The Book Bonder

I didn’t feel safe with my parents – so I bonded with books instead

A young boy reading
Image: PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay

I’VE BEEN THINKING about books a lot lately.

It started when my fellow blogger FracturedFaith put out a post asking: “Are You A Book Addict?”

I thought: Hmmn. Sounds like me….

Then, there was a psychology podcast* on Attachment Theory, which discussed how we can form emotional connections to objects when we don’t bond well with our parents .

I’ve seen this in action myself: a boy with special needs that I once taught began an obsession with washing machines, of all things, right after his Dad walked out.

But the pod also explained that many ‘normal’ people also bond with gadgets like mobile phones, because they make them feel safe and in control.

And then it dawned on me why I’ve never been able to live without books.

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Don’t Be A Stranger, Andrew Yang!

A brilliant, transformative politician has dropped out of the race to be US President… I hope to God he’s back in 2024!

US presidential candidate Andrew Yang
Image: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

D’OH! THOSE BOZOS in America!

I’ve got used to seeing the people I vote for not win in the UK, ever since my first ballot failed to unseat Maggie Thatcher, Milk Snatcher, back in 1987.

And today, I’m fucked off because my favourite candidate from Across The Pond didn’t make it either….

Andrew Yang – whose idealistic bid to be the Democrat taking on Donald Trump in November’s US Election got me excited about politics again – has thrown in the towel after a disappointing performance in the New Hampshire Primary on Tuesday.

But Yang can be proud of a run that saw him outlast 18 more established candidates for the Top Job – and for becoming a “thought leader” in the US, with his well-received policies for a “human centred capitalism” to soften the effects of future job automation.  

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I Want To Ride My Bicycle; I Want To Ride It Where I Like

The Government is eyeing up my beloved cycling as the cure to London’s traffic gridlock – let’s hope they don’t suck all the joy out of riding a bike.  

Hundreds of city cyclists
Will we still able to have fun on a bike when everybody is on two wheels?

ALL OF A SUDDEN, it seems we can’t get enough of cycling…

Yesterday, for example, The Government announced a £5 billion fund to improve UK bus and bike infrastructure over the next five years.

The day before, our local council released a plan to improve the hairy A-road passing through our bit of London – including high quality segregated cycle lanes and prioritised signals for bikes.

The Guardian also wrote about London grinding to a halt despite a big drop in car journeys since the Congestion Charge – and wondered whether bikes could be the answer.

As someone who’s been cycling for years, it’s nice to be on the right side of change, for a change.

But, at the same time, I’m a bit worried that the powers-that-be might bugger cycling up – or at least spoil it for those of us who’ve been doing it for years.

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Finding Work At 50: My Hugh Grant Life

It’s tough to stay motivated when you’re trying to change career – so, like Grant’s character in ‘About A Boy’, I’m proud that I haven’t gone under   

A man and boy slump on the sofa

I DID 150 Side Planks as I was microwaving my porridge this morning.

As the oven chimes sounded to announce that the two minutes of cooking were up – and I gasped through the last half dozen reps – I reflected that I was getting pretty good at time management.

I’d done all the morning chores and waved goodbye to the wife and kids; I’d fitted some intense body-firming exercise into an otherwise idle moment; and I was on schedule to start work at 8.40, as usual.

Except that there wasn’t actually any work to go to…

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If I Can Run The First 200 Metres, I Can Handle Anything

Today’s run is all about rediscovering confidence and willpower

A road going uphill
Image: Ave Calvar/Unsplash

Before I go on any run, I worry.  

I worry that my knee will give out…  

I worry that I won’t make it round…

I worry that I’ll do a Paula Radcliffe (and I don’t mean breaking World Records…)

But most of all, I worry about running the first 200 metres.

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At Last! Some Good Numbers For 50-Somethings!

If you’re 50 or older, you may already be over the worst…

A smiling face graph

I WAS NEVER much good at maths but, there are a lot of numbers running through my head at the minute.

