The bubbling warm rancid mass and the porridgey abyss…

The bubbling warm rancid mass and the porridgey abyss…

Well I’m still alive so I suppose that’s a good thing. Yep, I woke up this morning and there I was – alive and kicking still. I can’t really ask much more than that now can I?  It might sound like I expected not to be here in the flesh today, as though some dramatic cataclysm might have overtaken me but no, I’m just stating the fairly flippin’ obvious, given that someone has to be writing this piece.

Simple and obvious as it seems, gratitude for breathing is something I no longer take for granted. Life is not a box of chocolates, I don’t care what Forrest Gump says. Life is basically a whole load of timber, a bucket of nails, a saw, hammer and maybe a bit of paint. Make of it what you will.  If it has gone awry at any point leave that bit behind you. Take your wood and your nails, build a bridge and get over it. Otherwise you make the best of it.

I came into this world stark naked with not a notion in my head.  I couldn’t talk, walk or smile.  All I could do was drink, fart, poop, sleep and cry until I got the hang of it and I got by. Not everyone is blessed with being born into the same environment as I was, that goes without saying, so I do count those blessings.  I live in a relatively safe place, no famine, volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis or poisonous snakes, to sneak up on you and bite you in the arse.   That’s not to say this little Island hasn’t seen its troubles, behind us now I’m glad to say, nor that I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, far from it.

I have known what it’s like to go hungry. Good things happen and bad things happen. I guess for me at least, the secret is to keep reaching back for the next plank of wood to build whatever needs to be built to move forward.  There is no conspiracy. No one is ever out to get me and when a whole heap of bad luck comes pouring across my lap, I try to be philosophical and accept that when that happens, it’s just my turn.  It’ll be someone else’s next week and sure worse things can happen – I’m still breathing aren’t I?


Last Saturday was perhaps the nicest day we’ve had all year. It was the beginning of a long bank holiday weekend and the sun was shining, I had feck all planned and I could relax.  At least that was the idea. Then I heard my name being called.  My full one. That’s never good.

Turns out a rather unpleasant substance was rising through one of the shores at the side of our house.  Yes, a nice hot sunny day at last I got to shovel Sh*t for my sins. Fortunately, or unfortunately perhaps, this was something I had come across in our last house, so I was in possession of not just one set, but two sets of drain rods.

I set about trying to glean the blockage in the sewage system with a little gusto. Unfortunately I am currently nursing a rotator cuff injury and I live with a damaged back permanently, so it wasn’t long before I was fecked.  Just as I thought it was clearing, lo and behold I discovered it was because I had diverted some of the blockage sideways and it was rising through another shore. Sweet love of the divine.  To add to my misery, my darling Jo checked the other side of the house, only to discover the manhole cover there, was only barely disguising a rising tide of a brown, gloopy, porridge like substance, that really didn’t smell like porridge.

It took some time and investigations to discover the eventual source of the problem but it had to be done.  Now for some people, this would be a wholly impossible task, but I had been through worse before and it wasn’t besting me at the expense of calling out the professionals on a bank holiday weekend.  They would surely have arrived only short of wearing eye masks, brandishing flintlock pistols and suggesting I might stand and deliver. But my previous experience had hardened me so I pushed on…literally.

My first such experience was an eye opener. If I’m honest, it was more of a gut wrencher, a stomach churner and a shock to the system. It was a similarly hot summer‘s day in our last house when we detected more than a faint odour in the air. On investigation the lid of the main drain in our back garden was lifting, and when I opened it I was horrified. Granted I was a Sh*t shoving virgin back, then so I had no idea that anything so vile and grotesque could ever be part of my life’s experience.


It is a long time ago now, but I recall every sight, sound and smell, as though it was yesterday.  And yes you read it right I said sound.  Then as now, I’m loathe to call in the professionals when DIY blood is coursing through my loved one’s veins, and she is there to direct me as though I was her apprentice. So I borrowed some rods and set about clearing the obstruction.

Now I have to be honest. I hadn’t a clue, not a bogs. The hole before me was 2 foot by 2 foot and about five feet deep.  It was full to overflowing with a brown gloop that no man should ever have to interfere with. I literally had to scoop bucket after bucketfull from the bubbling, warm, rancid mass before I could start with the rods. The moist gloopy globules of gunge, quite literally turned my stomach.  I began heaving and as I recall, vomited several times into the mess I was clearing as I worked.  Ah the joy of manliness.

