Thursday, 28 June 2012


I was never going to let go of my experiences at St. Anne's Convent, I made a vow to myself as a young teenager, and I kept it.  I was struggling with religion at that time, I think I actually wanted to believe, life seemed to be a lot easier for those who did.  Even until middle age, I said a prayer each night, it seemed to go well with the cocoa and I could go off to sleep easy. 

A vow at such a young age, was a huge thing, still is, its a promise that you have got to keep, no matter what.  I wanted to record those times, at first with a five year diary, but when the novelty wore off, I would just store them in my head.  Hey, I was a young teenager, and my hormones were going nuts.

My quest to write led me on to study the very heart  of human nature. I have studied, psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists, in depth, in my attempts to track down that evil streak.  The part where our humanity switches off? The part where we fail to empathise.   

I tried to look at the people in charge of the Convent.  The nuns, our parents, society as it then was.  I have tried to capture the spirit of the time.  The awful feeling I had of missing out on all the fun of the sixties when the doors of that convent closed. I had made a promise, not just to myself, but to all the other kids too.  I had decided to become a recorder of history, I wanted to become a voice for the people.  In my defence, I was only half way through the Maid of Orleans. 

In the convent I would cry myself to sleep every night, sobbing as I knew there was absolutely nothing I could do.  There is nothing so frustrating as being completely powerless. I knew I had to keep those memories, in a way I separated myself from reality, I became an observer, the cruelty and indignity was not happening to me, it was happening to someone else.  The heroine from my book.  

Although I had the trial in my head (and book), I couldn't do it in my father's lifetime.  I didn't want to hurt him.  I also did not want to reveal my sordid background to friends and work colleagues. We all have our reasons. 

Believe it or not, I did not want to upset elderly nuns. However, even at the very end, the nuns would not tell the truth.  Had they done, I might have abandoned the legal route, in the very earliest days.  

My lawyer told me at the very beginning, 'this won't bring you closure', but it did.  It wasn't me that was mad, it was them.  As I have spoken to and met up with other survivors, its as though we are peas in a pod.  Our lives have run along similar lines, even though we have had no contact.  'Karen' and I, even had the same red, elephant, place mats.  Our homes and hobbies were almost identical.  Huge variety of books, of all shapes and sizes, and a homely kitchen to eat and chat in.  But we had shared much grief too.

As stories of tragedies unfurled that weekend, my resolve to follow that vow through became strengthened.  In trying to discover others from St. Anne's, I heard so many heartbreaking stories, families torn apart, the warped, unforgiving, ideology of the nuns.  Kids were literally turfed out at the age of 16 and left to fend for themselves.  Most of them had become completely ostracised from their own families.  I know of two lovely ladies who lost over 30 years contact with their Irish relatives, because they were never told about them.  

Most who leave the convent, can often leave those memories behind them, and I am in awe of them, if I am honest.  They are able to achieve contentment and  fulfilling lives.  I always respect those 'who don't want to talk about it', or stir up old memories.  Those damaged by their experiences can still achieve much, but they have inner demons. 

Peter Rands was a narcissistic, sociopath, an ex-Jesuit monk, who was handed young boys on request.  Not only was he house master, he was scout master, mentor, religious guidance counsellor - and advisor to the convent on all things worldy and ecumenical. He was sacked in 1972 after being found with a boy in his bed, but bizarrely he carried on working with children until the late 1980's.  

He was never prosecuted.  Some lay staff from that time have now been prosecuted.  Rita was visited in Australia, by two detectives from Dartford, Kent.  They successfully prosecuted two former Uncles.  Other have since followed suit.

Care survivors, have a shared experience, and I still think of the friends I had there, actually, all the kids who were there, as siblings.  I genuinely care for them and love to hear their stories too. For me there was closure, I felt as though I had been unbound.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012


Even the true blue tories are throwing their hands in the air in horror at the cruelty of the cuts inflicted on the poorest in our society.  'That wasn't what we mean't at all', they cry, as the thought of their own offspring moving home.  Forever.......  kicks in.  

