No place like Om

Touching base with the new bungalow and looking forward to moving in mid November. The house itself is quite small inside but the outside… that’s something else. Lovely private zen like gardens.


Snowdonia Nature Park

Yesterday I drove up from Wales to geordieland to view the new bungalow. It was a dreadful journey of nearly twelve hours in the fog, the rain and traffic though periodically I pulled over for a break.

On one such rest I spotted this lovely sculpture which I thought I’d like to share. Meanwhile I’m looking forward to checking out the new des res this afternoon and hopefully will get some good photos:)

New house, new job and a holiday in Gibraltar

The past few months have been very draining and emotionally challenging but I’m finally beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. This part of my website has been neglected for sometime over the past couple of years partly through me changing jobs, studying with the open university and now planning to leave Wales and return to my hometown of Newcastle. Of course along with the practical side of selling a house buying another and physically moving I’ve also been applying for jobs in the north east.

At 63 I only have 2.5 years of work left in me before the old age pension comes along but I’ve always been one to finish whatever I started and I’ve never been unemployed since 1971. Currently I’ve applied for several jobs but I thought I’d let you know about one in particular that I have a keen interest in.

If you have read my chapter ‘Memoirs of a Child in Care’ here on my website you’ll know I was born at Dilston Hall in Corbridge, Northumberland. Well some years ago when writing that memoir I revisited the place and it was then the headquarters of mencap. It’s diverse history includes it once being a workhouse but in the 1950s it was a temporary maternity hospital on loan from the Earl of Derwent hence it being my birthplace. Today it is an Academy for young people with learning disabilities owned by Cambian Children and I have an interview there next Friday 20 September 2018 at 10am so keep your fingers crossed for me.

Once the house move and job move is over I am looking forward to a long holiday in Gibraltar next June and heaven knows I’m ready for that. I look forward to seeing old friends, meeting new friends and walking familiar back streets while also having the time to feel that lovely warm Mediterranean sun on my back as I climb our beautiful rock. With that in my head I can cope with the stress and will sleep very soundly tonight.

I’m behind with everything but I’m happy

The past four months have been really challenging and exhausting since my lady broke her leg; as well as keeping my job down I’ve naturally also had to step up to the plate and become her main carer. Her leg has been plastered since 6 June and although she is hoping to have it taken off on Friday we remain concerned because there is still a lot of pain, needing morphine and other pain killers which suggests it isn’t fully healed yet. To say I’m physically tired is an understatement.



(Acrylic on canvas. A welcome to young people above my desk)

My day job is at a Young Persons Trust as the Outreach Worker and as you might imagine, though it’s a fantastic job, it can be demanding. Recently we have just had a further three years funding to deliver a more intergenerational service (called Point Across Communities) and so there’s been even more to do in terms of preparation before the project begins proper. My role has been about creating a new database and to brand our organisation which has had something of an impact on my mental energy. It’s been literally years since I picked up a paintbrush but found myself having to make the effort in order to grab people’s attention – on the plus side it’s been good practice for when I get round to creating my Gibraltar Art to compliment my RockHeart memoir. Due to my workload I’ve had no annual leave yet at all this year and so I’m really looking forward to having a ten day break from Friday.


(A work-in-progress inviting visitors to feedback on our service)

For several reasons over recent years I’ve had to put my studies on hold but with everything being work-work-work lately I have decided to resume them from October as they are something I feel are for me personally and I want to try and improve my work-life balance. Having said that I’m also in the middle of editing my recent memoir RockHeart and so there’s little room in my mind for much else. I suppose the truth is that I’m behind with everything…but I’m happy 🙂 Hope you are too. Alan 🙂

From Harbour Village

(Photo taken today from Harbour Village overlooking Goodwick breakwater)

A turning point in my life…

Ferreting through hundreds of sketches up in my man cave this little one jumped out at me. It’s from my sketch book of 1992/93 and shows me with my granddaughter Katie (aka Bubbles). The sketch on the far left shows me on walkabout with a papoose under my coat and a little head can just be seen peeping out. 

Although the artwork would never make the Tate gallery the sentiment is priceless to me. Bubbles arrived at a time when I was in a very dark place and having her in my life became a turning point, it gave me hope back. Finding these little sketches have made this old man very happy, particularly so because Bubbles and I have remained close to this day X