Thursday, 29 May 2008

Frankie says (6)

So the Boss tells me he was talking to Shelley about his artistic nature (It's true the Boss does have a creative side - or so he likes to think!) Shelley then says "You're not about to use the F word" Meaning ME!! Well who is this woman!


The Boss here, I think Frankie is just a little bit over the top here although he wont like me saying so. Shelley was merely being humorous albeit at Frankie's expense (muffled sob from Frankie at this point) "Hey Frankie what's really troubling you?"
"You don't want to know Boss you don't want to know"
"I am all ears"
Frankie chose not to pass comment on my ears which are rather large and stick out somewhat they have been compared unfairly in my view to Prince Charles' ears!
"Boss you know I went to that new club Psychology last night?"
"No, but.."
"Well there was this gorgeous creature there called Lesley..."
"You didn't Frankie?"
"No but I wish I had...It was so humiliating" (sob)
"Oh Frankie. Why do you put yourself through it"
"What can a poor boy do?"
"You deserve better"
Frankie sniffed, made his excuses and left.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Message to Behr

I have just received this post from Behr with no email address attached so I am replying here

"Hi Bill, I was just reading about your fund raising trip and was wondering how I could go about doing the same. I'm in Israel right now, planning to bicycle from Turkey to the Atlantic starting in August."

Hi Behr,

Sounds fantastic. If you visit and follow the instructions there you will be able to set up a blog in no time at all. Then just start blogging and tell as many people as you can about your blog - put it as a strapline on your emails and tell me and other blogs about it and away you go.

There are websites that will at a price collect donations for you - I chose not to do this. And your blog site can carry adverts - blogger can arrange this for you but again I chose not. does not offer space for photographs bubt it does offer a link to a site such as so that your picture does appear on your blog.

If you have a modern mobile phone you can text straight to your blog - I wish I had done this. 'Help I am in a ditch now etc'. I had hoped to visit cyber cafes or get my backup team to upload to my blog but they weren't having it!

Do email me ( and tell me more of your plans.

Best wishes,

Bill on bike

Frankie says(5): webcam here we come

So Shelley is hosting this party for various members of staff here who are about to have 'milestone birthdays'. Well the Boss asked her if Frankie could come and she said 'No he's too young'. Well get her! I am all of 33 even though I do look much younger in candle light! And as my old friend Stuart used to say 'You're as old as the man you feel'.

The Boss is going very geeky on me and is about to get a sandpit - no not a real one - although that would be interesting and reminds me of an interview I read with Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys who had his piano installed in a sandpit in his living room so that he could feel the sand beneath his feet when he played. Hey that might suit the Boss for his piano lessons. On the beach with Rebecca his piano teacher! Mind you Brian Wilson's dog used to do his business in the sand. Yeuch!

Anyway the Boss is also getting into Breeze and Scype and is having a webcam installed. Can you see it - Frankie gets webcam and chats to all his overseas friends and uploads the clips to Youtube and then this producer - who knows Neil Tennant - watches the clips and the next thing you know Frankie's on the next Pets video DJing at Heaven....Hmmmm.

The Boss has asked me to point out that the sandpit is a virtual one and is part of Blackbroad(!) a Virtual Learning Environment, sounds like just the place for me!

Love and kisses,


William in the rain


It rained and rained this morning then it eased a bit but once I was out there it came on full again. It was so bad I could hardly see out of my rain drenched glasses. But my waterproofs worked apart from the space between my trousers and cycle shoes - I wasn't wearing my overshoes unfortunately and of course my cycle shoes are now soaked through.

It reminded me of the dreadful day before I reached John O'Groats on my LEJOG bike ride last August. That day it blow as well once I reached the North of Scotland. Sometimes I was blown sideways, sometimes I was blown backwards and once or twice the wind was behind me! It was the worse day of the ride.

2 nights ago it rained and rained all night and I lay awake and remembered the night before I reached Edinburgh again on the LEJOG. I had just avoided rain and then it rained all night, more of a storm. The next day was over 70 miles through very lonely roads, no garages, shops or houses for miles for hours but no rain. Lunch was a bacon sandwich made up at my B and B and a cereal bar and water. I enjoyed the cycling it was my final day and I reached Edinburgh ahead of time.