'We just wanted to punish the feckless, those living the life of Riley on the dole' they whine.  They didn't want their hard earned taxes squandered on the rejects from the Jeremy Kyle queue.  Only, it doesn't work like that, the work shy, the scroungers and the ne'er do well, have existed throughout history, they always will.  They are however, comparatively few, and those few are usually shameless enough to court publicity.  However, such is the power of the media, it can seduce people to believe that we are all under attack from the track suited lost its, queuing up to sign on.  

For most people being out of work is not a life choice. It is usually the knock on effect of a series of events that are often out of the individual's control.  You can be rich one moment, then destitute the next, and so too it can happen to those you care about, no matter how honest or cautious you have been.  

I don't feel the need to defend the majority who are caught in a trap of low wages, high rents and now employments contracts with zero hours.  Sometimes you need to step back and look at the situation as a whole.  There are not enough jobs to meet the needs of the unemployed.  And the army of the unemployed young people is growing rapidly.  We need to re-assess what those employment needs are, in our constantly changing society.

Manufacturing has mostly been taken over by machines or sourced out to child labour in third world countries, so thats out.  The building trade - yes still needed, ditto plumbing, electrics etc.  Even the retail trade will be hit, because more of us are shopping online.  The reality is, a lot of the traditional jobs have gone.  

We must create new jobs, new industries. Invest in education, invest in leisure and invest in the care industry. Creating employment revives the economy, if workers have spending power, that stimulates other industries.  

I am no economist but I can see that our problems are worsening, and I can remember the Thatcher years.  The town of Dartford, is a great example.  Looking through H.G. Wells' Time Machine, I can look back on faces of those shop fronts, and remember them as they used to be.  Dartford has a very small, but symbolic town centre, and in the 1980's I remember my dad coming home moaning, that nearly every shop in the Centre was a jewellers, and he groaned 'some people have got a lot of money', and he put a little tut at the end as if to say 'what is the world coming to'.  He had a point, he was talking about Dartford.  I think it was before Ratner opened his big gob.

I mention Dartford, because it was recently used as an example of how bad the recession is on a late night news programe.  It looked terrible with all its boarded up shops and I was half expecting balls of tumbleweed to blow through it.  People have no money to spend Mr. Cameron, giving them even less money to spend, will make the situation worse.  Do you see where I am going with this?  

 Investing in the future, is the only way forward.  For those particularly irked at those families with 18 kids and umpteen fathers, one of those kids might in the future be your Doctor, your nurse, your carer, or your yoga instructor.  Perhaps even your painter and decorator.  In any event, those childrens' wages will pay the taxes that pay to take care of you.  Taking away EMA was a false economy in my opinion.    

For the hangers  and floggers, I was thinking of starting a random survey, entitled 'Ways in which to punish the poor'.  I think hunger has been tried a few times, though I don't think its ever been effective.  Stocks would at least bring visitors back to the town centres, so shouldn't be discounted, but just musing. The problem is, when you run out of village idiots to throw things at, you have to start moving up the social scale.  

But back to Dartford, apparently the local Council has great things planned - I liked the French market if I get a vote!  

Sunday, 24 June 2012


Here he is for those who couldn't be arsed to look him up.  You know who you are!  Ahh, having looked at him again, would have to say my feelings are all maternal.  I want to take him home, feed him chicken soup and tell him he is wonderful, no more.  He has a twinkle in his eye and a look of the Irish in him.  

On the fruity front, I would say I still have a penchant for bad boys, the ones who brought me to wrack and ruin.  All the signs were there, but I had abnormally high oestrogen levels, I could smell an alpha male a mile off and in those days and I was quite happy to a respond to whatever it was they were dripping in, along with the rest the other females who had caught a whiff of it.  Of course, it doesn't take too long to realise that a hard drinking, street fighting husband with a brain the size of a pea, does not a good husband make.  And to those who have ticked that particular box, scrub it out.  Shame on you.  

