Flat

I’m in my flat. 12 weeks ago this was my home.

I’m packing up. My life changed on Sunday September 1st.

My estranged wife died and I’ve lived at her house with the kids since.

Lyndie was 39. We were separated and had lived apart for nearly five years. As parents of autistic children we had to keep talking and we did.

I usually went over midweek on a Wednesday to see the boys and do their bedtimes. I also usually had them from lunchtime Saturdays until Sunday evening.

Her house was a place that I was familiar with. She had a number of conditions and at times she was bed bound. It wasn’t unusual for her to be so and either myself or the carer for boys would look after them.

It’s been a journey since that day.

Since I phoned 999, having to then tell her parents and all the phone calls and emails thereafter

The registration of her death, her funeral. Unpicking her arrangements, using her phone calendar as a guide.

I didn’t know everything about her.

That much was certain before she died and afterwards, the contacts and messages, some of which I struggled to read. Fixing her Facebook accounts, Unsubscribing her from email lists, Stopping auto scheduled amazon deliveries.

Then her notes, The things she wanted to say to me.

I can’t change anything. It is what it is. A certain amount of surprises in terms of her personal and financial situation.

I had to think of the kids first and foremost and what they needed, that meant getting benefits made out to me, Sorting Motability, pleading to the housing association to allow me the tenancy.

It’s not all done. I now need to clear my flat and sell it.

I need to apply for what was Carer’s Allowance.

I need to speak with my employer and find out about going back to work.

There’s the loss and grief of someone I loved. Regret at her moving out and guilt that she died.

I don’t know what happened. Her death is unascertained and there are further tests.

I cry sometimes and don’t know why. I stop what I’m doing and forget what I’ve been doing.

There are memories and words unspoken. There are arguments remembered and things that went wrong.

I’ve been told not to blame myself.

I’ve been told that I’ve coped well in keeps the boys in their school routine. I’ve been helped by the carer and her family.

But, it’s still like yesterday.

It’s fresh in my mind. Finding her, not feeling a breath. The touch of her hand.

It’s not easy, i still don’t know the whys. I know she struggled with her health in the past few years. We cancelled a week of our holiday in August.

We still holidayed together for the boys sake.

In these twelve weeks, I’ve had kind words and help and support.

I’ve had to deal with rumours of her taking her life and comments about my parenting ability.

I’ve had to read things I’ve not wanted to. I’ve had to make calls that I haven’t wanted to.

It’s endless and exhausting.

My focus has been my sons. They lost their mummy. Their light of their lives. Their encouragement, her smile, her hugs.

I’m no replacement for that.

I wasn’t an absentee father. I did anything asked of me for them. I know their needs and routines.

I’m still not their mummy though.

So it’s a flat to clear and it’s obvious that I lived enough to get by day to day in those four and a bit years. I hadn’t moved on and I was stuck after the separation.

The rooms and objects of my former home are now different to me. Not as familiar. Not as easy and safe.

My new home is ‘her house’ and will be for a while yet. The drama made by the housing association over me taking the tenancy meant that my grief was delayed whilst I worried over my boys being evicted and the upset that would cause to them.

It left me in limbo for six weeks. I couldn’t change anything at the house and I couldn’t start to pack the flat either.

My plans were knocked over in both senses.

My grief came back after I was allowed the house, I stopped worrying and started processing what had happened again.

My ‘alone’ had changed from evenings after work to daytime when boys are at school and then later at night when they’re in bed.

I don’t know where this new ‘normal’ takes me. For the moment I do feel flat.

Explain ?

I think I need off Twitter. It’s approaching 10 years and I guess I didn’t get anywhere with it.

Grateful for all that ever bothered reading.

Not sure all that instant expression was understood

It’ll take a while longer than anticipated to clear the tweets though.

Am I a good person?

Oh no Chic.

I know. But it’s been in my mind.

I think it’s possibly a feeling of helplessness and frustration. I’ve being trying to weigh up what my life is and place some sort of relative value on it.

But I get back to ‘bad things happen to bad people’ and then I get into a cycle of thoughts about where exactly I am and attempting to get to.

Maybe not quite giving in, but thinking to myself that I haven’t exactly got anywhere with anything and I’m sort of lost.

