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Preview: Diary of a Misanthrope

Diary of a Misanthrope

Updated: 2016-12-31T10:56:56.355+00:00


Where I acknowledge paradise


I'm sat on a bus heading for Lima. It's 90 minutes of noise, random potholes and insufferable heat. I'm going through this one more time before I go home. I am literally leaving paradise to face my destiny in England. 

I left the UK a long time ago in search of...well, in all honesty I was running away. From life and responsibility; justice and my past. I didn't acknowledge it at the time but apparently I was looking for somewhere to call home. Somewhere I could imagine living for ever, where I could be ethical and free, where I wouldn't be judged or condemned for the sometimes bafflingly bizarre decisions I make; where I'd be accepted.

InanItah came close. So close. But ultimately there was too much partying for me. So I left. And eventually found the Hari Krishnas. I initially stayed at a farm in Ecuador, deep in a cloud valley, surrounded by hills and trees. And cloud. Much cloud. And rain and cold. It was beautiful. Hey had a farm and i spent days shaving trees. The people were lovely but I didn't learn a lot because nobody spoke English. Damn them. They were patient though and I struggled through. Until I got Ill from being cold so I ran away like I had something deadly. I went to the nearest town and bought copious clothes and antibiotics.

Upon entering Peru a few weeks later I looked up similar places and found Eco Truly Park. Go look it up.

The Hari Krishnas live on the beach in strange egg shaped buildings, eating (at worst) vegetarian and pretty much living to the motto "do what makes you happy". Again, i farmed. I also carried a lot of bricks, had campfires on the beach, helped build (paint) a park for children and killed (weeded) a lot of weeds (probably perfectly viable food). I was home. I even learned  to love and appreciate physical exercise. I taught Tae Bo and went for two hour beach walks without a thought. I'm fitter than I've ever been! I've stayed for three months because I found it hard to leave but unlike InanItah it's not because I was scared to leave - its because I liked it so much. I'm waaaay over my Peruvian visa but I've been assured that won't be a problem at the airport; I may just need to pay $1 for everyday I'm over. I can imagine living at Eco Truly quite happily for the rest of my life. No drugs, no drink, no caffeine, no stress, good work, healthy food, a steady of influx of likeminded very cool travellers, a lot of yoga...what's not to love? It's a pity they want you to pay to stay or I may never have left. Maybe that's not such a bad thing. Because I now get to have a warm shower.

I'm closing down this blog as of now. I'm changing the password to something I'll never remember and leaving it behind. This is for two reasons: 1) it represents the past and I don't dwell there any longer; I've moved on and 2) the name 'misanthropiste' no longer fits with who I am. I'm still cynical AKA realistic but I can see the positives now in who we are as a species. There is good out there - I know; I've met them.

Thanks to everyone who ever read my often insane ramblings. Thanks to everyone who commented. I love you all. Even you. It's one of the Krishna teachings - love your enemy (subtext: cuz he's just as fucked up as you are). 


In which I refer to the last blog


So a few days ago I blogged some questions that I'd like to know the answers to. Some people took exception to that. Go read it and the comments. I'll wait....and you're back in the room. Shit ensued on Facebook. Hurrah! Well, not so much.Despite everyone seeming to not read what I wrote but assume what it said based on my tamblings over the years and all the letters I wrote over the years(which I acknowledged in the post)...I can't remember where I was going with this sentence. It got too long. So, off on a tangent we go-An interesting point was made, or at least a question came up for me: is it bitter to have questions that you want answered about past events? Obviously given the post and others I've made I don't think it is. Is it possible others see the questions as bitterness because of judgement? Absolutely yes. Is it possible I am actually bitter? Tougher answer.I feel authentic to say it feels it's hard to imagine how I couldn't have been bitter at one point. Isn't it only natural? Go through what we see as shit, we resent it - natural, right? Especially at those we see as helping to perpetrate it. This raises a further question: am I still bitter? The argument on Facebook made me realise I still have negative feelings toward certain people. I saw comments and assumed they were directed at me; whether they were or not the feeling was there. I thought I'd lost the judgement and gained lack of judgement - perhaps I was wrong. Maybe there's room to work on there. Maybe it's anger. Maybe it isn't. But it's mine to hold. It's my right to have it. I don't tell people how to live their lives; I don't tell them not to dwell on their past. Freedom of choice is sacrosanct. Maybe people don't like hearing what I see as the truth - I challenged two of them to present to me examples of where I did what they said and I still welcome them to do so. I was told I've not changed. Really?? Have they actually spoken to me? Of course they haven't. I just had to look up the definition of 'bitter' as I heard myself being it. I was right up above: resentful; intense antagonism; hostility. The latter two I heard all day today from Facebook and the comments here. Do I feel it? I feel defensive. I feel judged.  The reasons for my actions are assumed and, as ever, not asked for. They're told to me. That's what I resent. I can live with knowing my letters caused harm. I knew they would when I sent them; it's half the reason I did. I'm not stupid. But I don't like being told why I did it and I don't like being condescended to by being told of their repercussions.or told my motivations especially when they're guessed at and got so catastrophically tragically wrong.Anonymous said:"do you seriously expect people to just forget the evil and vile things you have written to them in the past just because YOU decided you wanted them back in your life."Not at all. But I don't know who this refers to. Or why it would refer to anyone to be honest. I wrote to my sister expressing feeling. She replied in a way that pleased me to my core. Has she expressed resentment for me doing so? Because that's not the impression I get. Someone is being disingenuous. Or not clear."Even so, they did let you back into their lives and their home didn't they but to everyone around it just seemed like you wanted to cause as much trouble as possible between the family."Nope. I'm not following. Who has let me back into their lives? Ae we talking about Pete? What evil and vile things did I write to him? I wrote him some letters before I got married which culminated with me inviting him. We then had an 8 year relationship. Surely if it was based on "evil and vile" letters the issue might have been raised at some point. By someone. What trouble did I cause? I be t over backwards to be accommodating. Or so I thought. Be as vague as you want but without specifics it's kind of hard to answer charges."You weren't the nicest of people Jamie"This I agree with. There were reasons nobody seems to give a shit about but I agree. Does this mean we[...]

