Images #3

BUSY old fool, unruly Sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows, and through curtains, call on us ?
Must to thy motions lovers’ seasons run ?
Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
Late school-boys and sour prentices,
Go tell court-huntsmen that the king will ride,
Call country ants to harvest offices ;
Love, all alike, no season knows nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.

Thy beams so reverend, and strong
Why shouldst thou think ?
I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink,
But that I would not lose her sight so long.
If her eyes have not blinded thine,
Look, and to-morrow late tell me,
Whether both th’ Indias of spice and mine
Be where thou left’st them, or lie here with me.
Ask for those kings whom thou saw’st yesterday,
And thou shalt hear, “All here in one bed lay.”

She’s all states, and all princes I ;
Nothing else is ;
Princes do but play us ; compared to this,
All honour’s mimic, all wealth alchemy.
Thou, Sun, art half as happy as we,
In that the world’s contracted thus ;
Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties be
To warm the world, that’s done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere ;
This bed thy center is, these walls thy sphere.

The Sun Rising – John Donne

























All images / photographs are the property of Tim Phillips-White (2013). Please ask permission before copying or using,


The Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes

I’ve been wondering what constitutes the difference between a novel and a novella. Julian Barnes’ 2011 Mann Booker Prize winner could certainly be considered to be on the short side, at only 150 pages – however, in the same manner as J.L Carr’s ‘A Month in the Country, it’s slight appearence does not in anyway diminish it’s power.

This story begs the question, do we ever really present a truthful representation of ourselves to the world? Or, do we settle upon a version of ones personality, be it accurate or not. Memories can play cruel tricks upon ones mind – a group of friends will quite often have completely conflicting memories of incidents from their shared past. The end of a relationship or friendship will be seen from two opposite points of view.

It it only as one gets older that we are sometimes forced to confront our perceptions, and re-evaluate past events – in the process perhaps reaching a conclusion that we would rather not have reached at the time.

Life will often throw up unwanted and sometimes unexpected surprises – this novel captures a mans attempts to cope with this, in the process accepting what he was always too blind to see.

A very moving and thought provoking novel….

Random thoughts on the train to work, two

Feelings dip and spin. Squabbling children remind me of a lost time, of being young. I don’t know what happened to me; I lost myself somewhere along the way.  I don’t know where to begin. Frosty tracks, sun high in the sky. Days like this still begin so full of hope and promise. Steam rising from factories. Speeding through suburban estates into fields, trees bursting into life. The expectation of spring; of life renewing itself, the chance for a new start, of better things yet to come. This empty space remains, a future taking shape without you. An empty, ‘you’ shaped hole. Only you..

You can only hold onto a misguided notion for so long.

It’s never a pleasant experience when you finally realise what a fool you’ve been, or just what a gigantic, blind, shit for brains buffoon you really are. They say that the truth always hurts? Too fucking right it does, it hurts like Hell, and I wish I could find some way to snap myself out of it.

Unpleasant as this all is; a sudden moment of clarity really does act like a shock to the system, a real kick up the arse, a size twelve boot to the bollocks.

When you’re in love with someone, I mean really in love with them, this situation becomes unbearable. No matter how much of a fool you know you’re acting, it’s impossible to forget the one you want more than anything else in the world. Perhaps the easiest thing is to laugh it all off, put it down to experience and fuck the fuck off permanently out of her life for good?

No one likes to be made a fool of, even if the situation is of their own making. The temptation is to keep out-of-the-way; maintain a low profile until the dust has cleared, however long that takes. It’s surprising how a sudden flash of enlightenment, overdue from long ago, can help to paint a different picture. Sometimes, and however hard it might seem, you simply have to get over yourself. You can’t always change things and you definitely can’t change the way people feel. Sooner or later you have to let people go their own way, for better or worse. They either want you in their life or they don’t; it’s as simple as that really. If they don’t, just tell yourself that they’re happy, (even if you suspect that they’re not), and try to be happy for them. Oh, and try not to listen to, or be taken in by gossip. Even if it’s true, it’s certainly none of your fucking business. You no longer fucking exist in their mind…..

Let it go…..

Jealousy and bitterness are two very easy paths to end up on, both are bound to end in the same place, a broken heart. At some point you have to wonder why the fuck are you constantly putting yourself through such torture? For what reason? No fucking reason at all. Think about all the wasted hours, days, weeks and months spent holding onto something that never really existed. Only in your mind, no one elses.

Writing is a release. It doesn’t really matter if anyone actually reads this stream of misguided piss; although I apologise to those of you that do; but the simple fact is that you can’t hold these feelings in your battered fucking mind forever. I suppose like your typical English, repressed male, I have a tendency to bottle things up, however, to be honest, that ‘stiff upper lip’ bullshit wankathon can only take you so far. Hence, the recent outpouring of my broken heart on this ere’ blog. Fear not though dear reader, I might return to normal one day; I might return to writing about normal things, such as porn, excessive masturbation, perhaps about how David Cameron can shove his ‘Big Society’ up his big opening and cheese. Perhaps all at the same time.

