it was ok, but I was getting very frustrated. I was shaking with fear, anger and frustration. I was starting to have one of my panic attacks. She said she was just going to sort this all out and would be done in 2 mins. I heard a voice agree with her,
“Yes, we will get done in 2 minutes!”
“Right, that’s it, I’m off. I’m going.” I also then added “I’ll see you back at the motel!”
I had no idea in hell where the motel was, other than in the state of New Jersey, but I was off and headed to the far north east exit of the park.
She came running after me, followed by one of the So Solid Crew. She pleaded with me to wait but I was off. She walked back to obviously do her deal, but the other guy came up to me and got me to stop. He whispered to me to get on a train and meet him at a station in the Bronx!
“What?! You can fuck off ‘n’ all. Why would I want to do that?”
I continued walking off, but could still hear “Hey man! You’re accent is so great man!”
I walked across the road, I think I jaywalked as I didn’t wait for the lights to change and could have been flaming arrested for that, headed round the corner, looking behind me to see if I was being followed and walked into a shop to get away from what had just happened. I was breathing as if I’d just run a marathon. The attendant in the shop looked at me, seemed concerned for a second and asked if I wanted help. I said that I was ok, but I suddenly felt like I had to make a double take, as I had gone back into normal world and was no longer in let’s get shot in the afternoon world.
“Erm, thanks, I’m just looking.” I then realised that I’d walked into a shoe shop, a trainer shop actually. I transformed into consumer mode and very quickly my eyes caught a pair of Levi baseball boots staring at me and thought … mmm!
“How much for these, please?”
“Nah, I’m not paying that.”
“Ok, what will you pay?”
A haggler! Love it! I suddenly forgot for a brief second what had just happened and started into Life Of Brian haggle mode! I managed to get him down to $25 and bagged myself a bargain! Around £15 for a pair of baseball boots! I tried them on and they were perfect.
As I was trying them on the door opened and Doreen came in with a big newspaper package! She had obviously done the deal and had her illegal wares in what looked like a fish and chips wrapper! I couldn’t believe it!
I tried to ignore her, as if I didn’t know her, paid for my new shoes and just kept them on.
We got out of the store and I said
“Ok, back to the hotel now! We need to talk!”
We got back, driving in silence and I grilled her when I felt we were safe in the motel room. It all came out.
She was still married, not separated. Her husband had heard her phone go at 3am, checked the phone while she slept and of course woke her up demanding answers. She’d left under a cloud and was in trouble. She was also a drug addict and that’s why she couldn’t get a flight over to England. She didn’t have a passport and couldn’t get one yet because she was on remand.
I couldn’t believe it. She was a total nutcase and this whole charade was crazy! Hang on! Was I an even bigger fool for believing her? I felt like a real pillock. I told her to go and get her life sorted out and try to save her marriage, on the understanding that she’d come back on my final day and take me back to the airport, because I didn’t have a clue where I was and certainly wasn’t going to pay for a taxi all that way. She agreed. The tears flowed from her eyes as she left. I waved her off and wished her well.
I was alone. I felt a sudden sense of worry, stuck by myself in the middle of New Jersey, but then, just as quick, this emotion changed.
I felt relieved. I then suddenly felt great. I was a tourist and Manhattan was only forty minutes away by bus. That was when the fun started…….
I haven’t written anything here, since the beginning of this year, partially because of writing things that I’m holding onto, but mostly because I haven’t been coping very well.
There’ve been some horrible things happened, the worst being the death of my girlfriend’s mam and the unbelievable fallout that’s occurred since her sudden, untimely death. I’m constantly shocked at how despicable some people actually are and it really takes a chunk out of me.
I had a car crash the following day, as well, where some idiotic, selfish twat, smashed into the back of me. Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt, but the car was written off and Sara and I have both had quite bad whiplash, since, with me also having quite severe pain in my left knee, down the fibula and into my foot, which is getting worse as time goes on. I’ve had physio, but it’s not good and they discharged me, saying that they were concerned that the treatment was making it worse! I’m now waiting for a different type of physio and hope that my referral to the Pain Management Clinic, for my back, will help. Sara’s had depression, as well, after what happened to her mam and it’s not been helped by her old boss, who turned out to be an evil, vindictive bitch, who turned on Sara, wrongly believing that she’d reported the practice to the CQC. Someone else did it, anonymously and haven’t had the guts to come forward when Sara’s been treated appallingly. I’m going to take action, myself, but at least Sara’s now settling into a new and better job.
I’ve not been much help to her, as I haven’t coped well, myself, but at least we’re here for each other.
I didn’t take the whole ridiculous Brexit vote very well and have, subsequently, cut myself off from politics, in many ways, because the world is stressing me out, again and again. I also cut myself off from a number of people, most of whom will not be missed. I’m not going to explain much more of what’s happened, because, if I do, it’ll give the game away and spoil my story, if you ever come to read it. If I get it written, that is!
