Saturday, 22 June 2013

Moving On

I wrote this peace when leaving a place I once lived. I moved to Swindon, Wiltshire, in the UK in July 1999. I moved there for a job and moved into a shared house just outside the town centre. It was a sunny day and I eagerly was awaiting a new chapter in my life, in a new place and meeting new people and challenges.
For many years I loved Swindon, its people and the things to do and see there. Over time however the town changed and it became over populated. Once home to many railway engineers, once the biggest new town growing town in Europe economically speaking had become full of people, big chain shops and lost a lot of its history.
With the bank crisis and recession in 2008 a lot of the big shops shut down and a lot of the big companies in the town left and unemployment rose. I remained in work however my personal life took a dramatic change for the worse. I lost a lot of friends. My love for Swindon went lower than ever and decided I would not be truly happy until I left. I left Swindon in June 2012 and do not miss it in the slightest.
I wish I could be more positive however even now, a year later, I struggle to find anything positive about the place. This however is only my opinion and is in no means factual. This is purely a self-indulgent peace expressing my strong opinion about a part of the world I dislike.
I wrote this piece, not to offend people from there and not to discourage people from going there but just to write about some of the things I experienced there, which I no longer wanted to have in my life …
The toilets in Farringdon Park,
The queues outside Primark.
Fat arse, short legs to aspire,
A night out to Destiny and Desire.
Smoking a fag while mending the gas,
Fantastic hen dos at Burger King.
Teenagers with prams, dogs and a frown,
Tourist information directs you out of town.
Get granny some fake tan for a treat,
You can see moss on the Dome-busters seat.
Old town museum had a crocodile and a map,
Coate Water has a diving board covered in bird crap.
Christmas tree in the middle of the magic roundabout,
Why do all the people seem to shout?

Be warned this is only what I believe,
I think I really need to leave!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Some Questions

This blog consists of over one hundred questions. I have always been encouraged to ask questions and always been quite curious about a range of different things. Curious comes from the Latin to “care” so I guess questions are a good thing. Don’t you think?

A lot of my questions involve word-play and sayings that are used. Some of them are a little cheeky but no offence is meant as I just do not know! Some of them are just asked for comical effect and have no answers. These are the sort of question I enjoy best!

I have a lot of questions on the origins of words but left a lot of them out as when thinking about then there was a lot of them … there were far too many to list! I have also asked a lot of questions that have been asked by a lot of other people before me. I do not claim this all my own list and certainly not a definitive list. It is a good start of my many questions. If you have any amusing answers please let me know …

How does a shepherd count his flock without falling asleep?

Do fish sleep?

Would a solar car be able to travel faster than the speed of light?

Is it not scary that the word “therapist” is the same as the words “the” and “rapist” put together?

Do sheep get static when they rub against each other?

Do pigs pull ham strings?

Why do people say “heads up” when they mean “duck”?

What do you say when someone says you’re in denial but you’re not?

If you had x-ray vision, but closed your eyes, could you still see? I guess if you could see through anything then you would actually see nothing?

If the wind is 50 mph and you drive your car at 50 mph downwind, if you stick your head out the window, would you feel the wind?

Why does closing “up” a shop and closing “down” a shop mean the same thing?

Why are things typed up but written down?

What does OK actually mean?

If someone said it “was an uphill battle” and someone else said “it when downhill from there” would they be having the same problems?

Why is it you can walk down a road even if it is uphill?

Why doesn’t the glue in the bottle dry up?

If Luke took a bath, would it be lukewarm?

If you decide that you are indecisive, which one would you be?

Why do we have the weight of the world on our shoulders but we have to get it off our chests?

If you tell someone that they are being judgemental are you not being judgemental yourself?

Why is your bottom is called that because it is in the middle if your body?

Whatever colour the liquid the froth is always white, why?

Why do they say “head over heels in love” when your head is always over your heels?

Why is the name of the phobia for the feel of long words called: Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia?

If someone cannot hear they are called deaf, if they cannot see they are blind but there is no name for someone that cannot taste?

Why would superman want to leap over the tallest building in a single bound when he can fly?

Why is it called a tv set when there is only one?

If it is zero degrees outside today and tomorrow will be twice as cold, how cold will it be?

Why are accident, incident and emergency so long words as it could take vital mini-seconds off saving someone’s life?

If you are allergic to dogs and cats, can you go outside when it rains?

Is there another word for thesaurus?

Do cows drink milk?

Can a guy called “Nick” have a nickname?

If we are supposed to see birdies when we get knocked out, what do they see?

What is a male ladybird called?

Why an alarm clock called “going off” when it actually turns on?

If you mated a bulldog and a shih tzu what type of dog would that is that called?