Of course, if all else fails, (which I can assure you it will), I’ll simply remind myself  about what a complete idiot I’ve been and vow never to make the same mistake again.

Not until the next time anyway…….

Sometimes a kick in the balls does you good….

I’ve always been rather bad at reading emotional signs. Shit, in fact; if there were a theory test for this then I’d be stood at the back of the class, face to the wall and wearing a pointy hat. I’ve often been blind to what’s going on around me, sometimes right under my nose. This may be perceived as apathy, or a lack of understanding or caring. It was never thus though.

I’m just a bit thick.

I am stubborn though, and in some cases this is a virtue. At times in life your are faced with tough decisions. Sometimes you have to look at yourself, sometimes harshly, and think, do I give up and walk away?

Or, do I stick at it and fight for what I want or believe in?

I prefer to fight. Quite often with hopeless, disastrous effects, but still… Surely it’s better to stand and fight for what you want most or believe in? Give me a kick in the balls, or a bloody nose any day of the week over the alternative. We all go through such a huge range of emotions through time – better to feel and live those emotions rather than hide yourself away.

Walking away is easy, it might not seem it at first, but it is. The hard decision, and to my mind, the correct one, is to put yourself out on the metaphorical front line each and every time. Go out on a limb; life is one big, but very short gamble. You don’t get too many chances to get things right; so however hopeless the situation may seem, isn’t it better to take the risk? In the face of what may appear to be massive, fuck off sized odds, I know I’d risk everything I have or hold dear for that one shot at happiness; even if it meant losing all I have. Something’s and some people really are that important.

I’m the last man in the world to serve up advice, however, if I were talking to myself right now though, (as I guess I probably am, at this point). I would say this; “Don’t walk away from what you want. For as long as you have a single breath left in your body, always be prepared to stand and fight for the one you love. When all seems lost and hopeless, fuck it, get up off your sorry arse and go back for more; and keep going back until you’re told to stop, or you croak it.”

Far better to take that one chance, even if in the end it doesn’t work out, at least you tried – don’t ever make the mistake of letting someone go that you love; don’t be the fool that let’s that person disappear from your life.

One chance; don’t live life as a series of connected “what if’s”. I don’t believe in fate, or “what will be, will be”. You make your own luck in life; you can’t live your life in such a passive way, almost as a passenger, waiting to see what happens. Go after what you want in life, but go about it in the right way – don’t be a complete shit, try to have a wee bit of class.

Don’t just stand there and shout it…..

Do something about it….

For once, I’m going to listen to my own advice.

All that I’ve lost, and all that could have been.

We’re all alone in the end.

I’ve always blamed myself for what happened. Impossible I know, but I’ve always felt responsible. The nagging doubt has always been there, eating away at me inside, refusing to budge, refusing to let me go.

This has always been a huge invisible barrier in my life; even though it’s entirely one of my own making. It has held me back in my career, and it has acted like a white elephant to any meaningful relationship I may have been involved in. It might sound odd to say that I have never minded, or been afraid of being alone. Being an only child makes one used to your own company, even if at times it becomes rather tiresome. After all, we’re all alone in the end.

Has this left me incapable of feeling or showing love? No, I’ve been lucky. There are those who entered my life, those that stayed for a while, whom I have loved. On the other hand, there were those who were never mine to love in the first place; they may have been the deepest, most heartbreaking love of all. The love of your life.

Those moments when the guard comes down are rare these days. I began to fill the empty space by other means; be it drink, meaningless sex or other ill-conceived relationships. This may provide you with some sort of temporary respite, a brief diversion; however the reality is always there waiting for you. You become cold, hard, cynical, almost machine like. Showing emotion becomes a sign of weakness, letting people become too close to you something to be avoided at all costs. You isolate yourself, become oblivious to those around you who care about you, and in time, forget what real happiness feels like.

No man is an island; but you can build a tall, unbreakable wall around that island, constantly checking for possible gaps. Over the years this is bound to take its inevitable toll. You become tired; not only of the constant effort required, but of yourself, and your own stupidity. Surely only a complete idiot would set out to screw up their own life? Who would actively make their existence cold and empty?

It all comes back to guilt; a debt to be paid for that event where the responsibility still hangs like a millstone around your neck.

As I sit and think and write about this, I’m fully aware as to how stupid and self-pitying this must sound. I know that in reality I was not responsible for my Mothers death at such a young age. I know that it was just a complete fluke that on a cold November week in 1993, she caught the flu, possibly off me, that caused what in the end was a sudden, quick and fatal asthma attack. I also know that there was nothing that I could have possibly done to change events. Nothing could have prevented such a tragic, wasteful loss of such a young life.

