Phoenix Fights

Fighting the FEAR, depression and BDP on a daily basis AND making my own bread. Bring it on 2016….




I’ve hit the wall, and this I know

For me there’s just one room to go

Whilst there are places I could be

I’d rather stay and watch TV

Seconds, minutes hours and days

Are eaten up as I betray

All that I could work to be

But, I’m here, my dear, watching TV

Am I lazy?  Is it fear?

Or pain that keeps me sitting here?

Just how fucked up can I be?

God how I long just to be free

Of sleeping, waking, eating, shitting

And find a place that is more fitting

For a creature such as me

Who pores, eyes sore, at her TV

But I can’t keep on being a slob

As soon I’ll need to get a job

And walk the wheel, and watch the clock

And hope that opportunity will knock

Before despair devours my brain

And sends me totally insane

But today is not that day

And while I sit and watch, I pray

That I can get out on my own

And try and make this earth my home

But today, I will not move

As I don’t have the strength to prove

Anything to you or me

So I will stay and watch TV



I’m playing this for you because (a) I’m lonely, (b) I’m doing NOTHING to help myself, (c) I really love this song, and best of all (d) this dude sure has some MOVES on him!

My dance goes like this: Three steps forward, two steps back, one to the side and dosey fucking doe, at least his looks like FUN…..

Arrghhh! Bored of myself and bored of boring you, bet you’ll be glad when the end this year AND this blog comes….

Enjoy xx




Readers, things did not turn out quite the way I’d hoped.

It is now over a week since I decided to stay off my anti depressants, and whilst I didn’t expect it to be easy, after a few days of continued abstinence I was flooded with self hatred, despair, a relentless, all consuming sense of hopelessness so I crawled into my pit, burrowed deep, hid for 48 hours, and truly wished that God, Buddha, anyone would raise a mighty hand, reach down and pluck me from this world forever, or at the very least, squash me like a bug with a meaty thumb and put me out of my misery once and for all.

I’ve been on my Sertraline for so long, I’d forgotten how poorly I really was.

If it wasn’t for my cats who jumped on me, laid on me, knocked things off the dressing table and pawed my face and butted me, their little eyes suffused with concern (and not just because they wanted their dinner) I’d still be there now.

Suffice to say, once I did emerge, I reached shakily in my drawer for ‘Big Sista S’ and have gradually been able to manage my pain, subdue the self hatred and tamp down the sadness, and I am now feeling a little more even and grounded.

Looking back, I think I managed to cope in Spain because (a) it was early days (b) I was surrounded with people and activities so didn’t really get the opportunity to sink into oblivion and (c) I was in such a loving, spiritual environment, that it somehow helped me cope with what was, in hindsight, a pretty rough week.

I’m sad it didn’t work.

But I’m not ashamed of myself.

I tried, and no doubt will try again.

When the time is right i.e. when I have built a bigger and better life for myself and have more support and less time and opportunity to fall down that horrible rabbit hole from hell.

As for my time at the retreat, maybe I’d have had a nicer time had I remembered to take my meds, but it is what it is and I have come away with some valuable action points.



Yoga, as I’ve always suspected, is key to my recovery and future equilibrium.

Earlier this year, I managed to let a couple of hippified mean girls and an intrusive, wannabee couch surfing Guru put me off finishing my training and even doing yoga at all, so my daily practice had floundered, but now I’ve got back on track I’m not going to drop the ball again.

I will keep it up this time but knowing how important the group aspect of this is to me, I’m going to go to all kinds of classes, cherry pick the best things from all of them, finish my training with Guru and co next year (that will be a yoga blog to remember!) then teach my own personal style and not the style I’m told to teach.

Starting with tonights Iyengar class at my local shala.  I don’t want to go, for whatever reason, but I will go.  And again.  And again.  And etc.



Whilst this wasn’t altogether comfortable and didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, I WAS off my medication so would hope that I’d be less sensitive in a similar scenario now that I’m back on it, so the test was kind of botched really.

Still I survived, and am in touch with one of my fellow guests at least, so I have no excuse to hibernate at home with my cats when I can be out and about, making more friends, if only I try.



Something Inca, the bonging mystic brought up in my reading was not believing that I know myself and guessing that I was not able to go within via meditation.

I thought I knew myself, warts and all, but perhaps she means the divine part of me that doesn’t hate itself the way I do.  And she’s right about the meditation, I love the idea of it and rather hypocritically espouse the practice to others at any given opportunity, but I put the brakes on all the time because something about it scares me.

Because there might not be anyone home?

Because there might be someone home?

Because I might miss ‘Real Housewives of Menopausia’?

Not sure.

But I agree that i need help with this one, so I’m going to try and find a group to meditate, chant and do some chakra wotsit with.

Preferably one that doesn’t howl like they’ve been disembowelled and spray me with ‘Venus’, aka watered down market stall scent.



Ah this old chestnut again….

Ms Inka was also right about this too.  Whilst I’m a whole lot better than I was about actively forgiving people and not holding resentment in my heart, there are a couple of new and very old bits of shrapnel stuck in there that might take some time to totally remove, so I need to think about how to get those out, once and for all.

Any surgeons out there at all….



As you may have gathered, these posts weren’t uploaded ‘live’ so to speak.  I did try to blog whilst out there but every time I settled in a nice sunny little spot and got typing, someone would clomp over, poke their head over my shoulder, zoom in on my fledgling article and go ‘Duh, whatya writin’?’ causing me to jab my iPad so hard, I nearly knocked it into the pool such was my haste to switch applications, causing said intruder, sorry, fellow yogi to look at mite suspicious re who and what I was writing about.

Yes, if you’re reading FY (unlikely) I was writing about YOU, ya big Dufus!

But God, I missed it doing my daily journal.

This is great news as, prior to this year it would have taken an SAS officer armed with a cattle prod to drag me to my laptop and make me write anything and now it is totally second nature.

Yay me!



