Everyone is shaped by many external factors, their parents and upbringing, their environment, their friends and I am no exception.
I have many beliefs. The one thing they have in common is respect for all living things, animals and humans alike. I should also point out that I am not in the least religious in the formal sense and dislike most organised religions in particular. To me Christianity has a lot to answer for. The nearest religion that I could possibly subscribe to would be Buddhism, that at least respects all life irrespective of its usefulness to humankind and reflects the oneness of life itself. Having reached fifty years of age on this earth, I have a lot to be thankful for. Firstly, I am still alive, secondly, I still manage to enjoy a good quality of life despite the ravages of this virus. None of us live in a vacuum, we share so much with other people.
There are many things that make life worth living. For me, the passions in my life are fairly simple but important ingredients in making my life enjoyable. These include music (both classical and pop), enjoying my partner’s company, gardening, wildlife and the countryside, looking after my 200 or so hens and working on my computer.
My life long interest in classical music dates back to my primary school days, morning assemblies were seldom without their background of classical music. Since those days my passion has grown. I marvel at the invention and diversity of Haydn, the sheer excitement of Stravinsky, the brevity of Beethoven and the stark quality of Sibelius to name but a handful of favourite composers. Classical music has lifted my spirits many times when the going was rough and things looked bleak. I also used to love dancing to club music a lot, and enjoyed the opportunity to throw myself around the dancefloor given the right beat. My favourite gay icon at the moment is Lady Gaga, no surprises there then!
Gardening became a passion rather late in life. I have always been interested in wildlife and I wondered how I could attract birds and butterflies to the garden. Beds of stinging nettles, buddelias and rotting log piles, this slowly gave way to my much loved garden in Stockport, which was certainly a far cry from those early days. I ended up opening this tiny garden of mine to the public for charity each season. Gardening perhaps above all else has helped me cope with life in general and HIV in particular. There were always plans, plants that need my care and attention, other gardens to visit and visiting wildlife to marvel at. Gardening has been and continues to be a great source of pleasure for me. The natural world is a constant source of wonder and inspiration. Wildlife, wild places and the countryside are vitally important to me, they are food for the spirit in this increasingly depressing materialistic world we live in. Having moved and taken up residence in the Highlands of Scotland, the opportunities for good bird watching and observing other wildlife have greatly increased.
Keeping hens is a more recent interest and currently we have around 200+ hens and cockerels, plus 4 geese and 10 guinea fowl. I have always liked hens from being a small child and my very own first ones arrived in March, 2004. Six brown hens comprised my first small flock, since then the numbers have increased dramatically. They are very interesting creatures and really do blossom as individuals when allowed room to makes nests, scratch around outside and indulge in very amusing dust baths. All our birds have an acre to roam in, so they really do have quality of live.
Computering and web site building is also a late development. When I have finally put my hens to bed in the evening, I like to read my emails from friends and continue work on my web sites. There is nothing I like better than to start work on some new web page. Juggling with html is something I never thought I would be doing and actually enjoying. You can view our ‘Sleepy Hollow’ picture gallery here!
My passions keep me going. The local countryside and its wildlife, my hens clucking and joyfully announcing the next egg, contact with people the world over through my computer and that Curlew calling outside as I write, remind me that spring is on the way and summer not far behind!