Rainy Day

Yesterday was a rainy day. And unexpectedly so. Bad start, worse end. Trying to put it in context today (with Bach loud in my ears to block out someone else’s toddler), I googled ‘into every life a little rain must fall’ to find the source…

And the wise words of the final verse Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s ‘Rainy Day’ seemed very wise indeed:

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

Chin up, buck up and step up is the answer. The ‘middle years’, viewed from one perspective are one long list of unreasonable and irreconcilable demands. But that’s the price of being at the centre, and fulcrum, of so many people’s lives. 

Watching an older man limping awkwardly in front of me this morning (as I rushed from one kid’s activity to the next) was a reminder there’ll be plenty of years when I’d kill for this life. And those years will one day run out. 

I feel better for a hot chocolate, some Bach and some writing. There is no point ‘repining’; behind the clouds the sun is still shining.

Mile High Spirits

Open in Emergency

Glug, glug
Brain wobble

In the film ‘Flight’, soon to be disgraced alcoholic airline pilot Denzel Washington turn his back on a hotel minibar miniature. And then bang he’s done. Watch it.

He necks the lot, owns up to being a drunk at an accident investigation and goes direct to jail. Helluva moment in a powerful film. Ironic then that I tapped out the poem above on a flight home from Belfast whilst necking my own spirit miniature – a stiff airline G&T.

There is something in the tinkle, the ice cool fizz and the spirit hit which is more intoxicating combined than just the intoxication alone.

Dangerous things white spirits. I reckon they need to be carefully measured and properly rationed or they’ll getcha… just like Denzel Washington’s pilot.



Small sounds
No dog
Get a dog

For the first time in about a decade I found myself at a relative loose end – at home with the missus and kids having no immediate need of me. Bizarre.

So I went for a walk. Spring sunshine, birds chirruping and the luxury of solitude. Wonderful to have the time to notice blossom, roof lines, trees and flowers.

I walked up roads and cut-throughs I’ve never trodden before. And then it started to feel a bit weird, all on my own. And I yearned for our big old bristly stripy greyhound, who is no more.

Absent children, a man surely needs a dog on his walks. One day…

Over Exposed

Restless night
Facing the alarm.
Breakfast Bonjour
Make up ladies
Chatting gamely.
Mic up
Sit down
Camera in 3, 2, 1…
And On
Sit still
No twitching
Make eye contact
Without flinching.
Engage erudition,
Not anxiety.
Talk – but not too much
Disagree with that,
Work with that
And dodge that.
Remember the punters
Time’s up
Final word
Presenter pleasantries
Get away
Survived another one

From studio to studio and up and down the country, a week of TV news and radio advocating foreign languages leaves me both tired and – when it sinks in – I suspect elated.

It’s all gone very well, but it’s a bonkers way to live. One for the adrenaline junkie methinks. The whole TV news experience permanently teeters on the edge of disaster – presenters, producers, guests, packages, everything last minute, everyone running about.

Seems to me no-one is calm in TV, they just learn to look that way. My top tip, get your head and your breathing right and you give yourself half a chance. Get as manic as everyone else is and you’re in trouble.

The Comforts of Family


They know us too well,
But in some ways, not at all.
We share most everything with them
But fear to share the worst.
They see us change
But always want us the same.
They effortlessly hurt,
But love us blindly.
And when you fear you have let them down,
You haven’t,
Because they are you
And they are yours.

I helped someone this week, and in the process we reflected on the comforts of family. Our families sometimes constrain and limit us – but mostly in our own heads.

We sometimes fear they expect more from us. But generally they just want us to be there and with them. Careers and success can be gaudy wrappings; families care most and know us best.