Archive | April, 2013

A little truth about life and relationships

28 Apr

orange gerber 1


When I look at the people around me, not just in my life but others that I see, I think “They’ve got it made”. There are those who are married, have successful jobs or careers and children. There are those who I look at an admire or am envious about. There are those who are hardworking and appear to get nowhere and yet there are those who appear to have “celebrity” dropped into their laps for just being who they are.

There are those who I can rely on, look to support and can talk to for hours on end without feeling guilty, having a laugh or just being me. There are those who I keep at a distance and then there are people that I like to spend time with and don’t mind seeing once in a while, every few weeks or months on end.

Then there are those who I only catch a glimpse of once in a while and I see or hear a chink in the cracks of their lives:

The neglected housewife seeking adventure and new romance, the woman who had mad, passionate love affairs in her youth but finds it difficult to find a suitable playmate or soulmate in her retirement years, the gay man who seeks cheap thrills, one night stands and more but deeply wants a monogamous relationship, the elderly and disabled woman who years to be reconciled with her grown up children and grandchildren, the promiscuous gay man who leads a double life with a “Sugar Daddy”,  the gay couple who have escaped the hedonism and drug scene of London and have retreated to the tranquillity of Torquay to repair a broken relationship, drug induced hostility and mental health issues, the  husband and wife who have remained together for 26 years with five children despite bouts of domestic violence, a husband and wife who divorced because he felt guilty when his mother passed away. There have been others who have almost been torn apart  with allegations of child abuse, or those who have converted to a religion who wish to remain faithful to their doctrine and appear to cut me out of their lives, there is one man who appears to have date after date to find his Miss Right after his original Miss Right dumped him within weeks of announcing their engagement and planning their wedding. Then there is the woman who places her addiction to gambling a priority over her domestic chores, her duties as a mother and her friendships that supported her through her times of loneliness and isolation. Another woman who needs a man in her life but when he wants a secure family unit, she rebukes him for treating her son as his own.

Then there are those who are superficial and everything in their lives appears to be “hunky dory”, glamorous and positively rosy…

And then I look at my own life and my relationship of 21 years and I think, you know what? despite all our ups and downs, trials and tribulations, foibles, flaws and his slightly fractious nature, I am grateful and safe in the knowledge that at least my relationship provides nurturing, growth and development to grow as a couple and even though we sometimes have our varying differences of opinion, hobbies and personalities, we are as One.

orange gerbers in vase



The Learned Kat


Our 21st Anniversary

14 Apr

We celebrated our 21st Anniversary yesterday. I mean, that appears to be a long time to remain with someone these days. In gay terms, in the  years we’ve spent together, we should’ve been courted, married and divorced hundred times over!

Anyway, what should have been a joyous occasion with friends  turned into a quiet day of cooking for two. But it had to be that way for us as my other half was experiencing severe pain from an abscess in his mouth…so everything planned was low key.

However, we managed to have a lovely day together and enjoyed a delicious home baked  sponge cake split into four layers and filled with fresh double cream, strawberries and dollops of lemon curd, with an ample drizzling of icing and fresh strawberries. I also baked a dozen cupcakes – vanilla sponge topped with fresh strawberries, zest of a lime and blueberries.


21st Anniversary


And a friend dropped by to hand over a bouquet of flowers to say ‘Congratulations!’

orange gerbers in vase


The Learned Kat

Fifty Shades of Grey: A Gay Perspective

13 Apr

I decided to read Fifty Shades of Grey not because I wanted to, but because I wanted to find out for myself what all the fuss was about. And I think that’s what the majority of people have done. They are buying into it because the publicity machine has gone into overdrive and we are intrigued by gossip and juicy details. Just have to look at the bookshelves full of celebrity gossip magazines which pry into people’s homes and lives to know that is what satisfies the general public.
WE are morbidly inquisitive and concern ourselves with things that don’t really bother us. But at the same time, we make feeble attempts to be detached and reserved in our opinions. Such is the nature of the British public anyway.

But I digress. I bought Fifty Shades in a charity shop several months ago. At the time, I seemed to have been in a period of reading a number of trilogies – The Lord Of The Rings, His Dark Materials, The Millennium Trilogy. So I thought, why not read this for a bit of light relief? (pardon the innuendo)

I read the first one. Nothing really happens except Anastasia or “Ana” Steele, a shy, academic 22 year old virgin is attracted to Mr Christian Grey, a 28 year old handsome and incredibly “hot” multimillionaire or billionaire even? who wears sweatpants, jeans or pants “off his hips in that way” whatever that means and they have sex or a mild form of BDSM. He cocks his head, she bites her lips, she says Oh My! Holy Crap! Oh Shit and other such eloquent words a number of times. It’s all very repetitive and TAME. She’s a virgin for goodness sakes and doesn’t know anything different. He’s a control freak and seems to take advantage of her no matter what. Even when she wants “to talk”. HE distracts her with his advances and “her inner goddess” unfurls, purrs and demures. How on earth does she know about her inner goddess when she doesn’t appear to know anything about love, sex, romance or life in general when she is such a bookworm? But then, she also has a more disapproving character in her mind that makes her think twice about what she is doing. However, her “inner goddess” always seems to win and they have the most incredible hot, sexy and amazing sex which always end in mind blowing, earth shattering climaxes. He always makes her come first! Such a gentleman!