I have grouped these two together as I think one will definitely alleviate the other, so I need to find a South London ‘Sadie’ and see her once a month.

How will I finance that?  Don’t know but God willing, I will find the way.

I’ve also been referred to a dental hospital as my chap reckons it’s a lot to do with my hideous teeth so I’m taking whatever help I can get.



On the day I returned to this cloudy shores, I realised I’d gained about four pounds of blubber, plus I had a big sugar/complex carb/large portions of food addiction to get over, and have only just got back to normal eating this week.

So whilst I loved the food at the retreat, and will eat more plant based meals, I do not plan to set up my own poo plant in Sarf London by continuing to eat my own body weight in potatoes, cake, rice, nuts and swede every fricking day.

Thank God that mail train has started to slow down now….



It would be very easy to fall back on the notion that everything in Spain is wonderful and beautiful and everything in London is grey and grim and give myself permission to be a bit gloomy, but that is not actually so.

I just seemed more able and open to the beauty around me whilst in that area, but to paraphrase Ricky Fitts  ‘There is so much beauty in the world’ and not necessarily where you expect to find it.

Sure I live in a city, but there are parks, and shops, and countryside is less than an hour by car from where I live, so I’m going to try and notice those little gems of wonderfulness peeking out from behind the bricks and concrete from now on.

And I want to ride again!  I loved my afternoon with naughty Major so much, and whilst I know that the Spanish mountains are a hard act to follow, we have beauty spots all over Britain and it’s going to be my job to find them.

I’ll just need to buy some of those Spanx  ‘big booty’ knickers with gel in them to protect my bony old backside, and then there’ll be no stopping me!



Ms Inca of the Bong asked me if I’d ever been truly loved.


But the question has stayed with me.  Annoyingly.

Apart from some romantic love (which is mainly about sex innit?), I don’t think I really have, well I haven’t felt it in any case.

And rather annoyingly Inca reiterated Aunty C’s belief that I have to do it for myself.

By going within.

Presumably to look for my Chakras, the Good Parent, Unloved Child, the Judging Parent, Lord Lucan and all that lot.

I’d like to feel loved.

So I’m going to try.

So it’s back to reality.


Thanks for coming with me on my retreat journey (sorry, that was very X Factor – please don’t vomit onto your keyboard) and I hope to continue with what I learned moving forward.

Namaste xxx




I’m sat here achy and exhausted on my bed, surrounded by sweaty clothes, squished sandals, duty free bags and a delighted, purring cat (the other one is sulking), and the answer is sitting here right in the palms of my hands.

My meds.

I’d stopped taking my meds.

I knew of course that I hadn’t taken them the day after my migraine as I never do because I’m terrified that additional drugs will dehydrate me even more, which would only serve delay my recovery and prolong the agony.

Trouble is, because the week was busy and I was out of my home routine, I didn’t take them for the rest of the week either.

Which may account for some of the aches and pains, the heart palpitations and the mad DT style nightmares about my ex boss and workmates.

G has a theory.

‘Because you starting taking sertraline all the way through and after the shitstorm, it’s only now that you’ve stopped taking it that you’re actually feeling what you were meant to feel at that time, so it only protected you from the worst of it temporarily, and now you’re starting to get drug free, it’s open season and it’s all coming out!’


After everything I’ve been through, the horrors are all just waiting in the wings until that day arrives that I’m drug free, then they burst right out of that closet and bombard me with that shit again?


Just great.

I’d like to dismiss G’s theory, but I know in my heart that it makes perfect sense.  Along with the whole forgiveness malarky, but I’ll look at that further down the line.

Sooo, in the meantime….<drum roll>…..

I’ve decided to stay off them and see what happens.

Let’s face it I’ve gone this far, and would very much like to get everything from my past out of my system once and for all, as whilst I don’t mind the odd nightmare, this one is getting very boring indeed.

I know I’m taking a risk as my doctor told me not to do any such thing without talking to her first (plus I had no intentions of giving up ‘Big Sista’ at that time), but another week won’t hurt.

Will it?

Well, I’m about to find out.

Wish me luck and sweet dreams everyone, cos home is where the nightmare is…..




It’s the last day full day at the retreat today, and I feel a combination of sadness, relief and a deep, fundamental dissatisfaction, as whilst my yoga has improved and my passion for it reawakened, my fears of mixing with people I didn’t know for a week and not fitting in were well and truly founded, so I am not, as I hoped I’d be, reassured that I am ready to venture out into the big wide world as a fully socialised adult again.

It’s not the retreat owner’s fault though.  

I mean they didn’t advertising, ‘yoga, meditation, great food and a chance to make your nutty self more acceptable to a broader section of society’, did they?’

I’m ready to go home. 

But I’ll so miss this beautiful place, the yoga, my teacher, my sadistic masseur and the resident retreat cat who has stepped into the shoes, sorry, paws of my boys whilst I’ve been here and always comes by to yowl a greeting and get his daily cuddle.  I may keep in touch with one or two of the other guests, but long term it’s unlikely, and I feel myself detaching more and more from them, even my bathroom/toilet sharing neighbour.

Any chance of making friendships for live is now pretty much over.

That’s another thing I won’t miss; the food.  It is delicious and ‘healthy’ in it’s way but they serve way too much of it, and I feel a bit like a foie gras goose whose liver is about to explode.  My jeans are tourniquet tight, and I have a dimply, porridgy muffin top, so I’ll be back on animal flesh, wine and bread when I get home as I want my figure back, plus it will be great to stop pooing all the time!

Nor will I miss those creepy dreams of the ole Ginger Minger, have yet to figure out what that is all about.

The majority of us stay around the pool for the day, hoping to make the most of the sunshine before going home, but clouds are never far away and a sense of unease breaks out as we all give up the ghost and head off to our rooms to start our packing so that we just have to shove in today’s clothes before heading off to the airport in the morning.

The last big hurdle I have to tackle before heading back to Blighty is the looming threat of a bit of Ecstatic Dancing as a last night send off.  

