“Lifted, we could be lifted” ~ The Lighthouse Family

Or, according to my dictionary

Lifted (vb): raised upwards ot a higher place


A few years ago I was in a rugby pub in Twickenham. It’s one of the ones where there is a badge of honour in getting your match ticket stuck to the ceiling and the only allowable way of getting it up there has to be by being lifted, no climbing on furniture or breaking out a step-ladder, it’s lift or nothing.

It’s quite entertaining to watch pissed people, predominantly men, with a great deal of strength between them, try and fail to lift anybody. Because to lift another person takes skill, strength, and more important than anything, it takes trust. Trust on behalf of the lifters that the person they are lifting won’t kick them in the face or fall on them, trust on behalf of that person to surrender their own gravity to others. Drunk people are terrible with gravity, it seems.

At this point in the pub, I was on my own. I was only mildly drunk, I didn’t know the guys next to me who were trying, failing, and laughing about it, and I have always been a show off.

So I finished my pint and approached them, “Alright, guys, I’ll do it.”

They sized me up, looked at each other, and nodded. Approximately 5 seconds later, I was hoisted into the air by 4 men I have never met before. They got hands on me in places that normally at least require a couple of dates and dinner. But we had a collective point to prove. So, straight-backed, core tight, head held high, a ticket was firmly fixed to the ceiling, and I was then engulfed in the kind of sweaty beery jubilant embrace you only ever get from rugby players. It felt good.

Great anecdote, you might be thinking, but is there any point to this.

Yes. Yes, there is. They could only lift me because I let them and it only worked because I was willing to be lifted. Have you ever tried to lift someone resistant, someone who doesn’t want to move? It’s possible, there’s a raft of techniques to help you, but it’s damn hard work. Equally, how have you responded when someone has tried to lift you against your will? Flailing limbs don’t even come close, I suspect.

But, at the right time, with the right people, with the right mindset, you can be lifted head and shoulders above the rest. You’ve just got to trust it when it happens.



Jump Into The Abyss

“You’re my best friend” ~ Queen

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Best Friend (n): someone with whom one shares the strongest possible friendship, an especially close and trusted friend


I think, in the words of Terry Pratchett, Dave didn’t so much die young as leave early to avoid the rush. Because we all know this year has been absolutely awful for death and Dave never was one for hanging around at parties.

I forget sometimes, I genuinely forget that he’s dead, and that whole remembering process crashes over me. Swifter now than before, not always as jaggedly painful, sometimes downright awful. And it’s the lack of contact that is weighing hard on me now.

I didn’t reply to his last text, you see. I wasn’t ignoring him, it just wasn’t something I had any response to. It sits there now on my phone, forever unanswered. I still don’t have anything to say in response to it but the fact I never can is something I will be a long time getting my head around.

Pretty much everyone who ever loses someone, and even more those who lose someone unexpectedly, talks about there not being enough time, to tell people they matter, etc etc. I do it too. But as was pointed out these are wise words that we think we adhere to but actually seldom do. And it’s true. I try to tell or show the people I love that I love them, to make time for those who matter, to take risks and leaps with my one wild and precious life. but I don’t always manage it. There is a heap of stuff unsaid, not done, because I am lazy or unmotivated or actually too damn scared.

The scared rankles. I can embrace my laziness, my indolence, I can’t be doing with scared. But sometimes the pain of risk, of retribution and dire consequence, feels so much stronger that those important things remain unsaid or undone. The timing doesn’t feel right or so we tell ourselves. But the whole thing is about timing, isn’t it? And that, my friends, is finite. The time right now is all we’ve got.

I can’t ever text Dave again. But I can do the other things. Maybe, like Nick Cave says, I’ll jump into the abyss and find it only comes up to my knees. 

Take care, mate. I miss you.





*Best Friend’s Note: Dave died on 28th August 2014 following a massive brain haemorrhage. These are posts I’ve written previously


Good Things

“Good thing, where have you gone?” ~ Fine Young Cannibals

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Good thing (n): an object, fact, or circumstance having admirable or pleasing qualities


Why don’t we talk more about the good things? When was the last time you contacted a friend to tell them what a great day you had, about some feedback you received for some hard work, about that really cute boy or girl you met last night?

Because I bet you were straight on the phone, on a text, online, to say when something bad happened, when someone said something nasty, when things in life went wrong.

And that’s entirely right and understandable. Our friends are there for us when things are hard, as we are there for them. Yet why is the reverse treated as so taboo?