Eventually I began screwing the rods together and slid them into the porridgey abyss and that is when the sound came in. It was a sucking, schlurpey, vacuum- releasing, air pocketed gulp and it made me dry reach, all the contents of my stomach having already been dispensed with.  When I eventually cleared the blockage that day and the sludgy mess of human decay slid away, all that was left was the clean-up.

I hosed everything within an inch of its life and when the last trace of all offending material was gone, I finally turned to myself.  I kid you not, I stripped off right there in the garden.  I didn’t give a feck. My clothes could burn and I needed a shower. I scalded myself and scrubbed layers of skin from my body, Howard Hughesque like in my quest to be clean again.

I am at the best of times, a man conscious of personal hygiene, so I was a little freaked out that even the smallest particle of what I had spent my day schlurping through, might remain on my body. Afterwards I was convinced that I could still smell the offending waste, so I took a nose trimmer and cleared out every last morsel of hair from my nostrils, for fear the odour might be clinging to them. Cue tips, cotton balls, I did everything, but I swear I could still smell it a week later. It was pure paranoia.

Having survived such things, the subsequent tribulations of my life seem less significant somehow. After all how bad can it get.  Today the power’s that be, have sent me for another fecking medical test, a new one that makes me nervous, but you know what, it only serves to remind me that life’s too short and things could always be worse.   Nowif I wake up in the morning and the air is fresh and I am still able to breathe it in – well that’s a good day. Life is after all – what you make it…


Haven’t read a Max Power book yet?  I think it’s time to pick one up.
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, Larry Flynn, Bad Blood and Little Big Boy
You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –
twitter @maxpowerbooks1

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Indelible and true…

Indelible and true…

When we consider our own mortality, many are drawn off the path of reality by romanticism, history, pathos, self-indulgence, vanity or hubris. Death is not something we see for what it is.  It’s not hard to see why. We fail to take cognisance of some of the harsher aspects to our demise, and for good reason.  No one wants to look such a creature in the eye. Yet I doubt we will ever be closer to ourselves than in those final moments.  To quote a line from my Darkly Wood, “death is such an intimate thing”.

Loss is a troublesome weight.  It knocks you over with the force of a double decker bus and lingers as grief while you struggle to recover. No one person feels the same.  I know I struggled with grieving in my younger days and it left scars that were unexpected. The consequences were significant and it was only in hindsight that I can see how it laid waste to my spirit for such a long time.

Although I came through it, I was oblivious to the havoc caused until I had learned to cope, but by then of course the damage was done. Through those experiences, I still chose to avoid the subject of death, or at least I chose not to analyse the prospect of my own demise with any honest introspection.  But then of course death came to my door, and surprised me with its kiss. I have felt its caress and though it seems like an age gone now, it has had an impact on me, left its mark indelible and true, and it has undoubtedly changed me.


There is discomfort, disquiet and dilemma when it comes to the very darkest of words.  As a student I was drawn to John Donne’s Death Be Not Proud, and to this day I can recite it by heart. It was perhaps my youth that drew me to it, my belief, that special thing of youth that can make us feel invincible, untouchable almost.

It is that very word that is maligned, avoided, diluted where possible, as if in admitting its existence we will fall to its graces. We do it without noticing.  He passed away – the departed – the priest on the pulpit who says we lost a good woman – the condolence of, I am sorry for your loss. The language around death, fails to adequately prepare those closest to those at its doorstep, for the moment when it will come.

When someone is terminally ill, we hear people talk of the illness and not the result.  When asked, a person is more likely to explain that the person in question has cancer rather than say, he’s dying.  I have heard it so many times, people avoiding the D word in all sorts of ways.  She is in intensive care, sure he has not long to go, it won’t be long now, the doctor’s don’t hold out much hope.

To say he or she is dying is almost impossible, yet it is a term that we should perhaps be thought to understand, respect and bring back to life. Maybe it is the fear of getting it wrong, for it is such a final word. But you know, there are times when it is such an inevitable thing that it is quite simply the whole truth.


I died. It was a brief and fleeting thing I know and had someone referred to me afterwards in CCU as dying, it would of course have been inaccurate for I came through it in the end. But there are circumstances when there is no getting away from it.

