I’m posting this because it makes me smile. Jane and I had a lovely time acting the goat. We were just randomly driving about. We found a slow worm here too but didn’t get it on video, it was a bit like Jane’s snake “Snakey” but different and sort of not a snake at all. I think I might get some goats when I grow up, they are quite peculiar and charming.
So I was on my way back from another emotionally draining psychiatristric appointment today and I decided to go for a short walk with Sassy dog who had been itching to get out of the car. I live in the beautiful New Forest, and she’d had her head out the window taking in the fresh air, looking for rabbits with her ears flapping about and her eyes streaming (no doubt imagining she was wingsuiting or tracking – she does enjoy watching the videos with me sometimes).
I stopped at one of the car parks, slightly alarmed at how many cars were there because I wanted to be on my own to reflect on my currently unstable mental state. But I needn’t have worried, the cars and vans were full of people on their lunch breaks sitting reading papers, gorging junk food and bitching about their workmates. I picked up a handful of the horse treats I’d bought from the farmers shop and put them in my pocket.
A few minutes later and Sassy was off running after the grey thing I saw bolting into the undergrowth, I knew she wouldn’t catch it she is a useless hunter (I’m happy about that). It was very wet, flooded after the heavy rain and I had to pick my route carefully because I was wearing inappropriate footwear. I noticed all the strange funghi sprouting out of the ground, and the flowers. Stopping to look around I saw a massive buzzard step from a dead tree and soar away to another tree, only to be pestered by crows who chased it away out of sight.
Moving on I met some wild ponies, standing around looking a bit miserable. I approached one and tried to get close to it, remembering not to stare at it too much. An outstretched arm offered a treat which it took and munched away with it’s mouth and lips doing that funny snorty thing. Most of it’s teeth were missing. More ponies became interested and slightly less wary, some were pregnant, more treats were dispensed, some refused my offer but took them when I threw them on the ground. I nodded then left them to reconsider whether all humans are bad. I heard a strange noise and looked up into the sun, the clouds had broken and I regretted forgetting my camera, three swans flew directly over me then landed in the temporary lake that had formed. Fully grown trees where they shouldn’t be, surrounded by water, it was quite breathtaking.
After just ten minutes I returned to the car; the people had probably read a few pages of their shitty newspapers full of miserable lies and sensationalism, learning nothing useful, achieving nothing, experiencing nothing.
I felt quite refreshed, partial sanity and a sense of well-being had temporarily been restored. For being kind and opening my soul I was rewarded with my first ever brief glimpse of an otter whilst driving over “the otter bridge”. There is a world out there people, get out of your cars. You might get your feet wet or get a bit chilly, but I promise you’ll feel better afterwards. x
Roy’s brain 31 July 2003: sleep phase 2, command start new neural pathway, root width:Wide. subject: Human Flight. Goal:Terrain Flight.priority:high, add to list ToDo. Status: keep active, store and process all relevant data. Visualisation and emotional response setting:high Risk level:acceptable. Store item “Felix 2003 English channel crossing jump with carbon delta wing.” tag:Felix Baumgartner – For Men.
In 2003 I watched in awe as Felix flew over the English Channel in 8mins wearing what was basically buzz lightyear’s wing! He’s a guy who gets stuff done, and as the whole world now knows he just completed his incredible jump from the stratosphere, breaking the speed of sound. I think from now on Felix Baumgartner should have “for men” at the end of his name!
I was 10yrs old last time I owned a kite. Now I am all grown up (sort of) kites are cheap, are really easy to fly and much more fun than I expected so happy days
Here i am flying my HQ Symphony Beach 2.1m powerkite.
So here I am doing some psychodelic slacklining, to the tune of “Deee-Lite’s – Groove is in the heart”
possibly my favourite tune of all time, thanks to Jane for editing this for my birthday xxx
So I went and climbed a beech tree, it’s good for the soul. Beech trees are great to climb, bendy strong clean branches with nice smooth bark that doesn’t snag or rub you up the wrong way. Limbs are usually staggered around the trunk, making a natural spiral staircase. Try it, you probably won’t die.
Thanks to Jane for making this short vid x
Cyclothymia is a member of the bi-polar spectrum. There is a high incidence of suicide amongst those with Bi-polar disorder, I think I read somewhere that it was one in ten or something. I would never do it but I have a full understanding of how, certainly in the past, before being medicated, this was a real possibility. Just don’t do it, things can always change. In the past, with cyclothymia I’d get suicidal ideations, where for no reason I just think about ending my life. It was very strange but not unheard of, especially when going onto new medication. Best just to get up and do something a bit different and take your mind off it, or call someone but don’t alarm them unnecessarily!
