Saturday, 31 December 2011

Not a good year for the roses... or anything else for that matter

I've had my little violin out a lot this year, haven't I? I have a friend who actually owns one as a matter of fact!

But it's been a bad year for me and I think I've been very close to the edge of the abyss of unhealthy body and mind over the past few months. So close that I'm still not behaving as I should, nor am I reacting with any enthusiasm to much that is going on around me. I've isolated those I love and have neglected to solve the problems that needed solved before now, resulting in a pile-up of projects that will start my 2012 with just as much stress as 2011 leaves me with.

I still remember the people who have suffered with me however, and I bear in mind, at all times, those who are suffering more and who cannot claim their lives back at all because their tragedies are much bigger than mine, so I am still grateful for what I have and who I love.

It's been a year in which I've lost a baby, lost a good friend and colleague, and lost (although not physically dead) someone I cared for and trusted. And recently, I almost lost Scruffs the cat too; he had to have an operation but he seems to be bouncing back from the brink, thank God.

I have been posting less frequently here too and that has been the result of less time out on the road and less inspiration to continue.

I've also, somehow and miraculously, been able to sustain my writing until the novel was completed. I got the thing published and out there. I started looking into my phD and set myself a goal to begin in the Autumn next year. I completed my Pped qualifications (well, I finally got my Practice Placement Educator certificate, although I'd done the exam a year before) and I rebuilt my business from the loose end it was becoming as a direct result of the death of my son.

I've reflected deeply (and I admit somewhat negatively) too, and discussed with myself the reasoning behind another's intolerance of me during those dark months when I was desperately coping with what I'd witnessed and gone through. There was no sympathy, empathy or even remote understanding given - and this is someone I felt close to and thought I could relate to; someone I truly believed would understand the pain. Conversely, I've gained new friends and others, from my past, have come forward to show their support, regardless of their own issues and the little time they have to spare. It's all made me think about who is important and who is not; it's forced me to consider my edgy mood and the consequences it has had on others too though, so I've balanced the behaviour I've endured with that.

I want to start 2012 positively; get on with things... finish things and create new things. If I am surrounded by friends who aren't really friends at all, then I will simply rid my life of them. I will concentrate only on what is important to me - real love, unconditional stuff that I tend to give out myself, when I'm not going mad with grief.

I'll get fit again, because that too has gone by the wayside in the aftermath of crappy 2011. I will help everyone I can without damaging my family - time is important here, so I need to be more selfish with my own.

I'll get on with writing the second novel; the continuing story of The Station and it's people, but I won't try to do everything myself this time. I'll delegate what needs to be done to others, apart from the writing of course! 'll get '101 Dumb Emergency Calls' out there too when I can raise the funds to publish it - sorry Paul!

I asked someone's forgiveness this year and didn't get it. I guess some people suffer more by carrying hate than by feeling guilt, but I will try again and again if I need to. I won't give up.

As for work, well... Christmas was a nightmare. Thousands of calls for suicidal, depressed, Mental Health patients, on top of drunks and thugs trying to, or succeeding in killing one another. Someone quoted this teenager's death as a 'misunderstanding between youths'. My God, what the Hell does that mean?

At the end of a crisis shift, in which everyone I worked with did their best to keep the festive spirit alive, I got a stress ball in the eye... courtesy of the Witch, L. She knows who she is! She threw it from across the room, intending to draw my attention away from something I was concentrating on but I looked up at the wrong moment and saw it casually being chucked in a beautifully straight line towards my right eye. It was a fleeting moment in time and my stupid eye, instead of avoiding it, watched it coming nearer til it splatted me. Stress balls can cause stress you know! I forgive you Witch L.

So, there you have it. All my worries and woes and New Year resolutions. I'm exorcising them so that I never see them again.

Have a great New Year and if you've had a year like mine or worse, you have my love and best wishes for a good start to the next one!

Be safe

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas

I hope you are relaxing and enjoying time with your families. I'll be working from midnight and then again all night tomorrow, such is the luck of my draw this year. But I've been out there and experienced what Christmas now means and I'm not enamoured by it; where has the true meaning of it gone? Where is the goodwill to all? Where is the love and charity and Christian faith that is bound with it?

