“It’s a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world”…

Questions, Bognor, London…

I am not sure I have the answers, but this week’s trip has got me asking questions. Firstly, it was back to Bognor to see my old friend. Life has been cruel to him over the years. He lost both his wife and child in child birth. A skiing accident then robbed him of his mobility. Then a stroke took his remaining sanity.

Yet his eyes remain kind – blank, but kind. He has travelled through his life without malice, followed his god and done the things the right way. Yet he will see out his time in a home, miles from anyone who really knows him – just waiting for the day his god deems he has been punished enough.

Where is the fairness in any of his life story? I acknowledge that life is about balance and for all I know, he could have committed some horrendous crimes along the way – but still, his punishment doesn’t seem to fit any crime. I tell young Ollie that the first rule of life is, life is not fair.

So it shouldn’t surprise me and my friend would be the first one to say that worse things happen to other people – that was always his nature. Not that there is much of it left. We spent 3 days sitting, talking, taking him out. Each time he forgot we had been the day before. The light in his eyes sparks, but it goes out just as fast.

The remainder of the week was back in my spiritual home of London. I know what you are thinking, that’s 3 times this year already and I just never get bored. However, there was a slightly different slant on this trip as I made the decision to reconnect with someone – or at least try.

It’s interesting that we go through life making connections with people. Some stay, some fade, some are lost. Sometimes through a decision made, sometimes simply by not realising. When I look back, I have allowed a few connections to fade.

I regret most of them – not all – and I wonder if I should have done more. But the balance is that it has to be two way right. With the best will in the world, you can’t manage to keep in touch with everyone. Which is where I think I went wrong and another friend is right.

I laughed out loud this weekend reading Oscar Wilde’s “The picture of Dorain Gray” – one of the characters referred to people he meets and some are friends, others acquaintances, others are merely people who pass through his life.

My friend is amazing at putting people she meets into this context. Sadly, I lack the ability and treat most people the same, I take people as I find them and I try to take time to scratch the surface to see if there is a connection – I always hope there is. However, I maybe am guilty of investing time in the wrong people.

That of course leads me wide open to chasing the wrong people in my life. Maybe it’s just because I want to be liked. Maybe I have a desire to be popular. Maybe I should finally and gracefully accept that I am what I am and the people still around me are the ones I should cherish more.

Anyway, I did take a decision to reach out to someone and reconnect – I was fearful, but pleasantly surprised to see I was remembered at least. So the rest of the London trip was surprisingly chilled. A boat on the river the highlight and great weather. Who could ask for more?

I did manage to escape into the darkness of London for two nights. Both very different. One night sat at the foot of Nelsons column at midnight. It is an amazing experience and one I can recommend. Just sat with a coffee watching the traffic buzz around like never ending flies. It seems a bizarre thing, but most therapeutic.

The other night was milling around Soho and the centre of London. It never fails to excite me and there is never a dull moment. From couples almost getting it on in the street, to others having drunken arguments. The sights, the smells, the exotic nature. I could walk for hours just being a voyeur.

So, in closing this ramble, other questions floating around.  At what point do you really begin to take responsibilities for your actions? At what point is the excuse that “It felt right at the time” no longer valid? At what point in your life do you look back and acknowledge that – no matter how good the intention – you have hurt people along the way?

And at what point should you go back and actually try to fix things – or do you let sleeping dogs lie? As I said, I don’t have all the answers – but I do have a good song to close. Walking down Soho reminded me of this song – could only be The Kinks and “Lola”.


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