Where am I going with this?  I guess I am trying to square that circle of death and grief.  My grief was extended through a failure to come to terms with what had happened to my mother for example. Her passing – her death- was sudden, sharp and devastating.  It was literally life changing for a young man like me.  I had lost my father- he died – just 2 short years before my Mam but he went through a prolonged and in truth more difficult slow march to his end, suffering as he did with lung cancer. Dying because of it.  By the time my brother passed ( you see how easy it is to avoid the word) way too young at 53, I had at least begun to understand some of how loss was impacting my spirit. But it was the avoidance, the conflict of knowing the truth and trying to dodge the sharpest edge of the pain, that perhaps meant I inflicted unnecessary suffering on my soul.

Death, dying dead.  They are words to embrace before they fall in our lap. People die. It is the harshest truth of all.  I think we handle it quite well in Ireland and still we fall short.  We celebrate the life of our dear departed, and I have been to many a fine wake in my lifetime, but still we miss the moment sometimes.

How hard it must be for a doctor to pass the news that a loved one had died – to use the word. I remember when my mother died, that a young policeman and woman had to be present for me to identify her as she lay still and unfamiliar in her hospital bed.  I doubt I will see such discomfort again and still neither of them used the dreaded D word.

Perhaps I am wrong.  It is avoided for good reason maybe, but by avoiding it through many years of grief, long since passed I am pleased to say, I became an expert at such deceit and I did myself a disservice.


I will leave you with my memory of my own dying moments and while perhaps they come from my naturally melancholy soul, they can be taken for what they are at face value, or one can read more into it, if that is one’s inclination. I recall that my strongest feeling as I realised what was happening was sadness. My life didn’t pass before my eyes but I felt sad not for myself, not at all.  I was sad because I thought of my darling Joanna and my wonderful children. In that direst of moments I didn’t want to leave the burden of my passing on their sweet shoulders and perhaps that is what saved me, I don’t know. Somehow I doubt it.

I didn’t let go, I was pulled away from life and it was dramatic and harsh and surprising in my case, yet it was my melancholia that rose to the surface.  That is thus for everyone I doubt.  Maybe we live our last moments as we truly are, who knows.  I can only speak for myself.

Coming through the other side was an entirely different matter. Frequent visitors to my site know what followed me back from the far side and I have yet to understand the nature of the beast.  What I do know is that having been touched by the sword; I am more in touch with the nature of its blade. Death is nothing to fear, dying is just a word. Loss on the other hand is something we all will suffer but perhaps suffer less if we come to take back the words that frightens us most…

Haven’t read a Max Power book yet?  I think it’s time to pick one up.
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, Larry Flynn, Bad Blood and Little Big Boy
You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –
twitter @maxpowerbooks1

Universal book links

Four powerful words…

Four powerful words…

There’s nothing like a bit of adventure. From an early age I had a bit of a grá (love) for anything that hinted of adventure. It came from my love of books and movies I guess, as well as the restrictions imposed on me by growing up in a working class suburb of Dublin all those years ago. We weren’t poor but poverty was never far away and we were all very familiar with it’s grasp. There was no guarantee that any of us would make it out of that life. I was fortunate but while I waited for the world to find me, I took every opportunity that came my way.

I came from a tough place in many ways, harsh and unforgiving to anyone who showed a sign of weakness, clawing and grasping, always trying to pull you in and keep you bound to where you were planted. There was nothing wrong with my roots, it was a fine upbringing in many ways but I knew there was more to the world and I desperately wanted to see it all.  How could I find it if I didn’t take some chances.? I instinctively knew that I needed wings and chose to believe even as a little tot, that I had them.  

Believing set me free.  I tried to take off so many times but my wings didn’t seem to open. Perhaps they weren’t strong enough at first.  It didn’t matter. I flutterflied around like a floaty little sprite completely unaware of my apparent affliction. All I knew was that if I kept trying, some day my wings would catch the wind and I would soar.

But wings are delicate things and spirits even flimsier. To run from atop a roof and jump full of belief is one thing, to do it a second time when you have hit the ground hard the first time, is a more onerous proposition. I had my fair share of falls but each time I would stand back up, a little tyke in short trousers, I’d shake my mop of blonde hair and brush the dirt from my bleeding knees, and look back up at the roof. There was always only one thing to do, try again tomorrow.


