Saturday, 11 December 2010


I'm feeling flat. Really flat. It's a strange feeling. Can't be bothered with anything. Little things are annoying me. Why? I think I may be connected somehow to the snow. As the snow is slowly releasing it's grip on the landscape, disappearing to nothing, so my energy and well being seems to be following. Maybe it's a reaction to the last couple of weeks. The constant struggle to get to work to perform my seemingly pointless role in the big world. The worry of loved ones struggling too to carry on. Having to plan each journey instead of just leaving the house. Keeping warm, keeping upright. All a bloody struggle.
But hold on, it's only snowed and that's not unheard of at this time of year. Ok, 19 inches is more snow than I've seen since childhood (when the Summers were all long and hot too) but it's hardly show stopping is it? Well it is apparently. Everything stops. Normality is suspended. The TV news shows endless snow stories. Companies are criticised for not coping. People buy 6 months worth of bread and milk if they make it to a shop. Petrol stations run dry. For whatsit's sake - it's not Armageddon. It's snow. I used to love it, the freshness, the beauty. Do kids still love it? I must be getting old. My mood has ebbed and flowed, and now I am flat. Tired.
It's not the snow, it's the way we react to it. That's what has drained me. Wish we could all just embrace the different world this weather brings. Don't struggle against it, go with it. Look for the pros, not the cons.
Suppose I should practice what I preach.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

My coat's big day out

Last Saturday, my favourite coat reached the grand old age of 22. Coat and I first came together on my 18th birthday. It was a gift from my Dad and Stepmum. At the time I was working on an animal rescue farm, spending lots of time outside in the cold, wet and mud, upto my eyeballs in muck. Therefore, Coat was an appropriate choice of present.
Coat is what is technically known as a waxed jacket. It's not a Barbour. You know the sort of thing - green or brown, waxy looking heavy coats. The sort of thing that city workers put over their suits for the daily commute to the office. They keep them in the back of their pristine Land Rovers for the hike to the station from the car park. That is why their coats are all nice and shiny. I think they probably get them serviced at the same time as the 4x4.
Anyway, Coat is brown. It is dull. It is patchy. It even has a couple of small holes. The tartan lining is faded. It has lived has coat. Coat smells of weather, of pubs, of tobacco, of me. The pockets contain weird and wonderful bits and pieces. A plastic survival whistle, a bottle opener / corkscrew, the lid from a bottle of Old Speckled Hen, dog biscuits slowly decaying, various empty plastic bags, ciggarette papers so  old and damp they are beyond use, scraps of paper with notes and directions. All these things must have been needed at some point in time. I keep these pockets as they are, like preserving some historical tale.
I got to thinking about how old Coat was as I approached my latest birthday. I realised that Coat had journeyed with me for over half my life. And it has been the interesting half. The half when I stepped into the big bad world. The half when I discovered that I needed to change careers every five minutes. The half when I loved, lost and finally loved again.
Coat has been with me through the birth of my niece and nephew, now teenagers in New Zealand. Coat was with me when I met my wife 14 years ago. Coat has shared my happiness and at times my despair. Coat comforted me during my recovery from a motorbike accident - accompanying me as I walked the fields and lanes trying to make sense of stuff. Coat has hidden me as I wondered the dark woods on wet, wild nights crying out for answers. Coat carried my supplies, the hip flask snug in the inner pocket, the roll ups protected from the rain. Coat is like a grown up comfort blanket. When I put it on, I feel more me, if that makes sense.
Coat has seen it all - been there got the T-shirt if you like. Coat knows me like no other.
Last week, I realised with guilt that I had failed to mark Coat's 21st birthday last year. Therefore I decided to make up for it this year. Coat and I had a day out to Twickenham to watch England play New Zealand at Rugby Union. We went on the train, Coat carrying all our essentials - tickets, money, drink, food. Coat was amazed to see so many younger, shinier looking versions of itself. Coat felt old. Coat felt scruffy.
But Coat, my dear friend, you have lived so much more than these shiny upstarts. You have worked hard, you've played hard, you've comforted. Be proud, you truly are a special Coat.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Mr Mog ( Miserable Old Git )

After a year or so of watching and commenting on certain blogs, I have finally taken the plunge and have started my own one. Why? I had never really discovered blogs until a conversation in my local pub. A chap I knew simply as Phillip, told me he had his own blog. At the time Phillip and I were acquaintances who drank at the same time in the same pub. Phillip was usually reading a book, whilst I would be at the bar reading the paper. We spoke and were friendly, but not really friends if you see what I mean. However, typing in his blog address on my laptop at home opened up a new world to me. His words made me laugh. His profile told me stuff about him which I would never have asked. He linked me to other blogs. I was amazed. All these people from all over the world sharing their thoughts and stories. I was hooked. Then I discovered I could comment on these posts. The thrill I felt on seeing my comments published was great. Phillip and I then began actually talking in real life. His posts continued to amuse and fascinate me, whilst my comments seemed to please him. We became friends. You here so much these days about technology killing communication, no one writing letters or phoning for a chat. Well here was an example of it working in opposite. The things Phillip and I learnt about each other via the blog were things that blokes in pubs don’t talk about. Not only us, but the other members of the early doors drinking club were drawn in. I don’t think any of them became dedicated followers of Phillip like myself, but the conversations our blog related discussions threw up expanded to include everyone. To say it was a catalyst may be a bit strong. But the blog had changed things. I had gained a friend for one thing.

The other thing my blog discovery provided was an insight into the lives of ordinary people. I have always loved autobiographies. But how many do you see of normal people? I always felt every person’s life must be interesting. It doesn’t matter what you do in life, there has to have been challenges. There has to have been amusing situations. There has to be joy, sadness, discovery, boredom. Each life is full of these and much more. Surely, if everyone wrote an autobiography it would fascinate if nothing else. Maybe it’s more simple than that. Am I just nosey? I think my life story would make quite a read. Hopefully I can bring some of this to you in my blog.

Now for the title-Mr Mog  (Miserable Old Git). My wife calls me Mog when I am having one of my frequent moans about whatever is annoying me. To be fair, I'm not always miserable, i'm only old if you are under 20 and I like to think I'm not that much of a git. But, I do moan. A lot. I don't have a naturally smiley face. Not many things make me laugh out loud. I tend to mumble. I enjoy my own company. So, outwardly, I can see why people don't see me as a bringer of sunshine. In fact another nickname I have is Happy Harry. However, inside, I like to think I'm not a bad person. I do love a good moan though. Maybe I can share some on the blog. It could be like therapy.

Well, I hope this first attempt is well received.

By the way, my friend Phillip is