Reasons to be cheerful. Cats

Is there a more soothing, comforting sound than that of a cat purring on your lap? It is just a wonderful noise and helps me unwind immensely.

We have 6 cats at home, but only one of them is what I would my cat. My little mate Blackie. He is an annoying face snuggler when you’re trying to sleep, has no respect for personal space and wakes me up by sneezing in my face more often than I would like but he is a very welcome addition to my world.

Every time I step outside in the front garden for a cigarette he comes with me and sits by my feet, follows me up and down the path and is like a little cute purring shadow. He is also pretty vocal so we can have a nice chat at times. Erm…so yeah, maybe the lockdown has turned me into a crazy cat man. Note to self stop referring to yourself as his daddy…

He also seems to know when I’m feeling a little bit down and ramps up the affection. Sitting and stroking him is a great tool against depression, just so relaxing.

Here is my cute little buddy

Are you a cat or dog person?

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Did I miss the announcement

Is lockdown over? Are we free again to go about as the glorious pre lockdown days? Guessing I missed that one on the news because its seems that since Bojo announced we were past the peak people have taken that to mean do whatever the fuck we want.

I’m seeing more and more people out, groups of people that I know are not from the same households walking along the street together, not even the 2 meters apart that is recommended.

I stood out in the front garden and had a smoke, in the 10 minutes I was outside I counted 58 people walking past. Ok I live opposite a park but that is more than normal. When i went to Tesco to get shopping the other day I sat in traffic!

What is going on with people? I get it, we are getting fed up with staying at home but there is a reason for this!

One thing that has been shown by people is how selfish they are. Its not about if you have this killer its about who could get it from you! Stay the fuck at home.

The opening of a fast food drive through is not an essential journey! Police are having to issue fines because people are driving for hours just to get a burger.

Seems common sense has gone in these selfish people. Yet these same people will happily clap for the NHS and key workers but are happily putting them in danger because they wont listen to the rules…..

But hey, long as you can walk down the road pissed/high with your mates it’s all worth it….

Rant over….and breathe…

Educating the moose

Two weeks ago I found saw an ad on Facebook for a free level 2 distance learning course, I’ve never really been a great learner, I have no self discipline when it comes to things like this. Too easily distracted by that singing chocolate bar trying to get my attention, or the dancing bag of crisps calling me….but I took the plunge and signed up for a course on counselling skills, as its something I could actually see myself doing as a career.

Today I have actually started the course! For the first time since 1995 I am studying and to say I’m nervous and apprehensive is an understatement. My first assignment is due in 10 days! Doesnt leave me much time to get to grips with a new subject and after 3 hours of reading through parts of the workbook my brain is ready to explode with the information overload.

What tips would you give?

Should I set aside x amount of hours to the course each day?

Is it an idea to make notes as I’m reading, the book is only available online so I dont have a physical copy I can take and read without taking my laptop with me around the house.

Look what you may have missed

Well its fair to say the writers block has been lifted after 9 months! The longest writing streak since 2014 and its been great to see people reading my words again.

There has been 12 posts since 23rd April and I’ve noticed that most get read on the day but once new content arrives its quickly consigned to history. So with that in mind I thought I would put links to all the recent posts here.

There is a little bit of everything from poetry in my own unique awful style, to trying to be positive with reasons to be cheerful. I have even been lucky enough to have people take the time to write posts for me to share about how coronavirus is impacting them.

Below are the links for each new post. Check them out, pearls of wisdom in each one..well hopefully that is the case but if you dont read them you will never know….

Isolation and Mental Health

Coronavirus thoughts and guest posts #1

The trouble with me

Reasons to be cheerful. The kiddies..

Coronavirus thoughts and guest posts #2

Reasons to be cheerful. Cala Millor

And it will be ok eventually

In the beginning and what next for The Depressed Moose

Coronavirus and guest posts #3

Reasons to be cheerful Puerto De La cruz

Reasons to be cheerful. Loro Parque

Ode to Coronavirus

Reasons to be cheerful. Loro Parque

While planning the lads (old gits) holiday I happened to have a look on trip advisor for things to do in Tenerife, and Loro Parque was quickly the place to go.

Voted best zoo in Europe no less…

It was around a 20 minute walk from our hotel so we headed off to the zoo to explore it. The entry price was pretty reasonable 38 euros, at the time I thought it was high but there is so much to see and do we ended up going back again…they also do a reduced entry ticket you can buy to come back another day. Neither Karl or I can remember how cheap it was but know this, if he pays then it’s a bargain.
I live in London and the price for the zoo here in terms of what you see, value for money etc is on a different level.

