Good & Bad

So over the last couple of weeks there have been a lot of changes going on, some good some bad,  but mainly good.

Got to meet up for coffee and a chat with my old boss Karen which is always a plus. Also got to meet up with one of my fellow volunteers, Ian, it was great to catch up, have a bit of a laugh and drink coffee, and also managed to to have a coffee and a catch up, with Sue, I used to share the office with her, and we talked about my possible return to volunteering again in the new year.

Thats three pluses.

The wheelchair archery I  started last month is going really well, I’m so glad I decided to  do it,  there also a great bunch of people, at last a bit of a sociaal life.

That’s two more pluses

As for bad news, well I’m dealing with the jobcentre, even though I cannot work, I’m  being hounded by the DWP for a current fit for work doctors note, even though the one I  sent them says I have been signed off work indefinitely, and today a 20 page capability for work questionnaire dropped through the letter box, oh joy. Though I  will now be getting Employment and Support Allowance for a year.

So that’s two big negatives.

The car got damaged, a foot long gouge along the top of the rear wheel arch, courtesy of one of the neighbours kids on his bike. More costs.

 

Another big negative.

Got more hospital tests happening on the 16th, so this could be a plus  or a negative, will have to wait and see.

West Ham have now won there last two games.

original_west-ham-united-bubbles-football-song-print

That’s another two pluses. The pluses win 7-3, gotta love that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Writing – Changing

The purpose of this piece is for me to get used to writing, so hopefully the more writing I do the better I get. I’m sure there are many spelling mistakes and grammatical errors as you read through this but this is about learning and finding what kind of writer I’m going to be, so all of your comments will be of great value. In September I start a 10 week creative writing workshop, hopefully, I will have figured out how to use the spelling & grammar checker by then. So please be kind, be brutal, but above all please be honest about what you think.

Title:- Changed

Last weekend I started reading the biography about an Idol of mine, comedian & Film star Robin Williams. Reading it brought up emotions of sadness because he’d died & happiness because he made me & the world laugh. The very first time I saw Robin Williams was on the tv show Mork & Mindy, it made me laugh so hard I would have tears rolling down my face.

In the book many people were saying he was a comic genius, a legend, a star, I think he was just bloody awesome. He was one of those actors whose films would always cheer me up, they would always make me smile and laugh especially when I was feeling down. In the book people he performed with said he was an amazing guy to work with, he was always trying to make people laugh on set, always willing to help fellow cast & crew out & always helping those in need & those less fortunate. One example of his compassion reported that he would always insist that any of the films he worked in must always hire a number of the local homeless population to work on the set.

After reading the introduction and all the comments from his friends, colleagues, and family,. It moved on to tell his story. It started with at the end of his story with talking about his death at the age 63 & by the end of that first page I could feel a lump in my throat & could feel tears welling up also. I remember feeling the same way when his death was announced back in 2014. It made me think about a film I had recently seen; it was a documentary called RobinWilliams – Inside My Mind. It had its funny moments but was filled with heartbreak & sadness, he was an amazing human being, full of energy and laughter, but it showed he was also just a man who had his own demons & flaws such as drinking, drugs, anxiety & depression.

I got a bit distracted again at this point & started thinking about my own demons, my own long-term battle with my crappy health, depression & anxiety. So I decided I wanted to get my own story down on paper to bare my soul so to speak then share it on here.

Here we go.

I’ve pretty much had poor health since birth, though my battle with depression & anxiety didn’t start until much later(obviously). In fact, it started around the same time as the bullying I was experiencing did. I was about 11 when the bullying started firstly because I was rubbish at sport & didn’t feel like I fit anywhere, then it got worse when I got my girlfriend who was of Sri Lankan parentage even though she was born here. the verbal abuse from both British Asian kids & White British kids was equally as bad & it even got physical a few times. Going through school was the worst for verbal.

I was 13 when my family moved from South London to West Sussex, not long after the move, my episodes of depression began to get more frequent, I hated the countryside back then, I hated moving away from my Grandparents, I didn’t like my stepfather and I missed London, I became a right little shit (so I’ve been told). Around the age of 16, I started drinking and smoking, not a lot but I started, then after I’d had a teenage meltdown, I was sent to live My Father & Stepmother for 2 years by the age of 18 my drinking & smoking had become very heavy in fact I had turned into a drunk but not an alcoholic. It was also at this I met a girl who would eventually become wife even though over the next 5 years I was an absolute shit towards her, yet she has never gave up on me (madness, even I’d given up on me), but this year will be our silver wedding anniversary,  25 years ago was also when I also cut down on the drinking.

Then 13 years ago I quit smoking & drinking altogether which ended up being a stroke of luck because 6 months later, I was made redundant from a job I loved, the company was closing down and moving back to the good old U.S of A, one good thing to come out of this time was the bullying was finally over.(I was bullied for many different reasons over the years, in fact, I think I must have had the words bully me written on my forehead).

