Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Clearing the mind

There’s bit a little bit of an odd feeling been coursing through my limited thought processes over the past few days of late. Now don’t be getting me wrong here but maybe it’s just a small attack of ‘mid life crises’ ooh such a blanket covering description that, and why does it only seem to apply to us blokes? Personally I thought I had my mid life crises when I wanted a new rubber duck for bath time, and that was years ago! But getting back to the point at hand, lately I’ve been feeling disconcerted at my life some what, not in a ‘oh my god what’s the meaning of it all?’ sort of way, just….oh I don’t know…. Just as if something was missing or I could have done more with it. True there are some personal issues going on in the Wooldridge household of late (notice the word personal, so don’t even think of asking ya buggers), work has been even worse than the usual grind and there has been a couple of close friends who’s lives have been turned upside down at the moment and all I can do is just be there to listen when they need to rant or pour their hearts out and I so hate being powerless like that.

So I felt the time had come to take stock a little, to try and rid myself of the malaise which seems to have smothered me of late rendering me extremely open either to long periods of doing nothing or opening the door to the Grumpster once more. It seemed to be the ideal opportunity, what with the warthog coming into season and Clare working these last few days,  it gave me a little ‘me time’. So there would be now trail breaking, I mean to say a lone man walking with his dog is not given a second glance upon the walks that we’re doing at the moment, but take the hound away from the equation and in most peoples eyes you become a harbinger of evil, met with down cast eyes instead of the usual smiles and left with audible sighs of relief as you pass on by. I’m not a people person as you all know too well but I do not like making people uncomfortable upon the walks, well unless they really deserve it that is. So tacking back to the thread, here’s me now with some considerable time to contemplate life, the universe and everything or at least try to get my head around what’s the matter with me.

So the first step was to totally ignore the ‘to do’ list provided by my beloved Clare (oh I’m going to pay for that, I just know it!), I sauntered into the inner sanctum and man’s last refuge, the garage and realised that somebody has not finished tiding it up fully, that’ll be me then. In the past I admit that I’ve guilty of suffering from the butterfly effect when it comes to my many, many projects taking more on, flitting from one to another and never completing a damn thing, and here was proof positive that I’d done it again, a half tided garage. So with a steely glint in my eyes I headed straight for the kitchen and made myself a steaming mug of tea (using the big mug) and realised that the scamp formally known as Willow, but hence forth known as ‘you little bugger’ had herself felt the urge to be constructive and had rearranged the freshly delivered free newspaper to her own high standards.

Sigh, after clearing up YLB’s little bit of fun, mug in hand I returned to the inner sanctum, steely glint firmly ensconced in my eyes. Obviously the first task was to make a clear plan of action and follow it through to the bitter end, this was easily done as the CD player was devoid of debris and was soon belting out Iron Maiden for all and sundry to enjoy (of course my elderly neighbours like it, I have to have it really loud so that with their limited hearing they can enjoy master Dickenson’s lyrics to the full). So with the plan made and then completed, whirlwind like I spent the next eight or so hours furiously tiding the garage. Two fully laden trips to the tip and mission impossible was, well possible to be honest and the garage is now once more that bastion on meditation and manliness that it deserves to be. Funny thing is as I was beavering  away for those hours a calm came across my simple mind and the inner turmoil that had been so disconcerting had faded somewhat.

The dawn of a new day and steely eyed John once more headed into the garage, steaming mug clenched tightly in hand. Failing to notice the complete absence of the dismembered trunk of a man in his late fifties John gazed at the two projects that lay now if front of him now the clutter had been banished from his holy shrine. There in the lower half, waiting like a long forgotten lover lay Carpe Diem, her gently flowing lines calling for my tender touch.

Bugger need to order marine ply, stalking out of the garage once more a couple (well ok several) phones calls to obtain the best price for a piece of marine ply to be delivered post haste were made and the wheels for the boat renovation were once more in motion. Once again I returned to the garage, fresh steaming mug in hand (I like tea, ok?) not failing to notice how little interested YLB appeared to be, she’s got a lot to learn about garages that one has I’m telling you.

So the second project was undertaken, now you may remember a much earlier post by yours truly about the disconcertion and apprehension when meeting a certain type upon isolated trials and the conclusion being made that a walking stick made from blackthorn would be a suitable… er…. friend to have with me upon the trials. Well with my usual laid back attitude I’d done bugger all about it but now here, the answer lay before my very eyes; a piece of apple wood that I’d plum forgotten about for eons (did you like that, apple, plum?). A quick waying up and yes it would certainly fit the bill for a walking staff. So without further ado the piece was cut to a comfortable length and I proceeded to remove the outer bark. And here’s the rub, the final piece of the jigsaw that brought my roving mind back to earth, so to speak. It was whilst working this staff that I began to see the world through different eyes. It’s funny, but this type of work is alien to what I’m use to; after all I’m just a grease monkey use to spanners and metal in my hands, but working with wood id a whole new ball game, there’s so much more thought required, so much more of a connection with the work. I even found that I just had to sit there a while and ‘feel’ what the wood was telling me for want of better words. The work takes so much longer and yet there’s a rhythm to it that allows your mind to drift and set itself in order. I came to realise that my worries were just dust on the wind, after all I’m the most fortunate man in the world; I’m loved, healthy, have simple food on the table and good ale in my belly, my face is kissed by all the seasons and I have some damn good friends. It was a feeling akin to that felt in my previous post and it looks as if I’m beginning to see the light and become at one with who I am.