Let’s not use this post as a platform for debating the captivity of the animals though, whether you agree or not it was incredible being so close to amazing beasts.

The Orca shows were amazing, worth the entrance fee alone in my opinion

The dolphin shows were disappointing in comparison. Maybe see the dolphins first….
We saw one animal do an exact replica of one of my beach poses…Yes that’s a gorilla,  not,I repeat, not me on the beach

The penguin area was amazing, you stand on a moving pathway, around the enclosure and see loads of the buggers.
Here are some other photos of the 2 days spent at Loro Parque.. if anyone from the Parque sees this post yes we would love free tickets, airfare and accommodation to come back..


No zoom used, they were really that close

Again, not me on the beach





How cool is this jellyfish?

If you go to Tenerife. Make sure you visit this place it will be well worth it.
Want to Loro Parque and whilst I didnt get the t-shirt….

I did get the hat 🤣

Reasons to be cheerful Puerto De La cruz

In all the time spent not blogging I completely forgot I never wrote about going on a second holiday last year. This time it was going to be a holiday with a twist as my best friend Karl came alone for the adventure. It was also booked to coincide with my birthday as I had always wanted to be away for it. What better than a bit of winter sun in November/December to celebrate getting even older..

So off to Tenerife we headed, Puerto De La Cruz to be precise. I didn’t fancy, the livelier Las Americas, I wanted somewhere chilled as a relaxing break from the stressed of life were just what we both needed.

Black sand on the beach was a bit of a culture shock, as was temperatures of 25c considering it was single digits back home but a great time was had with a great friend.

Here are some photos for you

Moose on tour, just off the plane and on Tenerife soil

View from the beach

Hotel room view at night

Overcast day but still a wonderful sight

#1 bar in Tenerife! Birthday night in here

banana trees

Moose just chilling and loving life! Love this photo

Coronavirus and guest posts #3

I secretly hoped this would happen without me having to ask, you see Karl has graced us with in his own words “a rambling incoherent blog post” and knowing him as well as I do…that’s exactly what he has written.

Dont forget if you want to contribute please do get in touch. I’m hoping that there will be more of these guest blogs coming soon!!


Over to you Karl….

Quarantine day 2056..So how are you coping in this coronavirus ‘lockdown’?… i have officially watched everything on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Pornhub… tomorrow there will be huge decisions to be made about whether i start my own religion or not!

Its not unusual to be faced with a mild case of insanity in these modern times, we already live in a world where a 72 year old toddler is the most powerful man in the world, and social media has all our anxiety turned up to 11.. but in this lockdown things you and I took for granted are taken away from us, all be it temporarily, and the little things you didn’t even think about are suddenly glaringly missing from our lives. I miss McNuggets!

Though when it does come down to sanity it is often best to try and keep it in check. I have noticed that the more time people are spending at home the more they are slipping into their own personal conspiracy theory led alternate universe where mobile phone signals are spreading virus’.. they are not!

Do not chug the disinfectant! It will kill you!

There is no reason to believe that everyone (government or otherwise) is lying to you.. that’s just social media hyperbole. #chill

Even thought this lockdown is testing the very outer limits of being a couch potato, you have to understand that all the measures and restrictions that are put in place are for the greater good (the greater goooood). Stay At Home, Save the NHS, Save Lives.

And I have kids and parents that need protecting so here I am, doing my bit.. sitting in a box awaiting this to blow over!

I must confess though I myself have dabbled with a weird mental state since lockdown.
My sleep patterns have all but flipped to the point I am more of a nocturnal beast now, there is something quite cathartic about taking your exercise in the dead of night with nobody about but it has made keeping track of the days slightly more problematic…i was sitting awaiting a Music Mix that always appears online at 9am on a Friday, getting increasingly annoyed that this little slice of entertainment hasn’t come to light up my life and.. everything is ruined I might as well blow myself up and never see anyone or do anything again and….. Oh its Thursday!!! never mind….

The other day I seemed to have minor breakdown… I find it is causing me to swear at inanimate objects! I referred to the toaster as cting fking pr*ck!
I feel ashamed about the way I treated the toaster.. I shall have to find ways to make it up to it! I might buy some nicer bread this week, maybe Hovis extra thick!

Almost 6 weeks into this lockdown and I admit, even though I am a massive fan of my own company, I am also annoying the bee’geezus out of myself! I keep putting things down and forgetting where I left them and then I have this full on internal argument (that strangely sounds a lot like my former marriage) to the point that I sit down in a huff with myself and I wont talk to myself for 3 hours!