About 18 months after the redundancy a tragedy occurred that affected me badly. There was a serious road traffic accident. On my way into work at  new job one morning I came upon a serious road traffic accident, there were 3 of us that stopped to help the people in the 2 cars that had collided, we had to try to get the man trapped in the first car out,  one of the guy’s broke a rear window so I could crawl halfway into the car to hold the trapped man’s head steady, talk to  him and stop him from hurting himself even more, at the same time the guy who had broken the window went around to the other side to try to gain access through the other door but with no luck, the third bloke stayed with the other driver trying to keep him calm.

The Police, Fire Rescue, and Paramedics were pretty quick, I explained to the paramedic what was going on with the injured driver whilst I had been with him. The police asked the 3 of us that had tried to help to wait by our cars to be interviewed individually. About 20 minutes after our statements a police officer came across to us and told that there was nothing that could have done to save him, that he had died from his injuries. He advised us that we should all go home due to the shock of what had happened. We drove off & the next thing I remember was sitting in my van outside the house. As I opened the front door I saw all the dried blood on my arms and hands, I looked up saw my wife then I just broke. I can’t remember how long she held me for, but I am so glad she hadn’t left for work. For the next 6 months, I couldn’t leave the house, I couldn’t even open the door, I’d also lost my job & it took me a long time to get over it.

For the next 18 months, I spent my time doing a lot of volunteering on conservation projects. I worked outside with a group of people with similar health problems, it was exactly what I needed to get better, getting back to nature and working with my hands again was the medicine I needed & it helped me find myself again, it helped me recover enough to look for another job, things were finally getting better.

8 years ago my physical health started to nosedive again, I began falling over at work, I was in constant pain, I was becoming forgetful & at times confused. Now, those of you that knew me back in my drinking days are probably thinking, hmmm sounds like you’re still a pisshead Gary, the problem was I had been off the sauce for 12 years(not fair). I saw the GP who sent me to a Rheumatologist who in turn diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia. None of the pain killers they tried me on came even close to helping with the pain. The GP then sent me off to see a pain specialist. I was told it was unlikely I’d never work again, that my life as I knew it was over & I would have learned new ways to do things I was then released on medical grounds from the company I worked for.

After all this I started to feel that I was losing control of my life, that nothing was under my control anymore, my anxiety & depression were rising again, my physical health was getting worse, there seemed to be very little out there to help me cope with what was happening, I started attending CBT courses, 3 in fact one after the other to try and help me cope, but it just wasn’t for me. My mental and physical health were spiralling downwards & I was having some very dark thoughts. I was getting really scared.

Then on a visit to a medical drop in centre I overheard 2 old dears talking about a free NHS service called the Expert Patient Programme which helped people living with long term health conditions to live better. I had never heard of it before but thought I might as well give it a go, if it had worked for them maybe it could help me. So when I got home I contacted the service and got myself booked onto the next available course near to where I lived. I wasn’t very confident before I went as nothing else had worked for me, Then I thought what did I have to loose? I turned up for the first session of the 6 week course, it would be 2.5 hours 1 day a week for 6 weeks. As I walked through the door I remember thinking, what the hell am I doing here? But as the course got going I remember thinking it felt very different from anything else I had done & asked myself again, is this really going to work for me?

After all the introductions we learned that the tutors were also living with their own long-term health conditions, they had all been participants & completed the course themselves. They said they’d gotten so much out of the course they decided to become volunteer Tutors, I mean volunteers, wow that really struck me. Another thing was they talked to us, not at us, they were engaging with us, not judging us but asking us to give it a go, after all, they were living proof that the service worked. So after I left that day I decided I would go back for week 2.

The things the tutors were saying to us made sense, the coping techniques they demonstrated actually worked. The tutors came across as positive, compassionate, and understanding people who got us, they really understood what we were going through, it showed us we were not alone, and it showed me it was ok to smile and laugh without feeling guilty. The change in me was massive and quick, by week 3 my wife was telling me she couldn’t believe the difference the course was making, I was more confident, positive & happier, that I was talking and laughing more. So on week 4, I plucked up the courage and asked if I could become a volunteer tutor. Now public speaking was some really scary shit for me, I knew I would be well outside my comfort zone.  But 4 months later I finished my training and 6 weeks after that I started delivering my first course. I loved it. Since then my health has had many ups and downs.

But the main thing was I had my various families to support me, there was my wife and 3 daughters, my brother and his family, my work family & my fellow tutor’s & participant family. Then 2 years ago a dream came true for me, not only was I a volunteer tutor but I was also working as the Expert Patient Programme Administrator, it was a job I loved & life was good. Then 11 months ago my health decided to nosedive again & I was placed on long term sick leave. I’m still off sick now but in 3 weeks time, I will be going through the process of being released on medical grounds. This time though things will be different as I am far more prepared this time. I have been looked after supported & helped by my friends at work & my family at home, which includes my lovely Dog Dora.

I’ve started making a long term plan, which is to become a writer, what type of writer I will be I don’t know yet, but I’m enjoying the journey now that it has started, with all the reading writing and blogging I am doing these day’s I know one day it will happen.