A few questions that I need to know


I've got a lot of closure these past three years. I've learned a lot; about myself, others, relationships, food...but there are some things I'd still like to know. I still feel attached to knowing:How did I get the scar on my leg?So there's a scar on my calf. I've had it for years and years. It's about 9 cms in length and 2 wide and points downward. According to my mum, who I've asked this question on numerous times, it "got caught in a door". How? It seems to me entirely infeasible to get a scar in that orientation from a door but she's always refused to elaborate. Despite host feel about her I'm still willing to give her the benefit of the doubt because it's hard to quantify that she was physically abusive. If you have a possible answer please let me know.What did I do to Linda?My stepmother at one point when I was living with her and my father fell apart crying and screaming and threw me out. I think I've documented this before. Go find it. What did I do? I've asked different family members at different times but they're a) not willing to tell me (weak) b) not willing to ask her (highly likely) or c) she's not willing to communicate what it was because it was so god awful terrible. I'd know wouldn't I if that was the case? I know I've blanked out a lot of stuff from that point in my life but still...How would my life have been different if I'd said 'yes'?So I'm 15. Never had a girlfriend. A girl two years below me liked me. She told me. She told me by cornering me in the science block and demanding to be my girlfriend. I said no. What the fuck, Jay?!? She asked me to meet her after school BEHIND THE SCIENCE BLOCK. I said no. What the fuckity fuck, you stupid twunt? Why would you say no?? Well, I was terrified. I had no idea what to do if she...well I didn't know what she'd do to be honest. AND NOW WE'LL NEVER KNOW. I could've had my first kiss. A tug. A BLOWIE! My confidence could've taken a major boost, I could've grown sexually, I'd've learned what to do with this bit of flesh between my legs...Why do people not reply to the letters I write?I've written various letters over the past few years to people from my past, either to clear the air, air a grievance, or to rip them to shreds. I'm not sorry about any of them but I do regret one of them. Only two people have ever bothered responding. To be quite honest I wasn't expecting a reply, I was so full of self righteous judgement, and what I got back both times was mature, spoken from the heart, surprising depth. Both times I realized I'd maligned these people for years. One of the other letters was very sensible - I know. A friend approved it. One was deeply personal, heartfelt and heartbreaking to write and a follow up quite caustically mean. What reaction did they cause? Was a reply ever going to come?What happened when I was 13?Something happened. I was in my room. Angry. So very, very angry. I had my music turned up just loud enough to deny being able to hear my mum shouting me for dinner. Which she did. And it made me angrier. She just kept shouting and shouting...wouldn't it be more sensible after awhile to either stop shouting or climb up the two flights of stairs? Save your voice, woman. But what made me angry? I wish I knew. That was the year I changed. It was the year the anger started. I went home from school at the start of the holidays a quiet, timid, precocious youngster. I went back defensive, trying to be funny to deflect the crap around me, nervous. And angry. The anger was there. Starting. Building. What. Happened.What could I have been?As I said, I was precocious. World at my feet. Options abounded. And then one day I gave up. I decided not to go to university. I accepted a shitty job I hated. I did it for six years. I married a woman out of desperation. We were together eight very long years. I got depression. Things got bad. Shit got real. Where would I be right now if I'd given a shit? If I'd had ambition? Or courage?There are others but these are top of the tree. Answers on a postcard.href="h[...]

An apology and explanation of how I came to need to make it


To everyone I've met or talked to the past three years - I'm sorry. I lied to you by omission. Some of you gave me hope and helped pull me through the hell I was in; some proved that people aren't as shit as I'd always thought; that neither was I. And some were simply wonderful. We chatted, we talked, we laughed and cried. We shared secrets and spent much time together. And yet you might not have done if I'd been honest. I removed your choice of deciding who I really was, I impacted negatively upon you by withholding a vital piece of information and for that, I apologise. Three years ago I was in a bad way to say the least. I thought I was insane, I may actually have been. I was consumed by anger and fear. Anger at past injustices, fear at the future and controlled by a need to be loved. I was suicidally depressed and without a hope. And then I saw a way out and took it: I went traveling. I absolved myself of all responsibility and ran away. I didnt know I was looking for something at the time. I was looking for me, the me I was happy with and to be. I found myself in Indonesia and met a German woman called Elena. I offloaded a lot of shit and she gave me a book: When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön. Just the act of someone giving me a book wowed me! Who is this stranger to do something so touching? I thought it looked like so much self-help bollocks and kind of dismissed it but I started reading it and something clicked inside. It resonated. Finally someone was telling me things can be alright, that it's OK to just be ourselves and most importantly to "Abandon Hope". That's it. It's that simple. Give up expecting things to change and just accept what is. I walked out of there changed in a fundamental way. I started looking at things afresh, with a new perspective. I found myself accepting other people for who they were - becoming tolerant for God's sake! I promised to read it everyday it shook me up that much. I broke that promise because at a later point I met somebody who also seemed to be in need of it. I like to think its slowly working its way around the world... After a whole series of adventures I got to InanItah (go read my previous blogs on the subject but let's just say I changed massively). When I say 'a whole series of adventures' a lot of things had to happen in a certain way, at a certain time, for me to arrive at this random place I'd never heard of on a specific date. It was almost enough to make me believe in a higher power. But not quite. While I was there I read Marshall Rosenberg's Non-Violent Communication and it put me in touch with me. I was suddenly able to ask myself what it was I wanted and to actually have a conversation without being bored to fucking tears. I was able to listen! The conversations I had were qualitatively so much better. I learned not to judge and accept other peoples judgments of me were theirs to hold, not mine. How had nobody explained this to me before? And I recently read Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now, most of which actually is bollocks IMO. Lots of people have recommended it to me in the past but I resisted until I met a lovely woman called Leticia. She was so in touch with herself and the basic lesson is just to exist, here, and now. Don't worry about tomorrow, the next five minutes or even ten seconds time. What is happening NOW? These three books are what I needed three years ago. I didn't need lots of people telling me to pick myself up, or sighs of exasperation, or being put under more and more pressure. There were many times I just needed someone to talk to without judging me. There was a time when I was still on crutches I stormed out of the house when it was snowing and i was wearing not a lot. I needed someone to come after me and tell me it was alright; I didn't need to find my own way home, spend two hours in bed uncontrollably shivering, and get divorce papers a few days lat[...]

Honey and salt


For a given deginition of 'steal' I steal toothpaste. If I see it lying unused and forgotten in a hostel shower it finds its way into my natty little washing bag, which, by chance, I also happened upon on a bathroom surf. It was in the bin and woul'dve gone to landfill. This is bad. Do some research on plastics, read The World Without Us, and tell me you don't hate the idea of every bit of petrochemical product you see lying around and still being there in 100,000 years. Where you and I might differ though is that I like to do something with those feelings. I feel disdain and contempt for humanity as a whole at we what we do to the world, this rock we live on, and am glad I won't be around in a hundred years. Perversely I wish I were around in a thousand years to see what science fiction world Earth is populated by. I'm trying to limit my impact on the world; everyday is a battle with my ethics. It's not easy and I sometimes fail but I try and that, to me, is what matters. What drives me most is the stupidity of the arguments put forward in favour of things I abhor. I try not to live in judgement and allow others the freedom of choice I demand in return but dear god some people and their actions are vile. I was recently in Bogotá. It's a nice place, I enjoyed it. About an hour away is a monument to sculpture. Some people decided it'd be a good idea to carve out religious iconography and make a huge salt mine into a cathedral. It's beautiful. Good work, team. At the end you watch a video and this video explains there's a huge salt mining operation going on all the time. They're basically carving out the mountain in long sections just so you you can have salt on your chips. Now I don't add salt to my food; I think it's disgusting stuff, it adds nothing nutritious (Yes, you need salt in your diet but hey! It's already in bloody food - have an orange) and the effort isn't worth the result (carbon footprints, cost etc) but each to their own. We all kill the planet and ourselves in our own special way. I've taken a large number of flights; the shortest flight used more fuel than you ever will in your car. Maybe. But it's all fine. Except the mine people have come up with a new way to remove the salt. How they used to do it hundreds of years ago, in a way that made sense, was cheap and was ethical, is they let sea water form a lake, waited a bit, the water evaporated, and hey presto, lots of salt was left behind. Now, they've realised they can fire water at the mountain (oversimplified for the over simple) and it'll dissolve the salt. And to do this they're using fresh water. Fresh water? Are they insane?There's only so much to go around. People are dying of thirst right now and you're using a precious commodity just so someone can dull their taste buds? I think it's fucking immoral and if you can read that and not be affected by it then you're....not being judged by me. However, if you exist in certain corners of the internet however and eat honey that's a different story. See, I've become a vegan. I was vegetarian for awhile and felt I should be vegan. I felt bad every time I ate an egg. I felt I was a hypocrite. All the chemicals that go into the meat, all the bad practices still affect the eggs and milk. But I liked ice cream too much. I felt I'd be punishing myself too much. But last week I decided to give it a go. I'm doing quite well. Helped by the fact I rarely bought cheese, milk and eggs anyway (expensive and unnecessary). It's hard when you're offered free eggs for breakfast and walking past all the fucking cake shops in Colombia is hell but I'm coping. Also, while I'm waking down far fewer aisles in the supermarket, the amount of time I'm there has increased - never have so many packets been scrutinised in such detail by so few for the sake of a few chickens. But I[...]

