The Latter Years

Good afternoon Dear Reader.  All is quiet on the Western Front, basically I’ve turned down Alexa’s volume from 5 to 3.  My boss said the radio was little loud sometimes.  I told him that it was because of my partial deafness.  He then said something that I could quite catch; I didn’t have my glasses on.

Yesterday I celebrated my 50th  birthday, and therefore, am no longer an old young person, but rather a young old person.  To be perfectly honest with you, and why the heck not be honest with you, I didn’t even think I would get this far.  It has been referred to as one of those milestone birthdays.  Like 18, 21, 25, 30, and 40.  But this one really feels advanced. 

Let me just check.  Weight around the mid section.  Check.  Deafness? Check.  Glasses? Check.  Hair?  What hair is left is now grey.  Beard, check. One of my redeeming features.  Knees?  Arthritis in the right one.  Dog?  Molly is fabulous.  Slippers?  Not really, I traded a pair of security boots for my son’s bright yellow Crocs.  Really comfy.  Children?  Check, one adult officially, might be leaving home soon, and one 12 year old daughter going on 30!  Becoming a snappy dresser with a little more elegance than before because I want to dress for myself, my wife, and don’t really care about what anybody else thinks.  Get those yellow Crocs!!  Maybe I’m finally an adult and have actually got the hang of all this adulting? Are there any more squares on the 50 year old bingo that I might have left out?

I check things that move out of my body from the front or the back.  That started happening late in my forties so I don’t know if it’s I’m the right decade.  Looking to see if I’m properly hydrated by the colour of my pee.  Feeling very out of sorts if I haven’t pooped by 7am.  Drinking a litre of water before I leave for work.  I have a smart watch, which tells me how I sleep and how far I have walked every day.  It also gives me my pulse and stress levels. 

Doctors.  Doctors seem to have become so much younger nowadays.  My old GP retired a couple of years ago, and the replacements aren’t even thirty and it’s like going to see somebody who’s just out of school and not older than my son.  At work I have noticed normal people leaving to go into retirement, and I have become one of the less young members of staff.  Youngsters come and join the team, and I don’t even know their names. 

I’m trying to think of the 50 year old stereotypes, and I can’t think of any.  No longer young, but definitely not old yet.  Professionally “they” seem to say well you’re not going any further.  If you leave now, it’ll be hard to find work elsewhere as you are considered “passed it” whatever “it” may be.  Do I just have wait here and wait for retirement?  Will I be able to retire? Politics and all that…  I really have no idea and it’s slightly frightening.

When you’re 20 you’re young and have energy to move mountains. It is the pssage from childhood into the real adult world and can be a rude awakening.  I just moved to France.  Asking for trouble I suppose.  By the time I was 30, I had one child and by the time I was 40 I had my second child. I was starting to get the hang of this parenting business.  During my forties I went through quite a lot of depression and wondering where the hell my life was going and probably was a little too self-centered and I would like to work on that during this next decade of my life.  Maybe my fifties are there to prepare me to be a grandparent.

As this new part of my life begins, I will keep you up to date regularly and you my even get some photographs from tie to time. Until then, I’ll just have to look forward to getting home and having a nice cup of tea and a couple of biscuits…

 

Sorry

Hello Dear Reader from a rather sunny corner of France! My mood is like the weather. Warm and blue skied, and my disposition as sunny as you could wish.

I have had it said to me that my last few posts have been far too inward looking and intopestcive. So if you’re reading this then it means you have been patient with me and I would like to thank you for it. One person even said that “I had flogged it to death!” Again fair criticism and with hindsight this is probably true. Thank you for being honest enough to tell me. Tough love…

I would however like to try and explain myself. To start off with this blog was going to be about photography and showing photographs from when I went out every week with my camera. It was going to show the photography that doesn’t get shown anywhere else.

Like most creations it seems to evolve and change over time. The Covid19, the crazy bat fuelled light beer disease came along and changed all our lives. The writing, as a creative experience, evolved too. Then I wrote my first article with no photos. Wow, what a rebellion against my original goal.

So, when writing, one can have a tendency to write what one knows the most about. Well,for me, that would be me, my past and present and what I hope my future might look like. Stuff came out of my head and onto the screen. I would write with no censorship. It became a therapeutic exercise.

The article I wrote in November was a liberation for me and a new experience. Ok, a bit dark, darker even than he dark side with their cookies. But over the next articles, with some ever so important therapy, it has allowed me to heal and has given me so much peace of mind. I would even say it has helped me vanquish my inner demons, that have been there for far too long.

It’s like I’m so happy that I want to share this happiness with you too. It’s new for me so just let me get over the novelty value of the whole shebang, and then we can go back to boring photos of cats, Nantes, and other places. I might even share some of my photographic processes with you.

When this person told me all this, I was furious, although calm. But in retrispection she wasn’t all wrong. We all have issues, all of us. The past always creeps up on us and can shout “Boo!” at the most inopportune of moments. And let me assure you, this has happened. But, evacuating and exorcising these troubles has been a revelation to me. I have been told, “we don’t do therapy.” And I get that. Smile and the world smiles with you, cry and you cry alone. I’m lucky. But you don’t have to cry alone, I had help, and this help has changed me, and I like who I am right now. Not perfect, but perfect enough for me.

Thank you for bearing with me up to here. Again I would like to offer my apologies for making anyone uneasy, or even shocking you. It is my story, and I accept each and every detail of it. I possess it and it no longer posesses me. Let’s hope my story can have a happy ending, but get this people, it’s not over yet. And that’s great.

Countryside in October


The weather today is officially depressing and even more so because it’s a Monday. I was so annoyed with life that it now is Friday afternoon. 5 days to get to the second sentence is possibly a sign. Of what, I don’t know…

The tree that is in the photo is “my tree” that I pass every day to and from work. I’d taken photos of it on film, and in digital but hadn’t been back to see her for a while. I’ve just checked Instagram and the last photo I took dates from February 2017! It’s as if I had neglected a friend that I had not seen for ages but still pass in the street just exchanging glances and a swift hello.

It was time to remedy the situation. I had left her in black and white, and returned to her in black and white. She didn’t have much to say for herself. Being a tree might have something to do with that, but she was still there. Still covered in ivy. Still with all her branches. Still a part of my workday.

The field of maize was still there. The maize replacing the wheat harvested in Summer. By Tuesday it had been harvested and all you could see in the field were the remains of stalks not over 6 inches high, and yet the day before had been as high as a man. Time goes on and the field will be used to produce a winter crop. Such is the way in the countryside.

Some fields had be let to fallow and recover from growing our food. Nature reclaims them for herself and plants grow up the fence posts and in the ditches by the sides of the road. At least they’ve gone back to green instead of the drier washed out colours of a hot summer.

It’s now Friday afternoon and I was only at work this morning. The sun is out, I’m in a t-shirt, and it’s 19°C. The rain has done its job, and isn’t there to dampen the earth or my mood. When I was a child I imagined the rain being God having a shower. I couldn’t bring myself to think of Him having a wee on creation.

I think He’s out of the bathroom.