There really is no way to thank all the people in my life who have helped and supported me over the last 8 years, but I love you all because you have all helped me arrive where I am today.

So now it’s on to the next chapter fo me although I will still be looking forward to coffee with the boss and volunteering in the office with my colleagues when I can. There’s no chance of work getting rid of me completely I’m afraid. The Service is known as EPP for short but is also known as the Living Well Course. If you like the sound of it & fancy giving it a go, make the call you have nothing to lose & everything to gain, it worked for me after all. I’ve written this in the hope that my story may help some of you.

Take care

Gary

Ok, so I am going to go a little bit Hollywood now &  thank some of the people who have helped me get to this point in my life.

So First to my Mum who never gave up on me even though I could be a right little shit(apparently), Thank you to my long-suffering wife Tracey, to my 3 yes 3 beautiful grown-up daughters Sian, Keri & Erin who’ve put up with my bad sense of humour on a daily basis. I’d like to thank my workmates Karen the Boss & Natalie (aka Danny Dyer) & Sue the co-ordinator’s who’ve had to put up with me being such an awesome administrator in my opinion. To all the amazing tutors & participants I have met along the way & last but not least some good friends, to Marion who was also my mum’s best friend We should meet up for a coffee soon, to Shelly & Ian who helped me get through the first couple of years and introduced me to the lovely Jenner & Ken who allowed me into there lives, I know I’m crap at keeping in touch & I need to rectify that.

Finally, to all those, I have not mentioned but are just as important.

Thank you all so much.

And finally again, a big thank you to Robin Williams for making me laugh, for making me cry, for being a hero to me & whose story has inspired me to write this piece.

Day 6, My First Attempt

The next post will be my first attempt at writing, if you have the time please read through it and let me know what you think about it, honesty please.

I want writing to become a big part of my life’s reading has. So I need to start sharing, I need to start getting pieces written and out there for all to see.

The first piece I have written how my life has changed over the last 7 years and how I have I have become the person I am today. A pretty positive one.

A little heads up on what I am living with health wise these days. I have allergies to eggs, fowl and peanuts. I live with anxiety, depression, Asthma, Type 2 Diabetes, Osteoporosis (spinal damage), undiagnosed MS (Spinal cord liaison), Neuropathy, Tested positive for Sarcoidosis (in remisson) and to top it all off Fibromyalgia.

What Do You See?

 

What do you see, when you look at me?

Do you see a man with a different way of thinking for getting form A to B,

Or a different way of physically getting from here to there,

Do you see the labels, disabled, crippled, broken, second class, scrounger,

I don’t want to be like this, I don’t want you to think like that,

Being different like I am is not a way of living we choose,

Being different is about choosing how we live because we are this way,

If I need help, I have learned to ask, if I don’t I have learned to say No,

And we must be polite when we do so,

We need acceptance for who we are, to be respected, to be equals,

We need love when we feel down, understanding when frustrated,

Friendship when lonely, and need help when we can’t manage,

We have the same likes such as, sport or reading or going to the beach,

And the same dislikes, taxes, racism or not being in charge of the TV remote.

We also have likes

The occasional beer and a pizza, a Larger and a nice hot ruby,

(a Ruby = Ruby Murray = Curry)

the chance to go to a concert or see a  film at the cinema,

everyone needs there relationships,

Someone to love, to laugh with, to cry with,

And those that get us and see past the differences,

For some our differences are visible, whilst for others, they are not so much,

But it’s okay to ask us about our differences, we don’t bite unless you want us to,

So don’t be a stranger, come and say hi, just try not to stare it’s not very nice,

Don’t pity us, understand us, don’t blame us, get to know us,

Were as human as you, with a little bit extra, or a little bit less,

We laugh, we cry, we live, we die, we also have a wicked, even dark sense of humour,

Please don’t dismiss us, or ignore us, do not pity us, or feel sorry for us,

Listen when we talk, understand what we need and help if we ask, please,

But we must also do our part,

We must listen when you talk, understand when you need, be a friend when you need,

But communication cut’s both ways and both way’s must get better,

We’re really not that different if we only take the chance and let each other in,.

We’re all only human after all.

 

Practicing my scribblings I hope you like, not sure it could be classed as poetry, I just needed to get it out. (The words that are, not anything else), see Humour.

Take care

Gary x

 

 

Day 4 Wheels

Damn the pain is crazy bad today in my neck and spine, legs are like jelly. Definitely  having a crap morning, overdid it yesterday.

It ended up as a wheelchair day today, I know I need to be using it a lot more these days. I just need to stop thinking about how others will look at me. I was the same when I started using a stick. Stupid I know but I can be Bloody stubborn at times

Shock horror, using the chair worked, I was able read a large part of the book “Writing the damn book” which I’m pleased about, and I ended up getting down loads of ideas, possible titles and a couple of mind maps. So it’s ended up being a really productive day. A small step closer to writing a book myself.

Take care

Gary x

 

Day 3 The Nature Reserve

Another beautiful sunny day

Ok, so today is a me day.

