life lessons

Keep Calm and Carry On

Keep calm and put the kettle on

Churchill might have spoken about fighting the enemy on the beaches, but I have determined that my front door is where I shall start, swiftly followed by my router and finally the TV.

No you haven’t missed something, we aren’t at war, but I am beginning to feel as if I am in a constant battle for my sense of well being.

During the war – the morale of the people was a consideration, news was suppressed and for good reason – imagine what it would have been like if they had gone into the in depth analysis and commentary that we have today, when people were dying every day on our streets?

reality sucks

I am not suggesting for one minute we suppress information, but wouldn’t it be nice to live in a world where it was limited to facts and not the mountains of speculation.

I can’t control the universe or this country, terrorism – the very name of it, is all about inducing fear, but I can firmly put it in place by simply not reading about it, not listening to it – and not engaging in the collective sense of foreboding, propagated and stirred up by the media.

Yes, that is me in the corner singing with my fingers in my ears!

Let’s be honest, life doesn’t seem to be all that fair does it? There are some truly horrible things happening in this world – I can’t control any of it one iota, nor do have the resources to level the playing field – so I am making a stand – holding back the deluge of misery and mayhem that pervades and sucks the life out of anything remotely cheerful.

I need create a sanctuary of safety for me.

Call the midwife

Call me deluded, or an ostrich about to get a bite on the bum, but I need to feel safe – its the basic necessity according to Maslow, for me it’s about not letting the screws loose and keeping me on my rocker as opposed to off it.

When I had my first gorgeous little girl – I went a little bit crazy, well lets be honest about it I did go well round the bend to la la land, (I think sleep deprivation and hormones were partially to blame). When you hold your most precious beautiful baby, you also become aware of just how dreadful and fragile life is.

Alice in Wonderland

I censored my TV viewing, I could no longer watch casualty because the characters were always blissfully unaware of the accidents that were set to befall them – it just appeared out of the blue, with no warning! My mind could not come up with a way to protect me from the randomness of accidents – so instead it would simply go round and round in my head. I would be driving on the motorway, with a feeling that at any second my life could be different, that an accident might happen just two seconds away. I would be driving along with sweat on my brow and fingers gripped firmly – holding on to dear life and ending my journey feeling like a wet rag but grateful to be alive.

I had to learn, sometimes going through minute by minute, how to keep myself calm. How to balance my fear – how to get beyond the door step and walk down the street without feeling as if my heat was going to explode through my chest.

life is fragile

So that is why, years later, I am a little protective of what I invite into my home, I don’t let anything pass through that will feed the fear monster that sleeps like a giant only to wake me up in the wee hours of the morning.

There is a certain snobbishness about television viewing or lack of it – I do believe it has a real value in glueing our society together; remember the pride filled days of the Olympics or the sense of pure Britishness that the last night of the proms conveys. It gives us a way of connecting through a shared experience, bonds us all together – its so much easier to chat about the latest dilemma in a soap opera than discussing personal matters in the office on a Monday morning.

There is already so much stuff in the news that we don’t need lathering it on when we turn away from the real world into the realms of fantasy. I fear I am slipping into the comfy armchair of Mary Whitehouse at times! TV is full of murder and it appears to be more explicitly gruesome. Is it me or don’t people have relationships anymore? Just random sex and the women have to be single, and seeking unattached sex? New relationships, but it has to be odd to be interesting, homosexual relationships are passé its about transexuals,  government conspiracy theories, terrorism.. etc.

what is a weekend?

Ok, so that last paragraph has proved it, I am Mary Whitehouse re-incarnated.. but the point I am making.. (badly I know) is that at a subliminal level all this is having an impact on me, on my view of the world. If that is so then I want a view of a lovely country field rather than the mean streets of a inner London estate.

I am not against the media or television or the internet,  technology today gives us so much more control than the three channel viewing of my childhood spent watching programmes my parents chose because there was only one TV in the house. Remember all those terrible Saturday Specials or the Miss Worlds or even the Eurovision that kept us gripped to the edges of our seats!

I love some of the fabulous drama that has been on recently – Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell was simply fantastic, as is Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and of course the bake off that is starting again soon.


But by far, the very best and most wonderful resource, is BBC radio,  the envy of the world – if you haven’t explored the BBC radio app then you are in for a real treat. Radio is not as demanding as TV, you can busy yourself sewing or knitting while at the same time being transported to wonderful places and adventures. Our imaginations are far richer and deeper than any high definition screen. Somehow the radio experience, like a book feels like you are in the story rather than watching it.

There is no product placement,  blissfully no shouting adverts, you can add programmes to your favourites and listen anytime.

The Girl on the Train review

At the moment you can catch radio 4’s book at bedtime which is the brilliant Girl on the Train – what a great combination!

Radio 4 extra has some fantabulous programmes and radio drama that makes any household task a breeze. For me, it feels so much more intimate – cooking while listening to authors in the book programme, or relishing the book at bedtime while I soak in a candle lit bath.

There is nothing safer and more cosy than listening to the shipping forecast while snuggled up in a warm bed on a winter’s evening – imagining fishing boats bobbing about in Moderate North Utsire, or gale force in Fair Isle?

ahh, I feel better already… anyone for tea?