And as it goes I do sometimes feel the need to have a little bit of human interaction.. this is where I have all of sudden made the bold claim that biscuits are in fact ‘essentials’ I have often referred to a nice packet of mcvities shortcakes as antidepressants, for some reason they lift my spirits!
But I digress, but in going on the quest for crumbly sugary greatness I get to go to Tesco and see people, adhering to social distancing at all times.. if anyone gets too close I just scream like a banshee.. but its good to see people doing something a little bit normal. . And the brief conversations with the checkout girl sort me out for a couple of days..

Due to personal circumstance I find myself on my own a lot, over the last decade and a half I was often quite isolated, this was down to an abusive relationship that essentially cut ties with all my friends except the die hard few, and the fact that even after the relationship was over there was fallout.. so in the last few years I made an effort to get out there, I found my place in society and a spot at the bar in the local pub and made good friends and greater friends rekindled the friendship with the Moose, and things have been dire but manageable with the people around me.. And that is one of the startling realisations I have had since lockdown.. even though I hate people, I am a people person!! work that one out Sigmund Freud?!

Anyways… I don’t know what your plans are for the rest of the week are but the community of small rodents i have been cultivating as a replacement dominant species to the human race (just in case this coronavirus thing went apocalyptic) have rebelled on me and renounced me being their God.. i am a benevolent God and i could have smite them swiftly… but using a small pipe and a bit of compressed air i have launched them into Mrs Hughes, at No 57, back garden.. They chose this fate and now it’s up to them to survive her herd of 25 cats.

BeSafe #BeNice #BeKind #DontBeADick

In the beginning and what next for The Depressed Moose

Almost 8 years ago I was on a different journey, a dark slippery slope of depression that eventually cost me a marriage and almost my life. The Depressed Moose was born out of necessity and a deep desire to help other people, men in particular, to open up about mental health and for about 2 years it was a success. I was known on twitter, in the mental health community as someone who would speak out about the subject without worrying about the taboo nature at the time. It was not so widely spoken about back then, nowadays it’s a normal healthy subject in many ways due to it being more publicized. One of my proudest moments was when a premier league footballer recognised me from my blog at a mental health event.

I wrote books, worked alongside Mind to create the online support group elefriends and was a “go to” person for a lot of people. Many of those strangers are friends to this day, some sadly no longer with us but this blog helped save my life at a time when I was barely hanging on.

When I took a break from blogging I was in a new relationship and whilst that ultimately didnt work out it was the right decision for me at that time. New beginnings, new opportunities and a new exciting chapter in my life. Regardless of what happened it was a period of my life that gave me many lessons and challenges that the old me would’ve buckled under the emotional turmoil, I came out the other side stronger. The dark days of depression crippling me were a thing of the past…

I’ve written sporadically since those days, its been almost 3 years and in that time I’ve worked almost non stop. Considering my mental health made me unemployed for 7 years this has been a huge positive to come out of a negative situation. The downside to this is that it means I have less time to dedicate to writing and at times my passion was extinguished. Long gone are the majority of bloggers I read, times change, people change and it becomes harder to maintain, connect and market a blog.

The black dog still visits from time to time but thanks, in part, to the writing from the bad years I can look back, see the triggers and signs and stop them before it escalates too much. The dog barks from outside the garden rather than next to me.

So where does that leave this blog? Truth be told is that right now I’m not entirely sure. I will always be a mental health advocate and supporter of those wanting help, advice and a friendly ear. As this blog evolves again it may well be a mix and match place but mental health, and depression in particular will always have a place here.

For now it’s great to be sharing my life with my followers ( is it wrong to call you fans? Fuels the ego somewhat) so subject matter from my holidays away, my general adventures with Karl (consider the 2 of us as a fatter, older, more bitter and less successful Ant and Dec)

As one of my best friends said “please keep writing and I promise to keep on reading”


Pride of my place on my wall

Thank you all of you who comment, like and interact with this page. It’s great to see some old faces and meet new people.

Reasons to be cheerful. Cala Millor

In 2018 I was finally dealing with the fallout and damage from my past relationship and needed to get away from reality for my own sake. I hadnt been overseas since 1998 so was pretty unsure about going away, especially as it was going to be as a solo traveller. Those that know me in real life will know that once I get an idea in my head it’s pretty hard to change my mind. A holiday abroad was what I wanted and that was what I was going to have. The question was where, I’d already booked the dates off work as annual leave so the only thing left to do was pick a destination and fight my anxiety about doing something different.

