Death Becomes Him


Today my Taid (Welsh for Grandfather ) passed away.

The last time I saw my Taid was when he was in hospital, and that was a few months ago. I returned to Madrid thinking he’d be soon well again, and start behaving himself by taking his medications as he should have been, and taking care of himself as he should have been and so on. Yet, he refused to do so (stubborn until the very end). Consequently his health deteriorated fast, to the point where he was taken in and out of hospital, collapsing at home and so on.

My Nain (Welsh for Grandmother), his wife, died three years ago, and to be truthful my Taid never recovered from her death. He didn’t think she would die when she did, but she did wasting away in a hospital bed. After that, Taid was never the same person again. Then again who is after they lose someone they love?

When my Mum told me Taid had died I was sitting in my Spanish class, and it was a shock. I began to cry and promptly left the class to return home.

I called my parents. I spoke to my Dad first (my Taid was his Father), and true to my Dad’s style he was upbeat, his only concern was to enquire about me and what I’m up to. In contrast, and very normally, my Mum was emotional. She was worried about me because at the moment I’m alone in Madrid, upset and stuck with the knowledge I’m not there for them at this moment.

I asked if Taid had company when he died, and my Mum said he was alone; by the time everyone had been informed (it’s a big family), and everyone arrived at the hospital, my Taid had already passed. Not even a Nurse by his side. I think that upset me more, to know that he was alone when he did eventually pass, and that for days he had been unconscious and unaware of who was there or what was happening. Yes, he had suffered before his death, and wasted away in a similar fashion to that in which my Nain did. And, in many ways I am thankful I never had to see that happen to such a strong man, as those things stick with you and over-ride the real way a person should be remembered.

Though my Taid was expected to die, death in whatever form is never really OK, or explainable.

And now it is complicated.

My Taid was a stern man, he was no Angel. He was Irish Catholic, spoke Gaelic and had been brought up tough on a farm in Southern Ireland. Try and ask him what his life was like, and he would act as though the question had never been asked, he despised talking about the past, about the family he left behind at 15 because his own Father sold him off as labour to a neighbouring farmer.

He ran away at 15 from his tyrannical Father, but felt guilt for leaving his loving Mother behind. Taid went over to Wales, settled there, found work and then eventually met my Nain. They were married for an age and had eight children together.

The saddest story is that what my Taid endured growing up made him hard, and angry. Sadder still was that he then inflicted his own unresolved emotions and past on his own children. In short, allowing that cycle of Hell to perpetuate.

Luckily for me, my Dad married my Mum. She helped show my Dad what it was to be loved and to feel love, to see what a family should be, to realise that kids should be seen and heard, and that interaction, expressing emotion and being nurturing is normal and not a weakness.

In fact, my Dad has a great nature. He is the most placid person I know, the kindest and the fairest. He might not always say too much, but then he was brought up not to be a talker, as he is a man, but what he does say, does count and makes infinite sense.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say my Dad is the last of a generation who really are men.

So, for all my Taid did or could have done, he still made my Dad. My Taid, like my Dad is part of me and I am part of them and proud to be. I don’t judge my Taid’s actions, if I’d endured what he had growing up, who knows what person I’d have become.

Here’s to my Taid (Irish whiskey in hand); I love you, and although I don’t recall you ever telling me that you loved me, I always knew that you did. God bless.

Things That Come To Test Us


Hay un problem!!!!

As though there is a time when there isn’t a problem!

But, why do problems always occur late at night, early in the morning, when you are alone and of course in a foreign country without a clue of what the Hell to do about it?!

So what is the problem exactly; bathroom and kitchen plumbing problems. No big problem I hear you all say! Well, I’d normally agree as such problems are not new territory for me, I’ve had these issues before, in the UK. Yet, I’ve never before experienced the hideous situation of discovering shit coming up, and out of plug the holes, and then that same shit filling up my bath and shower, in both my bathrooms!!!! NEVER!!!

