25 Years

 

The 17th September was my 25th wedding anniversary, damn I looked good back then, what the hell happened? The Mrs hasn’t changed though.

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I’m so lucky to still be with the woman I fell in love, and still love with all my heart.

As a 25th present Tracey got me a silver Claddagh ring from a store called ‘The Great Frog’, on our wedding day Tracey gave me an antique gold claddagh from Galway.

Sorry about the hairy hand , should have combed it first.15700481248549133919374187270440

Then on the 19th September as part of our anniversary, we set off for a long weekend, to the city of Edinburgh. The city where my grandmother was born, grew up in, and was Married to my grandfather.

We stayed at a fantastic hotel called Motel One just down from the castle.  The city was more beautiful than I imagined it would be.

We visited the Castle and the Royal Mile,

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thankfully there are lots of coffee shops to rest along the route,  Tracey got to look around the shops, not my thing though, so I sat in a coffee shop and people watched.

We also took a bus tour, and stopped  to see the botanical gardens which were beautiful, lots of places to rest.

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Next stop was the Ocean terminal, where the royal yacht Britannia is berthed, so we did the tour , the yacht is fantastic and there is so much history, plus they have a working cafe on board, where you can get afternoon tea, being your typical Englishman I had a black coffee, whereas the wife who is a little more sophisticated had the afternoon tea option, which consisted of a small pot of English breakfast tea, a scone with a small pot of clotted cream and a small pot of jam, then to top it off , it comes with an Edinburgh pink gin. She will kill me for posting this picture.

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My God how many chins have I got now? Don’t answer that.

Once we arrived back at the hotel it was time for some refreshments, only the one though🍺 , the tartan pattern is very close to that of our family tartan.

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This spot was also the perfect place for a pint of cider and some people watching . Continue reading “25 Years”

Moving forward

So last week was extremely busy, and extremely lucky. I got to meet up with lots of my favourite people, and drank lots of my favourite beverage, Coffee!

This week looks like it maybe heading the same way,  Monday started off with a visit to the doctor’s for my mo thly blood tests. Then the rest of the day was spent preparing,  then checking, double checking and triple checking that everything was ready for me to attend my first creative writing course, it was great fun. The tutor gave us a plot for writing our first short story, and gave us 20 minutes to write it, homework was to expand on what we had already written and she added an extra twist that we would have to weave into our stories.

I’ve decided I will publish the piece on here next week on e it has been critiqued by the tutor and class.

Tuesday was spent helping  my brother-in-law to get the wi-fi working correctly in my writing den(shed).  I helped, by sitting in the shed with my laptop on, shouting out whether or not the signal was stable, whilst he did all the work in the house. Then the evening was spent finishing my story, and tomorrow  I will do a final edit before submitting it.

Today I will be mainly firing arrows at targets.

Tomorrow will be spent resting whilst my car is repaired and resprayed.

Friday I  will be collecting my monthly sack of meds for the month from the chemist’s.

Busy, busy, busy,

Take care

Gary x

 

 

Archery sunday

So on Saturday  I was in an extremely good mood, West Ham United FC won 3-1 away to Watford FC, oh yeah, and I was asked if I would like to go along to watch an archery competition at the club I have joined on Sunday morning.

The type of  competition they were running  is called a “Short Western”  there were 10 archers taking part, 2 per target. The targets are  set at a distance of  50 yards, each archer then has to shoot a total of 4 dozen arrows, over 8 rounds, each round is 6 arrows.

A small sticker is also placed on the outer black ring and one on the inner red ring of the target. Once they have shot there first 48 arrows at 50 yds, they each get to soot one more arrow, and closest to the sticker wins a medal.

Then it’s time for a barbecue lunch, a chat and a laugh.

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The archey range @ Worthing Archery Club.

So with lunch  over, the archers have to shoot again at 40 yards. At the end the scores are added, handicaps are applied and the medals are handed out.

On a day when temps soared to 30 degrees, I was able to watch the competition from the relatively cool shade beneath the Oak trees that grow along the back of the range, it was so peaceful and calm whilst the shooting was going on, so I  was able make notes, study techniques and just be amazed at how good all the archers were.

At the end when everybody was packing up and leaving, Dan one of the coaches came across and asked me if I’d brought my bow with me, luckily I had, and ended up getting an hour of coaching on my shooting technique, how to set up the bow correctly, and also how to set up and adjust my sight when needed.

What a relaxing, enjoyable weekend, and did I forget to mention that West Ham United FC won 3-1 away to Watford FC.

Take care

Gary x

That Friday feeling

So this Friday was a good day, andeven though things have been a bit rubbish lately, I  was still able to enjoy myself.