There is no getting out of this one, as (a) I’d suggested it to the Manager (on arrival, when I thought I might make ‘friends’ to play with – ha!), (b) she’d gone out of her way to set it up, (c) it’s now being hailed as the highlight of the evening, so like it or not I was going to have to get my groove on tonight.

Before that though, was the Last Supper.

I’d told myself this morning that I’d only eat half of whatever was served tonight, so that I could give my poor old guts a break, but when it came to it, it looked so delicious, and it was our last proper meal, so I end up scoffing it all down and ended up with a nice big ‘post Christmas Dinner’ sized belly full of impacted mulch, so couldn’t wait for things to get started so I could swing my pants!

Not.  😦

And when the time came, I shamefully slope off to my room to ‘change my shoes’, but our teacher, sensing passive rebellion touched my arm gently and assured me that she’d wait for me before starting so the die was cast.

Whilst there was no one I was really close enough to enjoy bouncing around like a twat with, thankful we put in place a ‘no cameras’ rule, the room was pretty dark so I thought sod it, threw caution to the wind and went for it.

And it was fun!

Unlike that New Moon thingy I went to, the music was well chosen, great to dance to, and soon everyone was getting down with their bad selves.  Miss NFEFM (see yesterday’s post) was predictably the biggest show off of all, but it was so dark even she shelved behaving like a dick after 10 minutes or so, and I soon managed to lose myself in the music and even exchanged smiles with some of the others as we flitted passed each another on the dance floor.

Ironically, what enabled me to do this was my ‘fuck ‘em, I don’t care’ attitude, and for their part I don’t think they’d ever seen me so animated for the entire holiday.  Most of them were 5 rhythms virgins, and it was a pleasure to see them lose their initial inhibitions and really get into it.


We prance around, whooped, swung, pirouetted and cheered, and finally the music went into stillness when we curled up on the floor, or stood swaying, chanting ‘Om Namah Shivaya’.

And as the chant penetrated my psyche the meaning rang true, that true consciousness dwells in us all; I am them, they are me and there is more that binds than separates us and I should see God within them and not fight it or judge them so much.

Or anyone for that matter.

As the music ended, we all got to our feet and a couple of them ran over to thank me for suggesting the activity and said how much they had enjoyed themselves.

I was elated that we had finally connected in some way.  

Perhaps some of us will become and remain friends beyond these walls?

‘I did feel a bit stupid at first’ one of the more prim, proper girls confessed, ‘but it’s the last day and no one was looking at me anyway!’

‘Exactly!’ I enthused, ‘And the best part of it is that it doesn’t matter anyway as you never have to see any of these people ever again!’

Stunned silence slipped into the atmosphere like an anchor into a cold, dark sea…..


Think I pretty much killed that moment…..

Their faces are a picture and I almost get the giggles, but you know what?

I might have been clumsy, tactless or whatever, but I had spoken my truth, and had not meant to deliberately hurt anyone.

So I brazened it out, laughed it off in their cold faces, bid goodbye to my wonderful yoga teacher and headed off to bed.

You think it’s all over?

Yup, me too….

Onwards and upwards.

Bags packed.

Sleep in, then only breakfast, then taxi to the airport and journey home to get through.

Bring it on.

Namaste x








It’s the day after horse riding, my arse cheeks feel like hamburger, and if I’d thought I’d activated every muscle known to man in the last few days, apparently there are a few new riding relevant ones that are feeling the burn today.

The only place I feel comfortable is in the hammock and I’m mincing around like a de-Zimmered pensioner, so it’s time for that massage, methinks.

‘Are you sure you are up for it?’ asks the lovely, concerned Manager whilst my yoga teacher screws up her nose and bears her teeth in a most unnerving, off putting grimace, ‘Sadie is great but rather, well, vigorous…’

That may well be the case, but I like a proper hands on skin massage and the only other option is a man who does the Thai version, where I’m told, you get poked with a stick and I’m afraid anyone who did that to me today would be taking their life in their hands.

I’m under no illusion that this will be anything other than a painful 90 minutes, but I’m braced and ready.

‘Oh, you’re having a “Sadie” this afternoon Sista, aren’t you?’ coos one of the girls at me over lunch, ‘Lucky you, she’s really good, and not too firm at all!  Well,’ she puffs her chest out in a pseudo butch fashion, ‘she wasn’t firm enough for me!’

I arrange my features in a feeble attempt at an amused rictus and nod weakly.

How lonely I feel amongst  these ‘normals’; if I were with my real friends, I would be able to sound off about how, in some ways, I’d prefer Sadie to pick one of those prickly pears off that tree and slam it up my arse instead of pummel the crap out of me, because I’m so fucking sore, but am conscious that they think I’m a hypochondriac, so I keep schtum.

Sensing that, despite my faux enthusiastic grin, that I am less than keen to be Sadie’d, Ms Not-Firm-Enough-For-Me turns swiftly to the person next to her and irritates the shit out of her instead with her ‘I love everything’ bollocks.

When the allotted time comes, I limp down to the treatment suite and with great trepidation, knock on the door.

I am greeted by a tall, lean, Aussie version of Madge from ‘Benidorm’ with the bluest eyes I have ever seen.


‘Aw, hi there!’ she bawls in gravelly tones, breaking out a dazzling toothy smile, ‘you must be Sista!  Well come on in, don’t be shy!’

I like her immediately so I shamble in and slowly sit down.

‘Ah you’re the one who gets migraines aintcha, thought you looked a bit crook!  What else has bin goin’ on?’

Again, I don’t want to bore off about my conditions, but I give her a bit of a quick potted history on my physical ailments and she nods whilst simultaneously taking a deep drag on a rather dubious looking rollie, exhaling smoke out the window as she listens.

‘Mate, that’s no good is it?  OK, let’s get ya kit off and on the couch, face down I think.’

