Downhill run..

Hello. 21st June today. The longest day of the year. The day that marks the downhill run to 21st December, meaning it gets gradually darker in the evenings. Joy! 

Today is the hottest June day since that glorious summer of 1976. It’s been about 35 degrees C, 95 degrees F in old money. Hot enough. Having ventured out earlier, I was then regretting leaving the cool of indoors to sample the oven like conditions outside.

A few people are not happy with this hot spell. Then again, we English are never happy. It’s either too wet, too dry, too cold or too hot. Personally, I prefer it to be less humid and oven like. Next time I’ll squash myself in the oven and turn on the heat to regulo 8. Not a pretty sight, I’m sure you’ll agree.

What about me and anxiety? It’s been a little better. I even ventured out to a meeting yesterday without too much trouble. But there was a warning shot fired across the bows today. Someone wanted me to go and umpire a match tonight. I had to decline. Even thinking about the possibility of umpiring makes me anxious at the moment. I don’t know why. The enthusiasm and zest for cricket that was there for 8-10 weeks has disappeared, hopefully temporarily. The prospect of standing there and making a fool of myself plays on the mind to such an extent that the negativity is overbearing. 

Of course, I don’t make a fool of myself at cricket, but try telling that to my fertile mind that sets off on a voyage that leaves me ready to hit another iceberg. The wrestling that goes on with my mind is something I’ll never be able to come to terms with. 

Bizarre. But that’s me. Utterly bizarre.

Allen Brooks xx

El Scorchio….!!

It’s been extremely, some might say, dangerously hot in parts of Southern Europe, with temperatures topping out at 100 Fahrenheit or more. Unbearable heat.

Some of that is wafting it’s way to the UK. The weekend could see temperatures in the 90s. The trouble is, it’s coinciding with the hay fever season and the rise in pollution. I’m not complaining mind you. After being totally windswept and soaked by a ghastly Tuesday last week, this is all very welcome.  Could be beach and factor 30 time again. Now where is a lovely lady to rub sun tan cream on my back? Nowhere to be seen…story of my life!

Enjoy it!

Allen Brooks xx

Missing out on the good things…

Frustrating day. Missed out on the Peer Support group this morning, because I was unwell. That has continued into the afternoon/evening. I needed some shopping so popped over the road to get some food in. Still felt very wobbly and dizzy. Strange.

But the rest has done me some good it seems. I also missed out on the superb music bingo night, but earlier I was like the proverbial bear with a sore head. I wouldn’t have been much company to be honest. Think by just staying in today and sleeping off whatever the issue was, has helped. The dizziness has gone, just a bit of frustration that I’ve missed out on my usual activities. But health comes first, now and always.

And the weather has done little to cheer either. Two days of incessant rain and gun metal grey skies. Welcome to summer. The other day I got burnt, the last two days, soaking wet. That’s the UK for you. 

Mustn’t let today drag my previously good vibe down. Have to put it to one side and move on. Frustrating and annoying, but nothing I can do. 

Allen Brooks xx

Looking for an English holiday…

Last year I took a short break away to an English seaside resort, roundabout early July time, before the mad holiday rush started.

I’m on the lookout again for something similar, just something to get me away from London just for a short while. A nice, relaxing break. Sometimes throwing in a bit of variety into the mix can help, though this time, I feel fine and the break will just help that feeling continue. I’ve got a few weeks to decide, last year’s stay was good and the hotel was ideal for me, so I may plump for that again.

Of course, the weather needs to pick up, but in this country, if we planned things around our eccentric climate, we would never do anything. Just have to take that chance…

Allen Brooks xx

Creative Writing – Part 3

The end of the platform….


1976. The hottest and driest UK summer on record. The family had just been on a brilliant holiday to the coast. 90 degrees most days, sun cream slapped on, bucket and spade at the ready. I was only four years old at the time. But amongst the joy and fun was heartbreak, especially for my father. 

Back in London, his Dad, or my Grandad if you prefer, wasn’t well. News was trickling in on his progress. Still, my father got on with his holiday, trying to ward off the bad news. 

But then, came the news that all people dread. My Grandad had taken a turn for the worse and we all had to cut our holiday short. We stayed in a guest house, about 300 yards from the beach. In between the digs and the beach, was the main rail line back to London. Every morning, the place used to shudder with the first express speeding it’s way towards points west.

So, came the day we were all dreading. There we all were, on the station platform. I don’t know what Dad was feeling, being four years old, I didn’t know about bad news and grief. We all stood, with our cases, looking down this long platform, waiting for the London train. It was like an adventure coming to an abrupt halt. What should have been a continuation of the joy and fun, had to be cut short, due to that dose of reality. 

I was daydreaming (no change there). All of a sudden, the loud horn of the train sounded its arrival. “Is this it?” I mused. Indeed it was. I shall never forget that day. It’s indelibly imprinted on my mind. The best family holiday cut short. My Grandad passed away a few days later, if memory serves. I’m not sure how my Dad coped. I was too wrapped up in things to notice. I’m sure it was difficult. I would love to ask him now how he coped. Sadly, he has passed on too. 

All I have left is memories. Memories of sand, sea, bucket, spade, cricket bat, tennis ball, sun cream, egg rolls, seagulls, trains, hot sun, endless members of family. 1976. The end of the platform. 

Allen Brooks. 

Woken up by Doris….

Who’s Doris? Is it my new romantic interest? No, what Doris is the fourth named UK storm of the winter season. Gale force winds and driving rain greet me this morning as I attempt to get to my destination. It’s absolutely foul out here, but like most intrepid people, I’m pale but determined to get there. 

Incidentally, that must be a nice job, naming storms. Quite simple apparently, it’s all done in alphabetical order. We’ve arrived at D for Doris today. 

Where am I off to? On a Thursday, I help facilitate a mental health peer support group. It’s been running weekly for 18 months now. We have a regular group of attendees and we just have a natter, try to laugh with each other and give each other support. It’s a source of great joy and comfort each Thursday. Absolutely love going to it, despite the weather and the crap public transport. Seeing the regulars makes the journey that bit more bearable. 


Allen Brooks