Karma – I’ve got a little list


I am currently reading a book called ‘Best Served Cold’ by Joe Abercrombie

. It is a violent and bloody book about revenge, the main protagonist vowing to kill the men who garrotted, stabbed and threw her over a mountainside to die (no spoiler alert there, you could get that much from the blurb!)

I am enjoying it tremendously – but it got me thinking….

….I have a mental list of people who I believe have wronged me in some way, people who have disturbed the equilibrium of my life or the lives of those I love. Don’t get me wrong, nobody in our family has been garrotted or stabbed, but other stuff happens that pisses me off from time to time. It doesn’t even have to be personal either; there are certainly some high profile world leaders from the 80’s, celebrities and general big mouths there.

My list is not as extensive as Ko Ko’s (The Lord High Executioner in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1n3jk-gouM ) although with some thought and effort I’m sure I could extend it if necessary. As I approach curmudgeonly middle age the number of people who annoy me seems to grow longer every time I leave the house; people driving too slowly, people driving too fast, people with dogs, people in shops, people on pavements, people dressed badly, people overdressed. The common denominator is ‘people’, beyond that all are at the mercy of my whims and foibles.

I have no intention of doing anything about any of the people on the list either. Although there are some I would not piss on if I happened across them when they were on fire. It is just a list of people that I would like Karma to take care of please.

I have watched My Name is Earl and have a pretty good idea about how Karma works, probably, and so am content to let bad things happen to bad people. If possible I would like to be there at the time, and I would like there to be poetic justice in what happens.  Just like in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, when all the other kids fall victim to their own unpleasant habits and failings. Hoisted by their own petards so to speak.

So anyway, back to the point, this is what it got me thinking; whose lists am I on? I can think of one or two (or more) straight away. But how many other people are watching and waiting for my come-uppance? Who else would like to see me having a hard time.

If I am on your list, I’ve had a pretty rough year in 2013, so you can probably scratch me now if you want – Karma has been busy doing its thing. If you are on my list I am ready to call a truce and move on – well most of you anyway.

The book, by the way, is terrific.



Here we are, half way through Movember and my ‘Mo’ is starting to look all Tom Selleck on me. It is past itchy and continually surprising me when I catch my reflection. At tea the other night my wife and sons all turned up at the tea table wearing false moustaches. These have since been distributed to various parts of the house and much amusement has been had finding different places to put them.


This is the first time in my life I have let my facial hair take over; to be honest I am looking forward to getting my upper lip back again next month. But until then it will remain as a visible message to everybody that men’s health is important. There is lots of information out there, so I won’t go on about it here – but do look at some of the facts and figures if you have time (http://uk.movember.com/mens-health) it doesn’t make altogether cheery reading.

Earlier this year, for a variety of reasons, I became unwell. I found myself unable to go to work, or even leave the house for most of the time. I regained a long lost stutter and virtually lost the ability to speak and became very withdrawn. It took several months, some therapy and (most importantly) the support and love of my wife and family for me to start to mend. I know how debilitating it was and how helpless, hopeless and useless I felt at the time. Movember is my first real chance to ask the world to look out for their menfolk, we need help too, even if we’re too proud, stubborn or just plain stupid to ask for it.

I don’t want to end this post on a negative feel, so instead I will list some of the positive things that have come from the last year;

I used the time at home to teach myself to bake – the boys love that!

I wrote a book (lifetime ambition) – it’s still on my hard drive and not that good, but it is written!

I spent time with my youngest son that I wouldn’t have done otherwise.

I was around more for my middle son at a difficult time.

I even had time to help my eldest son learn to drive and pass his test.

I was able to make peace with my own parents, not easy and another story altogether, but we are talking after many years of me grunting and being rude to them. (And yes, I do know that is a childish way for a grown man to behave.)

I was reminded how much I love my wife and why I married her in the first place. Her compassion, understanding and care have been humbling. Even though she is not keen on my ‘Mo’ it is for her most of all! Thank you xx


Corections and clarrifications

After I posted my last missive my wife asked me what I’d been typing, so I told her. So now it is official, someone else has read my blog! Naturally she pointed out that I had put my age wrong in my first post, so here it is….I’m actually 48! Sorry if you have been imagining a much younger man. I truly don’t know what on earth made me get such a personal detail wrong, I can only put it down to ….well old age really!

In other news from around the house, this years Christmas list from youngest son has appeared in the kitchen. Last year it was carefully colour coded to indicate preferences, (red = must have, blue = would like, yellow = not that bothered, but if you insist on buying me lots of things!) This year small square tick boxes have been helpfully added so we can keep a record of what we have bought. As the list is pinned to the notice board I can’t help but worry that this would spoil any Christmas morning surprises. But what do I know?

Earlier in the week I got an incinerator bin for the garden. It is shiny and silver with holes in the side and a little chimney. Annie is delighted, she has had embarked on a pyromania spree. Scrap paper, newspapers, garden waste, tissues – nothing has been safe.  It has been reminiscent of the episode of Malcolm in the Middle where they got the wood chipper and ended up throwing everything and anything into it. I fear for our furniture.

More job applications have been sent off, they disappear into the internet ether with a speed that hardly reflects the time and effort that it takes to write them. Nothing is quite like that sinking feeling when you download a job description and it’s four pages long, all needing to be worked back into the application letter. Having been a teacher for 25 years, I find it interesting to see what other professions consider to be essential for prospective employees. I hope I meet at least some of those aspirational and inspirational qualities.

If I am invited to interview I will have a dilemma as I have joined in with Movember. It (my ‘mo’) is one week old and starting to look a bit less like a shaving omission, but it is not something I am used to seeing on my face.(Has one of your eyebrows come down for a drink?) I am sure I will like it by the end of the month when I will be able to twiddle the ends while I laugh my evil laugh! But I don’t really know if I want to wear it to a job interview. We’ll see.

Hopefully a factually correct post this time!


The week before last was a gruelling week of interviews – three in one week. In spite of wearing the eight year old suit that still nearly fits me and getting through to second round interviews, I still have no job lined up. I am hugely reassured by the fact that they all thought I was a good candidate though. Most bizarre question of the week was being asked how I would make a 5% saving on next years budget – I had to come clean and admit that I couldn’t answer that unless I actually had a budget to look at and see what it is currently spent on, doh!

Anyway, I put it all behind me and off we went for a family trip, including Grandad, to Cornwall for half term week. From the moment we arrived the Met office were issuing dire threats of severe weather, incoming storms, Famine, Pestilence and Death. We were advised to stay indoors, tie things down, prepare for power outages and write wills.

In the event it rained and was’ a bit blowy’. One of the patio chairs blew over and there were lots of leaves blown off the trees. In fact it was quite Autumnal, which maybe wasn’t that surprising in October. We continued to visit tea rooms and pasty shops the length and breadth of the county.

The rain continued on and off all week, the only skateboarding me and my boys got to enjoy was at Mount Hawke indoor park. This is always worth a visit, lots of fun. Though I would say, look out for overweight men in their late forties tanking around as fast as they can go without a care in the world apart from aching legs and a sore back. (Hey, not really, I am a very considerate skater- honest! I just happen to think that age should have it’s privileges.)

So too soon the week was over and we headed home, cars packed high. Well, I say ‘the week’ we actually came back on the Thursday night (Halloween) as all the boys had parties to go to and sweets to eat. So that was it for another year, a 25 year tradition of visiting Cornwall in the Autumn was continued and good fun was had by all.

I am off to start looking through job ads once again.