For a moment, I don’t think she’s going to leave, then she starts, stubs her fag out, puts it into a little tin in her patchwork bag, and goes out of the room whilst I daintily disrobe, carefully clipping my hair atop of my head so I don’t get any oil in it, then ease myself painfully upon the couch.

This turns out to be a complete and total waste of time, as the minute she enters the room, she unclips my hair, quickly and firmly massages my scalp then mutters something, grabs a plastic bottle and the next minute I gasp in shock as she dashes what feels like about a cupful of Rosemary water/oil all over my bonce.

God, it stinks.

They say Rosemary is good for remembering stuff, well I’m going to start recalling past lives right back to Stone Age if she chucks anymore of this stuff on me.

That said, this was the calm before the storm.

The minute she starts work on me, I feel my muscles contract with pain.

I remain silent.

I will not be a whinging pom.

I would appreciate a rubber block to bite on though, and wonder if she’s got one in that little bag of tricks of hers.

‘Oh my Gawd!’ she suddenly bawls, ‘What is goin’ on here?’

I unclamp my jaw and reiterate my history of war wounds.

‘Yes babe, I know, but seriously, you are in bad shape!  Everything is rock hard!  This is not good, not good!  How the hell did ya get like this?’

And suddenly, right there and then, I feel like I’m with a friend.

I don’t have to pretend that I’m OK!

Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t convince this woman that I’m not in pain.  She knows just from palpating me that I’m not a hypochondriac, but a HSP with a history of serious physical ailments/injuries, a migraine sufferer, a teeth grinder and generally a big, gristly, sinewy ball of tension despite being on enough medication to stun a gorilla.

Suddenly her face appears at my shoulder, and like a blonde Little Bill to my knackered, oily Ned Logan, she solemnly tells me that she’s going to have to hurt me.

Not gentle like before.

But bad.


But I’m determined to go with it, because I know it’s for my own good.

Suffice to say, Sadie is not prone to exaggeration; it fucking hurts, especially when she works on my head, neck and, especially my jaw.

‘OH MY GAWD!’ she shrieks, ‘This is TERRIBLE!  How do you LIVE?!’

And somehow, through the pain, I actually manage to laugh at this, with relief, gratitude and genuine affection.

She, along with Aunty C, gets it.

Truly gets it.

‘Chick ya gotta let me in!  Now take in deep breaths and when you let ‘em out, go ‘Ahh’ and let your tongue flop out.’


‘Tongue Sista, tongue!’


Jesus H C, I’ve never known pain like it.


‘Language Timothy’ she says rather randomly and we both giggle inanely.

‘Are you OK, well I can see you’re not?  I’m sorry babe, do ya want me to keep goin’?’

Strangely enough I do.  Because whilst I might have the audacity to moan about my pain and woes sometimes, I AM NO PUSSY.

So the next fifteen minutes consist of lots of ear splitting ‘AHHH’s’ and ‘OOHH’s’ and ‘OWWs’ ‘GAWD’s’  and ‘BLLL, LL, LL’s’ as my tongue alternately lolls and stiffens in agony like an unhappy cross between a Maori Warrior and Mylie Cyrus on speed.


God only knows what the people outside think is going on.

She ends the session with about ten minutes of soothing (well for her, anyway) effleurage and a ruffle of my hair as she leaves the room and waits for me to get up and get dressed.

I am absolutely exhausted, and think I’m in shock.

Sadies comes back into the room, blue eyes concerned, not altogether happy.

‘I haven’t gotten all the way in Sista, but I’ve made some headway?  How ya feelin’?  Is it any better?’

I tell her that it is and thank her, but I can’t actually tell as my nerve endings have made a mass exodus to a ‘happy place’ and don’t return for a good hour.

‘OK, but don’t stop now y’hear?  Find someone good in London and get regular treatment as you are not in good shape babe.  I know you left your job, but you’re still in knots and nothing is worth being in that kinda pain, ya hear?’

God I love this woman.

‘Thanks for nearly killing me and making me babble like a one year old!’

‘Jeez, don’t put that down in my visitors book, willya?’

We both laugh, she gives me a hug, and I shuffle back to the retreat, hit the hot tub (forgetting in my haste to take the requisite shower and I’m still smelling like a lamb roast, but FUCK IT, I don’t care), shower off and go for a snooze in my friend the hammock.

Later at dinner, I find myself sat across from, yes you’ve guessed it, the ever chirpy Ms NFEFM.

Next time I’m bringing in contraband booze as it’s the only way I can tolerate wankers like her without wanting to beat that Pollyanna shit out of them with my yoga belt.

‘How was your massage Sista?’ she asks, ‘Was it lovely, like mine?’  She looks around proudly to see if anyone is listening again.

No it wasn’t you dumb bitch, and neither was yours.

I have no intention of playing her pathetic macho game.

‘It hurt like fuck I reply, giving enough emphasis to that last word to make her choke on her onion bahji starter, ‘but she was brilliant.’ 

And I stare her out, daring her telepathically to roll her eyes at me one more time.

She doesn’t.

And the next day, whilst I wasn’t skipping up the path to the yoga shala, I was feeling a whole lot better.

So there you go.

So, for anyone who has ever thought that I have ever exaggerated, faked or pretended to have these ailments, I’m going to momentarily borrow Spike Milligan’s gravestone epitaph:

‘I told you I was ill’


Namaste x




It’s a long way down.

My steed, unable to resist temptation, has stopped abruptly to snatch a mouthful of wild fennel, and had I been less stable, he might have jerked me out of my seat and on the fast track to meet my maker as we are inches from the edge.

But he didn’t and I wasn’t, and my heartbeat gradually normalises again as I gaze at the beauty of the valley below whilst Major chomps away contentedly.

‘Sista!  Come on!  You’re lagging behind!  Pull him away firmly, he needs to know who’s boss!’

Yeah, I think he’s already across that, thanks.

‘C’mon gorgeous.’  I carefully pull him back with the reins, reluctant to hurt his mouth as he no doubt, inwardly sniggers at my wimpy efforts, and decides of his own volition to take pity on me, keep up with the party and move on.