Dora took me for a short walk this morning, luckily she walks even slower than I do which is a plus. I loved every minute of it and even though the walking part is agony and I know will pay for it later. I’d planned for this and to me, it’s worth the extra pain, to do something I rarely get to do anymore. I really loved going for daily walks with her back when we could both manage it. Anyway, we made it back home in one piece and sat around in the garden, me drinking coffee waiting for my books to arrive and Dora sleeping. Exactly what we needed after the walk.

Books arrived, can’t wait to start reading them.

Once the wife home from work, I got my camera gear ready. She’s going to drop me off at the local nature reserve on her way into town.

I have a bit of a ritual when I  go to the reserve before I do anything I have a cup off coffee and a small packet of Jelly Babies.

Once the refreshments were out of the way I made my way to the hide to observe nature. I just love sitting there overlooking the large pond watching the birds that were there Heron’s, Coots, Terns, Great Crested Grebes, a Cormorant, and some seagulls.

What caught my attention though was a pair of broad bodied chasers (Dragonflies) one blue the other yellow. They were chasing each other backward and forward with brief periods of mating whilst flying. Now I love photographing dragonflies though it’s not easy as they are so damn fast I managed to get a couple of half-decent ones, which you can see below.

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With about 30 minutes to go, I made my way back to the cafe, it was too late for a coffee so I went over to the chicken coup that they have to take a couple of chicken pics for my youngest daughter who loves chickens. I think the came out ok.

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So now it’s blog time then bedtime, I’m completely knackered.

Bring on tomorrow a day of reading, writing and relaxing,

Take care

Gary x

A good day

Day 2 of the journey#

Good start to the day managed to get through e-mails and twitter in record time this morning and I was able to get yesterdays blog published as I had misjudged how long it would take last night, lesson learned started earlier tonight, result

Out in the garden again updating my journaal listening to kiss (the band not the radio station) and the coffee is tasting good.

Not sure what is going on, police with there blues and two’s on racing down the A29 to Adversane. Now there’s a police helicopter flying around overhead. Popped to the shop to get a coke zero and saw a van load of coppers heading towards the A29 as well,  police helicopter has been up there for about 40 mims now.

Heard later there was an armed robbery in one incident and in another incident a woman was killed in a road accident on the A29 at Adversane.

Managed to finish the book “Get Your Sh*t Together” reccomend it to everyone. Tomorrow I have a new book arriving, called “Write the Damn Book” for creative people who have a hard time finishing things. Very apt for me.

Hoping to go to the nature reserve tomorrow with my camera, I love going there because it is so peaceful and the cafe make a nice cuppa coffee.

onwards and upwards, let’s see what tomorrow brings

Lets be careful out there

Gary x

 

 

Day 1, The Journey Begins.

For the last few months I’ve pretty much been drifting along like one of those tumbleweeds you see in the movies. Thing is at some point in the next month I will be given notice due to illness at my place of employment and it s all very amicable.

so about a week ago I started reading a book that I got for my Birthday. The book is called “Get Your Sh*t Together” by Sarah Knight. Now I have plenty of experience in setting long term and short term goals, but I’d lapsed, no motivation, lots of things I wanted to do, but I had turned into the great procrastinator, I couldn’t be arsed.

Anyway the book has given me the kick up the arse I needed to start making plans (about bloody time) for my future, to live heathier, earn a living and make time for doing the things that I want and need to do. The book is humorous, uses a lot of profanities about the serious subject of planning for the future, writing lists and setting goals, the perfect book for me, I reccomend it to anyone.

GOALS

Long term – To earn a living from writing and to lose weight

Short term – Create structure in my life by using weekly timetables. The timetables will be further broken down into daily tasks of what needs to be done and what I must do  by prioritising  each task.

I feel really positive and confident that I am doing this the right way and for the right reasons, the main ones being it’s what I need to do and what I want to do.

Ok, day 1, The journey begins. 23/05/2019

I  booked myself onto a creative writing course starting in September 2019.

Went down the village collected my bag of medication and got my haircut, two birds with one stone.

Researched helpful websites, subscribed to a YouTube programme, joined a couple of mailing lists and purchased a couple of books.

ME TIME – sat in the garden with my dog Dora, sunshine on my back, the sound of tmany birds singing in the trees and jotting ideas down in my journal. Perfection and one of the most important tasks on my daily timetable.

After lunch I met with my Boss, we went for a coffee and a chat about my impending  release from my job on medical grounds and chatting over my plans for the future.

It’s been a job I’ve loved doing with an amazing team of people. I can truly say I will miss the job and miss working for the NHS. It has been an honour and a pleasure, and I will definitely be keeping in touch with my workmates.

After getting back home from meeting up with my boss I took a bit of time to reflect on everything  we had spoken about, I updated my jornal whilst sitting in the garden with my dog who laid there fast asleep cooking in the sun pretending to listen to me, this is not being lazy but me making sure I don’t overdo things,  today was a good day, which has helped me feel a little more positive for the future

I am going to make a blog each day with updates on my progress, as I  think this will be a good platform for me on my journey, writing about my plans, my health and any situations and observations I encounter. The aim will be to publish my blog at the end of each day.

