Monday, December 31, 2012

Just thinking...

I live between the local ambulance and fire stations, and just off the South Circular road A205, so get the pleasure of being aware when there is something going on around here. Which being South London, let's be honest, is most of the time.

Over time you learn to tell the difference between a police car passing through on blues, and a fire engine or 3 leaving the fire station on a call.

A lot of the time it is quite genuinely just background noise these days, and rarely gets my attention. But on quiet afternoons like today, on the build up to a massive evening in the capital, each siren that approaches and passes through is more noticeable, and stirs more thought and emotion in me.

Its the festive season, a new year is about to dawn. So many people are full of hope and expectation of what a new year will bring, but for a small few, the new year will be unforgettable. A knock on the door, the screech of brakes, the shrill of a smoke alarm waking you at 1am. For all those people, there are a dedicated bunch of emergency responders who will be there, saving them, comforting them, and most of all caring!

As the night draws in, my thoughts switch to those who are standing by for when someone needs their help, when three 9's are dialled. From the operator keeping you calm while directing the whole show, to the responder who will go above and beyond to put an end to the panic of the situation. For those in need of their help also.

So as the clock ticks, and midnight approaches and passes, spare a thought each time you see or hear an emergency vehicle on the move. Someone's NYE will not be as good as yours, and someone will remember it for a whole different reason to you. Families devastated, lives wrecks, memories destroyed.

Happy New Year..... May there be silence tonight.
Regards

Michael
Sent via Blackberry®

On a serious note.....

Regardless of your plans tonight, forget your feelings towards the police, no matter how well you can handle your drink.....

NYE is historically a shocking night for the emergency services, record numbers of calls, huge numbers of alcohol related incidents, be it fights or accidents.

90% of the people who are dealt with by the police, ambulance and fire tonight are people who generally have some self respect, and appreciate the job these services do for us all. But a little too much confidence, getting a little too carried away, and one drink too many can end in disaster, heartbreak, and hours of effort from emergency responders.

So I ask this of you, when you see someone blind drunk staggering down the road, in front of cars, getting in peoples faces, vomiting, crying or screaming with emotions they cannot control, do you really see someone who is having a great time, and feel jealous, OR does a little part inside you cringe with embarrassment for them, and a tiny bit of pity creep out of you?

Excessive alcohol, its not big, its not clever, and generally its nether fun nor memorable. Give the extra fiver for that last drink to a charity, stay alert enough to remember your NYE, and most of all, get home safely.

Happy New Year all, and here's to a quiet one, and record LOW numbers of calls to the emergency services. And Thank You to all those working through the evening and into the morning to keep all the little morons who DON'T care about others, safe.
Regards

Michael
Sent via Blackberry®

The final day begins!

Of 2012 at least, so let's take a quick look back at 2012, for me and for the world.

2012 will forever be the date that ignites thoughts and memories of the London Olympic games, the greatest of the modern era, the first of the social network age, and the biggest surprise ever to 99% of the UK poplulation, who like me thought it would be a flop. I won't go on about it, but it turned out to be pretty bloody good didn't it!

I turned 39, had a stress free birthday for the first time in 14 years for one reason or another. I also embarked on a mission which I tagged #Fit4Forty . With a year remaining til I turned 40, I decided now was the time to sort myself out, and that I did. Healthier than most years of my life, inspired to live a full life, and amazed at my own stamina, that was P90X for me.

2012 has also been pretty bloody miserable. Wars, disasters, accidents, and horrific news stories of abuse and violence. Its probably no different to the past decade to be fair, but as social media becomes part of our everyday lives, we suddenly become aware. Aware of our surroundings both locally and globally, and to be honest its a bit of an eye opener isn't it!

I think this year more than most has woken me up to a lot of things. Life is finite, at some point it will end, and we don't really get a say on the matter. Ill health, accidents, or incidents can end a life in seconds. Early in the year Darren Green passed away suddenly, that woke a lot of people up, and brought a lot of people closer together, and in some cases pushed some apart. From that point on the year has spiralled into one of some very sad events, especially for people I care about. With close friends and family passing, or suffering set backs.

