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My experience of dealing with grief as a widow

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Hup Holland: FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010

16 June 2010


As a Dutch ex-pat in England, I miss The Netherlands most when there is a big sporting event on. Surrounded by English flags, I feel some strange need to make it clear I am not English. So I asked my parents to send me some Dutch stuff to decorate my house with.

My dad is a star and sent me some orange car flags, a big flag and some bunting. I put the flag on my car, am about to put one on my bike and I decorated the outside of my house with the bunting.

I am READY for the World Cup now. Bring it on.

Keep Reading: "Hup Holland: FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010"

Coming out as impulsive. An ADHD perspective

10 June 2010

I'm impulsive. Yes, I realise this may come as a shock to some of you but there it is. I've said it. Impulsiveness is a big part of ADHD and I have landed myself in trouble because of it many times. So, I decided to make a Good/Bad list of things I do due to impulsiveness.

In fact, I might actually write a series of totally self-indulgent blogs about ADHD, what it does and why I (and many other with ADHD) are generally weird, nasty, rude, friendly, enthusiastic, impulsive people.
Just to help me understand why I do things. And maybe, if you read this, it helps you understand me too.

Saying things before thinking them through: the most obvious ADHD thing.

Quite often I will get a thought in the middle of a conversation and I immediately voice that thought. It can be a creative idea or an opinion or a sudden understanding (or presumption of understanding) about parts of the conversation.

Most people are able to wait for the other person to finish talking before they voice their ideas. I frequently am not. Most people are able to think a thought through before voicing it. I frequently am not. Most people are able to wait to hear the full story before blurting out a solution. I frequently am not.

It is not because I am rude, don't care about other people's opinions or like the sound of my own voice. It is genuine enthusiasm, a willingness to offer solutions, a desire to help.

So, what are the good and bad sides of this?

Good:
- My ideas are usually not held back by second thoughts such as: is this possible, should we be doing this, what will others think. It is a good thing because a lot of ideas are killed before they are voiced because we run thought them in our head and dismiss them before having them out in the open. With me, I blurt out the idea and then everyone starts thinking about it. A lot of the time it turns out it is a silly idea. But other times, people think: That's a wacky idea but actually quite good.

- It can cut conversation time short when I say the correct thing. Saves time :-)

- It shows I am eager to participate

- It shows I care about the subject and/or the person I am talking to


Bad:
- Most importantly, I can come across as deliberately rude (as opposed to accidentally) due to interrupting people or saying inappropriate things when other people think I should bite my tongue; offering a solution to EVERYTHING even when I should just be listening without speaking.

- It can make me look rather weird and far too eager when immediately latching on to someone else's idea and running with it.

- People might think I am far too enthusiastic about stuff they only mentioned half-heartedly as my mind starts racing with ideas they are not ready for yet. Or they have some un-finished ideas and I take them and run with their ideas, not always realising I am just supposed to say: great idea, let me know when you are ready to discuss it further.

- It can be confusing for people when I say something and then say: no, that's not quite what I meant and then I re-word my previous idea/statement and basically let the thoughts form AS THEY COME OUT OF MY MOUTH instead of thinking them through, making sure I say exactly what I want to say. So it may take me 3 or for repeated attempts to finally say what I really wanted to say. And how do you then convince people that they should ignore those things you said before?
Extreme example:
1) "That is one ugly dress you are wearing".
2) "Actually, I don't mean that. I don't like it at all but that doesn't mean it IS awful"
3) "No, I mean to say: it is not my style but I have to admit it looks good on you. Please ignore that I said it was ugly and awful at first. It's not so bad when I look at it a bit longer..."

And so on and so on. No malice meant and, to be honest, the same thoughts that go through everyone else's mind before they open their mouth. Just that I have these thoughts in real time.


So which one wins? Good or bad?

With people who are already my friends, people who understand and trust me, the good side most certainly wins. But with people I don't know so well yet, or with people who are insecure themselves, it is most definitely a bad thing.

