the United State of mental health in the UK

society, Urban Living

Last month the UK government announced an increase in mental health funding by 1.3 billion.  This should be welcomed news, but I have my doubts.  The total disregard and intentional underfunding of the NHS means I can’t help but wonder whether this is just another tactic to stop us thinking about Grenfell or DUP rather then a true calling of the Conservative government…but on the positive, London  (Feel free to insert your town name here.) needs every extra penny it can get to tackle mental health issues.

You see London (Feel free to insert your town name here.) is a hotbed of insanity.  The fast pace, isolation, exhilaration, inequality, anonymity, poverty and riches make it a head fuck prime location.  Behind closed doors and touch screens people are falling apart.

If in any doubt, take an early morning stroll along Brixton High Street.  You’ll see that full blown, in your face, well recognised “madness”.    At the lights you’ll see Rough Looking Guy shouting at the top of his voice in the middle of the road, daring drivers to go on and kill him then.  Look to your left and see White Laydee (sic) a women in her fifties, with a white emulsion painted face perfectly colour matched to her white lace ballgown.  Hanging out on the corner you’ll see a lady I call “Elsa”, who, regardless of the weather, wears a bikini and so for most of the year must be frozen.

But when I think of the people above, I wonder whether there actions are a result of a clinical mental illness?  I don’t know their stories, or diagnosis’ but would there behaviour be classified in the DSM?  Or is it just that the pressures of life have been so traumatic that they just snapped and no longer wanted to play the game by the conventional rules?   The stresses and strains of living in London; (Feel free to insert your town name here.) with its austerity cuts, institutionalised racism, housing crisis, £7:00 coffees and food banks are immense.  With many Londoners struggling to “keep their heads above water”, are we always just one job restructure away from losing it?

So perhaps if the government is really dedicated to improving the mental health of the London and the nation as a whole,  it should look to healing a broken society crippled by uncertainty, fear, rising financial difficulties and debt.

 

 

 

 

 

Brixton Bids farewell to Bowie

Life Beyond The Kitchen Sink

Exit the tube station, politely avoid free newspapers and exhausted rat racers, navigate the Shibuyaesque traffic lights, then walk along the side of Morleys department store.

The mood changes. It’s a quieter. Quiet enough to hear Rebel playing. Dark enough for the candles to illuminate the graffiti messages adorning the Iman cosmetics posters on the department store windows. People are still…and smiling.

Locals and travellers from afar have congregated on the Bowie mural in Brixton to pay their respects.   YouTube is full of footage from the impromptu Bowie Party held shortly after Bowie’s death was announced on Monday.  The duality of the peaceful and party remembrance seems the perfect fit for both Brixton and Bowie.

As Brixton bids goodbye to the Duke, the universe reclaims back it’s star.

 

 

 

Diaries of a Gardening Novice……From start to finished (for now )

garden

Diaries of a Gardening Novice

January

My father was an amazing gardener, from Callaloo to Corn he grew all types of local and tropical treats in our garden in the deepest darkest depths of Peckham, London.   So you could say that gardening is in my blood.. I wouldn’t, just like his cooking skills, it seems this talent may have skipped my generation.

But I do have the passion.

This is the continuing journey of how our back garden will become a secret escape..

BH xx

And so the journey begins.

And so the journey begins…

February

The vision is growing… I have seen the promised land, its just buried under all of this clay and brick. As I begin to dig, I ponder starting a Gardenise exercise class, surely everyone is over Zumba, and who doesn’t want toned arms? I make a personal note to email Gymbox the next day.

I have seen the promised land.

I have seen the promised land.

March

Ok…so gardening is not sexy. The previous thoughts of toned arms are long lost in the cold realities of British Winter time and dirty finger nails, but the progress is steady… Until it all turns a bit Stephen Kingish and everything comes to a sudden halt. As my mother is a history and archaeology fanatic, I have grown up with the delusion the Earth beneath our feet is just waiting to reveal its treasure. So what was history’s gift to me, well it seemed to have fur, a disregarded Victorian teddy bear perhaps? Alas no, on closer inspection I see a cat paw, as memories of Pet Cemetary flash before me I throw down my spade and seek sanctuary and sympathy in the arms of the Mr. This month’s personal note is to call the council’s special disposal unit. Gardening is definitely not sexy.

What lies beneath

What lies beneath

April

Encouraged by Sunshine, (imaginary) butterflies and the support of my fellow bloggers (Roses delightPam and Maria Mahreeaaah amongst others. 😉 I pushed the murky Stephen Kingesque past behind me and battled on.

And it is an ongoing battle.  When I think of my ideal garden space, I dream of a flat, sunny, spacious affair… Alas just like me, my little patch is far less than perfect.  Yet albeit, shady, sloped and wide, MLP seems to embrace it’s “challenging” label, and so,  inspired by it’s non-conformist beauty I labour on. With memories of my time in Portugal, a terraced wonderland springs to mind, and the words “shovel”, “mallet” and “bad back” (amongst other less flowery words) spring to my lips.

