Tuesday morning eight a.m. & I creak the twenty steps to the bathroom for morning ablutions, my stick aids my faltering steps, knees and ankles remind me if I needed the prompt that my rheumatoid arthritis didn’t disappear by magic overnight.

Business completed I open the skylight and poke my head out of the window, light my first fag of the day and survey the outside world. The chill of morning is offset by bright crisp sunshine, my ears are battered with bird song & I crane my head round to see a starling sitting on the chimney pot singing like it’s on acid or pcp. After every few bars the  song is paused and then punctuated with a little dance, for whom I’m not sure, there are no other birds around, maybe the starling is just singing and dancing because he’s happy?

This idea I find rather pleasant, it reminds me that however crappy I may feel the world will keep turning, and that I might as well do my best to do likewise.

And so for a while, there I stand, with my fag watching the little starling, then another bird joins him, avidly watching the artist in action, now with an audience the little bird finds an extra gear and sings louder still, his dance takes on a rhythm all of its own and then lo and behold the new arrival begins to mimic his movements and after a minute or so the two fly off together. 

I’ve seen a lot of social media these last months about mental health issues, particularly those of blokes (being one myself) – a bloke I mean, not one with mental health issues, because of course I wouldn’t talk about that, us blokes don’t. The R.A. is a bummer though and it does effect well-being. I try to check myself, ask the question, am I depressed? The answer I’ve come to is at times, yes, but its mild, tamped down you might say, what always comes up to counter miserableness for me is that sense of it being nothing more than a transience, nothing ever lasts for ever, the good the bad or the ugly, dark times are always followed by light – of course after the light there will be dark right around the corner, but that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. The other counter to depression, that it’s not all about me is it? If you become so wrapped up in your own story it becomes a dull tale indeed. 

My fag finished I trudge back to my room to get dressed and to face the day, me & my constant companion, the damned R.A. & as I go I remember a trite little bit of scribble that no doubt many find twee, but it works for me:-

“And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy”*


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