Hi everyone and welcome to this weeks blog post. This week I will be discussing my week off work, York, week of anniversaries, Eurovision and wellbeing. So let’s get started.

This week I had a week off work. I finally put some annual leave in that wasn’t for any particular reason but just because I needed some time off. My plans for the week were as follows:

  1. Rest – I have been very tired and run down lately, full of cold and I needed a lot of rest so I wanted a fairly quiet week where I could just relax for a change.
  2. Visit York – I wanted one day out and about so decided on York as I usually only go for work or with a group of people so it would be nice to go on my own for a change.
  3. Catch up on House of Cards – I am drowning in box sets/TV series and the best way to deal with it is one series at a time and the first is House of Cards.
  4. Finish reading ‘The Seed Collectors’.

All very realistic aims for the week I felt. I did get some rest this week. I have had more sleep for a start and switched off from a lot of work things which I needed to do for my own wellbeing. Saying this it was a stressful start to the week as my mum wasn’t well and to cut a long story short was in hospital. They did decide not to keep in but she was there 6-7 hours. She is a bit better now but in my opinion still not well. So if you saw me on Monday and I was a bit quiet and withdrawn sorry it was just me dealing with this. After this though the rest of the week was a bit more relaxed although the Workweek Hustle challenge on my Fitbit was brining out the competitive edge in me and I was pushing myself more than I would have normally because I wanted to keep the title for another week (and I did 3 weeks now as winner of that challenge).

The visit to York was good. As the train pulled into the station I even saw the Flying Scotsman getting to depart later in the day. The weather was lovely so I decided to walk the city walls. I have never done this before when I have visited York and always wanted to. It was good fun and it meant I got to see more of York and parts I probably wouldn’t normally go to. It was a great way to start the day and it also helped with my Fitbit challenge.  I did make a small detour from the city walls to visit Clifford’s Tower. I don’t remember ever going inside before. I have seen it many times but can’t remember actually going into visit. It had a great view from the top but was a bit unnerving going down the spiral stairs but hey I made it. Unfortunately I had timed my visit with a school party and was stuck behind them with a child shouting/singing Adele’s ‘Hello’. Eventually they went and I could enjoy the view in relative peace. After visiting it was back to continue walking the city walls. After finishing walking the walls I grabbed something to eat and then headed to the Minster. Now I have been in before but many years ago and as the weather was turning I decided to visit again. Now I have issues with places of worship charging to get in. £10 to visit York Minster (£15 if you want to go up the Tower) is in my opinion excessive. The ticket is valid a year but you shouldn’t charge to get into a place of worship. I am happy to make a donation but I do resent paying especially £10 when half of the Minster was out of action as it was full of scaffolding due to the Mystery Plays that were going to be happening. After York Minster I had a look around the shops before heading home.

The third thing I wanted to do was catch up with House of Cards. I have loads of TV series that I want to watch or catch up (Once Upon A Time, Marvel Agents of Shield, Gotham, Daredevil, Arrow to name but a few). I have tried watching some episodes form each show and it is taking too long so I thought it is best to finish one at a time starting with House of Cards. This week I have only managed to finish season 3 so still have the latest season to go but at least it is some progress and I hopefully should finish this season soon.

The final thing I wanted to do was finish reading ‘The Seed Collectors’ by Scarlett Thomas. I had been ‘reading’ this book for a month and I was only 56 pages into it. Having a cold didn’t help with my reading motivation but if I am honest I already hated the book at this point and resented reading it. I hat giving up on books but I am realising that sometimes it has to be done so I ditched it this week and have started a new book which after only  a few days I have already read nearly as much as I did of the seed collectors in a month. Like many things in your life if it is dragging you down and you are resenting it in your life it is time to ditch it for your own sake. So overall most of my aims have been achieved for this week which is good and I am trying to block out work until 9am on Monday morning.

This week has been a week of anniversaries/milestones. On Thursday it was the 6th anniversary of this blog. I am amazed more than anyone that I still do it and that people read it. There a good points about blogging but I am aware that the blog can also cause problems and instead of being more open with myself and people it creates the illusion that people know what is going on in my life when in fact the blog just scratches the surface. I do plan to keep going with the blog but maybe I need to change things in some way. Any bloggers out there reading this do you have any ideas?

The other anniversary this week was Friday (13th) as it was a year since my dad was diagnosed with cancer. In this last year family life has changed and although he is doing well (touch wood) there is still a long way to go and it is still having an impact on basic family things such as meal times.  There are more good days than bad but the bad days affect us all and at times it all gets too much. Hopefully he will continue to have more and more good days.

The final anniversary this week is today. 5 years ago today I ‘came out’ to my parents and family. I still remember how I felt telling them but 5 years later I am pleased I did and it is the best decision of my life. I had told some friends a week earlier but the 15th is the date that use as my official coming out date. So much has happened in those 5 years but the main thing is that for at least five years of my life I lived as the real me. No need to lie or be vague with answers to anyone, I don’t feel as if I am living a lie anymore. Keeping it a secret in my head( at very least) made me ill and nobody should put themselves through that. Coming out has changed my life and with it brought great opportunities and some great people into my life but there is pressure as well. I struggle with these pressures sometimes which gets to me as I feel like I am letting people down (although I am probably not it is how I feel sometimes). Still today is milestone in my life but one I am pleased to have.

On Saturday it was Eurovision. Yes I know I am enforcing the gay stereotype but I do love it and have done since Samantha Janus ‘Message To My Heart’ in 1991. This year it was held in Sweden. The UK despite doing well with the Jury vote dropped to 24th after the Public vote was added. I felt bad for the UK entry as it was a decent song and deserved to do a lot better than it did. I’m not sure what the answer is to winning it but we need to do something. The favourite to win was Russia and although they did well with the public vote they lost out to the Ukraine with Australia in second place. Now I am torn over this result. Based on song alone Australia had the best song of these three countries so should have won. However politics is part of Eurovision whether it should or not and even though it against the rules to be political it still plays some part. Everyone is aware of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia and that is an influence in the result but also the LGBT community were conflicted. Homosexuality isn’t illegal in Russia but this doesn’t mean society there is totally tolerant and if you are gay then going to visit Russia makes you think hard about your safety as it does with many other counties in the world where homosexuality is outlawed. It might be 2016 but there are places in the world where I know I can’t go because it isn’t safe because I am gay. Russia is a country at the moment I would have reservations going to. What has this got to do with Eurovision? Well it is well-known that a large number of Eurovision fans are from the LGBT community and would be uncomfortable with Russia hosting a contest that is a popular in the LGBT community. Now this is where I am torn because many people in Russia are not homophobic and are open to diversity and equality but it is a minority. Part of me thinks Russia should host it and then we send an act waving a rainbow flag, riding a unicorn signing about coming out but would that help or would it hinder. Anyway the decision has been made and it will be Ukraine that is hosting next year. Maybe we can win next year?

So after a week off and having time to rest and think I am in a better place than I was a week ago but I have a lot to sort out still. I have to stop getting as low as I did a few weeks ago and basically give myself a massive shake up and slap in the face. There are good things in my life and I need to remember that but there is a lot that isn’t and is only going to change if I do something about it. It will be tough doing it on my own but I am used to that, however if anyone wants to join me then you are welcome.

That is it for this week. Thank you again for reading.

Top Programme of the Week – Eurovision Song Contest

Top Song of the Week – Sometimes It’s Hard – Jamie Lawson 

Book I Am Currently Reading – The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge