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Friday, May 26, 2017

Haiku on Deep/ ?/ Always/ Between/ Challenge/ Plan


Deep in the forest
Jade portal slightly ajar
I enter heaven

Awake in the night
Watching your deep sleeping form
Beautiful dreamer

Your indentation
Deep in bed clothes next to me
A slight hint of lust


Best not write haiku
With a mind consumed by filth
Get therapy first

We're not forever
But what we do in this world
Will be remembered

We travel slowly
Drinking in experience
Savouring our lives


When crossing chasms
Always look before you leap
Where is the far side

My ancient promise
Cor meum in eternal
Always in my heart

Stream of consciousness
Constant flow of memories
Always on my mind


Confusing moments
Between sleeping and waking
Wispy ends of dreams

Between this and that
Devil and the deep blue sea
I just can't decide

Between cool white sheets
We are cuddled up like spoons
Sharing body warmth


Challenged by the night
Fierce storms battered the house
Creating havoc

My challenge to you
Is to put up with my whims
And stay sensible

The truth is, my child,
Life is full of challenges
Resilience wins


I plan to get up
And then have a full breakfast
Maybe breakfast first

Never a grand plan
Our lives evolved over time
Care, love and service

Need emergency plans
A power generator
Or some good torches

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Haiku on Finally/ No/ Practice/ Pride/ Look


At last they can start
Finally a beginning
Slightly soggy pitch

Heated arguments
Our world is full of hot air
Finally agreed

He waited for years
Finally his beard sprouted
Then wished it hadn't


There is no honour
In killing human beings
Never, anywhere

The classic Noh play
14th century stories
Living tradition

No, sorry, you can't
Do not even think of it
Don't need charity


General practice
Never the perfect doctor
Must keep practicing

Dribbled soup again
I should know where my mouth is
Had years of practice

I threw a tantrum
Not quite sure where it landed
Must get more practice


Take pride in your stride
Walk off seven deadly sins
Learn humility

Took pride in her home
Worked her fingers to the bone
Keeping things shiny

Lioness and cubs
You see pride in family
Even in nature


Media driven
Need to look at everything
But not see, or change

You look at my face
But don't see my hidden thoughts
Or perhaps you do

Look into my eyes
You are under my control
Now say you love me

Making of a Child Psychiatrist: (76) The General Practitioner (21); Blue Sky Dreaming

On Family
Of course, listening to a wide range of theoretical approaches to working with families at the conference, and at the same time planning to uproot your own growing family and transport it half way round the world, makes you reflect on your own experience of families. Of course, writing about these events many years after they occurred, and with all the accrued experience of an old psychiatrist and family therapist also provokes you into re-evaluating what you did and why, and the impact it may have had on those surrounding you.
At one level to emigrate is easy. You apply for visas, make sure you have up to date passports for everyone, and if possible arrange for accommodation and work for after you arrive; all very logical. But as humans we are feeling entities, and our links with others are crucial to our wellbeing. Our sense of who we are as individuals in the world derives in part from our family history and the place our forebears created for themselves. Much of that information may not necessarily be discussed in detail, or even openly, but in many families you will hear a variant on the phrase: “This is how we do things.” This may simply be a shortened form of “This is how your mother and I have decided we do things.” Or it can be so much more:  “This is how generations of my family have done things, and your mother agrees we should continue those traditions” (or some variant).
You may only find out about such things if you challenge the status quo explicitly or implicitly. An example mentioned much earlier in this book might be my episode of stealing some money simply because I came across it. My father took to me with a leather belt, and I must admit the shock of that had a profound effect. I was only to learn much later that his father had belted him, and my great grandfather had belted my grandfather (and all much more violently than I was ever treated). Apparently that is what fathers did to stop emerging aberrant behaviour. As Jan and I began our own family, I determined I would never resort to violence. And I have not (unless you count the fact that the whole family was to learn Karate to a high standard! But that is as much defensive as offensive, isn’t it?)
I think my parents leaving for Australia when I was 16 led me to appreciate family life in the Hughes family. I saw how respectfully they treated each other, and there never seemed to be much in the way of friction in their partnership. Jan’s parents were gentle people, and I admired that and wanted it for my own future family. I believe Jan and I have achieved that.
But my parents also took Andrea with them. There had always been that seven-year age gap, and ultimately I did not have the opportunity to begin to appreciate her as a person until she had finished University and begun teaching my two boys at St. Nicholas School, coming often to stay at Old Gates. Andrea had rented the top flat at Kingsmead Court from Bobby and Reg, and had a flat mate. She was also close to an aunt of Bobbie’s (through marriage) who had a rented flat at Kingsmead. Andy developed a strong relationship with her, and I was to be ever grateful to Auntie Kate for her love and support of Andrea.
The sad thing is that our own mother missed so much of our lives at the point when both Andrea and I were developing our professional careers. My father also missed out, but for different reasons. As might have been expected he was very lonely as a widower at 50, even though his post Royal Air Force career at the British Aircraft Corporation in Bristol was all-consuming. Very quickly after Eve died, he picked up with a Winifred Moss who, rather strangely, had been a patient of mine at Birchington. She was a divorcee with two daughters, one of whom became a University lecturer, and the adopted daughter a nurse. Ted and Win were married on 27 July 1971 at Margate Registry Office, 13 months after our Eve died.
Winifred was a very anxious woman, with low self-esteem. Rather than taking pride in her parentage, she hated the fact that she had been born a miner’s daughter and worked hard to change her accent and social manners, educating herself to the point of completing a teaching degree, and developing a social circle of friends who played bridge and enjoyed ballet and the opera. She never talked about her family of origin. She was also a very jealous woman and rather quickly eradicated memories of our mother around the Long Ashton house and subsequently in several moves of house (even though Ted kept a small private collection of precious memorabilia in an old suitcase right through to his death at the age of 93).
She also distanced Ted from the May side of the family, and bit by bit alienated the extended Martin side of the family who found her controlling ways intolerable and used to tell and retell stories and laugh behind her back.
Andrea was still financially dependant as a teenager and a university student, and experienced more contact and therefore more frequent difficulties. Being gradually cut off from her father must have been awful. I had less contact with Win, being wrapped up in my practice and family. But both Andy and I became part of the alienation process; we both loathed her ‘la-de-da’ ways and the subtle nastiness.

I am sure I added to Andrea’s woes with the decision to emigrate. Even though I had never really been available as an older brother, perhaps during those years from 1970 through to 1974 I had begun to take on some of that role. And then we left, and Andrea had to deal with losing her emerging closeness to Jan, and her love and care for our two boys. It was to be many years before I really came to appreciate how difficult it must have been for her with virtually no supports, and a rather evil stepmother who would much later cause immense financial problems before she passed away. I am sure I owe my sister an enormous apology for not being aware of these things, but our primary bonds had been broken 9 or so years before when I was 16 and she a 10 year old – ironically when she left with our parents for Australia. The newly developed 1970s bonds were only tenuous. It was not to be until recent years that those bonds have been strengthened, despite the enormous geographic distance between Australia and the UK.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Haiku on Long/ Slip/ Point/ Turn/ Sad


Watching the sunset
Revelling in achievements
Casting long shadows

He had a long face
Some people thought him mournful
Pulling the old hearse

Long and merry life
Surrounded by family
Universal dream


'Slippy Downs', how cute
No... Aboriginal 'Sippy'
As in 'Place of Birds'

Slipped into dark side
Eyes narrowed and frown deepened
Then an evil grin

Slip sliding away
The essential Paul Simon
Track seven I think


I read your letter
Savouring every word
Yes, I got the point

Mindful exercise
Meditating on a word
The point of haiku

Life's a chain letter
We created to pass on
That is the whole point


We're in a downturn
Fresh government needs a turn
Creating upturn

Living in Margate
Ethereal landscape art
One J. M. Turner

Wind me up again
So that I can turn you on
Spring into action


Saddled with sadness
She took her grief out riding
Horse bearing the weight

Good grief, said Charlie
Of course you should cry when sad
It's appropriate

They're sad in Iceland
Seasonally Affected
By the cold and dark