Happy New Night-Nights

January 5, 2022 12:30pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 10 Comments

mindfulness with Jules Smith

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

Another new year commences but this time with a new set of rules. I am no longer making impossible resolutions and instead have cleverly labelled my goals as “Self-Care” Some have stated that this is a little ambiguous but that’s because they weren’t smart enough to think of it. On occasion, self-care may mean that in fact, a large glass of wine is what’s needed, or a rant at someone is necessary to relieve angst. Other times it may mean I follow a path of calm and positive purpose.

 

 

Before Christmas, I watched something about mindfulness. There was a monk who said that we should be less reactionary and more accepting of negative or anxiety fuelled emotions. Learn to accept them and sit with them for a while. When you feel panic you should welcome it by saying, “Welcome, panic..”

I love a bit of monkery so I thought I’d give that a go because I’m a person who always feels frantic inside and that can’t end well. 

That started out OK. Instead of cursing at the person in front of me driving so slowly, I said, “Welcome, you doddery old sod and thank you for making me realise I don’t need to rush to get where I’m going all the time.” Or, to the person standing in the middle of the supermarket aisle, “Welcome you dozy old cockwomble and thank you for making me wait whilst you chat in the centre of aisle 7 because now I can understand selfishness a little better…”

This has been working well for me because I have replaced getting furious with laughter. Good start. 

 

Alive and Unconscious

 

 

I started to wean myself into change over the period between Christmas and New Year where time does not exist. Airport time. A muddy period where days roll into each other like a swampy fog. You eat the remnants of the Quality Street tub for breakfast washed down with sherry and wonder why you feel like a hot toxic mess. Going straight from that to serious change is not conducive to self-care so I decided to implement my first new routine. 

I am crap at sleeping and apparently sleep is one of the most important things to get right before you even think of doing anything else. 

 I go to bed with the good intention of going to sleep and end up reading my book for hours until I eventually fall to sleep dribbling on my Kindle. I wake up at 3 am and then get up for a cuppa and ruminate over spiteful little thoughts that dance around my head. I go back to bed, wired and watching the night turn into day behind the blinds. Sometimes I go back to my Kindle and can’t remember a damn thing I read a few hours ago. I then fall back to sleep minutes before it’s time to get up. Dreadful. 

 

All Aboard The Night Train!

 

 

I found out that you can train yourself into a sleep pattern. Pick an eight hour period and stick to it vehemently. Even if you wake up during that time, do not get out of bed. You must lie still in torturous bed prison and not get up until your allotted time. I decided that this would be my first trial into self-care. I chose to go to bed at 11 and get up at 7. 

I can’t begin to tell you how difficult this was when I first started. I got Alexa to play rain sounds in an attempt to quiet the devil in my brain daring me to break the rules. No! I’m sticking to this. I lay there like an inmate, lights out, staring at the ceiling. Too hot. Too cold. Covers on. Covers off. I eventually went to sleep and woke up around 3 and then 5. I tossed and turned. I experimented with sleep mists on my pillow. I ended up drenching myself and the bed in lavender stuff in an attempt to drug myself to sleep. I am now allergic to lavender. When 7 am came and the alarm went off I wanted to cry. Shut Up Alexa and go to hell.  Thank you for this fresh new opportunity for an early start…

Like a warrior, I got up and zombied into the day.

 

 

The days were so long that on one of them I ended up having a hysterical time tantrum. It was only 4.30 in the afternoon and I could have sworn it was bedtime. I wailed and despaired and forced myself to do things and the clock refused to tick like normal. I wanted to smash its face in. Thank you, clock for revealing how much more time I have to do all the thing’s I can’t muster the energy to do.

I’d already been at it for nine hours and I had to stay up for another six and a half. I couldn’t even stay awake to The Witcher. I knew it was bad when I started nodding off to Henry Cavill. Were naps allowed? Apparently not. The evil sleep training does not allow this privilege. You must endure a lifetime in each day and be too knackered to do anything constructive past 3 pm. 

Dear Lord above, it’s been a trial. 