What makes it worse, I’m the bottom apartment so the shit does literally stop here, and not my shit either may I add! Other bloody peoples shit, the whole buildings shit in fact, and this same shit is coming up through MY plug holes!!!

Great, superb, fantastic; just what I always wanted as a nice little surprise first thing in the morning.

4 bottles of bleach later and the problem still isn’t solved, oh, and I am on my own (did I mention that?); extra bonus shit for me!!

As I feel so annoyed by the situation I thought I’d share it with you all, because I’m generous that way. As I haven’t really posted on WP for what seems like an eternity, what better way to kick off my WP come back, but by talking about shit!

Anyway, to be serious this whole situation got me thinking. Since living in Spain I have realised that I can’t ever again take for granted the simple things in life, such as communication and knowing what’s what and who’s who. These things are priceless, and unless you can grasp them you are basically out of your depth in any non-English speaking country; and every time I have a problem, no-one speaks English!!! What d’ya know!!!

Today is one of those days whereby I really wish I was able to fully fend for myself, and not feel as though I am an alien on a foreign planet. I really lament for not properly understanding Spanish people speaking Spanish, fast, very fast!

Also, I was wondering if this whole thing is more of a life lesson; why does the shit always stop with me (literally and metaphorically)?! Is someone trying to tell me something?!

Shit for thought people, shit for thought :)

How Dare You


We all know that human friendships are complicated and fragile at the best of times, but when one person in the friendship suddenly moves away, gets that job they’ve always wanted, buys that nicer house or even a bigger TV, friendships seem to become ever more shaky.

It is funny how I find myself returning to the same question; why is it that people can’t seem to accept or in fact be happy for one another when something good happens? Why is it that something which might in fact be life changing for one person, is belittled and brushed off by those people who claim to be your friends.

I have come to believe that the positive and life changing things are topics of conversation that don’t correspond to what people want to hear, it doesn’t tally with what people want to know is happening to you. It seems we are tuned into thriving off the doom and gloom in other peoples lives, and not the good.

It seems to me that people block out of their minds that which they cannot fully grasp, and good news stories are these very concepts. Good news is just too alien for people to really deal with, they just ignore it, pretend it doesn’t exist. Its as though those good things that can happen in life create a conflict within people’s own sense of security, I.E, they are no longer the centre of their small universe. They realise there is something more going on outside of their trivia, and to be blunt, they don’t like it.

To be blunt there will come a time when that people who claimed to be a friend, won’t be your friend any longer. Why, well you are no longer ‘on their wave length’ or their perceived wave length, and all because something good has happened to you.

It is a universally well known fact that most ‘friends’ can’t hack it when your life has moved on, improved, gotten good and changed direction from the old trajectory that they continue to move upon. Why? Well, could it be that these people believe that some how you are leaving them behind, becoming too big for your proverbial boots?

For me it is almost as though these ‘friends’ are saying through clenched teeth; ‘How dare you get a better life’.

It might be upsetting, and it can leave you wondering if their reaction towards you is warranted; is it something you have actually done or said? You ask yourself over and over, have I changed? Is it your reaction, attitude, opinion and behaviour that has changed towards your friends, or is it in fact your friends who have changed?

I always think that a persons reaction towards you says more about them and their own insecurities, than it does in any way about you. It isn’t you that has changed at all, it is them. I know this might all sound harsh, even paranoid, but I have experienced this treatment at the hands of ‘friends’.

Since moving to Madrid I have realised just how difficult it is for people to accept that my life has changed. I’m not sure what offends them so much about this fact, whether they think I’ve suddenly become richer, happier, or that life has become somehow easier for me. Yet, obviously they don’t know anything about me or my life, even though they are supposed to friends.

People may ‘move on’ to seemingly better things, but that doesn’t mean they or their lives have become miraculously transformed into some sort of utopian perfection. Everyone has something to contend with. The grass isn’t automatically greener for anyone, just because they may have a change in their life for the better.

