I wanted to buy a puppy

It sounds like a normal thing, you decide you would like to have a dog. You just have to know where find one. I did not. We had an Alsatian border collie cross growing up over the years and I decided that would be a good breed to go for as I was familiar with them.

I started looking through papers and on the internet. I think I eventually found one on TradeIt. It was in Kettering which was quite a distance from where I was in Gloucestershire, but it was a male puppy, exactly the colouring I wanted. I called and made the arrangement.

Now, my inexperience and desire for a dog completely clouded my judgement. I didn’t really know much about the dog market and hadn’t even heard of puppy farms at this stage. When I arrived, I was given a story about the parent dogs being in kennels as they were going away, so no I didn’t get to see the parents. Just a few bundles of fur, and my quiet looking little puppy in the corner. As she handed me my puppy, she said “Oh by the way, he’s been a little unwell from his worming tablets, but he’ll be fine”. He was quiet and not very puppy like, but adorable and I wanted to look after him. So we left.

It was not a good 24 hours, upon getting home, he wasn’t well at all, being sick and unsteady on his little feet, I had already named him Victor after my childhood dog. But I could tell he wasn’t doing well, I was trying to give him water and keep him warm, but I didn’t understand how fragile puppies are. I took him to the vets within 12 hours, they booked him straight in. And within another 12 hours he was gone. It was an incredibly heartbreaking situation and I was devastated. I called the woman I had brought him off and told her what had happened. She text me back to say they were away – but that she knew someone with some more puppies that would be ready in a couple of weeks when she was back. Still, my brain didn’t flag up anything to say, hang on a minute.

I was very down for a couple of weeks, but trying to focus on feeling positive and trying to look forward to actually being able to have a dog. The next time came. Funnily enough she still didn’t have the previous puppies parent dogs anywhere, but I didn’t think. Instead she had 3 more puppies, who all looked tiny and cuddled up together. And then I did think they all looked a little small, and identical. I hadn’t really ever seen mongrel puppies all looking the same. But she assured me they were crosses and I picked mine. He was covered in fleas and had the tiniest little face, but was adorable. After a few days, he actually got sick too, but with tonsillitis and needed to be put on antibiotics. This was a brief but stressful time as I was convinced he was going to die too. It was a strange beginning for us and one that probably paved the way for what ended up being a very strange dog – but that’s a completely different story.

Also turns out he was a Saluki, a breed I had no experience of, and nothing like the dogs I had ever had before. If you know of them, you will know what I mean. But I believe now on reflection, that he came from a puppy farming environment. When I decided to get a companion for him, that was also through advertising, but such a different environment, family home, all the puppies playing together, parent dog on hand and owners who looked liked they cared for their dogs. It makes all the difference.

One day I will write the story of Kody.

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(c) K Wicks

Growing up…

Excerpt from The Willing Observer

‘I was still quite disillusioned though, I was a child. I understood the playing field as far as my age group and maybe a couple of years above and below me but I had no concept of the ‘grown up’ world. I believed naively that they had everything planned and knew exactly what was going on and where they were going. This oversight or lack of understanding is only natural for a child or young adult, but when I realised they don’t have all the answers, I took it as a massive failure on my part, to not see the whole world as it was and to have allowed myself a false sense of security. It shook my confidence greatly at the time, and I then spent years trying to make up for it before I understood that everyone else was making it up as they went along too.

I internally punished myself for being either too involved or too separated, not able to assimilate the emotional and the logical to work together as one. I couldn’t quite grasp analysing a situation while going through it, instead electing to be distant and outside what should be a personal experience for the sake of study. I know now that this was due to a combination of me growing up, my thought process beginning to form and of trying to understand myself. It was about the brain developing and learning new experiences, but it felt again like failure at the time when I did not seem to see or feel things as others did. But I did not always take this failure as defeat’.

 

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(c) K L Wicks

Jurassic Coast…

I had always wanted to go fossil hunting. A keen interest in geology and archaeology that I never got to do anything with, other than watch time team re-dig up sites they knew were there. Or watch geologists tell me about different type of rocks, which I kind of learnt in science at school back in the day. Watching wasn’t good enough – I needed to see it in action and do it myself.