Solution: surround myself with confident people who are not upset hen I blurt out something stupid. Or get my friends to say: Do you want to think about that one again and then maybe repeat your idea once it has formed properly in your mind?
Keep Reading: "Coming out as impulsive. An ADHD perspective"

Wychood Festival 2010 - The Round Up

08 June 2010

So,what was my weekend at the Wychwood Festival like? I loved it! I was sad to have to miss The Levellers on Friday night as I was only able to make it down to the festival on Saturday morning.

When I arrived I was surprised at the size of the festival. I thought it would be a bigger festival on a smaller area. Maybe because the only comparison I have is the V Festival (huge festival on huge site) and the Cambridge Folk Festival (massive in name and v. busy but on a very small site).

The Cheltenham Racecourse is massive so having the campsites inside the racecourse was a great idea. It meant camping was far away enough from the event to be relatively quiet and yet close enough to still feel really in the middle of a big party.


The campsite offers 'regular' camping, a family camping and a 'quiet area' for people, like me, who come for the music and social atmosphere but who, once in the tent, really just want to sleep and not be kept awake by people with different ideas. Unfortunately I accidentally put my tent up in the Family area so instead of silence, I was surrounded by little kids screaming. Oh well, my fault.

I like the idea that parents can take their kids to a festival and feel safe about taking them into the 'arena'.

In front of the Main Stage, the whole thing felt more like a Sunday in Hyde Park than a festival. I mean that in a good way; at no point was it too crowded, were people pushing or rude or inconsiderate. People with chairs & picnic kit were as welcome as people who just wanted to stand & dance.

So, the atmosphere was lovely. If you are not sure about going to a festival and you want to see what it is all about, the Wychwood is the one to start with.

Not least because there is so much to do, other than sit in front of the main stage.
And this brings me to the other great thing about Wychwood. When I went to the Cambridge Folk Festival last year, I only knew a handful of the acts of the line up. I did not like all the stuff that was on but there was precious little else to do for those moments that I was not interested in the music. There were some shops and a smaller tent but that was kind of all.

Wychwood however offers a wealth of things to do, both for kids and adults. There was a fantastic workshop for Samba drumming. about 6 or 7 throughout the festival so everyone had a chance to participate. Amazing to see about 60 people, men, women, children, most with no musical experience, get together and learn how to play like a true Brazilian drum band. It brought tears to my eyes every time.

For those who liked things a little more quiet, there were ukulele workshops. Or a literary tent. Or a medieval storyteller who spun some great yarns that kept adults & children glued to their seats. I certainly did not feel too old to sit down on one of the tiny chairs and listen to him for about half an hour.


The BBC Introducing had their own stage with new upcoming acts and comedy later in the evening, there was a cinema, dance workshops for kids, circus equipment, juggling for kids & adults, the list is endless.

All festivals have a slight hint of Hippie and at Wychwood, there were palm readers, homeopathic remedies, chines massage, scalp massage and, my personal favourite, a travelling osteopath. I had been meaning to make an appointment at home to sort my back out so Wychwood gave me the chance to have it done right there and then. And after a night on a thin mat in my tent, a good cracking of the spine was exactly what I needed.

All in all, the festival just felt like a Village Fete on a grand scale and without the grannies baking cakes. Lovely Pimm's stand and with Waitrose as the new main sponsor, there were even posh cocktails to drink with the (rather expensive) food for sale.

As a Sound Engineer In Training, I took the opportunity to chat to the sound engineers and they allowed me behind the desk to observe them at work and they explained loads of stuff to me. An unexpected but very welcome addition to my weekend.


I am definitely going again next year and I would urge anyone who is a festival virgin to go as well.

Oh. Nearly forgot. There was music as well!

What did I really like? Martha Tilston. Piney Gir and the Country Road Show and my personal highlight: The South (formally The Beautiful South).