Sometimes I’d dawdle. Looking back I’m surprised I just didn’t give up sometimes, but there was adventure to be had and I knew instinctively that it couldn’t be had, crying over a cut knee. As I got older and grew gangly-headed into my teens, I still hadn’t managed to get my damned wings to fly.  There were moments where I’d run and jump and it felt like the wind held me and my spirit would glide a little.  It felt incredible.  Little things, tiny victories over my adolescent insecurities made me believe again, but it was becoming harder to maintain the belief that had carried my littler self through childhood. I remember the story of the little train who thought he could, and I tried hard to use that as a thread of self-belief when all about me told me different.

My world told me that I couldn’t be or wouldn’t be. I grew bigger and bolder within myself, still wanting, still hoping, worrying that maybe I was foolish to belief my gossamer wings would ever hold my weight. I was still a boy not yet a man, when I got some work experience with a business at the airport.  It was a glamorous world to a boy like me. My boss drove a fancy car and I mingled with the world as they came and went through that place, taking off to places with names that sounded so exotic, places I had only ever read about in books.

One day a customer was having coffee with my boss when he referred to where I lived.  He said that he had driven through as fast as he could.

“Wouldn’t want to stop at the lights or they’d have the wheels off.” That’s what he said and I was standing right behind him. He had no idea he was speaking about my neighbours.  But my boss did and I remember how he looked at me over his shoulder, embarrassed for not saying something, perhaps in truth agreeing with the man. I wasn’t sure. But I did something that day that changed me I think. I spoke up and I spoke plainly.

“That’s where I live.”

They were four of the most powerful words I had ever spoken. He turned and looked at me. I was still a flitterling, a wisp of a lad in a cheesecloth shirt and jeans, looking down the barrel of a man of substance.  He was a big man, brash and opinionated, with all of the confidence that I only imagined possible. He came from a different world.  His was a world of wealth and privilege. He was a confident man, my elder, my better and I had stepped across a line that surprised even me.

I didn’t know what to expect but I did not expect his response. For a second he glowered at me, but I stood there like I had come across a grizzly in the woods and had decided to challenge it. Incredibly I was fearless.  There was something about the way he spoke that had really bothered me, and the fact that my boss had cowered and shied away from defending me, had made me feel angry.


I can’t remember the man’s name, but I’ll never forget the look on his face.  His knotted brow dropped slack as his cheeks went red.  I let the silence hang and the air between us putrefied with his discomfort.

“I…I…There… I mean…Of course… I didn’t…”

He was looking for a way to say he wasn’t referring to me of course but by default still insulting everyone I knew.  I raised my hand palm forward and he stopped. I turned and walked away and left him to his discomfort.

It was a small thing in many ways, but it was bigger than you can imagine. Those four words gave me something I didn’t immediately recognise. I had stood up as a boy against man, a boy from a neighbourhood with a bad reputation to challenge a man of wealth and supposed class, and I had crossed a divide.

In that moment, I had levelled the playing pitch for the rest of my life. No one was better than me. No one could say it or think it or feel it in my presence ever again. Later that day my boss came to me and I half expected a rollicking. He told me instead that he admired how I had handled myself and said that he had been too embarrassed to challenge the man. He told me he had been incredibly impressed with my coolness and confidence in the situation. For my part, I was a little disappointed in him. Where I had stood up, he had let himself down. 

It was a Friday afternoon and he told me to head off a little early. I went downstairs, unlocked my bicycle and swung my leg across onto the saddle.  It was a glorious summer’s evening and I had a fifteen mile cycle ahead of me.  But on a day like that it was easy, I simply spread my wings and took flight…


Haven’t read a Max Power book yet?  I think it’s time to pick one up.
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, Larry Flynn, Bad Blood and Little Big Boy
You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –
twitter @maxpowerbooks1

Universal book links

Lurking in the shadows of my shadows…

Lurking in the shadows of my shadows…

Introspection is a dangerous thing.  Sometimes we can over analyse the crinkles in our souls. Mine is a ragged mess which I have tried to hide with a muslin cloth of daily activity. I daren’t look too close for fear that what lies beneath the delicate fabric is something different than I remember.

My better self is not easy to find. I think perhaps I only have the one that sits on the wall outside my house, dangling my legs like the boy I still am, hoping that someone will come out to play. There is no other me on a shelf somewhere, no better me, just the scrag-end feeling too sad, too often and holding in the tears so no-one knows my secret.

