Melbourne excursion

I think I could live in Melbourne. I grew up in country NSW in a smallish town, the son of one of the town doctors. Hated it. Went to a boarding school in Sydney when I was 15. Changed my life forever. Living in the city was exciting, everything I wanted.

Currently I live in Canberra and have done so since 1992. Don’t get me wrong, Canberra was the right place for us to start and bring up a family. I have great friends, a good job and and it is where my private life started and blossomed. But it is not a Sydney or Melbourne.

In a previous post you will know that I decided to go to Melbourne to see a gorgeous lady. This is about that trip.

6:15 I fly out of chilly Canberra. I love travelling but don’t get to do it often enough. 7:25 arrive at Melbourne airport. 90 minutes later (I had forgotten what city traffic can be like) I arrive at the Park Hyatt in Melbourne. I felt like some indulgence. I leave my bag there and venture off to the city for a day of discovery and preparation.

First stop breakfast. My doctor had recommended a place called Cumulus Inc on Flinders Lane. Magic. I decided on the bircher muesli, I just couldn’t bring myself to have the English breakfast (blood sausage/black pudding). The coffee was excellent. I can recommend this place, for breakfast at least.

After breakfast I wandered the city to try and get the lay of the land. I also had to buy some stuff for the evening/nights rendezvous. Being of the person I am I tried to plan out the best way to travel the city and pick up the items I wanted. So what did I need

  • A particular vintage French champagne
  • Dark champagne truffles from Haigh’s Chocolates
  • Some fruit to go with the above items
  • A new pair of pants
  • A new pair of shoes

I found myself outside David Jones on the Bourke Street Mall. In I go to find some clothes. Up to menswear and to the Gazman collection. I like Gazman, they not only look good, wear well but do a size that fits me well (yes, I am a bit overweight). Pants, check. Looked at the shoes, couldn’t find anything I really liked. So down to the food hall and check out the liquor department. Couldn’t find the champagne I was looking for so opted for another one I had tried before and really enjoyed (picture later). Champagne, check. Added bonus, the food hall also sells Wensleydale cheese. Love my Wensleydale and yes I am a Wallace and Gromit fan. I will be back later to get some of that.

A friend had suggested I go to Queen Victoria Markets to get the fruit. Okay, time to figure out the trams. Lo and behold, trams are free in Melbourne CBD; best idea ever. So tram down to Elizabeth Street and then another up to the markets. Man, nothing like this in Canberra. I wandered around for a good hour and a half. Found the fruit I was looking for, check.

Lunch time, what to have. Out goes the twitter call and back come the answers. Off I go trying to find the N Lee bakery and get a Grilled Pork Vietnamese roll. Absolutely delicious. Do get one if you’re in Melbourne. Mine didn’t have the chilly but I believe they are just as nice with the chill.

Now, where is Haigh’s Chocolates. Oh look just around the corner, yay my feet were getting sore. Pick up the champagne truffles and then back to the hotel for a rest and to prepare for tonight.

No details about the evening other than it was great to catch up with my lady friend. We talked, drank, ate chocolate, and…

After my companion left I couldn’t sleep; I was happy, satisfied, content, I was enjoying myself. I read and eventually went to sleep and dreamt of my lover and times yet to come.

I woke at 8 the next morning eager to get this new day started. I wandered down to The Commune for breakfast. No muesli today, bacon, eggs, sausage and rosti. And another great coffee.

Back to the hotel, pack and check out. I had a ticket booked for the David Bowie exhibition for 11am. Left my bag at the hotel and wandered into the city to find another coffee. It started drizzling. Damn, my umbrella is in my bag back at the hotel.

I am listening to Heroes right now while writing this and remembering yesterday. I have tears on my cheeks at the moment.

I found a nice “alley” full of coffee shops. Picked one and sat under an umbrella in the rain, had a coffee and started journaling. Some of you will know that is one of my favourite activities and I do it several times a week. Out of the journaling comes these blog posts.

Down to Federation Square to see the exhibition; half hour early but they let me in anyway. Absolutely fabulous exhibition; one of the best I have ever seen. It covered his whole life. All his outfits were on display. I got to learn more about him as an artist. His music and videos were everywhere. As they give you your ticket they say it will take one to one and a half hours to go through the exhibition. Ha, more than two and half hours later I emerge – an emotional wreck (see previous post). Watching everybody and they reacted to the exhibition was great; us older people were dancing along with the music while reading and absorbing. Enough said other than if you can make it to Melbourne before 1 November then do.

