get up and go go go

A week is a long time in politics and in Southport.

Last week, despite feeling generally positive about life, there were a few lingering worries. I have my mum to thank for this, – she maintains that she’s from a long line of worriers and has apologised for passing this trait on to me. I told her not to worry about it.

Like her, I worry about the things that I have absolutely no control over as well as the things that I can actually influence. A standard worry list from last week:

Will I be single for ever?

Will I be entitled to benefits despite having been sacked for Gross Misconduct (I don’t want to talk about it)?

Will I ever get a job?

Will my medical be ok at the new Doctor’s?

If I arrange to go to Liverpool, will anyone want to meet me for a drink.

Well, dear reader, I can report the following:

I write to you with a rather fuzzy head, having been on an actual DATE last night with a very, very nice lady who I met on Match.com… I’m pretty sure that this will be the first of, at least, several dates with this particular lady. And lady, dear reader, she most certainly is.

The other day I had a call from an old contact who owns a HUGE on and offline Directory for Film & Television and has offices in Pinewood and Manchester, who, having heard I was no longer employed, was falling over himself to arrange for me to come and meet him and discuss my options. His exact words were ‘I wasn’t planning on employing anyone else just yet, but as you’re available we need to talk…’ – meeting scheduled for 27th

I received a text from the JSA this morning (they’re so damn funky and WITH IT– sending texts like excitable schoolkids) informing me that my claim for benefits had been successful and any moment now, free money was going to start dropping into my bank account. It was all I could do to stop myself texting back a thumbs up emoticon.

Tomorrow I’ll be in the most bohemian street in the world, – Liverpool’s Lark Lane, meeting friends I literally  haven’t seen for 30 years, as well as musician mates ranging from the former guitarist of the Stairs (uh-may-zing band), Paul Weller’s Drummer (I asked if he would mind that there would be a few old fogies present but he assured me that old fogies don’t worry him as he works with them), John Head and Pete Wylie (hopefully, – mood swings allowing). We will meet in the Albert – a legendary place, we will drink copious amounts of fizzy non-specific European Lager and all will be right with the world.

Oh, I sailed through my medical this morning. 127/70…!? I ask you. This is what tuna sandwiches on brown bread and daily 3 mile walks gets you. And as for my urine sample, – the nurse testing it looked over at me with such admiration, I thought for a minute she was going to take a sip…(naturally the sample was provided before last night’s festivities had begun)…

So all in all, I am pleased to report that things are good at the moment. I’ve bounced back with aplomb.

What worries me is whether it will last…

So…here we are then…

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On 4th December 2013 I lost my job. It’s a long story, which I won’t thrill you with. Suffice to say that by the time the New Year had started, I had ‘relocated’ back to the North West of England to lick my wounds, consider my options, and start again.

Luckily for me, my parents had the generosity (and space) to invite me to stay with them for a while until I could sort myself out (ie find a new job and somewhere to live) so that’s where I am…in their house, in Southport, Merseyside, having left home about 30 years ago. Interesting times. As a friend pointed out: ‘Returning to live with your parents at the age of 48 is not the same as still living with them at 48′. I’m holding on to that thought.

Undoubtedly the best thing about this enforced change in circumstances is that I get to be closer to my daughter and consequently get to see her much more often than I did during the monthly visits we had both had to put up with for the last three years, since her mum and I split up. I was living 238 miles from where she lives (but who’s counting?) and could only really manage to visit her monthly due to pressure of work and the cost of petrol. It’s such a relief for us both to be closer to each other and see each other at least weekly and for a few days at a time.

There are other benefits as well: I no longer have to work in a stressful job, with people I don’t like, living an isolated and what was becoming an increasingly miserable life. My home in the South was a room in a shared house, which, whilst functional, could certainly not be described as comfortable. I was consumed by my job which seemed to overtake every aspect of my life to the point that I could no longer focus on the important things such as relationships with friends and family and living a healthy life, – all of which consequently suffered.

It’s only been a matter of weeks but I already feel immeasurably better within myself. I’m eating better food, drinking less alcohol, smoking fewer cigarettes and have rediscovered my love of walking. I’m also reading more (it would have been almost impossible to read less than I was) and as you can no doubt testify, writing again.

I’ve decided to record my thoughts here as I negotiate the pitfalls and pleasures of my new life here in Southport. I am probably only doing it for my own selfish benefit, but I can live with that if you can.

I’ve started taking long walks every day; the surrounding area is wonderful for this. I’ve discovered a footpath that tracks where the old sea wall was, and now runs through the middle of one of the area’s several golf courses, as well as through part of a huge bird sanctuary here in ‘Marshside’. I downloaded a pedometer to track my progress, and as soon as I can work out how to operate it, will begin to monitor my progress on a daily basis. There’s a slim chance that the photograph I took during this morning’s walk has successfully uploaded and is therefore available to view on this page, but if not, you’ll have to take my word for it that it’s a very pleasant walk.

I’ve registered with a GP (there are some lingering health issues from my previous life caused, no doubt, by work related stress) and have also applied to receive something called JSA. This is an allowance that is paid to you if you are seeking a job (which I am) and is short for ‘Jobseeker’s Allowance’. Simple, but catchy.

I’m unsure whether I’ll be entitled to JSA due to the nature and circumstances of the departure from my previous job, but we shall see. It’s currently Thursday 9th January and my ‘interview’ at the local Jobcentre Plus (again: catchy and effective) is scheduled for next Tuesday at 9am when no doubt my eligibility (or otherwise) will become clear.

I’ve applied for some jobs already, although my good friend C has advised the following caution: ‘It’s essential that you get your head together first, recover with walks etc and once January is over you should have your mojo back and a job will come to you. You need to work out what is sustainable for you and then go for it.’ Oh such wise words, as ever, from lovely C.

I’m also keeping in touch with friends on Facebook as well as surfing Match.com – an internet dating website that hasn’t quite lived up to its name and found me a match yet, although I’m ever hopeful that it will…

I am feeling positive about things – this is a novelty in itself, and aside from a few twinges of anxiety am optimistic about the future, whatever it may hold. I feel sure that I’ve been through the worst of this chapter and have emerged stronger, happier and healthier for it. I’m extremely grateful to my Mum and Dad, who, having been in their own cocoon for the last 25 years or so, must be finding it challenging to once again be sharing their home with their youngest son, although you would never think it was in any way anything other than an absolute pleasure to do so if you were in my shoes.

I just wish this rain would stop so that I could pop into the garden for a cigarette…