Loneliness and Solitude at Christmas

Though I live on my own, I do have some family and very good friends. I will be seeing a lot of family and friends over the next two weeks, and that helps me get through this festive period.

Others though, aren’t so lucky. We see a lot of adverts on TV and on trains about loneliness. This time of year magnifies that feeling of solitude and helplessness and some people just cannot buy into the Christmas spirit at all. I also think that Christmas has become too commercialised, money and presents coming before health and well being. People who are less fortunate than ourselves can get forgotten about.

But it’s supposed to be a happy time, right? Well, if you believe all the hype, then everyone should be happy, smiling, full of Christmas cheer and bonhomie. The reality though is that some cannot be that way, they cannot pretend. I allow Christmas to pass me by, and as the years go on, this becomes more of the case for me. I cannot pretend to be happy. I am what I am. If I’m unhappy, I’ll be unhappy, and I won’t put on an act. There’s so much pressure and all for what? 24 hours in the year when we over indulge and before we know it, it’s all over again.

So, if there’s anyone that you know that is on their own, try dropping them a message or popping round to see them. That may give them a lift at this pressurised time of year. Always remember those that are less fortunate. I’m ok, I do have family and friends. I can just about tolerate Christmas. Keeping busy and forgetting about it can work wonders and stop me from feeling down. But it isn’t always easy of course. Bear that in mind as you tuck in to another lorry load of Brussels sprouts, after unwrapping another load of socks and watching some mediocre Christmas TV. Keep an eye out for those who want to shut themselves away.

Allen Brooks xx

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Christmas 1990….

Three days before Christmas 1990, my world was about to change. My parents had gone to the local hospital, as Dad had been unwell in the previous few weeks. Some tests had been done and the results were now available. The news could not have come at a worse time.

Dad was given the news that he had three months to live. He had an aggressive cancer of the oesophagus that prevented him from keeping any food down. His weight had started to reduce. I, of course, broke down and unashamedly wept. Three months and Dad will be gone. I was only 18 at the time and we were very close. That Christmas was very surreal and unhappy for me. Wouldn’t you be if you received that kind of news?

Dad managed to last another four months, but a once fit and healthy man was now reduced to a shadow by the illness and endless rounds of chemotherapy. I hated seeing him just wasting away to nothing, and I got angry at the fact that cancer was to claim another good person in life. Why him? I’ve never received the answer. All I can say is I hope I don’t go through what we went through, unable to eat and drink and gradually becoming weaker by the day. But his spirit got him through seven months.

They say time is a great healer and it’s been 25 and a half years since he passed on. But to be left without a father at the age of 18 was something I couldn’t get to grips with. His wise advice and calmness would have helped me through some difficult moments, but that is a hypothetical statement now. He watches over me and he is never far from my thoughts, even at Christmas. Dad was taken away from us far too early.

Allen Brooks xx

Fright night….now I’m all over the place

It should be a quiet Sunday morning here in the flat. But not so. I’ve just had a very bad dream, and the content was fairly frightening, and some of it relates to the upheaval of several years ago.

Picture the scene. I’m at a train station, at a bar, checking my phone, as I do quite a lot in my waking life! I look up and see a gentleman approach with a long dark coat and a briefcase. All very official. I wonder what they want? 

The briefcase opens. “Hello Allen, we’ve got some evidence here relating to irregulaties of your address details”.

I can’t quite believe what the official gentleman is saying, and then the evidence is shoved in front of me. The details are there, in black and white, of failing to notify the authorities of change of address. I recoil in horror, and start to cry uncontrollably. 

“It’s all true!”, I yell as all the customers turn their gaze towards me. “I don’t what to do, it’s all there! What are they going to do?” “Well”, intoned the official gentleman, “they will take away your home, your car, your personal effects, the lot, to recover the cost of the fine”. That was it, I was done for. I was going to have a criminal record and would be left homeless, penniless and destitute. 

The official gentleman tried to be sympathetic, but he had a job to do. It was at this point another man came along and listed all the addresses where I had failed to notify the changes. The arse had fallen out of my world. This was it. Goodbye Allen.

I walked around in a daze. And then, I woke up. I was still in a daze. I still haven’t settled down properly this morning. How could my brain throw a curved ball like this? 

Well, it was a timely reminder that my life could have ended very dramatically back in 2010. I’ve had a nasty shock there. It’ll take a while to forget about the dream and get on with my day. 

Then to complete the bizarre morning, I’ve left my central heating on full blast. I must confess I didn’t notice the difference as it’s cold outside so the flat is warm and toasty. But a bit too warm, and I’ve wasted some gas. I must have accidentally put it on full last night when I got in the bath, and forgot to turn it off or set it lower. 

A very confusing and scary morning. Grateful for the cup of tea to calm me down.

I’m still here, and I haven’t gone anywhere, despite the scare! 

Allen Brooks xx

Well read…

I’ve always been an avid reader, mainly now of sports autobiographies, seeing what makes the great sports stars tick. In my childhood, my love of books was probably more pronounced.

I loved such books as The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S Lewis, part of those wonderfully compelling Chronicles of Narnia series. I had a wardrobe in my small bedroom, and each night I wondered what I would find at the back of it. Sadly it wasn’t Aslan, more like a pair of mouldy socks.

I loved the Roald Dahl books Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach. As time has gone on, I have more of a penchant for chocolate rather than peaches, hence my expansive waistline. But they were great books, transporting me into a fantasy world that that brilliant author made possible.

Then there were the Professor Branestawm books, with the Professor inventing all sorts of strange contraptions to help him with everyday life. They had a touch of the far fetched but laced with some humour. 

And of course, the Roger Hargreaves inspired Mr. Men series of books. I used to be able to remember all the characters, but time has erased some of them. If I had to be a Mr. Men character, I would be a Mr. Nice, I hope! 

Some great memories there and interest in the English language, written and spoken was born in those early years. Unfortunately I can’t match the afore mentioned authors for their quality, I just write a lot of rubbish about my everyday life! No comparison!

Allen Brooks xx

Reaching a century of followers….

Finally, after being stuck on 99 for an eternity, just like a batsman at cricket, I’ve reached 💯 followers. The blogger undomestic writer has brought up the century, for which I am very grateful. It has been a bit of a struggle of late to get followers and likes so to achieve a milestone like this is satisfying. Please keep tuning in to allenbrooks44.wordpress.com for the ups and downs of everyday life. 

Allen Brooks xx

That fateful day…

Nine years ago, virtually to the day, I took a fateful decision that would have far reaching consequences. I got married, to someone I believed would honour, cherish and obey. 

The day was glorious, sunny and warm, and I thought this sunny beginning would herald a new chapter in my life. What transpired was lots of dark clouds and eighteen months of ever mounting difficulties.

Was I naive? Was I gullible? Yes to both. I believed, as anyone does when they’re in love, that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. There was no grass, just weeds, and certainly not green. 

The day itself was something I would never change. It all went very well indeed. There were scores of people there and I didn’t have the slightest inkling of any trouble that lay ahead. With the drinks being consumed, the music being played, and everyone having a good time, what could be better?

Oh that we ever should be imbued with that mystical quality called clairvoyancy. oh that we can look into the future and stop ourselves from making fateful decisions that will cause is great harm. But back in the real world again, everyone takes the plunge, then regrets it later.

So it’s an anniversary I look back on with some fondness, but also with mixed feelings. Was just wishing a trap door would open in that church and I would fall through it, an escape. That didn’t happen and the problems of that murky union are still there. There will be an official escape one day… you can be sure of that.

Allen Brooks xx