Regardless of anyone’s altered circumstances in life, it doesn’t mean that suddenly you are no longer essentially who you always were, their friend. For me, it doesn’t matter what happens in my life; if a friend is a friend, they will always remain so. I don’t change how I feel, it is they who change.

Perhaps as friends we should all just be a little more gracious, kind, loving and affable instead of ignorant, angry, jealous and spiteful. Friends after all are not enemies. Then maybe for once we would actually be able to happy for those we call friends and for their good fortune, and not disappointed that their lives aren’t collapsing around them.

Just a thought.

The Life Of Crime


Yet another young man has lost his life, while another two are seriously injured, after yet another gang related, youth related, crime related dispute.

It was reported that 300 youths clashed on the streets of Birmingham, in the UK. It was a street battle, which led to an onslaught of violence. Over what? No-one knows, because there is no real excuse for such disgusting behaviour.

I know such crimes are not exactly scarce or unusual. Across the world people commit, are involved in or victims of such violence, but what makes me mad are the reasons the perpetrators give for doing such heinous and unnecessary acts.

The fact is that these ‘kids’ rattle off their excuses as though that alone is enough to supplicate the listeners. These young people stuck in gang culture, wrapped up in and warped by violence think they have carte blanche in their communities. Well, there is no excuse for little kids (that is what they are mentally), running amok and acting tough like wannbe gangsters.

They say they commit violent crimes because; its their culture, they are bored as there is nothing for them to do where they live, that their gang is their family, that violence is territorial, it is retaliation, it is initiation, it is OK because others do it, it is because the police are corrupt and crack down on their neighbourhoods and their illegal activities.

I say; so what!!! Quit whining, get over it and grow up!!! Can’t they hear how stupid and immature they sound!!

What do these ‘kids’ expect exactly? Mob rule! Do they honestly think that they can do what they want, when they want, to whomever they want and face NO consequences? Yeah, of course and we all live like that don’t we, in the REAL world!

They think they have a right to be violent, well let us just consider in more detail their excuses for their actions;

They talk about culture, but what has culture got to do with violent crime? Nothing. What is culture; the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively. So, what has culture got in common with inane violent crime? What is so good about the destruction violence brings that anyone would want to celebrate it, and pass it down as some gift to the next generation?

Culture = no excuse

They talk of territorial disputes; what are they dogs? What is this a turf war? I’d like them to take that ethos to the front lines of Iraq or Syria (or anywhere else going through conflict), and see the reaction they’d get from the soldiers risking their lives for such things there. Perhaps if they want to ‘play’ with guns, they should be drafted into the army and see how much they like playing with their little toys then.

Will these ‘kids’ then realise life isn’t a film, it isn’t the wild west, they aren’t Clint Eastwood? Will they see how pathetic they are?

Territorial = no excuse

These ‘kids’ say they are bored and have nothing to do. If they want something to do then why don’t they stay in school, go home and learn something, help their families, do volunteer work. OR, why don’t they actually go out into the world and create something to do that is positive, instead of destructive.

Bored and nothing to do = no excuse

They say others commit violence. Does that mean it is OK then? Errr, no! So someone puts their hand in the fire and they’ll follow suit to do the same? If that is the case, and they follow like sheep, then maybe they ought to be under the care of a social worker or carer. They’re obviously not able or stable enough to look after themselves like they think they are! Perhaps they have some deficiency preventing them from seeing the difference between right and wrong! Other people might do something wrong, but that doesn’t mean that each individual isn’t fully responsible for their own reactions and appalling behaviours. Plus, there are many people out there doing good in the world; funny how these ‘kids’ never follow in these people’s footsteps instead.

Others commit violence = no excuse

They say that the gang is their family. Great family. These ‘kids’ choose to be part of a ‘family’ that would as easily dispose of them as they do with other people. They choose to be loyal to, and follow blindly, even bigger fools than they themselves are. Great.