But you have to peek beneath a cloth like that don’t you? When I am at my lowest, when my dark shadow monster Mr. Squiggles comes to visit me, there is nowhere for me to hide. I wonder about him often.  That he is not a constant in my life, that he has stayed away for a while now, offers me the time to look a little closer at him in his absence.


I am not religious.  The Catholic Church worked hard to beat it into me as a boy, but instead crushed it out of me.  I am unleavened bread.  There is no depth to my former Christianity. I attended a funeral recently and I still knew all the words, but I can no longer allow them to slip from my lips in a lie.  It has been a long time since they have.

Is the absence of this former God in my life, the hole in my psyche that allows Mr. Squiggles to creep through when I am vulnerable? Like a sneak thief he comes to visit when I accidentally forget to put the latch on my soul’s window. That dark shadow man just watches me.  I have seen him scent the air, raising his head to smell me like a piece of meat. When he comes, he is the wolf and I the lamb.

But as a man of science not religion, I cannot believe what my eyes tell me and I have tried to rationalise his visits. I have failed. It may be hard to imagine believing the unbelievable, especially if like me you believe that there simply must be a logical explanation for everything. I think that if there is no explanation, I simply don’t have enough information or knowledge to find the answer, but I know there surely must be one.

Let me give you an example. I was once given a miraculous medal, a gift from my maternal grandmother.  I lost it several times but it always found its way back to me. Over the years, more miraculous medals have appeared and I have lost them. I have never purchased one or sought them out, I am after all a godless man. Why then do I keep the medal? I said I was godless, I never said I wasn’t sentimental.  When I found a second medal in my wallet, not knowing how it got there, I started to keep it in my car ashtray (I don’t smoke)   When I changed cars on 2 separate occasions I forgot to take the medal leaving me again with one, only for another brand spanking new one to appear somewhere on my travels.  In the past couple of weeks I came across 2 more medals. Where? One in my shirt pocket and one in my wallet. Don’t ask me how, I didn’t put them there.  I now possess four in total and I have no idea how.

Perhaps I have a secret miraculous medal benefactor you might say, or I have blackouts and subconsciously buy them in secret.  I hardly think so, but I know there has to be a reason. I just don’t know it yet. Much like my Mr. Squiggles, it is one of quite a few unexplainable things in my life. There must be an explanation I am sure but I am so far in the dark.


I have crafted myself a cloak of invincibility but it is like gossamer. I whet my life sword to battle through and I wet my lips with the excitement of each new journey that I begin. There is an adventurer in me, and time left for more adventures I hope.  But that part of me is only possible as long as I don’t look under the muslin cloth covering my darkness.

You might think it is that easy, just don’t look.  I have to look. There is a tether there. It pulls me back and ties me in; afraid my wings will set me free of the despair within.  But my flight is more mayfly than butterfly and my brief attempts to soar, leaves me spent of joy, and exhausted from the effort to draw free of my link to the darkness beneath my covers.

It is there that Mr. Squiggles finds me I think. Yet he is not drawn from the darkness, rather he is of the darkness. There is a chill I feel when he is near. I dare not open my eyes at that very personal witching hour, for I always know when he is due and he is never late. No matter how dark the night, he visits me at such times and he is darker than any nightshade.

The worst of him came as I lay in my hospital bed having come back from the brink, and I know I brought him with me from that place.  He was happy and free that first night. Excited to have found his form again like some genie in a bottle, he was loose and he sought out those waiting to cross back over. Perhaps he needed an exchange to remain free I don’t know, but when he finally settled on my window ledge that night, I knew he was waiting for me.