Why are they called stairs inside but steps outside?

If an ambulance runs someone over on the way to an emergency, does it stop to help?

If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a song about him?

Why is there a light in the fridge and not in the freezer?

Is it not worrying that doctors call treating you in their “practice”?

What do you call female daddy-long-legs?

Why is it called a “drive-through” when you have to stop?

Why does mineral water that has “trickled through mountains for centuries” go out of date next year?

Do vampires get AIDS?

Why do toasters always have a setting that burns the toast to a horrible crisp that no one would eat?

Do geese get goose bumps?

Why can magicians make things disappear into thin air, but not thick air?

Why is it rain drops but snow falls?

Why is it that the slowest traffic is called rush hour?

What do people in China call their good plates?

Do feathers ever tickle birds?

Why is it that cargo is transported by ship while a shipment is transported by car?

Does peanut butter have any butter in it?

If someone vanished without a trace, how do people know they are missing?

Why are boxing rings square?

What was the best thing before sliced bread?

If love is blind why do we have love at first sight?

What would your own tongue taste like if you accidently ate it?

Why do we scrub down and wash up?

What is the opposite of opposite?

If practice makes perfect and nobody is perfect, why do we practice?

If you try to fail and succeed, what did you just do?

If you dig a tunnel straight through the earth, will you come out feet first?

Are zebras black with white strips or white with black strips?

What came first, the fruit or the colour orange?

Where does the white go when the snow melts?

Do dwarfs start stories: “When I was little”?

Can blind people see their dreams?

If there’s an exception to every rule, is there an exception to that rule?

Why does Tarzan not have a beard?

Are you tired of people asking you rhetorical questions and you do not know if they are rhetorical questions or not?

Why someone that handles your money is called a “Broker”?

Why do they call it taking a dump? Should it not be leaving a dump?

If quizzes are quizzical then what are tests?

Why do they sterilise needles for lethal injections?

What would happen if an irresistible force met with an immovable object?

How can you hear yourself think?

How come thaw and unthaw mean the same thing?

If you feed a bee nothing but oranges would it start making marmalade?

Why is it you get a penny for your thoughts, you have to spend a penny to go to the toilet but you have to put in your two cents worth?

If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?

Why do you get on a bus and on a train but in a car?

How can something be new and improved? If it is new what is being improved upon?

If you are in hell and mad at someone where would you tell them to go?

I know you can be under whelmed, you can be over whelmed but could you just be whelmed?

If you take an oriental person and spin them around a few times, do they become disorientated?

How come overtones and undertones are the same thing?

What do you use to dilute water?

Before they invented drawing boards, what did they go back to?

Why do they call it an asteroid when it is outside the hemisphere but call it a haemorrhoid when it comes out your ass?

Can you be a closet claustrophobic?

Do fish get cramps after eating?

Do one legged ducks swim in circles?

Have you ever imaged a world with no hypothetical situations?

How do you actually “draw a blank”?

How do you know when you are out of invisibility ink?

How does the guy who drives the snow-plough get into work in the morning?

How is it possible to have civil war?

If all the world is a stage, where does the audience sit?

If a bus station is where a bus stops and a train station is where a train stops, why do I have to start work at my work station?

If a chronic liar tells you he is a chronic liar do you believe him?

If a mute child swears, does his mother make him wash his hands with soap?

If a turtle loses his shell, is he homeless and naked?

If psychics know the winning lottery numbers, why are they all still working?

If knees were backwards, what would chairs look like?

If soap is used to make you clean, why does it leave a scum?

If you ate pasta and then anti-pasta, would you still be hungry?

If you got rid of all but one of your odds and ends, what would you call it?

Is it possible to be totally partial?

Why is it when two planes almost hit each other it is called a “near miss”? Should it not be called a “near hit”?

What colour would a chameleon go in a mirror?

What would you do when you had an endangered animal that only ate endangered plants?

What hair colour do you but on a driving licence for a bald man?

What is a free gift? Are not all gifts free?

What is another word for synonym?

Whose cruel idea was it for the word “lisp” to have an “s” in it?

Why are we scared of falling and not the sudden end to falling?

Why did kamikaze pilots where helmets?

Why do flammable and inflammable mean the same thing?

Why do we not hear of gruntled employees?

Why is it so hard to remember how to spell “mnemonic”?

Why is it called a “building” when it is already built?

Why is it called a bust, when it stops right before the part bit is named after?

Why is the alphabet in that order?

Why is there only one monopolies commission?

Why isn’t there mouse-flavoured cat food?

