Born to be child

 

21st August 2019

This time two years ago I was still coming to terms with a recent two-month non-voluntary stay in a locked psychiatric ward. If my instincts and shift in beliefs are not a sign of another bout of  insanity, which I don’t believe they are, I’m very gradually learning what I need to learn about how to write readable works of non-fiction disguised as fiction.

Relative to virtually all the writers and speakers that reach out and grab my attention these days, I’m woefully educated, badly read. And through the eyes of people I know, especially the scores of people who I ceased to know after my descent into insanity became apparent in late 2016, it is absolute ‘pie in the sky’ at this time for me to publicly proclaim that I am a writer in the early moments of learning his craft.

I’m 42, bit of a late starter.

After losing my mindless office job just over two weeks ago, in seemingly no time at all I become a night worker in a very large local supermarket. It may seem laughable for me to write that I am excited at the prospect of having just become a shelf-stacker who works 10pm to 7am at least five nights a week, but I don’t care –

I am excited at the prospect of being shelf-stacker who works 10pm to 7am at least five nights a week.

In the weeks leading up to becoming officially insane just after St. Stephens Day in 2016, I had my ‘born again’ moment, or rather faith had been conceived, the birth has not occurred quite yet.

Because of a series of awfully selfish choices in previous years, one of the main symptoms that I believe led to being certified crazy was a very long period of lack of sleep, or insomnia as the experts call it. I also believe that if my lifestyle had been much healthier, that my mind-blowing experiences would have been more manageable and would have come in the form of dreams of some kind. Because I rarely slept long enough to dream in the conventional way, I believe it was necessary for me to experience what I needed to experience with my bleary eyes wide open.

When I was at my most insane, I got into the habit of sending emails, that mostly didn’t make much sense, to a hated  English Sunday newspaper columnist.

When in the psych-ward it was hard to fend off the adverse effects of the cocktail of drugs given to me each evening, but with help from the more ‘spiritual’ nurses and Bible-loving fellow inmates, and most importantly the daily visits by the woman I love with all my heart and mind, the seemingly darkest of times of my life became manageable. I had a number of books given to me while on the inside, and really could not concentrate long enough to read more than two or three paragraphs without getting one hell of a psychological headache. I experimented with different methods of soaking in knowledge and information, and found that if I copied out the words whilst reading them, I was able to soak in the  enlightening words. The process sometimes made me imagine I was the type-writing author of the book, sitting at an antique writer’s bureau, warmed by a coal fire, a generous glass of well-earned malt whisky.  Often gazing through a cold thinly glazed window, witnessing wild Atlantic winter storms in my mid-eye’s version of a remote Cornish Village.

I would spend a few hours each night, fighting the nightly sedatives. And felt the urge to send what I’d copied, in my mind, as the beginnings of an apology for the craziness I unwittingly shared whilst at my craziest.

By January last year, I was working again. I had successfully ceased taking the drug cocktails about nine or ten months previous to that. And just over two weeks ago I was made redundant, due to no particular fault of my own.. The business was ‘restructuring’ etc.

It took virtually no time at all to get another job, maybe not anybody’s idea of a dream job for sure. But it feels right. And I have a strange but confident feeling that Night work will help me spend 2 hours each morning in the local public libraries (two more hours per day than I could manage working 9-5) , go for long walks before going to bed etc, and the quality of various private life matters will improve a lot, for myself, but most importantly for the beautiful lady and the wonder dog who privately matter the most to me, whose love has never wavered through all the crazy, occasionally disturbing times.

In November last year, after a formal apology had been accepted, I mainly chained myself to the desk on lunchtimes at work, and copied out chapters of an array of mainly forgotten books.

This process of reading and writing has affected me profoundly. I mean, it seems just by instinct (or maybe with divine guidance of some kind, who knows?) I’m on some sort of intense course of self-learning that seems to be in the pursuance of truth, and trying to learn how to ask wise questions on a regular basis in the form of poetry and prose.