Answers on a postcard


I'm sat on a very cold eighteen hour bus on my way to Bogota. We've been sat stationery for two hours, there are random films playing (an over abundance of one of the Wahlbergs is evident) in very loud Spanish and I'm talking to a five year old girl. I'm heading to a free rock concert (there was a two hour delay at this point so the young girl could dominate my ipad and play mahjong. Sticky fingers! I manfully liberated it. Eventually.) for a few days in all betrayal of my travelling principles and heading completely off track just to do it. I could've flown for fifty pounds more and been there by now - the bus is moving! Hurrah! 8pm....dear god. I started at two. Anyway... As I may have mentioned I'm in Colombia. Allow me to be verbose on the ways of Colombia. The women are stunning (I should leave ASAP as at some point I'm going to make a mistake and/or be drunk enough to talk to one of the ones who are possibly....underage - save me, someone! I've not heard stories of Colombian prisons but I can imagine. Suffice to say they start looking stunning at 'a' tender age and I don't know what that age is. It's scary). The food is pretty shit; most of it is fried and being vegetarian is difficult - everyday is pretty much rice, beans, eggs and's like they don't have fruit and vegetables fucking everywhere. If I shop and cook for myself I can get nutritionalised to the max but you just can't buy it in a bloody restaurant. Unless you want juice cuz then you're on to a winner. I had Zapote juice the other day. Not had Zapote since early days at InanItah. It was bloody lovely. The weather is a touch too hot and the Sun burns its way through my skull like a fucking lance every day but I'm having much fun. I just spent a few days at the far northern point of South America and it was stunning. It's basically desert and very few people live there. Awesomeness. To get to the actual northernmost point according to the Lonely Planet is 'almost impossible to get to independently'. Yes, it is but not for the reasons they give. Settle down, kids. It's story time. Before I got to where we got I wanted to go to Puntz Gallinas directly but met some other travellers who advised us to go to Cabo de la Vela via Cuatrovias (effectively a crossroads, a fact I should've picked up on from the name...). So we get to Cabo and while it's nice it's not quite the lonely place I wanted to get to. I wanted and expected a lonely house on a peninsula, me, a family and their house on a beach on the edge of the desert. It was nice but the town was still all hospedajes and restaurants. So we walked to the edge of town and convinced a house owner to let us sleep in his house in hammocks. It was awesome. Look through any hole in the bamboo and all you could see was orange sand or the mountains. Beautifulness. Everybody, us and the family, slept in the same bamboo room, forty metres from the beach. Simple, rustic, and lovely. Day 1 Not a lot happened. It wasn't that kind off place. But I did find a that would take me to PG for 150,000 pesos or about £50. Now in the grand scheme of things that's not a lot of money; I've paid more for far less. You get a car for an hour, a boat for two and a half, there and back. You can stay as long as you want. Accommodation and food is extra but there are sixty metre high sand dunes to look at. And, randomly, flamingos. I said I'd think about it. See, when you're used to paying £4 for accommodation £50 goes a long way. Yo pienso.... We go to sleep... [915 and the bus is finally moving. That £50 for the flight might have been worth it.] Day 2 ....Until some point in the morning while it's still dark and the gallo (rooster) kicks off. For I don't know how long. Sometimes it's outside, sometimes it's inside and [...]

No intiendo


I entered Costa Rica yesterday and not in a biblical way.

Getting to and through the border was a piece of piss. My travelling partner decided to haggle on the Nicaraguan side for a bus ticket while I, being of the mental persuasion, thought I'd wait to see what the other side had to offer. Chaos. It had to offer chaos. (But i did save two dollars so: win). Of course, if I spoke more than a few words of Spanish, if I'd learned more than 'que?' in the last seven months in central America it would have helped but hey, I'm English, why would I learn languages?

Me (pointing at a random bus): Monteverde?

Dude: no. (lots of Spanish)

Other dude: (lots of Spanish and pointing)

Me: this bus? Monteverde? Si?

And I got on a random bus. I took what he said to mean "we're going to San Jose and we'll drop you at the junction" because as I'm sure you know Monteverde is just off the Interamericana that everyone and his dad has to drive of they're going anywhere. The bus pulls off within two minutes of me being on it. 'Cool' I think, 'good timing'.

We drive, and drive, and drive....and I start wondering....have we passed it? Maybe the driver has forgotten do I ask...? Aha! We're pulling into services!

"Cuanto tempo...connexion....Monteverde?"

"Spanish Spanish vente minutos Spanish aqui"

Twenty minutes, here....connection is here in twenty minutes? Ok. Off I get expecting him to get my bag off the bus. He doesn't; he goes for something to eat. On we all get, I walk past him and half expect him to tell me to get off again. He doesn't and the bus pulls off.

Somewhere down the road we go past a sign saying 'Monteverde 35km' to the left. And the bus continues. Hold on, I think.....maybe he's forgotten. Again. Awhile later....the bus stops and he tells me to get off. Where the fuck am I?

'Spanish Spanish aqui'

'Cuanto tiempo?'



I wait.....and five minutes later the Monteverde bus pulls in.

From this I have learned:

1) I wish I knew more Spanish

2) I'm worried for going forward

3) People understand me more than I understand them

Incidentally Monteverse is much warmer than I was told to expect. Not hot mind you. I still get to wear one of my new one cordoba/four US cent second hand cold weather clothes and I look rather snazzy in my red turtle neck sweater. But it's too hilly to run, the floor is concrete and it's too cold for yoga. I'll hike later to make up for it. I'm waiting for breakfast to start; such is the curse of getting up early.

