The randomness that is My World

Different lives

I have such a wide range of friends and acquaintances. I am currently on benefits (due to change soon, hopefully!) and I count people from this lack-of-income bracket up to and including multi-millionaires as my friends.

Amount of wealth really is no indicator of the person in question. I know people with very little money who are lovely, and some who are much less so. Equally true of those I know with a lot of disposable income. The best friends are the best friends, either with money or without. People often pre-judge those with money. Try not to judge anyone: especially in advance.

It’s a bit like age – the elderly are not, as a whole, a jolly lot. Generally, the ageing process does not alter the person. Grumpy, mean and volatile as a younger person usually equals the same in old age. Thankfully, a lively, fun, funny 20/50 year old can, given time and health, be a lively, fun and funny 88 year old.

I love my friends, the whole disparate collection of them.

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What about me?

Always bottom of the heap, and usually my own fault. Brought up by parents who believed that a man went to earn the living and the woman looked after the house and the children I find it difficult to put myself on the same level as my children (or the rest of the family/neighbours/friends/charity I help out occasionally/cats/random strangers in the local co-op even). Today I was going to use some time for me. Younger children at various clubs/summer school/parties; elder offspring out of the country/at work/lazing on the sofa. As it turns out, this is the first time I have been on my own all day.

Trying to avoid Facebook with it’s perfectly edited moments in time of family holidays (I prefer reading about the things that have gone wrong just so I know it’s not just my family).

Refused my teenage girl permission to hang out with her friends by the river (“they all jump off the bridge into it, looks like fun mum!”) as I prefer the more supervised jumping into swimming pools. I am, apparently, the only parent to say no. Oh well.

Youngest two happy watching Alvin and the Chipmonks.

I’m off for a bath then bed.

Good night all 🌞

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London bus route number 87

I love this bus route. Why pay for a tour bus when the top deck of any bus in London can provide amazing views of our wonderful capital city? I have never lived here but visit frequently and usually find something new to see, examine or admire. The architecture I’ve seen today is stunning.

I’m usually with at least one of my children but today is a very rare trip on my own. A leisurely ride on this bus (love the Oyster card as I do not have a contactless bank card!) was the perfect start to my day. Bridges over the Thames; Westminster; horseguards parade and Trafalgar Square are all highlights of this route for me.

National Gallery next.

Fabulous couple of hours at the National Gallery. Disappointed that they will allow cabin sized cases if visiting a paid for, pre-booked exhibition but only smaller rucksack or handbag types if only visiting the free part of the gallery. Cost me £7.50 to leave bag at the Charing cross baggage storage, money I would rather have spent in the gallery shop. Security concerns I understand: to allow medium sized baggage in one part but not another baffles me.

Remember to look up.

Finished my time with a free gig outside the station. #GigsBigBusk Excellent initiative.


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Appearances can be deceptive

This is a photo I took last week. Looks like autumn and it sounded like autumn. It is not, however, autumn.

I can smile to order when out and about – I am not, however, smiling inside.

Feelings can be hidden. Depression can be covered up for short periods of time.

A recent hashtag is “it’s okay to not be okay”, but often it doesn’t feel like that. Society is not good (on the whole) at acknowledging invisible or difficult to see problems and health conditions. Broken leg = oh, poor you! How did you do it? Can I help? Do you need any shopping? Depression = silence, often from the person who has it as well as the people they meet.

There is no typical day. I can accept an invitation or make plans for my children only to find that on the day I am completely unable to leave the house/have a shower/get dressed/drive/stay awake. Sometimes I will manage the activity/day out with the kids to be faced with a day in bed the following day. Not too bad if they’re at school, not good if it’s a Sunday.

If you see someone you know has an illness or condition, whatever it may be, do not assume that because you are greeted with a smile and that they are dressed that they are okay.

I wish that it really was okay to not be okay.

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Kindness of strangers

My daughter (grown up) out with friends tonight at a local festival. Friends call me saying they haven’t seen her for about an hour, have searched for her in the usual places bar/loos/meeting point etc with no joy. They don’t want to leave without her but don’t know what else to do. I tell them that it’s okay to leave, they’ve tried their best and thanks for letting me know.

My daughter calls me back after I’ve left message, text and a missed call. She’s absolutely fine (if very squiffy) and is being given a lift home by “a very kind lady” who she doesn’t know.

Thankyou to this “very kind lady”. Meant I was able to put my daughter’s friends minds at ease and restores my faith in Human nature.

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Exhausted, not just Tired

I’ve been exhausted today, all day. Nap in the afternoon helped, could not have physically made it through the day otherwise.

My therapy dog walk this morning was lovely though, reminded me that I saw a hare one day last week. Rubbish photo, but this is the only creature the dog has ever shown an interest in chasing so I blame him for the photo!


No such thing as a “standard dose of anti-depressants”

Met two friends for coffee today. I made these friends whilst I was on the ‘work programme’. One was also on the work programme and the other was our support worker/job coach (or some similar title).

I was placed on the work programme around two years ago when claiming ESA for depression and anxiety. I dreaded it – new place to find; new place to park; new building to navigate; new people to meet etc etc etc.

I was allocated an advisor who had no previous professional experience of poor mental health……(none of the advisors in my area had experience in this area. None.)

I was lucky.

My advisor listened. She listened to me and to others on the programme. She came up with her own ideas of how to help us. She researched, she talked. I repeat, she listened.

Jumping forward two years….I’m no longer on the work programme, neither is the friend I made while attending the programme. My previous advisor has left the service provider.

We have however, made an unlikely trio (I can’t help but think “when shall we three meet again” each time we part) that supports each other. NOT what the government pictured when instigating the programme I’m sure. My friend has just had her judgement from the fit for work interview. Some of the comments are astounding. The worst is that she is “on the standard dose of anti-depressants”.

There is no standard dose.

There is no standard anti-depressant even.

My friend is appealing, with help from kind hearted retired people who listen and care. And with support from her two fellow witches.

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I have a very odd extended/’unofficially adopted’ family that give a lot of love to each other (mostly) and to me. They also take up a lot of time and energy. My offspring all know that I would drive the length of the country at any time of night or day if they asked.

Today I have driven up to help one of my grown up children in their move from flat to short-term room let. This involves me driving up with empty(ish) car, filling said car with bed, mattress, microwave, various paraphernalia and bringing it back to my already full-to-bursting 4 bed semi. My car is still full as I type as I have very little idea where I’m going to store everything.

Bizarrely it was a lovely day though – time spent one to one with any of my children is always time well spent, whatever the reason.

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I have a busy life. Some of it of my own making (five and a half children), some no fault of mine (one annoyingly irresponsible ex) and a lot of general life that comes along with having a full family.

Today my three youngest left for school, I walked someone else’s dog, I was then going to take someone into town for important things on their important ‘to do’ list (that I’ve made for him), followed by someone else’s ironing, actual work, more dog walking, feeding three youngest, applying for a ‘real’ job, bath, bed.

A friend rang….was I busy? Could we chat?

Of course I wasn’t busy. I made a coffee and made myself comfy on the sofa while I listened and tried to help. Sometimes (thankfully, as I wasn’t much help) listening is enough. It’s all we need.

Be there for your friends.

I am not claiming to be perfect, or to be the best friend, but sometimes I get it right. Sometimes an hour of your time can make the difference in someone else’s day.

My pictures will probably always be random, matching my thoughts.

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