Saturday, May 31


Some words for those who might need them...

How is one to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in life, when one finds darkness not only in one's culture but within oneself? If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox. One must live in the middle of contradiction, because if all contradiction were eliminated at once life would collapse. There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.

Our ideals resemble the stars, which illuminate the night. No one will ever be able to touch them. But the men who, like the sailors on the ocean, take them for guides, will undoubtedly reach their goal.

If growing up is the process of creating ideas and dreams about what life should be, then maturity is letting go again.

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.

Tuesday, May 27

Night time terror in Darwen: Part 2

And so the story continues....

Rattus stared. I stared back. Neither of us moved.

A current of understanding passed between us.

Slowly, ever so slowly, I pushed myself quietly away from the dusty, in need of a sweep, floor until I stood upright again, Rattus eclipsed once more from my view.

I stood silently, some moments passed. Brain slowly clicking through what I had just witnessed.

And the then the terror overwhelmed me... finally. I succumbed to its ineluctable power as Rattus to cheese. Shrieking as loudly as my neighbourliness would permit I jeted up and down momentarily before exeunting through the lounge door and trailing a blaze up the stairs, straight into my bedroom and BOLTING the door.

Quick as a flash I was under the bed covers.

But Mother Fate was on my side! I had carried my phone up to bed with me! Seizing the handset I speed-dialled for assistance. Not the police, no... though this was clearly an emergency call.

No. Something better than the police...a man who carried fleas his pocket for fun. (well, there is a longer version of this story and it was not EXACTLY for fun - more to prove a point but hell... he doesn't mind fleas in his pocket for Christs sake!)

Flea-man answered and the story was unfolded within seconds.

Flea-man was calm, cool and collected. Despite the hour, he delightfully offered to ride post-haste to my assistance and to chase the offending animal from my abode.

I was desperate to shout 'Yes! Come and trash the filthy rodent from my lounge'... but empathy overwhelmed terror. We settled instead for an early morning call, safe in the knowledge that Mr Darcy would not sleep while Rattus inhabited his patch. Padme and Puck were clearly of no use in the stand-off. The day I named Mr Darcy was the day I blessed him with all the bravery and dignity of his namesake. I knew he would not fail me.

And so, I put down the phone and with a fluttering heart I drifted off to sleep.

The morning came too soon. Again I was faced with the prospect of returning downstairs to face Rattus. Stepping lightly down the stairs and inching open the lounge door, I furtively scanned the room.

Padme and Puck were nowhere to be seen.

Like mother like son.

But there, there crouched in the EXACT same spot in which I had left him seven hours earlier was Mr Darcy - the perennial hero.

Seven hours on sentry duty had left its toll on him. His whiskers were dropping with fatigue and his eyes were rimmed with the redness of too little sleep. Yet, throughout all his exhaustion, he had stayed awake and his muscles were as primed to pounce as the first moment he had seen Rattus.

I darted past the television and into the kitchen slamming the door behind me. Collecting my thoughts and daily belongings, I was suddenly filled with an overwhelming sense of calm. I had faced mice in my life. Plenty of them. I was raised in the country and was used to a seasonal influx of six mice a night during harvest time. What is a rat but a large mouse? Who did the family turn to in those early days to rid the sitting room of furry little beings? Me, that's who. And here I was, 29 years of age, cowed by its larger cousin. Shame on me!

I turned and calmly opened the kitchen door. Rattus would NOT get the better of me this time. This was MY house and he should be the one sloping about in fear, not me.

With all the resilience and pride of my noble sex, I held my head up, flicked my hair high into the air and proudly, loudly walked slowly and confidently past the television, into the corridor and out into the freedom and safety of the outerworld.

Monday, May 19

Nighttime Terror in Darkest Darwen: Part 1

Now the topic of this blog is something I did internally debate whether to blog on.

Part of me said, ‘No topic should be out of bounds in an honest and open blog’…. The other, Smeagol-like part of me responded ’This is shameful. You should tell no-one. They will laugh and scorn you. You will be publicly shamed’

Yes. This problem I have is one that we should only talk of in whispers, to our bestest, closet friends and family…if at all.

In the end, of course, my renowned inability to keep a secret inevitably led me to the ‘open and honest’ corner of the ring. (Or perhaps, my ‘open and honest’ principle is responsible for my inability to keep a secret … oh chicken and egg!) That, and a comment by an esteemed gentleman colleague that even the most good and respectable of Victorian ladies will have suffered great difficulties with this matter at one time or another, and so I should embrace the problem as yet another example of my 19th century lifestyle.

I found his argument both succinct and persuasive. So here goes:

Last night, I did repose at an early hour due to my decision to cease inhaling foul pestilences of noxious fumes.

At around eleven and thirty, my ears were enlivened by an unholy racket which did reluctantly and fearfully raise me from my bed to creep down my creaking, wooden stairs to the lower echelons of the house.

At the bottom of the staircase, I was greeted by Miss Padme, who did by cunning use of her whiskers and tail, convey to me her desire that I should follow her into the cold, stone-floored lounge, in which place I was accustomed to passing my evenings.

With faith in the trustworthiness of my first-adopted, I did devotedly follow her short and gentle path into the lounge. There she did, with a sweep of her black paw, motion my eyes to the far right corner of the room.