When I figure the sacrifices, I sort of still get lost. Time, money/debt, maybe opportunity.

But did I get what I deserved?

I guess. It’s pretty much me and my thoughts. The weekdays sort of run their course. Weekends go faster.

I’m trying to learn earlier bedtimes and more sleep but quite a lot of restless nights in there.

I wonder over the last six/seven years and the toll it’s taken on me.

The things that I muddled though and got past and the sort of feeling that I started broken and it’s still the same. I don’t suppose there’s a metaphor for the pieces not being fixed, but just arranged slightly differently.

I don’t suppose ‘more broken’ is possible. Maybe I’m back to the thought about a bulletproof vest merely having more holes in it than that first time it got punctured.

Damaged once is the worst and the subsequent damage, at the same velocity/force, merely places another mark on it.

I guess it’s a numbness sometimes.

‘Here’s another rubbish situation’

‘Uh. Okay.’

And so on.

Helpless and sometimes feeling oblivious to the impact of all those hits.

Already not having the balance of company, friends and family. So what’s another bad thing?

It’s not a feeling of being ‘worse’, maybe just another bad day on top of another bad day and being no closer to finding or having a good one.

I can wish that everything was better, but I’ve being holding onto that kind of hope for too long.

Which all brings me back to ‘was I unlucky’ ‘did I deserve it?’ ‘Am I a bad person getting my just desserts’

I wonder..

Jim Goodwin

This is too long for a tweet.

If there’s a right appointment at the right moment. It’s him for St Mirren.

Our cup winning captain, returning. Coming home.

The sort of thing that’d make every Man, Woman and Child that supports Saints an inch taller. Proud. Happy.

I’m not overselling this. He’s who we want. Who we need. The time is right.

We were fortunate to have Oran Kearney and he kept us up, did nothing wrong and sadly it was just one of those things. A good guy that I’ve seen nearly everyone wish well.

But Goodie. Home at Saints. That lionhearted skipper back to take is onward. To inspire and push us on.

We know he’s 100% we know what he means to us.

It’s so right and so needed.

We’re sick of ‘nine managers in nine years’.

Rae, Stubbs, Craig, Murray.

We’ve been unfortunate.

Things settled under Ross for money and opportunity to take him away.

Thankfully we’re still in that top league. Thankfully we have that platform created last season.

Thankfully we have our stadium and our facilities.

We are not down there staring up.

There is such a chance this season.

The building blocks are there. One more piece. To inspire. To lead. Into the future.

Star Trek:Picard

I’ve been very impressed with the two seasons of Star Trek Discovery and was a fan of next generation and original series.

A great thing about on demand TV is choice and being able to pick my way through the episodes of Voyager, Deep Space Nine and Enterprise that I hadn’t seen.

It’s also great for research and I liked watching Star Trek: TOS episodes that tied in with Discovery.

But Picard..

A 60 second trailer with a female voiceover had this as the words as far as I could tell..

15 years ago today, you led us out of the darkness.

You commanded the greatest rescue armada in history.

Then, the unimaginable.

What did that cost you? Your faith? Your faith in us? Your faith in yourself?

Tell us, why did you leave Starfleet Admiral?

Various sources have confirmed with the producers that it ties to the destruction of Romulus.

In Star Trek TNG, a two parter covers ‘Unification’ where Data and Picard are modified as Romulans to investigate Ambassador Spock.

Romulans appear elsewhere in the series with different stories involving Troi, Riker and a Romulan defector.

In Star Trek: Deep Space 9, ‘In the pale moonlight’, where Sisko and Garak engineer a incident to bring the Romulans into the Dominion War, I wonder if there’s an opportunity to have that tension created between Romulans and Cardassians in Deep Space Nine on play.

It leads to a number of episodes where Romulans are involved as an ally to the Federation on DS9 toward the conclusion of the show.

But apart from those episodes, where does that lead?

Firstly a twenty year time gap. In reality and the twenty-fourth century.

Picard is older. His fate was speculated upon at the end of The Next Generation with the two parter involving ‘Q’ and a past, present and future Picard working together to resolve an anomaly.

It was a retired Picard with a beard in that Vineyard in France as shown in the teaser clip. Elderly with a beard and a form of memory loss or dementia.

