Category Archives: Heart matters

Jess returned!

One of the things that reinforces my faith in the fundamental goodness of reality when it waivers is the adventures of our Henry’s Jess the Cat. This black and white soft-toy has been with Henry since his first Christmas, courtesy of my brotherย George. He/she (I andย Rachel aren’t exactly sure) is his constant companion (excepting school and the occasions where we or Henry decide its best to leave her at home). I’ve lost count the number of times that we’ve lost her on trips out. When he was really young I was forever having to retrace our steps and ask shopkeepers or customer care people “have you seen our Jess?” Sometimes it’s an overnight stay as we have already left the attraction, and we ring them when we get home. But every time, and I mean every time, Jess is returned to us. Noone takes a fancy to her, throws her in the bin, or just can’t be arsed to look for her when we ask and shes be found on some sites that are frankly staggering in size and super busy. Consider the odds of that for a moment.

Her latest adventure was at the Heights of Abraham (which fits the big and super duper busy category), which we visited last week on Thursday on our way home from our short holiday in the Peak District. Henry had wandered off to play in a playground without telling us (which was an anxious 20 minutes in itself) and left Jess on a nearby table. We only realised a couple of hours later when we reached the car, and for a variety of reasons couldn’t simply go back up the cable car to look for her. So Rachel contacted customer care there and then and left our contact details. I politely chased up over the bank holiday weekend, but they were so insanely busy I didn’t actually get through to a human being until Sunday! In parallel, I had also emailed them, and this started a conversation with their office when it opened on Monday. On Tuesday despite a search, they hadn’t found her, and I politely thanked them for their time especially in light of Henry’s attachment to Jess.

Notice at all times I (and Rachel) were polite. No point being otherwise, but it really is part of the magic. People really go the extra mile for you and some really magical things happen as a result. So I send my email conceding defeat in this instance and then five minutes later the nice lady got back to me saying that the park rangers had found Jess in some brambles, a bit soggy but otherwise ok. She then got her washed popped her in the post and she arrived first thing this morning so that when Henry got up he was able to give her a big hugย 

It comes down to this

This year my experiences has led me to believe in no uncertain terms that we are bigger and better than the reality we believe ourselves to be trapped in. It’s like we are constantly looking down at our feet, with an inescapable deep back pain developing from our neck downwards as we break our own backs looking down, while a voice whispers in our ears saying “hey you’ve stepped in shit and everyone can smell it!”. Well not to put it to gently its time to “Free our mind and our ass will follow” and escape this victim-martyr-poor-me mentally.

It costs nothing, and will literally save the world that our thoughts create ๐Ÿ™‚

You are responsible for creating your own Happiness

Wayne Coyne (lead singer of psychedelic rock band The Flaming Lips) on the subject of Creating Your Own Happiness.ย  It took me a long time to LIVE this one fully and I really wish I had done it sooner. Because it really is Awesome and Full of Win ๐Ÿ™‚

P.s I have a wife that puts up with me as well ๐Ÿ™‚

I found this completely by accient btw, while looking up cover versions of King Crimson’s 21st Schizoid Man (of which the Flaming Lips do a really trippy version – which I’ll post in a follow up post).

Of course I can’t get away with this post without including this graceful upbeat song by them ๐Ÿ™‚

Bill Murray sums it up

Talking about being more present in the moment, was something that I’ve had a feeling for – oh like 25+ years. But its been a nagging feeling that has been so overwhelming I’ve stumbled badly to put it into words, even into context within my life. The best I could do was turn that feeling into a life long commitment to the practices of Taoism.

Recently I did a short online course about Taoist Manifestation techniques, to help me really get on with life in a calm and relaxed way, and a basically it came down to “Be happy that you are here”.ย  Amoungst all the mind blowing “you are what you think” techniques, its central message was “Look you are here, be more present, be in good shape and it will all come to anyway”.ย  For a moment I got it fully, then the cynical voices came back and it slipped away again.

Then Bill Murray in full onย  wise elder emerges from the void that is You Tube (OK I’ve been searching for more Bill Murray quotes after coming across this wonderful meme image ), with this…

A fast-slow start to the year

2016 started off in a really epic way, no it really did. Things literally flew through the air into place and everything was nicely lining up to be Awesome and Full of Win. Then like a mirror image of the end of last year, when Rach and Henry were full of cold/Flu for a week, me and Evie (who is the healthiest of all of us) had a grotty cold which stopped us in our tracks. Its been a weird and frustrating week, there’s so much I wanted to get done, but I think the best advice I’ve read during this time is “Take a step back, slow down, and see it all coming” ๐Ÿ™‚

Kinda summing it all up, especially in the light of the recent deaths of David Bowie, Alan Rickman (both this week) and Lemmy, is this short animation by the creators of Southpark, using a fragment of a talk by Alan Watts.

All this makes me want to live more intensely, be more present in the moment, but at a slower more graceful pace. Especially when I’m full of cold at the start of the year ๐Ÿ™‚

Uncle Lemmy RIP?