Then, it just goes on and on. He buys her expensive gifts, takes her on a helicopter named Charlie Tango, they wine and dine in top restaurants, buys her food and orders her to “Eat” or “Drink” or “Sleep” and she acts like a petulant teenager. He finds it alluring and a massive turn on when she challenges him and in between they declare their undying love for one another in nearly every other paragraph or page.

After Book 1 establishes their great sex life, Book 2 “Fifty Shades of Grey – Darker” provides more insight into the mysterious “Mr Grey” and more one dimensional characters and events. We find out a little bit more about his family and Ana is still trying to come to terms with her rich boyfriends’ lifestyle. For two supposedly intelligent, academic and ambitious young people, their use of language is very simple, they swear a lot and don’t really say much. Oh! And there are numerous emails exchanged that are more annoying to read than allow the reader more insight or excitement. Like two silly teenagers exchanging texts, the emails don’t hold any information of importance or which allow the story to move forward. Just more flirtations between Ana and Mr Grey.

EL James tries to create an enigmatic character in Mr Grey but he fails on all accounts. He’s just boring and we don’t even receive a description of his penis or the size of it. All we know is that he is an arrogant, power crazed, control freak who likes to be Dom with his Subs. He has a mysterious past which does not amount to anything amazing, horrifying or shocking. In this trilogy, cliché after cliché abound and with several “major or traumatic experiences” including the appearance of one of his “ex subs with a gun” scenarios, it just doesn’t flow well at all.

But wait! Book 3 ” Fifty Shades of Grey – Freed” is even worse. Why on earth I bothered with it, god only knows. After a whirlwind romance and three months of out-of-this-world type sex, they discover they really love one another. They even get married and have 2 kids! YES! Really! In between all that, if Ana decides she’s had enough or makes way to leave, Mr ‘I’m so proud me I don’t want to speak to anybody’, breaks down in tears and she does likewise. Oh, she is SOO in love her head is spinning and she doesn’t know what to do. Her former boss who tried to seduce her earlier on ( and she found him creepy) attempts to blackmail her but she shoots him as she attempts to rescue her sister in law. He ends up in hospital, she ends up in hospital, her step dad ends up in hospital. Mr Greys ex is also in hospital but let’s keep all that quiet for now…
Considering how divisive the gun laws are lately, Ana is acquiring a taste for danger and adventure, but she knows how to use a gun and mentions several times to Christian, that she would prefer it if he had a gun. This appears to be a bit of a paradox for Christian, who, who despite his needs and whims for excitement and “kinky fuckery”, is anti-guns.

There are several attempts to inject some tension, drama and tragedy but the threads don’t really flow and we are left bewildered and confused. The two main protagonists tend to contradict themselves. One minute they declare there undying love for one another, consumed with passion, love and lust. But when Mrs Grey declares to Mr Grey that he is pregnant – bearing in mind at that point they are married – he shouts something along the lines of “we’ve known each other for five fucking minutes. I wanted to show you the world and now…Fuck. Diapers and vomit and shit!” Oh My. She doesn’t actually say “Oh My!” at that point but I thought I’d throw it in as she might as well have said it, she says it so often…That’s indicative of the type of language used throughout this tale of poor virgin meeting big shot yet oh-so-sexy Mr Grey.

This trilogy is similar to Dan Browns Da Vinci Code and The Blair Witch Project. It’s not the novel, film or the writing that is great. The stories aren’t even memorable to be honest. What they have behind them is great PR machines. They are in over drive and we have fallen for it hook, line and sinker.

Fifty Shades of Grey is as dull as dishwater and I think, a crime against literature. No wonder it’s finding it’s way into the charity shops in the last few months. The fad and fuss is nearly over. I thought is it one of the worst trilogies I’ve ever read or THE worst. I’ve decided it’s the WORST one ever! It just irritated the hell out of me and I can’t wait to get it out of my house and into the charity shop. I may just even give it to my friend who said she would like to read it. I know she wouldn’t but she’ll keep it on her bookshelf to make her seem more “current and topical”. It may make its way into the discount stores or bargain basements and in a few years, we’ll be asking what was all that out!? We’d forget about it because they’d be another Fifty Shades of book out there that’ll be making headways. But next time, I’ll make sure I’m definitely not at that gravy boat to all things Grey in more ways than one!

