Wednesday, 29 February 2012

A Happy Happy Smiley Me

Well I know it's unusual for me to write a midweek blog at the moment but right now I'm in a happy happy place and I just wanted to share that with you all.

It's been a busy week already with following up on my event from last week and a whole host of other things but early this week I thought I had this coming weekend planned and sorted but, as often is the case these plans have changed but, I'm not upset about it, I've just made different plans.

I found out yesterday that a friend has returned from what seems like a very long holiday, we don’t see each other often but, long story short, we arranged to go out tonight, nowhere posh just Ikea but it was a chance to go for a blast in the car, to chat and to just get out in the evening for a change. The evenings are getting lighter and the mornings brighter so it really feels like spring is on its way. On the way home we called into a bar in town and had a chat over a few drinks. It was lovely to sit and chat, we don’t do it often enough and we both enjoyed it. I’m already looking forward to the next time.

This weekend I'm now meeting up with another friend whom I've not seen for quite a long time but she was a friend of Steve's from many years ago and is a great laugh. We're going in search of real ale, we will do some window shopping and perhaps a shorty countryside walk too but I'm not denying that the ale is the real reason for the outing. I've not been out boozing in a daytime like that for around four years so it'll be good. I'm so excited at the thought though, it feels naughty but, I'm an adult and I can so I am!

On Sunday I've been invited out to lunch and that too will be at a pub but I'll not be drinking. I'm hoping it will be a nice day as we've planned on going for a walk in the countryside too.

All that means that I have a full week ahead. I've just noticed too that tomorrow, March 1st, is St Davids Day which is the Welsh national day. I remember from school that it meant dressing in traditional costumes and having a half day off from school. I wont we getting a half day off work tomorrow though and I wont be wearing traditional dress.

Finally, I noticed a few days ago that a lady in a forum I belong to, (it's a forum for the bereaved so this lady was a Widow), but the lady was commenting about some odd goings on at home where her iPod started to play random music but, all the tracks were sentimental to her and her late Husband. She saw this as a sign from her Hubby that it's OK to move on a little and claim back some of her life for herself.

I wondered whether I will get such signs or if I have and have just not noticed so I think this has been in my mind. Last night when I went to bed I docked my iPhone as usual and the music started up, this isn't unusual but I skipped through a few songs as they all seemed to be "Steve Songs" in that they were songs he would perform, or favourites of his, (but not of mine) so I just skipped on to something I wanted to listen to which, at the moment is generally the Wicked soundtrack.

This morning I got in the car and the first track on the radio was "It's my life" by Talk Talk now I don't know if it significant but an Ex used to refer to me as Talk Talk many years ago, Steve knew this and said it was accurate. Now was that song really a message from Steve saying I should be claiming back my life? I decided many weeks ago I should be living my life fully in honour of Steve as he cannot. Just because Cancer took his life I shouldn’t let it take mine too. Lately I have thought a lot of this, I have felt guilty that I am living my life but also like I have to for Steve. It’s difficult but, was it really a sign? Who knows?

I don't know the answer to my question but I do know I believe in fate, things happen for a reason, Steve believed this too. For weeks I have listened to CD’s on the way to work but today the radio was on in the car. Fate or coincidence? Who knows? Maybe it was a sign, maybe fate determined I should read the forum entry so the signs made sense to me, maybe fate decided I would listen to the radio today. The truth is there are signs all around us that we take for granted, signs of a brighter future, of hope and of the tomorrow we want.

Think of the Daffodils budding at the moment, we know inside the dismal bud there is a bright yellow flower just as we know beyond these patchy days there are days of bright sunshine ahead and they will come, we know they will because they always do.

Think of the snowdrops, so pure and white and delicate. They bring promises and hope of a better tomorrow. From the bleakest winter they have forced through the hardened ground and offer their delicate bloom for all to see, just a promise of the flowers and blooms that will come to us in the summer. Perhaps that's where I’ve been. Perhaps Steve’s passing and the months immediately afterwards were my winter. Cold, dark, bleak and dismal but now, as I force myself to live I am seeing my life as a snowdrop, new and fresh and just the start of a brighter future which holds all sorts of things, bright days just like the Daffodils will bring. Perhaps. Again, I don’t know this but it makes sense. Hope is all around us we just need to open our eyes to see it.

Goodnight to you, I hope you sleep well, I know I will as writing this has made me think and I realise, life is coming good again, I am happy and am happy to be happy, Why my life is like this still makes me sad (ie losing Steve), but I cant change that so I am happy for my family, for my friends and for the hope I have for the future. I am happy to smile for Steve and for myself.

Until next time xxx

Monday, 27 February 2012

A slow news day

Tonight I'm trying different way write my blog. Tonight I am trying the Dragon dictation app to see if this makes a difference and if it makes blogging a little bit easier or more fun.

It's not as quick as I thought it would be, but it does work so, when I start to write my book then I might use something like this.