So they say Lemmy Killminster of Hawkwind/Motorhead fame is dead this week at 70 years of age?

Bollocks say I.

He’s not dead. Not to my 10 year old self bumping into 80s Motorhead fans at the local youth club, thinking “I’m going to be that confident and so self assured when I grow up, and wear denim and have a bullet belt”. Not to my 15-20 year self who worshiped the Holy Trinity of Overkill/Bomber/Ace of Spades. Not to my 30 old self who got picked up by his music every time I was beaten down into the dull routine of ‘grown up life’. Not to my 40+ self who knows the stars that shine the brightest are eternal ๐Ÿ™‚

Nah he’s flying along in a big etheric Silver Machine through the higher frequencies, a new Sonic God to help the faithful kick outย  the jams and hammer the boring and dull ๐Ÿ™‚

and from his time in Hawkwind

Merry Midwinter break!

In my mid-twenties I took time to stop and take stock of what Christmas really meant to me.

Well it certainly wasn’t the Christian Christmas, since I’m not a member of that religion and the whole celebrating Jesus’s birth sort of falls down for me upon releasing that the whole thing was early Christians adopting pagan traditions (this happened all over the shop – Easter is another good one).

And its sure as shit not the bastardised Commercial Christmas with its Coca Cola Santa and its mantra of “Buy at Christmas or the Economy is fucked!“. I mean I like presents as much as the next guy but I hate the whole stress fest that goes around it. Oh and for your conspiracy theory lovers (and skeptics) out there, if you ever want to think about how easy it is to manipulate someone’s reality think about the ritual we go through with small children at Christmas time (thankfully its all fun and magic for them, and they soon see through it as they get older).

No for me its a time to have a break and celebrate that despite all the trials of the year gone by, me and my loved ones (which includes the whole of Reality seen and unseen) are still here (even the ones that have walked through the Doors of Perception) and that Reality is having a short pause for thought, allowing us mortals to stock up on summertime levels of energy through being “Excellent to Each Other and Party On Dudes!” (aka entering a state of pure love) , having a right good old knees up , before the whole Wheel of Time starts turning for another cycle ๐Ÿ™‚

So without much more pontification here’s my favourite ‘Christmas’ Song ๐Ÿ˜€

My Granddad Ted

Every now and again I do a Google Search for my Granddad on my mother’s side, Ted Roocroft. I have very fond memories of my visits to his and Grandma Edna’s small holding in Cheshire as a boy, just south of Knutsford. Unfortunately he fell out with my mother and I stopped seeing him when I was about 8. As well as being my Granddad his chief claim to fame was that he was a Sculptor and a lecturer at Manchester Art School (now part of Manchester Met).

I’ve been aware of this film for some time, Manchester Met has it in their public archive.ย  It’s by a film student and makes big about the fact that he’s an ex-pig farmer turned sculptor. Warning the quality is a bit iffy (since it was done a good 36 years ago) and there’s a bit of a meandering intro so my Grandad doesn’t start talking about his art until a good minute in.

What this film doesn’t tell you is about his career in the military Police at the end of WW2 in the British Zone in Berlin, the most of which he told my dad on a visit to the pub once, leaving him visibly shaken afterwards and would only repeat his quote “It’s amazing what someone would do for a cigarette”.

Or the fact that by this time this film was made he was a Senior Lecturer, a member of the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts (apparently the only sculptor at the time).ย  He also makes big of the fact that he keeps most of his work, unless someone wants to buy it, in the film but neglects to mention that he also made casts of his work that his agent used to sell abroad. So between that and the day job (which was only four days – he had Friday off) he was comfortably off.ย  He was crafty like that and liked to spin a yarn.

His tale of how him and Grandma came over from Ireland in a cowboy wagon and how he defeated a Giant and his pet sabre-tooth tiger to take possession of his small holding which he told me when I was knee-high is probably responsible for firing my imagination up and all the Roleplaying nonsense I’m into now.ย  In fact the whole short film is a typical Ted Roocroft yarn ๐Ÿ˜‰

It does mention his love of animals. I was quietly surprised to hear of his obsession with pigs (the pig farm was long gone by the time I knew him). He would regularly take me out to Chester Zoo, the Reptile house was always a highlight (and I’m glad even with the modernization I can still see the old tanks) and one of my more vivid memories of his work was of an elephant carved from a 6 foot oak trunk!ย  He also took me to the Salford Museum and Art Gallery and the Victorian Street there has a magical place in my young memories.

Ted’s influence on my early life,ย  through only a few short visits (at most we went twice a year for a couple of days), was huge. He’s definitely the strongest male role model from my immediate family, and while I’m aware of his flaws, he was a bit sexist ( there’s a very telling quote in the film which as a modern man made me wince) and could be quite over bearing, which is why my mum fell out with him, I miss him greatly.

(Although I do wonder what he would make about me being a vegetarian ๐Ÿ˜‰ )