Some people really hate this photo, but a lot of people think it’s a great picture of me. I have had a fair few requests from people to bequeath it them in my will.
I certainly was having a lot of thoughts about suicide when I took this photo, and part of the reason I took it was to eliminate any doubts about whether it had been an accident or suicide. I wanted to show the viewer, after my death, that I was quite calm and ready to take the decision without being drunk and not on the spur of the moment. Not very nice I know, but my circumstances changed, my mood phase shifted, and it never happened so all’s well that ends well.
Death is all around us, we just don’t see it. We fear it (although what we are really fearing is a painful death I believe), we are saddened by it when we lose a loved one or when we hear of someone dying in an accident.
Personally what I think is really sad is people doing nothing about getting fat, knowing nothing about how their body is fuelled (cut down on the carbs/sugar); People who drink and abuse their bodies with Class A drugs – to “escape” (escape what?) – If it’s something from the past, then it’s not now, try and live in the present; people too concerned with “stuff”.
Try and regularly do something that makes you experience real fear, fear that you have to try and take control of, that will make you feel more alive.
Most people have no idea what their bodies are capable of, and do nothing to stimulate the natural feel good drugs that can’t be banned. We do not have all the time in the world, and as individuals we really are specks of dust in time and space. Why doesn’t exeryone want to fly a wingsuit, anyone can do it, you just need a bit of money and a bit of time, not a new carpet, car, sofa or whatever. It’s stormy out, I might go and climb a tree today (and indeed I did – see post climbing a beech tree).
Brento, the fledgling Starling was trapped in Jane’s wall cavity and I rescued him by removing a vent, no sign of parents, no nest. As we could not find a local rescue center and also because he was so desperate I took it upon myself to be his caretaker. My duty was to give him as much chance of survival as if he was with his parents, which was a tall order!
It is a difficult job to care for a baby bird. If you are considering it, make sure you are 100% certain that parents are not about. Take time looking and listen for their calls. If it’s a starling it will have been nesting in a roof or a wall or something high, if it’s a Blackbird it will be from a nest in a bush. Starlings can fly (a bit) as soon as they leave the nest, Blackbirds on the other hand hide in the bushes waiting for mum for days till they are mature enough to fly, so it may be a Blackbird, it’s hard to tell the difference.
Here’s the video of Brento my starling:
It will need feeding a lot, don’t worry about over feeding it, it will refuse food when full and it will eat A LOT in one go, much more than you would think possible. They eat mainly insects, get millions of mealworm and crickets from pet shop. Dried puppy food soaked then drained is the other main food, check the protein content it should be more than say 25%. pet shops also sell fat/suet with added insects (Tesco have pellets too). Boiled egg and shell mixed with apple sauce. berries. dried insect mix. Seeds as food yes, but depends whether starling or blackbird, best to start with seeds that are like alpen squashed etc and without husks (Tesco ‘Natures Garden’ ground and table mix, and ‘No mess Mix’) mix them both together and add some goodies like dried insects/dried mealworm/apple bits/peanuts, whatever.. oh and worms are to be avoided as they may contain parasites (Gape worm) that could kill the bird in no time.
Starlings are amazing talkers and can also impersonate machinery and the likes. I have been playing Starling song to him, they have to learn it in the first 60 days or they won’t be able to remember it when they start singing at maturity.
You will need a big cage, and also an aviary/shed so that it can get it’s flight muscles excercised. Do not try to tame it (after all it is a wild bird) by handling it too much. An important factor to consider is time, you will need loads of it! In the film you will see ways to help the bird learn how to be a bird! Also the internet has a wealth of information. If you choose to hand rear an baby bird, it will not be easy, however it will be a majorly rewarding experience.
The last day I saw Brento he fed well and seemed happy enough, in fact I’d say he was quite playful, pecking my ear etc. I did feel something strange about him that day, and looking back now I think he was saying good-bye.
Starlings are magnificent flyers and when they glide overhead in their little Squadron’s they look like miniature humans wearing Phoenix-Fly Phantom 3 wingsuits!
We found Brento aged about 3 weeks and he left at about 7 weeks of age. It really has been an eye opener and a pleasure looking after him. I’m no expert on birds, so for more information on starlings I highly recommend visiting http://www.starlingtalk.com/ their website helped a great deal with my research.