To start off, it was a beautiful sunny morning. So I  enjoyed my coffee in the garden with the dog.

Next I went for a haircut, which I have always found to be enjoyable and relaxing, except when I was a kid, I hated it then, I had a good reason though it was called Alopecia.

I also had a very nice lunch of French bread, and some homemade Leek & Potato soup, which I’d made the day before.

Afterwards it was time to be taken out for a coffee by one of the nicest people I know, I  always enjoy coffee with a friend .

But little did I know my day was about to get even better, I got home from coffee in a good mood, but the  missus was a bit stressed, so I suggested we go to a garden centre near Worthing so she could return something she had bought. The good part of the trip though was when I  suggested we go somewhere nice for dinner, just the two of us, so we went to “The Worlds End Pub”, the food was amazing as was the company.

It was date night, yay.

Remember the little things do add up.

Take care

Gary x

Struggling

In the last couple of months I have written a lot of stuff down, unfortunately I haven’t been able to finish more than a few of the different pieces.

It all starts off fine:

  • Theme – ok
  • Title – ok
  • Lots of ideas – ok
  • Start writing – ok

Then:

  • Not happy with what I’m writing
  • Questioning the subject
  • Questioning  why I’m even writing

I know there are a lot of things going on in my life right now, and there are many changes happening some are really big ones to me and  some are extremely stressful.

My moods are also up and down at the moment, not extreme swings but enough for me to notice. Being able to concentration for any length of time has gone out the window, and my depression my physical health, are also not playing fair.

One big issue I’m  having, is that my coping and distraction techniques are not working too well at the moment, such as reading, writing, photography and music. My archery does help whilst I am shooting but once I’ve finished shooting, the worries and stresses return.

I’m sure that once things settle down and I get some structure and normality back into my life things will start returning to normal.

Take care

Gary x

Changing, it’s not so easy, sometimes,

Change affects everybody differently, some people thrive on change, and some actually crave it, there are those who are ok with it, as long as it doesn’t happen too quickly, but there are some who will fight change tooth and nail.

For me, well, I’m pretty sure I have been all of these types at various stages in my life, but now I am going through all of these changes at the same time.

Some are happening too quickly as with my physical and mental health so I am finding that to be challenging.

Some things are going too slowly, like mastering the wheelchair and not being too embarrassed to ask for help or to accept it when it’s offered. This will change.

Finally, and this is a very difficult change for me, as I don’t want to be dealing with the department of work & pensions, because of how worthless they make me feel each time I deal with them. I need to find a new coping mechanism for this one

Today I’m in a lot of pain, and that’s my fault, It’s because I overdid things yesterday, I tried to do everything myself, I forget that I’m still getting used to using a wheelchair, and I guess asking for help in getting around is all part of learning to use one.

I know I need more help, a lot more help, and the last two months have shown that to me, only I haven’t been listening, to myself or to anyone else. I’ve been burying my head in the sand convincing myself that I need to find all of my physical limits, all at once.

With all my physical health changes and challenges I’ve been going through, I completely ignored the build-up of stress that these changes were causing, and on top of that, the stress and anxiety being caused by having to stop working, as well as having to deal with the welfare system on top of everything.

I need to calm down and sit down and do some planning. I need to think through what my next steps are going to be and think about how my priorities have changed. I will have to consider want I want to happen for the future, and how I’m going to get there.

One of the biggest things I’ll need to focus on is my finances if I don’t get help from the social, and that is a strong possibility. and if that happens I will need to have planned for how I will get an income. My Motability car will have to go, as without a job I can”t afford to run it, and driving is really painful for me at the moment, so that is something I need to look into as well, see if there is something out there that could help, maybe a medical aid or something similar

I guess I know what I have to be doing over the next few weeks. I just need to get my arse into gear and start doing it.

No more

Unknown

Take care

Gary x

 

Finding my MoJo

So, for a while now I have been having a bit out of sorts and having a weird feeling that something was missing, that something was not quite right, it also meant I couldn’t ask anyone for help as I didn’t know what sort of help to ask for.

 

So today I decided I needed to get out of the house and blow the cobwebs away.

I went to my nearest town centre and visited one of my favourite coffee shops The Panino Café, the sun was shining, and a cool breeze was blowing, and the flowers smelled amazing.

So, sitting in my wheelchair outside at one of the tables, I started one of my favourite pastimes, people watching. After a short while, I started getting the urge to write, and so I did.

 

As it is Sunday today, the town was not too busy which was good because I was in my wheelchair, which makes it a little easier to manoeuvre. The main problem is Horsham Town centre has a very uneven paved surface and many areas of cobblestones, which means it’s pretty tough going. Looking on the bright side of things, it hopefully means ill end up with biceps like Thor (I can dream).