It was however worth it, as this was my chance to put all of my “research” (pronounced “cyberspace procrastination”) into good use and start buying and planting :-). As you can see from the pictures, I didn’t go “craaayzey” (pronounced “like Solange in the lift“) with the purchases.  With a baby and new mortgage on the way, I had to get “creative” with the budget.  Fortunately, with my friends and family and freecycle.org, that wasn’t so difficult and actually quite fun!

One step at a time

One step at a time

April

Let the planting begin

May

My raking handy work had paid off…I had created perfectly flat platforms ready to go forth and prosper.  Then my brain received a phone call..

“Hello….It’s the Brixton Housewife here and I think spontaneity is fun!”

In comes a change of plan and a quick google search for garden ponds…

BH xx

Wait... I know what I can do now I've flattened the ground..

Wait… I know what I can do now I’ve flattened the ground..

June

After my last minute pond purchase,  I felt that I also needed a Buddha…  Yes random, but it looks down directly into the back bedroom sending peaceful energy and sweet dreams to all who reside there…OK that isn’t actually guaranteed, but as I bought the Buddha from a charity shop I know that my money has gone to a good cause! Bring on the Karma… and peaceful energy and sweet dreams.

It's beginning to take shape..

It’s beginning to take shape..

I really enjoyed buying all the different plants; I searched local nurseries, markets and friends gardens for any and every cheap shade loving plant.  Covering the soil with wood chip will hopefully save on weeding and also makes the garden look almost “finished” [Please imagine this last sentence being said in an expert gardener voice]

BH xx

July, August and September

I’m beginning to think that all those last minute ‘random’ purchases may have been fuelled by all those ‘crazy’ pregnancy hormones .. Oh the joys of bump life!  Fast forward to October and gone are the topiary dilemmas and enter the diaper demands.  That said, I still kept a special place in my heart for my little patch of green and the gardening journey continued. So here are the latest pictures, and hopefully a picture will speak a thousand words (as the whole “new mum” thing meant I didn’t have time to write them).

July

Sorry no pictures for July, that’s when I started focusing on the nursery inside the house.. (The room that it just so happens is over looked by the Buddha)

August

Big Bump and Green Fingers

Big Bump and Green Fingers

The rustic look...

The decking was really simple to lay.  I purchased four decking sheets from a high street shop and told my husband to “make it work”.. and he certainly did.  All in all, it took less than a day to lay and in total cost less than £100.  Not bad, not bad at all.

September

The Garden in Bloom

This entry should really be called “The Woodchip Chronicles”. I can’t explain the joy of slashing open a bag of wood chip and sprinkling the little pieces of bark over the garden like fairy dust… And as if by magic, the purple flowers behind the pond bloomed as a complete surprise to me, this is why I love gardening.  The black tail photo bombing in the foreground belongs to our pet Ceefor, and that’s why I love cats ;-).

aaaaaaaaahhhhhh!

aaaaaaaaahhhhhh!

Birds Eye View

Birds Eye View

Funky Budha

Funky Budha

 

 

 

 

 

Diaries of a gardening novice

garden

Diaries of a gardening novice

January

My father was an amazing gardener, from Callaloo to Corn he grew all types of local and tropical treats in our garden in the deepest darkest depths of Peckham, London.   So you could say that gardening is in my blood.. I wouldn’t, just like his cooking skills, it seems this talent may have skipped my generation.

But I do have the passion.

This is the continuing journey of how our back garden will become a secret escape..

BH xx

And so the journey begins.

And so the journey begins.

February

The vision is growing… I have seen the promised land, its just buried under all of this clay and brick. As I begin to dig, I ponder starting a Gardenise exercise class, surely everyone is over Zumba, and who doesn’t want toned arms? I make a personal note to email Gymbox the next day.

I have seen the promised land.

I have seen the promised land.

March

Ok…so gardening is not sexy. The previous thoughts of toned arms are long lost in the cold realities of British Winter time and dirty finger nails, but the progress is steady… Until it all turns a bit Stephen Kingish and everything comes to a sudden halt. As my mother is a history and archaeology fanatic, I have grown up with the delusion the Earth beneath our feet is just waiting to reveal its treasure. So what was history’s gift to me, well it seemed to have fur, a disregarded Victorian teddy bear perhaps? Alas no, on closer inspection I see a cat paw, as memories of Pet Cemetary flash before me I throw down my spade and seek sanctuary and sympathy in the arms of the Mr. This month’s personal note is to call the council’s special disposal unit. Gardening is definitely not sexy.

What lies beneath

What lies beneath