Gary Connery lands a wingsuit – Here’s the gallery. I was there on this historic day 23rd May 2012 when Gary Connery, ex british soldier from 3 Para, and hollywood stuntman became the first person to jump from an aircraft (a helicopter at 2400ft no less!) and land safely without using a parachute. I got to meet Gary minutes before the jump, and we talked about his flysight data from another jump he’d done “sputnik,” and how on that jump he managed to get the perfect glide ratio that he had planned for to hit the boxes. Weather conditions on the day were not ideal though, it was gusting, there were thermals at the end of the box-rig, he had changed a few things like his exit routine from the chopper, the world’s press (and me and my little camera, my girlfriend Jane and Sassy dog) were waiting, it appeared to me that the wind speed was picking up!
I told him he’d nail it, he strolled up the field, donned his wingsuit and did just that. There are no words to describe seeing a man fly like a bird with such precision. If you want to know, go to Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland like I did a few years back, that will give you some idea. “The valley” is a BASE jumping paradise where if you don’t fancy it yourself, you can get yourself comfortable and watch the wingsuiters jump from the cliffs and fly over your head, all day.
It would probably be correct to say that most people present at Gary’s jump had zero clue about wingsuiting or BASE jumping, but Gary’s confidence and profound self-belief led everyone to believe that all was in order, nothing could possibly go wrong, lardy dar let’s get this done more tea vicar! and there’s nothing wrong with that.
When the sound of the helicopter rotors changed pitch I knew it was hovering into position, a speck in the sky above. My heart rate probably doubled, then a few seconds later “there he goes”. Ages seemed to go by, then he exploded into view all of a sudden, no longer a speck, now a man, flying. Then he went unstable and was rocking from side to side, I was concerned he was close to a stall and I stopped breathing for a while I’m sure; then when he smashed into the boxes I thought “perfect landing, he did it”, a thought that lasted about half a second to be replaced by “oh shit, he went in hard and fast.” My girlfriend was sobbing and I was reassuring her (and myself) that he was ok. I was nearly in tears and buzzing with adrenaline waiting for him to come out the boxes. Gary Connery, a true gentleman, and a legend from now on. Something tells me this won’t get copied for a while, it’s just bonkers, I still can’t believe what I saw!
Here’s my video from this incredible day. For the interview I was between ITN News and the Times, however because this interview was interrupted by the crowd running into the boxes, courtesy of Gary’s wife Vivienne (a fitting end to the proceedings in my opinion) the interview was not shown on TV to the best of my knowledge, so here it is, just as it should be.
“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure…than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt
Gary Connery what a guy!
Here’s the gallery.
Denial can last years, and manifests itself in many ways, for me it was:
- “There is nothing wrong with me it must be a mistake”.
- “I’m not prepared to accept this because if I do I am stigmatized and ruined”.
- “This is too serious to deal with so I’m just going to carry on as if nothing happened, lardy dar more tea vicar”.
- “Not me, it only happens to druggies and homeless people”.
- “I mean, it’s not as if I’m walking about with my underwear on my head and pencils up my nostrils”.
etc, etc, etc,.
These things ran round my head causing confusion and conflict like nothing before until eventually, I had to accept that I had all the symptoms and past history of a condition labelled cyclothymia, I was correctly diagnosed and the condition was affecting my life in a negative manner. I started coming to terms with my diagnosis and began the process of getting help from my doctor, a psychiatrist and a mental health care co-ordinator. These people were a tremendous help, and I am not in any way belittling them with my following observations, this is just how I see things, and it might fly in the face of “normality” to a degree, which is something I don’t have a problem with.
The “professionals” have a duty to help you as a member of society. They also have a duty to protect society, a duty that involves attempting to “normalise” you if you have ticks in the wrong boxes.
The use of prescription drugs to induce mental states that are compatible with societies expectations is well and truly established, and this is where YOU need to take control of YOUR life, and not be bullied into trying to be something you are never going to be. Being diagnosed with Cyclothymia or any type of Bi-Polar disorder does not make you a violent person. SO YOU DON’T NEED NORMALIZING. Know about the pills you are on, know what aspects of your illness you want to try to get control of better, and if you aren’t harming anyone you don’t need to be sedated do you?
The stigma surrounding mental health issues means that for the rest of my life, when I mention to anyone that I have mental health problems (and those are the words I have to use or they will think I’m being evasive), I immediately cause a state of alarm. Perhaps I’m a bit paranoid, but the way I see it is this,.. I am clearly expected to address this state of alarm, and until I do, it is assumed that I am a schitzophrenic, psychopathic axe wielding homicidal maniac.
The people that everyone would refer to as lunatics are as far away from cyclothymics as they are from any other “normal” member of society. The expression “ignorance breeds contempt” is very much true when it comes to mental health matters, and until you prove otherwise, you are sometimes going to be labelled in an uncomplementary manner by ignorant and narrow minded people. However I am glad to say that these people are becoming rarer.