26 July 2013


If the truth be known, I have been feeling a little blue these last few days. I can't quite put my finger on it. Perhaps it's to do with the work we have recently had done in our little downstairs shower room. Our cheque could have bought a serviceable small car but there have been "issues" with the work - not least the fact that the new toilet is seeping water while the bathroom fitter has gone on holiday. "Oh no, don't worry about that. It'll soon dry off, There was just a bit of leakage as I was fitting it." Oh yeah!

I had really wanted to tackle the job myself but whenever I half-suggested this, Shirley's silence would become dishearteningly stony so I relented and we brought in a "professional".

Feeling blue isn't really me. Mostly I trundle along from day to day, quite happy with my lot. I have much to be grateful for. Maybe my low mood is connected with the fact that I shall be sixty years old in the autumn. This is confusing as many years ago I decided to stay eighteen for the rest of my life. I wasn't ever meant to be sixty. And reaching sixty will kind of emphasise the fact that I'll never be the lead singer for a rock band after all or forge a new career in advertising.

It's still hard to get my head around the reality that our children have grown up and left home. We enjoyed such a happy family life - the four of us together. Lovely holidays. Hundreds of family meals. Taking Ian to the park to play football for the cub scouts. Picking Frances up from the "after school club" at the primary school they both attended. Birthday parties. Father Christmas. Sleep-overs. Lots of love. So many images and memories of a life that has gone. Years of it.

Mum dead. Dad dead and Paul dead too. And I wonder what's next. What shall I do? Pick up my guitar and make songs again. Finish the novel I was halfway through writing. Make plans to visit The Isle of Man and Guyana. Paint the hallway and the stairs. Find a job - paid or voluntary. Help somebody. Get busy.

Feeling blue seems to well up from the pit of your stomach. You feel the corners of your mouth turning downwards. You are more conscious of your breathing. You start to notice that some of your habitual zest for life is diminishing. 

It has always been my belief that one of the best therapies for feeling down is physical exercise. Instead of moping - get out and walk or cycle or run. Getting the heart pumping and some sweat on your brow - seeing things other than your blue mood - that's a good thing to do. After a long country walk, it's amazing how invigorated you can feel so that is what I have prescribed for myself - another long country walk. The weather forecast is promising for Friday so I'll be off - walking the blues away. Watch this space.


  1. Are you sure it's the toilet leaking and not your bad aim,
    Have a good walk and lets us hope it does the trick.

  2. Quite often diet is the number 1 reason for depression. Please make sure you get plenty of protein and carbohydrates. I would likely be a vegetarian or at least a pescatarian were it not for the fact it is difficult for me to get enough protein in my diet.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  3. I don't like to think of you feeling down YP...your optimism and down to earth 'pull yourself together'ness is a shining little light of what is good and right with us as people....I want, someday, to be someone who can stride across the beautiful land we live in and take smashing photos just as you do. Accept that this is just a dip in your normal buoyancy and enjoy your walk. p.s. perhaps some voluntary work would do you good? you have a lot of skills and care to give in some capacity.

  4. Sounds to me like you need a project YP though a walk in the countryside will buck you up I'm sure. I'm not sure solitude is the answer though as we teachers have spent a lifetime communicating ALL DAY LONG so perhaps a little social interaction is what the doctor ordered???
    Guided walks for tourists might be an avenue to explore though I don't know if anyone could keep up with you. You English go at a cracking pace while tourists might rather stroll along.
    Glad you take us with you when you walk anyway.

  5. There are times when it's inevitable to take a look at how your life is flying by, and however enjoyable it is, there's no stopping time. The old addage is the only solution, try and look always on the bright, and positive, side.
    Which I think you do - a few blue days after all the fun and "joie de vivre" (?!) you transmit is nothing to be too worried about.
    Or, as my gran would say, "Stop moaning lad!"
    Hope the walk does the trick.

  6. Sir Plodder,

    I have to agree with Helsie. When I am feeling blue my tendency is to want to wallow in it and so I force myself to go to work, be around people and do something instead of nothing. Recently, I have been reflecting on "what next" for me ~ turning 50 ~ I have raised my son on my own and he is finishing school this year, so what about me now? What do I want to do with the next 15+ years of work, then retirement. your plodding is an inspiration to all of us, and I am sure with Shirley's help you will work out what next for you too. You are not short of options. Sending hugs :)

  7. A bit of empty nest syndrome?
    60 is less bad than 65 (I know!) but neither is bad anyway - we are lucky to be free agents now. Whenever I feel down, I remind myself that I no longer have to put in a 60 hour week at work. This works particularly at around 9am during school terms when I am out walking Paddy.
    Speaking of which - how about a dog?
    PLEASE do finish your novel. I really enjoyed the other one.
    Voluntary work could be good but I would say, avoid tying yourself down too much. The best part of retirement is being able to be flexible, do what you want when you want (within reason.)
    PS Love Adrian's comment!

  8. For my sixtieth, I got a bag knitted out of old carrier bags. Oh, AND it didn't have handles. In a fit of pique I chucked it out. I'm sorry now, because *?* years on I could have cut two holes in it and worn it as a very fetching pair of incontinence knicks.

    BIG squidgy hugs,


  9. You ain't been blue till you've been Yves Klein Blue (4:09) or maybe even, perish the thought, Blue Yves Klein (5:41). I'm just sayin'....

  10. It's after the equinox, days are getting shorter. You're enjoying the lovely summer days now, but your body knows winter is on the way. This realization struck me yesterday when I saw Helsie's picture of acacias blooming in Australia. I think you were very smart for retiring early enough to get out and enjoy your time, but a downside to that is having a few more years of wondering what to do with yourself until you have grandkids.

  11. ADRIAN, DAVID OLIVER,LIBBY, HELEN, BRIAN, CAROL,JENNY, LETTICE, RHYMES, JAN...Everybody! Thanks for your kind thoughts and ideas. I know we all feel blue from time to time and all of us deal with it in different ways. Isn't this blogging lark good? Faraway "strangers" (not Jenny - who I've met) wrapping you up in kindness. Thanks again. It means a lot to me.

  12. How are you this morning dear boy? I've been thinking of you a lot.


  13. LETTICE Let's just say I am light blue. Lovely long walk yesterday. Curry with the missus and a few drinks with chums afterwards. Thank you for asking Lettice.

  14. Poor old YP.

    I have found, 'what if?' the most depressing question I could ever ask myself!

    I think what you need is a good adrenalin inducing rant and, because I really like you, I am happy to be your punch bag (especially as I now know you are a decrepit old codger who couldn't knock the skin off a rice pud).

    So how do I now wind you up into a frothing frenzy? What on earth can I say that might provoke you?

    I know!

    Homework for tonight, a 1200 word essay.

    Margaret Thatcher should be Beatified. Discuss.


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