Thank you to Wychwood Festival for giving me the chance to experience your lovely festival. I'll be back next year!
Keep Reading: "Wychood Festival 2010 - The Round Up"

Wychwood Festival 2010 (Part 2)

06 June 2010

Last night's comedy in the BBC Introducing tent was funny and I wish I could have stayed longer but the trek to the toilets was so long that when I was halfway at the campsite for a wee, I decided I might as well go to sleep. So I was in bed by 11.30, stone cold sober, ready for a snooze.

Unfortunately the people in the tent next to me had other ideas. They played music (Stevie Wonder for crying out loud) late into the night. At about 1am, I got out of my tent and asked them in the nicest possible way if they would please turn the music off since it was late and this was the Quiet Area of the campsite. They gave me dirty looks, commented on my thumb ring ("I like your thumb ring.. (thanks)...NOT". Oh hahaha) and were basically rude to me. As I turned around to go back to my tent, I heard them saying to each other:" That was a lesbian, I'm sure. That's bad being a lesbian" and other rude stuff. Now that REALLY made me angry. I turned around and, kind of, shouted at them they were rude fuckers and that turning the music down had nothing to do with being a lesbian or not. Needless to say they turned the music up and sang even louder.

I felt like a lost the argument by swearing so this morning, I walked up to their tent and said: "My apologies for swearing last night. I don't mind you calling ME names but I hope that if your kids ever tell you there are gay, you don't call them fucking dykes and dirty lesbians. You should be a better than that."

As I walked away, I felt a nice sense of moral superiority. So here is the proof: having kids and going to a family friendly festival does NOT mean you are a nice person. If you are an arsehole, you will still be an arsehole.

And maybe it really is true: swearing does not make you feel any better.
Keep Reading: "Wychwood Festival 2010 (Part 2)"

Wychwood Festival (part 1)

05 June 2010

So here I am at the Wychwood Festival at the Chelenham Racecours. Just had a nice cup of tea and my little (borrowed) netbook is getting its first proper test run.

The Wychwood Festival is really one of the loveliest festivals I have been to so far. It is, of course, children, wheelchair, eco, fair trade and human rights friendly as festivals all claim to be these days in an attempt to maintain the traditional hippie-like mood of festivals.

The campsite is lovedly and not so bloody loud as with other festivals. The music s quirky and interesting, even the acts I have never heard of (of which there are plenty).

My musical highlight of the day so far was The Piney Gir Country Road Show.


The day has been hot & humid so far and this obviously helps the atmosphere along a good bit: lying in the grass, enjoying the music and a glass of Pimms next to the Waitrose food stand. Yes, festivals these days can be eco-friendly AND terribly middle class.

There are a lot (and I mean A LOT) of children here and there is plenty for them to do: story telling, play equipment, ukulele workshops, circus workshops and whatever else you can think of.

Myself, I had a nice little sit down and listened to an great old fashioned storyteller who was keeping both the kids and the adults engrossed in his mediaeval tale of a thieving baby.



Dark clouds are rolling in at the moment so I am going to find a safe place and have a drink whilst listening to some lovely music.
Keep Reading: "Wychwood Festival (part 1)"

Wychwood Festival blogging

02 June 2010

Short warning: I will be blogging LOADS here in the next few days about my experiences at The Wychwood Festival. So if you don't like music or festivals or blogs, you better not visit here:-)

So, how did this come about? The lovely people of The Wychwood Festival have decided that there is no better advertising than word of mouth. I tell my friends how lovely their festival is and they tell their friends and their friends and so on. This year, Wychwood Festival has given a number of Blogger Passes to folks like me. What do I have to do in return: Blog, Tweet & Facebook about the festival.

Well, I can do that!

Who's playing I hear you ask? To be honest, I know only a handful of the people on the bill. Seth Lakeman (only by name though), The Levellers, Happy Mondays, Lightning Seeds. That's about it.

So I'm very much looking forward to hearing new music, making new friends and spending time at one of Britain's loveliest and family friendly festivals.

Finally, it is of course unfortunate that, in order to be able to blog live from the festival, I have been forced to invest in a netbook as carrying around my laptop would just be too much hassle.

I wonder if they have wireless internet on the festival site...
Keep Reading: "Wychwood Festival blogging"