Be kind to each other, please leave comments and criticism’s, always appreciated even though I can’t guarantee I will act on them

Gary x

Choices

Something that was said to me on Friday got stuck in my head and it niggled away in the back of my mind over the weekend.

Then I saw a film yesterday that struck a chord with me and with the comment that was made on Friday. The film was called “Choices”. Now I wouldn’t normally watch a love story, but the wife and eldest were watching it on the tv.

At this point I would just like to say that these types of film are not my guilty pleasure.

Anyway, the film had a very strong message, not just about the love between two people but also about choices. It doesn’t  matter how big or how small the choices we make are, because for us as people they can both be life altering.

This morning I started reading a new book, it is helping me think about why I have made the decision to make the changes I want and need in my now.  The book I am reading is called:

Get your sh*t together

How to stop worrying about what you should do

so you can finish what you need to do

and start doing what you want to do

By Sarah Knight

Though this book has a serious message, it is explained with a lot of humour and a lot of swearing, which I find refreshing and easy to grasp, because of that I know this will help me with the process planning the next steps in a way that makes sense to me.

It seems that these occurrences  over the last 4 days are probably the universe telling me to get of my ar*e and get on with it.

I know it is something I am passionate about and I know that is what I want to do, I have many questions to research to find the answers I need and I also to get some advice from people I completely trust.

Watch this space

Go well

Gary x

Yin & Yang

These days my blog’s seem to be like London buses, you wait for for ages  then two come along at once.

I woke this morning in agony,my legs are the worst they have been in a while, standing, sitting, walking or liying down is making no difference at all. So far today my go to coping techniques are not helping, as when the pain is this bad I really find it had to focus or concentrate. The music will be going on soon but reading todaywill not be happening.

My Thigh and calf muscles hurt like hell, but at the same time seem to have turned to jelly, my knee’s, ankle’s and feet are screaming at me and the only way I can describe the pain in my shin’s is by comparing it to having a  toothache deep within the bone.

On the plus side though I am sitting in the garden with Dora, the sun is shining and the birds are singing, the new wind soinner we have looks fantastic in the breeze. So it’s now time to make a coffee, put the Foo Fighters on, use the wheelchair as much as I need to and try to relaxas much as possible before my medication review with the GP this afternoon, I guess you could say I’m going to behaving a yin & yang day today.

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Have a great day and enjoy the little things, Gary x

Changes

It’s been a little while since my last post.

Things are starting to change change for me at this time due to my ongoing health conditions, my time working for the NHS, a place I love to work with people I love to work with. I think I will miss this part most of all.

Hopefully though I will still be able to volunteer for them in some capacity my health permitting as the service is very important to me.

This morning was my formal meeting with the HR department to formalise the next step in leaving, a very friendly and amicable meeting, now I just wait for the next meeting and the final decision.

Back home now, feeling a little flat as this is the start of a door closing on a very happy part of working life. I will still be in touch with and involed with EPP so at least I still have that side but I will miss the work.

Anyway the sun is shining and I am ing the garden typing up my blog whist the lovely Dora chases rabbits in her sleep on the lawn, I was horrible and woke her up for the picture then she immediately went back to sunbathing and chasing rabbits.

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I’ve known my leaving the NHS has been on the cards for a while now, so I have started making plans.

Firstly looking after myself and being more assertive, saying no when I need to, by listening to what my body is telling me.

Secondly is just enjoying the moment, living  one day at a time. Doing things I love listening to music, reading a book, waatching the world go by listening to the sounds in my garden (Though this does not include the sounds of my neighbour’s arguing, or the many children screaming shouting or fighting)

On a football note West Ham won there last two games of the season and finished 10th COYI and Brighton managed to stay up by the skin of there teeth. Though I do not support The Seagulls myself good luck with finding a top manager for next season.

This week it’s my Birthday, I can’t believe I will be 57 on Friday and will resist the urge to eat baked beans that day. I think it is true what they say that when you have kids time speeds up as my daughters will be 25, 23 & 21 this year yet in my head I still think I’m 32, the year I got married to my wife, the year my eldest was born  and luckily I was a lapsed Catholic for obvious reasons. I’m guess what I’m trying to say is grab life as tight as you can and wring the life out of it and I consider myself very lucky that, that is what I have always tried to do.

Finally I just want to say I have finished reading  the latest 2 books, the first is called “Why are you pretending to be Normal” a book I’ve read before, but have found to be really helpful, it’s about living with disabilities and impairments, learning new ways of looking, thinking and talking about them, the stories techniques are from people who are already using them to live there lives

The second book is called “This is going to hurt” Secret diaries of a junior Doctor by Adam Kay. The book made me laugh so hard at times I had tears rolling down my cheeks, his sense of humour and compassion shines through but ultimately left me heartbroken.

everybody that has used, will use and does use our amazing NHS should read it and reccomend it.

