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Showing posts from 2020


  In a year where personal sacrifice for safety has become normality, I have attempted as much as anybody that I know to restrain the selfish thoughts that creep up on occasion. Yet on a cold Thursday Advent evening, they begin to overwhelm as I am stood on a train station platform. I quiver my limbs slightly in an attempt to fight off the cold and the need for a bathroom break, and can’t help but look across the car park to the dark lifeless pub and feel a twinge of unalterable longing.   The pub itself is not a remarkable one. Owned by one of the region’s large family breweries, it had just had a generic refit that removed some of its lasting character to me. But it is a pub nevertheless and, in the season of twinkling lights and compulsory merriment, every pub comes into its own.   It is a time for the unleashing of ‘80s decorations that wouldn’t dare adorn people’s houses in 2020; streamers and tinsel clung to the ceilings and light fittings. The hastily dusted off plasti

"So your kid can go to school with hundreds of others but I can't go to the pub?"

    "Did you sleep okay?" I ask, as is routine for a morning conversation. But now she winces, remembering the pain of the night. The knee that had surgery years before is being aggravated again by the hours spent providing table service. The physical tiredness has fought the mental worry all night again. "I think it may be time to get out of this industry," she replies.   I go to work, drifting as usual. I speak and check-in with some friends in the beer industry who are all feeling the strain. I go for a pint after work, knowing that soon I won't be able to. On one occasion the manager sits on a table adjacent to mine with a beer too. We talk about many things, trying to stay as jovial as possible. He pauses. "It isn't fun running a pub anymore."   As the pubs in my work locale slip into Tier 3, the regulars gather for a final drink on a Thursday night. Not for a final chance to get drunk or drink beer that is being sold off cheap, thou

Six Years Later: Annual check-in with my Mental Health issues

Six Years.  In the year of social distancing, venue closures and quarantine measures, I’ve tried to avoid the lamentation of missed annual events, supporting others who have found the special dates the hardest to cope with. When people are sad that there will be no birthday or anniversary celebratory get-together, I remind them that the key part is that we make the following year’s. And the one after that. And as many as we can. We can sacrifice one to make the rest. With this, dates in 2020 have mostly passed unnoticed or forgotten. Except one, Six years. I never forget July 3 rd . It isn’t a date for celebration or for family gatherings. It is a day of reflection; for me to pause and gather my thoughts on another 12 month cycle and any hint of progression. Six years – but it could be any number. It feels as though it could have been a longer time ago, yet equally it could have been just last year. Six years since I stopped fighting, like the hens we los