Mental ill-health

mental ill-healthThe news that yet another member of my family is experiencing mental ill-health was a bit of a blow I have to admit and another restless night wondering what the hell is happening to us all. And by all, I don’t just mean my family unit. I’ve never known so many people ‘on the pill’ (Prozac).


Mental ill-health.

We’re all at it, self-included.

God knows what it is like for those that really suffer, but waking up in the morning (for me) is usually rotten for at least 30 minutes and then, if it’s a bad day, sporadic intervals over the next 24 hours. For some reason the weight and misery of the world piles in and takes up residence in my head.

This is of course blatantly ridiculous because I live in Stratford upon Avon.

The Taliban don’t have a base here (as far as I know). There hasn’t been a locus swarm to wipe out our crops in living memory so we’re not starving, and at the moment, I’m not called upon to sign up to the army and go abroad and conquer foreign lands. So all in all, everything is tickety boo and Bristol fashion.

I am living a very nice (I was going to say European – wash my mouth out with soap and water) lifestyle. We’re extremely comfortable with all the basics. We have heat, we have food, we have electricity. I have no religious fanatics telling to believe in a destructive God and I am not being bombed by a fanatical Government who want to get me round to their way of thinking. What I do have is a problem when I wake up in the morning.

Like many over-privileged Westerners, I have the misery symptoms but none of the actual misery. Symptoms without a Cause that goes by the name of  Anxiety‘.

Of course, the temptation is to say, ‘Pull yourself together’If only it were that easy. Unfortunately, ‘pulling oneself together’ doesn’t work. For two reasons. First of all,

  1. I’m not a pair of curtains/drapes and secondly…
  2. I don’t have that kind of control. As hard as I try, the misery clings on as though a separate entity.

However, in my case, the pills appear to work.

The cutting, razored edge of this mysterious misery is dulled and for a while, tamed. (It must be the pills because if I attempt to come off them I come over all doo-lally and fall once again into the pit).

The pills.

As I said, the pills work, so, why I hear you ask, ‘Why would you want to come off them’?

The answer is simple.

I don’t like taking them because it is in my addled brain a sign of defeat. Deep down inside I want to beat this thing without any artificial help. But, I know that ain’t gonna happen. I have to reluctantly turn myself over to the pharmaceutical giants.

I’m told by those who know about these things that there is, a chemical in my brain that is misbehaving. Why it’s misbehaving I have no real idea although I’m led to believe that it could have been triggered by some past life experience. To get to the bottom of this puzzle and go some way to finding an answer and maybe a cure, I would have to employ an expensive therapist but like many others, that kind of solution is not something I can afford. I can’t afford the therapist, so I have no choice. It’s the pills for me and thousands of others like me.

[Personally, and I’d appreciate it if you kept this to yourself, My own personal diagnosis says it’s something to do with the time we live in. As I alluded to above there are various unpleasant things happening right this very moment to a large part of the Human race all while another part of the Human race goes relatively untouched. THIS IS NOT FAIR. I believe that all human beings are somehow connected. Taking that into consideration, I believe that a large number of us diagnosed with mental problems and are in fact suffering from a form of…GUILT.]

Dealing with it. 

There are in my case, moments of peace and quiet when ‘it’ seems to leave me. I’ve learnt to take advantage of them, to relax in them before the onslaught begins again.

Something I have discovered quite recently is the ability ‘to answer back’. I read somewhere about someone who uses a mantra (a form of words, a sentence, anything) to go on the defensive. So, for instance when I feel my brain beginning its regular delivery of doom and gloom, I tell it (aloud) to ‘stop lying’ or in simple terms to (excuse the French), to ‘fuck off and leave me alone’.

(NOTE: The best place to practise this is in the privacy of your own room as it is quite possible, in these times of great misunderstanding, for it to be construed as a conversation with invisible friends).

Another good way of dealing with it is not to suffer alone. If the therapist route is for you and you can afford it, then good for you. Use it. For those of us poverty stricken odd-bods. Find an outlet. Call a friend. Talk to someone you trust. Don’t let it fester.

To sum up. My theory.

Mental ill-health of the type I am describing and so often labelled ‘Anxiety’ is *I believe, a consequence of the times we live in. It is, in part, I am convinced, caused by our ‘picking up’ on the sufferings of our fellow human beings no-matter who or where they are.

  • my own personal theory/just a feeling that’s never been raced or rallied.

What went wrong

what went wrong

It’s true you know. The closer one gets to one’s Sell-by date, the more time is spent looking back on one’s life and wondering ‘what went wrong’.

In my case I find myself looking back to the crazy time I decided that I was maybe, ‘holier than thou’ and should train as an Anglican Priest to prove a point.