It seems strange to me that I’m writing these words, strangely right. I am sorry if what seems right to me is unhinged, worrying, crazy to you. .

 

September 2nd 2019

I have started reading The Chronicles of Narnia in recent nights on my breaks at work. I am thoroughly enjoying The Magician’s Nephew, and believe that my fear of childishness is becoming a thing of the past.

A self-progress report of sorts.

August 1st  2019

I’m not lonely, nor am I depressed or manic or psychotic, at least that is what I think. What do I know?

It has been almost 30 months since the section was lifted, it is about 28 months since I ripped up the repeat prescriptions of various medication and began in earnest the attempt to live without the interference from medical profession who know virtually nothing about me other than the fact that my behaviour become worryingly strange whilst smoking cannabis played a significant part in daily life.

I was lucky. so much more importantly my neighbours, friends, family, social workers, police, NHS staff, mental health volunteers and various strangers do not seem to have been harmed by the results of my entirely stupid and selfish pleasure-seeking behaviour.

I work Monday to Friday for a company I quite like, my duties are mundane and repetitive, but mindless enough for me to listen to music, lectures, debates, audiobooks etc., and I fill a lot of time reading and thinking and endeavouring to educate myself to a level which will enable me to have the confidence to become a published writer of some kind.

I wanted to write about something, but it doesn’t feel right, my intention here was to try to explain the very strange, exciting, miserable, enlightening, delusional, depressing, uplifting, dangerous, awe-inspiring, frightening and joyful series of events that occurred in the month or so leading up to becoming sectioned. It seems wrong to do so. It would need the perspectives of others who witnessed my behaviour to write about their thoughts on the matter too.  My side of the story over this period of time probably has to stay private for the foreseeable future, maybe it will forever stay between me and the unknowable. Massive scraps of these times are known to the people who matter to me the most. I have put a lot of thought into this, and if it was important to write about these events at this time, it wouldn’t feel wrong.

I feel a sense of dread about ‘Operation Meadow’

I removed myself from a ‘closed’ social group of ex-adolescent patients who all supposedly spent some time at Hill End between 1969 and 1994.

It was  a rumour mill of the worst kind. People feeding off each others feelings of victimhood and sense of being owed a slice of justice. I cannot explain. The most likely of the  rumours to be  true is that  the police have sent the statements and records the CPS for review. The solicitors who seem to be on the side-lines desperate to pursue a civil suit have been in contact with dozens of their clients. There is something happening but it is all speculation. At least that is what I take from it, I left the closed group a few weeks ago.

 Many of the ‘updates’  or gossip as I prefer to call it, did not match up with what the police told me when they interviewed me. I have just emailed the police to ask if there is any news. The last time I heard from them was on May 17th where they informed me they had received my notes but had not had the opportunity to review them yet. On June 27th I commented that that was good news and that I was trying my best not to bother them, on the 27th June I was told “That’s fine. It’s never a bother, you can contact me any time you have a question”.

So the email I just sent reads “How are things progressing, any news, Regards…”

I could have been more specific, as what I really want is a copy of my medical records. I have actually just received a reply.

Social services were unable to find any records for you but I do have your Hill End records.

The case as a whole is now with the Crown Prosecution Service and we are awaiting their decision. It will be quite some time yet due to the volume of material but we will let everyone know once the decision has been made.”

I feel a sense of dread.. I have no way of knowing whether any children were sexually abused or unlawfully physically abused or drugged unlawfully. I will not speculate on such matters, but it is hard not to speculate on what might happen once the CPS have decided on what actions should or should not be taken. If it is deemed that there is not enough evidence for any kind of criminal case, a civil case will almost surely begin and I fear a lot of ex-patients are going to be very much exploited by various parts of the media and the lawyers that will represent them.