He’s a big old hombre is Major.  I thought they’d give me a little pony/donkey/armchair hybrid, given my lack of experience as a rider, but I got the tallest one in the stable, and as much as I was keen to experience riding in the mountains, there was a good minute where I had considered asking someone for an extendable ladder, sliding guiltily off his massive back and taking a taxi back to the retreat.

And if I’d known the route we’d be taken, i.e. not a nice man made path but pretty rugged terrain, almost vertical in places, I wouldn’t have even taken a minute.  I’d have been outta here faster than greased weasel shit.

I’m so glad I didn’t bail though.

Because after that initial shaky start, I realised that I was in good hands, and distracted by the spectacular views, revitalised by the smell of wild flowers and herbs, and soothed by the steady thunk of hooves on rock I realise I’m feeling the best I have so far since leaving Blighty.

It’s the first day I haven’t wanted to go home.


This steadfast old boy doesn’t judge me, apart from my riding skills, that is, and even then, he’s tolerant and forgiving.

He has no expectations of me and hopes only that I treat him with kindness and respect.

And the biggest plus of all, we don’t have to make tedious small talk (although I bet he’d have something interesting to say), and in a matter of minutes we are talking the same language anyway so to speak.

It seems that somehow, some way, two have become one, as I am now so relaxed that we are pretty synchronised and I am able to move in a way that is comfortable (ish) for me and helpful for him.

I actually feel like the top half of a Centaur which is a wondrous t’ing, innit.  In all fairness I probably feel like a sack of spuds to poor old Major, but he can’t speak so I’m going to pretend he loves this too 🙂

We could call ourselves Sajor!  Or Mista, depending on your preference.  Either way I feel nothing but love for him and wish I could keep him and do this every day.

And happily, he is not in the least bit offended by the SBD’s I keep letting go whilst no one is listening, and anyway, I’m sure he’s more than a match me for me when he gets going.  Yes, the veritable compost heap of vegetable matter I dine on every day back at base is still giving my belly gyp….

I can hear the rest of the party squawking at each other, filling the air with mindless chatter, attempting to hold conversations despite the distance between them, but apart from occasionally shouting ‘Sorry?’ or smiling/shrugging at my inability (i.e. unwillingness) to hear, I keep out of it, and relish a companionable silence with my new friend.

Major and I are now quite near the front, and as a few of the others are now lagging behind, our host asks us to stop for a moment and wait for them.

Suddenly Maj does his ‘drive by’ herb snatching thing, taking me under a tree with him, and I have to duck so I’m not knocked out of the saddle.

‘Sista!  Pull him back!  He’s taking the piss out of you!’

Oh fuck off.

Leave him alone.  How would you like it if you were surrounded by chips, cheesecake or salted caramels and you weren’t allowed to eat some?

I grin sheepishly at my well meaning instructor, then lean forward to pat my boy’s neck and scratch his mane.  Then as I peer through the branches and take in another truly glorious vista, I sigh inwardly with happiness.

‘Behold the glory of my kingdom,’ says a voice in my head, warm, resonant with a soupçon of mischief, ‘and yet you want to leave…’

Eh?  Wassat?

I repeated the sentence in my head. Did I say that?  Does it sound the same?

It did.  I think?

Ha that’s it, I’m making this up.

I’m so fucking lonely I’m imagining things.  If this continues, I’ll end up on Oprah talking about the big gang of imaginary friends in my head whilst sporting a nice, designer straightjacket and foaming at the mouth in between takes whilst she coos at me empathically, hoping I don’t ask her to join the ‘Mad Sista Massive’.

‘Behold the glory of my kingdom; and yet YOU want to leave!’

I’m getting a bit irate now.

‘Yes, well that’s easy for you to say,’ I respond silently as we set off on our trail again, ‘but it isn’t always like this, is it?’


There you go.  I knew I was imagining it.


OK.  Well.


Major lets a ninety second fart of such explosive, stinky magnitude that the entire troup bursts out laughing and several of his horsy mates neigh in appreciation.

I laugh too, but am aware that the timing is suspiciously telling.

Was that all down to you Maj, or is that The Man Upstairs sending me an impressive, multi media raspberry at my lack of appreciation and enthusiasm for my life on this earth?

The stench rises.

Jesus, that is toe curlingly harsh.  I cough and waft it away with my free hand.

‘Easy Tiger,’ I warn sotto voce, ‘I’ve been going easy on you so far, and you’ve just thrown down the gauntlet!’

A few minutes later, our leader pauses at a fork in the road and turns to address the group, her hand shielding her eyes from the sun.

‘Listen you lot, you have a choice now.  You have another forty minutes, but if you’re too tired and saddle sore you can go back with Mitch now.  OR, if you’re really enjoying yourself, we can take this trail past the river, but we won’t necessarily get back in time, and depending on what’s down there, we may be at least an hour.  What do you think?’

I know which group I’m going with.

As, whilst I’m normally at loathe to even leave my flat/room, when it comes to days like these, I’ll always take the long way home.

Thanks Big Guy, for this day at least.





It’s 1pm on a blazing hot Tuesday afternoon, and I’m trapped in the corner of a cold, darkened room, sitting on a very flimsy wicker chair (that creaks if I so much as blink), with a little pixie sat between my legs, who has one hand on my chest, and another on my belly; her head is inclined as she keens and whispers softly to herself.

Suffice to say, it’s getting kinda freaky in here…

I can see a thin strip of brilliant sunlight sneaking through a crack in the blind, and can hear the cicadas chirrup, and as I long for a bit of warmth on my skin, a bit more personal space and my €75 back, I wonder for more than once this week what the fuck I’m doing here exactly?

Three days into my yoga retreat, and I’m getting more into the swing of the classes, which are a blessing in themselves, but after over a year of self imposed exile, I’m finding being in the company of a group of rowdy wannabee yogis more than a little exhausting.