So my wonderful husband decided my birthday surprise a few years ago was a trip down to the Jurassic Coast, so I could stop talking about it, and do it. And we did. The great British weather did it’s usual April thing and was cold, windy and changeable, especially on the coast – but I didn’t care, I was so excited about what I was doing. Actually going to find fossils in real life, not just watch it on the television! My husband did warn me though that we might not find anything, it was not a given.

But the birthday fossil fairies were looking down on me that day, and a number of finds presented themselves. A completely unexpected and marvelous find was a Geode, a real one, on the beach. I really didn’t ever think I ever see one ‘in the wild’ as it were. It was super heavy and there was no way I could take this with me, so a small piece was taken.

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But that was not all to be found over those two mornings on the coast. There were a number of people, it was not quiet by any stretch, but everyone was there for the same reason and I found it very exciting. Even standing behind other hunters while they were carefully removing or exposing something, finding all the discoveries exciting, not just my own.

I was presented with the best birthday present ever, apart from being taken there in the first place, found by his own hand. A tiny awesome little ammonite, slightly shiny from the pyrite and to me, spectacular. But that was not all.

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It was to be a very successful trip for my collection and for my cleaning kit when I got back home.

And although the Geode and the small ammonite were great on their own, I added to the finds with more ammonites – quite a special one too with exquisite detail and small flecks of pyrite.

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I can’t wait to go out again and discover more…

(c) K L Wicks

A Sense of Security

In today’s current climate of the housing crisis, it’d hard to imagine that no-one saw it coming. Or at least no-one who would do anything about it. I noticed this trend and pending problem back in 2002, when I luckily was in the position to begin looking for my first home by way of a mortgage. I had a partner (there was no way you do this on your own), we both had family who ‘lent us’ the deposit, then we applied for more from the mortgage company. Ordinarily this would have just been a normal look and buy, but I happened to be working at an Estate Agents at the time. So had already seen the number of houses available becoming less, the prices creeping up and more and more people applying for each house to view, and then the inevitable negotiations. It was heartbreaking watching people get excited about getting a house, then losing it to someone else. I wasn’t nice to watch, and it wasn’t nice to be part of. There was no enjoyment to looking for a house, there were 5 in the end in our price range, in a town of of 40,000 houses back then. So of the 5, the best option was picked – no parking, a garden separated from the house by way of a shared pathway. But it was mine, so I overlooked the issues and weird things about the property because I wanted somewhere to live.

My desire to settle down I feel has always been driven by a turbulent past, I was moved (dragged) around a lot in my youth, around my home town living in various houses, then around the world and the UK. My mother was never settled and we felt it. We moved every year or two and it made me never feel settled. I wanted different, I wanted to be local and for somewhere to feel familiar, for more than a year or two. So getting my first house made me feel secure, it made me feel safe and happy. Yes, I was in debt for it and it wasn’t really mine, but it was in my head, as long as I paid my way. Not a bad trade off I thought. I had picked where I was in the country and I was in control of what I did, it was empowering. I was 22 then, which makes me sad to think many people can’t even think of having their own home, let alone the opportunity of doing it so young, when you really can enjoy it and use it to improve your life.

My brain relaxed in a way it hadn’t before, no less neurotic, just relaxed in the deep. I started to focus on what I wanted to do, what did I want to be, who was I going to be. After a few years of different Monday-Friday jobs, I decided I didn’t want to work for other people anymore, my ambition and motivation seemed to outweigh my managers at this point. So I undertook a series of courses (I happen to have left school early having done NO exams whatsoever), to train in bookkeeping and accounting. I seemed to be good at it and enjoyed the precision. It took the pressure of my future at the same time as giving me one. I was able to grow my business, move to a bigger house, improve as a person, employ a number of other people and contribute to society – you know, what we are trained for…

But you don’t know what life is going to throw at you. I loved my bigger house, it had a lovely garden, great views from the front, it was detached. Everything you want in an old crumbling house. Except where it was. For the first few years it was ok, but then it changed. A church opposite started holding meetings for alcoholics a couple of night a week. The community building just over the way started renting out for children’s birthdays and alcoholics and drug users meetings and hand outs – I really did see a conflict of safety there. And to top it all off, some reckless driver smashed their car into my house while screeching round the corner. The signs were already there to leave. But instead I decided I was in a dead relationship, became single and tried to get my head down and not go out as much.