 

It will not surprise me if the late Peter Bruggen is ‘thrown under the bus’ in some way by ex-colleagues who a few years ago would have openly described him as little less than a saint etc etc.

 I don’t have any particularly pleasant memories of my time of Hill End but they are not all bad, but for me it was not anyway near ‘Hell End’ like lots of people on various  online forums such of ‘Needle Blog’ describes it. To many people Peter Bruggen is worse than the devil, and that really does not sit right with me. I imagine that if there is a big smear campaign against him, it is possible that I may risk making a few enemies by actively not joining that particular bandwagon.

I shall stop speculating. Anything could happen. But I find it hard to imagine that the outcome of the investigation, whatever it may be, will do much to encourage serious thought about current medical practices and the irresponsible drugging of children and human beings of all ages.

But if there was an all-out media attack on Peter Bruggen, I think it is likely I would be one ex-patient who might spring to his defence, up to a point.  

Innocent until proven guilty, etc..

Touch wood

 

August 2nd 2019

I’m such an ignorant Brit, but my basic understanding of many aspects of things have improved very much in recent times, I think my self-education is akin to being on lunchtime and after school detentions everyday and locked in a room with a half decent selection of old books and a computer connected to the worldwide web. A lot of my time is wasted I imagine, a lot of my free time is being put to good use though I think. Gradually becoming more confident, possibly almost confident enough to start occasionally expressing various opinions of my own at length, about the matters I deem most pressing, rather than hiding behind the comfortable safety of other people’s informed opinions, it is quite a scary thought, standing on my own two feet with my head held high having carefully chose a shortcut-free road to travel. George Harrison once sang ‘If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.’

I’m not sure I know where I’m going, but I believe I’m on the right track.

I finished writing the last sentence at the end of my last luncheon break working for a company that claims to be the leader of innovating libraries in Britain, Ireland, USA and various other countries. It seems to me that they are helping make it easier for local authorities  to fund public libraries less and less through their kiosks etc.

I did not know that when I was writing that last sentence that it would be my last luncheon break for them. In the last half hour of my shift I attended a meeting and was told that my services are no longer needed due to restructuring etc. I didn’t take it too well but I left with my dignity intact. They are kindly paying me two extra weeks more, and I have about  17 holiday pay due I believe. The first thing I did upon leaving the offices for the last time was to email the temp agency who introduced me to them and I am hopeful that I will get some sort of temp job in the next couple of weeks.

I was a bit upset, and still am now to a lesser extent, but I’m mainly relieved and feel a sense of pride in the fact that for the first time in my life my employment has been terminated due to restructuring, for budgetry, cost-cutting reasons etc.  for the first time there was no problems with my time-keeping, my work ethic could not be faulted, my personal grooming could do with a little work, but all-in-all I was a good worker.

It was a temp job in Job in January 2018, became a six month fixed contract job, described as permanent in February of this year. The six months were up, and until 4:35 this afternoon there was not even a hint that today would be my last day (officially next Friday is my last day, but I do not have to work next week and will get paid another week as a gesture of good will). I was given the strong impression over the course of the last six months that renewal of contracts was a mere formality.

Touch wood, temp work will not be too difficult to come across, the summer is the best season to get temp work I’ve been told, so I’m not overly worried, I had a good relationship with the temp agency and my better half has a longstanding professional relationship with a manager there, it’s how I got the work in the first place.

It really does not matter what temp work I do.

I’m confident it won’t be very stressful applying for ‘perm’ work, as in the interviews I can honestly say that my time-keeping is impeccable, and I can talk about the skill I really have with confidence too, and when they ask me why I left my last role I can say concisely that it was due to the company restructuring etc, rather than trying to lie about tardiness, indiscipline, etc etc..

For better or worse I can be more-or-less ‘myself’ in interviews and not tell blatant lies or white lies in a desperate attempt to gain employment.

As long as at least temp work comes, I believe finding more permanent work might be quite enjoyable.