Au revoir, InanItah


Tomorrow, I leave my home. I've been on the farm known as InanItah for five months, almost to the day, and the time has come to leave. It's been a hell of a journey. I arrived not knowing the place existed. I met a woman as I was leaving Managua's only hostel one random morning and we were both walking to the bus station together. I was headed to Granada and she started talking about this place. I thought it sounded massively hippy. Go see my blogpost on the subject. I arrived and was welcomed in the warmest possible way. I felt embraced, spiritually and physically, in ways I never had before, and as I came to realise with InanItah's help it was what I'd been searching for all this time. Staying here there are various never uttered and never expressed unwritten rules: this is a place of support; a place of non-judgement, growth and learning; freedom of expression is paramount and inspiration respected. We do yoga and meditation most days, camp on a hill, in the midst of two volcanos, on an island in a lake and live the most environmentally friendly lifestyle we choose to live. How individuals interpret that is down to personal karma. We do fulfilling work in the shape of gardening, chopping firewood, cooking and cleaning. And it feels amazing. To live so simply, away from the stress of the western world, where there's never any blame, when you can put your hand up and say 'I don't want to do that today. I want to go sit in a field and think for a bit": it's so fucking emancipating. I'm not the same person as when I arrived. I was harsh, yearning for affection and someone to cuddle, I wanted to be the funny guy, in fact I was desperate for it, I needed someone to give me a cuddle and just hold me forever and tell me I'm loved, I was mean and uncharitable, I spoke fast and sought control. I still am some of those things but I now see where those things come from: thanks, Mum. When I was younger I needed a hug. Just one and the world would have been alright. I carried resentment forward. I needed support and instead got compared to my sister. I needed a parent and got a disciplinarian. I needed comfort and got criticised. And then I married my mother, in the shape of my ex-wife. And the cycle was repeated. I got so angry. I needed a release. I needed to express the pain I was feeling before I could start getting over it. I was ashamed to need to express my needs; I was scared to say "I need help". InanItah has helped me get over that. Firstly, it was the people. I've met so many wonderful people here. Formerly I couldn't imagine admitting there were wonderful people in the world but it's hard to deny their existence now. There is very little admittance policy here. It is minimal, they let me in after all, so it falls down to other factors of how people make their way here. Either way, the people are amazing. I owe a debt of gratitude to so many people here. This is just a few in no particular order: Richie showed me what it means to actually be free in expression and dream Tahnee made me feel so welcomed on arrival. Her spirit shines on. Jess gave me the tools to be accepted. Big love. Chuck will always be my brother. We have the same issues from different sources and I learned so much from him. He's the little engine that could, did and went on to win all the races. Duncan challenged me: my patience and anger; my understanding of action, thought and deed. I recognise he's my father figure and that's why I'm challenged. Because of him I accept my Dad for who he is. Rachel talked to me of pain and I heard my own. I love you, Rach. Georgia who talked me down from a bad place and showed how I could only hope to have been at 23. As did Iris, Arianna, Sierra and so many others: so much wisdom at such a young age. Danielle who I shared a fearful deep[...]

Problem of the day


I've come to believe that, assuming they existed which they blatantly didn't, Adam and Eve probably deserved to be thrown out of Eden. Given their human nature, humans 1 and 2, respectively, they probably defecated on the tree before going scrumping and then chopped it up to make a life size model of an ant army. Because that's what everyone would do if left to their own devices. God was an idiot to expect anything else quite frankly.

I wonder every day how people get through their lives with the crushing guilt from the shitty way they act to themselves, others, the environment, community, the partners and life in general. I feel guilt for forgetting which bin I should food waste in. How can other people not for throwing cigarette butts willy and nilly? For invading personal space? For wasting food? For invading personal space? It's a concept I struggle with. Always.

But I remain happy. Mostly. I'm happy with me. I'm happy with how I act and that's what matters. My actions are positive. My karma is what I do; your karma is how you act and that's your fucking problem mate. I'm gonna be God in the next life and if I have my way you'll be a new species of dung beetle that can only survive by begging to be allowed to eat human shit. As Batman says, and in these cases Batman should always be referred to for wisdom, crazy violent warmongering vigilante that he is: it's what we do that defines us. Or in my case what we do that makes up for that thing we did but can never actually eclipse it. So, quite literally people are children. People are selfish. People are worthy of being immolated. Is that really how you want to be remembered? Does it make you feel good? It makes me feel like shite so god knows what it does to you.

I realised this morning I'd still be happy to die tomorrow. Three months of enlightened living and I still get sad when I look at the world and try to work out my place in it. Even here where there's little more to worry about than whether today's the day I fall in the compost toilet the overall shitty attitudes of people beggar my belief and makes me wonder why I bother hanging around. Oh, I know: it's so I can see Maccu Piccu. And northern India. And Patra and the pyramids (gonna be shit). In the meantime I look around me and see things that make me sad and despair. Should I distance myself? Should I live the lonely life or should I lower my standards? Maybe I need to stop being so dramatic and accept people aren't perfect. Which is a fallacy because, I am. Obviously.

In which I become a big girl's blouse


So, again, I met this woman. An american this time. And again she's dragged me off to somewhere on the spur of the moment. Where am I? Here:

Quite why I decided to come here I don't know. I hate hippys. They're so smug in their vegan ways; with dreadlocks that....well i domt understand dreadlocks on any level. I think they lookmstupid and dirty. That website just screams tofu and lectures on sustainability. But within 3 minutes I'd decided to tag along. It was in vaguely the right direction so I thought 'fuck it'. It might be good for a laugh.

Except when I arrived it all clicked into place. I've recently been moving toward a greater awareness of meat and where it comes from. I've always thought everybody is an arsehole. I've always got bored really easily and want to move on really quickly. And I take the piss. A lot. But I walked in, not having filled out an application form like you're supposed to, and was greeted with warmth and friendliness. It made me feel a bit uncomfortable if I'm honest but the problem was all mine. It's taking some getting used to: everybody being so bloody nice. And I don't think they're faking it. I'm naturally very suspicious of nice people, it's what comes of being treated like shit for years on end, and all these people do is smile. It's all very Stepford but in a very good way.

We had dinner not long after we arrived last night and everybody joined hands. I was on the verge of objecting to saying prayers but we all went around the table saying what we were thankful for. God wasnt mentioned. It was awesome (I appreciate I sound very wet right now). Nobody smokes. I don't have to sit upwind for a change.

Today, as part of living here for not a lot, I spent two hours watering plants. Later is yoga. Tomorrow, I might help out in the kitchen making food from random stuff found in the garden. I've never just wandered in a garden and picked random leaves to eat. I got very emotional yesterday at all this. I like to think I'm very open minded but having rejected this entire concept for years I don't feel I can say that anymore. Maybe it's just my age. Maybe I'm having a mid-life crisis. But for the first time in a long time I feel like I belong. How long till I fuck it up, eh?

Songs of my life


I have various songs that reflect my mind perfectly. The Closest Thing to Crazy by Katie Melua is one.  It says everything you need to know about my ex-wife and I. Everything here is literal.

How can I think I'm standing strong, 
Yet feel the air beneath my feet? 
How can happiness feel so wrong? 
How can misery feel so sweet? 
How can you let me watch you sleep, 
Then break my dreams the way you do? 
How can I have got in so deep? 
Why did I fall in love with you? 

This is the closest thing to crazy I have ever been 
Feeling twenty-two, acting seventeen, 
This is the nearest thing to crazy I have ever known, 
I was never crazy on my own... 
And now I know that there's a link between the two, 
Being close to craziness and being close to you. 

How can you make me fall apart 
Then break my fall with loving lies? 
It's so easy to break a heart; 
It's so easy to close your eyes. 
How can you treat me like a child 
Yet like a child I yearn for you? 
How can anyone feel so wild? 
How can anyone feel so blue? 


CA on the down low


There's a common factor with my depression: generally it's other people that make me feel shit. It's a feeling of inadequacy, or social ineptitude. A need to stand apart and watch the fun from afar while at the same time a desperate need to take part. It sets up a conflict in my head and I go spiralling around and around and around until something clicks. Today, that something was this:

See, I'd begun to think it was me. All these people in Central America are having fun. If it's me that's miserable then it stands to reason I'm a freak, right? Party capital of the world and all I want to do is sit in a corner and watch TV. It hadn't occurred to me that maybe everyone else was just gobshitingly awful. A version of the worst kind of Essexland (for I know some lovely people from there and wouldn't denigrate all of it): drunken, drugged up, vomit stained, loud and noisy Essex where the aim is to do all of the above 'large'. I hate it.