Gang is family = no excuse

They say that the police are corrupt and crack down on their activities unnecessarily. I’m not naive enough to think that the police can’t be corrupt, I know they can be, but in general the police are trying to uphold the laws we all live by, so we can live. If you commit a crime then you should face the consequences from the law. You can’t think you’ll get away with it, be allowed to get away with it, why should you!!! The police are tough for a reason, because the criminals, the gangs and the violence is tough and has no place in a decent society.

Police corruption = no excuse

To summarise then, basically violence and gang crime has got nothing to do with the ridiculous and petty excuses these ‘kids’ make. What their violence is really all about is greed, jealousy, hate and the fact they are lazy. They want what they see others having and working for. Well, I have news for you disenchanted, disenfranchised youth; we all have to get on and live, we are all bored, and we have to work for a living to get what we want (whether that makes us the fools or not).

That kiddywinks is what we grown-ups call life! And guess what, we don’t all run around with guns and knives demanding we are given things, like we deserve it, we are owed it, because we are bored or whatever else!

Why do these ‘kids’, these criminals think they are owed anything anyway? What have they done to deserve anything? What have they given to the world in their short years except violence, except crime, except destroying good communities, making people live in fear and misery? Ummmm, let me think – NOTHING!

What gives these thugs the right to act like they do, and believe that they are above the law? Why do they think they should run wild like complete fools, disturbing decent citizens who live in peace and don’t kill one another?

To boot, these ‘kids’ in gangs are cowards, cowards hiding behind guns, knives and gangs. Without the gang, without their weapons, they are nothing and have nothing. Basically they are too afraid to do anything that removes them from their comfort zones, from their little friends, their little areas controlled by the gang. They are weak, angry, uneducated, insecure, afraid little kids playing at being cool and tough.

It doesn’t impress me, it doesn’t make me feel afraid, it just makes me angry that we as a society tolerate it all in silence. When are we going to put an end to this? How far can this go until we all just snap, stand up and finally take back the reins?

These are our children, the next generation of society, so what are we going to do about it?

Contraceptive Pill And Fertility Fears


Going on the contraceptive pill could damage a woman’s future fertility, at least temporarily, a new study at a Copenhagen University Hospital has revealed.

To say I am not surprised is an understatement. I made this link between the pill and decreases in fertility years ago, without having any scientific training!

For me it is pure logic; if a man takes Steroids on a long term basis, what happens to his natural hormone levels, to his ‘man-hood’? Well, we have all heard the horror stories of those body builders who end up having the testosterone levels of nine year old boys, shrivelled up bits and bobs and so on and so on.

So, why would taking the female hormone in its many contraceptive guises cause a different result for some women? Why wouldn’t the unnatural pill hormones mess up, decrease or eradicate the natural production of female hormones, the natural biology of a woman?  

I am not against the contraception pill by the way – I agree with it whole heartedly, but, it doesn’t get the medical spotlight I think it ought to. Women don’t necessarily know enough about the hormones they ingest daily to prevent pregnancy. 

As contraception pills and devices are seen as an everyday thing, safe and trialled and tested, a thing which has been in use in one format or another (legally) since the 1960′s, so common place they HAVE to be innocuous. Therefore the many health risks associated with contraceptive pills are not really talked about, not after the initial first chat about your contraceptive options with your medical practitioner. The risk to long term fertility once you stop taking the pill is NEVER mentioned.

The only factors regularly discussed at 6 month pill ‘check-ups’ are blood-pressure levels and of course your weight. Yet, other serious factors that can occur as a result of taking these pills from a young age, when your body hasn’t really fully developed into a woman, what happens when you ingest unnatural hormones that meddle with your bodies internal mechanisms, and precious endocrine system, are never mentioned.

As long as you are your perfect weight and your blood pressure is OK, then you get the pill!!! If you have a lapse Doctor they might not even check that, nor even if you smoke. If you smoke some pills can cause allergic reactions, this happened to a friend of mine and I told her to revisit her Doctor as she was on the wrong pill, for a smoker! Her Doctor hadn’t even thought to ask her this vital question before dishing out the pill to her!