Next visit though I should probably go with someone, as I’m finding that I’m not really fit enough to be allowed out on my own yet. A bonus in going or meeting someone would be to just have someone to chat with, and also to push me for short periods, when my poor old arms get tired (lol), and also it would mean that I don’t overdo things like I did today, but you live and learn I guess, and as far as wheelchairs are concerned I’ve still got a lot to learn.

 

But now I’m using the chair a lot more and with me starting archery soon, I’m hoping that ill develop his pecs as well and lose the “Moobs” or man boobs, I can live in Naïve hope.

Well, its good to know that I’m still feeling pretty positive and that my slightly weird sense of humour seems to be hanging on in there, just. And that is probably a good thing as I have just bought a “F*ck Boris” t-shirt. which I will wear with pride.

 

Whilst sitting here, watching, writing and drinking delicious coffee, I’ve had a Eureka moment, I’ve figured out what it was that’s missing, me enjoying my writing was missing.

So, what that tells me is that sitting in the sun, writing in my journal which has the words “My F**king plans to take over the world” with my pen that has “f*ck this sh*t” written on the side, two brilliant Christmas presents I got last year, and watching the world go by and not feeling guilty about it, is some of the best medicine you can get.

 

I’m sure if there are any people sitting here watching me writing with a bloody great stupid looking smile on my face, frantically writing away, probably imagine I’ve lost the plot.

 

Remember, Live, love, laugh.

                 

                                            Take care,

                                                       

                                                           Gary x

Thinking

So I’ve  been thinking a bit about where my life is headed. I’m really excited and looking forward to starting archery, as a new hobby. I’m also enjoying my writing and blogging  as well. But I can’t stop feeling that something is missing, that something is not quite right. I just can’t put my finger on what it is, and it’s driving me mad not knowing.

All in all I really had a good day today. Went out for lunch to a place called Wagamamas, met up with friends, great food, great restaurant, had a laugh and a chat. Celebrated a birthday. Getting more comfortable and confident in using my wheelchair.

Hot weather is not helping, pain levels are driving me up the wall, especially my back and neck,  not sleeping great, feeling a little down, a little depressed, a bit flat, a bit confused, which takes me full circle back to feeling like something is missing.

This requires further investigation,  just not tonight

Take care

Gary x

Always Forward, Forward Always.

The title is a line from one of my favourite television series “Luke Cage”. Now I’m definitely not Luke Cage, but the line has stuck in my head since the first time I  heard it, and is meaning is something I  want to live by.

I  have decided to stop letting the past have control over me, my boots of crippling worrying about things I am no longer able to do, my fear of using my wheelchair in public, because of some of the abuse and discrimination I have received in public, when using my crutch or parking in a disabled space, or even out with my camera has brought sneers and stares.

I have decided to get past these negative things and get over my self doubt. My first step has been to start writing, just getting everything I think and feel down on paper. Seeing everything written down in front of me, helps me get some perspective on the changes going on in my life, it also helps me with decisions I  need to make.

Another thing I have started doing again, has been to get out with my camera again it’s something I love, and even though my first solo trip to the nature reserve in a long time ment having the first hide door shut in my face, with 3 people shushing me and telling me to be quiet, amazingly I managed not to be rude to them(a minor miracle), so I  moved onto the second hide, it was empty so I picked a good spot to sit, and withing 10 minutes I was visited by a Kingfisher and it remained for around 5 minutes.

The best bit of the day came next when 3 young people living with cerebral palsy came into the small hide with their carers, it was a tight squeeze but we all fitted in, lots of talking, lots of laughter, and I think I was even able to help them by telling them what I  knew about what the could see on the pond and what the  names of the birds were, this is what nature is all about and it put a big smile on my face. This experience then lead me into my third positive act.

That encounter with those six people in the second hide, had really given my self esteem a massive boost and made me feel a lot more positive about meeting a bunch of strangers about joining an archery club, which turned out to be an amazing experience, and now I can’t wait to become a member.

So, I now have good supportive family and friends around me to help and encourage me, plus  activities and a social that will have a positive effect on my mental and physical health, I know I’m not where I  want to be yet, but at least I am steadily moving forward.

Oh, and one last thing, with some help from my brother my writing shed is finally finished and fully solar powered, so now I’m really looking forward to using it. Cheers bruv.

Take care everyone, and keep an eye out for those positive moments,

Always forward, forward always,

Gary x

 

Bows & Arrows

Not a bad weekend, my pain levels were fairly high, but I was determined that that wouldn’t stop me from trying something new.