Because of the way I was feeling I decided I had better get to the airport and wait out there for my plane. I spent a couple of hours at the airport, had a couple of drinks and started my blog posts. Not the way I planned to end my trip to Melbourne.

Overall the trip to Melbourne was a great break and I enjoyed it very much. Melbourne, I will be back.

Still recovering,

Eccles

A very different day

image

Today was always going to be a different day for me. Thursday is my day off work this month. Next month I am having Mondays off each week, I hope. That all depends on my psychologist and doctor. I already had a couple of appointments booked for today but after last night’s semi-drunk post I made an appointment to see my doctor as well.

First up this morning I did something I should have done months ago. Went to the Sexual Health Clinic at the hospital to get a screening done. Why would I do that? I wanted to make sure I was not capable of infecting anyone else.

Being a diabetic I have been in hospital quite a bit during my life and quite often I was a guinea pig as the medical students were doing the rounds with the senior doctors. Well, that happened today at the clinic. I got to be a guinea pig for a new young nurse who was just starting at the clinic. So, two ladies in the room with me asking me about my sex life (insert embarrassed face emoji here). All the questions answered, blood tests done, now wait for the results. However, that was not the most embarrassing thing I did today, more of that later.

Next off to the doctor. But I had an hour to wait so first thing a nice relaxing coffee while I figure out how to tell my doctor that I might be becoming an alcoholic.

I have a good doctor. He has looked after me for many years and we get on well, so when he moved practice to the other side of Canberra I decided I would put up with the extra drive time rather than find a new doctor. Anyway, into the doctor I go, tell him how much I’ve been drinking and wait for his response. “No problem”, he says. “We know you are really only a social drinker. This has been a tough year for you. Its good that you have recognised this difference in your drinking pattern now and not in a few years time. What to do” he says. Well, as it turns out, not much at the moment. I am seeing him again in 4 days. We will see how I go between now and then. I have it in my mind and that may be enough to curtail it.

Okay, now the embarrassing thing that I mentioned earlier. I am 52 years old and this year I started manscaping for the first time ever. Lots of research on the internet to find out what to do and how to do it. Shave here, clipper there. Shave your bottom. What the??? How the hell am I going to do that? I am not very flexible so there’s no way I can get around there and do that. Hmmm. I know, I’ll go to a professional and get a wax. At this point I will say, ladies, I take my hat off to you. That was one of the most embarrassing and undignified things I think I have ever done.

I walk into the salon and a pretty young lady comes out to meet me. “Hi, I’m xxx and I’ll be looking after you today.” Okay, I say to myself. “Come on in. We’re doing a Half Brazilian and bottom today, correct?” “Um, yeah.” “Okay, take everything off from the waist down and lie face up on the table.” “Face up?” I wonder, “oh well, she’s the expert.” “Now bring your knees up towards your chest as far as you can and hold them there.” “Really!!!!!!” Anyway, let’s cut this short. Lots of warm gooey stuff, paper being pressed on, grit your teeth and RIP. Ouch. Finally we’re done. “Hope to see you again” smiles the receptionist as I leave. Maybe, maybe not.

So what do you do on your day off?

A man whose not sure about waxing,

Eccles

My secret life

Leonard Cohen in my secret life
Leonard Cohen in my secret life

I consider myself to be a decent enough man. Others may not call me decent after reading this blog post. I am married and have two adult children. I have a good job and I like to think I am kind to those I interact with. I have a lot of friends who care about me. Up until this year I had been a practising Christian for over 30 years. I had a comfortable but troubled life.

That all changed last November. My brain and body stopped operating (again) in what most people would call a normal manner. I had a bit of a breakdown. Since then I have been learning about myself; what caused the meltdown, how I am feeling, what can I do to continue on with life. There are no easy answers to any of these questions but progress has been made. For instance, I am back at work and have managed to work my way back to working 4 days a week. In two months I go back full time.

I now know that I am not a Christian. This has disappointed a number of my friends. One in particular. I told him yesterday morning. He and I, and a few others, meet for breakfast every Friday. We chat, joke, help each other with life problems, and read the Bible. I made him cry. But I could not be truthful to him or me and not tell him. We have been having breakfast together for 20 years and I hope it continues for another 20.