I have to say how glad I am to be alive and fit as I am. I guess we all fade out as we get older maybe it makes dying easier. I would rather go in my sleep but who knows. meanwhile I cherish life and the people in my life.

Best to all,


Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Grace says shush

So, on the way to School with Grace today and there I was signing Dire Straits' 'Money for nothing'- because the chords were in yesterday's Guardian - when suddenly Grace says 'Shush'. I couldn't get her to explain why but I guess she was embarrassed by me. "Now that I am old I will embarrass my children..." I might have guessed when I embarrassed her recently in Clarks' shoes shop by pretending to dance.

But this is the girl who I taught to sing in the bath - Yellow Submarine (complete with alternative version chorus of 'We all live on bread and margarine' and the daft Lennon stuff int eh background - mashed potatoes, cabins etc) and 'Octopuss' garden' and a truly inspired drunken cat howling version of 'Show me the way to go home' that had to be heard to be believed. (Ask Sheila if you doubt it!) Then there was the business I taught her of strangling yourself with the shower attachment (as mike) whilst singing 'Magic moments' (This messing with the mike was copied from 60s star Dave Berry - remember him??) Then Sheila got Grace to sing Singing in the rain using the shower attachment as a mike and then Sheila turned the water on. Grace thought this was fantastic!

There's a great children programme Grace and I used to watch called Mortified about an Australian girl with hip parents who are always embarrassing her. My little girl is sure growing up...

Best to all,


Monday, 19 May 2008

Frankie goes to Barcelona

Frankie here - using the Boss' blog with his permission, well I put loads of papers in front of him to sign including a declaimer about using his blog! Anyway the Boss says I CAN go to Barcelona if I get my act together.
"Well Boss I thought my act was pretty cool already"
(For instance: as I was saying to my mate Steve, "My mother made me a homosexual". He replied, "If I give her the wool will she make me one?")
"I don't mean that sort of act. I'm thinking of student feedback, comments form colleagues etc"
So all you out there email the Boss - or me on my new offsite hotmail address: - say how fantastic I am! I know I am, you know it too but the Boss doesn't... Yet.



Friday, 16 May 2008

Frankie says(3)


I was horrified to discover that Frankie had abused his position as my PA to both email and blog (on my blog too!) scurellous and inaccurate comments about me and my attitude to Raquel and my behaviour at the Cardiff conference last weekend. Really, I think a period of re-training with Shelley is called for ('Oh, Please Boss anything but that!')If Frankie thinks he wants to go to Barcelona next month let along Hollywood(!) he 'd better buck his ideas up, (Yes Boss!).

I think to really understand Frankie you need to listen to one of his favourite Pet Shop Boys songs - Flamboyant:

Every actor needs
an audience
Every action is
a performance
It all takes courage
You know it
Just crossing the street
well, it's almost heroic
You're so flamboyant

And to put the record straight Frankie wasn't the only one at that memorable gig last Autumn when the Pets played at the Apollo. Although why Frankie had to stand next to me wearing his 'I'm with stupid' T shirt heaven alone knows. ('That was me doing irony Boss' 'Irony, that about as ironic as David Beckham photographed in his underpants!' Frankie shuddered at the image.)



Thursday, 15 May 2008

Frankie says(2)

Frankie here, William (or King Billy as I call him but not to his name!) is out of the office. He's after a cappuccino and a chat with that Raquel in her coffee shop on the ground floor. I think the Boss has a soft(!) spot for her but he's old enough to be her father or even grandfather if you ask me. Anyway yesterday there he was dissing a dissertation - he's been like a bear with a sore head since they all arrived last week - the air was blue and the things he said about Clare and Terry don't bear repeating! I can tell you. And then he blames me(!!) for his misreading his diary. And then he accuses me of being unprofessional - Moi! I ask you. Is that calling the kettle black or what. This was on account of my clubbing the nite before. Well I wasn't that wasted like I was when the Pets were at the Apollo last year! Now that was a nite. Mind you the Boss didn't seem to like me singing "I'm with stupid" the next day! And you should see the state of the Boss when he's at those conferences he goes to - there's a story I could tell. Last Friday night, there he was in the bar in Cardiff, it was 2am, it was so so embarassing, you wouldn't believe it. He even tried to sing a duet with that fancy woman from Salford. I could have died! Oops he coming back...