My parting letter to my “line manager”, who I didn’t get on terribly with reads:

Hello,

Please can you send me confirmation of how much money my last wage will comprise of and when it will be paid etc.. Two weeks and the holiday pay should see me through for a bit.

In the future, when it is decided to fire someone please don’t leave it until the last half hour of a Friday. It is never easy to do these things I know, but just take a look at the company’s mission statement and the words that are etched on all the pillars and many of the walls of the offices.

I never felt I was exactly the most valued member of staff and knew I was the most disposable, it surprises me I wasn’t gotten rid of sooner.

I tried my best to contain myself and thought it best to go with minimal fuss (as far as other staff are concerned).

All the best

Unknown Author, historical artefact.—THE COMING OF THE NORTHMEN

This text is copied from ‘The New Illustrated Universal Reference Book [Odhams Press]’ or ‘The Book of a Million Facts’, seemingly published in 1933. (Authors/editors unknown).I will give more precise details of the reference book I am copying from in future parts of this series of posts. And I will try to discover who was involved in  compiling this book I am studying:

 

THE COMING OF THE NORTH MEN

 

The Norse Adventurers

 

Life was a hard and often a cruel business in the north-western corner of Europe. The country was rocky and desolate; only in the narrow valleys could the Norsemen grow their scanty crops, hunting wild animals in the dense woods or spearing salmon in the mountain torrents.

It was no country for weaklings; even in the “season of plenty” there was barely enough corn and meat, and in the “season of want” every man, woman and child knew the meaning of hunger and many perished every year. Yet the Norsemen were a hard and high-spirited race, and since there was little to attract them in their homes, they wandered abroad and sought other richer lands, sometimes landing and founding settlements, more often plundering and pillaging and returning to their northern lands.

The Saxons and Jutes and Angles, who had left their homes on the shores of the north Sea and settled in Britain several centuries earlier, became themselves a prey to the “sea-wolves” from Scandinavia, and fled inland carrying their valuables with them as soon as they caught sight of the long ships of the Northmen. France, Germany,(that is the three states of the Verdun partition, link to be added here; many years would pass before France and Germany would become nations.) and even Spain suffered form their raids, and in the churches men prayed “From the fury of the Northmen, good Lord deliver us,” just as men were praying in south-eastern Europe to be delivered “From the arrows of the Hungarians.” In 855 the Danes first wintered in England, and even the valiant King Alfred (871-901) could do no more than divide his kingdom with the invaders. (By the Treaty of Wedmore, 878.)

It was not only want which drove the Northmen from their homes, but also an inborn love of adventure, and they rowed their open, undecked ships boldly across the sea, steering only by sun and stars and caring nothing for danger and privation. The ships might carry 100 men, yet they drew so little water that they could be navigated a long way up even shallow rivers, and this added to the terror of the inhabitants, causing them to flee at the first news of approaching ships.

Some of the Northmen followed the coast of Norway as far as the White Sea; others reached the Orkneys and Shetlands and settled there as sheep-farmers; others bolder still sailed beyond the Faroes until they sighted “Snowland” (now Iceland) and (c.860) founded there a settlement. It was hard to gain a living in this cold and rocky land, but to the Norsemen difficulties existed only to be overcome.

One of the settlers, in punishment for a crime he had committed, was exiled form Iceland, and sailed still farther west till he found a yet more desolate coast. The exile, Eric the Red, named the new country “Greenland” (in hope that a “good name” would attract future settlers). He reported his discovery to the Icelanders, and a number of emigrants followed him to the colony he had founded on the western coast (935).

The son of Eric the Red, Leif, surnamed “the Lucky,” made even more striking discoveries than his father. A report was brought back by some voyager blown miles out of his course by contrary winds, of a mysterious land to the south-west. In the year 995 Leif set out on a voyage to prove the truth or error of this report, and found and named a stretch of coast, well wooded and with a sandy shore, “Markland,” and farther to the south a beautiful land of hill and stream, where grape-vines and flowers of all kinds grew in profusion. This he named “Wineland the Good,” and there can be little doubt that it was part of the North American coast. Thus the wanderings of the Northmen resulted in a discovery which, had it been followed up, must have altered the whole course of world history.