Stars have their moment and then they die.

I don’t look for sympathy. I’ve never wanted it, or expected it. I’ve never wanted people to feel sorry for me. Despite the words that have gone before, I do not wallow in a pool of self-pity. I have always tried to get on with my life in the best way that I can, quiet and with as much dignity and self-respect as was possible. There are many periods of my life when I do feel happiness. There are those in my life who provide me with support, laughter and unconditional love.

Perhaps that’s enough? Perhaps at the end of the end that is all that really matters.

Time passes, memories fade.

I’ve noticed something rather disturbing recently. In truth, I notice a lot of disturbing things, but this one thing has become very hard to fathom.

Those that know me, or have read previous posts will be aware that I lost both my parents by the time that I had reached the age of twenty. As I race towards the grand old age of forty, this seems longer ago than ever before, and this leads me onto my problem.

The longer that time pushes ahead, the less I remember what my parents actually looked like.

This might seem like an odd thing to say, after all, why don’t I don’t look at some old photos? The fact is, I don’t have any. Not one. All my family photos were lost when I was in the process of selling my late Mothers house following her death in 1993. I don’t know how they all got lost; the answer to that remains as lost as the photos themselves.

All I have left are memories, and it breaks my heart that these are becoming more fragmented and distant as time passes. As far as my Dad is concerned this presents less of a problem, after all, I only have to look in the mirror and he’s looking straight back at me. What breaks me up is the fact that my Mum is slipping from my mind; not my memories of her, they will always remain and there’s never been a single day when I’ve not thought about her, however the visual recollection is almost lost to me.

This is what upsets me the most, the one person in the world who was closest to me, and I can no longer remember her face. I don’t think I could possibly begin to describe to you the sorrow and emptiness that has filled those memories, and if I were talking to you face to face, I doubt if I could even try.

Every once in a while I see my Mum in dreams. I always remember them, and for that brief moment I see her how I once remembered her. In those few, short, fuzzy minutes when waking up this always comes as a nice, warm comforting moment. I’m always thankful for this when it happens, although it’s not that often. The worst part of this is the feeling that a whole part of my past is now lost to me; I started writing about my childhood last year in an effort to help me remember. This was a difficult decision to make, by my very nature I’m a very private man, I try to keep my most personal thoughts and feelings to myself. I’ve always tried to protect myself from heartbreak, and perhaps the end result of this is a misconception that I’m a rather cold individual. I guess that by writing about these things it makes it easier to say the things that I would be unable to say to people in person. Not because I don’t want to, but because I’m wary of giving too much of myself away, or sadly of letting anyone get too close to the real me. Of course, there have been rare occasions when people have got past the facade; have caught a brief glimpse of the other me. I hope those people over the years realised how very special I thought they were, and of how much they meant or mean to me. I don’t know if they do or don’t, but the fact remains that it takes an amazing person to get inside my heart and more importantly, my mind. Unfortunately though, life is often a cruel mistress, hopes and dreams are often dashed. Even when those you want and love the most in life are out of reach to you.

Random thoughts on the train to work (1)

Damp leaves. Empty streets. Crowded platform. Can’t concentrate. Late train. Sun rises over the fields. Starlings whirl.

Mist begins to clear, although not in my mind. Think about the day ahead – no enthusiasm, no point. I can’t get what I want.

Day dreaming. Rain on train windows. Take me far away from here. Who can save me from myself? Strength is not everlasting, something has to give. Brown eyes, deep sighs. Racing heart. Nervous goodbyes.

From the first I was lost and to the last I am yours. What’s the point of second best?

There’s not another soul in the world I could possibly belong to.

When I’m near you, my heart just won’t be told. Desire, pain and sadness – a continuous raging storm that will never blow itself out.

Like my childhood, I think I could miss you forever. I no longer know anything worth mentioning. Out of the blue, I must shoulder the blame for breaking myself in two.

Ripples, butterflies, driving rain, a hurricane. Life is too short for shyness and guilt. I must let you go, though I love you so.

Life shouldn’t be about “I’m happy, but…..” Always chase the impossible. Something’s in life are worth the chaos that arrives.

Lightning does strike twice

Why is it so hard to move away from certain aspects of ones life? As a younger man I found it almost too easy to walk away from anything, be it a person, situation, or both. This may have been forced upon me  at the time, but the fact it that it’s something that I became rather adept at – no attachments, and those that did slip through the net didn’t last too long.

