Graves Rage And The Rotterdam Six

Faux Post Title I Could Not Write Today
Faux Post Title I Could Not Write Today

In an ideal world, the title of this post would be something like How To Handle Setbacks or Three Tips To Deal With Disappointment.

No, that’s not true.

In an ideal world this post would be called Rotterdam Six Rocks – and it would describe my wonderful time at the final evening of the Six Days of Rotterdam 2016.

Alas, it was not to be.

(To be brutally honest – if I had enjoyed myself at the Six I might not have written about it, save on Facebook).

I did not go to the Rotterdam Six yesterday evening. And I did not handle it well. And even in hindsight I cannot share any meaningful tips about disappointment.

I thought I was really amazingly mellow about it all, I must admit. I did postpone the decision to cancel, yes. And I did not like to come to that conclusion, no. But I felt extremely mature about it. It was the wise thing to do. And I did not throw a tantrum which clearly put me in the league of wise people on this planet. So in fact, I was pretty much satisfied with myself and at peace with this cruel world in which a certain Mr Graves can get to decide whether I shall or shan’t go to the Six.

The Sheer Magic Of The Track
The Sheer Magic Of The Track

Until the moment the evening programme started and the friends replacements had taken their seats and started updating me about the races going on.

That sort of … well. I tried not to think about it too much. So I did the wise and healthy thing and went to aquajogging.

That sort of … well. I did not go into these thoughts too much. So after spending an hour or so not going into that dark place (right) I did the wise healthy and sensible thing and went to bed.

And ever since waking up again the so-called Graves Rage (does it not speak volumes about a disease if it has a Rage named after it?????) has caught me by surprise. And I have no clue what to do about it. The Rotterdam Six is closed, finished for the year. There is no going back. I still think the decision was wise, but it feels too unjust to be anything near wise. I have tried hard focusing on other things but today it seems there is no other thing that can possibly be as enticing as the Six. It makes me so sad I could cry for hour upon hour.

One Of Those Days ...
One Of Those Days …

And that is, finally, the one thing that makes this have a positive angle, too (albeit extremely thin). Until now, one of the precious things Graves had taken from me is my lust for life. My enthusiasm, my willingness for almost anything and everything. Apart from the Graves Rage I lived a life in a mist where nothing good or bad, touched me much or at all. I was either angry and upset or a sort of – blank. All non-anger emotions have been living behind a veil, and it was hard to really feel them, experience them. Well, that aspect of Graves seems to have gone – at least for the day.

Let’s hope this is a positive sign of a hasty retreat of my new companion (if he must, it may be a slow retreat, too, but I would appreciate a speedy one after having been together for more than I can bear already). Just in case – I will start saving for a trip to the 2016 London Six Days as of now. In an ideal world finding new targets should help circumvent the bitter emotions of disappointment, should it not? Leading to puzzling post titles like How Not Going To Rotterdam Spurred Me Into Going To London And Going Bankrupt In The Process. Or, more to the point: How Notegraphy Saved A Graves Rage Filled Day.

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Pardon My French

Fair warning: this post is not about my prickly BFFs! You may feel misled, on account of this blog’s name – in which case I do apologise.

Hedgehog Sleeping Mansion - for Winter & Summer & Always
Hedgehog Sleeping Mansion – for Winter & Summer & Always

However, if my blog were to be solely about hedgehogs, I would not have any happy things to report on for half of the year – our friends have been in hibernation since some time in October and are not expected due back before mid April!

What a life! Especially considering that during the six months they are up and about they also tend to sleep lots.

Basically, it seems a miracle we managed to see them at all. One I look forward to renewing every winter since we first met Big Mama (originally referred to as Killer Hedgehog until we decided he or she might not very much appreciate that nickname).

Anyway. It is a very fine thing that there happen to be a great many other happy things (once one gets the hang of enjoying happiness that is not a hedgie). And it so happens that many of these things can be found in France. Which is lucky, as we happen to have been on holidays in France last year (and, in fact, quite a few other years, too).

If you remember my previous rant about Mr Graves  or read the About page you might wonder how a Graves-assisted holiday compares to a non-accompanied one.

There is a lot that’s better left unsaid about that, actually. And some of it that I may share in a later post. But let me start small. After all, this blog is about finding happiness in small things – which is a lot harder sometimes than finding great frustration in little things, as I have learned thanks to my new friend Graves Disease.

When Coffee Was Still .... Coffee! (2014)
When Coffee Was Still …. Coffee! (2014)

One of the little things that Mr Graves does is affect one’s taste. There are things I used to love that I cannot eat any longer. For instance, I can handle coffee less well and it tastes less good to me now. Since I was a real coffee drinker this blew a big wide hole in my daily intake of liquids. As many other people, I suppose, I have reverted to drinking herbal tea. This can get a bit boring after a while, though, and much more so than coffee – the way I remember it from, say, one and a half year back.

Needless to say I was extremely pleased to find that French people have a whole different variety of teas to choose from – with rather childishly funny names.

Why Can't Mr Graves Be More Like Mr Elephant?
Why Can’t Mr Graves Be More Like Mr Elephant?

So nowadays happiness can be simply sitting here in my home in the Hague, the Netherlands, sipping my cup of ‘Rhubarbe-à-Papa’ and dreaming about all thousands of other silly wordplays Mr Elephant can weave around his teas – and looking forward to discovering more of his creativity in 2016!

Happiness Is A Hedgehog

Having been officially ill for over a year now, I can say I know more about the meaning of happiness than I did before. This is not to say that I am thankful for Mr Graves for visiting me so persistently. Not at all.

This blog is also not about accepting Graves, or some other positivistic mumbo jumbo about how being ill is valuable for my personality, helped me gain important insights and made me take momentous decisions that changed my life for the better for years to come.

Put simply: Graves Disease sucks. Big time. It is not a walk in the park. In fact, you can count yourself lucky if you are able to enjoy a walk anywhere with Mr Graves by your side. I could bore you to tears with tales of my misery in the company of that douchebag. But I won’t.

Because this is a blog about seeing happy things despite all the above.

A blog inspired by my lovely lovable beloved prickly friends, who never fail to make me smile or even laugh out loud. Never in a million years did I expect to see a hedgehog in my city garden (or my kitchen, for that matter) –  not even when we jokingly requested a ‘wilderness garden suitable for hedgehogs’ a few years back.

But here they are. Small miracles of wilderness in the big city. Wonders of fluffiness hiding underneath prickly backs. Watermelon gourmets behind a facade of boorish eating habits.

So what I learned is this: make wild visionary plans, and keep your eyes open. Then you will find your own miracle friends nearby. And the good news is, not even Mr Graves can take away the endless charm of a hedgehog eating a peanutbutter sandwich.

actually, those grapes were a mistake
actually, those grapes were a mistake … according to our hedgehogs