He is patient my shadow man.  He will wait.  Several weeks have passed now and he has not called on me. But I know he is close. I know he is lurking, waiting in the shadows of my shadows and he will find me again. That I know him, yet know nothing of him, makes him no more or less real. That I cannot believe his existence nor deny it, can only mean I am lacking the knowledge to understand. But he is real. He is dark, my Mr. Squiggles.  He is dark and he is quiet, and he has patience. There will come a night soon when he will return. I do not fear him but I also know that one night he will come and he will do more than watch me from the corner or from my window sill. That perhaps is the night to fear for I know on that night; he will look for me to go with him…

Haven’t read a Max Power book yet?  I think it’s time to pick one up.
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, Larry Flynn, Bad Blood and Little Big Boy
You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –
twitter @maxpowerbooks1

Universal book links

The merry-go-round of ageing and my Leftsideacacia-guntheredthefuckiosis

The merry-go-round of ageing and my Leftsideacacia-guntheredthefuckiosis

I’m banjaxed. I’m like the wreck of the Hesperus lately. Sometimes I look behind me to see if any bits have fallen off as I walk.  My body is actually making creaking noises, now that can’t be good.  If I close my eyes I can imagine myself swinging in a hammock aboard a 19th century clipper ship. I am below decks in a corner of the captain’s cabin and just above the sound of the ocean, I can hear the ship creak as the timbers move.  It sounds almost romantic until I open my eyes and remember that it’s my shoulder making that noise.

This morning I woke up lying on my back. My arms were elbows bent, fists to my temples across my pillow, in what I am sure would look like a natural sleeping position.  Do you think I could rotate my feckin’ left shoulder out of that position?  When I did, my back locked, so I twisted my body and my left knee touched my right knee and …you don’t want to know.  I’m not even that old…relatively.

I saw Cian Healy the week before last. For those unfamiliar with Irish Rugby, he is a beast of a lad who can bench press 440 lbs – with ease apparently. I can barely press my arse up off a bench these days so we have little in common.  He had the look of a fella that could carry a couple of bullocks under each arm and still shake your hand.

Now, I was never built quite the same, but he brought me back to a time when  I could cycle fifteen miles to work and back each day, and afterwards go for a five km run before training.  Unlike the bauld Cian, I was a more slender athlete.  There was more meat on a butcher’s pencil to be fair.  If I stood sideways in the shower, I’d come out dry. Ah dem were de days.  I never put an ounce of weight on until I was thirty. My  -how times have changed.

Someone once told me that aging is a process. Bo**ocks! It’s a pain in the arse that’s what it is.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the number thing.  I’m ok with that.  I don’t even mind the blonde becoming platinum or the extra crinkle or two on my auld face. What I do object to, is the regularity with which bits of me need a service. I hate going to the doctor – I really do. Now leaving aside the troubles this old ticker has caused me in recent years, I really think the rest of me should have held up a little better and I refuse to go running for medical assistance with every ailment.  Besides I’m not even sure what’s normal anymore.


I was standing in front of the mirror the other day, as you do, and my left shoulder was screaming at me.  It was calling me all sorts of names, telling me I was some baxtard for ever playing basketball when I was a young fella. I looked at my shoulder and could see no discernible difference between it and my less upset right shoulder. In fact they looked exactly the same.

So then I looked at my left knee and again, it was cursing me.  Wasn’t I the feckin’ eejit for riding bikes to work, when I could have got the bus, and what the feck was all that running about eh?  Once more, his neighbour the right knee, stood there quietly, not a moan or the hint of a complaint out of him, and it got me thinking.

The one affliction that I’ve had since birth is dodgy vision in my left eye.  Now there I was looking out of my good right eye, at my ropey left eye, fecked left knee, my bitchin’ and moanin’ left shoulder and didn’t my heart go and actually shut down completely at one point altogether, and that was a lefty too.  Hold on, I thought… There’s a pattern developing here.

I’m right handed, I dress to the right, kick a ball best with my right foot and my hair, let loose to it’s own devices, will try to fall to the right.  Now to be fair, these days when I say ‘fall to the right’  it’s more of a memory thing.  I’m not bald but the days of hair long enough to fall anywhere are long gone (Aah my Leif Garret days). Yes it would seem that I am left-aflictidy or I suffer from the well-known affliction of leftsideacacia-guntheredthefuckiosis. 


They say that youth is wasted on the young, but I don’t know, maybe it’s partly true. If only I knew how fabulous I was when I was fabulous, instead of thinking that I was anything but. There was the odd occasion where I let my hair down and relaxed for half a second, to indulge myself with thoughts of minor fabulosity.  Little moments like when I bought myself a lemon cheesecloth shirt for a date and went into town feeling like a million dollars, only to be stood up (Long story – she’d had a good excuse really ) and to feel instantly crushed as my young head saw only rejection in that moment. I went home deflated, feeling a little less like David Soul despite the hair-cut, but somehow still singing ‘Don’t give up on us Baby’ in my head.