From all this I take one thing... No matter how glum I get, regardless of how big the bills are coming though my door. If my luck is down, and the weather is crappy.. All I have to remember is to be grateful for everything I have. I live a life that I made for myself, I make my own choices, and this path is mine. You don't always get what you want in life, but getting another day with your loved ones is as precious as it gets.

I have been fortunate enough to see my aunt Joan a few times this year, and spend some great quality time with her, forging a bond and memories I can keep with me forever after her final day comes.
Things are progressing with her these days, but she still manages a laugh and a smile to signal that everything is ok.

So, 2012, certainly not all doom and gloom by far, some great and memorable moments. The next time the clock strikes midnight, 2012 will become LAST year, and we will move on. Things will be no different, new years resolutions will be smashed in days, horror and tragedy will fill our TV screens and stupid vile people drink drive throughout NYE, and 99.9% of people will wake up to their same lives on Tuesday..... But hey, let's be optimistic here.... Here's to a better year, joy, success, happiness and health.

Happy New Year all (for tomorrow)
Regards

Michael
Sent via Blackberry®

EyeEm the app

OK, its been a long time since I blogged anything, and I thought it was about time I did another random, pointless (or almost) blog.
It takes a bit to impress me with apps, I'm a simple guy that likes the full physical keyboard of my Blackberry, the simplicity of simple communication, and as a whole I really don't subscribe to this 'amazing app' mentality of most smartphone users.
I'm writing this on my beloved Blackberry Bold 9900 as typing is a joy on it, and day by day I stare longingly at the BB10 devices of 2013, the N and L series, aka the X10 and Z10. But until then, for apps I use my Samsung Galaxy S2, Android phone.
A few apps here and there manage the final cut and stay on the phone, but 90% get chopped within a week.
Instagram, the amazing image app that everyone was and is so addicted to lasted about a week too. Before the novelty of applying a filter to a picture to in some way make it look cool, retro, hip or funky wore off. Other than the filters it didn't really do much.
However while watching BBC's Click the other day I discovered EyeEm, and my world changed.
Allow me to explain. At surface EyeEm applies filters to pictures, as does Molome, Twitter and a million other apps. But take a second a look deeper at it, and EyeEm is different, very different.
First up, there is no mandatory cropping of pictures, the days of square only images are gone! You camera doesn't take a square pic, so why does Instagram insist on them? Next up there are tags. Woo I hear you say, hardly groundbreaking. BUT.... Careful use of tags teaches EyeEm what sort of things you are interested in. Use tags such as 'skies', 'lights' and 'sunset', and you will find your feed updates with images from other users using the same tag words.
The tags go on to form the key to the whole app, showing you images in your interest area, inspiring you to take more, diversify, or maybe even teaching you a trick. Like a picture or want to know more about how it was taken, that's simple, you can show your feelings by 'liking' the picture or leaving a comment. Start a conversation, make a friend.
If you find yourself admiring a picture, take a look through the gallery of the person who snapped it. Like more, then why not follow the person, and receive their new images in your feed. A little like Twitter in that respect.
From using EyeEm for just two days I have found myself recommending it to everyone, trying to convert people away from Instagram, and most of all I have found my love for photography reignited, and my desire to snap more and more images is once again keen.
On thing I am loving about the users of the app is the number of untouched images. Not everyone applies a filter and frame to their image, some just share raw quality images of amazing things. I prefer not to mess with my images, so its nice to see like minded people. As well as being able to share and feel some appreciation for my pictures.
So if you use an iOS device, or an Android device, go to your respective store now and search for EyeEm. Give it a go, get some tags on your images, and watch your feed populate.
Word of warning, the more tags you use, and the more general phrases, the more images you will receive, so choose carefully :)
Regards

Michael
Sent via Blackberry®










Saturday, December 8, 2012

Bathroom nightmares!

Almost 2 years ago today my landlord L&Q appointed Apollo to fit a new kitchen and bathroom to the house I live in. A couple of weeks of dust and noise was a small price to pay to have the rooms dragged kicking and screaming from the 70's.