The new teaser shows an older Picard maybe not in uniform, not with a beard, but older.

The voiceover refers to an incident 15 years ago. 5 years after the events of TNG.

It calls Picard Admiral. Not Ambassador as had been speculated.

It suggests a retirement.

A rescue armada and Romulus.

A disaster and the speculation being that Picard commanded that mission.

And that’s the bones of it. Nothing in the 90’s series gives a clue.

We know about the Alpha Sector having the powers of the Federation, Klingons, Romulans and Cardassians.

We know the balance that there was between the various powers.

The appearance of the Dominion changed that balance and the Federation allied with the Klingons and later the Romulans.

Was the Romulan Star Empire on friendly terms with the other powers after the end of the dominion wars?

Or as suspected in DS9 that a new rivalry would arise?

Cardassia had to be rebuilt and all powers suffered from that war.

Add in Borg incursions in the film timelines.

Add in the Kelvin timeline of the rebooted movies and it’s plot about Romulus.

Do we assume losing Romulus shattered the Romulan empire?

Are there Romulan factions based on other planets grinding against each other?

Is there a tension between a rump state of what was the Romulan empire against the federation.

Is Picard some sort of arbiter who dealt with the aftermath of disaster and is called back in?

Presumably he’s not with the newest/current Enterprise and presumably he’s not with his TNG crew.

Where does that lead us?

1. Say a Berlin-Wall type event in the Romulan empire, where Picard is negotiating a settlement?

2. A treaty between numerous and fractious post empire factions?

3. The possible road map for shattered and numerous Romulan settlements joining the Federation.

4. A type of reunion with Vulcan and a push of a post-disaster Romulan empire toward the Vulcans and Federation.

I don’t know. I’m speculating as much as the Sci-Fi websites are.

Whatever the situation, it’s unique to Picard to resolve. It’s a sector where wars have happened, disasters have happened and there’s an opportunity to progress.

A suggestion that after the Dominion War that no Alpha Sector Power is greater than another.

Even the Federation would need time to recover its losses before thinking to administer what was the Romulan empire. Maybe the Neutral Zone couldn’t fall.

Maybe the Klingons are an issue, maybe a renewed Cardassia as a nuisance?

Unlikely that the Borg are in the picture, but as Star Trek’s scariest bad guys, why wouldn’t they get a piece of the action?

Lastly thinking ‘the unthinkable’ – is the Enterprise lost?

Was it destroyed in the catastrophe? Could it have been affected by the destruction of Romulus and perhaps Picard survived by being off the ship?

An off-screen destruction of the Enterprise would be a pretty big event to allude to through a series, but surviving your ship and crew would be a hugely traumatic experience and retiring to a vineyard would make sense.

Anyway, until the next trailer for Star Trek Picard, it’s all guesswork.

Killing Eve season 2

It’d be easy for me to heap praise on Jody Comer and Sandra Oh.

But, after being entertained in the first few episodes as it unravelled the ending of the first season and set itself up, it changed through the middle and end episodes.

In terms of direction, performances and visuals, it didn’t disappoint. In terms of Villanelle and death, it didn’t disappoint.

We got an exploration of psychology from seeing a murder out of ‘kindness’, through controlling relationships, addiction and truthfulness into what or who is a psychopath.

A dark prism to refract those subjects and at times, wholly uncomfortable.

The path of Villanelle’s journey is one things in terms of the story narrative, but also in the exploration of her motivations and her depth.

It touches desire. Both to have people and also for others not to.

It showed the depths to which she could reach to be someone other than herself.

It showed a strong self independence and self reliance, but weaked by her obsession with Eve.

But Villanelle isn’t the only one on a path, Eve takes that journey too, from tracking Villanelle to cracking who ‘The Ghost’ is and far beyond.

Eve’s path to this revelation and the ending is the ultimate study in who we may think we are and are capable of, and the reality of what we are and can do.

It takes the course of Villanelle and Eve’s relationship through the series to reveal the psychology at play within the script.

The depths of performance help, the subtlety is there in taking things beyond a cartoonish anti-heroine and the subject of her obsession.

Certainly Killing Eve could easily have kept to the formula of the first season and lapped up ratings and critical praise in a similar manner.

