Choose your own Adventure

It’s 1:30am and I’ve been the last person awake in the house for over an hour. I’m turning something over and over in my head. Not something I can share. Just something.

I’ve been humming the Beatles song “A Day in the Life” for the last few minutes. Maybe it’s connected. I don’t know how it un-corked itself, but it did.

Isn’t it odd how music takes on new meanings when events unfold – when you’re deep in the well thinking about things late at night you make new connections – new insights. Suddenly the words in a verse of the song you’ve not heard for years describe what you’re in the middle of more perfectly than you could possibly predict.

Is it coincidence, or were the words waiting there all along?

Perhaps the universe is up to it’s old tricks – reminding me that I can’t put my head in the sand forever. I can’t keep trudging on regardless. Sometimes I need to be brave – to make choices.

Life is kind of like a “choose your own adventure” book sometimes, isn’t it – except you don’t get to go back a page, and you really never know what’s coming.


Who knows?

I used to write almost every day. I’m not quite sure what happened. Perhaps life happened. It’s a funny thing – life – isn’t it. John Lennon is famously supposed to have said “life is what happens while you’re making other plans”. I think he was probably right.

I’m never definite about anything any more. Everything is probably, or might, or possible, or maybe. Never definitely. Nothing ever is – it always might be.

Not having an opinion or an answer is another way of putting off making a decision until tomorrow. One of my friends made me laugh one day – talking about debts.

Let’s call him Jim (not his real name). Jim maintained that things he might buy today that he cannot afford are not his problem at all – they are a problem for “future Jim”. He then paused thoughtfully, before confidently stating “f*ck that guy”.

I sometimes wish I was a bit more carefree – a bit less thoughtful – that I worried less – that I worried about what others think a little less. I guess we are the way we are though – and trying to be any different would change that somehow – and most people would look straight through any sort of act (or at least the people I count as friends would – or I would at least like to think so) and wonder why we’re behaving strangely.


What was this post going to be about? Perhaps it wasn’t going to be about anything. Or maybe it was. Who knows (said in my best Tom Baker conspiratorial whisper, while tapping the side of my nose with my finger).

Who knows indeed.



It’s “Father’s Day” in the UK today. I have mixed feelings about it – knowing that it was invented in the US along with “Mother’s Day” in the early 1900s (Mother’s Day pre-dates Father’s Day by a couple of years, if you are at all interested). They were both instigated by social activists.

I kind of rationalise it in the same way you might rationalise Christmas, or Easter – it’s as good excuse as any to be nice, no matter your beliefs, culture, or whatever else. We’ll also try to forget that people should be nice to each other all year round, too.

Given the accelerated and demanding nature of the modern world, it seems easy to drown in our own concerns, and ignore the concerns of others. It takes very little effort to show an interest – to lend an ear, a shoulder, a hand, or some time – and yet I’m continually surprised by the self absorbed, pious, sanctimonious and judgemental attitude so many seem to exhibit.

People become lost in their own importance, their own opinions, and presume their views are the only valid ones – and don’t mind telling anybody that might listen. For many, “but the majority agree with me” becomes a primary defence when challenged.

It doesn’t help that social media and the algorithmic timeline convince so many that they are in the majority, when the machinery of the internet is surrounding people with concordant views and opinions, no matter how true, false, misguided, hateful or objectionable they might be.

In recent weeks and months I’ve been reminded again and again of a cartoon I saw – of somebody hunched over a laptop in the dark, telling their other half “I’ll be up in a bit – I just need to explain to these people why they are wrong”.


All seems to be quiet on the western front. I imagine a voice will shout “Dinner!” soon.

Happy Father’s Day.


Half Past My Bedtime

When my middle daughter was about four years old, she loved talking. She still loves talking. She would often know what she wanted to say, but the exact choice of words would get away from her.

Late on an evening she would ask “is it half past my bedtime?”

It’s half past my bedtime now. The clock ticked past midnight some time ago. I’m sitting in the dark of the junk room (my office) tapping away at the keyboard for the first time in several days. I’ve thought about sitting down to write something several times, but one thing after another side-tracked me.

The term “side-tracked” must have something to do with railroads, I imagine. It’s quite a good analogy really – if you think about the universe always moving forwards, no paths ever lead back. Making good decisions would therefore seem to be that much more important – and yet I don’t tend to worry too much.

It’s that whole “putting one foot in front of the other” thing, isn’t it.

That’s not to say that I don’t wonder about paths not taken. Or paths that might still be taken. During quiet moments I sometimes wonder how the people I have come to know along the way are doing.

We all live busy lives. We lose touch with each other. Friendships that were once close become more distant. They are never forgotten though. In a strange sort of way, I suppose I am the product of everybody I have known – shaped by the crossing of our paths.


It’s getting late.

Time for bed.

It’s “half past my bedtime”, after all.


Midnight is my Friend

Here I am again, sitting in front of the computer in the dead of night, only too aware that I haven’t posted for several days. The world just seems to be getting away from me at the moment – I’m not sure if I’m just trying to be involved in too many things, or if I’m not pedalling fast enough.

I can’t help reminding myself of a message I’ve seen written by several friends recently – that it’s ok not to chase your own tail – that it’s ok to say no – that there is value in slowing down.

There are so many things I want to do though. I end up laughing at myself – I have always been my own worst enemy.

Last night we went out to a fund-raiser at the infant school where my other half works – propping up the “staff table”. It was supposed to be a quiz, but involved little or no knowledge. One of the rounds involved identifying the flavour of jelly beans. On the way home I opined that this is the future – whether we like it or not. Generations are coming through where the majority seem to have have no knowledge about anything much in the world. If they haven’t seen something on Facebook, Tiktok, or their friends haven’t texted them about it, they have no clue. The traditional subjects – history, geography, science, nature, art – you may as well be asking them to write out the equations of motion.

One particular table at the fund raiser stunned us by leaving a considerable amount of rubbish, empty bottles and food wrappers strewn across their table and the floor when they left. Because of course we were there to clean up after them. What is it with some people thinking the rest of the world is there to serve them? How conceited are they?

While walking home – furious with the many small slights that had mounted up throughout the night – I had to remind myself that none of it really mattered. Less than half a world away, a catastrophe is being discovered – with evidence that the retreating army of a superpower have massacred civilians en-masse.

I will admit that in recent weeks I’ve wondered what the point of it all is – this life thing – when you could be cut down tomorrow. Why do we strive, hope, dream, or even attempt to build when a hostile adversary can invade, kill, and destroy with wanton abandon? How do soldiers of any army reconcile their actions? How do they live with what they have done? Can people really be conditioned to such an extent that they become machines without conscience ? Sadly experience of conflict around the world seems to tell me they can.

Suddenly the method I use to get from one day to the next seems like a good one – putting one foot in front of the other. When the world seems a little too big, and a little too loud, concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other works well. It gets me from today to tomorrow – and tomorrow it will get me to the next day.

The real trick is finding somebody to walk alongside while finding my way from today to tomorrow. I’m lucky enough to count several such people in my sort-of-secret group of far flung friends on the internet. We might not message each other every day, but when we do, the world becomes a little bit smaller, and a little bit easier to survive.