Month: July 2015

The Hidden Joys Of Dog Ownership

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We’ve had our Schnauzer, Digby, for a whole month now and I’m starting to learn some things they didn’t tell me when I signed up for this. Some things that are joys like the other pleasures of having a dog, but less glamorous. Nothing to brag about. Well, I’m bragging.

There’s nothing quite like going for a walk in the cold, driving rain; Nothing quite like waking up to needle-like puppy teeth being driven into your earlobe; Nothing like the “dog snogs” you get immediately after half an hour of your pup chewing dried tripe strips. There’s nothing quite like coming home from that walk in the cold, driving rain but this time with a warm bag of shit in your hand; Nothing quite like the noise he makes at, well, anything he’s never seen before; Nothing quite like knowing that, wherever you’ve been and no matter how long you were gone, you’ll be greeted by your dog as though you’ve just returned from a decade at war.

Having a dog is a fantastic thing. Instantly, they become part of the family – not just a pet, but an actual family member. It’s a companionship that is unlike anything else. Walking isn’t a pointless activity anymore and his routine becomes your own. And when you’re feeling ill, as both me and my wife have been for a while, the dog knows.

The dog cares. The dog tried his best to help. We love having Digby with us. Love it.

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Depression is…

Black DogDepression, to me, is feeling suffocated, like I’m constantly wrapped in a duvet. It’s feeling like I’m wearing a motorcycle helmet at all times, always one inch of padding between me and anything happening. It’s the bad things concentrated and the good things diluted. It’s knowing I can get help but not being able to grab hold of it, as though I’m wearing boxing gloves all the time. It’s hearing things but not listening, seeing things but not noticing. It’s snapping for no reason at everyone I love. It’s lying awake at night, not remembering falling asleep, feeling like I didn’t when I wake. It’s headaches, earaches, stomach aches. It’s being hungry but not being able to eat. It’s not being able to drink enough to quench my thirst. It’s making plans and regretting it immediately. It’s sitting still for hours. It’s re-watching TV shows I watched last time I felt really low, but taking none of it in. It’s sometimes scary, often isolating, usually debilitating. But I also know that it passes, that’s how I work. I have high periods where I’m like a lunatic – passionate, proactive, creative – followed by devastating lows where I’m a ghost of myself – hopeless, angry, anxious. But the highs come back! And on the way there I feel fine! On that upward slope (and the downward one) I’m me. I’m just lucky there’s more slope than there is peak or trough. Nobody needs to worry about me. I’m used to this. I’ve lived with it for the best part of a decade. I’m learning to beat it, thanks to the support of everyone around me; people I take for granted, people who deserve better from me. And that’s what depression is to me: riding the slopes but never doing so alone – and I’m okay 🙂

I’m Proud Of The BBC! Are You?

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The Tory Government are once again attacking a Great British Institution, this time the BBC. A Government Green Paper spells disaster for the Beeb by putting it under review. Essentially, what’ll happen is this: The BBC will be choked until it can’t afford to make anything and then, in a few years time, the Tories will push to scrap it entirely for being “uncompetitive”. It’s what the Tories do – run something they don’t like into the ground then scrap it, blaming the thing not their handling of it. It’s happening right now to the NHS.

Nobody’s pretending the BBC is perfect, but it’s the best broadcaster in the world, enjoyed by upwards of a billion people. It’s given us world-class news, Dr Who, Sherlock, Life On Mars, Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle, Strictly, the list goes on… If you’re proud of the BBC, as I am, why not show your support by making a noise about it all over social media, write to your MP asking them to support the BBC and protest this ideological attack at every opportunity.

You could do a lot worse than starting the fight-back by buying Mitch Benn’s amazing tribute song “I’m Proud Of The BBC” here or here or wherever else you can find it. If we can get this to Number 1 then it’ll at least be an indication that people love the BBC and don’t want to see it torn down. Don’t let the Tories get away with this. Please!