For a while now I’ve been doing a lot of research into looking for an activity or sport that I could enjoy and get some exercise from.

So I asked myself some questions  and this is the answer I came up with.

  1. I wanted it to be something with a social aspect to kt and not something I would have to do on my own.
  2. It needed to be something I really wanted to do.
  3. I wanted it to be something I could indoors or outdoors.
  4. It had to be something that wouldn’t be cost prohibitive as I not exactly rich.
  5. It also needed to be something I would enjoy and exercise for me at the same time.
  6. And finally it needed to be something I could do whilst using my wheelchair.

The big question – Did I find something?

The equally big answer – Yes I did.

After much research I finally contacted an Archery club last Wednesday, explaining what I wanted to do, and also asked if They catered for wheelchair users, I then asked if I would I be able to go along on Saturday to see the facility and ask a few questions, and also speak to a few members if possible, thankfully the answer was yes.

So on Saturday I arrived at the archery club around 9 am. I was feeling excited yet nervous. I met with Paul the head coach, who showed me around the range, and went through the range etiquette and rules with me, before introducing me to a couple of the other members.

Firstly he introduced me to Colin, who is also a wheelchair user. Colin was a really nice guy, we had a really good chat and a laugh, the other guy was Neil  who was another coach and also a nice guy. Now because I hadn’t completed the beginners/safety course I wasn’t actually able to shoot any arrows. ThankfullyColin allowed me to sit in his wheelchair, then they showed me how to sit properly, then hold and use a bow.

As a beginner and a wheelchair user they let me practice with one of the club bows, the type of bow I practiced my technique on was called a compound bow.

martin-krypton

The reasoning behind using one of these is.

  1. They are easier to use as a beginner shooting form the seated position
  2. They are fairly light.
  3. They look damn cool
  4. And the pressure can be adjusted.

I now realise I  have muscles where I didn’t know I had muscles, so I will definitely be getting some exercise.

So everything on my needs & wants list ticked.  Result. I will be doing my initial training course on the afternoons of 10th & 17th August and I  can’t wait.

Take care

Gary x

 

 

 

 

 

Nature

I became unemployed today, so to stop myself from dwelling on that fact, I decided I needed to get out of the house, whatever the cost in pain.

So I managed to get to a local Nature reserve today and I took my camera with me, as I just needed to get out of the house, here’s a couple of pics from today.

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It was a pretty good couple of hours sitting in a nice cool hide watching wildlife, I do love photographing Kingfishers.

Dentist tomorrow, not such a good day.

Be careful out there,

Gary x

Pain

You know what pain is a bloody pain, for me, over the last week/week & a balf I have been struggling with writing my blog, due to a sudden rise in pain, in certain parts of my  body, mainly my hands/fingers, chest/left shoulder, neck/throat. Which has made it very hard for me to focus and concentrate. Worst of all is the fact that it has affected my ability to read or write for any length of time. I’ve pretty much used every technique I  know for dealing with my pain, but with little success.

Medication, doesn’t work, and the physio has told me there is very little they can do to help either. Even resting has had little to no effect.

On the bright side though I still I have my dog, my garden, my music and the sunshine to keep my spirits up. My family are looking after me as best they can, whilst  y pain has turned me into a pain which helps a lot, and tomorrow I will actually be able to get out of the house and enjoy a bit of socialising with cffee and friends. So it’s not all bad, is it?

All the best for now.

Be careful out there in the sun and heat, plenty of water and shade.

Till next time, take care

Gary x

Peaceful morning

What a great morning, the sun was shining, a cool breeze was blowing, and the birds were singing in the bushes and trees.

Im now enjoying my coffee, Dora is sleeping at my feet on the patio, after I spent about 20 minutes brushing her, the resulting pile of fur is now being carried off by the little sparrow’s to line there newly built nests.

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Perfect start to the day.

Take care,

Gary x

 

Break

Taking a little break from blogging for the next couple of days. I’m in the middle of writing a real life short story, so any feedback would be help. What I would live to do is turn this into a novel, using different names, maybe set in a different location and time, still working on those ideas at the moment, also filling the story out with a lot more detail and story.  I hope to pretty much have it ready for when I  start my night school writing course in September.

Take care

Gary x

Forgetting

As someone who lives with several long term health condition’s, I  think I’m qualified to speak on the subject of forgetting.

I’m so lucky to have such a great network of family and friends, who look out for me and look after me. Making sure I rest enough, eat right, drive me around, phone me up, message me, text me, Facebook me, take me out for coffee and a chat, the list of things people do for me is endless. They don’t do it because they want anything in return, they do it because they want to, because they like me or they love me or maybe it’s because they are just made that way,  caring, compassionate, nice people.