Sometimes I just want to sit and have a cup of tea. Maybe even a chat. I'm 35. I don't do drinking games anymore. I don't want to talk about the ways I've opened beer bottles. Is it too much to ask to talk about politics? Or the environment? Or the American election?

Why should I be the one to feel excluded? How dare you make me feel the outcast? You're the one exhibiting moronic principals. You're shallow and vacuous. Your greatest achievement in your young life is to have dropped the two most important balls of your life. I forgot this for awhile. It's OK for me not to take part because to take part, and enjoy it, I'd have to drop my IQ by 40 points and not only am I unwilling to do that I actually can't. I've tried. My conversation doesn't dumb down enough for you. I can't get my head around some of the things I'd need to say. It's like I'm talking to my biological sibling. It's good to have standards, don't you think? And my standards tower above yours. I look down upon your standards from my ivory tower and all I see are ants: we're both unknowable to each other but one of us has got the bigger cock.

I don't like your parties. I can never hear what's being said and I suspect it'd bore me to rigor mortis if I did. But just once I'd like to be given the opportunity to know for a fact. It's just that I can't be bothered to find out. I'm already disappointed in you. I'd hate to find out the reality is even worse.

Now it has to be said I've disliked other groups of travellers for other reasons: in India they were smug, in Europe too young. For the best travellers go to Africa. Everywhere I go in Central America, and the places where divers congregate are the worst for they think they're so fucking cool, people treat it like its the last night of legal alcohol and they're mission is to be as loud and obnoxious as possible. Like its Freshers Week ad nauseum. Maybe that's what it is: they remind me of students. I hate them, too.

No doubt you'll make me feel like shit again in the future but for now, by which I mean the next few minutes, I'm happy in my supercilious reverie. So, please fuck off.

Tales from the river


There's a boat. I'm....on it. Lonely Planet, as Lonely Planet tends to do, and which I hadn't at this point realised tends to make everything sound fabulous. I've been to some very crappy places because of them. I literally travelled for an hour in India (distance 3 km) to see a water pool mechanism. It looked like someone's Lego set.

The boat is going between Koblenz and Mainz two very non-descript towns but the boat journey was supposedly epically beautiful. It isn't. It's alright at best. But on this boat were two dudes. One of them looked like Cameron from Modern Family and the other looked like Mitchell. From Modern Family. It was unfuckingcanny.

So we're talking. They're nice guy English types, as opposed to the crappy drunken ones, on holiday for a few weeks touring picturesque parts of Germany. I begin wondering - are they gay? But surpringly for one afflicted with foot in mouth disease I don't ask. I delve deeper instead. It turns out one of them lives in Scotland, the other in London.

Sorry if you were expecting a funny ending, or even an interesting one.

Incidentally, I got stuck in a lift in Germany. I was with a few other people and we were there for 15 minutes. It turned out nobody had pushed the button.*

*stolen from Flight of the Conchords

Songs of My Life


I have various songs that reflect my mind perfectly. Because of You by Kelly Clarkson is one. It describes my childhood and my upbringing perfectly. Thanks, mum.I will not make the same mistakes that you didI will not let myselfCause my heart so much miseryI will not break the way you did,You fell so hardI've learned the hard wayTo never let it get that farBecause of youI never stray too far from the sidewalkBecause of youI learned to play on the safe side so I don't get hurtBecause of youI find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around meBecause of youI am afraidI lose my wayAnd it's not too long before you point it outI cannot cryBecause I know that's weakness in your eyesI'm forced to fakeA smile, a laugh everyday of my lifeMy heart can't possibly breakWhen it wasn't even whole to start withBecause of youI never stray too far from the sidewalkBecause of youI learned to play on the safe side so I don't get hurtBecause of youI find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around meBecause of youI am afraidI watched you dieI heard you cry every night in your sleepI was so youngYou should have known better than to lean on meYou never thought of anyone elseYou just saw your painAnd now I cry in the middle of the nightFor the same damn thingBecause of youI never stray too far from the sidewalkBecause of youI learned to play on the safe side so I don't get hurtBecause of youI try my hardest just to forget everythingBecause of youI don't know how to let anyone else inBecause of youI'm ashamed of my life because it's emptyBecause of youI am afraidBecause of youBecause of youhref=" ">Feed here! href=" ">[...]

What I did in Dangriga


So we're in Dangriga after not making it to Copan. It's party time with the Garifuna. Subsequently, the next day was...slow. But there are buses running all day; we can get a late one because where we're going is just a transit point ie it's shit.

10am we look for breakfast. Sarah wants frijoles and beans. Must have frijoles and beans. We had Chinese. This was eaten during a discussion about Lost (greatest program ever made, fact fans). There were questions raised: what was the horse? Why was Charles ejected from the island? Was Ben really a Capricorn? Let's go back to the hostel and find out!

This we do for the next 3 hours. The bus is at 3:15. It's 2:35. We should probably leave....

Yes. But first we need to find the, I say 'the', ATM because we can't actually pay for the bus with our current funds. The bus station is left. The ATM is to the right. Off we go. Long way this, isn't it? Got cash, walked in the opposite direction, and arrive at the bus station. To see our bus coming out of the gate. Actiongirl Sarah leaps to the fore ie in front of the bus and demands it stop. He won't let us on. Sarah pleads. The bus is full. We don't mind standing. Already people standing. Other travelers already on the bus are laughing at us. Fail.

So we wait 75 minutes for the next one.

There are 3 doors in the terminal in a wall 3 metres long and about 100 Belizeans. Which door....wheres the bus going to come in....could be any of them apparently. Sarah and I had 2 plans, the first of which we played rock, paper, scissors for. I should've warned her how awesome I am at it. I'm, like, the champ. I won! Hurrah! It was to be my duty to clamber my way onto the bus and secure us a seat while she made sure our very heavy bags somehow went underneath the bus. This plan wasn't put into effect because we then decided to stand at different doors and therefore it'd be the first person to get there. Sarah won. I got caught up in a scrum. Ever seen a ruck in Rugby? Brian Moore's got nothing on an old woman from Belize.

I can just about see Sarah being crushed inside the bus and in front of me there are four rows of people still waiting to get on. I begin to wonder if and how I'm going to get on. I glance behind me, where there's nobody, somehow I'm at the back of the scrum despite carrying a huge backpack, and there's a bus 2 lanes away. The sign says its going to the same place but there are only three people getting on it. Umm.....

So off I goes to that bus. Now, some people might've thought 'let's tell Sarah'. Not me. I'm far too practical for that. I'll meet her in Punta Gorda bus station. Its quite clear what my uncommunicated plan is. I gets on the bus and it's almost empty. There's still a scrum for the other bus. Result. I look across and Sarah has a look of wide-eyed panic on her face. It's at this point I the bus I get. Her bus' backdoor is open and as I get there she's on the verge of leaping out.

Remember that bit in Labyrinth? With all the hands? It looked like that.

So I helped a traumatised Sarah onto 'my' bus and all was well. Except for my ears that got a sound thrashing.