Then I met my husband, by way of the internet because I really didn’t get out much. And he pointed out it wasn’t really a great place to live if you couldn’t go out. So we put the house on the market and moved into rented. That really is the speed version of that story, it was a stressful few months and very dramatic at the time – we did actually try to sort out the issues without having to move by going through the proper authorities, but this made it worse. So leaving was easier, so I thought. Because I hadn’t really been able to explain to my husband the sense of security I had from having a home. Or properly to myself, I had adapted and didn’t want to go back to how I felt before. But I did.

It was hard to find a rented property initially as well – I had heard all the hype over the years about rental values, lack of availability and issues and did understand, but the reality is so much worse. I also had a dog, so that meant 95% of the properties weren’t available to us. Luckily I did find one that would accept dogs, it did mean relocating areas but I didn’t mind at that point, I was just happy to have somewhere to go, and felt lucky I was in a position to have money available for deposit, rent and all the costs. But that doesn’t account for the mental state someone can go through. Despite having a nice place to live and being able to just about afford the rent for a year, I became very insecure. I needed to be able to think further ahead than this, and I couldn’t anymore. I suddenly felt stunted. I was starkly aware that this wasn’t my house, it was someone else’s.

Not helped by the fact the landlords of said property sent gardeners round at 8.30am on a Sunday to do a garden survey, without informing us. That tipped me over the edge a bit. I knew I could be homeless if I complained, but we did anyway. And then the agent made it worse by coming into the property when we were absent, again without informing us and being completely aware we weren’t there. These two incidents were enough to cause me to become unstable and anxious, reverting back to how and who I used to be. I didn’t like it. And that led to another few years of renting, moving, renting, moving and having the most horrendous experiences with letting and estate agents. Some of that was in Spain, and is a whole different kettle of fish. But the idea of being homeless when you have paid your way, and have done nothing wrong, really upset me. I am quite old school in thought, and liked to believe there is a code of conduct, we understand we are all in this together – but I have been shown in the last few years. We really aren’t.

But I have now finally got back on the housing ladder and am starting to find my feet again, settle down in mind and get back to what I was suppose to be doing. Writing.

 

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(c) K L Wicks

 

Aphantasia – Imagine That!

Sometimes you discover something which changes the very way in which you think about things, it may be a new idea, information or a different viewpoint. Or you may find that things are not what you thought they once were. Reality, truth and perspective are and can be very personal, and while we try and untangle the workings of the human mind, we are finding there is much to learn along the way.

Please have a read of my article on the Aphantasia Network…

https://aphantasia.com/imagine-that/

This is now also a published book available on Amazon –

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(c) K L Wicks

Living in Fear

My childhood growing up in the 80’s in the UK seemed to be filled with war, terrorism and espionage. Over three decades later I am still trying to make sense of a world fuelled by turmoil and greed. I didn’t have massively political parents, they moaned liked everyone else and picked a side. But didn’t really do anything, just talked a lot about what should be done.

My first few years of really being aware were in England and the back-end years of the cold war, the build up to the poll tax riots and very real threats and acts of Irish Terrorism from the IRA. I distinctly remember a certain bearded man (Gerry Adams if you don’t remember), who’s opinions were deemed so poisonous his voice wasn’t even allowed on television. Although the footage of him and someone else reading his words were okay.

The Lockerbie air disaster was a terrible event noted by all too and reminded us we were at threat from at home and abroad. Apparently. Details and the full story were as sketchy and hazy then as they are today. And as I do now, relied on the media to give me information and keep me updated of the terrifying world around me. And that made me think something may fall out of the sky at any moment and land on you. I wasn’t very comfortable flying after that.