One thing I know I’m guilty of at the moment, is forgetting about the needs and the health of those who give up there time for me, and that time is one of the most precious gifts someone can give.

At the moment somebody I know, someone who puts so much of her time and effort into looking out for and helping others. A person who never asks for anything in return, who wears her heart on her sleeve, and is compassionate beyond words, has been struggling  herself. Now I realise if I look back over the last few months, I can see that I missed a lot of the signs that things weren’t quite right, and did nothing because I’ve been so wrapped up with me, I’m not trying to make an excuse. What  I’m trying to say is I’m not sure when I stopped, but I really need to start looking out for those who look out for me.

The person I am referring to is one of the nicest, hard working, considerate, unselfish,  funny, amazing human beings I have ever had the pleasure to know, second only to my beautiful  wife.

I’m sure this lady knows I am writing about her, I hope you don’t find all this embarrassing, I  just wanted to write down what I’m thinking and feeling today. I know I  can be a bit dense at times, but I genuinely worry and care about those who help me.

I hope you feel better soon, make sure you take all the time you need and all the sunshine you need to get back to being you. Enjoy your time off as much as you possibly can, you’ve done so much to help me over the last few years, without me ever having to ask, I  know you have a great family and friends around you, but please let me know if there is ever anything I can do to help you.

“Work to live, don’t live to work”

Take care

Gary x

 

Father’s Day

What a great day, started off with a rare cooked breakfast, opened my cards and presents.

  • 3 x Chilli plants an Etna 5th hottest in the world apparently, Scotch Bonnet hot but fruity Jamaican chilli, and an Apache haven’t tried these before.
  • 2 x bars of Lindt dark chocolate.
  • Book, Eric Idles biography
  • A voucher to spend on Amazon.

Nice easy day relaxing. First I planted my newly acquired Chilli plants, after that I decided to stay  outside in the garden  with the dog and  carried on reading my latest ook of  choice  “Catch 22”.

Below is a picture of my selection of books, that I will be reading in no particular order.

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A varied Selection I’m pleased to say,

My Eldest daughter arrived home just after lunch, she’d been to a concert at Wembley arena last night to see The Spice Girls.

My Wife arrived home about 3:30 as she had been working in Hampton today, on the way home she picked up the fathers day family dinner of Pizza, fries, garlic bread and Dr Pepper, my pizza was called the Etna, hot’n spicy. Heaven.

My youngest daughter arrived home around 5:30 almost all my daughters back home, the middle one is at Oxford Uni and wasn’t able to get home,

So all in all a pretty good day, and I even got to see the Red Arrows display  team fly overhead in V formation to the local airshow, so low you felt like you could al ost touch them, and engines roaring as loud as thunder, bloody amazing.

What a fantastic day,

Take care out there

Gary x

Thursday 13th June​ 2019

A date I will always remember, and It was probably the nicest way for anybody to lose their job, and for me nice is good.

I’d known the day was coming since the middle of May. Since the day of the last visit to the hospital pain clinic, when the treatment they tried failed in helping to reduce my pain. It was nobody’s fault, the treatment just didn’t work for me.

At that point, I knew the wheels would be put in motion the have me released from my contract on medical grounds. this would be the second time that this has happened to me, the last time was 7 years ago.

What was different this time, well firstly I knew what was going to happen, and secondly, I have been supported all the way through the process by the people I work for and those I work with. At no point during the last year was I made to feel like a burden which, to be honest, didn’t surprise me in the slightest, I was only ever told that my welfare comes first.

I am saddened that I will no longer be going into work, and not working with my friends and colleagues, which is what I will miss the most. This time though I have not been cut adrift and left to find things out for myself because they are still looking out for me and helping me.

That’s why today I’m feeling so lucky and positive, I have so many people in my life now that I am grateful for.

Goodnight have a great weekend and take care,

Gary x

Oh, and I’ve started to write a true love story, one I hope to finish writing in the next couple of weeks, fingers crossed.

To infinity and beyond

The day is almost here, tomorrow will be a turning point for me. In the afternoon I will be attending a meeting with the HR department for the organisation I work for, the NHS,. The meeting is about releasing me from my contract on medical grounds, it’s all very amicable and I’m prepared, but, still it will be a difficult and sad time for me for  a while.

I  can say that without the NHS and it’s amazingly talented, hard working staff, I wouldn’t be around  today.  They have looked after me and my various longterm health conditions for 57 years now, I’ve been a volunteer for them for 7 years, they have employed me as an administrator for the last 2 years, and I have loved every minute of it.