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Old Dogs

This piece is regarding learning about me, my limits and what is and what is not possible. When you are a baby you cannot talk or write or read. Within five short years you generally can do all three to a basic level. You then learn more and more skills as you get older. I used to believe anyone could do anything if you tried hard enough. Well, I could anyway!

Suffering with dyslexia did not make learning new things easy. However with time and trying different techniques I mastered many things. I learned how to tie my shoe laces, draw pictures, how to measure things, how to make things, my times-tables (well most of them), how to ride a bike, how to use a computer, how to play sports and even speak and understand bits of another language. I learned lots of things that I could not possibly list here.

I grew older I learnt more things in life and throughout education. I learned how to read maps, put up tents, tie knots in my scouting experiences. I also learnt how to drive, how to cook when moving away from home, how to wash my clothes, how to manage my money and cope with living with people I did not know when I went to university. Educationally I will not even start saying all I learnt.

After my university training I did not find it all that difficult to get a job after I learnt what to do at interviews. In work I learned how to take minutes of meetings, manage and create data, talk to important people on the phone, send emails to get things done in a hurry by expressing urgency and also how to prioritise different tasks and keeping everyone happy by communicating what I was doing at all times.

I like to watch game shows on television and listen to them on the radio as I believe my general knowledge is reasonably above average and like to test myself. There are many different formats out there for quizzes but I have always thought Mastermind would be one of the easiest. I am sure if there was something I was interested in enough I am sure I could read all the books, listen any of the connected music and take in all there was to know about a set subject. If I was really interested in it and given enough time I am sure I could learn all there was to a basic subject. I do not know if I am being big headed but I am an optimist and believe if I want to I could do anything!

Up until recently given enough time and support I have not found much I could not do at some basic level and would be convinced that given the correct mind-set and help I would eventually be able to train my brain to achieve it! One thing that gave me slight reason for doubt it I once took a job that to all intents and purposes that was impossible! I tried many ways to get around the problems that I was experiencing and was still making mistakes. Over time, I came to the conclusion that a lot of it was to do with my dyslexia but even so, some of the work I got involved with seemed so inexact that there were no set rules and if there was then they keep changing. The job was impossible but for a while I doubted myself. Plus I feel I was not given the time and support needed to achieve what could have been possible.

When reviewing my role in this previous job I had been informed that the person who did the job before me could not cope with it and struggled under the pressure. For a long time I kept telling myself that I would get the hang of it and get some systems in place to make it easier. Unfortunately the goal posts kept moving and also the pressure. There was time pressure, a pressure of having to do bits of one job and then switching to another quickly but having to maintain focus and real accuracy. The problem was also when being trained for the role it was always been rushed through and I had not a lot of time to digest what I was being taught. I also felt relying on other people and companies to provide me with information was frustrating as they could took a while to get anything done.

After a few frustrating months and many sleepless nights and stress filled days I spoke to the lady in my life about these things. I said that I believed I could do anything when I was younger. I said I believed you could train your brain to do anything. I just thought this job was impossible however not a word I really liked using. She turned round to me and said:
“You are not a spring chicken anymore, and your brain probably doesn’t pick things up as quickly as a teenager anymore”!  She did not in any way call me an old dog however I was reminded of the phase:
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”! I knew what she meant that when you are young your mind is as big a sponge as it can be and I can struggle a lot more now to pick lots of bits up. I was convinced that I would find a way around the issue or fully explain the full extent of the issues I was having and gain some better help or give up.

I tried to speak to my manager to explain all the issues I was having and explain that there was still a lot I was missing and needed support in. I did not want to quit as I had never quit anything in my life and wanted to prove I was not an old dog and could master anything I put my mind towards.

A number of weeks went on and I was still not sleeping very well and struggling with the job. It came to a point when I was looking in the mirror after brushing my teeth at night and it looked like my head was much bigger. I thought that I could not being having a growth spurt at the age I was then. I thought I may have a bit of a growth or a tumour with all my stress. I spoke to my partner about this and she said it was just me losing my hair. It made sense! It was not as bad as a tumour but it was a wakeup call and I realised I was not coping very well. Over the next weekend I realised that I could not cope with the job, the job was impossible and did not want to be so stressed it would make me potentially ill or age before my time. I realised that health and happiness were much more important than my work and career.

I realised that it was not the fact I could not learn new things and it was an impossible job and although I could not do the job fully as it was impossible I did learn that health and happiness that was important.  The next week I quit the job and gave my months notice even though I had no new job to go to. I was so desperate that I would have taken any job. I went to many agencies, the job centre, bought a paper and went online and applied for loads of jobs. After a few interviews and money not being an option I was offered many roles and so had a pick of them.

Several months on now, I am in a steady job, my hair has mostly grown back, and I am happier in my job and this makes my time off much better and healthier.