Since last December I have once again been seeing a psychologist, weekly to start with, then fortnightly and now I we meet once a month. These have been the best sessions for me. I have found out a lot about myself, some of my issues (I am sure there are more) and we have figured out some plans on how to deal with life issues. Some issues can be helped with medication. Some you just have to face, like my social phobia. No magic cure, just take little easy steps and practice.

One of my issues has led to what I will call my “secret” life. There are quite a few people I have met in this secret life. Some have became good friends. A lot I respect greatly. I have learnt a lot about myself and others from this life as well. I am brave enough to admit that I was a hypocrite and I was able to lie to myself very convincingly. I can’t believe some of the things I used to think and sometimes say about other people.

I have one friend in my non-secret life who knows about my secret. I am sorry to say that I don’t think that many of my other friends would understand what my secret life means to me and that it helps me get through life. In my secret life I would be called a “punter” or a “john”, terms I don’t like. Personally I like the term “client”. To be frank about it, I have paid private escorts to spend time with me, sometimes very intimate times, sometimes not. I started my previous blog post, My public life, as follows

Last night I spent a number of very enjoyable hours with absolutely gorgeous lady. We enjoyed a meal, we drank, we talked, we did other things. I can’t remember ever feeling so at ease and relaxed in my life.

This was the third time we have spent time together and we plan to spend more time together. There are also two other ladies I see regularly, as time and money permits.

I have found these ladies to be some of the most understanding people I have ever met. They may not know it but they have helped me a great deal. A lot of my increase in self esteem I owe to them.

This time it has taken me 8 months to get to where I am now able to start coping again. There have been some major changes in my life – for the better as far as I am concerned. I’m still not fully there but have come a long way.

Ladies, you know who you are. If you read this, thank you. I am glad to know you and be part of your world and that you are part of mine.

Man, when I start I just keep going.

A secret man,

Eccles

Leonard Cohen in my secret life

My public life

DepressionLast night I spent a number of very enjoyable hours with absolutely gorgeous lady. We enjoyed a meal, we drank, we talked, we did other things. I can’t remember ever feeling so at ease and relaxed in my life. This, however, is not my public life.

The last three weeks have been a turmoil of emotions for me. If you have read the “Why?” page of this site you will know that I suffer from depression, acute social phobia and anxiety. So feeling at ease, relaxed and with a calm mind is an exceptional state of mind for me. I sit here writing this blog post and still feel relaxed, calm and I might even say content.

My turmoil of emotions over the last few weeks have led to very darks thoughts passing through my mind. If not for a very special friend in Melbourne, who I communicate over twitter with, I don’t know if I would be here today to write this. These were the darkest thoughts I have had in almost 9 years. Let me explain a bit more about how my particular mental illness manifests itself for me. I say it is my illness and the manifestations are peculiar to me because I believe that mental illnesses will manifest quite differently for each person.

Let’s start with the social phobia, this is the part that has lasted the longest and has led to some of my other issues. I got to a place where I could not go out socially, not even with my family. I was still able to go to work but was not able to interact with colleagues. People who know me will find that hard to believe but it is true. Phones are my worst phobia. I find it really hard to call people. I find it even harder to answer the phone. I am sort of okay talking with people on twitter, which is a good thing I am finding. However, even with twitter it will take me a while to jump in to a conversation. We believe my social phobia, which led very quickly to anxiety, started when I was about 12. I can’t figure out why, all I know is that it is a part of me.

As I said my anxiety followed on from the social phobia, and my anxiety led to clinical depression later in life. My depression culminated in two suicide attempts in 2006 and 2007. The anniversary of my last attempt is coming up in August. Yes it is something I think about and sometimes August can be a particularly sombre time fro me. Another reason to be writing this blog post now and not waiting till later.

I decided in January this year that I would begin to make my mental illness public. One reason for doing this is that I was exhausted from hiding my illness from most people. The only people who knew were my wife, children, three very special friends and my health care team. The other reason for making it public was I was hoping to help some colleagues whom I suspected were suffering. I thought that by going public they may be encouraged to seek help/advice. I know have regular coffees with 4 of my colleagues about how they are going. Makes it all worthwhile.

I think this post is long enough. I have called this post “My public life”. I am planning a second post (hopefully also tonight) called “My secret life” where I am going to explain more about myself. It is all me, all of me. Writing is very liberating.

A public man,

Eccles