Today's been a nice day. after a slow start I washed and polished the car. Then after taking a shower myself I headed out to the shops. I Only bought a few bits but it was nice to get out for a while.

This evening I've had a few things to tend to but now I'm tucked up in bed with a cup of tea its an early night ready for work again tomorrow.

Sorry it's a slow news day I'll write soon, hope you have a great week.

Mark x

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, 26 February 2012

A clean car

Yep, this morning has been car washing time. I love my car when she's clean but sadly so do the cats so it will soon be covered in paw prints!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

and I'm off again...

Well here I am again blogging whilst sat on public transport on the way home from another day out.

Today's trip was planned earlier this week, today though I had company again as I travelled with a friend.

Firstly though before I witter on about this week I'll tell you about the week that's just passed.

Work really has been pretty busy. I've had a few meetings to attend and I also had final plans to put in place for an event I hosted on Friday. It was quite well attended and the feedback was positive too so there's plenty now to do next week at work. I am really exhausted lately though, maybe soon I will take a few days off and do the things for me (and Steve), that I've been too tired to do lately. No plans yet though.

Today was a great day out, I enjoyed being out and about and, today I had company too as a friend came along with me. We meandered through the streets and stopped for brunch before walking along the walls and stopping at a pub for a few scoops of real ale...

After putting the world to rights over a beer we headed for the Train back to Manchester. I'm on the tram now on the last leg of my journey, I'm going to stop off for a bottle of wine on the way home and then relax, snuggled up on the sofa at home.

Oh and before I forget I have to mention I was on the tram this morning sat opposite someone who was either a massive Elvis fan or an Elvis impersonator! Not the good looking GI Elvis but the bloated burger years Elvis, he was in his 50's with unconvincing jet black hair and big lamb chop sideburns. The 2 inch white stripe at the root of his hairline though was very convincing and the 'padding' looked real too. Is this a new retro look u have missed or is he stuck in a time warp? Hmmmmm.

Well that's all for today. This week has been quite a positive one and yesterday I received an message from a reader which really made me smile, thank you. It is so nice to have that two way communication with readers, I really appreciate all the messages I receive.

Well, goodbye for now and till next time.... be good!

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Another trip out...

Well today I have been quite cultural. I started quite early, I was up at 8 am which is not bad seeing as yesterday I had got up at 4am and didn't go to bed until after midnight.

I cooked myself poached egg on toast. A simple breakfast but it's one I really enjoy. Then, it was off to catch the tram to town before catching my connecting train to Liverpool.

I've never been to Liverpool as a tourist, for meetings or business then yes but never recreationally so it was all a bit new.

I know it seems like a rush since I was in Edinburgh yesterday but I had to go today as it was the last day of an exhibition I wanted to see, I was really looking forward To seeing the costumes. Partly to see how mine compared and also as Lily was the only real drag persona I knew of years ago and, she is one of relatively few that have made it to mainstream TV in recent years.

Lily's humour, style and attitude were something I enjoyed and admired. Very different to Bobbie Dazzler but yet similar too, perhaps like a distant cousin or Aunt.

I really enjoyed the exhibition, small as it was but also saw another there. It was by an artist called John Kirby and I really liked it. Yep, it surprised me too as yesterday I said I wasn't really 'in' to art or more specifically paintings. He's a contemporary artist so maybe I just need to find the "genre" of paintings I like.

After that I ended up going for a wander through Liverpool One. I was well chuffed as I managed to get a picture frame I wanted in Debenhams. I'd ordered a crystal frame online to go with two others in the same range I had but they told me they were sold out, I had looked all over, including ebay and none but got two today plus another of a smaller size. Cost £6.60 instead of £22.00, so I managed to get all 3 for less than the cost of one! Bargain!

I'm on the train home again now. I feel like I have had a proper weekend as I've been out and done stuff. I feel happier than I have in a long time and, more importantly I am enjoying my own company more and more. Things is good!

On a closing note I saw a sign today, the sort you hang on your wall at home, it said:
The best things in life are not things at all.
Now, some people don't understand it but, for me this is saying that the best things in life can't be purchased, they are not trinkets or possessions and no amount of money will help. For me the best things in life are love, friendship, happiness and time and like most things each requires an investment but the return is often significantly higher than the investment.

Well that's me, over and out....

Till next time,

Mark x

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, 18 February 2012

The wandering widower is almost home

Well' I'm almost home again, well not home but almost back in Manchester. I've had a lovely day today.

The weather in Edinburgh has been beautiful today, blue skies and sunshine, we did have a snow shower though around the middle of the day but it lasted no more than five minutes and then it was sunny again. Odd but hey, thats Scotland.

When I arrived this morning I went to Jenners for a Scottish breakfast to set me up for the day and then set off having a wander around. I even made time to go to the Scottish National Gallery, nice paintings but I decided there that paintings are not my kind of art. I can appreciate the work involved but it just doesn't "turn me on". Each to their own and it's not for me.