Believe it or not and to cut a very long story short, I was accepted and went for training at the now extinct Salisbury and Wells Theological College, (I’ve always felt that I had something to with its demise but that’s another story for another time).  Anyway, within a few short months I think it’s fair to say, I had the distinct feeling that I might have made a big mistake and had been reading the signs wrong.

[NOTE: I put this feeling down to a recent pondering and subsequent enlightenment that throughout my life, I have been unable to, and have great difficulty in how you say…’Towing the line’. Or to be brutally honest, arrogance, i.e. ‘my way or the highway’].

Those ‘few short month’ I referred to a moment ago, kicked in when I realised most of the would-be Priests and Vicars I trained with (I include myself here) were, rather than disciples, hangers-on. All desperately looking for a way through their fear of life and who they really were,  that didn’t leave them at the bottom of the pile. 

To put in simply.

We/they all were in desperate need of someone to tell them what to do. The need for an authority figure to berate us when we misbehaved and sedate us if we had any thoughts of misbehaving. Someone/something to confess to and feel better about ourselves.

I fitted the bill perfectly. .I felt so much better about myself especially when I realised the comedic value of lots of grown men and women falling to their knees to confess their so-called ‘sins’. Usually, those moments in their lives when they had succumbed to their natural urges, sex and that, something I did all the time.

It was around that time that my vision/my idea of God, which was a little ‘loose’ to start with, started to diverge from the Gospel of the Church of England.

To cut a long story short I ended up as the last Ordinand in College without a job to go to. I gave up going to the chapel unless I had to and spent my time indulging. Anything to keep my mind off my original reasoning on being there. I felt a fool.

I actually was Ordained (Coventry Cathedral 1990/910. I ended up a Reverend-Imposter. A fraud. The only thing that got me through was telling myself that I was a servant of the people rather than God. I was a social worker in a priest’s clothing.

However, there is no way I regret my time at Salisbury and Wells. 

I learnt a lot. Especially about myself. I learnt that like all others, I am a complicated beast. I am unique (as are you). What suits me does not usually suit another. This realisation, I hope enables me to go a little way to understand my brothers and sisters and maybe assist in solving the complications and stresses in their own lives.

 I think differently now.

For instance, there is no room for prayer in my life anymore. Meditation, yes, asking for ‘get out of jail’ cards, no.

I am hardwired for survival and the easier and more pleasurable my life the better.  

I demand revenge from those who have hurt me (there goes forgiveness).

Sadly, I see no sign of this loving God that people talk about.

Somewhere along the line, we have misinterpreted, got it wrong. I suspect banking all on a tome written a very long time ago by a different culture, was perhaps our greatest mistake.

This has been a rambling post from the stratfordian

Those were the days

those were the days

I was thinking the other day about the times before we became European. Those were the days.

Or, as I like to call them, the bad old days (yes, I’m a Remainer) before we became Europeans. Sadly, I think we have conveniently forgotten the trials of tribulations of the dark society that we were then and the grim days we lived in.

The streets of Stratford upon Avon (not London) were very different before we became European. Before European sophistication set in,

I seem to remember that our pavements were knee-deep in (white) dog poop.  In those days if you saw someone picking up dog shit and putting it into a black bag,  you were more likely to call Social Services than thank them for being good citizens.

Then there was the strong unpleasant scent of the unwashed Englishman.

Remember, before Europe and the invention of the shower, there was the stoic ‘one bath a week’ Englishman. I knew him well.

Friday night bath. Out on the piss and the rest of the weekend to lie in his own sweat and stale beer/cigarette smoke until work on Monday. Eeee…them were the days.

There was litter everywhere.

You couldn’t walk down High Street without becoming entangled in the discarded week-old copy of the Stratford upon Avon Herald, flying through the air enveloping everything in its path.

In those dark days the Herald was huge (easily 6ft x6ft). An airborne copy was without doubt a danger to life and limb. I know people who were near suffocated to near death by the local paper just going to the shops. We don’t talk about it much but there were those who were simply swept away, never to be seen again, God rest their souls.


If you were labelled sophisticated before we became European, it meant that you had dined in the local ‘foreign’ restaurant at least once (Wimpey’s didn’t count).

Always hidden away down a side street you could tell it was ‘foreign’ because it had what was once a brightly coloured canopy. Years of the British weather had put paid to any gaiety it might have represented years ago. There was always a rain-stained menu and plastic flowers In the window alongside faded nets. Strangely, the flowers were always in a water-filled vase?