Wednesday, 14 May 2008


So last night I had my third piano lesson with my amazing teacher Rebecca. Now get this she got me to place a couple of pieces using both hands more or less simultaneously! So what you might think any idiot who plays the piano uses two hands. But remember 2 weeks ago I had never played a piano or had any confidence in my musical ability after some appalling early experiences I blogged about 3 weeks or so ago.

I can actually recognise the tunes I am playing. This morning for the first time I tried playing Good King Wencelas and it was recognised not just by me but by the long suffering Sheila. So who knows it might just be 'A red letter day' for Xmas maybe even 'West End Girls' - but have you tried singing that?

I don't know here this piano stuff will end. I started merely to find out if it was possible after Emily had showed me a little. Now I am hooked and playing stuff I never thought I would be able to. It's not even Grade 1 but I have surpassed my own expectations. I am learning a lot about learning in all of this. How much bad teaching reinforces lack of self belief. All my life I have loved music and never felt outside of the bathroom I could sing it or play it. Well I have blown that nonsense away.

I have always thought "do more of what you love" was a great cure for most ill health. The piano book Rebecca suggested I buy is called "You are never too old to learn to play the piano". They are many things we can learn at any age. Go for it!

Incidentally learning a musical instrument was one of my retirement fantasies but why wait? Who knows what's next meanwhile I am not waiting to live or to pick up any of my hopes and dreams.

Best to all,

Bill on bike

Frankie says(1)

Frankie had told me that there was a team meeting today but he got it wrong it’s next week. (As you know Frankie manages my diary and generally acts as my PA/door keeper). So I said to Frankie:
“The team meeting’s next week”
“Oh” There was pause. “Sorry boss I was out clubbing-.” I wish he wouldn’t keep calling me ‘boss’.
I struggled to get control of this interaction. “I thought you were looking a bit wasted. Listen Frankie if you must go out clubbing in the week for goodness sake get home early and get to bed.”
“It’s not as simple as that boss, it depends on who I get to bed with” said Frankie archly.
“That’s way more than I need to know.”
I always get the feeling in these exchanges that Frankie gets the better of me but he is such a good worker as a rule and I don’t where I would be without him.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

On meeting the ancient mariner in Cardiff Bay


I re-met an old friend of mine in Cardiff Bay whilst at the conference there. Those of you of an English literary bent - or like me forced to learns poetry at secondary school - will be familiar with Coleridge's Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner. A wedding guest, I think it might be the groom? - is stopped on route to a wedding by an ancient mariner who spins a web of story telling about a sea voyage including an encounter with an albatross etc.

On meeting the ancient mariner in Cardiff Bay

I met the ancient mariner
Who held me
With his intense gaze
With his compelling story of seas crossed
Of people met
Of his loneliness
His need for an audience

Eventually we parted
He to find his next listener
Me wiser
More ready than ever
To do my own ocean goings

Have I already become the ancient mariner myself?
And found my captive audience?

Best to all,


Monday, 12 May 2008

One minute of fame

Hi, Just got my first capuccino of the day from Raquel, whose is almost but not quiet from Barcelona! I found myself singing an extract from 'Jerusalem' to her - "And did those feet in ancient times" etc. I am just back from a conference in Cardiff and the craick (conversation not the drugs)was good and we sang a bit in the bar till 2 in the morning. We being Vee, Parveen and a bunch of others. Vee can do Bohemian Rhapsody words and guitar solos perfect! I persuaded people to do one song recorded by the Pets - 'You were always on my mind' but they did it more Elvis than Neil Tennant. Hey ho.

I had one minute of fame rather than my usual 20 mins or so. But at least I had my 1 minute with the whole conference of about 200 people listening (or not) rather than 20 minutes with 20 or so people. So I decided to share part of a poem that I had written on the train on the way. Here goes:


Suppose we have got it wrong
Suppose our cherished counselling ways
Are not the best we can offer the world
What if there are better ways of helping
To be found
In the rain forests
Or in the slums of Nairobi
Or on the street of Moss Side?