While, I acknowledge that some people do like to role play,  etc,  and kudos to them btw, I sometimes wonder if both parters are fully into those ones that border on the, hmmm, bizarre pastimes?  Do people sit in their office on a Friday afternoon, and say to themselves, 'oh for fecks sake, I've got to go home now and put on all that bondage gear and a gimp mask, when I'd must rather slip on a tracksuit, watch CSI and defrost a cheesecake?'   But each to their own, I always say.

I'm actually starting to think anthropolololgy (I've had several goes and still can't spell it) speaking, we are drawn towards mates on an equal level.  Even if that level is at the opposite extreme.  Maybe attraction is predetermined, out of our hands? fate?  For those still with me, nature finds a way to make the correct pairings, its out of our hands. Well thats my excuse.  As the wonderful John Malkovitch said in Dangerous Liasons   :its beyond my control'.   I think this whole 'opposites attract' thingy, is doomed from the start.  One will try to change the other.  Imagine locking a lion and a lioness in a two up, two down for example.  It would only be days before they ate each other, but any surviving cubs would be great looking.  

I'm afraid my love has now switched to Jack Nicholson.  What a guy!  No matter how much older he gets, he always has a twinkle in his eye that says 'I'm up for it'.  I bet that look floors every woman he meets.  I could put up with him chasing me around the rasberry bush, as long as he said 'I'm just your average horny little devil' and 'don't worry about the washing up'.  The perfect man!

Saturday, 23 June 2012


I'm guessing it was probably a few moments after he sent that condolence message to George Bush on 9/11.  You can just imagine the scene.....   'You sent what????  - who the feck pressed send?'.  'You said we'd back them for what?' etc, etc, until they all agree to sack the secretary, and prepare for war.

I have always wondered if it was one of those 'sent in error' sort of thingys.  An oops moment, now should we send that one, or will we go with that one?  Well, that one has got more of a soundbite, but it does commit us to going to war.  Hmmm.

I think that was when age started creeping up on him, his hair grew whiter, his suits snappier and his body language became so earnest, you could almost hear his inner scream, please believe me. 

However, I don't wish to be cruel, I still believe he was genuine, at the start, but think he might have been seduced by those twinkly Arabian nights. 


Well, probably not real love, love may be too strong a word.  Smitten, I think smitten might be more applicable. Yes smitten, with the wonderful Andy Burnham MP, after watching him on Question Time the other night.  He has caught my eye before, it must be said, but when he spoke, I came over all unnecessary, and can't remember a thing.  I was captivated by his eyes, wondering, if I am honest, if he was wearing eyeliner and mascara?  Dreamy eyes like that shouldn't be allowed, as my old mum used to say.  As a kid, I remember asking her who she was going to vote for out of Harold Wilson or Ted Heath, and she said 'Ted Heath, cause he's better looking'.  I could see her point.  My dad liked Harold Wilson, so its no wonder I was confused.

I know, I am selling out on Sheldon with my transient affections, but he won't mind, he knows what it is like to get crushes.  It gives me something to talk about in my head.

Anyhow, back to Andy Burnham, I think he would make a great leader of the Labour Party.  He's got my vote!

Sunday, 17 June 2012


I have always had a half arsed approach to exercise.  When I was still at school, I and a couple of equally slothful friends would hide from our (v.butch) P.E. teacher, in the toilets, or behind the bike sheds.  The bearded lady was a sadist,   who would force us to march across the frosty playground and up on the field wearing nothing more than unflattering black pants, white t-shirts and plimsolls.  She wielded her hockey stick like a deranged Samurai warrior and her best swings were reserved for our shins.

Fortunately, as I grew older, I stayed small and slim.  The only real exercise I got was from lifting glasses and finding my way home on mornings after.  I was also neurotic and the anxiety of 'what have I done' could shed half a stone in 24 hours.  Being a gibbering mess can have a plus side.  Big Lynn and I were once complimented on our slender figures, and her then boyfriend pointed out, rather ungentlemanly I thought, that the only exercise she and I got, was the shakes the next day.  