The restaurant kept odd opening hours. But no matter. It was where you went for family celebrations like anniversaries, birthday parties. With entertainment that included shouting insults at the swarthy waiters (because no-way would they understand you), followed by the traditional and intentional mispronouncing of the menu which the elders of the family (uncles, fathers) usually undertook in an effort to prove their seniority and knowledge of other cultures. The truth was they really had no idea what it was they were ordering. Especially the wine. If it wasn’t Blue Nun, they were lost.

As for the pubs.

If you got home at 11.00 you called it a lock-in. The beer really was warm and the lager (if they had any) was too cold.  Whatever you drank, it gave you a headache.

So, here we are,  Brexit is according to our lunatic Prime Minister, done and dusted.

And I have no choice but accept the decision made by a British people who appear to yearn for a return to pockets full of dirty copper coins, handkerchiefs, vests, Y-Fronts and toilet paper abrasive enough to take a layer of skin off your good old British arse.

Last one to leave, turn out the lights.

The Stratfordian writes…

the stratfordian writesI’m sorry if you had just become a keen follower and were perhaps even enjoying what the Stratfordian writes (the last version).

You have been let down.

I’m sorry if this sudden change on the Website has reduced you to tears and left you distraught, but I’ve been having some trouble (Betty).

I’d tell you what it was if I could understand it myself but suffice to say it’s to do with the dreaded Internet and is very technical, therefore beyond this tiny brain.. In short I have lost the contents of my last ‘The Stratfordian’ website.

So forgive me if I’m a little testy and short with you (5′ 6″). At the moment, I’m very angry and pissed off because It’s way past my bedtime (2.55/05.05) and I’m still at it trying to retrieve what I can.

BUT, basically, and there’s no getting away from it, I have to face the fact that I’m going to have to start again…so…deep breath…


So, what is The Stratfordian all about?

The Stratfordian is, for the moment going to be mainly about what’s going on in my life. It was originally supposed to chronicle Life in Stratford upon Avon the town, but as I’m sure you realise (if you have lived here for more that a year)…there is none (life). The truth is…NOTHING EVER HAPPENS HERE. (OK there is famous Stratford upon Avon Shakespeare but even that is off the agenda at the moment)

Yes, it’s very beautiful and somewhere deep down in my heart I love it. The thing is, when you love something and it’s not going the way that you want it to go it hurts, and I have been hurting as far as Stratford upon Avon goes since the year of our Lord, 1971. And no-one seems to care or listen. It’s been happening for years. To paraphrase The Who‘Here’s the New Boss, same as the Old Boss’ (something like that). How I see it is, ‘We have been fooled again’. But anyway enough of that. 

Where was I? Oh yes, nothing ever happens.

They do say that once a very long time ago a man’s hat blew off in Bridge Street. Apparently, women fainted (in those days that’s what women did), children broke out in spots and men took to punching each other. Town’s folk were in such a state of unbridled excitement that nine months later births in Stratford upon Avon broke all records. (Pause for laughter at joke I must have used at least ten times before).

Now none of this is to say that my life is outrageously exciting. But the point is I have an eccentric family who should without them even realising it, provide me and you with enormous entertainment. And as none of them have the slightest interest in what I do we/I should be quite safe (I don’t want you to worry about me). And besides, what with the plague that’s going around you should count yourselves lucky that someone (me) cares about you enough to try and keep you from going down with Lockdown Fever.

Right. I think that’s it. I hope you will make the effort to follow me. There’s a box top right where you can enter your email address and for no charge be notified when I have posted something important. And of course should something major happen in Stratford upon Avon (which it won’t) I shall let you know immediately. 

I ought also to say that there will be lots of fiddling about on The Stratfordian because I delight it changing the look, the colour etc of the site. I get very bored easily. But apart from that, unless I have another technical breakdown all should be OK. Oh yes…and PLEASE JOIN IN. At the foot of each post there will be a space to leave comments (rude as you like). If you don’t fancy insulting me in that fashion you can always send an email to

Oh, I ought to warn you I am a bit of a lefty, at least that is what some say. I prefer to think that I judge everyone fairly, so for example if let’s say our MP (and Vaccine distribution Head Honcho) Nadhim Zahawi were to….I don’t know….set up in these dark days, a firm run by his family called ‘Warren Medical’ , I would have no qualms about mentioning it.  And however unlikely it would be that he would say, something on the lines of, ‘it’s an unused property firm from some time ago’, I would still have something to say. But hey, that’s just an example and not likely to happen, and is just an illustration of how I would not necessarily caste the first stone.

OK? So there we are. That just leaves me to say to you my future friends, behave,  do what the government is telling you to do, stay at home and if you must go out wear a mask or a large galvanised bucket over your head.

message ends. The Stratfordian. x

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