I wandered up to the Castle, the Royal Mile was as busy as ever and full of the usual characters, artisans stalls and tourists, (like me). I visited some usual haunts and some new ones and got some ideas too for some craft projects I have in mind.

I finished the day in the tea rooms in the shadow of Scot Monument for a brew before going for the train. The trains today have been great, all on time and no complaints at all so right now I am a happy chappie.

I'll soon be at Manchester so will post this and pack my stuff up.

Until next time,

Mark x

The wandering widower wanders again

Here we are again the wandering widower on the wander again. Today it's back to Edinburgh.

It's been a funny sort of week, I've done a lot of thinking and and not a lot of anything else really. I got through Valentines day pretty unscathed. It was just another day. My work this week has been much the same as usual where I feel like I am trudging through mud, not because it's difficult work but more because I still don't feel up to speed with everything, it's just not the same as it used to be but then I wonder will it ever be the same again?

In saying all that I do feel better for going out for a few hours last night, there was something I needed to get off my mind and I did that and now I feel somewhat free. I'm able to carry on making progress on this journey of grief, and self discovery and of course new beginnings.

What will the future hold? Who knows, but either way I'll face up to it in the way I do. Back to today though, I have no agenda for Edinburgh. There is nothing I need to buy, nowhere I need to go and nothing I need to see so I will decide once I am off the train in Edinburgh at 9.25 this morning, perhaps I will go in search of the three legged haggis?

Well that's about all for me so far, I may write more on the way home but until then enjoy your Saturday


Sent from my iPad

Monday, 13 February 2012

Valentines Day

It's odd.  The anniversaries seem to come around quickly now.  It's just one year ago today, 13th Feb since we went to stay with Jacqui on her narrowboat in Norfolk before going on to spend a few days with Jayne & Ray and see my Sister and Brother In Law.

We set off on a Sunday and, with the radio on we chatted, laughed, joked and sang all the way there.  On the radio that morning though, a song came on which stopped me in my tracks.  have a listen, (Listen Here) it just said everything at that time and hearing it now is still difficult for me.  I cant believe how different things are right now, and things don't seem to be getting easier.  See here what Steve said about it.

Tomorrow is Valentines Day, there's love all around, red hearts, red roses and a plethora of icky sicky sweet cards.  I was/am probably more romantic than Steve but his way of showing love was special to him.  He always made me smile.  Until he met me he was quite reserved about saying the "L" word, but with me he was different.  I miss that.  Plenty of people still tell me they love me and I know they do but it's not the same.  what I shared with Steve was different to anything I have experienced before and is probably different to anything I will experience in the future.

That brings me on to my future.  I've been thinking a lot lately and the truth is that I have not reached any conclusions.  I have looked at things in my life right now and looked at how I would like my future to look.  I don't know how it will be exactly but I know I just want an honest and quiet life and I want to share happy times with family and friends.  I've thought about friends I've lost touch with and about those who I see regularly, those that are close and those that are far away and I realise some seem to harbour their own agendas.  Some friends make me feel happy just by being there and others leave me wondering what their agenda is, whether there is a sub text or whether I am just a "friend" to make them feel good about themselves. 

This reminded me of one of Steve's pet hates, he was very good at seeing these things and would let it pass unmentioned for a long time before he'd snap and do something about it, like the friend who liked to introduce him as "My Gay friend Steve" like he was some sort of accessory, of course we became almost like premium accessories when we became civil partners..... people eh.

Well there isn't much else for me to rant about here.  As for Valentines day I hope you are lucky enough to spend it with someone you care about and who cares about you and if like me, your Valentine is somewhere else then cherish your yesterday, dream your tomorrow but live your today.

xxx Mark xxx

Tuesday, 7 February 2012


Yes, I am feeling VERY guilty, sorry readers for my absence, it's not that I don't love you but I have really not felt up to writing.  I'm not sure if it's the introspection I have a sub conscious avoidance of or just time at the PC after spending all day at a PC.

Since I wrote last a lot has happened.  On Friday 30th January my Grandfather passed away.  He was 87.  I have a lot of personal thoughts on this but I will keep them just that, personal.  I am sure you will understand but obviously his passing has rekindled a lot of feelings I had tried to put aside although on the other hand it reminds me how cruel life is, he was 87 and enjoyed a full life.  The funeral is on Thursday this week so I'll be making the 500+ mile round trip for that.  Its the end of an era, a lost generation and now it means, like many people my age, I have no surviving grandparents.  It's a tough time.

There are or have been other bits of things happening over the past few weeks but nothing that sticks in my mind.  London was my last jaunt and Edinburgh will be my next. 

I was out last Sunday though taking pictures in the snow, an excuse to get out I guess.  Before I go tonight, as this really is just a short catch up, I just wanted to mention a change I made to Stephens website.  A friend of ours, Nick has written a piece about his memories of Steve,  feel free to download and read his thoughts on his "First Gay Best Friend" on the following page:

Feel free to leave your comments on that page or this and I'll write soon.

xxx Mark xxx