Thank you for listening to my ramblings

Remember live, laugh, love but don’t, live, love, laugh or your partner may get annoyed with you.

Love you all, take care, Gary

Just for good luck  COYI.

 

 

Frustration

One thing I know for sure is that strees will make my pain spike to the point it will make me feel physically sick.

That is the point I  have arrived at today, normally  I’m pretty good at handling  my stress levels through medication and CBT techniques.

Every now and then this fails me as I am only human.

Today I had to call my pension provider to discuss my pension, it is this process that has caused my stress levels to rise to a point where I wanted to explode. I did raise my voice with the final person I  spoke to but luckily did not swear.

So I  phoned  my pension provider today around 11am, firstly I went through the automated security questions then was put on hold, finally spoke to a human and asked the security questions again, she asked why I  was calling.

I was then told I had got through to the wrong department and she put me through to the correct department at least she said it was..

Back on a lengthy hold, finally spoke to another human, went through all the security questions for a 3rd time, explained why I was put through to them and was instantly told I had been put through to the wrong department again, she said she would let the correct department know I had already answered the security,

Then was put on hold for a long time, finally spoke to another human being, who made me go through all the security questions for a 4th time, I asked my question but things had become a little heated by this point but i managed not to swear.

So I was put on hold yet again while she made some enquiries, after at least 5 minutes she got back to me, I apologised for getting angry and told then she told me they were sorry for messing me about and for all the waiting, then she told me I now have to wait at another 7 to 10 days before things sorted.

What is it with financial organisations treating our money like it is theres.

As I  hung up the phone after spending 30 minutes on hold and 15 minutes talking to someone I had the urge to scream, shout, yell and cry all at the same time.

So writing this and drinking a coffee is the first coping mechanism for when I get stressed, the next step will be to put on some music probably the Foo Fighters or  Now that’s what I call driving Rock. Then tonight read som more of my book.

Take care.

Gary

Endgame

Spoiler alert ” there are no spoilers in this post”

After resting for 2.5 days, I went for a coffee at the Cafe in the Park in my nearset town. I got there around 2:30pm and sat outside the Cafe drinking a very nice coffee, the sun was shining and I started to read my book “East of Croydon”, I then put on my  headphones listening to The Stranglers greatest hits, every now again I would look up  from my book and there would be a squirrel rumaging for food or a robin sitting in a Branch singing. Perfection, best medicine in the world.

So 3 o’clock arrived and so did my smiling boss, unfortunately that was the moment the sun decided to go in. So we moved inside to the Cafes conservatory to drink our coffee and talk about my health, football and the forthcoming meeting with our  HR rep, about how and when my being released from my job on medical grounds will be decided. Now I am very sad about what is going to happen, as I love my job and the people I work with. There is no bad feeling on either side and I really hope my health is going to  allow me to volunteer in the office.

Endgame

To say I was excited about what I was to do next would be an understatement, I was about to tick off another item from my bucket list. A trip to the Cinema to see Avengers Infinity war : Endgame. Luckily it wasn’t  going to be a packed cinema due to it being an afternoon showing on a schoolday and I managed to get an aisle seat Row G. Everything was set perfectly, the advertisments finished, the trailers began, the anticipation was rising.

Then just as the film was about to start two late comers arrived, they started walking up the aisle. Now the seats are quite small and there isn’t much leg room, hence the need for the aisle seat,damn they were sitting in my row so I would have to get up, so before I was fully standing they pushed passed whilst muttering “sorry” as I dropped back into the seat.

The film stareted everyone went quiet then I heard tose words you dread in the Cinema “scuse me”, it had only been 10 minutes, again never quite got to my feet before he pushed past, back I dropped, then repeat sequence 5 minutes later whe he got back from the loo.

Relax , deep breath, back to watching the movie, 30 minutes later repeat the sequence but it was his mate this time, one of the things that I really had a problem with was the absolute stench of smoke and beer

Relax, deep breath get back towatching the movie again. 20 minutes pass and I start to her a really strange annoying  noise, after about 10 minutes I realised that guy nearest me had fallen asleep and was snoring, this went on for about an hour  when he suddenly woke up and stared to pee into his empty drinks bottle, I relised they were getting up again so as fast fast as I could( which is close to watching somebody move in slow motion) I tried to stand up and get out of the way, no chance they caught my left leg as they ran past, so I fell back over the arm of the seat, landed with my backside on the seat and my legs and stick still sticking over the arm and out into the aisle, before I had sorted myself out they’d legged it through the door and were gone never to return, carried out a quick pee check to make sure I hdn’t been splashed in  all the confusion. then……..

Relax, deep breath and an extra strong mint this time, then settled down to watch the rest of the film. Wow the film lived up to all my expectations and more, I would reccomend it to everyone whether you are a mavel fan or not.

So all in all another blooming good day.