Bit above shared)

Are British people
(Whatever that means!)
Happier, healthier
Does British counselling
Even answer British problems
And even if it does
How universal is that?

Is counselling blind to culture?
If not where should it end?
Where should it begin?

I had had an eppithany on the train to the conference on Friday when I realised that all my thinking about culture and counselling applied to class and counselling. My colleague Liz had kept talking to me about class (that makes me uncomfortable - but that's another story or blog entry) and suddenly it made sense. Counselling and psychotherapy largely work with white middle class women clients and therapists. It is a minority group practice nothing wrong with that but it is not universal. Liz thinks it has a missionary feel to it when it engages with working class people - remember the origins of counselling in the churches and voluntary agencies? As my colleague John said this morning can we integrate into our practice approaches that do work well with groups less likely to access counselling? I then thought of my friend Dawn Edge's research among Black Caribbean women and post natal depression and how some of the women in her study used their faith - prayer, the Bible to help them cope.

Enough for now, work calls. As ever do email em back on or off blog if so moved.

Best to all,


Friday, 9 May 2008

Poem for John and me

Hi I am at a conference in Cardiff and on the way on the train I was inspired to write a poem about my academic supervisor from the early 1990s:

Poem for John

I sat at your feet for 5 years
(Which was a strange place to be
In an English university)
You were the closest
I ever had
To a real live spiritual teacher.

I am not sure
How you carried it
Your floor was crowded then
As mine is now.

But I know
We are doing something
very ancient
love giving
I have said it
Oh my God!

You showed me
The way to be
More me
And less anyone else
Less false
Less quiet

I can't seem to stop
Showing this to those
Who sit at my feet.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008


The sun is out I feel sleepy after a disturbed night and a lovely easy bike ride to work via a meeting with Dee. I had lunch with Fenia and a Greek visitor Gabriella and was moved to write a poem afterwards.

Poem for Gabriella

The light was dancing
In a strange way
In your eyes

You were mercurial
Or was it hermetic?
Moving from light to dark
Shallow to deep
Humour to grief
And back
And again

I saw some of your truth
In the remains of a dinner plate
(Rather than in a grain of sand)
Of current suffering
And future hope
And of the dancing light

Friday, 2 May 2008

Bike cycle story part two and three

Hi, a few days ago I posted my bike cycle poem which I received 2 welcome comments to me about it. You will recall that it was the first chapter maybe of an abandoned novel that worked as a poem (or possibly a short story). Here is the second extract that does not work as a poem, and the third which follows later does.

'What's happened to him? He's usually home by now. The meal's ready. I'll have a glass of wine' She paces restlessly up and down, picking things up - a knife here a plate there and almost immediately putting them down.

Time passes. 'Oh I wonder where he is. Who can I ring? Jonathan?'
"Hello Jonathan? It's Maria, Yes... Have you seen Matthew"
"Hi Maria. No, not since Tuesday."
"Oh, erm.."
"Has he not come home?"
"No... but he goes to his therapist after work..."
"Maybe he has stopped off somewhere, some place to think"
"No" sounding irritated, "No, No, err... Maybe I guess so but-"
"I shouldn't worry"
"No, you're right but I do"
"Why not wait until closing time and then worry"
"You don't sound convinced"
"Well, it's not like him"
"Look, if I can help in anyway..." ('Well meaning but totally useless as usual!')
"Thanks" (Through gritted teeth)
"Let me know when he comes in"
"I will. Bye" (No way)

I feel worse now. Jonathan was not much help. I turn off the oven but I am not hungry - I feel tight in my stomach, a dread knot of tension. What if?.... Closing time seems so long away and time passes slowly and watching TV does not help. I could ring my friends but that wont help me find him. Oh where is he.

It's 11.30 now and time to ring the police. They are sympathetic but the questions...

Bike cycle poem Part Three

Oh my God
They've found his bike
But they haven't found him
Where is he?
Is he dead?
Lost his memory?
Run away?
From me?!
Is he lying in a ditch somewhere?
What's happened?
What is happening to me?
What can I do?

I can clean the house
I can cook the supper
I can sit and stare at the wall
Help me someone