I set my heart on Majorca, I’d been to Magaluf on my last holiday when I was young enough to still throw some shapes and not pull muscles and put out my back.. so that rules out the busy nightlife part of the island. So with a limited budget I went for an all inclusive deal in Cala Millor, what followed was a life changing experience.

I’d never been away on my own, it was a huge deal being stuck with myself for a week but it taught me that I could be on my own and deal with negative thoughts, demons and self loathing and come through a better, happier person.

I went back last year for 10 days and overcame targets I’d set myself from the year before. Thankfully finances this year didnt allow me to book for summer 2020 as fate would have it, it was never gonna happen anyway but the plan is to go back next summer and sit, chill and enjoy my little piece of paradise.

Here are my favourite photos from Cala Millor for you to enjoy…

The trouble with me

Being stuck indoors gives me plenty of time to lose myself in my thoughts, as someone with low self esteem that’s not always a good thing. Its all to easy to be unkind to yourself and find fault in every aspect of your appearance and characteristics. This isnt some sort of pity party whereby I expect lots of compliments to be thrown back at me, but more of a brutally honest self analysis and reflection of how, right or wrong, I view myself because how we see ourselves isnt how others do…

Firstly I need to accept that I’m no longer the man I was, by this I mean that despite wishing I was a young attractive man in my 20s I have to accept the reality of being in my early 40s, heavier than I’d like to be and far less of a catch than I’d like to admit. I have a huge issue with my weight but not enough love doe myself, let alone discipline to do anything about it. That’s before factoring the issues with my knees, the recent fibromyalgia diagnosis has helped to a degree with this as it’s not just “in my head”

The fact is I would love to be more active, i was a footballer in my younger days yet haven’t kicked a ball in a decade. I try exercising but it comes at a cost. The tough mudder, the 10k runs etc were huge achievements for me but they were followed by weeks of intense sleep depriving pain. I work in a pub full time 5 days a week of 8 hours being on my feet cripple me beyond words at times but I do it because I have to have that routine and structure in my world. My colleagues and the majority of customers keep me going and I’m grateful that I work with some great people.

But still the person I see in the mirror daily is not the person I think I am. I dont recognise him. I’d love to look at myself and not be disgusted by the chins, the grey hair…the old man looking back at me. If you asked me the one thing I like about me it’s my green eyes..even they are tired, drained and dont bloody work properly. Dont even get me started on wearing glasses, never liked them and never will. Yet I struggle with wearing contacts as my eyes dry out quickly, I am noticeably more confident wearing contacts.

When it comes to my weight its been a struggle for the past 10 years or so, linked to the real start of pain that made me have to give up playing football on a Saturday, if you play on Saturday and cant walk till Wednesday then what is the point? and that’s where I found myself.

Mix that in with being a comfort eater and it equals a bit of a mess to say the least. When it comes to food I have very limited likes, oh to be precise im a fussy bastard. I’ve never even had a curry in my life! Throw me some crisps and chocolate and you have a friend for life, try throwing me something green and healthy and ill possibly throw it straight back.

I made the mistake of weighing myself today, the scales are liars dirty liars!

Since lockdown I have gained 7 lbs and as of today I weigh 17 and 1/2 stone 245lbs! thats not quite the biggest I’ve been but in those days I was heavily depressed and barely left the bed let alone worked full time like I do now. Does it make me want to eat less? in theory yes but then the chocolate and crisps started calling me again..

So as you as can tell physically I have one or two issues with myself. Despite that I still live in hope of meeting someone who makes effort with me and will help me becomes a better person. Encouragement is key, effort is key and just a bit more patience is required because fundamentally, beneath the flaws I am fucking awesome. I just need to see it again

But therein lies the trouble with me, if you are what you eat…. I’m a bar of dairy milk and a packet of walkers crisps

Mentally a lot of the demons have long since gone, baggage carried eventually becomes a part of you no matter how hard you try, especially when you have been through traumatic experiences. I have no issues with my personality traits, others might have but that’s a whole different blog post in itself. I’m crude, I’m offensive and very near the line at times but that’s part of the package that is the moose, or Garry if you prefer (I answer to both)

A friend recently told me to not give up on finding someone, it’s been nearly 6 years since my last date. I may not tick a lot of boxes these days but I’m worth a risk. At the very least a bit of effort…

And maybe just maybe the effort from others will make the difference and allow me to finally accept that if someone can make the time to take a chance on a fat grey haired cynical old moose then he really isnt all that bad after all