I actually took the pill for a good few years. I also suffered from stomach complaints throughout the time of taking the pill, the connection between the two was never made of course. I had my Gall-bladder removed about 2 years after I stopped taking the pill, but it had been failing me for a good few years before this time. Anyway, I was asked recently about the side-effects for the pill I had been prescribed, but I couldn’t remember. So, I decided to do some research, and wouldn’t you know it Gall-bladder disease was one of the side-effects!!

I was NOT aware this side-effect, I had NEVER been made aware of it!! If I had been aware I would have been fully and properly informed, and able to take full control of what ‘medication’ I decided to ingest. I would have reconsider my options too, as the pill I had been placed upon was obviously not the right one for me. I had a family history of Gall-bladder disease, but I had never been asked about this by my Doctor.

I felt outraged that I had not been told this was a side-effect of the pill I had taken daily for years!!

So, what of fertility then? Well, if the Gall-bladder can be affected by the pill then surely anything can be!

What I want to know is why women’s bodies are treated as though they are not their own? Why are we treated like pieces of meat by so called medical professionals? Why is the full information not being disclosed to us? Why are women not being allowed to take control of their own medical care/choices? Is it just because the contraceptive pill is common place and seen as the norm in medical care, or is it because no-one cares what happens to a woman’s body, as she is just a woman?

Thinking about fertility I have asked my Doctor about my own hormones. I thought after years taking the pill I would be bound to have more dormant issues. I was told though, that my ‘complaints’ were normal. That getting some teenage troubles (like spots, severe period pains or whatever else) in my twenties or thirties could happen, especially if I hadn’t had these troubles when I was a teen! It was perfectly normal for hormones to alter, to do weird things to my body. I wanted to be offered a test though, to check, to put my mind at ease, but testing for hormones seems to be something they aren’t keen on doing, unless of course I wanted to get pregnant, then they would have to test me. I was as usual told to shut up and put up. 

So, I am non the wiser regarding my hormone levels or fertility (post contraceptive pill), just like most women out there.

Has my fertility been decreased or eradicated or whatever else? Have my hormone levels been damaged? Who knows. I will just have to take my chances and see what happens. As for now, I don’t wish to get pregnant, so until I do, my hormones will mean very little to the medical world!

Not so reassuring is it. 

 

Associated articles:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2675482/Women-Pill-fertile-months-stopping-ages-reproductive-system.html

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

How Not To Speak Spanish


I just couldn’t resist posting this for some light hearted humour.

This video is from the BBC classic comedy series ‘Fawlty Towers’. In this little snippet, Basil Fawlty decides to teach Manuel a thing or two about his own language, Spanish, and of course in true classic Basil Fawlty style, he falls short of that task!

Hope you enjoy, and remember, this is NOT how to speak Spanish!!

The Dating Game


*Sigh* what a crazy conundrum the world of perpetual first dates must be, a virtual nightmare, based more on style than substance.

I am left wondering as I read about the newest form of dating via the internet, the Tinder app, how people actually ever get into a real relationship these days, especially as there seems to be an endless list of dos and don’ts as far as ‘dating’ goes.

Don’t look as though you are being too forward or desperate, don’t dress too casual or too provocative, don’t say that, don’t be too friendly or familiar, don’t open the door for a woman, don’t smile too much, don’t drink too much, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Some dos and don’ts might make sense, but some, it’s a little anal retentive!  

I actually question whether dating even exists anymore anyway, as I don’t actually consider a drink with a stranger as a date, a string of intrusive and often rude questions as a date, divvying up the bill and quarrelling over who pays as a date.

My idea of Hell (well, one of my ideas of Hell in any case); stuck in a room full of strange people who obviously are surveying and rating or berating the flesh before them, making judgements and snide comments and either thinking solely with their crotch or their hearts like lovesick teens. Yuck!