However, it has started to work. Not entirely; I still find the days exhaustingly long but I am now starting to get better sleep, only waking up once before my due time and easily falling back off. And since this has started to work I have taken on yet another self-care challenge which I will tell you about next time because I’m having severe problems with that one and might be on the verge of a psychotic meltdown – thank you for all these challenges that will help me hate everything more than before become a better and more balanced person. 

 

 

Anarchy In The Greenbelt

December 15, 2021 10:18am Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 23 Comments

winter view of fields in England

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

I drove down my road a few weeks back and noticed that a giant 5G tower had been erected on the opposite side of the street. No notice was given to anyone about this happening because obviously, the council can do whatever they want. Fortunately for me, it is a way down the road and does not obstruct my outlook but I felt very sorry for the big house opposite who now had their view of the rolling greenbelt obstructed by a giant phallic object.  

A few days later I noticed some graffiti sprayed all over it: 

“Who Gave Permission For This?”

“This Thing Is An Eyesore”

This made me laugh as the culprit had to be one of the people living opposite. The folk in those big houses are probably fairly affluent: they have nice cars, keep their front gardens tastefully in order, have elegant Christmas lights, and are the sort that would likely be very pleasant on the whole and not break the law. That’s what I would think if I was to pigeonhole those that lived there. However, it seems I am completely wrong and that anarchy lives in us all. I was very proud of whoever did this and wanted to knock on their door and invite them over for a drink. 

I could imagine them driving off to B&Q to find spray paint

We’ll have to practise on some MDF boards outside before we do it, Elizabeth. I’ve never defaced anything before.”

“Of course, Roger. I mean, bloody hell, it has to be legible or what will people think?”

“We will sneak out after midnight and do the deed. If anyone stops to ask what we are doing we will have to say we are wildlife conservationists. Start hugging a tree if anyone slows down.”

“Right. I’ll bring my clipboard and opera binoculars so we look authentic.”

I pictured them sneaking out in the dead of night in their plaid Marks and Spencer pyjamas, woolly hats, and wellies. The euphoria of getting away with the vandalisation probably left them breathless and they might have even got to it in the drench shower when they got home to wash off the evidence. Power to the people! However, a week later someone from the council painted over it in battleship grey. I’m hoping too much Christmas spirit might see their rebellious nature rise again.

Talking Of Anarchy In The Greenbelt…

You can’t help love your dogs to bits. There is no loyalty like that of a hound. Even if you are cross with them they still love you. No matter what, you are their favourite thing. 

They are protective

Loving

Attentive

Cute

A bit mental

And ferociously attractive

And you have to remember all of those things when they put you in a difficult situation.

Across the fields we walked, as usual, enjoying the fresh air and apricity of the day when all of a sudden a great big hare decided to have a bit of a skip around in the long grass. Oh, silly hare…

Tex immediately set off after the hopper because there was a tasty snack daring to taunt him. Halo intercepted from the right and they began to hunt down the hare at full pelt in pack mode clearing two fields in seconds. It was like watching a David Attenborough show. My dogs are very fast but the hare had a metre advantage and I prayed it would get to ground. I didn’t want to jog that day but there I was trying to run in hiking boots to catch up with them because all of a sudden they had completely forgotten their names when I called them. I had my 13-year-old Jack Russell with me who hadn’t joined the pack, thank God, but instead ran in circles around my feet which did not help me get a sprint on. 

“Get out the bloody way, you daft dog!” 

I looked up and watched in the distance as the other two came up to a hawthorn hedgerow. Halo stopped. Tex went straight through it. Brilliant. 

A few minutes later three animals came running out diagonally in the other direction at full speed. 

Hold on, I only have two big dogs, what the hell is that?

Oh look, it’s a bloody great deer.

How in hell has that happened? Tex must have thought all his Christmases had come at once. Through the hedge he goes after a hare and comes face to face with a deer. Look what I found, mummy!

Why is this happening to me? I just want to go for a nice walk and now I’m hyper-ventilating, barn dancing around a terrier, and wondering if I’ve lost my wolfits. Am I going to find them feasting on a deer? How am I going to talk my way out of this if the farmer sees it? Will he be pleased that my nut-job mutts have cleared hares and deer from his crops or is he going to shoot them and me? 

