All of us

In the story, A Christmas Carol, Scrooge gets home on Christmas Eve and is visited by three phantoms. One is Christmas Present. His purpose is to take Scrooge all around town and prove that both the wealthy and the poor seek solace in the cheer of the company of others. He’s introduced to people who are invested in sharing with others, and being grateful for whatever they have, regardless of their means.

The great thing I’ve discovered about blogging is that there aren’t any town boundaries. On line there’s no actual material distance or time zones. Visitors check in on you. If you’re lucky they’ll read you all the way to the end of your post. Then if you’re very very lucky they might even leave a comment about what you’ve written to tell you what they think.

Over the past three years I’ve had a bunch of regular visitors who have turned out to be a happy band of followers. For them it makes absolutely no difference what colour, gender, sexual orientation, politics or religion the writer holds, as long as he or she has conviction in what they believe and holds his or her own. Of course you can’t expect to agree with all of what you read. Left or Right. Blue or Red. Straight or GAY. Maple Surup or Mayonnaise. We keep our own moral high ground over individual differences because we’re invested in reading about each other’s lives. We cast a hook when we write and then reel each other in. That band of bloggers post poems, recipes, music, writing, pictures (of all sorts), personal thoughts, hopes and sometimes their dreams.

I’m no Scrooge but I know what I’ll do if Christmas Present stops by tonight. We’ll go on a blog tour. I’ll show the phantom the true meaning of what it’s like to seek solace in the virtual company of like minded others who are grateful for what they have. Who invest a bit of time to catch up with one another, regardless of our means.

So whether you’re a reader who’s never commented, you’ve done it only once and never again, or you’re a serial visitor, I hope you’ll join the band. All are welcome.

Have a Happy Christmas everyone.

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Pregrets

Ever knew you were definitely going to regret doing something but you still ploughed straight ahead and did it anyway? Well, you’ll be pleased to know there’s now a word to describe how that feels.

I have a back catalogue of “pregrets” so long it makes The Beatles play list look like they were one hit wonders.

Those drunken words – just one more bottle of Prosecco please – in a late night dive of a bar springs ominously to my mind. Even before popping the cork I can feel the room beginning to spin around and around. Or, how about a two course lunch menu at Fenchurch Sky Garden which promptly extends to three and a calorific pudding doggy bag. Not to mention the ubiquitous heart attack inducing kebab stop thrown in on the night bus on the way home. Way before that I’m already thinking, Geez, where’d I put the Alka Seltzer? Plink, plink, fizz…

Plaid fashion disasters with wide lapels and tight new shoes never worn fill my closet to a near hinge busting point. Not to mention ill judged Summer belly flops into cold shallow waters and a mullet hair cut which made me look like a dead ringer for Billy Ray Cyrus. I hope you’re getting the picture because the prosecution is almost ready to rest it’s regretful case.

You’ll be glad to hear the good news that I’ve few, if any, regrets about ever having sex. However there was that one time when Guido and I tried to have a threesome with a blow up crocodile. I bounced off horizontally half way through and ended up with a bruised coccyx. That really hurt.

Some people I know have all the appearance of sailing through life and never looking backwards because as far as they’re concerned the only way is forward. They know where they’re going. Onward and upwards and to hell with the consequences. They make their Que Sera Sera choices and what will be will be. And I really admire that. But I’ve just never been a – Je ne regrettte rien – kind of a guy. I worry. But then inexplicably do whatever I was worrying about possibly regretting. Then I worry about worrying in the first place. I called Guido up on the phone once and told him I was worried that he was worrying that I was worried about me worrying. I had to repeat that four times before he knew what on earth I was going on about. I actually began to wonder myself.

Last night in bed I told Guido I was worrying about worrying about regrets I knew I was going to regret.

“Are you talking about pregrets?” he asked me. “Because if you are you really need to snap out of it.”

I lay silently still next to him and tried to get snapping. I pulled up the blanket then instantly regretted it because I was worried my exposed feet would probably start getting very cold.

“Why don’t you try thinking of things from a different point of view,” said Guido. “Let me put it this way – I’d much rather regret the things I’ve done, than the things I’ve not done.”

I told Guido I couldn’t possibly have put any of that better myself. Then I asked him to pass the inflatable crocodile and start pumping.

16, going on 17

Last night Guido and I were in bed.

Relax readers. This isn’t going to be another one of my interminable posts about our athletic extracurricular activies between the sheets involving mayonnaise and an unidentified kitchen appliance which makes a dull, but highly pleasurable, buzzing sensation. Absolutely nothing was happening. I’m guessing Guido was just laying there next to me minding his own business and thinking. I can’t tell you exactly what he was thinking about because, unfortunately, I’m not able to read his mind – but, whereas you and I might count sheep – Guido usually spends his last moments of consciousness carefully weighing up the benefits of a short crust pastry over a sweet puff. If you’ve ever eaten one of his melt in the mouth apple turnovers, then you’d know why.

“How do you feel?” I said. I said this in the style of a caring and kindly physician. The sort of doctor who has just taken your pulse and is alarmed to discover your blood pressure is 140 over 90 yet still smiles at you as if all vital signs are perfectly normal.

At first Guido didn’t react. He does this sometimes just after lights out. If he thinks I’m about to launch into a heated debate which has absolutely nothing to do with baked apples then he’ll just pretend to be fast asleep.

“What I mean is, how do you really feel?” I was still sounding caring and kindly and wasn’t in any way whatsoever concerned about the possibility of rapid heartbeat.

“I feel fine,” he said from the darkness, “I really do feel fine.” Then there was further silence for a bit until he finally added without any prompting, “But, why are you asking me?”

Okay, I’d been reading about a Dutchman, who is legally seeking to change his biological age from 69 to 49. It was reported he thought his true age was damaging his ratings on the dating app Tinder.

“Perhaps I should rephrase that question and simply ask you, how old do you feel?” I asked.

Forget legal. I think if you were able to rewind the clock it would be a terrific idea. You see, I quite like the thought of having the swimmers body of a 19 year old but the 70 year old brain of someone smart, like Einstein. That way I could casually discuss the laws of physics in figure hugging Speedos with a poolside hunk. As opposed to the reality of actually having the body sag of an Albert yet annoyingly still the complexion of a spotty teenager.

“That depends on what I’m doing at the time,” said Guido wisely. “I like to think I still have the staying power of someone a third of my age. Yet I know these knuckles can’t knead bread the way they used to.”

It’s funny what getting old means to some people. We made a pact right there and then. I promised I’d stop fretting about my body (on account of the wrinkles) if Guido promised to stop worrying about his sweet pies (on account of the dough).

Thankfully I’m not on, and nor have I ever been on, the Tinder app. I’ve got Guido to thank for that. But if you are, and you chat to a Dutchman who tells you he really doesn’t feel his age, he really is his age.