Some good things have happened, though, such as Phebie, Sara’s daughter, getting into her first choice of university. She’ll be a big miss, but I’m sure she’ll have a fabulous time and will grow as a person. She’s already made massive inroads in her life and has turned out to be a lovely young lass. My boys have also got a new dog, called Eddie. He stays at my ex’s house, but I’m going to nip round each day to let him out into the garden for a short time, as well as going on walks with him and the boys, in my wheelchair. Eddie’s a Bedapoo: a cross between a Bedlington Terrier and a Toy Poodle. He’s a fluffy, black bundle of fun and we all love him to bits. The lads couldn’t have a dog in the past, because we’re all allergic to dogs, but Eddie’s one of these cross breeds that are specifically for such people. It’s just a shame that Walter, their granda’, isn’t around to see him. He’d have loved him!
I’m hoping to write more stories about myself and, eventually get them put together in a book. I’ve had the idea of how to put them all together, for a while now, but it’s not easy to sit and write about some bad times. I’ll get it done. I’m sure it’ll make me feel better about myself, when I do finish.
I’ve also got a few other ideas that I’ve been working on: A few stories about a fairy, called Bilfred and his friends, that just came to me; a tale about a spider; a novel about a local figure from Victorian times; and more stories about myself, in a collection called “The Perils Of…”, a handful of which are on here.
One last thing that’s happening is that I’m going to be followed and filmed watching Newcastle United, throughout this season. That should be interesting, so keep an eye out for that.
Well, that’s most of what’s been happening. Couldn’t sleep, so decided to get a few things off my chest and onto here. I’ll try and keep updating when I think on! Bye for now xx
Having just read a blog on living with constant pain, I’ve decided to briefly write about my own experience.
I can only talk from my own perspective, but I’ll try and quickly explain how I feel, at present. As you know, I have chronic pain. The levels vary, but it’s always there, to some degree and rarely simmering on a low burner.
After many trials with various painkillers and following a quick rise through to the Premier League table of pain, I currently take Oromorph and Pregablin, amongst other things, and am on the ceiling amount of the latter. I cope, but some days I’m in absolute agony. I don’t exactly feel hunky dory about my situation, which in itself, is separate from the pain.
My situation stops me from doing many, or most, of the “normal” things I used to do and can’t work, but I’m working on that! I try to immerse myself in films, writing, or something mundane, almost as a mantra to combat the pain and it saves me from the evils of daytime telly! The worst thing is that I find myself struggling to do the stuff I really enjoy and am often zonked out, to a point where my comatose state stops me from doing anything. My sleep pattern, or lack of one, doesn’t help, either. I’ve played guitar, for years, now and made a living out of it, at a few points, but I now struggle, due to the numbness in my hands and pain in my fingers. When I’m able to recline comfortably enough to hold the guitar, I try to have a go. I find, now, that I can’t press the strings down properly and my fingers curl into a fist now. I don’t know why, but my new specialist thinks that I may have discs out further up my spine, in my neck, which radiate down to my hands and fingers. The twats! However, despite this, I’ve recently risen to the challenge of a good friend, Mike, who lives over the pond. I’ve videoed myself playing, badly and singing even more badly, but he’s taught me to enjoy that moment of playing and not worrying too much about the buzzing and slow chord changes, stuff that could really depress me, if I thought about it too much. Sometimes, I can’t do it and I’m struggling to play some songs I used to play without thinking! Ho hum!
I don’t feel clinically depressed about the whole thing, though. Don’t get me wrong, when the pain kicks in and my defenses are down, it attacks and I feel like I can’t live like this, anymore. I do have bad mood swings; get frustrated, sometimes about the smallest things; feel down about the fact that I don’t see any friends anymore; worry about my future and if this can be cured, or if I may get worse (I try not to think about that); hate that I’ve become, almost, totally dependent on my girlfriend and my boys, need a carer, when they’re not around and struggle to even get out of bed; think that someone’s having a laugh at my expense, because I’ve even struggled to use my wheelchair, over the last seven/eight months, or so, due to an impinged shoulder; become despondent, stupidly so, that I’m grossly overweight, now and am currently taking Orlistat, to help (they’re the tablets that stop your body from absorbing fat and expel it in such a way, you’d think you’ve been eating curry for breakfast, dinner and tea, leaving an orange, oily film around the bowl, for good measure! I, thankfully, haven’t been caught short, yet, but the fact that I keep forgetting to take the tablets may have something to do with that!); feel sad and frustrated that I have, absolutely, no libido, at the moment and can’t seem to remember where I left it; chastise myself for being an awful whinger; and, also, become annoyed about the state of the country and why this government are screwing people into the ground (that’s a whole different story!).
