Is loneliness the only thing to look forward to?

footprints blurred

Photo by The Reluctant Ranter

Is loneliness the only thing to look forward to?

Apparently in a world with less and less space, people are getting lonelier.

So while the population keeps on growing, exploding even to a jaw dropping 7 billion, a lot of us are finding life lonely (according to the Guardian). Granted a huge proportion of them are over 65 with their working life behind them. But as we live longer and get older, the prospect of the TV the only companion makes my bones chatter. And at 65 years and over, that chatter would be more like a troupe of maracas than a soft clunking.

TV for me now, particularly in the apocalypse of winter is background noise; something I clean or cook to. There are programmes that I am fond of, but they are few and far between. Plus the addition of a Sky box means that the recordings pile up with no time or inclination to actually watch them. But in the UK there are a whopping 5 million older people relying on the TV as a friend, as noise, as their other half.

Since there are so many of us on earth, what are we all doing?

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It’s a Numbers Game (part 2) the nervous one…

Stethescope and heart

This is the next installment of a piece I wrote about online dating when I was single and neck deep in the process. On re-reading I realise what a depressing experience it was for me. The first was the creepy one! Others who love the process may disagree (either way please feel free to share!)

Then there was the nervous one. He had a pupil that strayed at his nose as if drawn by a magnet. It had a mind of its own, darted around while he talked. And talk he did, endlessly. All about his job, as an engineer for an architectural company named after a clutch of people. Acronyms and technical words spilled out as if he had swallowed a manual. At some point he noticed my attention wane. Caught out on a glance to the tables behind wondering what they were talking about. It had to be more interesting than this.

Then I heard it. Not quite able to believe what was said.

“I got the test results today, one year cancer free.”

So there I was; a recipient of great news on behalf of a stranger. Thrown by his candour and comfort around the ‘C’ word I stuttered “Congratulations”. I let him talk; exorcise his malignant woes unsure of what to say or do.

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An ode to February (otherwise known as ‘Why won’t January just end?)


As January drags its heels

my bank account turns red,

baked beans are now my staple meal

and all I want is bed.


Outside the frost and ice collect

their glitter hard and cold,

in wooly tights I must protect

my legs from sprouting mould.


At 5pm the darkness falls

a shroud that’s grim and bleak,

that forces me inside four walls

to pace like a caged freak.


With nine more days to battle through,

my patience has worn thin

as I stir watery bean stew

while downing warm sloe gin.

It’s a Numbers Game

I wrote this piece about online dating when I was single and neck deep in the process. On re-reading I realise what a depressing experience it was for me. Others who love it may disagree (either way please feel free to share!). This is the first of a few experiences I wanted to share.


I’ve opted for a café, midday on Sunday. It’s small and dark, the scent of coffee heavy in the air. This is the last one, no more after this. If he turns out to be a freak then I’m out of here. No pleasantries, no delay. It will mean my faith is finally spent, leaving me on the edge, the precipice of eternal singledom.

I’ve concluded that it’s a scam, a monthly subscription prised from your bank account. You are drawn in by an overzealous blurb; a website claiming to have hundreds of great people just waiting, ready and eager to make a connection. It’s heralded as the only way to meet someone now. We are living in barren realms, an island divided between the paired and undesirable. It’s like the counties Ireland cannot have. Attached but denied, a middle finger stuck up from across the border.

This scam is of course compounded by the stories. The tales of success from people you know to those that everyone else has heard of; the Chinese whispers of successful pairings. With dedication and hard work they found the love of their life in the maze of profiles. What follows is sun drenched holidays, co-habitation, the exchange of rings and birthing plans.

Now I can’t say there aren’t men, toting blurry photos and bland descriptions. But the real men, the fleshy ones that get past the shade of spell check are such a disappointment. A collection of thieves, frauds and opportunists that for the sake of all woman are better off staying behind that keyboard, chained to the very desk they type from.

At least that’s my story; the ones I’ve had the misfortune to pick.


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NASA better be working on a mute button…


Talking, that’s what is irking me this week. Perhaps this post is another variant on noise in the same vein as the one I wrote a few weeks ago, but nonetheless it needs to be put out there!

Now don’t get me wrong, I know that talking is an essential part of daily life. More than that it is a way to connect and share. I’m all for a good debate or ‘discussion’ (as I sometimes call it to avoid people claiming I am arguing with them when I am merely exercising my sociablility muscle). But yesterday I did not take this view. In fact I wanted to ban talking altogether with some kind of en masse mute button, a device that NASA should be looking into now that the space shuttle programme is defunct.

Yesterday I went back to college ,which at the best of times is tough. But after a long break you have got used to those free evenings to do other things, such as laze about in pyjamas or congregate with others in the dark chomping on popcorn and sour worms to be entertained by flashing images. With that in mind it is no surprise that returning to an airless room and listening to someone going on about models and data is not exactly an easy thing to slip back into. It is no pair of fleece lined pyjamas.

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To Bicker or Not to Bicker….

Bicker image

I never bought into bickering. Isn’t it just a cowardly way to argue? A tennis match of snipes and grumbles? I always thought a proper argument was the best way, a fulfilling venting of irks and dislikes. Now, I am converted. Arguing ends too quickly. Arguing is a quickie on a Sunday night when your working week is about to begin and you really just want to sleep. It’s a roar followed by a huffy conclusion that can only end in heavy silence. No, I have now decided that bickering is for me following my first real encounter with it this weekend.

The setting was Tesco, the trigger what to eat and the duration was up and down every aisle and back again.

Him: “What about some steak?”

Me: “Too meaty. I can make chicken kebabs with yoghurt and some cous cous if you like.”

Him: “I don’t like any of that”

Me: “You don’t like much do you? So bloody fussy.”

Him: “You’re fussier”

Me: “No I’m not. Name one thing I don’t like then? Because I can name about 20 of yours.”

You get the picture of how it began. We wandered through the supermarket pecking at each other like angry hens, while choosing the accompaniments to a roast after it had been agreed on with a snippy “Well you’re cooking it”, followed by my exasperated “Fine”.

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