But, it took both Villanelle and Eve on a journey.

Maybe a journey of discovery is a wrong description but it took us through that relationship of hunter and prey, control, obsession, marriage, desire from a few viewpoints, voyeurism and where people go when they get their desires fulfilled.

The path through that is colourful, entertaining, at times funny and at times sick, but it nails the psychology at play inside people day to day in their relationships and motivations with others.

It’s not often that I’ll watch a box set of eight episodes in one go and stay up very late in order to do so, but this was certainly worth it.

Trying not to be single..

https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/am-i-any-less-of-a-man-because-im-autistic-jrrd/

That article brought me down to earth and I guess resonated heavily with me.

I suppose that I thought things might work out for me in the long run and I travelled in hope trying dating sites and I’ve ended up giving in.

I had my fill with looking on line at people. And I lapsed.

I hated myself for doing it.

I feel stupid too.

This is despite reading about online dating and the ways the apps are designed to hook those doing exactly what I was doing. Looking.

The companies behind the apps earn zip if I see and match with a comparable person.

So it’ll show me 7’s and 8’s when I might be a six or a five.

It’ll show me people just that little bit away from me. It might show me to those that pay for the service or it might do so if both parties are paid members.

I read the magazine articles about ditching swiping and getting out and about and actually attempting at life.

I know I’m fooling myself and I’m not alone, hundreds of thousands of us are each day online and looking in vain.

We set ourselves for the fall with the nicest pictures or wittiest bios that maybe are us on a good day.

Anyway, below is my experience of scrolling apps and what I perceive that I see on the little screen of heartbreak…

The ‘nicest’ seeming ones are usually too many kilometres/miles away.

At worst,they’re visiting the city rather than being someone that lives here and haven’t turned off their visibility.

Some you look at the pictures and read the biography and think – oh that’s a pity. The finger lingers and you wonder if it’s even possible.

Other sites maybe state the town and you think, no that’s just not possible.

The thoughts of practicality and problems even start at that point.

The first picture the finger goes on is usually oldest/thinnest, last picture is closer to reality.

Scroll and scroll, oh she looks much younger there, and then the penny drops on the last few photos.

I usually swipe left on the ones that look like Hollywood starlets in every picture. I just think I’m not good looking enough, wealthy enough or have that lifestyle.

(Probably in truth neither are they, but I don’t know that.)

Othertimes, you look and can’t see anything that helps make a decision, it’s maybe yes/maybe no.

A lack of information maybe or a unconscious bias of some sort.

‘My children are grown up and I’m not interested in parenting yours (woman with older kids looking for men over 40)’

No answer for that as I juggle commitments with kids every week. I’m not free 24/7 for anyone.

‘I take pride in my appearance and expect you to too. (Interests gym)’

– again, what can you say? – apart from would you like to get out the gym sometime?

‘Lol – fill in later’

– posts two identical photos, Yeah, a woman of mystery…

Age 46′ – then below ‘I’m actually 50′

Probably the most frustrating as you know she’s a liar from first impression. May not be fair, but certainly triggers that finger to swipe left.

It’s photos, it’s visual, some seem too good to be true, others you look and think well why did you use that picture.

Some faces are recognisable over a few apps. Maybe years ago, looking and building the courage to try a ‘hi, I read your profile, it was..’ and then not even getting a reply, so second/third time around you think, ah why bother?..

Height – ‘4’7″ or 5’11” – I suppose it does matter, I’d be too tall at one extreme and not tall enough at the other, it’s pure practicality over any sort of dreams or other thought.

Sometimes height makes a difference., sometimes it makes none. Often I saw ‘x’x” ‘for those that think it matters’

To me it does, but I’ve certainly seen tall/small happy couples in the past.

So that’s my run through of what I saw. For my own good I know I need to delete the apps.

As tempting as ‘join and see who already likes you’ is, I can’t afford it and I must be realistic.

I have my life. I know I spend my nights alone and I know I reach out with tech.

I know I have my limits and I suspect another relationship won’t really help me.

I know I’m missing affection and companionship but can I afford to pay for two/three swiping sites and the time and thought and effort?

It might get me a few steps along the line. A chat, a date. But that’s maybes and perhaps and maybe that’s not going to work out for me.