Now as the years have piled upon me and I edge towards an unwanted middle age I find it increasingly hard to let go; even when all my instincts tell me otherwise. I’m not sure anymore if this is just the simple effect of getting older, or perhaps an attempt to cling onto something that doesn’t exist. If the personal events of 2010 taught me anything it was not to let my guard down at any point, to keep focused and detached; to keep moving forward, even if that meant being alone.

Of course, being the idiot that I sometimes find great success at being, I did the complete opposite of that, but then, I’ve never been one to make my life easy for myself, that would be far too simple and dull. Indeed, for some unfathomable reason known only to me, I’ve found great success at fucking my own life up at the drop of a hat; almost like having ones finger permanently glued to the self-destruct button. Of course, the danger is that you not only hurt yourself, but those around you. Those that don’t in any way deserve to get caught up in your own personal Nile full of shit. I possibly come across here as a man who doesn’t care. That premise couldn’t be further from the truth; I do care, sometimes too much. I would burn in Hell rather than set out to hurt those who in truth mean the whole world to me.

Moving on though, letting go; this presents me with more of a problem.

Here, six weeks into 2011, this is not a problem that I want or need, and yet there it is. Holding onto something that you can’t have and will never have can be a painful exercise. A hopeless, unreachable dream; a dream which in reality soon becomes a living nightmare. In time, this wears you down, it leaves you weak, you become careless and unpredictable. So, you look in desperation for a solution; you remove yourself from that situation, you shut yourself away and you rebuild the wall that had previously been smashed to pieces by the most beautiful creature on Earth. You try to start again, to regain some semblance of order in your life; to regain control.

You convince yourself that life will soon begin to flow again if you can overcome the seemingly impossible task of letting go. Time moves on apace, other problems are taking up your time, and you’re almost glad, it’s almost a welcome distraction – something else to worry about, another thing to lose sleep over.

And then…..

Here it comes again. Punching its way like a heavyweight from the back of your mind. The old feelings are still there; of course they’ve never really been away, just covered up like the furniture left standing in an empty house. You’ve tried to let go and then BANG! A situation presents itself and you find yourself slap back in the
middle of the storm – the last thing you wanted to happen has now fucking happened – lightning does in fact strike twice it seems.

A rambling post all about…..

Love…. The power of love. The destructive power of love that can sometimes leave one torn apart and as empty as a recently flushed toilet.

Please excuse me if I continue this post in the ‘third person’. I fear that this could end up as some rambling discourse on the human condition; a tale of broken and mended hearts. A story of despair, tears, even more despair, hopelessness and then nothing.

Nothing but an empty, sinking feeling. Coupled with a massive amount of regret….

Is this a love story? No. Is it a warning tale? Possibly. Don’t forget though, none of this really ever happened. I’m just tossing a few ideas and thoughts around my over active mind.

How a fool begins…

Love won and love lost. The pain, the absolute agony of falling in love. The juxtaposition between thrilling excitement and the worst feeling in the world. The nervousness, the dry mouth; out of which the words you always meant to say fail to appear. A stolen moment, a kiss. Looking into eyes you feel you’ve known forever.

Little things you never forget, however hard you try. Hair, shimmering in the early evening sun. Hands, fingers, eyes. Her smile, her laugh. These things will always stay long after she has gone.

Lying awake at night; your thoughts taken over by one person. The tears, the anger, the sickness at the pit of your stomach. The ‘not knowing’, the anguish, the pain, work suffering, health failing, empty bottles increasing….

Music. Every song reminds you in some way. Still, you listen to them even more. All the time. Keeping busy; time spent doing nothing is just more time when they fill your stupid head. You travel to work on the early train, you look at the fields change through the seasons. From summer to autumn; it seems to have a strange significance. The fields change from the golden glow of July and August, to the dark browns of September. Leaves turning; fluttering down to the ground. No longer shielding your eyes from the bright sun.

Confidence. Increased and then destroyed. Smashed to tiny pieces like a million shards of shattered glass. Heart racing. You feel alive when you’re with them; although you keep telling yourself that you can’t go through this again. Please not again…

To face the truth. The awful truth; the inevitable truth. You cry; but would never admit it. At 3am you lie there feeling as helpless and exposed as a new born baby. You think, “This can’t be happening to me”. It is though; so what do you do? Ignore the feelings deep inside you? Train ones heart to become as cold as ice? Then you see them; you see them again and you melt. Keep it together. For fucks sake keep it together this time. Please don’t lose the plot again. You try to appear aloof, distant, not giving a shit. Of course you just end up looking stupid… Again and again and again…

Life. Time stretches on; moving so quickly. Days to weeks; weeks to months. The slow, painful process of repair begins. Renewal; you start again. The false dawn; the setbacks, one step forward, one thousand steps back. Time heals; stolen time, wasted time, a time you can’t forget. Time to move on; make a new start, move forward, no looking back, don’t look back. Never look back….

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