A Dark Mile



I’m sitting at my writing desk and feeling like the weather outside: a bit shit.

The last week has been one of the worst ever, for various reasons: the anniversary and Valentine’s Day, the return of my past causing problems and that in turn causing a few more people to choose not to talk to me. The loss of my belongings: overcoat, gloves and bag. The bag contained my body warmer, some food, almost 50g of tobacco (a valuable commodity on the road), library books, my phone charger (so it’s back to the helpful staff at the O2 store daily) and my journals. I also have no money as a result and therefore no credit on my phone, which I managed to retain. And some people think I choose to live like this; that I enjoy it even. I may be slightly mentally impaired but I’m not insane.

I would much rather return to the warmth and comfort of a shared bed but I know that’s not on the cards, so I’ve been concentrating on moving myself forward but I keep getting knocked back, temporarily sighing and occasionally giving up. My benefits paperwork was also in the stolen bag, so I have to go through that whole process again. My application for temporary housing is lodged though, whilst I re-apply for the longer term solution.

I’ve been resourceful and received a little help from friends but as it stands, I’m unable to eat, enjoy the small daily luxury I afford myself of a McDonald’s coffee, text or phone anyone.

And then there’s the Telegraph vouchers which I sold: I posted them via business mail but they’ve apparently not arrived with the buyer. They have therefore launched a dispute with PayPal and my account is frozen as a result. That money was destined to be the deposit for my netbook while I wait for the funds from CRI. I really need more time than the one hour per day permitted in the library. I don’t just type the blog (at 80 words-per-minute) but I research, network, build my websites, look for business and find work.

Among my resourceful endevours is a desk / bedside lamp, which I’ve fashioned from a cigarette lighter (one with a LED torch in the base: 99p for five from 99p Stores) and some leather string, tied tightly around the lighter to keep the torch button depressed. Then the light element is stuffed into the neck of an empty vodka bottle (not mine) and the clear glass radiates the light from the LED. I’m not even a pretty face.

And there are the products of my whimsical moments last night, when I decorated my phone and baccy tin with aliens, robots, space ships, stars and planets. They serve as reminders of my children. These are children’s stickers acquired from Sainsbury’s for £1.49. Extravagant? Indulgent? I could have spent the money on baccy or drink; even food but I’d rather go without food and gaze at something which invokes beautiful memories. My kids love cartoon aliens and robots and so on and the stickers are applied in a way which the kids would do themselves: for example, aliens with lightning bolts coming out of their arses. And why a tobacco tin? Because although perhaps inappropriate, it and the phone are pretty much all I have. I’d have loved to decorate my journals but they were stolen. And maybe I’d have given the journals to the kids, as I want them to read this when they’re older (their mum has told them what’s going on with me), so they can learn of the journey and not follow it. Just as I want to be able to look back on all of this when I’m better.

Even though I’m in a dark place now, my key worker has said that with sobriety and sanity comes clarity and I’ll be able to look back and be almost incredulous of some of what I’m writing now. In much the same way that my life story will have to be published as fiction as no-one will believe the truth (and some still don’t).

Just like the writing, the stickers were therapy.

I suffer knocks; I pick myself up.

What little I have, I share.

I help others when I can and sometimes get knocked back as a result. But I pick myself up again.

I aspire, inspire and amaze.

This has been a dark period in the journey but I keep smiling; I keep walking. This too shall pass.  

I Guess That’s Why



I’m in the library, perusing this week’s New Scientist. It is of interest in its entirety (always) but a few articles of note:

  • Hunt for the Sea Unicorn (about Narwhals)
  • Bionic Limbs
  • Shape-shifting neutrinos
  • History comes alive with 3D printed bricks
  • How to fix a broken heart: chemical solutions for the lovesick. And a related article on the ethics of easing heartbreak
  • AI attraction: love in the time of robots


I’m in the 12-14 High Street branch of Gilbert House Publishing: McDonald’s.

The day has been divided by people I didn’t necessarily want to hear from but did, people I did want to hear from but didn’t and at least one peson I did want to hear from and did.

I’m being questioned, again. For the record, again:

I am not in this situation by choice but by circumstance. Circumstances of my own making perhaps but I don’t enjoy it, despite what some think. I’ve tried to make the best of what I have though. Yes, I procrastinate and I do sometimes have a tendency to bury my head in the sand when I suffer a set back but I wouldn’t wish this on anyone (actually, I would, so that they might learn a thing or two). I have hurdles and hoops still to overcome.

But something I do love about this life is the wonderful and generous people I’ve met. I shall remain in touch with many of them wherever I end up. And I shall never lose my best mate; my confidante; my protector: Blue.

The six-word story (Six months to live: happy now?):

Most people seem to get it but a few don’t and have decided to question me, thinking I’m being some sort of self-pitying martyr. I’m a writer (of the aspiring, practicing kind) and part of the art is to show, not tell; to allow the reader to read between the lines; to create alternative meanings and allow the reader to apply whichever but preferably more than one; make them think; suggest things. So the six months to live could be the time left in this life, could it not? The transitory one. Read, digest; think. Don’t be too quick to react.

Quite poignantly for Valentine’s day, I’ve not heard from any of the three exes: girlfriend, fiance, or wife. Not that I have any romantic thoughts but I have practical things which I need to speak to them all individually about. I’ve made contact but not heard back. I assume they’re all otherwise romantically involved tonight.

It’s been a tough couple of days with the anniversary yesterday as well and me missing relationships which have failed for various reasons. And then I’d arranged to meet Blue today but he was otherwise engaged in the event, so couldn’t make it. We have much to discuss. I miss my brother and my neice (Jazz, the dog).

And then a little ray of sunshine broke through the dark clouds in the fine form of my dear friend Becca. We’d not been in touch for a while, so this bolt from the blue was a pleasant surprise. We’re meeting next week and nothing will stand in our way this time after a couple of previous failed attempts.

I earned a quick tenner today (in about 20 minutes) by running a couple of errands. Most of it will go on practical necessities but I allowed myself a silly indulgence: I bought some children’s stickers (aliens, robots etc.) to embellish future letters to my kids. I also decorated my phone and individualised my new tobacco tin (the old one was stolen). The tins were available in green, red or blue: I chose blue.

And rolling papers: the blues.