Saturday, October 30, 2010

Out of the Darkness

I have not blogged since June because it has been an exceptionally difficult year. Now life is getting better, I feel as if I have emerged from a long, dark tunnel. More than six months of fighting crises, one after another.

It is hard to blog about matters you cannot really write about. The internet is such an open medium.

But I can say that what I have faced this year took up all my resource and initiative, as well as quite a lot of finance.

I have certainly never spent so much time consulting lawyers, using calming hypnosis CDs, or drawing on friends and friends of friends for their advice and help.

When the chips are down, it is very interesting who offers a helping hand.

I have won my battles and suddenly skies are blue again. I can get on with my life and try to make everything better.

I became quite ill during this time but now, gradually, my health is improving and I am feeling much better about myself, life and what the future holds.

Inferno-fighting kills creativity. I have hardly written a line of poetry in more than six months and getting back into it is not easy.

My ordeal has taught me a lot about myself: my powers of resilience and ability to never give up hope and to win fights against the odds.

Even with the help of friends, you can feel very alone and scared in a tight spot. And one of the trickiest aspects of it is that the rest of your life goes on; you can't stop everything to fight, and so there are hardly enough hours in the day.

Despite all that was going on, I managed to get up to Edinburgh for a few days in the summer, which was great.

It has been two years since I went to the Edinburgh Fringe and my appetite for it had been renewed by my absence. At least for those days I forgot my troubles - and watched some fantastic comedy.

The atmosphere in central Edinburgh in August is unique. Every space a venue. Every pavement a stage.

It was good to see my old friend Micky Flanagan doing so well. His show at the Pleasance was a cracker!

But most of all, I enjoyed just hanging out in the bars, the Spiegel Garden, the Pleasance Courtyard, and Teviot Square. The nights seemed magical!

I also spent a few days in Les Deux Alpes, in the French alps, which was fun.

The resort offers summer skiiing on the glacier but, after my previous experiences, I decided to simply enjoy the walking and the views, which were spectacular. I do not miss the sport. God did not intend me to ski.

I enjoyed sitting at the bar on the glacier, having a beer in the bright sunshine, and watching others ski.

The ice caves were also enjoyable. Well worth a visit, because of the ice sculptures.

The weather in Les Deux Alpes was mixed; as wet and cold as much as it was warm and dry. A tad disappointing for August (that's how late this blog is!)

Les Deux Alpes is a strange place. The locals are not always as friendly and reasonable as they seem at first, and the architecture leaves something to be desired, although I was tickled by the breeze-block Moulin Rouge.

On a good day, though, the alps are breath-taking. I love the cleanness of the air and the incredible distance you can see.

During this tricky year, I found my mind obsessed 24/7 on my problems and it was very hard to think of anything else. Not healthy at all.

One thing that distracted me was following the so-called Mighty Rooks, Lewes FC, who play their home matches a few hundred yards from my home.

Last season's delegation battle was riveting and came down to the wire, with Lewes staying up with a glorious victory away at Hampton, the last match of the season.

Some images of that amazing, unforgettable day are posted in the blog entry below this one.

Matters have moved on since then, of course.

The club was taken over by the community, and, sadly, the heroic manager Ibbo (Steve Ibbotson) and his brilliant assistant Jason Hopkinson have decided to step down. A pity but you can understand their reasoning.

They have given it their all and now feel it is time for someone else to have a go at the coaching. Although the altruistic Ibbo, thankfully, is staying on as a hands-on chairman of the club.

Attendances are up and the club recently celebrated its 125th birthday; there is no reason why it shouldn't find some kind of regular success again on the field. I truly hope it does.

My poetry club, Lewes Poetry, has also buoyed me on.

At one point I thought I was going to have to give it up for a bit, but somehow it has a momentum all of its own that kept me going with it.

Featured poets this year have included Martin Newell, Peter Wyton, The Anti-Poet and Mark Niel, but the gigs with simply local Lewes poets have been equally enjoyable.

There is such talent in Lewes town! I am always amazed at the variety of poets who come through my door on club nights.

The final gig of the year will be 18 November and is to feature a marvellous range of poets from Lewes and surrounds.

It is hard writing this blog. It's been so long, I have fallen out of the habit.

I've just finished another short stint on Rocket FM, Lewes Bonfire's radio station.

I was more relaxed and happier with my performances this year, and, again, had a good response from listeners.

It is the time of year when everything seems to gather pace: Hallowe'en, Bonfire Night, Christmas, New Year. Loads of work and a quite a bit of socialising. It will all go in a bleary flash!

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The Glory of The Mighty Rooks

Lewes FC - the Mighty Rooks - avoid relegation by winning the final game of the season, helped by an unusually large and vocal travelling support at an away match at Hampton.

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