Saturday, 8 November 2014

In Pursuit of Happiness

'Who'd have thought it!'  said my mum when I told her how much I loved the drug and alcohol course I attended this week.  We had such a laugh, which doesn't immediately spring to mind when we think of the seriousness of the subject.  But I believe that the more dire something is, the more we need to laugh in order to keep it in its place and not let it take over our lives and minds.  Indeed, we laughed a heck of a lot over the two day course, but it was so well delivered by the tutor that we could not help but learn and become absorbed by it.  I was the only one of the group who doesn't drink (I can't stand the taste and it gives me a bad headache), so came in for some gentle teasing while others were confessing to having had a 'dabble' with forbidden substances when they were younger.  I must have had a very sheltered upbringing in our pretty English village as none of my friends drank or smoked and we all considered people who took anything more serious as being complete idiots.  I had my eyes opened this week!  

 I suppose the most surprising thing I learnt was that people don't set out to become dependant on a substance; it happens to them for one reason or another.  They are just like you and me and deserve our respect and help.  It takes a massive amount of determination and strength to beat an addiction and I doubt there are many who can do it alone.  I rarely read newspapers or watch news on the telly, but I happened to be channel hopping the other evening and thought I had better tune in with the world to see what was going on.  Coincidentally, there was a report about the growing problem of alcoholism in older people.  I don't think anyone would label these people as being 'hoodies' or 'yobs' and yet they were suffering just the same.  Things happen in life and we never know how we will react until we are at that point.  We can't pre-judge anyone, not even ourselves.  The main thing I have discovered from this short introductory course is just how much I am deeply fascinated by it!  I still do my volunteer work with older people and have spoken to my supervisor about starting a satellite organisation purely to support older people with alcohol problems.  Hope she remembers it was my idea when it come to handing out jobs!

 The children and I went into town today to buy the usual things like dog food and wild bird food.  Most of my non-essentials money goes on these things but the pleasure that birds bring to us is worth every penny.  Pea spends her money on pet and bird food too, so even if we go without a few things, the animals in our lives are well cared for!  As we were paying for our stuff the woman at the counter said someone had crashed their car into a frozen food shop window across the way.  We couldn't see from where we were and I am not one for going to have a look.  I just hoped that no one was hurt.  There couldn't be that much damage, we said to ourselves, they have bollards outside and the car park is so tiny there isn't room for a good run-up.  H1 thought someone had deliberately rammed the shop and I told him off for being so silly.  As we were heading for home, we unfortunately had a good view of the incident.  There was a van inside the shop and had clearly reversed in.  The thing that made me feel sick to my stomach was the layout of the shop: there are shelves and freezers just inside the door.  If anyone had been standing there when the van reversed...

We drove home through the pouring rain in near silence, broken only by H1 regaling us with some horrific story he had heard on the news.  The mood in the car was subdued to say the least.  H2 said he felt sad and didn't know what to do.  Pea hugged me when we arrived home and said she didn't like what was happening today.  We all felt kind of wrong and I needed to get us back to our normal selves.  The house felt cold and soulless, so I put the heating and lamps on while the boys changed into onesies and lounge pants.  Pea set about baking cakes and I suggested we have an afternoon watching Christmas DVDs to cheer us all up.  My fave Crimble film is A Christmas Carol, but the boys are scared of the ghost, Jacob Marley. What?!  The big girls!  Seriously, H1 has no problem with gory stuff that I wouldn't go near, but give him a ghost and he dissolves into a quivering mess!  As a compromise, we decided on The Muppet's Christmas Carol, as it's less terrifying.  Supposedly.
'It still freaks me out.'  Said H1.
'Why?  It's meant for little children, you big wuss.'
'Oh, it's that kid, the one that's all bright and shiny with a squeaky voice.  Ugh, I can't stand it.'  Said H1, shuddering and tucking into a giant bag of Maoams.
'You mean the Ghost of Christmas Present.'  I corrected.
'Whatever.  It's creepy.'  Said H1, shuddering again, draping his long legs over the edge of the chair.
Anyway, that's what we are watching now and we feel a bit better about the strange events of this morning.  After this we are going to watch Narnia.  Yess!  Love all the snow when Lucy meets the faun!

Dark skies and heavy rain are no good for the soul.  The man who filled my car with petrol this morning told me he can't stand this weather but loves the frost.  With frost comes glittering sunshine, deep blue skies and every branch, leaf and blade of grass sparkle with a million diamonds.  Mood lifting stuff that nature brings to warm our hearts during the coldest months of the year.  That and hot chocolate!

I fear that my boys are now too old for watching lovely Christmas films as all they do is moan and pick fault all the way through.  I put this thought to them and they both responded with looks of total disbelief and cries of 'No we're not!  We love Christmas films!'.  Blimey.  Could have fooled me.  H1 has turned Kermit off in favour of rugby.  Wales are currently hammering Australia and H1 has adopted the typical man pose of perching on the edge of his seat with legs spread and remote in hand, no doubt ready to point at the ref and tell him how to do his job.  George North is playing and as he attended the same school as my children and most others on the island, they feel they have some kind of connection with fame.  Or something.  I don't care.  I just wish it would snow.

The countdown to Christmas starts here!

I hope you find your happiness today and love every

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