Don’t get me wrong, I had my little swagger, “yeah baby”, but it was very much a self-conscious, not letting anyone see the nervous little imp beneath the bravado type of thing.  I walked the walk, talked the talk, but never truly believed back then. Perhaps that’s what they mean by youth being wasted.  I certainly didn’t know what I had, I only thought of what I hadn’t got and by that I don’t mean possessions.

As I’ve matured (some might think that statement questionable) I have learned to value the good things about myself.  I still have a swagger that belies any insecurities remaining, but I throw that out for fun mostly these days.  I don’t embarrass which is good, and I have been known to use this to my advantage. I certainly give the impression that I’m incorrigible at times but that’s deliberate and all for fun.  It is something I’ve always had to some extent ,but only learned to appreciate as I have grown older.


But there’s the trade-off. Age brings additional confidence to be more true to yourself, I suppose.  Unfortunately in my case at least, the wear and tear is a nuisance that I find particularly frustrating.   I still go at things like a bat out of fell, throwing myself into a physical task with abandon like a twenty year old, only now I’m fecked for a couple of weeks afterwards.

I think the problem is that I’m so right side dependent that all the fitness levels I built up over the younger years, has settled to one side.  I have the body of a twenty five year old on one side, with all the decrepitude settling in over to the left.  If you were to ask me how I am feeling, I can probably say with a fair amount of confidence that I’m all right.  I blame it all on my leftsideosis.  The only question now, is can I do anything about it now or is it too late?

Haven’t read a Max Power book yet?  I think it’s time to pick one up.

You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –
twitter @maxpowerbooks1

Universal book links

Eating Cream cakes with Oprah…

Eating Cream cakes with Oprah…

I’m thinking of getting a full body replacement.  There are too many bits of me that require attention these days. If it’s not my back it’s my knees or my shoulder, my dodgy ankle or some random pain that just appears and then goes away without rhyme nor reason. Leaving aside my altogether far too dodgy ticker, the occasional digestive problem and  deteriorating eyesight and hearing, if I was a dog, you’d put me down. I’m not even all that old (relatively).

I blame it on good living. When I was younger, I played all sorts of sports, rode my bike everywhere and ran far too many miles including a marathon. The result? Every bone, joint, ligament and piece of shagging cartilage in my possession, is now complaining to me that I should have stayed in my bed, eating crisps and watching sport instead of playing it.   To be fair, given my cardiac genetics that would have seen me in the grave long before now, so perhaps the aches and pains are good value for a life well lived after all.

In fairness, I am still a magnificent rugby player- well from the comfort of my armchair at least. My darling Joanna threatens to film me watching Ireland play, as apparently I kick every ball and take every tackle as if I was there. Not true, I think she’s making it up.  In fairness I do get a little excited.  Tomorrow I will watch Ireland play Scotland on the edge of my seat and to steal a quote, “It’s not the despair – I can stand the despair. It’s the hope I can’t take.”

Now the problem with me is that I have the attention span of an ADHD gnat. I’ll forget completely that I’m knackered in more ways than I care to really admit, and then go do some ridiculously vigorous physical activity as though I am still twenty years old and in full possession of my faculties. Cue, disc prolapse or anterior cruciate ligament damage.   But I can’t help myself.


My back is in a terrible state – far too wrecked in that department to go into detail. It is so bad that I realised people were noticing and making allowances for me. In response, I cover it up completely now.  There is nothing more boring than listening to me bang on about how much pain I’m in, and when the person being bored is yourself…you’re in trouble. Now if anyone cares to ask, I say that I’m fine. 

I can’t ever allow myself to become someone who is stopped by the niggles that creep in as you get older.  What should I do? Should I say no I won’t do that because I’ll be in bits tomorrow?  No Damn it.  I’ll do it and BE in bits tomorrow, at least that way I am living my life and not giving in to decrepitude. God knows how much more I’ll be afflicted in twenty years’ time if I survive that long. But what do I do? Should I give in to the big things? No way buddy!  Maybe allow the small things to take me out for a while? Afraid not.