I’m not great with groups; I’m very comfortable one to one, or even one to two or three, but beyond that, it’s always been a bit of a strain, especially if said group is comprised of largely attention seeking gobshites.  In those instances, I tend to take a step back and observe rather than jockey for position, and when everyone is yelling and talking over one another, I get the irresistible urge to grab a taxi/bus/passing donkey and head off to the airport for a cheap air bus home.

My problem, I know.

Not their fault.

And you know what they say; you never get a second chance to make a good first impression and given that I was sinking into migraine hell on the day I arrived, I wasn’t exactly my usual chipper (ha!) self, so do feel rather peripheral to the group.

Nothing new there.

Speaking of which, even though I’ve played down the brainstorm, and have mentioned nothing about my panic attacks and depression, nor how much it took for me to actually get myself here in the first place, I think they think I’m a bit of a hypochondriac.

And I’m particularly quiet because, whilst I’m trying to joke and bond with some of the group, a few of them are really getting on my nerves.  There’s a couple who I catch looking at me as if I’ve grown a turnip for a head or something, and one woman who frankly would laugh if her arse was on fire.  She giggles non stop at anything.  I know I sound like a miserable old curmudgeon but she’s like a sniggering woodpecker rat-a-tat-tatting on my skull, and I want to grab her, sorry, it by the throat and stuff it into the hot tub.

Anyway I am due to get a deep tissue massage today, but to be honest, if anyone applies pressure to any part of my body today I’ll kneecap ’em, so I have to go and see the retreat manager in order to defer it to a day when I’m feeling less fragile.

She is both lovely and sympathetic.

‘I know!’, she says, ‘why don’t you go and see Inca instead?’


The manager smiles.  ‘She’s our Sound Healer! She’s ever so good, and everyone that goes to see her seems to have some kind of life changing experience!’

I remembered then.  A couple of the girls had been cooing about this woman who had done all of this nigh on miraculous stuff for them.  There were tales of protective bubbles, levitation, sixth sense, messages from the other side, and every seemed to be very excited about her indeed.

What can I tell you?  I’m a sucker for this kind of stuff as I’d love to believe someone could help me move forward, and if it’s all a scam, I can milk the experience for anecdotes to entertain my friends when I get home!


I then make the fatal mistake of sharing my plans for the afternoon with the others at breakfast.

The girls in particular are enchanted by the news.

‘Oh Sista, you’re going to love her, she’s just amazing, she’s just….’

I need more than that, however.

‘Is she any good?’

One rather quiet Danish girls pipes up hesitantly, ‘I had her yesterday and well…’ she screws up her face, not wanting to appear different/cynical, ‘I’m not entirely sure what happened….’

Hmm.  I wondered if I shovel my muesli down tout suite, I can get to the Managers office before she leaves for the day and cancel this?

Another rather brassy old bird cuts her off mid sentence.

‘Look she’s lovely woman, so full of luv, and has so much to give!  And honestly, at the end of the day…’ she looks around her, warming to her theme ‘even if you can’t sense what’s she’s done for you, you’re in that room, she uses all them bowls, and she’s giving you so much luv, you can’t lose!  It’s only €75!  What more could you ask for?’

Well, lemme think, erm….

Some kind of proof that’s she’s not chatting shit?  

Some kind of reading that you recognise as being applicable to you and your life?  

Some kind of improvement in health, fortune, and/or spiritual wellbeing?

Contact with a ex parrot, sorry person?

A.K.A. good old fashioned VALUE FOR MONEY?!

What planet is this ditzy bint from?!

Honestly just because you want to be seen as being spiritual, that’s no excuse for blatant stoopidity, and if I want a nice lie down in a roomful of love, I’ll lock myself in my bedroom with the cats when I get back, and will spunk the money away on duty free booze, expensive hand cream and a big box of Toffifee on the way home instead, thank you very much!


I stay silent though. The proof of the pudding and all that….

Inca’s husband comes to pick me up, and introduces himself as Eric.  I kind of expected him to be called Ptolemy, Perseus or something like that, so am a bit disappointed.

‘So,’ he says, peering through filthy spectacles and we jack knife around pot holes and rebound violently off boulders (think this car was manufactured before suspension was invented) ‘what is it you want out of today?’

Dude, you honestly think I’m going to tell you?  I don’t even trust the men that I know, let alone one I was introduced to five minutes ago!

‘Erm, not sure, I’m just gonna go with the flow, I suppose….’

‘Right.  Great.  Anyway, we’re here now.’

We’ve stopped outside a beautiful farm, and my heart lifts a little.  Hell if she can afford this, she must be doing something right.

Unfortunately we head in the opposite direction to a concrete hut that looks tailor made for kidnappers or hostage takers, not exactly the ideal venue for some psychic hippy chick’s HQ.

The door to the cell, sorry, room suddenly opens and this dinky little elf of a woman comes out beaming, and takes both of my hands into hers.

‘Sista!’ she sighs beatifically, drinking me in, as if I was Dominos pizza after a fast day, ‘Let’s get you inside!’

Must we?  Can’t we go next door?  I smile apprehensively and follow her into her lair.

Actually it all looks quite cosy.

Shame it’s as cold as a witch’s tit.

Inca sits me in the deceptively precarious, Poundland wicker seat and asks me what I’m here for.

Am I being unreasonable for expecting her to know the answer to that?

Yes.  I probably am.  Stop being a bitch Sista, and give the poor cow and yourself a break and point her in the right direction at least.

‘I’m erm, kind of transitioning from one way of life to another and finding it a little difficult to know which way to go…,’ I venture.

‘Yes, right, I can see that,’ Inca bites her lip, ‘Do you mind if I touch you?’

I thought you already were?

‘No, that’s fine.’

She then plants a very firm hand on my left boob, and another on my swiftly retracting belly.

Whoa Nelly….

It feels horribly intrusive.  I press back further into the corner.  The wicker chair creaks protestingly.

She frowns.