I started praying out loud. Please God, let the deer get away. I have been traumatised from a young age by Disney and watching Bambi’s mother die. I don’t want to be party to this kind of ordeal in real life. I’ll do anything.

Eventually, they came back. Unbloodied and absolutely knackered. Bambi had made it. Phew. 

I don’t know who was panting the hardest out of me and the dogs and who might die first but we made it back to the truck intact sans rabbit or venison stew. 

Next time, I’m getting a cat. 

 

Evictus

December 8, 2021 2:12pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 13 Comments

Antony Gormley sculpture

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

I conquered and survived my trip to Liverpool but it didn’t last very long. That’s because my mother got the Airbnb dates mixed up. There we sat on Friday morning, day two of the trip, watching TV with a cup of tea, yet another Christmas film before we set off to get the big red bus to Penny Lane and other notorious sites. 

That’s The Spirit

My mother starts watching Christmas films in September and we all take the rise out of her for doing so. But, it turns out, that Christmas films have a surprisingly addictive quality. There you are scoffing at the start of one, watching it just to bide your time, and before you know it you’re fully invested and imbued with the spirit of magical fantasy. Before you can scoop your sorry arse off the sofa you are now sailing through the next one trying to predict the very predictable ending. Because each and every one of them is the same. 

They all start with a woman who has either lost her job or split up with a boyfriend. She leaves the manic city to start a new job and/or gets stranded and arrives in a beautiful rural American town that is the embodiment of Christmas. The little town is full of snow, tinsel and Christmas cookies and everybody is as nice as Disney. Naturally, the woman meets a man there who is much like Captain America, but he rubs her up the wrong way (No! Not like that!) Already you know this is going to be “The One” by the end of the film. She ends up doing something spectacular to save the town and he ends up knocking on her door on Christmas Eve, or bumping into her, apologising profusely for his behaviour and begging her to stay with him forever in his ranch cabin worth at least a few million with his pet dog who also loves her relentlessly.

All the way through these films I imagine how much fun it would be to make a dark and twisted version where it all goes horribly wrong.

Falalalalalalalala!

I was just describing how I would re-write the film we were watching when suddenly there was a ferocious knock at the door. Let me first explain this house my mother had rented: it was very tall and very thin. Basically, a cut-up Georgian building made into two houses. The kitchen was downstairs, the living room another flight up. Another flight to a landing. The next flight took you to my mother’s room and the flight after that took me gasping, panting and begging for a quick death to my room. Let me tell you that when I came downstairs and realised I’d left my phone charger in my bedroom I very nearly burst into tears. 

So, the loud knocking came from underneath where we were sitting but since the property consisted mainly of stairs you could hang over the bannister and shout, “Hello, who is it?”

Turned out it was the man who owned the gaff and he wondered why we were still here because we should have left. As in actually left for good. My mother tried to convince him otherwise, insisting she had rented it for longer. Of course, she was wrong and we got evicted. The next hour was spent racing around and packing up so the cleaners could get in. Packing and carting things down the very many stairs. I had to ring my mother’s current husband and inform him of the news as he was out having a flu jab and she didn’t dare. 

“You know last night when I said, ‘That’s so my mum though,’” I said over the phone.

“Yeah…”

“Well, this is one of those moments. We’ve just been evicted so you’d better come home. We gotta get a shift on.”

It was hours before he could look at her never mind talk to her again.

Another Place

Crosby beach Liverpool

The only thing I really wanted to see was a load of iron men standing on a beach. This sort of madness appeals to me much like cast iron manhole covers do. 

We hadn’t been there yet so I begged to see them before I set off home. After a long and blustery walk to the seafront, I witnessed the iron sculptures by Antony Gormley on Crosby beach. Based on his own naked body (bit narcissistic) the figures are revealed and submerged as the tide ebbs and flows. I must say I found them rather fabulous.

Sand By Me

Close up of a Gormley sculpture

My Corrosion

 

Gormley statue If I could have picked one up and taken it home I would have. Just so I could dress him up for seasonal holidays and upset the postman.

 

 

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