I will miss the work, tutors, participants, the friends I have made in fact I  already do, as I  have been off work  for a year now. The coffees  and the chats will continue with my colleagues, if they’re not sick of me yet, and at some point I hope to be able to return to being a volunteer in some capacity.

I have already made plans and set goals on what I want to do, and how I will achieve them, I am feeling really positive. Exciting times ahead.

As the saying goes “one door closes and another on opens”.

Take care

Gary x

Life – Death -Feelings.

I’m  having a strange old time at the moment. On Monday last weeweek I found out my stepfather had died, he’d been diagnosed with an Auto Imune Disorder, but he died from a blood clot caused by all of the treatment he received just before be was going to be discharged. Now I  can’t speak for my brother or my step brothers but I don’t feel anything. From the age of 12 until I was 28 he was my step father but pretty much in name only, he was rarely home, spent most of his time at work. He was production manager  at PYE Records. When he was home he would pretty much keep to himself and listen to music with his headphones on, that’s how  I remember him, cold and distant.

When I was 28 he and my Mum separated and divorced. I won’t go into the reasons for the marriage breaking down because it’s not relevant.  I think in the last 29 years I probably  saw my stepfather once, at the funeral of his 2nd son and my younger stepbrother. I feel sad for my step brothers though, because they have lost their father which must be heartbreaking for them.

I guess now that I  have written it down and read it back to myself, I  understand why I feel nothing. It’s because  I never really got to know him, he never met my daughters, so I guess that’s why I never thought of him as a father, and that is why I don’t know how miss him, or how I feel about him

So why did I want  to write this down, well what got me thinking about it today, Monday, was that I had to go for my monthly blood tests because I take some very strong medication for my Auto Immune Disorder. I wanted to write it down, so I could make sense of it in my head, and I’m glad I did as writing it down has really helped me to understand why I don’t feel anything g towards him, and I’m okay with the answers I found.

It’s just gone midnight, in the early hours of Tuesday morning. It’s my youngest daughter Erin’s 21st birthday today, the balloons and the banners are up, the presents and cards are laid out, tonight will be dinner with the family, the weekend just gone was all about partying with her friends. So feeling pretty proud and happy at the moment. My other 2 daughters will be 23 and 25 this year and I’m very proud to, this year is also my 25th wedding anniversary which also makes me very happy, all in all this year is going to be a good year .

Where the hell does the time go?

So in the words of  the truly great, Bill and Ted, “Party on dude”

Take care

Gary x

School Daze

I grew up in Mitcham, in the London Borough of Merton. My mother was Irish, Roman Catholic, my Dad was a London boy and slightly Church of England, which meant, of course, my younger brother and I were going to be raised as good Roman Catholic boys. Our first school was called St Peter & St Pauls Roman Catholic, Primary School. I would say it was your typical RC London school, too much religion for my liking, but hey it was what it was.

As I said it was your typical school. We had the guy who would eat a worm or a spider for a dare, there was the girl who would always do handstands and show you her knickers for the price of a sweet, and the kid who would always pee himself in the classroom because he was too scared of the teacher to put his hand up to go to the toilet because he was embarrassed about asking in front of others9that must have been tough). We even had a few of the 7/8 yr old kids who used to smoke behind the bike shed(this was the late 60s early 70s after all).

I was one of the quiet, awkward kids, who didn’t seem to quite fit in, I didn’t want to be noticed, hated being the center of attention, crap at sport, always one of the last to be picked for the football or rounders team, unlike my brother who was an excellent footballer and always one of the first to be picked for any team.

As a result of my awkwardness, quietness and constantly being off school sick I had a definite lack of confidence, friends, and my social skills were rubbish, it was also a time for me that would have a big impact on my relationship with the Catholic Church and it was called first Holy Communion, I hated studying for it, I didn’t want to do it and it turned out to be my first step in moving over to the dark side of moving over to atheism, for me the big battle would come when I reached 12 yrs old, the church and I were never going to be friends and 50 years later it’s still not for me, my Mum was never happy about my  lack of love with religion but she eventually came to accept it.

When I was 8  my parents divorced, this was a traumatic time for me, I didn’t understand what was going on, I never asked my brother how he felt about it, and I even started thinking it was my fault. Then our dad moved out and I turned into the antichrist, my brother and my mum became the focus of that anger.

By the time I’d started St Thomas of Canterbury, middle school, religion and me were on very thin ice. One of my teachers was a nun. If have you ever seen the nun in the film the Blues Brothers, she used the same punishment a rap across the knuckles with a wooden ruler which bloody hurt, her Maths lesson was always intertwined with religious stories which meant I would just switch off. I guess this was my first real experience of bullying, the next was the PE teacher who was a really nasty piece of work.