‘I’m trying to get in but,’ she sighs, ‘there’s a huge barrier that you’ve erected to protect yourself, and I need to get you to a place were you feel safe enough to let it down.’

That’s true enough.  But did she get that from inside ‘me’ or from my rather obvious body language?

Shut up, negative voices, purlease!

She shifts and presses harder on my tit.

‘You need to help me here.  Tell me about your parents and your upbringing.’

Oh come on! Do I have to do ALL the work around here?!

Whatever.  What have I got to lose?

I give her a potted history, which I won’t bore you with, and Tinkerbell smiles, nods sagely, and asks me more about the females, a.k.a. my Mum and Nana, swiftly establishing that shit parenting that was passed down from the generation to generation culminating in what happened to me as a result of this.  Her eyes are closed and her face flickers as she nods and ticks.

‘I’ve got them here my love, well your Mum’s here at least.’

That’d be right.  My Nan was a formidable old harridan who would have no truck with this airy fairy nonsense and I could picture her jeeringly making mincemeat of this little sprite, given half the chance.

‘Can you remember a time when you finally realised that there was no hope, and you just gave up trying to get her to love you the way you needed and deserved?’

Ridiculously, I feel my throat close and my eyes well up with tears, which I furiously push back down.  I’m not fucking crying here in ‘Cell Block H’ if I can possibly help it.

‘No’, I manage to croak in a relatively ordinary voice.

Inca frowns.  ‘She’s saying “I soon knocked it out of her” and I can see something shoot out of you like a comet’  Her arms extends into the air like Usain Bolt’s.

I look perplexed.

‘You honestly can’t remember?’

Nope.  It was all equally miserable as far as I can remember.

‘She’s sorry my love, she really is,’ Inca nods as if listening to Mum over the astral plane, ‘she wasn’t loved herself, so she didn’t have it to give to you.’

I fight the flicker of impatience that ripples through me.  I KNOW!  I’ve been in therapy for decades, as that all you have for me?

Then something comes back to me and I see them in my minds eye.

The prettiest, loveliest, most beautiful things I’d ever seen.

The pressure increases on my belly.


‘Erm, I think I remember something….’

Her eyes snap open and they stare directly into mine.  I break the gaze and clear my throat.

‘When I was little, my Auntie always used to tell me I should be a dancer.  She said even when I was just born I had really long legs, and when I used to prance around to the Top 40 on a Sunday night, all the family used to joke about me ending up on Sunday Night at the London Palladium one day….’

Inca nods encouragingly.

‘…so, when I was about eight, she went out bought me a pair of tap shoes.’

I pause, swallow, and continue.

‘I’m from a pretty poor family, and those shoes must have cost her a fortune.  I remember how pretty they looked in the box, like something you’d wear for a wedding.  “There you go!” she said to my Mum, “I know you couldn’t afford any, so you just have to pay for the lessons now!”’

My Mum gave her a pained smile and before I could get them out of the box, gently pulled it out of my protesting hands.  “Come on Sista, you don’t want to get them dirty, do you?”  she said with false jollity, so I nodded, knowing that I had no choice, acquiesced and held that image in my heart, waiting for the day when I could put them on and dance.’


I could feel Inca’s eyes blazed into me.

I meet them.

‘I never saw them again’ I said dully, ‘I asked for them time and time again, I begged, I cried, I whined, and she would shout at me for pestering her and walk away.  As the weeks went by, I knew something was very wrong.  Eventually she admitted that she had sold them because she couldn’t afford to buy me lessons.’

I could feel my mouth harden into a thin line, remembering my outrage at the sheer  injustice of this act.  She didn’t even buy me a replacement gift with MY money.

‘‘I knew we were poor and I knew it might have been a bit of a struggle as my Dad spent every night in the pub boozing away half his wages, but if she’d have asked him for more money, if she’d have pushed, cared enough about me to fight my corner….’

I’m staring into my lap now as I cannot bear to see the pity in Inca’s eyes but she’s closed them and is now nodding and frowning and making little singing noises.

Then, she suddenly makes an ‘Ooo!’ noise.

‘She’s got the shoes! She’s brought back the shoes!  She’s saying “Here, sorry, I didn’t mean it!”

The lightning rod of anger that surges through me almost lifts me off the seat.

<‘Oh really? Super!  I’ll just book myself on the next Tardis to 1970 and see if “Miss Amy’s School of Dance” has any slots available!’ I snarl, ‘Tell her from me she can stick them up her arse, heels first and don’t forget the laces!’>

Actually I don’t say that out loud.  But the Absinthe Fairy seems to be picking up the gist of it anyway.

I continue with the dialogue in my head.

<‘Everyone thought my Mum was such a lovely lady, but she was just a spiteful, vindictive, resentful old cow who did everything she could to extinguish my light!’>

Inca’s hands are holding mine again, and she’s nodding furiously.

Surely she’s not picking all of this up?

<‘And you know what? I reckon she didn’t want me to have that opportunity.  No one had done it for her so why should things be any better for me?’>

Our eyes meet.

I speak again, out loud this time.

‘Oh, I forgot to say, I keep dreaming about my rancid ex boss, and don’t understand why he’s not out of my system, it’s so frustrating!’

She sighs.  ‘It’s because you haven’t forgiven him!’

Wow.  There’s no mistaking that bit of synchronicity.

‘Or your Mum, or your Dad, and who else?  These people are riding you and you need to exorcise them out of your system, and only then will you be able to take the reins of your own life!’


‘But I’ve still got so much anger in my heart!’

‘I know.’

‘And I don’t know what I’m going to do or where I’m going!’ I blurt out randomly.

‘Of course you don’t, how could you?  That’s because you don’t know yourself!  You haven’t had the love and grounding you need, so how can you know who you are or what you really want?

I don’t know myself?


No one has done more soul searching, more seeking, more questioning, more bloody navel gazing than I have.

No one!

So how can that be?

‘You have to meditate, go within to get it.  But you can’t do it, can you?’