Am Dam Virgins


Let's go back, with a wibbly wobbly effect, to the first day of travelling. Ah those virginal (1) halcyon (2) days. As you do when you're going somewhere unknown you book a few nights somewhere to stay, to save you rocking up into the big unknown, a stranger in a strange land and having to find a hostel. Not everywhere speaks the Queen's language dontchaknow. So I booked into the Flying Pig which is next to the Vondelpark. Nice bit of greenery I thought. Splendid. (I was in Amsterdam by the way.) Bad idea. It was so the wrong hostel for me but I'd booked in for five days. Yay. Now, for a certain kind of person it was probably awesome. I'm not knocking the hostel. The staff were friendly, it was clean, they But I'm not 18 anymore which was the average age of the people staying there. I didn't really appreciate the dance techno wank garage music being played during breakfast. I didn't appreciate the absolute obsession with getting high. People enjoy it and that's fine but it's not for me. I have my reasons and I ain't sharing them. Incidentally, the peer pressure to partake can be immense anywhere but I'm strong. I can endure.I did appreciate the level of drinking that went on in the dorm before all the youngsters all pissed off clubbing. I was wasted by that point. Did I have that amount of energy back then? Gawd.Amsterdam itself was lovely. Great city. The people are so friendly, the level of English is better than most of the gobshites in England, great museums, the Heineken brewery, the red light district (nothing sexier than a woman in a window) and more.There was a dude in the hostel. He was English. He was there for 3 days and then going home. The conversation went like this:He gets up out of bed.Me: "alright mate? Where are you off to today?"Him: I'm gonna go downstairs and get high I think.Oh, yeah? What you doing after that? I'll come back to bed for a kip.And that was his entire cycle. For 3 days. Bed. Weed. Bed. Weed. He said it was his way of releiving the stress of his day to day life. Have a wank dude. It sorts me right out. Why go all the way to Amsterdam when you can relieve yourself in the comfort of your own bed?You had the Rijksmuseum 10 minutes to the left, the Van Gogh museum 10 minutes to the right, and amazing shit right out the front door. But no. Let's get off our tits on drugs instead. so much culture, such vibrancy and awesomeness, not to mention how great 'Dam is to cycle around - the cars give way! and it's obscenely flat! - I think it's a crying shame people don't experience it. You may as well just go to Bognor.(1) I've always thought that sounds like it pertains to a woman's lady parts(2) don't know what that means so if I've used it incorrectly points to you for knowinghref=" ">Feed here! href=" ">[...]

A letter to the Lindas


Dear Lindas

What is it with people your age and your names? Perhaps it's hormones raging through your menopausal bodies that make you so fickle. Perhaps you've had enough of treating people nicely and just want to be a bitch. Maybe I did something and now you just don't like me. Let's go with that.

I did my best for you both. I was nice; I put in a huge amount of effort and opened my heart to you only for you to turn around and kick me in the teeth. 

Off one of you I took a great burden. You were happy for it to happen. To then turn around and self-righteously claim it back was wrong. I did nothing you haven't done yourself. Unless I was lied to like everyone else. You're blinded by family loyalty; protecting people through intimidation, lies and secrets is stressful for everybody concerned. I did only one thing wrong in 8 years and yet you use that as the stick to beat me with even though it was a direct result of how I was treated and happened at the end. Do you know the truth, Linda? I'm betting you don't. You either hide it from yourself or you've never been told. If I knew your email address I'd email you. Perhaps I'll write you a letter and explain a few home truths. Your husband is the only decent member of your immediate family and he's blind. Almost literally.

To the other Linda: I did something I don't know what. For that I apologized. Twice. Do you not know what that took? I'm not the kind of guy to apologise. I'm arrogant and stubborn; yet the depth of my feeling was....deep. I sent you a letter that it took you a year to reply to. You didn't answer any of my questions. You barely referred to it, instead exhorting me to do something I'd made clear I didn't want to do. So I sent you another letter which you also haven't replied to in a timely fashion. And yet you say I disrespected you? Maybe it's because I called you mental and unhinged. But hey, I admitted I was too. In case you didn't get it I'll post it here in a few weeks.

I blame you both for a lot of things. Obviously I had a part to play but your actions were so out of proportion it beggars belief. My life took a massive downturn because of you. Shit happened that I cannot forgive. But without you I wouldn't be in Guatemala having the time of my life. So I suppose I should be grateful that you took my life and willingly shredded it despite all the good I've done and the shit I was going through even before you stabbed me in the face with all the knives in the world. Some might have given help but almost in concert you became my nemesises. You saw it your duty to destroy any semblance of life I had. Lucky for me I didn't do anything stupid, eh? Oh. That's right. I did.

Yours in hope you get brutally skullfucked


The Legend of Super Dan


Dan. Dan, Dan, Super Dan.

I met Dan on the jungle trip and he was special. He was more man than you should be able to fit into a normal sized body. Everything he said and did was 100% prime MAN. He was....capable. Whatever needed doing, he was there. He had so much energy the nuclear power industry was jealous.

The things Dan has done:

Climbed trees
Worked in high rise construction
Been in the army
Driven a tank
Carved wood into....things
He can wear pink and still look butch
Juggles fire
Throws a motherfucking machete in the air and catches it
Climbs temples, not up the stairs, but through overgrown jungle when everyone else is dying from exhaustion
Performs surgery on himself
Plays guitar

He has also has a firm grip of history. During a discussion on our respective countries Israel had its turn. To paraphrase: "Israel was started in 1947. In 1953 we went to war. After that we went to war. War reared it's head again. There was a war later. And then....a war. This all ended in 1997 when we went to war."

The annoying thing about Dan was not that he made everyone else feel inferior. It's not that he was so damn unfazeable. He wasn't a big talker so he didn't get on your tits. It's that he's just so damn nice. About everybody. All the fucking time. Sometimes you just wanted him to bitch. Even about the 2 German girls.

At one point we even talked about him having his own range of action figures.

I've not even mentioned his hair. He's like fucking Samson. He's got so much hair, in a tiny space, there should be a gravity well in constant attendance above his head.

But he's not very good at the harmonica, so stitch that, Israeli.

A Wimbawey


This jungle thing's a lark, eh?

So, Sarah said. Fancy a jungle walk to some ruins? Yay, said I, lets do it. And so started six days of hell.

In no certain order it went:

First day failed as there wasn't a guide for us ready some had to sit in a random village all day. Food was tortillas and frijoles. For 4 meals. Random woman sang through a microphone. Badly. And we swam in a river.

Second day was walking. Through mud. More mud than I've ever seen. Ruins. Walking. Complaints from the 2 German girls (henceforth known as Team Silent) that Sarah (henceforth known as Team Awesome) and I were talking too much. And too loudly. And walking too slowly. To be fair that was because we were talking. Total time walking: 8 hours for 27km. Lunch was tuna sandwiches and dinner was....stuff with tortillas.

Third day, we walked. Dan the Israeli talked a lot to the Spanish guide and thus became Team Español (which should technically be Team Castellano but Español is funnier). This left Scott, who was also Johnny, to become Team Johnny. I got a lecture from Team Silent on the correct pronunciation of their name and got told in a shouty type way to "shut up and keep walking". Relations got tense after this and pisstaking became extreme. Much fun was had this day. I still felt good physically but pretty tires now. We'd walked about 7 hours and 30km. It was becoming increasingly clear I was going to hate Dan in his awesomeness. His energy levels were disgusting. As was his capability. Lunch was tuna sandwiches and dinner was stuff with tortillas.