Now I know I keep referring to my poor health and at this time of my life, my egg allergy  caused fairly regular visits to St Georges Hospital, my chronic Asthma which would cause several bouts of Bronchitis a year and would put me in St Hiliers Hospital at least once a year, usually during the winter, cold air and London smog do not mix well.

Anyway back to the PE teacher, it was a really cold day, and very smoggy , My asthma was playing up, so I had brought a letter into school from my mum, to excuse me from cross country running, which was held on Mitcham Common, what this man did to me scarred me for the rest of my school days especially when it meant doing sport. After the teacher had read my mum’s note, he threw it in the bin then marched me into the gym in front of the class, he sat down put me across his knee pulled down my school shorts and slippered me with my own plimsole, whilst telling them I was a poof and a weakling for letting my asthma stop me from running which actually helps asthmatics, this was a mixed school so what he did was beyond embarrassing.

It was my final year at St Thomas’s, I was 12 yrs old and I had to do my confirmation after much arguing and fighting with my mother I went through with it, I had to or I wouldn’t get my new Blazer. I hated doing it, then the next day everything went bang, I was dragged in front of the Headmaster for laughing in assembly during the Lord’s prayer, I don’t know what started off my fit of giggles, but I just couldn’t stop. I was called into the headmaster’s office who was standing there with his cane in his hands, then I blurted out I hate God and I hate religion and I hate this bloody school. That was the last RC school I ever went to thankfully.

For my Last year living in London, I got to go to a school of my choice, Eastfields High School, a dream come true, Instead it turned into a nightmare, I ended up in the hospital and at home for 3 months because of my asthma. At 13 I moved with my family to West Sussex, for my sins, I had to go to Forest Boys Comprehensive school, I was told I wasn’t allowed to carry on with the subjects I had chosen the year before German, Art and general Science, instead, I was put into Drama, Geology and Social Economics.

As it turned out, these subjects were undersubscribed and there were no sets, I liked the teachers, funnily enough, I did well in these classes and got two of my highest grades. As  for my main subjects, my grades weren’t as good as they should have been, though that was partly down to the teachers who weren’t really interested in those students who weren’t in sets 1 or 2 in Maths and English, and partly down to me having finally given up on a school system that had given up on me.

But it didn’t stop me going to college, It didn’t stop me from traveling the world for 15 years in an amazing job, going to fantastic places, seeing some awesome sights and meeting some truly wonderful people. I have also finished my working career as I will soon be released on medical grounds from a totally amazing job within the NHS.

Everything has worked ok in the end, no grudges, no regrets.

I just want to be clear I don’t hate any religion, personally, I don’t think that religion would make me any better as a person, but if it helps you if it’s your thing That’s good.

“Carpe Diem”

Party on dude,

Gary x

Music Vs Pain

Over the last 3 years, listening to music has become one of the main tools I use to help with my pain, I can use it to help me relax,  or to carry out certain tasks by distracting me from the pain, tasks such as driving short distances, reading, writing or tending my Chilli plants.

I have built up a wide and varied selection of styles and band’s that I like to listen too, so selecting the correct band/music is very important, as my mood, pain level and task are all factors in selecting what I will choose.

For example, travelling by Bus, Car or Train I have a specific selection of bands that I would choose from, such as – Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Queen, Nickleback, Counting Crows, Garth Brooks, First Aid Kit, The Beach Boys, The Mavericks or The Beautiful South.

For more leisurely pursuits such as reading or writing, I have a different selection that I choose from that consists of – AC/DC, Kiss, The Carpenters, The Clash, Elvis Presley, Fleetwood Mac, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Vaccines, The Stranglers and 30 Seconds to Mars.

As you can tell a nice easy listening selection for an ageing heavy metal rocker like Myself. Here’s the proof with my passport picture from 39 years ago, 18 yrs old.

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I know what your thinking, did his parents really let him go out dressed like that? Sadly I haven’t aged so well.

Rock Star or what?

There has been a lot of trial and error in putting together my playlists which has been so much fun, as well as being important to me so I get the results I need.

One last thing though, is I have to remember to set an alarm on my phone to make sure I get up and move around, otherwise, I could end up in a lot more pain than I started with,

Good luck if this is something you decide to try.

Take care

Gary x

Scary Stare

The Wife has been collecting items for The Ingfield Manor Fete, which is this weekend. Unfortunately, there is one item that has me a little spooked the item is a 3/4 size stuffed toy, Lion.

Personally, I think the damn thing is possessed it is laying on the sofa to my Left, which means every time I turn to the left to look into the garden it’s right there in front of my face staring at me occasionally I forget it is there and almost have a damn heart attack.

So here is a picture of the view I see.