I’m not saying I don’t have the odd mumbly grumble, of course I do.  If I’m sitting with my leg up, sporting an ice pack, it’s hard not to see I have a problem.  When I’m fubarred after I’ve dug three feet of snow from the driveway because they haven’t fixed all the  blockages in my ticker, well fair enough, but I’ll be fecked if I don’t go clear it anyway. I know I drive my darling Jo nuts sometimes.  She watches me like a hawk and tells me to stop as I try to assuage her with, “Yeah just this bit and I’ll come in” but she is never fooled. I guess some of it is inspired because a little part of me, always wants to be her Superman, no matter how creaky I get.


I know that I’m not alone.  We all have some physical issue from time to time or in some cases, all the time to a lesser or greater degree than I.  One of my pet hates is however, the whinge that is exaggerated for sympathy.   Honestly, I work with a permanent and reasonably high level of pain every day.  I get up early, do a full day’s work and anything else that needs to be done.  I write, I walk the dogs every day and so on. It’s called getting on with life and I neither want nor need anyone’s sympathy. 

When I hear someone with a cold, whine on about having ‘the flu’ or a person with a minor ache turn it into a living nightmare, it rankles me.  I see people I love carry on, get on with life, overcoming great physical distress in some cases, but never stopping until the job is done.   My nearest and dearest is one such person and on top of my undying love, she had my respect and admiration for her ability to overcome whatever is thrown at her.

I am not sure where such resilience comes from. Grumpy auld feckers like me, will cite how we were brought up the hard way. We had to walk to school in seventeen foot drifts of snow in our bare feet, each of us carrying a lump of coal to light the school fire so the teacher could stay warm, while he beat us repeatedly with sticks the size of tree branches and forced us to rote learn the entire one hundred and eleventy times tables…and that was just the teachers pets…Lucky Bas**rds!

It’s no wonder we get on with it (save the odd whinge like this in a blog). Every generation since has had it easy…that’s what we would say if it wasn’t for the crippling arthritis in our jaws, brought on my them being punched repeatedly by our friends as entertainment as we had nothing else to play with when we were kids and no feckin’ telly.  Aah telly when I was a lad… now there was a reason to go outside and hurt yourself…

I suppose when I’m nostalgic I look back with fondness at  The Clangers and Captain Pugwash.  I romanticise about ‘quality’ programmes like Mannix, Longstreet or The Rockford Files… ah yes dem were de days!  Me arse! 

I remember watching the test card waiting for the telly to start broadcasting at 4 or 5 pm and then watching the National Anthem after the Late Late Show at 11.30 on a Saturday as it came to a close. Nostalgia has a way of forgetting all the sh*te that was on the box back then.  So it’s no wonder I spent so much time outside injuring myself and then found my way into sports where I could hurt myself even more.


I’m sometimes surprised that I can get up of the couch… (Sometimes it can be a struggle to be fair)… but where was I?  Oh no I forget!  I’ve lost my train of thought.  That’s it…It’s probably early onset dementia!   I wouldn’t be at all surprised.  That’s either from watching all those rubbish TV programmes or from falling on my head once too often as I jumped off the garden shed when I was seven… So remember- play it safe.  Nothing too physical when you’re young, feet up watchin’ the telly ,eating cream cakes with Oprah and…and .. oh hang on.. is Oprah even on the telly these days…  Damn this feckin’ creeping dementia!

Of course I have to add a caveat here.  My mother always warned me about not saying you had something that you didn’t actually have.  It fell under the general description of “Mocking is catching” so just to be safe … I’m grand, I’m fine…. nothing to see here…

Haven’t read a Max Power book yet?  I think it’s time to pick one up.
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, Larry Flynn, Bad Blood and Little Big Boy
You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –
twitter @maxpowerbooks1

Universal book links

all 5

Darkly Wood

By: Max Power


When a new arrival to the village of Cranby discovers a small leather-bound book called ‘Tales of Darkly Wood’ she soon discovers that not all of the stories within are as fantastic as they first appear.

The book tells of supposedly terrible events which have occurred in the Wood that overlooks the village. What begins as an innocent stroll with her new admirer up by Darkly Wood soon turns into a nightmare for young Daisy, one from which it seems impossible to escape.

The line between reality and fantasy soon begins to blur, as a fledgling love affair is tested in the most terrifying circumstances. Swept up in her emotions, the young girl soon discovers that while sometimes love is all you need, sometimes love is not enough. There is something wrong up in Darkly Wood, and soon Daisy has to fight to save more than her…

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