In the words of  Police Seargant Phil Esterhauss from the tv show  Hill Street Blues

“Let’s be careful out there”

all the best, Gary

Ps When I said the sun went in when my boss arrived, I wasn’t inferring that she was the cause of it going in. I needed to may that clear. She’s a little ray of sunshine really 🙂

 

 

 

Balance

For me each day is a balance between being what I consider is normal for me, or what I would class as cream crackered/barely functioning. So what I try to aim for is anywhere below cream crackered, which makes recovering a lot easier.

yesterday I took a the bus into town, which for people that know me causes a lot of pain to my neck and back, at the moment though it’s safer than me driving the car. I know that some of you will ask “why would you want to put yourself through that?” Well the answer is easy, I had a meeting that was very important to me, so I plan for these these days carefully and well in advace.

On the occasions I am able to get out of the house and socialise, or even go somewhere I I can sit have a coffee and people watch, which can be such good fun.

On this occasion though I was meeting up with a friend from work who I hadn’t seen for a while. I’ve been really looking forward to seeing her and catching up. She’s always been very supportive to me and knows all about the health condition’s I live with,  which means I feel extremely comfortable in her company and also means I don’t have to pretend that everthing is OK,  and I can just enjoy being me. It was so nice sitting, talking and drinking coffee, unfortunately I probably talked her ears off.

Somebody once said to me these moments are food for the soul, now I’m not a religous person but, the phrase has a really nice ring to it, to me if it means it makes you feel good inside, then I agree.

Now I also had two more surprise encounters which I would class as food for the soul yesterday. The first was bumping into my boss who was in town with her Mum. It’s always lovely to see the boss and have a chat as she is another wonderful person I feel comfortable being around.  It was also lovely to meet and have a chat to her Mum who is reading the same book as I am at the moment ” East of Croydon by Sue Perkins”, it was really nice talking about he book as we are both roughly at the same part in it, so no spoilers.

What a great day it was turning into for me in the space of two hours I got to meet  three wonderful ladies.

Okay, so was it possible that my day could get any better, well actually it COULD, as i met up with my youngest daughter, who was on her lunch break, she hadn’t had a great  morning at work so the little present I had got for her (a jewelry hanger) cheered her up a bit and I treated her to a lunch of cheese and Broccoli pastry with an Apple & Caramel Danish, she always puts a smile in my heart, but then  that goes for my wife and all three of my daughter.

After saying my goodbyes to my daughter, I was a bit naughty and bought myself a bag of chips  with lashings of salt & vinegar to have whilst I waited for my bus, which to my surprise was actually on time.

What a great day, I felt so lucky I went and bought a lottery ticket but I haven’t checked the numbers yet.

Anyway sometimes I feel it is worth the extra pain for a few hours just so you can do something you really want to. Time now for a lazy day,  so it’s earphones in and The Clash on the play.

Take care and be kind to each other, Gary

A Good Bank Holiday Weekend

Good Friday

Had a really good day today, I decided on Wednesday that I wanted to go to the local nature reserve tomorrow  (Saturday).

So I spent today preparing for my trip to the reserve. I went through my camera equipment selected and cleaned the lenses that I thought I might need,  after I charged the camera batteries, cleaned and tidied my camera bag, then repacked it with what I would take.

Sometimes I think the planing, anticipation and preparation  is almost as good as actually going.

Saturday

Great start to the day by going for a little walk with my Dog. Loved it as it has been a long time since we’ve been able to go for a walk together.

The Wife dropped me off at the Nature reserve. it was a very hot day, so before going into the reserve, I bought a coffee renewed my membership then sat outside the cafe to drink my coffee. unpacked my camera and took some test shots.

There wasn’t much wildlife about as it was too hot for them. I slowly made my way through the grounds taking plenty of rests and enjoying the views of the pond. then I found myself in a quiet spot in the woodland area found a bench to sit on and just watched all the families rushing around doing the easter egg hunt, had a fantastic day and didn’t take a single picture.

It’s not always about the picture , sometimes it’s about just enjoying the moment and your surrounding’s.

Also another one of my monthly bucket list challenges started.

Easter Sunday

What a glorious day, lovely and warm, I spent most of the day sitting in the Garden in the shade reading my book that I got on Friday, It’s called “Harry’s Last Stand” by Harry Leslie Smith and by late afternoon I had finished reading it, haven’t read like that in a long time, I really could not put it down. I followed Harry on Twitter, as like me he is a socialist. the book covers his life from his birth in  1923, through the impoverished time’s of the 1920’s and the great depression of the 1930’s, his part in the as part of the RAF during world war II, his life as a happily married family man. He compares his unique experiences from a child growing up in a time of austerity during the great depression, to the austerity we have been going through since 2010. the similarities are frighteningly undeniable. I am not ashamed to admit his story brought a tear or two to my eyes, but the one thing running through the book was the strength that he possessed to get through everything that came his way, but also there was his optimism for the future, that people will create the kind of society that works for everybody and leaves nobody behind. Reading this book has awakened my love of reading again, which I lost when i became unwell back in 2012.

This book and its message gives me hope for the future and my children’s future.

