Turn and Face the Strange…

I’ve been having a weird time of it lately. First of all my good friend Julian Spurrier died. That was on New Year’s Eve, so it kind of set the tone for the coming year. I don’t think I quite processed it at the time. It’s only recently that the implications have started to filter into my confused little brain.

After that, in June, I retired. That was a good thing, of course, but still very disruptive. So I don’t have to get up for work any more, but that also means that my routine has been broken. I keep having anxiety dreams where I’m supposed to be in work. It’s obviously taking time for me to process this one too.

After that – and barely two weeks after my retirement – my Dad died. I don’t need to go into detail on how devastating that has been. I’m sure readers who have lost a loved one will already know. For those of you who haven’t: there really are no words which can describe it.

Again, it takes time to work these things through. I still find myself, over three months after the event, caught short on a memory, suddenly aware that he is gone, as if I’d somehow forgotten; after which I’ll find myself having to turn my back to wipe away a tear.

It was only after Dad’s death that the implication of Julian’s passing became clear. Julian was my contemporary. For the last forty years or more, for most of my adult life, I’ve been seeing him on a regular basis.

We lived with each other for a time and, more recently, he was a near neighbour. I would expect to bump into him at least three times a week. And now he is gone, whisked away into the unknown, that great mystery we call death.

And as if all that wasn’t disruptive enough, now I find that I am moving.

I say that as if it’s surprise to me; and, of course, it’s the consequence of a decision I have made, but, just like everything else, it takes time for the mind to process.

So it’s only now, as I’m surrounded by boxes, attempting to pack away the contents of my life, that the implications are becoming clear.

I’m moving in with a couple of friends: in fact into Julian’s old house. It’s a temporary measure. I have no idea where I will be in a year or two’s time.

Meanwhile I’m attempting to sort out and filter down the contents of a whole flat and ten year’s worth of accumulation, in order to squeeze it into a single room. Like the retirement, it’s a positive change, but highly disruptive. Where is all this stuff supposed to go?

There’s a mathematical theory known as Catastrophe Theory. I remember watching a TV programme about it some years back. As I understand it, it suggests that massive and extraordinary moments of change are actually built into any dynamic system. Not only is change inevitable, but also, every so often, the accumulation of small changes leads to big changes that will literally change the world.

I seem to be going through such a process myself at the moment. The world I thought I knew is gone. The world that is to come is still a mystery. I’m poised in a moment of transformation wondering what will happen next.

I’m not the only one. Everywhere I look, changes are occurring. The accumulation of small changes is building to a critical point. Who knows where any of us will be in a few years time?


From The Whitstable Gazette 11/10/18

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Send letters to: The Editor, Room B119 Canterbury College, New Dover Road, Canterbury CT1 3AJ

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email: kentishgazette@thekmgroup.co.uk





  1. Strange that l should read this today, or maybe it’s synchronicity.
    First of all Chris, very sorry to hear about your dad and your friend. It’s always shocking.
    But a move, too? That’s a lot to deal with, all at once…..major life-shift.
    I heard today, that my ex-partner that l moved to Norfolk with in ‘79-‘80, died.
    He died in July and no-one contacted me.
    I’m feeling gutted, today, as I would have liked to have been there to say goodbye to him….Or at least go to his funeral..
    He was an alcoholic and died from cancer of the oesophagus.
    He was such a larger than life figure and musician but death takes it all away.
    It’s is such a leveller.
    I’m grieving for a part of my life that l shared with him and now it’s all gone.
    I know we must let it go but today l just had to get out onto the sunshine and make way for new things coming….clearing space for my caravan to come.
    Feeling sorrow.


  2. Chris, as you know I have been losing people from my life, including my Dad, and going through various upheavals for the past few years, so I know what you are talking about is like. I am seriously considering another for next year when if I go through with it, I will move back to Wales, probably Bridgend area. Meanwhile, the world at large is undergoing massive changes and no one can really say what will happen!


  3. Its quite scary these changes that come one after the other. mine started in 2011 i think when my father moved out and thinking to a certain extent i was liberated it went the other way making life even harder. this catastrophe theory im beginning to under stand and im waiting to see when all these little problems eventually break the dam and massive change happens. this can also be applied to global warming i reckon when one day we’re going to have a massive shock.


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