 

The Normans

While some of the Norsemen were sailing the western ocean, others had explored the Baltic coasts ans penetrated through Lapland into the heart of Russia. Others again had made their homes in northern France, in the province which bears the name—Normandy. Early in the tenth century (911) the French king, realizing that he could not rid himself of the settlers, had accepted homage form their leader, Rollo, and allowed him to style himself Duke of Normandy. Although they had settled down and no longer roamed as pirates, the Normans had lost none of their fire and energy. Now, they applied their efforts to making Normandy the best governed state in Europe. The love for adventure remained, too, and younger sons with no lands or ties to keep them at home wandered abroad, seeking their fortunes wherever occasion offered.

By the middle of the eleventh century the Normans had captured part of southern Italy and the whole of Sicily, and they set up there a kingdom which became the admiration of the whole world. At about the same time, their brethren in the north achieved the conquest of England, breaking the English power in a single battle (Hastings, 1066). Their kinsfolk, the Danes, had maintained a foothold in England since the ninth century, and had even placed a Dane upon the English throne, (This was Canute; 1017-1035) where he reigned most wisely for nearly twenty years, but they never succeeded in making so complete a conquest. The Normans had a peculiar genius for assimilating whatever was best in the civilization of the peoples they conquered, as they had shown in Sicily, where a population of the most heterogeneous, with many seemingly conflicting elements, lived in perfect harmony. In England they absorbed the best of the Saxon qualities and habits so rapidly that within a few generations the population was no longer either “Saxon” or “Norman,” but English.

Unknown Author, historical artefact.—THE EARLY DISCOVERIES

This text is copied from ‘The New Illustrated Universal Reference Book [Odhams Press]’ or ‘The Book of a Million Facts’, seemingly published in 1933. (Authors/editors unknown).I will give more precise details of the reference book I am copying from in future parts of this series of posts. And I will try to discover who was involved in  compiling this book I am studying:

THE EARLY DISCOVERIES

 

Geographical Science in Mediæval Times.

Even to-day there are people who maintain that the earth is flat, and in the Middle Ages it would have been impious even to suggest that this was not the case. Cosmas, the sixth century Greek who wrote an account of his wanderings known as the “Christian Topography,” was convinced that the earth is perfectly flat, and that the four walls which compose the sky meet overhead in the dome of heaven.

It had been proved that it was possible to sail beyond the Pillars of Hercules (or Straits of Gibraltar) and the Northmen had boldly sailed their undecked ships many hundred of miles into unknown seas. There was, nevertheless, great timidity and fear of the unknown in the minds of most mediæval travellers, and they preferred to keep closely to well-known routes lest they might come upon monsters of land and sea, or, worse still, reach the world’s end.

Throughout the middle Ages, geographical science was based on Ptolemy’s atlas (A.D. 159). Many of his ideas were remarkably sound and he was the earliest map-maker to realize that the Caspian is an inland sea. He mapped the near East correctly, but his ideas of India and China and Africa were wrong, for he made Africa run along the southern edge of his map, and up to join China, thus making the Indian Ocean an inland sea.

Mediæval cartographers not only repeated Ptolemy’s errors, they inserted other and stranger ones of their own. Some of the maps were square, others round, and outlying islands such as Britain had to be squeezed and altered so as to fit the shape of the map. Jerusalem, centre of the Christian faith as Mecca was to the Moslems, was often taken as the centre of the world, and many of these “round” maps—though charmingly decorative and full of interesting detail, are horribly distorted.

