On a bit of a high

I am doing this in semi-secret as I am at work…

I felt dreadful horrible awful earlier.  I wanted to sabotage something and I very nearly asked to downgrade my fellowship of the Royal Historical Society to a membership (you get the same benefits but for FRHistS after your name and pay £20 less a year for it).  The e-mail I received told me that no one has ever asked to be downgraded before.  I fancied that I might start off a fashion.

Anyway, just now I summoned up the courage to check my bank balance, to check if there is enough money for me to pay my rent tomorrow.  And there was!  (Just.)

But as I have been blogging a lot recently about how worthless and sad I am I thought just for a change I might blog while I am in a good mood.




Look at the camera and go bleurgh!

Well, bleurgh!

What a day! And I don’t mean the snow. I haven’t signed the contract for my newly permanent job yet but I feel strongly tempted not to.

The very thought of continuing to answer the phone or the door to angry alcoholics and drug addicts for years to come fills me with trepidation. The thought of being in this NHS pay band forever scares me. I cannot live in a house share like a 20-something till I retire. It is absurd.

The problem is that I have no confidence in getting a new, better-paid job. I used to do university teaching but that was hand to mouth. I cannot go back to thay mainly because I no longer have contacts.

If I were paid more I might make more friends as I would be able afford to go out occasionally. I might even compromise my principles and get a driving licence.


Hó hó hó*

When I left the house this morning there was snow in the air. Small drifting outliers, little despatch riders doing their reconnaissance before the main attack. It felt so insignificant I didn’t even put on my cap.

After the media warnings today’s weather was an anticlimax.  (Some of the clients of the clinic where I work are homeless so they would have felt differently.)  Occasionally fat flakes would make a determined effort to settle. More often there would be mere specks, jusy snow dust floating past insignificantly. Even worse, the sun came out at intervals (in Britain the unit of measuring any form of weather is the interval).  As each infant flurry was blown away I wondered where all the snowflakes went.

It was only this evening when I left the house again to travel to Addlestone to teach that I saw a thin layer of snow on the ground. I wonder if the cold night will welcome more icy invaders.



*Hó is Hungarian for snow. I like to think this is why Father Christmas says hohoho!

I am ready for the week ahead: shirt ironed, shoes polished (a therapeutic exercise for me) and lunch packed.

No Buddhist, or follower of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I still find relief in the performance of these chores. I would have hated military life but some aspects of it would have given me intense pleasure.

I sometimes wonder whether perfectionism, persistence, grit or whatever you might like to call it is a poor substitute for talent. I suspect more usually people wonder the reverse, if talent is a smokescreen for chancing it. Effort, however, involves effort.


Social withdrawal has an addictive quality. You itch to decline an invitation to meet someone or go somewhere. You decline the invitation. And then nothing. You almost want someone to invite you to something else so that you can say no again.

This is a quality, a property of withdrawal. But it is not the whole. It is pleasurable in a bleak way, certainly. The delight is in the momentary power you have in making a decision. Of course it is fraught with danger, the greatest being that people will tire of making the effort of trying to include you in their activities. Websites tell you not to indulge in social withdrawal if you feel depressed. From the perspective if this weekend, believe me, social withdrawal sounds like a very good idea

We should know now depression isn’t moral weakness. I like to think most us agree it isn’t. The sad fact however is that the ones who stubbornly think it is moral weakness are the depressed themselves. They know that it is an effort interacting with others; they know that friends are bored with tales of depression; they know that patience is like an overdraft that will one day soon the bank will demand repayment.

This is just propaganda, the propaganda of self-hatred. But it is no less powerful for all that

The black dog is sniffing

OK first off:  I got the job.  I wasn’t complacent and I gave it a good, if nervous, shot and I got it.  I suspect, however, I was the only one whom they interviewed.

I (a word used too often on this blog…) feel pretty low about this job.  For Heaven’s sake, a band-3 admin. job is the sort of thing I should have got 20 years ago.  I feel I have wasted the education lavished on me and the time I spent doing a doctorate.

A friend has suggested we meet in London and go and see the Charles I exhibition at the Royal Academy.  I can’t even bring myself to reply to her.  I love her too (nowadays Platonically) but I can’t bear to communicate.  Sofia, whom I loved too, has sent me messages on Facebook wanting to know how I am; I had to tell her I am too sad to chat.  The thought of meeting someone just exhausts me.  The thought of going to a surprise 80th birthday party of a distant family member whom I decided years ago was a judgemental snob fills me with horror.



The Day of Reckoning

Well, that’s grandiose, isn’t it?  It is not as if my future depends on this interview, just a bit of my future.

I was up at 6.20 and left the house at 7.06.  When I got to the station, just about to collect my pre-ordered ticket for Leatherhead the announcer man told us that the 7.29 was about 15 minutes late.  Love and joy.

So I arrived at Leatherhead after changing at Weybridge, Woking and Guildford, at 9.23.  By car it would be 20 minutes…

I have never been to the town of Leatherhead, only ever parachuted into the NHS Trust HQ in the business park.  Each time I am summoned to HQ I hope I might be able to have a few minutes to explore but each time I am foiled by the railway network’s hatred of humanity.

First I had to do a test in Excel and Word.  We’ll see how I did.

The interview itself was odd if only because I already knew the panel.  With my manager it wasn’t so odd because I always feel I have to speak to her in a grown-up, on-best-behaviour way.  The other member of the panel I often joke about it with, but today we had to pretend to be adults.

I shall be told tomorrow how I did.  My manager is a past-master at not giving things away.  As I signed out, I scanned the other names and whom they were meeting.  I saw my manager’s name nowhere, nor did I see the word ‘interview’.  So perhaps I was the only one.

The journey back was on a different route.  This time I had to change at Clapham Junction.  I spotted a beautiful girl on the opposite platform who reminded me of a liaison that ended badly in December 2010.  Beauty can be poison.

My colleagues this afternoon got tired of my negative humour.  Well, how else am I going to react to enquiries?  ‘We’ll see’ I suppose.  I am not going to be cocky and smirk that it is in the bag.