Fourth day we saw the ruins. And sunset. And sunrise. Much climbing was done. Wasn't this supposed to be a rest day? Team Silent were typically silent and spending time amongst themselves. Which was nice. They'd paid $100 more than the rest of us, for less. This made us smug. Which was nice. No mud today. The Dan contingent of Team Español subsetted off into Team Rabbit due to his being like the Duracell Energizer bunny. And also he earned the name Super Dan. Lunch was.... I can't remember to be honest but there were probably tortillas.

Fifth day Team Silent returned and we four were left alone. There was rejoicing. Especially as we kept the cook, Sofia (no team was assigned). There was a four hour walk to essentially pointless ruins but we'd negotiated this for free so, win. Ish. We rested, and this was good as I was starting to feel like shit. The legend of Super Dan was being born. Macaroni cheese for lunch. Fr dinner we each had a piece of fried spam. Go, Sofia!

Sixth day was hell. Hell in a jungle with mud. 9 bastard hours of walking. Distance was kind of irrelevant and nobody could agree on it anyway. Even the Mayans were arguing amongst themselves. A there between 8 and 40 Kim's was mooted. Little talking was done. And it rained overnight making little lakes through which we struggled. No leeches were found but lots of ticks. It goes without saying THAT THERE WERE A MILLION FUCKING MOSQUITOS. Super Dan suggested running the final 30 minutes. He didn't die thus proving looks cant actually kill.

Seventh day was a 3 hour jaunt back to Carmelita where we'd started. In mud and water. Did we want Tortillas and frijoles? Did we? Get fucked.

Funniest thing said by me: why is it raining inside the tent?

I've lost more than my virginity


More than one person has suffered at my hands. I don't do it out of malice; more because I'm a cretin. There used to be a superb TV program called The Mary Whitehouse Experience and on this program was a character called Ray. He was afflicted with a sarcastic tone of voice. Look him up. Maybe he's on YouTube. I'd give a link but a) I'm too lazy and b) I'm on a Guatemalan bus. Space age this ain't. Do you really think I've got wifi? There's another reason but it's kind of to do with this blog.I'm like Ray. I am afflicted. I am afflicted with a comedicly shitty memory. Oh, the important stuff I've forgotten. I met a stranger once. She was lovely. She was the cousin of a friend and I'd been invited to stay at his parents house at the seaside. Quite early into the conversation, some might say too early for me to apply much significance to it and that I'd be quite justified in using that as an excuse, she told me her mum had died about six months earlier. Cool, I thought. Grieving. There might be a chance here.Ten minutes later we're inside and the cousin is joshing with some woman and the dude's parents. Those of you who know me know where this is going. Especially those I've already told the story to."How are you related?" I asked. "Is this your mum?"Tuumbleweeds. Uncomfortable silence. Red faces. I was oblivious.My amnesia has spoilt perfect jobs for me and got me in so much trouble. I've said before that these days all I think about is what I'm eating and where I'm going to be sleeping and that I don't plan. It's because I can't think about much more. I'm going somewhere right now. I haven't any idea what's there. I just know I ticked it when I read it. I'm not exactly Leonard in Memento with his polaroids but at one point I seriously considered it. It was a constant argument with my frustrated ex-wife."Buy a notebook" she'd say"How will that help?""You can write things down. Lists. Ideas and stuff you have to do""Yes but then I'd have to remember to write it down. And remember to check it once I'd written it"I started a diary for this trip. After three weeks I remembered I'd not written a second entry.Having a bad memory also means I lose things. I put them down and forget about them. As soon as they're outside my vision they've gone. I left my iPad in a restaurant the other day. I just got up and walked out. It wasn't until 3 hours later as I wanted to watch some TV I realised it was....somewhere. Where had I been.....? Umm....I'd eaten at some point during the day, surely....I went to the cafe....they had wifi.....let's try there. The waiters can't have had a concept of how much it was worth or I'd never have got it back. It's about 3 years wages for them.Within 3 months of travelling I was on my third iPhone charger. I'm on about my 23rd pair of sunglasses (no, im notvexaggerating. I have a sunglasses budget equivalent to the national debt of Luxembourg). My record is an hour. About to get on a bus and I didn't have a book. I spy a bookshop across the road, take off my sunnies, put them down, pick up a book, pay, get on the bus, bus pulls off, where's my....Then one day I got to Mumbai. The hostel was classic. Toilets you wouldn't want to use, grey beds and flies. So many flies. The pillow on my bed was about the depth of a piece of paper but that was fine. I was carrying a pillow case for this purpose. I'd been carrying it for six months and not used it. Result. I'd considered getting rid of it but this justified the weight. I stuffed it full of clothes, put it under the paper/pillow. Come to check out [...]

An Italian Job


Ahh Naples. I loved Naples. Stunning architecture and outstandingly pretty fountains. All of it was covered in graffiti and I didn't really appreciate how charming it was until I got to the very boring north, but still. I adore it now.However, it's a very stupid place. I spent everyday asking how the Italians ever get anything done. No systems work, no information you ever get is correct and nobody would ever follow any of the guidance they didn't get.I wanted to go to a town about 30 minutes away on a train. This town had a castle which was good enough for me. So I go to the train station, as you do if you want to catch a train. I'd learnt this lesson well.Every station had automatic ticket booths. This was awesome as I had to have very little do with the locals who spoke a form of gibberish. It certainly wasn't like any English I'd ever heard. Except the machine wouldn't give me a ticket. Why?? I looked at the queue for the ticket office. It was long. I queued for 30 minutes."Tecketo to castle-o, pleaseia""No""No?""No. Outside."At this Pint I could make this a very short story and you'll see why later but this is my blog and I don't feel you'll feel like you're getting your money's worth by a short story.I go outside. There's a shop with a sign saying tickets. I queue for 10 minutes."Tecketo to castle-o, pleaseia""No""No?""No. Outside.""I've just been outside. YOU are outside""Outside"I go outside. There's another shop with another sign saying tickets. I queue for another ten minutes. I'd got to the station at 10 and thought I'd be on a train by 1020 at the latest. It's nearly 11. "Tecketo to castle-o, pleaseia""No""No?""No. Outside.""What?? This country is pissing stupid"I go outside. And as I look around properly, never my first option on the first attempt of doing anything, I see there are five or six of these little shops all with a simple sign saying 'tickets'. No sign saying what tickets they actually sell just "tickets". So I go bouncing around this train station like a pinball. Tommy had nothing on me.It was only when I got on the train I discovered and realised I could've bought my ticket ON THE TRAIN. I spent longer buying the ticket than I did at the castle. But it was cool.And if this was the only time this had happened it would, by definition, be an isolated incident. But, predictably, it wasn't.I was on Sicily, architecture, fountains etc graffiti etc and wanting to go to Vulcano, a glorious island with a particular feature. Any guesses?So I get to the ferry point at 12 and go strait to tourist information. "What time I'd the ferry?""330 down there". Points."Ooh, time to waste. Let's go find tea"I wasn't talking to myself. I was with two Dutch women who played to type and paid for their own tea.3pm comes, they go their way in their car, and I walks to the big building that says 'tickets'."Ticketo, Vulcano, pleaseia""No." Points down the dock. I see nothing."Really?"Off I go. I'm following a chain link fence to a prtacabin. There are various boats. You might've guessed that bit. There's a security guard at the gate stood mooching around the portacabin."Vulcano?""No". Points back the way I've come. I walk back. Maybe I missed it. It's been known. Nope. Nothing. I've missed the ferry but that's fine. I was told there was another one at 6. So I wander up and down this dock. Nothing. I go back to th ticket office. He noise it's down here. I go back to the security guard. There's been a shift change. New guard!"Vulcano. Where? Pleaseia" I was ready to dra[...]



