Sunday, 15 October 2017

Creating My Odyssey: A PERSONAL MANTRA!'Adulting' should only be do...

Creating My Odyssey:

'Adulting' should only be do...
: A PERSONAL MANTRA! 'Adulting' should only be done when it's absolutely necessary. Otherwise a childlike approach throughou...


'Adulting' should only be done when it's absolutely necessary. Otherwise a childlike approach throughout life should be mandatory.

Those of a more serious disposition, those who are not naturally inclined in the 'Hey - let's climb that tree/balance on that parapet/dress up in silly clothes/play in the mud.' disposition, who invariably utter: 'Someone's got to keep things together.' might bear in mind that the world is not going to fall apart the moment they break out of straight-faced mode and be silly for five minutes. Then again, being silly might not be their 'thing', in which case they must smile indulgently and bear with those of us for who it is, please.

Husband and I live by that mantra and always have done, even when I was depressed, and quite probably saved some part of my delicate sanity in those days. It is absolutely the truest of truths that humour, the sillier the better, is a vital factor in helping contribute towards the easing up of  the downs - at least the milder form. Adulting is vital in bringing up the kids and dealing with the rather tedious matters of life such as finance, otherwise leave serious adult-ing for those and those moments alone.

Our potty, daft son lives with us and together, the three of us make a potty, daft threesome. Two silly boys  and an equally silly mother/wife. I shall be rather sad when son leaves home.

I was always potty and daft and was brought up in a rather potty, daft household. So, despite all that my family - parents and siblings - might have done to contribute towards my depression, I am very grateful to them for their somewhat ribald, irreverent humour. For Sunday dinners we got tiddly on mother's apple wine (1976 was a particularly good year), and became hysterically giggly over the British radio programmes The Goons and The Navy Lark, because they were hysterical.

And when it comes to just being plain playful, you only have to watch a kid at work on his/her 'thing' to see what one means. They have yet to be adulted sensessly. Kids know how to have fun. You only have to watch them digging a hole on a beach, or building a fort with sheets and chairs, or making silly faces in the mirror (good for the facial muscles, that one).  This last we do fairly regularly in this household (god forbid anyone should be looking through our windows at that moment... Eh, well...).

Last but not least...

There's a big difference between being childish and childlike and a lot of people get confused between the two. 'Childlike' is playful and fun. 'Childish' is behaving like a spoilt kid, perhaps, and not very pleasant. Let's not get the two confused! And next time an overly serious person says to you: 'How old are you?' when you're having a cut grass chucking war with your offspring after a lawn mowing session (as I did when my son ran out of primary school at the end of a summer's day all those years ago), just blow a raspberry and chuck grass at serious person. On second thoughts, perhaps not, I don't want you to get into trouble because of me - 'She told me to do it!'  



Wednesday, 11 October 2017


Just in case you hadn't noticed, Husband and I are heavily into boats. I was brought up in Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey (UK), and the river Thames was virtually on my doorstep, so I rowed the family dinghy from the moment I could utter: 'Land ahoy, me hearties!'.

Meanwhile, Husband, brought up in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, played with toy boats on a pond and stream when he was a kid (would now given half the chance, and I'd join him!). Later he took off in hired narrow boats on the waterways of Britain, something he'd garnered a real enthusiasm for after watching The Flower of Gloster (actual spelling), a kid's telly programme during the sixties about two kids and their big brother delivering a narrow boat to Birmingham for their father. (I watched this recently when Husband acquired the DVD. It was pretty good, if obviously dated, and I rather fancied the hero). 

Over the preceding years we've acquired a traditional Canadian canoe, and after that, our narrow boat, Dotterel. (A Dotterel is a stupid bird that allows birds of prey to nick it's eggs. Alternatively I'm the stupid bird).

I was introduced to the pleasures of narrow boating shortly after our first child, daughter Samantha, was born. I was a neurotic wreck and determined to impress on the world at large and whoever happened to be passing that I was a born and bred boatwoman. My feminist leanings shrieked out in my head and I couldn't relax. I began to hate sharing double locks with strangers - for those of you uninitiated in the ins and outs of canal double locks, here's a picture... 

As you see, it can be a sociable situation and require negotiation with the other boater, both of which I hated at the time (not the boater, the situation).

After my complete recovery from depression, Husband, who'd cared for me for thirty years, talked about the Birmingham Canal Navigation Society's twenty-four hours Challenge. This starts anywhere you wish on the Birmingham canal navigation system and finishes twenty- four hours later at a designated spot. The winner is determined by points, with extra points for full length boats, buttes, small crews, and cruising the lesser travelled parts of the Birmingham Canal Navigations.  Husband wanted to do this very much, so I said: 'I'm cured. You've looked after me for thirty years. Go forth and have fun.' Or words to that effect. So he did. 