In the 1990's I decided to get fit, and bought the iconic Jane Fonda exercise video.  I have to say, its always been my favourite, mostly because I like the dancing.  Not that I was any good at it, but I liked jumping around and if I survived that bit, the divine Ms Fonda would say 'lets go get our mats, and you might like a drink of water'. I didn't have a mat, and I replaced water with Stella Artois, and joined in happily with the spine stretching and stomach curls.  Though it must be said, it is not easy doing buttock crunches with a fag in your gob.  

During one of my major breakdowns, and after months of therapy, I decided to take up the offer of a free seven day membership to a local gym.  The key word was of course, free, and I threw myself into it with the enthusiasm of unknowing amateur.  By my calculation, half an hour on an exercise bike equalled one bottle of wine and a bag of chips.  

The yoga was great fun, though not meant to be, and as a hopeless giggler I was confined to the back of the class and not invited back. The swimming was sublime, and I could flap my bingo wings in the ladies only class and worry not a jot about my running mascara and panda eyes.  I wear makeup everywhere.  I fell asleep in Pilates, and cracked my shin in the boom boom bike class, when my foot slipped and the pedal carried on, which was enough to convince not to invest in the cute fluorescent lycra suit in the window of JD Sports.

But exercise I must, these days everytime I move a limb I sound as though I am being followed by the timpani section of a small orchestra.  Everything, creaks and aches, ahh, where did I put that Jane Fonda video?  


I have been reluctant to return to this subject, but a reply this morning (on Little Boxes II (March)) has forced me to rethink. 

For several years I, and a number of others posted on the unmoderated and free for all AOL forums.  Most of us were initially drawn to the board to discuss the case of missing Madeleine McCann.  The forum quickly divided into those who supported the parents (the pros) and those who questioned the series of events (the antis), and many who were simply curious, and undecided.  

As time went by, the Madeleine case faded into the background, but the core group of posters remained, even though there were deep divisions and major clashes of personality.  

Some of us bonded and wanted to stay posting together, despite the heckling and abuse from the deeply entrenched gang of bullies, and maybe a stubborn sense that we were not going to be driven from a place we had become accustomed to.

However, I won't make light of what went on.  Those who were tormented so mercilessly deserve more. The YGL became a study of human nature at its worst.  A small gang of cyber bullies patrolled the board like rabid rottweillers, savaging and tearing apart any new poster who dared to raise their heads above the parapet.  Victims were selected on an almost weekly basis, 'we like to have someone to kick around' was the battle cry of their leader.  

Absolutely nothing was off limits to the bullying gang.  Facebook pages were lifted, photographs distorted, private addressed revealed.  Sick and disabled children were taunted, mental health and bereavement became a laughing matter.  So many decent, intelligent posters were forced to leave, unable to endure the relentless tirade of abuse.  The husband of one lovely lady wrote a post expressing his disgust.  His wife was a cancer sufferer who came to the board for a bit of company and distraction from her illness.  The gang rounded on her with such savagery that she chose never to log on again.

We regularly see tragic stories where victims of cyber bullying have been driven to suicide, and many times I feared the worst for some of the victims on the YGL board.  Some of us did what we could to support those victims, and the wrath of the gang would turn on us, I am still followed and taunted to this day.  

Perhaps one of the strangest things about this vile gang of cyber thugs, is the fact that they are middle aged women hiding behind anonymous screen names, who would probably be mortified should their real identities be revealed.   They certainly do have much to be ashamed of.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

THE DIAMOND JUBILEE from a republican perspective

I did tune in today.  There may well have been other things on, but I stuck with it.  Most of all I was amazed at the way they all kept smiling, even though the good old English weather chucked them a soggy curve ball.  Even old Phil had a grin from ear to ear. 

The Royals looked wonderful, though I noticed they kept the two frumpy sisters out of the way and highlighted the stunning Cleopatra like Duchess of Cambridge (wife of Wills) - heaven knows the family could do with an injection from a good looking gene pool. 