I’m just a child when it comes with working with wood but I’m learning and although my early efforts may be shoddy they are bringing me piece of mind, plenty of work left in the staff but Rome wasn't built in a day. Not my usual musings I know, but just something that I wanted to share. At this point I’d like to give a huge and heartfelt thanks to my dear friend Leigh from across the pond, it’s her encouragement and enthusiastic love for wood work that has made me take an interest in it, without her I would never have discovered the joy of working with wood, thank you Leigh.

If you’ve managed to read this far then thank you for persevering with this ramble, next post will be back to normal (well as normal as I can be) – honest.

Take care for know, your friend,



Frugal Queen said...

I didn't take in a word of that after the 'I'm not telling you' because I'm so flippin' nosey that I'll spend ages 'wondering'. I need the same zeal to tidy my house, I've given up thinking about it until the inspiration hits me! Froogs xxx

Nearly there Claire said...

But that was a beautiful post! I'm quite jealous of your 'stick'!

YLB is very similar when it comes to taste in newspapers. Baz shreds the freebie one round here too, infact, he looks forward to it. Shame he doesn't do the same with the bills eh?!

Glad you're feeling more chirpy, and I'm looking forward to seeing more woodwork my friend. Hey, you're a chirpy chippy now! Oh dear, I should've just left it at '..a beautiful post' Ha ha.

Rachelradiostar said...

I think you just wanted to show off all your power toolage - man I can SMELL the testosterone seeping from the garage photos!

On the serious side - you are far braver than I who can agree with a lot of what you say for opening up a little and baring your innards...brave and bold and for that I salute you :)
My blog is so light and fluffy it could be (pink) angel delight - I am watching and learning from you and I may wander that path one day...til then I am staying out of MY woods and wandering your trail!
Sleep well :)

Anonymous said...

Well, John, I managed to read the whole post and here I am leaving another comment. Tee Hee! I am quite the tea drinker too. Glad to see you had the time and the focus to finish cleaning up the garage. Success, no matter what it is, always feeds the soul for another day or time.

Gorges Smythe said...

Hey, John, if this is "abnormal", I've got nothing against it!

Jennyta said...

Wonderful post, John. Mind you I did get a bit distracted at the 'tidying up the garage' bit and suggested to Keith that, similarly, he has a shed in dire need of tidying up, to which his only comment was, "He's lucky to have a garage!" (Maybe that battle is for another day.) ;)

Damn The Broccoli said...

Tea is the oil in the machine of life, without it wheels very quickly bind up.

Excellent post again John, glad it made you feel better.

Menial tasks are often fantastic for clearing the mind as they are so monotonous and repetitive they are almost meditative. Couple that with something like wood working where you just can't afford not to give it your full attention lest you make a mistake and you have an amazing recipe for calm.

Of course let's not forget the restorative powers of Tea.

I like tea, we have 9 kinds in our house at the moment!

Oh and I am more than a little jealous of your working space and tool collection!

Stephanie and Dustin said...

Sometimes it is the the things we least think will pull us out of a funk that work the best. Having a nice, tidy space in which to work gives a certain peace of mind. I'm anxious to see the outcome of the staff. Beginner or not, I have a feeling it will come out terrific.

John Gray said...

five years ago I went through my mid life crisis
no I didnt start crusing pretty boys
we moved to wales, I bought a hen and I slowed down!


Murphyfish said...

Hello Froogs,
Well you’ll just have to keep wondering me dear ;-)

Hi Claire,
Ah the staff is coming on in leaps in bounds, chirpy chippy? Really Claire I expect more from you.

Hi Rachel,
Well if a man cannot show off his tool it’s a sad day indeed ;0), Seriously though, thank you so much for the kind words me dear.

It does, and it helps to take the next step up, along with tea that is…

Thank you Mr. Smythe

I man’s shed is his kingdom me dear, you should know better than to put upon poor Keith to tidy it ;-)

Eh Up Damn,
It’s me that’s jealous, nine kinds of tea – oh biscuit dunking heaven

Now your putting the pressure on, I’ll have to make a damn good job of the staff now won’t I?

John G.
Think you made the right choice, and Wales is all the better for it

Dog Hair in my Coffee said...

I seem to go in and out of these "mid life crisis" every other week or so. Sometimes I can work my way out of it through something like you've done, other times I just have to wait unti they pass. Sigh. Glad you share yours with us!

gpc said...

Although few of us describe it as well as you do, I think we all search for some work to do with our hands to ground us. It's why women knit and knead bread and scrapbook, being wary (I speak for myself) of knives.

Diane-Sage Whiteowl said...

You are not going thru a mid life crisis...you are just cleaning out the crap, putting in good stuff and the desire to live the way you want and or needed :)
You are more the welcome to use any of my pics from "me" blog! :)

Murphyfish said...

Thank you Diane