I can’t plan too much, because I never know how bad I’m going to be. The only places I go, when I’m well enough to sit in my wheelchair, apart from docs and that, are to St. James’ Park, to watch the match, and The Stand Comedy Club, in Newcastle. The staff are superb there and, if I can’t go to a particular show, they keep my money in a personal account to allow me to use it for the next time. It’s little things, like that, that make all the difference.
Despite all of this and much more, besides, I reckon that the panic attacks, anxiety and depression that I feel for unrelated issues, that have nothing to do with my physical state, or conditions, are far worse and much harder to deal with. I came very close to be sectioned, but as I lay on the kitchen floor, in the fetal position, expelling some form of primal scream, after having completely lost control of my senses, through sheer frustration, I took the phone call and told the person on the cold, white end of the line that I wasn’t going to consent to being locked away and said, that, as I had reached one of my lowest points, I was determined that the only way to go, was up and that I’d try to rise back up myself.
I’m nowhere near back up to the surface, yet, but just hanging on by my good, strong arm and am on some form of medication to help keep me there. I can’t even remember what I’m on! My short term memory has been shot to shit. I don’t know if they’re working. I think they must be, but wonder if I’m managing to cope now?! I don’t know. My doc doesn’t want me coming off the meds. I know he’s right. I even wonder if being in constant, chronic pain helps me with this condition that’s been thrown at me, because I have something else to worry about! Perhaps! I’ve developed coping mechanisms, since I was seven. Not always successfully, but I didn’t know black from white until recently, so I’ve basically wandered about, aimlessly, for most of my life. If I get a bad episode, or a major relapse, I don’t know how I’ll cope, on top of everything else. I suppose I’ll just have to. I keep thinking about my kids and know that I never want to hurt, or leave them and there’s my girlfriend, as well! I wouldn’t ever want to hurt her, either and not just because she does so much for me. Shouldn’t I be thinking about being positive and doing it for myself, though? Probably. I kind of am, now.
I’ve come to the ramparts and stand alongside my meds. I’ve moved on from most of what’s happened and I’m able to talk about it, in a personal, but, almost, detached way, now and am preparing to write about everything, geet big warts and all. I worry that no one will read it, or, indeed, if anyone will bother to read this, but I suppose I’m writing to myself. I need to be in the right frame of mind and I don’t want my memories tainted by my current position, but, as Sean Kelly, the World Number One cyclist once said to me: “I will see how it will go!”
SHOCK BREAKING NEWS: Davy Craig has an (almost) incident free holiday in Barcelona! 😮 x
Dumped gear in hotel and had a quick, cold shower then headed to Clot metro station around the corner. The metro system there is superb. Most stations have lifts from street level that take you where you need to go and the trains come every 5 minutes. It’s just so simple and they employ enough staff and drivers to make it work! Much better than anything over here! The sad thing is that there were no incidents to report, apart from running over a lass’s foot when she didn’t move to let me off. Headphones and phones close off the whole world around and can lead to serious damage, especially to your sandalled toes! 😮
Anyway, we headed from Passeig de Gracia (i before e doesn’t work here, either!), through Placa de Catalunya and down Las Ramblas, to meet me fatha, who was over from Sydney, Australia for a couple of weeks. I didn’t see him in Tyneside, not being very well, but it was pure coincidence that he’s booked to go to Barcelona to stay, with a friend, for a week, at the same time as Evan and I. He said to meet at the Christopher Columbus statue for 6pm. We got there at 5:45, looked around and waited at the shaded part, out of the sun, texting him to make him aware of our arrival. 6:15pm – no sign. Then a text asking where we were! Apparently we should have known that he was in a bar off Las Ramblas instead of where we’d agreed to meet! Anyway, we had a nice evening and said good bye until next time!
We slept in the next day and headed back to Placa de Catalunya to catch the tourist bus. On the way down the wide boulevard Passeig de Gracia, which was slightly downhill, three people, two lads and a lass, walked straight in front of me and forced me to stop, burning my hands on the hot rims of my wheels. I shouted “Whoooaahhh!” as they ambled, not looking into my path. The third of the three, a squat body builder in vest and cap, showing his muscles off, turned round and in a pathetic cockney accent, slyly remarked “Ahhh faahhck orf!” I hadn’t been going fast, Evan was walking, spritely, next to me and these three had wandered into my path, despite me being in the middle of a wide boulevard and this prick had decided to have a go at me, so in my roughest, natural, instinctive Geordie accent I proceeded to show him how to say “fuck off” properly and gave him a piece of my mind. He got a bit of a shock, when I barked at him. He wasn’t much bigger than me, sat in my w/c (that’s wheelchair – I don’t go around in a portable netty), so I was ready for the twat. He walked off, a bit shocked and called me a “mouthy cant” and tried to still look tough, in front of his shocked friends. I remembered that Evan was next to me, so didn’t take it any further and we headed off to the Nou Camp for a cracking day.