There appears to be a school of thought that it’s not ‘good form’ to share positives, as though it’s not the done thing. Yet why should we all hide our lights under bushels? Why shouldn’t we shout it from the rooftops when something nice happens?

Isn’t there a little too much misery in the world right now? Is this not the time to share small triumphs, happy moments, the joy of life? Because they are always to found, even in the most barren of places.

So I’m calling that out. False modesty, car-park, now. Your days are over, pal.

Let us lean on our friends in times of adversity but let us also all share in our triumphs, smile at our success, and celebrate the good, be it big or small.

What are your good times? If you aren’t sure who else to share them with then drop me a line on a comment box-shaped postcard. I’d love to hear from you.







You got a friend in…you?

“You got a friend in me” ~ Randy Newman

Or, as defined by my dictionary

Friend (n): a person known well to another and regarded with liking, affection and loyalty

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; The only person you are guaranteed to wake up with for the rest of your life is yourself. 

Isn’t that amazing?

One person who knows just how you like your tea in the morning, someone who will always share that last Rolo. Breakfast in bed just the way you like it, even if you do have only yourself to blame for the toast crumbs later.

And ok, you can’t give yourself a lie in whilst you make your tea, not even with a teasmaid as that still requires some arms-out-of-the-duvet action, but you can make it just how you want.

Having a friend, a friend who knows you well, who is on your side, that’s damn amazing.

But I’ll let you into a secret. The other night I slept appallingly badly. And, after waking at two and listening to old News Quiz episodes that were painfully pre-Brexit nostalgic then a whole Graham Greene adaptation and reminiscing about that time Hugo Speer kissed me, I still couldn’t sleep. Yet as I tried counting down from 3,000 (much more reliable than sheep – have you seen the trouble sheepdogs have rounding them up? Yet we are just supposed to count them orderly jumping over fences? I think not.) Anyway, I found myself listing every single physical attribute I disliked about myself from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. I’m ashamed to say it was a very long list. Perhaps I should’ve counted those sheep after all.

I caught myself, just as I was starting on my personality traits that I don’t like. And whilst I didn’t have the mental wherewithal to counteract anything I’d said with a positive, I had enough about me to say stop. Stop, I won’t treat myself like this. I am better than this.

Because I am. Because we all are. Because we all need to be our own friend. And no friend needs or deserves a diatribe of dislikes ever but especially not in the middle of the night.

So think on it, for me if you can’t do it for yourself yet. Be your friend. If you can’t counteract the negatives with positives yet then try to not give the negatives the benefit of sunlight and oxygen. Save those for the good stuff in life.

Drop me a line on a comment box-shaped postcard and let me know how you get on.




“And it feels like jealousy” ~ Will Young

Or, according to my dictionary

Jealousy (n): the feeling of being suspicious or fearful of being displaced by a rival


I used to get jealousy. I say it now like getting chicken pox or the flu but without a vaccination at your local surgery.

It’s the most bizarre and crippling emotion. You feel like something special is being taken away from you by somebody or something else, that you are diminished as a person by that existence. That you matter less. And thirty years of dragging that around with me was exhausting.

It took the flare up of another bout of jealousy for me to realise I had to seek a cure. And so cut to me in a very nice studio in Hackney balling tissues and pouring my heart out to a very kind man who looked like a short version of Giles from Buffy.


One word diagnosis in a sentence. Crippling insecurity of feeling I was not enough, that I didn’t matter. Paralysing fear of being forgotten or ignored or overlooked. That friends or lovers would eventually leave me because something better would come along. It is fair to say I wasn’t healthy and it took a lot of work and a few more sessions before we worked out how to make me well.

I took a lot of things from those counselling sessions and I came away a much better person. One of the things I took away was that I didn’t need to understand where it had come from to do something about it. I have my theories about my childhood, about my family life and what planted these seeds. But so what? The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. I can’t go back and change my past, but I can invest in my present.

And so I did. It can be hard work investing in yourself, being honest about your wants and your hopes and your desires, and then actually doing something to achieve them. And I still now have moments of metaphorical “But what about meeee?” and clinging to a friends’ leg if they are doing stuff elsewhere with someone else. And then I laugh at myself, kindly but still laugh, and take myself off to do my things that make me happy.

And so the moral of this tale, if moral there is? Jealousy is idiotic. Insecurities can be really hard work. And the only person who can truly diminish who you are is actually yourself. But you are have it in you to be your own best friend, if you want to be.

Drop me a line on a comment box-shaped postcard and let me know how you get on.