You know that thing when friends don't act the way you want them to? When they do something? Something you don't appreciate? Or like? That.

I'm evaluating certain things. Some changes are going to happen. Hard decisions will have to be made but they will be made. Cuz quite frankly I give up. Too many times people have acted contrary to what I need. It's not necessarily their fault; I'm a hard guy to please. Some people you think would know. And care. It can't be that hard, surely?

What's mine is mine


AKA where I write like I'm Richard Littlejohn I like my money. It helps me buy stuff. It lets me live the way I want to. So why should I give it away? When did that become a good idea? I don't mean to charity; there are at least 3 good charities out there that if I were feeling generous I might consider giving a pound to. Amnesty International is one. I'd have to think about the other 2. Most charities are pointless and don't serve any common good. Make A Wish Foundation? Just because a kid has cancer doesn't make him or her. Ore deserving of a trip to Disney. I hated my childhood, I had years of psychological abuse and felt like shit oat of the time, but did I get an all expenses trip to see a pederastical (w mouse? Let's call that child brave. On the same sliding scale where does a broken bone come? Or a cold? Isn't it braver to look after your dying mum than just contract a disease? Braver to run into a burning building than succumb to a genetic mutation? Who decides these things? They should get the medal for their piousness and sleepless nights spent wondering if they've done the right thing in denying Jonny, the kid who ran a marathon to raise money for the local drunk to buy vodka, over Marie, the girl who got a lymphoma? It's three words! Anybody who gets anything in three words shouldn't get a holiday. Give her a mars bar! Let her live her remaining days in sugarific splendour! Immerse her in a bath of chocolate - the effect will last longer.But don't give a mars bar to the homeless drunk buying vodka. Don't give him anything. He's made that choice. Go get a job you scruffy, smelly git. Where did you get the string from to tie the dog up with? I see the label for Poundstretcher! You've obviously got a fortune stashed away somewhere so don't bother me. Actually, move away. I actually tried to buy food for one once. He turned it down and demanded I go buy him a beer instead. What? I'm not volunteering your liver for suicide, dude. Use your brains. You should be maximising the calories. Ask for Couscous! And a gas heater with water. It's the best food for when you want to eat a million of something! I'd respect you more if I saw less food in dumpsters. Every second it's in there is a second you're proving yourself lazy. How can you be hungry when there's food going spare in the local bin? Nice half bag of chips there. With curry sauce. Yum. I'd pay a lot for that right now. And you want it for free? Workshy tosser.And yet. Both of these groups are considerably more deserving of my money than people that work in restaurants and bars. Tipping? For bringing me a beer? Work hard on that did you? Long way to the fridge is it? Ooh you've walked a long way today? Unlike the street cleaner? Or the bobby on the beat? Or the countless thousands working in factories? Or warehouses? Or other people doing low paid, shitty work? Oh, you're paid minimum wage? Boo fucking hoo. Lots of people are! They can't move jobs just like you don't want to. You know that book you read last? That 700 page opus? How long do you think it took the author to write? And you only spent £5.99 on it?! You wanker! Would you consider popping a cheque for another few quid in the post if the author was stupid enough to put his address on the back? Maybe he could use a PO BOX? Personally I've always wondered how you go about getting one of those and would [...]

Stories from a crappy childhood


Stories from a crappy childhood

So I being my first girlfriend home. I' my....teens? Somewhere.

Her name was Loretta and lived a few streets away. We went out for at least 2 days but it all fizzled out due to me not having a clue what to do. We almost kissed. I was walking her home and my 'mate' Sammy tagged along. Cock. He stood staring there while I said goodbye making it impossible to lean in for a smooch.

So, this one day I, for some probably very stupid reason, brought her home. My mum knew her. It was no big secret. We're stood in the back room. We were proper worming class, like. None of this fancy 'parlor' rubbish. That's the front room, it's at the front. That's the back room, it' get the picture.

"Hey Loretta" my mum says "come look at this".

Loretta saunters over and my mum gets out one of my schoolbooks.

"See that Loretta? His handwriting's rubbish, innit?"

I burn up.

Now, my handwriting was shocking and still is. The advent of computer didn't help and it's not lie,ly to get better with my iPad. Holding a pen is so alien now. I'd get home from a long day at college and spend a few hours re-writing all my notes. I'd spend a large part of that deciphering them. Even then some of it was...illegible at best.

Loretta, embarrassed, leaves.

"you like embarrassing me, don't you?" I ask.

"I'm only doing it for your own good" she says.

Aww. She cared.

Sorry, Gran


Dear GranIm a big one for telling the truth and being honest. I get in trouble all the time for it. in fact, I've nearly been hit for it on more than one occasion. It's one reason why I be,Ieve people to be arseholes. If you need to hide from the truth you shouldn't be allowed to live.Anyway, you asked me a question once and I lied. I need to apologize. I need it with all my heart. I don't have many regrets, they're for idiots who aren't strong enough to live with their mistakes, but this is one. The question you asked was this: why did you stop going to your Dads?I remember you asking quite clearly. It was saturday afternoon, we were watching TV. Probably that crappy seventies thing about the pickle factory. You loved it and I think you thought I liked it too but, let's be honest, it was shit. I think it was before your cancer started as I don't remember you being in pain. Incidentally, I understand you not telling anyone about it; in fact I have a lot of respect for you because of it. How did you live with that knowledge? It's an amazing feat. Had you shared it with the family I can just imagine the arguments. I still remember the ones about who was going to look after you years before. Nothing like selfish kids, eh?Anyway, you turned to me and said:"Jamie,I wa t to ask you a question. I don't want you to get nervous and I'd like to know the truth before I go." Cancer, Gran? Was it? Hmm.What exactly do you think exactly was happening to me at this point, Ethel? My heart was beating so hard you could use it in a band playing the Imperial March. I was sweaty, clammy and NERVOUS. But I understand you had to ask and I'd have reacted like that if you'd asked if I wanted some sweets.It was a complicated answer. I was preparing the truth in my head. I just needed some time to think about it. But you threw me a lifeline."is it because of the money?""Yes! Yes. That's it. The money" what money? Who the fuck knows.Job over. I made it. Phew.The truth was this:When we were younger my sibling and I were very different. We still are but we seem to have swapped roles. I was so quiet, she was forthright. We stopped going simply because Clare asked not to go anymore. I can't speak to her reasoning but for me, looking back, I was kind of glad. I was bored off my tits. We'd go and spend afternoons watching Cath and Hayley perform dance routines. Even to me that was boring. Pete would sit watching TV. Now and again he'd dangle an exciting activity in front of us (we'll go for a walk in the woods later, he'd say) but we'd never do it.So there you have it. A simple lie and not really something worth covering up. I've lived with the guilt for a long time. I often thought of correcting the initial lie but as time went on it got harder. And then you went and died on me. I'm not sure Youd have known what I was referring to in the last coup,e of years to be honest.the hours I'd sit there with you talking away as if I knew everyone younger talking about. Good times.Is it alright if I ask to be absolved of the guilt now? I think 15 years is long enough.Love you and miss you and think of you every day and have done for the past 11 years.JamiePs if the afterlife does exist, if you can visit, why haven't you? I needed you. You were the only one that could've made a difference.hre[...]