For example, I’ve just entered the last year of the famed 45-54 marketing category – the one after which advertisers lose interest in flogging stuff to you, because you can in no way be considered sexy any more.

Rather than worrying about being a year closer to falling off my perch, however, I’m actually looking forward to being forgotten – give or take the odd poke from Viking River Cruises or Stannah Stairlifts.

I’m also approaching a more personally important statistic because, if I hang around for about another 18 months, I’ll have passed the ages at which my Dad and my Mum died. 

And, although their passing has caused me all manner of pain over the years, I’m now strangely euphoric that I’m about to be out on my own here.

Outliving them seems a success of a kind, as if we were in some sort of race and suddenly… I’m in the lead

God knows, it’s not like me to be so cheerful about anything – especially getting older.

But according to new research on how age affects happiness I may, quite literally, have turned a corner. Or at least a curve…

I’m talking about the recent study by former Bank of England economist David Blanchflower, who has pinpointed the age at which we are most unhappy as 47 years and two months.

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Deadly Delusions And The Tragedy Of Sudesh Amman

Streatham attacker Sudesh Amman died because he couldn’t let go of an insane delusion – but he wasn’t the only tragic victim of mental illness in the news this week.

The Streatham attack scene
Armed police shot Streatham attack jihadist Sudesh Amman from where I took this picture recently. Amman died in front of the pharmacy in the background after being shot three times.

THREE POLICE CARS screamed past me down Streatham High Road. That was the first sign.

And a couple of minutes later, I saw the ‘Copper Chopper’ in the air half a mile away, hovering over the dead body of failed jihadi Sudesh Amman.

Unlike some people I know, I wasn’t close enough to hear the deadly shots.

But, almost every day, I shop where Amman unleashed his mayhem. I go to the little store he stole the knife from.

And only recently, I’d shot photographs from the exact spot where the armed police had shot him.

On Sunday, my first thoughts were for my family but – once I knew they were all safe – I started worrying about the innocent people Amman had stabbed.

All I thought about him was that I was glad he was dead – and it was only later that I started to see the 20-year-old’s demise as a tragedy, of sorts.   

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Get Over It – I'm Middle Aged And I'm Tech Savvy

It’s time to ditch the prejudice that older people can’t work with technology

THE POST-MATCH huddle after my son’s rugby on Sunday was a bit unusual.

Normally, the Under-18s all squeeze together briefly to review their rush defence, the lineouts and what not, but The Coach had a different message for them this time.

“Lads, your parents are struggling,” I heard him say.

“They can’t do this new RFU* computer system and if they don’t get their heads round it and register you, we’re going to have to cancel games.

“So can you sit down with them, lads? Help them with it?

“You know what old people are like when it comes to computers…”

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I Am An Egg Man…

So what if it’s an elitist, minority sport? I can’t get enough of rugby’s Six Nations

rugby players and a young boy
Original images: Sharon Garcia/Unsplash, Karen Arnold/Pixabay, Sportsfile

I AM, in the words of the great Stu Francis, so excited that I could crush a grape…

Because it all gets going tomorrow: my favourite sports event, the year 2020. Everything…

Rugby’s Six Nations Championship is back. Back, back, BACK, baby!

And I – for one – cannot wait to see what they will do next…

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Where Is My Mind?

Maybe forgetting things as I get older isn’t something to stress about…

A frightened bag of raspberries (cartoon)

I looked in the bread bin this morning and found I’d left a bag of frozen raspberries there.

I must have done it yesterday morning while I was making breakfast. The berries – and the bin – were pretty soggy.

And it’s not the first forgetful thing I’ve done lately – far from it.

I often find myself stopping in front of the fridge, or a cupboard in the kitchen, trying to remember what I’m doing there.

It’s probably at moments like this that I put milk in the drawers and porridge in the freezer – snatching them out hours or days later and wondering: ‘Is this it? Am I finally losing my mind?”

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