This is the view from the windows of Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, looking down on a message written by some young lads in the snow on top of a car park.
Tag Archives: Inspiration
I happened to be in Manchester this week. Of course, I live in Manchester, what I mean is I was in Manchester city centre. Although it’s a city, when travelling there we always say “We are going into town.”
Local vernacular and all that. Anyway, there I was – in Manchester. Not much had changed since my last visit. One thing I did notice, though, is where you used to be able to buy a can of Pepsi or Fanta, there is now this:
An eyelash dispenser. Whatever next?
Some of the homes on our estate have been without water for a while. There were reports on social media of water tankers scattered around the area. I’m not sure what the problem is, or if these tankers are indeed flushing water through drains as has been suggested, as I’ve not taken that much interest because our home has been unaffected by the problem.
However, yesterday morning, as we were on the school run, we spotted one of the tankers parked up on a neighbouring street. There was nobody with it. We turned onto a main road and saw another two tankers, again unmanned, as though they’d been abandoned.
“More tankers!” exclaimed my wife. “It’s like they’ve taken over the world. Just appeared overnight.”
It’s normally me that’s given to flights of fancy.
We approached the school and, lo and behold, more tankers were in the small car park outside the gates.
“They’re even here!” she said. “They’re like aliens. Everywhere we go they are hounding us. It’s like the world’s coming to an end and they are our masters.”
Maybe there’s a story in that.
I’ve always believed that it’s the insects that will take over in our absence.
I’ve been sorting through my Mum’s things since she passed away. Donating furniture to charity, giving things to people that we know, to friends of friends, anyone who would be grateful of them. Dismantling bit by bit the things that make up a part of who I am.
While emptying her kitchen drawers I spotted an ant trap on her window ledge. She had been plagued with them off and on over the last few summers. This was her last response – an irresistible cocktail of sugar and boric acid.
Some lines came to mind from a Walter Tevis novel I’ve just read, a novel about ‘another’ alien invader:
Or think of living with the insects, of living with the shiny, busy, mindless ants
which prompted the question: should we co-exist? Or should we exterminate?
This summer it will be someone else’s dilemma.
Well, It Looks Warm . . .
Looking To Spring
There’s snow on the ground and fog in the air.
Only a little snow, merely a dusting. Only a little fog, let’s call it mist.
I recently hoped aloud that 2023 would be better than 2022. Well, in the last couple of weeks I’ve been to the funeral of an ex-work colleague, lost a lad my wife and I have known since the 80’s, and spent the whole night in hospital at the bedside of my wife’s uncle before he passed away yesterday, his brother and nephew with him while I grabbed a couple of hours sleep.
We are not even out of January yet.
But City Jackdaw can’t only be a list of unfortunate and tragic events. We’d all need therapy.
We all need balance.
As the year goes on there’s other stuff going on. There’s plans to make. Projects to complete, projects to begin. Children to lead through this patchwork of emotions we call life.
Winter only lasts so long. There’s new light coming.
Sunsets On Mars
It looks like a scene set on the fictional world of Tatooine, but this shot is of the sun setting on the empty, desolate planet of Mars.
In the whole of our history, we are the first human beings to witness a Martian sunset. Just think about that. We can see from the vantage point of an island that we as a species should never have reached.
I’ve said it before-this is a place where the silence has never been broken by spoken word.
One day it will. I wonder what that first word will be?
I say ‘silence’, but if you do a search you can discover an audio video that enables you to listen to the sound of this far-flung place. A place with few natural sounds except the wind.
I find things like this awe-inspiring. And there’s now lots of images to keep me going for some time yet. Rocky landscapes beneath a salmon sky.
I hope they instil in you the same sense of wonder that they do me. But if you are looking for a photo credit, though – I’m sorry, I didn’t take them.
My Annus Horribillis, But On We Go
I’ve lost track how long I’ve been blogging here. Nine years? Maybe ten, wishing you guys a Happy New Year at this time, scattered as you are all over the globe.
2022 for me wasn’t a good one. In fact it was an awful one.
I lost a childhood friend in the first half and then there was a terrible end to the year when I lost a family friend and then my Mum. I won’t tempt fate by saying that 2023 will definitely be better, but I always go into a new year full of hope.
One thing this last year has underlined is that I have great family and friends. And that includes all of you Jackdaw followers, extended friends who take the time to comment, encourage and console.
Have a healthy 2023.
See you all on the flip side. Much love to you all 💙
This morning the estate I live on was a cold one. People seemed to carry more weight as they moved about it, with backs bent and shoulders hunched.
But there was a beauty there, too (something not often said about the place), if they would just stop for a moment, straighten up, and take it in.
A stark urban beauty, shaking off the shackles of sleep.
The Post-Parent World
Tomorrow is my birthday.
I will be fifty-one years old. Is that too old to be an orphan?
From this point onwards, in this post-parent world, I will never have a card bearing the word ‘Son’.
It can’t be said to be unexpected. I’m not the first and I won’t be the last. Every generation moves up a row. Of my old gang there’s only two who haven’t lost at least one parent. I’m the fourth to lose both.
I was waiting in the chemist last Friday, the day before she passed, trying to get hold of her end of life meds. Beyond the shelves on the other side of the counter I heard a woman exclaim:
“Aw no, Marie’s had to have Jackson put down.”
“It’s always sad when it’s a dog, isn’t it?” a colleague agreed.
“I’m always more upset about dogs dying than humans,” she continued.
It could be said that the conversation was insensitive, given the prescription that I had handed over. I didn’t mind. Mum would have agreed. She loved dogs. We always had dogs.
I always had parents, until I had a parent.
And now the world has changed irrevocably. It’s a paradox, those ties have now been severed, but those ties will always be joined. In memory, in legacy, in story.
It’s a story rooted in place. I’m glad that we fulfilled a promise and were able to nurse her in the home where she’d lived for forty-five years.
She remained in her own house, in her own room, a room that became a sacred space. For that room became a portal through which the soul that I knew as ‘Mum’ passed. A room that will look the same, seem to be the same, but has now gained a considerable weight.