The Queen was magnificant, regal as ever, just human enough to keep the crowds cheering, and animated enough to keep the taxidermists at bay.  And her gown was beautiful.  I don't blame her one bit for not sitting on the bespoke throne, for one thing it was probably a big soggy, what with all that rain, and one cannot plonk one's arthritic arse on a damp chair for an hour, or one would need an stanner stair lift. 

I jest, and couldn't help but noticing the way they focused the camera on 'Traitor's Gate' as they sailed by.  I am sure there is a tory focus group somewhere plotting its re-opening.  So I had better tone this down - as if?

I watched the 'royal' programmes last night too, and couldn't help but notice Prince Andrew was beside himself, trying to show what a jolly good fellow he is, by sharing snobby stories of his privileged childhood with the plebs.   HRH Andrew played footers in the great hall at Windsor with his siblings, what ho, guffaw, and never broke a stain glass, priceless window.  All good, clean fun.  What thoroughly normal regular little scamps they were. I felt like squeezing his chubby little chops and telling just how precious he is.  

Of course, I can also see why they rarely let him speak and restrict his social interactions to those whose first language is not English, he probably dances like an embarrassing Uncle too.  To be fair the minor royals didn't get much of a look in, as far as I could see, although I see the Middletones got a mention.  That should send the wind up the Amanda Platell.  

Princess Anne looked great dressed in her tight navel (sp, hic) gear, alongside all those equally smart officers and gentlemen.  And, I thought 'you go gal'.  Albeit she had the very dull looking hubby standing between her and the booty.  Ah well Princess, welcome to the world of dreams.

The people waived their flags and cheered.  The news reported millions, but I personally thought the crowds were 3, maybe 4 deep, even in the 'packed' photshots.  Any excuse for a party say I, and hopefully, it will draw people together in a good way.  I hope not too much store is put on the whole ideology of this weekend's pageant.  Its a long weekend and hopefully an opportunity to say hello to people you would otherwise pass by on the street. 

I cannot endorse patriotism, too many bad things are done in its name.  Today however was great, I cannot deny it.  Some would say it is mass hypnotism, and to a certain extent it is.  Every corporation in the land is cashing in.  Try buying anything from a cupcake to an oven chip, that isn't red, white and blue. 

I see that the people are happy, and I think, what right do I have to fuck it up?  Why should I be the party pooper?  Why can't I stand up and shout 'stop with the flag waving'  Has history taught you nothing?  Because someone will jump in and stop the conversation with the 'Godwin' theory or pull the plug, because they are board monitor. 

I see the good effects of our mutual love of the queen, I really do,  love is all around, ha ha, but I am also chillingly aware of the undercurrents that lie beneath.  Please someone, explain it to me.  What and where is that fine line between patriotism and hate?  Why is it so blurred?

Old cynic and leftie that I am, I actually enjoyed today's spectacular.  When older (and sometimes, wiser) son, asked why I, would be watching such a thing, when The Big Bang was on the other side, I pompously replied, it was history in the making.  I was witness to the spectactularly beautiful Katherine, and wondered if she and Wills would sailing down the Thames in a similar such barge (complete with Posh and Becks thrones, tee hee) 60 years hence.............

I think I have found a flaw in my republican arguement, the monarchy gives a sense of history and longevity, a time, a place, an age.......   I had never really thought of it like that before........

Saturday, 2 June 2012

BIPOLAR Part Deux - what is a nervous breakdown and soapy gets a mention

I have always wondered what the phrase 'nervous breakdown' meant.  Its a catch-all phrase that can encompass so much.  Its usually whispered in hushed tones, behind a person's back, to explain odd behaviour, such as a twitch or a sudden inappropriate chorus of 'I've been a Wild Rover' from a mad aunt.  

Mostly it applies to women, but you never get the details from the informer because the voice becomes inaudible, and the only thing you catch is, 'we don't speak about it'. Its a taboo topic right up there with paedophelia and 'has she made a will?'.  