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I’m thinking of calling a priest in to carry out an Exorcism. How did this become a child’s cuddly toy? It looks more like Scar than Simba.

Have a great day and don’t look at the picture for too long.

Take care.

Gary x

EPP ​Volunteer Lunch

I enjoyed a very nice bucket of black coffee this morning at a garden center restaurant near Littlehampton, It was so nice to catch up with the EPP office crew minus Danny, sadly, and as it was volunteers day so it was great to catch up with some of the volunteer tutors, it was really good to see some familiar faces and a shame that everybody wasn’t able to make it.

It was good to rest the old vocal cords today and just listen to others for a change, as I commented to my Guv’nor. It was a great chance to hear how everyone has been keeping and getting on with the courses whilst I have been on long term sick leave. I even got to enjoy a bit of people watching for a while, which happens to be one of my favourite pastimes. The only problem was nothing really happened in the restaurant worth commenting about.

And last but not least, it was great to see Treacle the medical alert dog today, so glad he was able to come along, although when I got home I could tell that my dog wasn’t happy with me.

Thanks for chauffeuring me around today Sue, it was very much appreciated and great to catch up.

Karen thanks for organising today I really enjoyed myself, I think the new office pens are a wonderful colour and the logos are inspired.

One last thing I have finally got my first Physio appointment on the 24th  June 2019.

Take care

Gary x

Travelling

So in a previous life(1989 – 2007), I was lucky to have a few jobs in that allowed me to travel the world, meet some amazing people and see some amazing sights, and I got to do it all before I got too sick.

USA:- California, Colorado, New York, Vermont, West Virginia, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, Florida, Missouri, Massachusettes, Idaho, Maine, Texas, Pennsylvania.

Japan:- Tokyo, Nagoya. Fukuyama, Mito, Hitachi.

Hongkong

Taiwan;- Taipei, Tainan, Hsinchu, Kaohsiung.

Singapore:- Sentosa, Clarke Quay, Orchard Towers, Newton Circus, Tampines

France:- Grenoble, Corbeil-Essonnes, Paris, Lyon, Callais.

Germany:- Berlin, Dresden, Erfurt, Munich, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Freiberg, Chemnitz, Cologne.

Holland:- Nijmegen, Hengelo, Eindhoven.

Ireland:- Cork, Limerick, Shannon, Galway, Claregalway, Clifden, Dublin, Leixlip, Maynooth.

Israel:- JerusalemAshkelon, Ashdod, Kiryat Gat, Tel-Aviv

Italy:- Rome.

Switzerland:- Geneva

Canada:- Montreal.

I was very lucky I had the best job in the world, I got to do so many things, see so many sights, try so many different foods and cultures, so many good memories, so many photographs so many pamphlets, tickets, old passports and memorabilia saved. The best about being away was catching the flight home to my wife and kids.

This is why it is taking me a while to complete my memory book.

Take care

Gary x

I Can’t Unsee That.

Have you ever had one of those moments when  you’ve thought “Now I’ve seen that, I can never unsee it”. Well I had 2 instances like that today.

I was in town buying an Anniversary card and I started to head off home across the town square to get back to my car. Now, when I walk, I walk slowly with my head bent down slightly due to neck pain, then every now and again, I’ll look up to make sure I’m I not going to walk into something.

Anyway back to the story, so I was walking across the square when I looked up and the sight I beheld made me cringe inside. On the bench about 10 feet in front of me, was a lady. I’d say she was about 80 years old and she was reading the paper, I know your thinking that’s not so terrible.

The trouble is she was wearing a knee length skirt with her knees were very far apart and wearing no tights or stockings just bare white flesh. That sight is now burned into my brain and I’ll never be able to unsee it. I just hope she didn’t see the look of horror on my face.

I carried on across the square and made my way to the alley that leads to the car park, I could hear footsteps behind me which, sounded like high heels and whoever was wearing them made it sound like they were in a bit of a hurry. I’m not surprised as I’ve said before my walking is pretty slow these days. Then as we emerged from the alley this woman shot past me,.

she was a tall blond lady wearing a fur jacket and pale leather trousers. Now, it was a hot day and even at my slow speed I was perspiring. I don’t know if any of you have ever heard the noise that slightly sweaty skin makes when you sit down into a leather chair, move in it or get up out of it, well it sounds like a wet fart and that’s the only way I can describe it. So if you put together a hot day, leather trouser’s and perspiration you get the sound of a loud wet fart, it means every time her thighs brushed together you got a loud wet fart on rapid fire, it’s a sound I will never forget, I know I should have felt sorry for her, but I was too busy wetting myself laughing and I so needed a good laugh.

take care

Gary x