Three years and three challenges later, he's a pro. He hasn't won - yet - but he's sliding further upscale each time. Next year he's going all out. His crew the first year consisted of our adult son, the daughter of friends and her friend, and Husband's niece. The following year was son and Husband's sister. Sister, in particular, has grown very competitive!

Husband and crew are growing more accustomed to the race and the rules. I declined to join because it is very intense, you do keep going, but team spirit is essential. Husband wanted me to experience the route and Birmingham on our own, casual, trip. I used to have problems with lengthy trips. Well, I'm cured, so I agreed to do it. Not the challenge itself but the trip, which would take us twelve days, umpteen locks, and a zillion miles walked by Husband between locks.

The challenge annually takes place in May. It's now October, and, well - I did it! Accomplished my own Birmingham challenge. Pleased as anything, I am! I'd always said I'd get Husband and boat to Birmingham, but sadly failed a couple of attempts over the last two years, chickening out and getting worked up about it. But this time I did it! Yay! 😆

I now have a plaque on the boat, together with various other plaques, declaring underneath on a nicely engraved plate:'Jo got this boat to Birmingham.' And back, may I add. Husband had it made especially, bless that man. 

So here they are. Some of the umpteen zillion photos I took on the trip. I've included ones that give a flavour of the trip, and show that Birmingham has rejuvenated itself from the industrialised city that it once was. I love the city. Some of the old industry remains as a reminder, but born again Birmingham is fab! No-one, of course, will ever forget the origins of the city, but its rejuvenation has been, I would say, a miracle. And so was this trip. 

Monday, 9 October 2017

Creating My Odyssey: I NEED TO SHARE MY NOVEL WRITING!I keep saying ...

Creating My Odyssey: I NEED TO SHARE

I keep saying ...
: I NEED TO SHARE MY NOVEL WRITING! I keep saying this and it's been off, on, off etcetera, for a very long time. My dear Husband is...

I keep saying this and it's been off, on, off etcetera, for a very long time. My dear Husband is my chief critic, and he is brilliant at it and we agreed initially that I'd just stick to his critiquing each chapter, but there is so much one person can do. He has a load of projects he's working on himself, plus he's very involved with his boating charity, so he doesn't have a lot of time to spare.

Plus I was wary of posting chapters in public due to the risk of plagiarism, however you spell it (as I keep saying, it is such a masterpiece, after all!). I am working through the chapters, little by little, but it really is driving me nuts! Only I can write this thing, and I'm not getting any feedback on chapters at the moment and I desperately need that!

I do post chapters to friends, but there is so much they can do, as well. It's over a hundred chapters, and around five parts. The middle is very tricky and I'm concerned how I'm gonna get through it.

As many of you know, I've been working on this, on and off, for many years, and I'm the only one who can finish it, but it's proving a stinker. The writing's there, the chapters are there, but the editing is proving tough and, apart from Husband and a few selected friends, I ain't getting much needed feedback.

I've had several people kind enough to offer to read it, and I think I'm gonna have to go through that process again. If anyone out there would like to read it, please contact me and let me know.

'Alias Jeannie Delaney is the life story of a devastating cowgirl who is the fastest gun in the west and also bisexual.'



Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Creating My Odyssey: THIS RENAISSANCE SOUL BIZ!***********************...

: THIS RENAISSANCE SOUL BIZ! ******************************** This R enaissance Soul is having trouble! Good trouble, it must be sa...

This Renaissance Soul is having trouble! Good trouble, it must be said. Having oodles/umpteen/zillions of projects/thoughts on the go all at once is dead daunting, but I don't think I'd have it any other way. Okay, here's my list, in no particular order: 

*****  Nurture friendships and make new ones.
*****  Hold dinner parties. (Never did this before in         
            my life but had a couple for close friends in recent
            times and loved 'em!)
*****  Work on blog - swop bog posts with interested  
*****  Submit mental health articles to organisations.  
*****  Write another article for Lifelights Magazine
*****  Finish the novel in two years. 
*****  Edit my anthology Musings of a Butterfly Brain  
            and e-book it. 
*****  Produce/experiment on artworks for exhibition  
            possibly next year and post on Facebook 
*****  Redecorate the house top to bottom. It's been 
            neglected for so long. (Almost finished the utility
            room, so it's bottom to top, strictly speaking).
*****  Landscape the garden. (There's some archaeology to  
            be done and Husband's railway to build).
*****  Extend and improve Kitty Le Roy's cabin. 
*****  Update Kitty Le Roy's Wild West
*****  Research travel destinations, UK and abroad. 
*****  Yoga and pedal more! (I have static pedals when    
            I'm watching telly or doing spider solitaire!)
*****  Organise longer walks and cycling. 
*****  Organise myself better! (Hadeha). 
*****  Research visits to art exhibitions/galleries/concerts   
            (classic and contemporary) /museums etcetera. 

This list is not conclusive by any means, and I do have small/big goals. A visit to Australia, for example. See as much of the world as possible. Finish that ****** novel. Learn to snorkel properly.