Fuck.  How does she know that?

‘Have you ever really been loved?’

I shift uncomfortably.

She fumbles around for something. ‘You’re not going to be able to do it on your own.  Your chakras are so….flat.  You’re going to need some help.  Where do you live again?’


I momentarily feel panicked.  Please no.  For the love of God, please don’t refer me to bloody Ulrika Seahorse or any of that shower….please?

Thankfully she frowns and can’t seem to find anyone to recommend me, but begs me to seek help when I get home.

I am then told told to lie on her couch, where she covers me with blankets, props me up with pillows, strokes my brow a few times, then sets these bowl things bonging and lights some candles.

It’s all rather relaxing, but I remain on edge, perhaps because I’m still jumpy after that blood curdling screaming fit I witness at that New Moon Hippy thingy.  She doesn’t pop back in and howl in my ear for a laugh, thankfully, but for some reason I start getting palpatations and can’t settle into it.

After a while, she silently enters the room, gives me some kind of flowery water to drink and stares at me with sad, sad eyes.  She again asks me to seek help when I get home.  I agree, oblige her when she asks for a hug, and shoot thankfully through the door into the bright, bright sunshine.

What the hell was that?

Eric, thank the Lord for small mercies, refrains from making small talk and I return to the retreat feeling much better, mainly because in the 15 minute bounce home (where I narrowly avoid biting off my own tongue), I’ve convinced myself that it was all bollocks and that I should chill the hell out already.

I immediately bump into a couple of the girls who are agog with antipation of my tale of wondrous happenings.

‘What happened?  What did she tell you?  Did you feel anything?’

‘Erm, it was alright.  I’m not sure anything happened, but she seemed nice enough.’

The atmosphere changes a little, with a perceptible chill cutting through the heat of the afternoon.

‘Did you get any messages?’



‘Did you cry?’

<‘Somehow, I managed not to.’>


Their expressions are now bordering on hostile.  Miserable cow, they appear to think, not one of us.  Not fun, or warm, not a believer.

Not special like us.

Not spiritual.

If only they knew.

But I’m done showing the whites of my eyes to all and sundry anymore.  That would require trust.  The four inch thick steel door slides smoothly back into place as I smile, shrug and head for a hammock with palpable relief for a nice kip.

But everytime I close my eyes, I see that box, I hear the rustle of thick cream tissue paper, and feel the silken, ribbon ties between my  fingers and my stomach twists with anguish as the thwarted dancer within lets out a silent scream of rage and despair.

‘You’d better get it into your head young lady, these things aren’t for the likes of us.  What do you think we are, millionaires? You a dancer?!  Who do you think you are?  What’s so special about you?  Only thinking of yourself as usual, stuck up little madam, when I was a child we made our own entertainment…..’

Thanks for bringing back the shoes Mum, but I honestly doubt they’d fit me anymore.

Too little, too late.




Second day of my retreat and my head has nearly stopped hurting.


Well, it would be ‘yay’ except now, pretty much everything else is hurting like a motha…..

I kid you not, this woman is one cracking yoga teacher and I’ve got places hurting that I didn’t even know existed.

But that’s nothing compared with my other little, ahem, problem.

The worst thing about this retreat by far, is all the poo.

The food here is (a) delicious, (b) plentiful and (c) unbelievably, mainly vegan, so for the most part is comprised of 80-90% plant derived foods, fruit, vegetables, soya, almond, tofu <retch!> etc..

The other 10% must be the 90% quality cocaine or something (and here was me thinking that white stuff was vegan parmesan….) because  once you start eating this stuff, it’s nigh on impossible to stop.

My stomach however is less than impressed with my radical change of diet.  In fact, if it could speak it would say, sorry, scream What the fucking FUCK is the fucking deal, you demented, broccoli-bothering bitch?!!’  

Not that I’d blame it as I’ve gone from a relatively low carb diet, to becoming a regular poo processing plant overnight.

I mean it’s ludicrous.  I could very easily supply enough dung to meet the needs of a small farm.


I get up, shit, do yoga, have breakfast, shit, have lunch, shit, shit again, more yoga, then have at least another huge dump before taking my nightly ‘constitutional’, not I might add, to stretch my limbs as I tell the others, but to release all those carefully suppressed farts before sloping off to bed for a restless, mad dream filled sleep, still crammed to the gullet with vegetation.

AND I have to share a bathroom!!!

Luckily my neighbour and I are in the same boat, so readily forgive that gaseous, cabbagy fug from the others’ effluent, that grabs us by the throat and shakes us like a dog shakes a rat whenever we open the bog door.

And occasionally we hear the other slowly, quietly unlock the door and slink guiltily back to her room, pink in the face from both effort and shame and fully empathise with that feeling, albeit whilst simultaneously wishing we’d brought along some Vics Vaporub to bung under our nostrils at times like these.

That can’t be right, can it?

And they call this healthy?!  I look like I have worms, as the skin of my belly is like an overstuffed (vegan) sausage, and I have to spend most of my days prone like a snake that’s just imbibed a fucking buffalo or something in order to digest the last onslaught of fibre.


At this rate, I’m going to go home heavier than I would have had I gone to the U.S. for an interactive ‘Man vs Food’ tour, but I guess I have to look on the bright side; no meat sweats or constipation here, no sirree, ‘cos it just keeps on movin’, like toothpaste out of a tube….

And they tell me here that bread is bad for you because it can bloat you out….

HAH is what I say to that!

Or I would do if I have any energy left, but all my blood has diverted to my digestive tract.


Sorry about this, I’d like to tell you more about the arse-anas, sorry, asanas, meditations, and poses etc, but right now I AM my belly!  In fact it is the centre of the universe and all things orbit around it, or at least that’s how it feels.

Maybe my belly is God?  If it is, it’s the Old Testament version as it sure likes to punish me….


Hope to have something more intellectual/intelligent/highbrow/less toilet tomorrow, till then, namaste x