How to beat the Winter Blues..?

It’s never too early for advice on how to beat the winter blues, right? And it’s definitely always a treat to read & share a blog by one of my favourite people who also happens to be a writer I’m totally in awe of.

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

Yes, it’s How to Beat the Blues season again. And I don’t mean Manchester City, although they are probably the least of Crystal Palace’s worries. It’s the time of year when weekend newspapers pack away features on 10 best bikinis, Get Fit Without Lifting a Finger, Top Ten things to do in Ibiza (and two to avoid) and How To Get a Beach Body by the Time you reach it From Your Hotel, and turn instead to life beneath the heavy skies. Winter is coming.

So, in the magnanimous spirit with which Scott Wildblood set up his speculative Life Assistance Agency, whilst failing to look up assistance in the dictionary, we idly consider how we might combat those seasonal blues.

Don’t look at the internet. The first birthday greeting I got was from a German company offering me a £5 voucher after I bought a record stylus from them…

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He was just unlucky, he says, as he aligns his pills neatly on the table, each in the exact order it has to be taken. His face wears deep lines, his eyes are dull, his skin is that sickly off-white hue, his body is somehow reduced, shrunken – a man old before his time. And he is not even bitter.

“Nobody knew” he mumbles. “How could we have known?”

How indeed? Who could have guessed sex had turned into a game of Russian roulette?

On second thought, he thinks he was fortunate, actually, considering. He’s been ill on and off for 20 years, his body is ravaged by the more or less constant battles, but he is, after all, still alive when so many others aren’t. He attended countless funerals in his late 20’s, until he stopped going to them because he feared he had become desensitised.

We are talking via FaceTime and there’s no way I want him to see the tears in my eyes, so I force a smile and tell him that huge framed Madonna poster on the wall behind him is freaking me out.

He laughs, and orders me in that mock angry voice not to diss the queen.

I start singing “Like A Prayer”. He carries on, and we both can’t sing for shit but we slowly get into it, we know all the words of course, and go through the entire song, hand clapping and all, and by the end I think a little bit of colour has appeared on his sunken cheeks.

“80’s pop really was the best, wasn’t it?” He grins.

“Well, duh.”

We both laugh for no actual reason, and just like that, we are transported back to a time when we used to sing enthusiastically and dance crazily and laugh hysterically, a time when the future was still waiting, full of promises, a future that was uncertain, though if we were sure of one thing, it was this: we would always be friends.

And in this at least, we were right.

*Songs chosen because both he and I loved them then and still do. I’ve sweated buckets dancing to “Why?” over the years, it’s a fantastic song and it was just so incredibly relevant. As for “Smalltown Boy”, the 12 inch version is one of my favourite songs ever – it makes my top 10 list, easy.*

A very simple case of Flu


It had been years since I’d last fallen prey to this.
I’d forgotten about the shivers, the hacking cough, the cold seeping right into your bones while your brain feels like a heavy burning stone, the fever engendering mad visions, lips swollen and cracked, parched, craving the coolness of spring water — feeling so weak and delirious that you ask the doctor with a slight tremor: “am I dying?”

“No, you are not dying” says he – clearly amused – he even indulges in a little chuckle.
“What we have here is a very simple case of flu.”

Simple? If I wasn’t incapacitated, I would give him a hard stare, but as it is I can barely manage to keep my eyes open.
“Simple” he says, like it’s nothing, hardly worth mentioning…while I could swear I have been lost in the fiery pits of hell during the last few days.
“Where is Asclepius when you need him?” I think… only I must have thought it out loud because the doctor chuckles again.
“Fond of Greek mythology, are we?”
I don’t have the energy to reply, even though in my usual ‘healthy’ state I would have jumped at the chance to elaborate on the subject.
I do not remember what else the doctor had to say since I kind of zoned out after that… it’s all a blank.

There’s a couple of things I am quite sure of though, now that I’m starting to see light at the end of the tunnel and (crossing fingers, touching wood, etc…) on the mend:
One: I turn into a pitiful (and petulant) human being when I’m ill.
Two: if anybody should try to be funny and suggest that maybe it wasn’t the flu but a ‘simple’ cold, I shall slowly but surely lick their face — and let my flu germs do the rest.

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