For the evening the brother-in-law came over for a nice chilled out family roast dinner, perfect end to a lovely day

Bank Holiday Monday

For me today will be a day of rest to let my body recover a bit. I shall mainly watch a bit of tv, sit in the sun with the dog, I’ve already chosen my next book it’s called “East of Croydon” by Sue Perkins. based on her tv show where she travelled around Asia, great series so I am looking forward to starting the book.

Going to call my Godson later to see if he can pop round sometime this week to do me a quote on running power to my shed, maybe he will even be able to do the work for me, paid of course.

Also looking forward to a planned coffee morning with a work colleague on Friday morning.

Have decided that I will need to rest up Tuesday as well.

What a perfect weekend

Take care of each other

Gary

 

Pain

Oooh Hospital again

So Today was my second visit to the Pain management clinic at Charring Cross Hospital in London, 4 weeks ago the new medication they got me to try was an Opioid called Tapentadol which caused some horrible side effects.

In the past 7 years I’ve had many treatments and medications to try to help with my constant widespread pain.

First I was tried on Gabapentin & Pregabalin they’re epilepsy drugs which are also used to treat nerve pain, horrible side effects and weight gain.

Then they tried me on Amitripyline then Tramadol again side effects but no pain relief.

I was then tried on codeine phosphate which caused me to have  hallucinations but also did nothing for the pain

Next they gave me a Steroid injection into my lower back , but it didn’t help to reduce the pain.

3 years ago they tried me on a 3.5 hour  steroid infusion spread over 2 days, but again a few minor side effects but no pain relief..

Today’s visit to the pain management centre involved a 10 mg Ketimine which worked really well got me as high as a kite and for the first time in 7 years I was pain-free, straight after the injection I was put on a Lidocaine which they were hoping would reset my nerve pain levels back to Zero.

The  infusion lasted for about an hour, for the first half hour I laid there bid smile on my face listening to queen blast out on my head phones, for me at that point I thought life couldn’t get any better. Sadly I was right, as the Ketimine started to wear off the pain started returning legs first, then spine and Neck.

Now I am back Home it’s 9pm and all the pain has returned, back to the levels I have now become used to. I’m still glad I tried the treatment as it may have ment I might have been able to return to my job which I love doing. Two good things about today I got to go up to LOndon with the wife and youngest daughter and during the treatment I got to listen to one of my favourite albums Queen’s greatest Hits uninterrupted, just hope I wasn’t singing out loud.

Till the next time, look after yourselves,

Gary

 

Football

Okay so good and bad this weekend, first the bad The Hammers lost away again on Saturday at Old Trafford against Man Utd 2 – 1, so still no away win in 2019, but we have over 40 points so we are safe from going down this season.

On the plus side the West Ham women’s team beat Reading in the FA cup semi – final on penalties and now face Manchester City in the FA cup final, fantastic result.

I started going to Upton Park in 1983 when the great John Lyall was manager in the old first division Tony Cottee was top scorer that year, the legend that is Billy Bonds was Captain, it was the great Trevor Brookings last season, at the back and Alan Devonshire on the wing. ive seen many great players over the years, Julian Dicks, John Moncur, Paolo Di Canio, Frank Lampard jnr, Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole, Martin Allen, Mark Ward,Ludo Miklsoko, Steve Potts, John Moncur, Steve Lomas, Jermaine Defoe, Frederic Kanoute, Marc-Vivien Foe, Trevor Sinclair, Glen Johnson,  Ian Pearce, Tomas Repka, Yossi Benayoun, Mark Noble, Teddy Sheringham, Bobby Zamora, Carlos Tevez, Matty Etherington, James Collins, Phil Parkes, Alvin Martin, Frank McAvennie, John Hartson, Slaven Bilic, Stuart Pearce,

 

I grew up in South London, so for me my local teams were Tooting & Mitcham, Crystal Palace or Wimbledon but none appealed to me. For me finding the team I have supported since 1974 has been West Ham United and was down to my Grandfather and his for the team he had supported since the late 1920’s. I would sit with him on a saturday afternoon watching world of sport and waiting for the teleprinter to come up with the football scores and pools results, all the time I would be  listening to stories of the greats Moore, Hurst, Peters and god knows how many times I heard how West Ham had won the World cup for England I was hooked. When I started following them the Great Ron Greenwood was still manager and he introduced the free-flowing style of football based on the Hungarian style. two years later Ron was managing England.

To me West Ham are the greatest team in the world and every year they put you through the emotional wringer. all the games I have seen were played on the hallowed ground of Upton Park, I watched games from all 4 stands the atmosphere in the Chicken run (east stand) though was the best, most games I saw though were from the front row of the West stand. the best ever atmosphere though was on Tuesday night games under floodlight with the stadium singing I’m forever blowing bubbles, it was so emotionally charged the hairs would stand up on the back of your neck.

I miss those afternoons with my Grandfather and his stories and I miss those days at Upton park watching West Ham playing the beautiful game. One of the nicest things for me was being able to attend games with my wife and all 3 of my daughters, so at least I know I passed something Important on.

Now all I have to do is watch them play at the London Stadium a few times a year which you may have noticed is no my Bucket List.

Take care

Gary