is to

It seems that careers and job prospects are the theme for May. Not just in my book but in other peoples. Once again I approach the edge of employability and I must decide my method of decent. Do I dive in head first hoping not to hit my head on a submerged rock? Or do I lower myself down gradually on a weak rope? These are the questions I ask myself. And yet I look around me and see others in similar situations. Other people that walk with me on my life path. I ponder the vast oceans of unspent and unchartered talent; the underuse and misguidance many of us face and recieve; the yawning gaps of apathy, diffidence and dispair we must bridge before we can move on; the familiarity we must leave behind if we are to change lanes and overtake lest we be stuck in a perpetual traffic jam.

Several options lie ahead for me.

  • – Keep following this path and see where it takes me.
  • – Double back
  • – Return to the slow lane and hope for someone to let me back into the middle lane
  • – Pull into the services and take a break
  • – Forge onward in the hope that the road conditions gets better and the traffic lulls.

It’s like a trip to a part of the seaside you’ve never been to before. The only images of which you have seen are postcards sent from those who have reached there before you. Will it be as idyllic , peaceful and serene as the pictures would have it? Or will it be garrish, overcrowded and awful akin to Blackpool or Skegness? The only way we can ever find out is to wait until we get there. When we reach our destination do we keep on driving? Or do we stay in a shitty B&B with flys in the lampshade and a peculiar smell coming from behind the wardrobe? Do we hope to find a more tranquil location? Or do we put up with the hordes of day trippers and kiss-me-quick hat wearing retirees in the hope that one day they will move on?

On my path, I intend to find that sleepy little seaside village. The one with the pub and the post office with a little giftshop. The one where few people go except perhaps to pick up a bottle of milk on their way to the caravan park. The one that only the locals and a few hard core surfers know about with the beautiful rolling sandy shoreline and occasional fishing boat. That way, when I get there, I can send you all postcards. Left turn ahead? Or do I turn right?


A pipe dream I have involves me being all dirty and wrinkly, living in some old Continental European village sitting outside some pavement café, tabac or bar, drinking, smoking and talking shite with other old geezers while playing dominoes or some game with matches or something. All around me the world would go about it’s business and holidaying tourists would stop and look longingly at my idyllic life with green and envious eyes.

I see similar old men on the TV and on my small travels across the continent (I went to Spain and France in 1987, Yugoslavia in 1988 and Madeira in 2003) On all three occasions I observed these wrinkly old men, sitting, smoking, drinking and talking shite while the world about them carried on it’s business) and I wonder how do they afford to partake in such activities when here I am, young, spritely and not so wrinkly, and I am unable to afford such a luxury. It’s not as if they are wealthy either. A lot of these types seem to live in ramshackle huts in the mountains, drive vehicles from the 1950’s and wear clothes as ragged as tramps. They appear to have bad teeth, their hair thinning and they seem to squint a lot for want of a good pair of spectacles. So how is it they can afford to do it yet I can’t?

What is it they actually do? Is that what happens to millionaires? Even young smartly dressed chaps with designer shirts, sunglasses and trousers seem to congregate in these places while younger males look on in eager anticipation. Oozing charisma around the place.

Mrs Gnomepants seems to think it’s because their women kin are busy picking olives, grapes or whatever and that if I thought she was going to do such a thing I could go and jump off a high ledge. I disagree. Because it came to me that in these places one sees the women, all ragged and gummy, chewing tobacco, their wrinkled faces peering through blackened shawls. They too are sat but not in the pavement cafés but in doorways, knitting, whittling or swearing in a foreign tongue at passers by. Surely that is the life though? TO be old, wrinkly, European and the ability to talk shite at great length.

Maybe I’ve gone about life in the wrong way….