The 90’s brought a very different and worrying way of life for me. We moved into the military with my mother’s third marriage and were instantly posted to Germany, around the time of the Berlin wall coming down. My step-father had served in Northern Ireland before he was with us and it made it all a bit more real. It was no longer just reports on the TV. We were in Germany, where it was very real. On reflection, I may have had a realism sensory overload from that point on and never fully recovered. As we left for Germany, the first Gulf war kicked off, followed quite closely by Bosnia. My early teenage years were to be a continuation it seemed of being surrounded by societal turmoil. My home life wasn’t entirely standard either, dysfunctional and erratic I would call it. But that can easily go unnoticed when you realise what goes on outside. The world was falling to pieces, what does it matter if your family does too?

Thrown in between were other things to be afraid of, murderers, viruses and catastrophic natural events and man-made ones threatened every year. The O-zone, solar flares, earthquakes, asteroids, tsunamis. It was endless. 

After that followed more wars and conflict, 9/11 and new laws and propaganda for what we were meant to be afraid of.  I have a feeling that being constantly bombarded (through choice sometimes) with the negative reality of human nature hasn’t helped me to be a happier person, but perhaps a better informed one. Mid-teens I kind of fell off the map for a bit, but when I realise what I was contending with, I’m just glad I made it through.

(c) K L Wicks

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(c) K Wicks

Strange in the Sky…

I am not entirely a believer. I read what people have seen, and have watched the programs about abductions and experiments. I take an interest in the idea that there may be something other than ourselves here, I’m just not sure that something is from somewhere else. There are dark, remote and barren regions on this land  and in the sea we have not yet begun to explore or understand.

I have seen a few strange lights in the night sky, that move far quicker than I would expect, or they don’t move for a time. Not alien, just out of place. Noticeable, but not explainable to my own mind. It’s hard to come to a conclusion based on just hearsay and other peoples experiences.

But then something happened, a first hand picture I took myself back in 2011. With not a notice of the actual content at first, I did not see this in the sky at the time. I wanted to take a picture of a colourful hedge in my garden, two tones in fact, green leaves with dark red leaves behind them, with the bright blue sky for contrast. Not a great pic, but not a bad one for its purpose. I took two photos on my phone a few seconds apart.

Photograph 1

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Photograph 2

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It took me about a week to get round to uploading and working out if I could make a nice sky edit from these. But on closer inspection, realised that in pic 1, there is an object that looks metallic but without wings. I have spent much time looking up and have seen glimpses of many planes, they are extremely noticeable in the day time sky, lets be honest. So the unusual thing to me was that I didn’t see this when taking a picture and it has disappeared within a second or two. By pic 2, the object is gone completely and in the top left hand corner there are two crows messing around, highlighting to me how different birds look to this – and the birds were quite a distance away.

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Most ordinary planes I have seen take some amount to time to make their journey across the sky, and technically i didn’t even see it, not with my own eyes anyway. So I have to put this as a UFO, not an alien craft from another world, I couldn’t possibly presume that. But a flying craft of unknown origin to me. In fact there may be many explanations of what it might have been, but I just haven’t settled on one yet…

 

(c) K L Wicks

 

 

Book Review & Author Interview: The Willing Observer by K.L. Wicks

Writing Scared

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

If you’ve ever been curious how the mind of a stalker and serial rapist works, how they select victims, or what they view as personal boundaries, then you need a copy of The Willing Observer.

The narrator never reveals his identity, but instead focuses on his awakening to a new mentality, casting aside his life of conformity so that he can live as his authentic self. He’s taken it upon himself to write a book, as a sort of instruction manual for others who might be like him. As he says:

“Potential stalkers I would assume should have an inkling who they are. For the rest of you, I assume you’re just curious and want to know more in your study of people.

“It also gives me a slight thrill to know I am giving out this information, makes me feel like I…

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