Not knowing the exact meaning of 'nervous breakdown' has left me with a lifelong curiousity.  I'm always on the lookout for old biddies chucking cats in bins or a frustrated feminist grabbing an M&S cashier by the throat and demanding a Dine in for ONE and don't scrimp on the wine! I hasten to add the M&S thing is not something I feel strongly about, the mutt usually enjoys the main course, and I get two puddings.  And to my dear friend soapy, no need to call the RSPCA, the Bubble is now half deaf, so not being persecuted with my dulcit tones. He has the amazing ability to 'cock a deaf 'un'. 

But back to that nervous breakdown.  What happens exactly?  I have witnessed people getting into a temper, where they are beyond reason.  I have rarely experienced that 'point of no control', that need to harm yourself (or others), or to break stuff.  That is until the other day, when I was that frustrated that I threw a glass.  Just threw it at the wall.  I pondered throwing it at the telly, but that would just be stupid.  Had Ricky Gervais been on, the decision may have gone the other way. 

I don't know if that counted as a nervous breakdown as I can see the stupidity of it now.  As much fun as it was, I am now down to only 2 glasses.  Not because I throw them, I'm just clumsy.  

I don't want to google the symptoms, an unfortunate experience telling a doctor I had Himalayan Mountain Fever, and asking him haughtily, 'what did he know?', did not end happily.  

I do however remember, my father experiencing the worse episode of manic depression I have ever seen.  He was a lifelong sufferer. He learned to manage it and we got used to his funny ways.  When he was on form, he was the life and soul of the party, but when he was down, he wanted to be left alone.  He never lost his love of books or films, or political programmes.  Or endless new found hobbies.  God forbid, you phoned him during Prime Minister's Questions on a Wednesday morning.  

We quarrelled shortly before he died.  He was in favour of invading Iraq, and I was quite vociferously, against it.  I was still picking up his seafood on a Sunday morning, but we were growling at each other.  So silly now. And having recently read so much Christopher Hitchen, I have to question.  Maybe Dad was right after all.  He always used to say 'Never underestimate me'.  Cheers Dad, having a beer, and cheering your birthday, Father's Day, your love of the Derby, my book coming out, and not the Queen, hic.

Dad's complete breakdown was quite dramatic.  He literally stayed in his bed and willed every organ in his body to give up.  The paramedics came out, the doctor came out, a psychiatrist was called.  'How old are you' asked the psychiatrist.  '37' replied my 73 year old dad.  Dad opened up, poured his heart out, he wept as he answered the psychiatrist questions.  He had never gotten over the crimes of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, the horrors of the war.  Man's inhumanity to man.  Tears poured down his cheeks as he recalled, as a student nurse having to send a woman home, who covered herself in petrol and died.  His head was clouded with nothing but miserable memories and frustration.

He was taken away to a 'funny farm' and he hated it.  He was much too resigned to the situation and too polite to grumble. He went home, never drank again, and died a year later.  I know that he won't mind my revealing such personal details, he always sought enlightenment.  

That acceptance, that 'giving up' I think, is one interpretation of a nervous breakdown.  Is it accepting other peoples' decisions about your fate?  Are you zapped with an electro/hypnotic shock to your noddle.  Returned to the world, chanting 'Play life by the rules or you will be ostracised like a saddo lone female monkey who has pissed off the alpha male, so you are left with no-one to play picking fleas off with. On the plus side, society has not yet returned to 'name that witch' values, although I do understand it is on the next but one, tory agenda.  It should liven up bonfire night, no end.  



Friday, 1 June 2012


I saw a remark on Twitter the other day, where some poor fellow revealed that he had been diagnosed with Autism, and what a relief it was.  There were few replies, a couple very sympathetic, and I admired them for replying, because they had the courage to hold out a hand of friendship.  One reply, however, stood out.  It was along the lines of 'should you really be speaking publically about something so personal'.  I felt ashamed for not replying sympathetically to the first poster, but more ashamed that I did not defend a mental health issue being brought out into the open. I hate that it is a taboo subject.  I also like to say out loud what other people are thinking, mostly for the shock value, I have a highly attuned, lets call it 'Loonydar', (like Gadar, but for fellow nutters).  I can spot it in an instant, but on the plus side, the loonier you are, the more creative.  I could write a thesis on it, but afraid some of you might be nodding off.  I wouldn't blame you for that btw, most of my audiences throw things, especially the WI ones.    