Unfortunately, the big white bearded guy; that obese symbol of the Coca Cola Corporation, is the only connection our children make with this time of year.

You don't have to be religious; you just have to be nice. I hope you are all being nice to someone. When I go into work, I will be nice to everyone. I'll do my best.

Happy Christmas to you all and thank you for sticking with me!


Thursday, 15 December 2011

Off the rails

This will be interesting. Come the Olympic summer we'll be competing for emergency driving space on the roads with rail engineers.

We claim a legal exemption so that we can drive at speed, cross over red lights and do the 'fun' stuff that the general public think we do just for fits and giggles.

For some reason the police will be asked to either escort or carry rail staff in order to get them to broken down trains or trackside emergencies necessitating 'surgery' or something. Now, if the police are carrying these individuals then at least there will be a professionally trained and highly experienced emergency driver at the wheel. But if they escort another vehicle; one with a rail engineer driver in charge, aren't we looking at a potentially very dangerous situation?

And where is the legal exemption? If we have an accident during a blue light journey, we will be expected to justify our driving. If we are found to have been driving recklessly, then we face the same punishments as every other driver. Technically, even crossing a red light is still illegal and we must 'give way', not just barge through at 50mph. This is why drivers are not legally obliged to get out of our way; it's still a courtesy, unless they are deliberately obstructing us.

So, if a police vehicle collides with another vehicle, or a pedestrian, and someone is killed... or the rail engineer's vehicle crashes, with similar consequences, what will be the reason given for the accidental death of an innocent? Was another life at risk? Was the journey necessary at such speed for the sake of the health and future quality of life of an very sick person? Not really; the journey will have been deemed important for the sake of convenience to rail passengers during a high profile event. It will keep our transport system running 'smoothly' (and that is a contradictory term anyway).

It's all well and good to introduce so-called emergency status to rail engineers for the sake of public image (well it must be because they don't do this at any other time) but I think I'd find it easier to swallow if gas engineers, or the big motoring organisations were allowed to travel on blue lights instead. After all, people die when gas escapes and there's potential for death and injury on the road when you're stranded, right?

And while I'm at it, why not give the RSPCA and every Vet in the country a blue light and siren? Are animals not important enough to deserve our immediate attention?


Sunday, 4 December 2011


So, Mr Clarkson has once again got himself into bother by speaking his mind. Rightly, or wrongly, he says what he thinks and that's his crime.

Now, before you all start writing to me, blasting me for 'siding with the devil' or whatever, I'd like you to think about something he said; something that, aside from the rather cold-hearted comments about shooting strikers and leaving train-suicide body parts for the 'foxy woxies', is actually more truth than scandal.

He said that people who commit suicide by throwing themselves in front of trains cause grief for the driver and massive inconvenience for commuters. Now, I've dealt first-hand with train suicides - you know this - and I have no argument with those remarks, I'm afraid. It's a horrible way to kill yourself and I have every sympathy for the families who've had to cope with what their loved ones have done.

But, the train driver saw it and could not stop it... and ultimately has to live with the horror of it for the rest of his/her life. The commuters on the platform witnessed it all, including the most horrifying aspects of it, where the suicide's body is destroyed by the train. They have to live with it for the rest of their lives too.

As for the inconvenience to commuters. I have to ask you one question and I want you to answer it honestly. How many of you who've been delayed going home from work, or to wherever you were heading, stood on the platform when you heard the announcement 'due to passenger action', and thought 'Oh, that poor man/woman; what a terrible waste of life'... as you morally should have?

How many of you actually stood there and moaned inside about how much of a delay this person was going to cause? And how inconvenient it was to you and everyone else? How many of you thought the word 'selfish'?

We deal with death in many different ways. Another person's death can be a blip to you. It can be a nuisance and no more... or even an inconvenience; spoiling your evening. But it is a person dying. Someone just like you.

You've thought the same kind of thoughts whenever you've been held up on the motorway due to a crash; an incident in which someone may have died. You've been irritated by the selfishness of individuals whose life-crises have stopped you doing what you want with your life.

It's all very human, you know. Live with it; get used to it and stop, for Pete's sake, making other people's rash comments (including mine) seem so important that they become 'offensive'.

Oh and you may not comment on this if you've never commuted by train, nor ever been a driver on a motorway.