Living and loving

The end of one year and the start of another are usually all the stimulus I require to rattle off a motivational piece for the forthcoming year, summarising our hopes and fears and offering some kind of action plan for the New Year.

I might even share a few resolutions with you, idle baubles of self esteem. I could perhaps tell you that I plan to lose weight although, having heard this every single year for the last decade so, I imagine this has a pretty hollow ring. I adore my hobbies – glassmaking, photography, writing, genealogy and crafts generally – and like to find time for each. Alas this means spreading myself too thinly to achieve any kind of excellence in any. I am ultimately a jack of all trades and master of none. I make glass in bright colours, vivid and sometimes beautiful pieces, often kiln-formed or embellished. But nothing that this stands up against the work of my friends in that mighty class of 2003. Cathy, Ray and Lesley – these are the genuine article, the real McCoy. To have exhibited once with them was the highlight of my glass endeavours.

In many ways, photography has served as a substitute for glassmaking, becoming my preferred outlet for my fomenting creativity. I even had the hubris to publish a book of my favourite snaps, along with this descriptions and anecdotes that made it (erroneously, mind) seem like a top end gallery catalogue and not the overcoloured and gaudy offering it was. So yes, in answer to your unasked (and probably unthought) question, I can take decent photographs but there are many better.

I registered for two adult Ed courses this year. The first, on basic pottery techniques, was so dull and uninteresting I never returned after the first session. The class consisted of a mixture of bored housewives and strident tattooed harridans with “Fuck Off” T-shirts and battle fatigue camouflage trousers. It wasn’t for me.

The photography class was cancelled before I had the chance to walk out. A general lack of interest I gather.

Of course joining adult education courses is one route to finding that “soulmate”, marginally less cringingly awful than Internet dating – I’ve got to the stage where I can read the other party’s disappointment before even reaching that embarrassing peck on the cheek or firm handshake decision.

It turns out that the world is not populated with statuesque, raven haired beauties of sapiosexual disposition. And in such that are, they mainly seek those of equivalent intellect and not someone whose prize boast is the possession of his own teeth (mostly). I am obviously not over egging the pudding. On the single occasion this last year when, fuelled by a cocktail of Sinemet and strong Belgian lager, I actually asked a girl out – a beautiful Italian neurologist – such, her dismissal was so crushing, flagging up the admittedly unanswerable issue of my age (around double that of hers). My younger daughter even helped douse the flames of ardour by casually dismissing said lady as “way out of your league dad”.

We are born fools and die fools. It’s only that bit in the middle that separates us all. I think that’s probably why I write. When I write, I can create a world, or a person, more perfect. I often don’t. Even when holding the creative tiller, I find the path of self-destruction pulls me nearer. – plus ca change,,,

My vestigial cricket career is now at an end. Battery pack in chest and electrodes in brain put paid to that. Now I am a member of the Bayham and Lamberhurst Bowls club. I have the shirt, trousers and a set of woods. And a new bunch of friends, a genteel group who are as encouraging as one could hope to meet. Ron, Jo, Roy, Kevin, Ian and more Johns than you could shake a finger at. What draws me to bowls? I think it’s the pace of the game (that’s low not fast), the precision and the relative lack of crowd violence and hooliganism. You don’t get a lot of that at a bowls match

We are living in a couple world. We singletons are the object of derision and/or pity, neither very attractive. So yes, I shall continue to write, make glass, write songs, take photos and what have you. It fills the days. And, incredibly at age 65 I flatter myself that I still have something left in the tank, something still to give.

A month ago I had a bad car crash, wrote off the Jag and thankfully missed everybody else. Nobody was hurt. On the other hand, the destruction amounted to a topiary fence, lock-up garage, telegraph pole and police surveillance camera. The lady who helped extract me from the wreckage said “you have one hell of a guardian angel!” Even the police officer said I should be dead. I think it was an opinion not a preference he was expressing…

So, if you’ll forgive me, I don’t plan on tough challenging resolutions for the New Year. I shall keep them simple:

1) try to stay alive.
2) try to find a nice companion to share that time (and they don’t even have to be raven haired goddesses)
3) try not to kill other people.

I don’t think that’s setting the bar too high.

Okay that’s probably enough vague ramblings. Feel free to quote this drivel back to me next year when my primary achievement will doubtless be watching four hours of daytime television each day. Please God, no.