It wasn't entirely my fault that I did not reply, I was going through an 'episode' myself, too down to do anything other than watch creepy real life programmes about serial killers on Youtube, and cry at the wickness that exists in this world.  When I reach the bottom of that particular black hole, there is no escape, the gloomier and doomier my chosen text to study,the better.  I was blown away, quite litterly watching 'Inglorious Berstards' and have been drawn to everything war related since.  Watched Atonement last night and now in love with James McAvoy as well as Sheldon.  When people point out that there are millions of others worse off, that just makes it worse, it gives me a million other things to cry about and another reason to hate myself.  It feels as though we have learned nothing from the war, all those evil acts, those atrocities, are still going on, because some rich bastard who has more money than he could spend in 10 lifetimes, wants to be that little bit richer. 

In Sweden, a huge group of kids, primary school kids, staged a moving protest on behalf of the kids who were killed in Syria.  Our kids have probably never heard of Syria, or the appalling human rights abuses worldwide.  And yet we make no effort whatsoever to educate our children, on the contrary, we teach them to remain in ignorance at all costs.  Therein lies happiness.  There is the Garden of Eden, that luxurious happy place, before that pesky tree of knowledge sprouted up from Satan's spawn.  

Arguing with those people in that 'happy place' feels like banging your head against a brick wall.  I feel like singing 'you can see, what I see' if you would only listen.  By the time you get to that stage, however, there are usually straightjackets and heavy duty knock pills flying around. I sometimes fear I will spend my dottage restrained in the corner of a padded cell and talking to flies.  But I digress.    

Usually I can pull myself out of it by watching back to back episodes of Seinfeld and Father Ted, or maybe bring out the big guns like The Odd Couple or Some Like it Hot.  Laughing always does it for me, its medicinal qualities are right there with cannabis. 

A depressive episode is a feeling that is so hard to describe to 'regular' people, they too have felt loss and sorrow, and resent that you feel things deeper than them, as though it were some sort of contest.  We brits should all be stoic, stiff upper lip, chin chin and all that.   

But manic depression is so much more than that.  Its like falling down and losing the will to get back up.  I remember as a teenager going to a mate's party, when a fight broke out (lots of alcohol, no weed).  One lad took a punch to the jaw that sent him flying onto his back.  His mate offered him a hand to get up, All hell was breaking loose, it was like a wild west fight, and but he replied that he was tired and thought he would take a nap while he was down there.  I thought it seemed like a very good idea and joined the other girls fighting to nurse him while the neanderthalls knocked seven bells out of each other. 

If anyone lost the gist there, depression is that feeling of getting knocked down.  When I was younger, I was at my best when backed up into a corner, I welcomed drama and trauma, and if someone looked way too smug and happy, I'd go out of my way to upset them. 

a ferocious follower of Chumbawamba, and would sing 'I get knocked down, but I get up again' with my old mate Big Lynn.  Now it is not so easy to get up again, and I think I might as well have a nap while I am down here. 

Its like a miserable time for grown ups.  A Greta Garbo 'I want to be alone' - its stamping your feet and singing 'nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I think I'll go and eat worms' and stomping off with your back to the world.  But that little kid with her jaw jutting forward, and her arms folded, saying 'I'll teach them, I'll show them!' is now sitting in the corner weeping, because she has learned that she can't change anything. 

I am doing what Big Lynn would have referred to as 'throwing a wobbly' - and well known by my long suffering friends (and foes) from the YGL.  This is the thing, I think if I am going to suffer, I'm pretty much going to let everyone know about.  I mean its hard enough getting centre stage as it is, especially since I lost my waistline.   

Ps.  Now have weed.  unfortunately not a single working lighter in the house, having to keep a spliff going by using the gas hob.  Is this God's way of making me take exercise?