The Learned Kat

Halal or Kosher: Meat Me Halfway

12 Apr

Many times I’ve been asked “Why do you eat halal meat even though you’re not a practising Muslim?”

I say its personal preference, in respect of my parents who were of the Islamic faith, an aspect of my childhood years that I still adhere to, and a part of my being that I can no longer shake off. Yes, I know I’m not a practising Muslim, my lifestyle and sexual orientation being what it is. But I can’t help holding onto some beliefs. Everyone has their own personal beliefs that they hold onto – the young drama student who believes that he or she will become a famous star, the lottery player who believes that one day they might win the big jackpot, the person with an incurable disease who believes that one day they might find a cure, the person who believes in ghosts or aliens, the person who believes in no sex before marriage. The list goes on and on…I don’t question all these beliefs… I don’t question someone who is a vegan, vegetarian or on a diet.

One of my closest friends asked me THAT question once. We discussed the options, of what would happen if I didn’t eat halal meat. Well, in my case, I’d probably be damned anyway, so it wouldn’t matter. But if someone say, was a practising Rastafari at some point in their lives and was told they couldn’t eat pork as it was unclean, they were expected to keep to that directive and respect the cultural customs or belief systems. But if that same person came out of that community for whatever reason, they may find themselves not being able to eat pork but doesn’t need to justify it to anyone.

Whether I’m a practising Muslim or not, if I eat halal meat that’s nobody’s business but mine. I’m not committing an offence. I don’t think that at my time in my life I have to justify my reasons for eating halal. I don’t hear people asking Jews why they eat Kosher meat and what’s the difference between Kosher and non-Kosher? It’s almost a given. People tend to accept that the Jewish community or those that were born into the Jewish faith eat Kosher and that’s that. Considering that Halal and Kosher are very similar and the ritual of slaughtering the animal in a particular way originated in the early days of Judaism, what difference does it make?

If I say I like the taste, then another line of questions would be pursued. How is the animal killed? What’s the difference in taste? and so on. But I say it’s like tasting the difference between genetically modified, organic, free range, cured, smoked/non-smoked, caged or battery, lean or fatty, dolphin free, having meat from New Zealand, Australia or Britain, fruits from Spain or Africa, milk from cows, goats, soya/almond, the whole array of wholemeal, wholegrain, multi-seeded, plain, white, brown bread or flour, milk or dark chocolate, the various blends of tea or coffee, sugars and butters…need I say more?

People insist on what they want or have to eat for their own reasons or taste. I respect that they have choices, cultural or otherwise.
I’d just like my personal preferences or dietary requirements to be respected as much as I would respect yours.
Now, leave me alone and don’t ask me any more questions.

Craving for more Stars

8 Apr


I’ve been blogging for some time now and I don’t know what it is that can get other bloggers to ‘Like’ my posts. I know I’m looking for recognition and acceptance through all this I suppose. But how do I take it forward? How do I write a post which is read and liked by others?

When I started blogging, I intended to share my baking skills, so took photos of my cakes and posted them on here. I think I must’ve received 1 like. Not that I’m complaining. But what’s the point in sharing stuff if no one is reading  or liking it. Might as well be speaking to a brick wall…Then, I started to share my reviews on book and films. Either I’m not good at writing or expressing my thoughts articulately or my blog is just not good enough… and it doesn’t help when I check my blog everyday to see whether or not I’ve received a little ‘star’ in the right hand corner of my blog. … feel as if I’m beginning to develop self doubt. 

So, I’ve posted cakes, reviews, poetry, political comments, gay issues and attempted to look at the positive side of life. Obviously, it seems to me, that isn’t enough.

I’m in a frame of mind to delete all those posts which have not received any ‘likes’ and start writing about more ‘real’ issues –  pain, death, dreams and aspirations, sickness and ill health, mental health and financial issues. Something more gritty like a real life drama.

Maybe that would bring me the ‘likes’ I so desperately crave?

My heart is like an empty stone

8 Apr

Stones 2

My heart  is like an empty stone

Healing words bite on the phone

Sitting in a room forlorn

wasting images

Kiss of doom

Days are One

Love is gone

It is dawn

My heart bleeds on…

Stones 1

I am tired & my world is full of lies

5 Apr

I am tired

and my brain is slowing down

I am tired

and my world is going round

I am tired

and my mind is grinding down

I am tired

and sick of this frown.

I am tired

and my words are tongue tied

I am tired

and my world is full of lies

I am tired

and my sleep is calling me

I am tired

and my life is drowning me

I am tired

I am tired

I am tired