Quite still and statue-like in that very corner, was the crouched figure of Mr Darcy, my second-adopted and by far the largest and bravest of all my feline-brood.

With frozen feet and bare legs did I hesitantly move towards the concentrated figure of Mr Darcy. No acknowledgement of my presence nor welcome at my approach did he make. His stare was undeviating…and I did follow the path of his stare with own, curious eyes.

Along the stone flooring and up to the grey television stand did they sweep. From there did they observe a two inch gap between the stand and flooring.

It was at this gap that our gaze did halt and centre.

For several unending moments not a sound was heard within the walls of the room. Miss Padme, Mr Darcy, a cowardly Puck and I all did stand in breathless silence.

Then, seemingly to me, with no rhyme nor reason, did Mr Darcy become most agitated and his breathing did become most heightened. His whole body did crouch more keenly and his paws began to dance up and down as if upon a scorching surface.

It was in the moments that ensued that I first began to comprehend.

It was now that my suspicions became keenly raised, for then…a shadow did fall out from the gap whereupon our eyes were fixed. Motion occurring under the stand was without dispute… for the very agent of that motion did cast his black silhouette upon my floor.

Ever so slowly I began my descent towards the tomb-like ground. First, my knees did make bare contact with the chill, hard rock… and some moments later, warm palms. Lowering my entire body against the floor, I turned my head to rest upon it.

Nought stood between the two-inch opening and my crouched, unprotected figure.

With trepidation I did open the lids of my eyes and peer inside the very bowels of the television stand.

From there I did suddenly, sickeningly grasp what terrible agent did so hypnotise Mr Darcy’s gaze, did make tremble young Puck and seek comfort besides the warm fur of his adolescent mother.

From there did the flesh and blood owner of that terrible silhouette reveal himself in all his pestilent horror to me.

For peering straight at me were the fat, glittering eyes of that most rancid, scuttling being……..

Rattus Norvegicus.

Tuesday, May 6

Thursday 1 May 2.14 pm

It might of course be possible to be more bored than I am at this precise moment…..but I can’t see under what circumstances this could happen.

I’ve passed the hysterical phase and have now entered zombie territory. My eyes feel glassy, I can manage a grunt or two, I have vacant staring down to a fine art.

One of my colleagues suggested that we should all stay at home and just get called in if and when any work appears............

Ancillary to boredom actually is frustration.

I FINALLY started the "His Dark Materials" trilogy which has featured on my "To Read" list for the past five or six years. I spent a lovely six hours reading Northern Lights last night and went straight to Waterstones this afternoon to get books II and III. I would love NOTHING more than to spend this evening eating my way through The Subtle Knife… but alas, no. Instead, I have to pursue that other activity which lies so close to my heart and in which I do so notably excel …oh yes, networking.

I wonder what shame I shall bring upon myself tonight.

My left heel is pretty loose. Perhaps there may be a large staircase I have to walk down that I shall catch my heel on and fall loudly all the way down whilst being watched by all other four hundred and ninety-nine guests.

Or perhaps I shall embark upon my ‘I hate the cult of celebrity’ soapbox only to discover I am talking to the Editor of Heat magazine.

I once asked a Bishop what his star sign was.

Three hours and forty two minutes to go.

Oh kill me now.

I’m so bored I can’t actually be bothered putting meaningful, connected sentences together.

This is all I can manage:

  1. I am delighted to see straw picnic-hamper weather is returning
  2. I ate a Krispy Crème donut today thinking it would be something special. It wasn’t. I still hate donuts
  3. If I were ever in a position to name a female cat again, I would name it ‘Lyra’
  4. I’m attending a Heroes and Heroines Charity Fancy Dress ball that I am arranging dressed as Scarlett O’Hara and am bored by my predictability but am struggling with a viable alternative
  5. I am undecided over whether it should be ‘zeros’ or ‘zeroes’
  6. I am living with a man I don’t know

Thursday, May 1

Climate Change Summit

In my first step to becoming an environmental lawyer :) , I attended the Prince of Wales May Day Summit on Climate Change today; representing one of only one thousand business in the UK who have pledged their support to this organisation to reduce their carbon footprint this year and every subsequent year in line with the 2050 target of 60-85% carbon emission reduction.

I came out of the event more depressed than uplifted.

Firstly, it was a shock at how poor the support of UK businesses is to stopping climate change. One would have hoped that at least every single FTSE 500 company would be in attendance, I doubt there was even one hundred. Secondly, it was shocking to hear Pen Hadlow, the Polar Explorer, resigned to the extinction of the polar bears and the melting of the ice-caps - his work now is not on their preservation - as he sees this as futile and past all realism - so instead he is concentrating on gathering information to help learn how soon we can expect the ice caps disappearance (the US Oceanographic Centre says FIVE years - and this isn't an institution know for radical ideas.) and how best to combat the effects on then 'remaining' species and peoples of the world.

One positive aspect to come from the Summit was Unilever's announcement that it is pledging to source its palm oil from non-rainforest sites and its establishment of an international business group committed to development of sustainable palm oil production. Starting today.

Let's hope this action brings a brighter future for orangutans than Pen's future vision for polar bears.