After a quick trip to the hotel to leave our spoils of the day and a quick cold shower, it was sweltering, we headed back out to the Gothic quarter. We rambled along the back streets and then stumbled onto a lovely restaurant I’d been to before. We weren’t really dressed for such an elegant place, but the staff of El Gran Cafe were superb. I didn’t meet the gran, but the five course meal we had was brilliant, with three entrees, two starters, fish on buckwheat, Creme Catalan and coffees with biscuits and a bottle of wine. Evan had his first wine, I just chose a merlot Rose and his first coffee! He thought the wine was nice, but very bitter and loved the coffee! A great day and night topped off by a wander up Las Ramblas again.
The next day was a tourist bus affair again, with a trip up to Montjuic, Mountain of the Jews, because of the mass of graves on the south side of the mountain. We stopped off and had most of the day at Poble Espanyol, which was built for the 1929 Exhibition and has numerous little streets and squares, with each building representing a time and place in Spain. It’s beautiful and quiet. Evan loved it. I got in free, as they said it wasn’t accessible for wheelchairs. It wasn’t, but I managed to get up the steep banks and didn’t need to use any steps. Good exercise!
We got the bus further up the mountain and I’d psyched myself up to go on the cable car that takes you up to the top of Montjuic, then off into the void above the city and down to the port. I was trying to suppress a panic, but felt ok. I was two feet from the cable car, when I found out that you have to swap cable cars at the top and you look out over the precipice, before being hurled into the sky at the mercy of the gods of the air. I panicked and the thought of doing that was just too much. I get dizzy going up to the top deck of a bus! I bottled and we got back on the bus. Evan was fine about it.
We headed to Port Olympic and wandered back along the coast to the Columbus monument, jumped back on the bus to El Barri Gotic and had another amble around, after managing to get up the very steep Carrer del Bisbe, with a threat that I was going to freewheel back down from the top and see how many tourists I could dodge. I didn’t!
Not really knowing where we were heading we eventually stumbled across a beautiful senorita on Carrer de Josep Anselm Clavé, adjacent to the coast road, not far from Las Ramblas, asking if we’d like to come into the restaurant. She ran across the road to show us the menu and I saw that it was a Basque restaurant, called Txikiteo, so we agreed to enter. It was the best decision of the whole holiday. Everything about this place was just perfect and we both agreed, by the end of the night, that we’d had fabulous service and some of the best food we’d ever tasted. It was amazingly good.
After another slow stroll up Las Ramblas, we headed back to our hotel, slept in after a long day, had some food and our transfer was waiting to take us to the airport. At the airport a lady came up to me and asked if I was going to Newcastle. She was worried that she’d get on the wrong flight. I told her to keep an eye out for me and she’d be ok. Later on I saw the same lass come towards Evan and I and she pointed at Gate 6. I said that it was the right place, but she then proceeded to joing the queue for the London flight. “Oh dear, damsel about to be in distress”, I thought, so I booled up and explained where she needed to be. We decided to start the queue and stood at the gate together and had a chat. Lynda, as she’s called, was visiting her 19 year old son, who lives in Barcelona and is a model. He was spotted on Oxford Street when he was 16 and it started from there. She told me that it’s hard to do and a very ruthless business, run by a bunch of uncaring twats. No surprise there! Nothing of any consequence happened, apart from when we got onto the plane. We nearly didn’t. A disabled fella came out of the right door, onto the portable lift, but the flight attendants didn’t see me and shut the door. We waited a while, then saw all of the passengers get onto the flight and still nothing. We waved at the pilot and the Spanish attendant decided to bang on the door, which he did a number of times. The pilot noticed us as he turned around and waved back. Almost immediately the door was opened and Evan and I were welcomed onto the flight. Phew! Serious comedy moment just avoided! We finally sat down, delaying the flight and, who should be sat directly in front of me: Lynda! I joked that she’d specifically asked to sit in front of us, but then left her alone as I didn’t want to add another to my list of victims, who’ve been subjected to my life story, when all they want to do is sleep on the plane! Guns and nooses are available!
All in all it was a fantastic short break. I’d saved up for ages to bestow this treat on Evan, as a reward for his hard work throughout his time at school and, especially, for his GCSE’s. He deserves to do well. We bonded brilliantly, had such a good laugh and enjoyed relaxing together without phones, computers or TV. He was a joy to be with. He’s starting his “A” Levels in September and is doing History, Sport, Biology and Physics and is hoping to get into Loughborough to do sports science, or something similar. He’s also got his music behind him and I’m sure he’ll do well, whatever he chooses to do. The bottom line is that he’s happy and that’s the most important thing for me. Always will be! 🙂 x