I know people are just too busy to be people any more, too busy to interact and communicate and just be real instead of virtual, but come on, seriously? Another online dating thingy majig, another one to add to the hundreds, no, thousands already in cyberspace?!

Where has reality gone?

Where have all the real people gone?

Where has the real deal communication and interpersonal skills gone? Those skills everyone always claim to possess on a CV, but can’t produce as the goods in the real world!

Why is everything so virtual, scripted and has never ending sets of ridiculous rules attached?

I like you, you like me, great lets go for coffee, lunch, dinner, a walk in the park? How difficult is that? Just approach someone, just be genuine and interested and approach a person and speak!

No, now that would be too easy!

What is wrong with a simple approach and then just going with the flow thereafter?

Is it the fact we are now a society and culture that is so manipulated, and dominated by our hard-wired discrimination, and die-hard consumerism that we always have to have an agenda, a list of what must be? If a person falls short of our list of ‘must haves’ we are disappointed, devastated and turned off immediately. After all we deserve nothing short of perfect, even if we ourselves, by the very nature of humanity, are severely lacking in perfection. Yet, our other half must be perfection personified.  

We have to have the Stepford woman or man on our arm, because the person who farts, or speaks out of line or doesn’t wax their bits and bobs or won’t have sex on the 1st date or insists on being, well, anything we frown upon in this golden age of liberation (for both sexes), just isn’t good enough for our exacting standards and our little wonderful life plan. A life plan by the way, which will never come to fruition, especially if we insist on setting ourselves unrealistic and unobtainable goals, just like obtaining the perfect woman or man.

Now, I admit I’m not au fait with the dating scene. I am therefore no doubt naïve to all of this new-fangled approach to dating, but this means I have no qualms in seeing it all as being ridiculous and OTT.

I can’t help but pick holes with these new methods of dating and these rules of attack or engagement, or whatever! Frankly, I wouldn’t put up with the shit that the dating scene apparently requires its participants to go through to secure a date. I would actually rather pay for a date, literally, then sell myself short and pretend to be, well, whatever someone else wanted me to be! Sod that!

For me there is no fun in fake; telling lies to suit others ears just doesn’t turn me on. Such lies (pretending to always be some polished débutante and polite wonder goddess) would only just stack up trouble for any possible future with that ‘date’.  Why can’t we just go out and date and be ourselves. Say; “I am me and proud of it, and anyone who has a problem with that can just walk back out of the door they just came through, I won’t lose sleep”!

Don’t get me wrong, I can be the compromise queen and I accept flaws – relationships are give and take, it can’t all be one-sided ‘what will you do for me’ crap and nonsense. However, I wouldn’t want to sacrifice so much of me just to get a man that I am no longer me. What is the point in that?

If that is what you have to do to date, and be successful on the new dating scene then I would be single, though I hate that word. Single denotes somehow an air of not enough, dissatisfaction as though you need another person to be whole and validated. What utter *insert rude word here*.  

Anyway, the point I am trying to make is this; when did dating and all of this stuff become so complicated??? Who changed the ‘rules’ and why? What can anyone gain from feeling as though they are about to play a game of war, rather than have a connected, social human interaction, which should be interesting and fun?

I just want to ask one more thing; if you are currently dating, please try and date in the real world first (at least). You never know, it might actually be more fulfilling and worthwhile than sitting on a computer for hours completing silly, and irrelevant on-line compatibility questionnaires about how you take your coffee, ‘black or with milk’ – who cares!!!!!!!!!!!!!!        

    

Associated articles:

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jun/28/feminist-dating-emma-jane-unsworth

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/nov/23/tinder-shallowest-dating-app-ever

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/finding-cloud9/201305/10-dating-dos-and-donts-6-therapists

https://shine.yahoo.com/love-sex/first-date-advice-12-dos-donts-every-girl-224100905.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/relationships/10262728/Dating-dos-and-donts-of-the-pick-up.html