A picture of you……

Sometimes, going through old photos after a breakup can be a painful experience. Those memorable locations, the smiles, the closeness, it’s like it all comes back to haunt you. It’s almost as if, when you look at the subjects so full of hope and looking to the future, a mocking voice announces ‘and here’s what you could have won.’

But there’s one picture that never makes me sad partly because it isn’t one about us but mostly because it reminds me of everything that is right and important in my life. 

See what I mean?


Part III (unedited)

As I climb the steps to this majestic wall I hear the sound of conversation. My ears are pricked, my notebook is poised. Unfortunately it’s all in German. I walk on regardless, my optimism not yet diminished and find myself overlooking my old university Right over the spot where, one drunken, first year night, I became William Wallace. I ran I crawled up the embankment, placed my hand upon that historic stone and cried ‘FREEDOM’ before being escorted down by two policemen. Luckily they had a sense of humour and I wasn’t charged with any terrorist activity.

That was so many years ago before a friendship became a relationship and a relationship became a breakup. The only evidence of our mutual love being our surviving son and painful memories of the two we lost along the way.

On to Monk Bar and the Richard III Museum

See full size image

It’s an interesting place. You can sit and listen to a mock trial where the cases for the defence and prosecution are delivered by audio. Having studied history I have always felt that Richard was the victim of Tudor propoganda and that the death of  The Princes in the Tower may well have been at the hands of other high-ranking characters. Of course that is assuming they were murdered, but that’s another story.

To learn more about this intriguing mystery I suggest you visit this site http://www.richardiii.net/

I realise that I have a natural affinity with the ‘underdog’ which also explains why I champion the corner of Anne Boleyn who lost her head due to trumped-up charges of adultery and incest. http://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/

Perhaps I feel a bond with them having been misunderstood and falsely accused at times in my own life.

Ah….now I descend into self-pity. Onward.

And so I spent a pleasant hour with Richard III but my notebook remains empty of snippets. I haven’t managed to steal one sentence of conversation on my travels. However, I will not give up. On reflection perhaps my failure is down to choosing the wrong places or perhaps I don’t listen enough. Perhaps that’s where I went wrong with us. Who knows?



Part II (unedited)

The first room I enter in the gallery is China – Journey To The East and I laugh out loud as I’m greeted by a waving, golden cat. There is an exhibition of 15 photographs by Yan Preston capturing mainly domestic scenes of Yorks Chinese community. I like their colour and simplicity and the way tradition and modernity are fused together seamlessly. You can check out Yans site here. http://www.yanpreston.com/

There are also some fascinating Chinese artefacts on display and I was amused to learn that, in 850, alchemists attempting to create a potion for Eternal Life stumbled instead upon gunpowder. The irony is not lost on me.

I wandered through three more rooms entitled Sacrifice, Courage and Status (more irony) and did not pick up a single syllable. Perhaps an Art Gallery is not the best place to eavesdrop. It’s too damned quiet.I did not go to the upstairs exhibitions. I shall save that for another day.

As I step outside back into the heat of the day I reflect on my lack of success. Even here where people are jabbering away I cannot piece together one single sentence. Their conversations are distorted by the sound of the traffic and the splashing of the fountain. I feel disjointed/detached from life.Not just at this moment but every moment. A sense of reality, of being grounded eludes me.

Two more hours until I collect our son. Too many hours until I see your face again.

I decide to take a short walk on York Wall.

Part 1 (unedited)

I’m about to go into York Art Gallery to eavesdrop on an unsuspecting public. A little project to distract me from thoughts of you. I left our son playing happily at nursery, the sun is beating down and I’m trying to ignore the barbed sting of psoriasis skin. 

The heat reminds me of the story of the Sun and the Wind who challenged each other to remove the man’s coat.


It’s my story too. I’m trying to find my way back to you, not by force but through warmth and peace. To rekindle the love you once held in your heart but got lost in the storms that blighted our four short years together.I must be patient, I must push my fears down.


What if you find another? Someone else who will set your heart alight….someone without the baggage? I wear my newfound single status like a hair shirt, invisible to the world yet silently and constantly pricking me. Why am I not comfortable in my own skin?


Onwards to the Art Gallery.


The Longest Day

I decided to have a mini tour around my home city of York. The idea was to eavesdrop on the unsuspecting public. Before you think I’ve finally lost the plot let me assure you I haven’t. It’s the cunning plan of Jo Bell and David Calcutt who are encouraging as many people as possible to participate in some Creative Eavesdropping on July the 1st. You can check out their blog here and find out more. http://buggedblog.wordpress.com/

So for four hours I wandered, notebook in hand, in the scorching heat to practice the art of being nosey. What follows is the totally unedited result of a free writing exercise that became something of an open letter to N.

Keeping it real.

Progress was made in the Boardman household this weekend as we all sat down to a Fathers Day dinner. N and I discussed the ramifications of our lost coupledom and the possible effects on our son.

What became clear was that we still have a good friendship which is in fact what we began with before we entered into a relationship. Coupled with our determination to be the best parents possible for Alex this made the sometimes sticky subject of ‘access’ much easier than usual. A child needs both parents wherever possible.

I am the non-resident parent of two wonderful girls from a former marriage and have experienced first hand what damage the bitterness between former spouses can have on the relationships with our children. I’ve had five years of coping with peoples prejudice against ‘absent mums’ and of fighting to secure regular contact with my daughters.

N came from a ‘broken’ home and was the victim of his mothers grim determination to turn all her children against their father. Contact was made as difficult and as stressful as possible for him and has had a big impact on how he now views relationships.

The story does have a happy ending though. I now enjoy regular contact with my girls and they are blossoming into smart, well-rounded young ladies. N has a very good relationship with his father whom he sees regularly and who plays an active role in our sons life.

Bearing all this in mind we have decided that there will be no outside involvement, no lining the pockets of solicitors, no court hearings. We are adults and we are parents. We can by working together ensure that Alex will not become some pawn in an egotistical battle.

As for N and I, we still care deeply about each other and have mutual respect. More importantly we are communicating. It’s a good starting point in any situation.

Stop messing about…..

I decided to read my blog in its entirety and, much to my dismay, discovered a few things.

A) It’s miserable. I suspect that calls to the Samaritans have doubled since people started reading this.

B) What started out with promise has fallen by the wayside due to my unbeatable talent for Procrastination.

C) Errr….where did the bloody humour go???

D) I need counselling. No, seriously….not a joke.

So where do I go from here?

First of all I’m going to give my sorry self a kick up my large arse. I need to be writing. Anything is good as long as it’s (sort of) coherent. Life has taken me to hell and back but it didn’t take away my ability to type, to think or to make rubbish jokes.

Secondly (is that actually a word?) this whole blog needs a serious makeover. It’s a bit bland don’t you think? We need a serious injection of hip, hop, happening, jazzy blingtastic stuff. (Please feel free to insert your own naff/ clichéd/ eighties speak words at this point).

My idea is to pop over to some of your blogs and basically ‘utilise’ some ideas. They do say that imitation is the best form of flattery don’t they? So be prepared for big changes in the forthcoming weeks. Any useful comments or ideas would be gratefully received as would the number of a good (free) counsellor.

Onwords And Upwords



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