The Arab geographers (see https://broadhurst.vivaldi.net/1398-2/) were, up to the fourteenth century, far in advance of the Christians, and it was probably from Arab sailors that Europeans learned the use of a compass card. the use of the compass had been known to scientists in the thirteenth century. Roger Bacon, for one, but only in the guise of a magnetized needle floating on a straw. By the beginning of the next century, however, the mariner’s compass was coming into general use, at any rate in Mediterranean shipping. This meant a great advance in science of navigation, for hitherto sailors had been obliged to keep close in shore when neither sun nor stars were visible to give them direction.

Of much more practical use than the elaborate maps, often drawn by monks who had never travelled beyond their convent walls, were the “portolani,” or coast-maps made by sailors and merchant -traders for their own guidance. These showed, bit where unicorns might be found, but the location of shoals and rocks and sheltered harbours, of bays, headlands, and mouths of rivers. The portolani, of which the most famous surviving example is the Laurentian Portolano of 1351, now at Florence, give a remarkably accurate outline of the world as known at that time. They were, however, despised by scholars, who preferred their own fantastic guesses. One of these wildly-imaginative maps was executed as late as 1450; it is known as the Borgian Map, and may be found in the British Museum. The portolani concerned themselves only with the coast-line; they were not meant to be more than mariner’s charts, and this purpose they admirably fulfilled.

 

Early Explorers

The discoveries of the Northmen have been noticed elsewhere (see https://broadhurst.vivaldi.net/unknown-author-historical-artefact-the-coming-of-the-northmen/ ), but as it seems their explorations were never followed up, men forgot anything they might have heard about “Wineland the Good,” or compared it with the legendary St. Brandan’s Isle off the north-western coast of Ireland.

In Asia, the Friars John Carpini (1245) and William of Rubouck (1252) had made their way across the Persian desert into the dominion of the Great Khan, and the Polo brothers had even reached Peking )(https://broadhurst.vivaldi.net/unknown-author-historical-artefact-mediaeval-trade-and-commerce/). Another Friar, Odoric of Pordenone, has left an amusing and valuable account of his travels in Tibet and China, undertaken between 1316 and 1330. Wars and revolutions cut short communications between East and West by this channel; the risks were too great for traders to make their way overland, and new routes would have to be found if regular communication was to be resumed. To clinch the matter, the Ottoman Turks had possession of Asia Minor, and in 1453 captured Byzantium, where most merchants had made their eastern-western depots.

The Moslems had named the Atlantic “the Green Sea of Darkness,” and had a horror of venturing far out upon its waters, but they had crept round the coast of the Sahara down to the Senegal River, to the country they called “Bilad Ghana” (Land of Wealth). The Genoese, and afterwards the Portuguese, determined that they would push on farther down the coast until they should round the southern point of Africa and then sail due west for the Indies.

There were many difficulties to be overcome, beyond the superstitious terror which made men afraid of the horrible monsters they might see, and the dangers they might meet. It was said that a white man passing Cape Bojador would immediately turn black, and that there was a magnetic mountain in the Indian Ocean which would draw the nails out of passing ships and cause them to fall to pieces and founder. Mediæval ships, too, were clumsy and unseaworthy. They were often undecked, or protected only by tarpaulins, and were nearly round in shape so that they rolled distressingly in any swell. Most of them were single-masted and carried a large square sail. The sail area could be increased in fair weather by lacing on extra “bonnets” of canvas.

In the fifteenth century modification in design and rigging greatly improved shipping, enabling vessels to sail several points closer to the wind, and this had an important effect upon the voyages of the early explorers. The seamen developed a more adventurous spirit and began to sail a bolder course, instead of creeping timorously close in shore.Both these developments owed much to the genius of one man, whose life-work it was to inspire and equip seamen to explore those coasts he was never able to visit himself. This was “Prince Henry the Navigator,” morally the discoverer of the eastward route to the Indies, the genius of the Portuguese explorers, and the unconscious father of the slave-trade.