Friday, 30 September 2011

England is Confused

Friday, 30 September 2011
What in the name of ARSE is going on? My calendar tells me it is Friday 30th September. Traditionally at this time of year, I start eyeing up the pumpkins in the grocery store. My brain hosts a fiercely raging internal debate with itself about the sensibilities of going to the American import section of the grocery store and paying £6 for a can of pumpkin. I somehow cultivate an otherwise unexplained hankering for these effing disgusting Hallowe’en candies. 
If you actually like the taste of these, I'm sorry - we can't be friends anymore.

I start wearing tights a lot. I come in from work to my flannel pyjama bottoms and fluffy slippers. I have baths.  I drink hot drinks.  But this week, we’re all to cock. Here in the North East of England, we’ve seen temperatures spiking in the upper 20’s.

That’s Celsius, you cheeky buggers. Read: it’s bloody hot. Like, all week it has been marvellous. I mean, it hasn’t rained. THERE HASN’T BEEN ANY CLOUDS. This might not seem like a big deal to you – I’m looking at you, Canadians – but given at the end of July, at the height of “summer” this year I seriously considered putting my heating on to ward off the chill, this is huge. File under "Blow My Tiny Mind".

This is on my radio, and here are my thoughts in this glorious sunshine:

In no order of importance or significance, here is a small list of things that have occurred to me over this week while we have been enjoying the first hints of summer weather in my cozy corner of the world:
  1. I wore flip flops to work today. I put toenail polish back on, in celebration of being able to get my toes out in the out of doors. And you know, because naked toes = kinda gross.
  2. I put a load of towels out on my clothes line this morning, and when I got home from work they were dry. The whole street had clothes pegged out. In not completely unrelated news, I now know that the man at number 21 wears the same underpants as my husband.
  3. The whole street is out frantically mowing lawns, taking full advantage of the situation and knowing it could all come shuddering to a wet, grey, rainy halt ANY SECOND NOW.  Even us:

I hope you’re all enjoying the unseasonably freakish warmness. Better late than never, Summer, eh? Don’t forget us again next year. See you in June.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

15 Years: Remembering Jonathan Corking

Wednesday, 21 September 2011
Today marks the 15th anniversary of my brother’s death.  He would have been 33 this year, but we only got him for 17 years.

I’ve written about my gorgeous baby brother Jonathan before, you can see the entries here and here.

But today, 15 years since that awful day, I thought I’d share a wonderful story that warms my heart every single time I read it. It begins a few years ago, when my Mum stumbled upon a website for Tourette’s Syndrome (you may already know, Jonathan was a sufferer and we believe the symptoms of which and his suicide were inextricably linked).

A little history – not long after Jonathan’s death, our family sponsored a Tourette’s Syndrome seminar in Waterloo, in partnership with Dr. Mort Doran (Tourette’s expert) and Shane Fistell (Tourette’s patient, and motivational speaker.) We thought that it would help explain things for his friends and classmates, and help them come to terms with their loss.

Fast forward over ten years later, to my Mum surfing around the internet for news of Shane and Dr. Doran, and she stumbled upon a website called “Life’s A Twitch”, founded by Duncan McKinley, a registered Psychologist with the College of Psychologists of Ontario, practicing with children and adolescents in the areas of clinical and school psychology – AKA one of Canada’s leading TS experts. She felt moved by what she read, and decided to contact Dr McKinley. What follows is their email exchange.

------ Original Message ------
Subject: T.S.
From: Janet Corking
To: Duncan McKinley
Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2007 11:59

Hello Duncan. I don’t have a question, rather a letter for you to tell my

story. Even after 11 years its good to 'offload'.
My son Jonathan committed suicide in Sept 1996. He was in the process of being diagnosed with TS (after self-diagnosing). He was very depressed. I met Dr. Doran when he came to Waterloo Ed Centre in January 1997 to host a seminar with money raised after Jonathan's death. He and another young man (his name escapes me at the moment) he was from Toronto. The two of them helped to edcuate the children and the teachers in our community about TS. I guess I just wanted to say to you that if i have one regret, its that you werent a little older and were in the place where you are now you could, i am sure have helped Jonathan with his struggles. I follow the TS stories and developements in research and if i had only known then what I know now.......... We as a family have learned a lot this past 11 years, healed a bit, and reflected a lot. I thank you for your efforts to educate the world about TS and helped make people more tolerant of this disorder.

Sincerely, Janet Corking. Cambridge Ontario.

And this is Dr. McKinlay's reply:

----- Original Message -----
From: "McKinlay, Duncan"
To: Corking, Janet
Sent: Friday, March 02, 2007 1:01 PM
Subject: RE: T.S.


I'm so sorry to learn of your loss, but am honoured that you felt comfortable in sharing with me. Allow me to share something with you now which I hope helps with your "one regret"...

While it was during my undergraduate years that I learned about my own TS, and while I did some first tentative talks on it in my 4th year, it wasn't until my first year of graduate school that I really became involved in the TS cause via the TSFC and made the decision to work in this field. What caused me to first "meet" the TSFC, and launched me into everything subsequent, was my attendance at a seminar held by Dr. Mort Doran and Shane Fistell.

In Waterloo.

In January 1997.

Made possible through funds raised from Jonathan's death.

Thank ME? To the contrary -- it's nice to finally know who I have to thank for MY life path...

Your son did not die in vain. His parting gift to the world was me.

I wish you and your family well in your continued healing. Take good care, Janet.


To mark the anniversary of Jonathan’s death, I have set up a donations page with help from the kind folks over at CanadaHelps – if you feel inclined, please join me in making a donation in Jonathan’s memory. I have chosen three charities: The Tourette’s Syndrome Foundation of Canada, The Tourette’s Syndrome Association of Ontario and the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council.

You can find the page by clicking here, or pasting this link into your web browser: 

Thank you, on behalf of our whole family.  Please use the comments field to share your favourite memories of Jonathan; I'm sure my Mum and Dad would love to hear your stories of him.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The Airport - UPDATE

Tuesday, 13 September 2011
Hello all! 

Just a quickie to say we are having a marvellous time with my parents, and our feet are barely touching the ground while we're here, there, and everywhere with them.  Following my earlier post, I thought I'd share a few pictures from our trip to the airport a couple of weeks ago.