Come January I had a lovely new kitchen, and a beautiful bathroom.

However. By the spring I started to notice the paint on the wall starting to blister a bit, and lift from the new plaster. This was the inside of the external facing wall. As the weeks went on more and more spots started to show through, until it became apparent there was a problem somewhere.
I reported it and requested someone come to take a look at it. Eventually the surveyor came out, took a look and identified a damp problem. After further investigation it appeared that an external soil pipe was leaking on the brickwork and had soaked it through.

By that winter, around December 2011 (1 year later) P&R Plumbers came out to fix the soil pipe. I was told by the surveyor that once this was done he would arrange for the walls to be dried out with machinery, and once that was done the walls could be repainted. Needless to say this didn't happen. So this year, for most of 2012 (I kid you not) I have been on and on at L&Q for them to finally rectify the mouldy, paint blistered walls.

By November I finally got the call to say it had the green light to go ahead and start the work. 3 day job to hack off the old plaster, sort the damp, re-plaster and return to usable form. So November 19th was the day it would all start, so booked annual leave. Sadly on Fri 16th I got a call to say they couldn't start on the Monday, so would have to squeeze it all in Thurs and Fri. A little too short notice for me to book more time off, so I made other arrangements for Chantal to be here.

Friday afternoon comes and the plaster packs up and leaves. Advising that the tiling, skimming and painting is NOT his job. He says he will be back on the Monday to do a couple of little bits. Monday comes, the guy shows up, does a few bits and that his part done. Apparently the contractor Bryhill had NOT agreed with L&Q to restore to full use at all. On leaving he told me he had somehow broken the toilet pan away from the floor, so this would need changing. And off he went.

At this point the state of the bathroom was, as follows, bath reinstalled but not silicone sealing anything like the gaps between the bath and wall, hand basin fully reinstalled, and a now rocking toilet, with floating cistern as it sits away from the wall and was not boxed in. Poor quality finish plastering still requiring skimming before it can be painted, no tiles on the splashbacks. So pretty useless.

The past couple of weeks have involved me calling Bryhill and L&Q and getting told its the other parties problem, and no one has taken responsibility. Eventually I get some joy, a supervisor from Bryhill visited, checked the toilet and said they would replace it. Hurrah I thought. Then out of the blue yesterday, first thing in the morning a plumber shows up, 'come to replace the toilet mate'. Was a surprise but a welcome one all the same. He comes in to see what he is replacing then shoots off to the suppliers for a replacement.

Now I should note at this point that when Apollo replaced the pan, they used a new type which sits about 1ft further forwards than the old flush wall mounted one I had. However this is apparently the new style, so it can't be helped!

45 mins later he is back. I let work know I had workers in so might be a bit late. A toilet is a simple swap out, but half an hour passes and all of a sudden drilling starts, and goes on.....and on.....and on. Half hour later I popped in to see what was up. Apparently the floor is knackered so he can't bolt it down. So he calls for a carpenter. The plan now is to build a box behind the cistern to bolt it to, then screw that to the wall, and silicone the pan to the floor, which is what they ended up doing. I was 3 hours late for work.

He was also kind enough to silicone around the bath so it was now usable.

Not a great fix, but fed up of the whole escapade I accepted it as it seemed workable. Obviously the tiling and painting were still outstanding. So on the way to work I called L&Q again and finally heard what I wanted. A contractor will come out next week to size the job up and do everything outstanding ASAP!

So today, to celebrate almost having a bathroom back I decided on a long hot soak in the bath. So I filled it up, and hopped in.

All of a sudden I can hear rushing water, I check its not overflowing, its not. So I sit up and the noise stops. Hmmm, strange, so I lay back down again, there it is again. Suddenly I am suspicious, each time the water reaches the overflow this noise starts. But its not the usual sound of water exiting the overflow. Eventually I'm too pissed off to stay in the bath so I hop out, get dressed and the fun begins.

After fighting it for a while I manage to remove the bath panel, and am SO angry at what I see.... The overflow has NO waste pipe attached, so the water is pouring onto the floor.

Enough is enough. The bathroom has been screwed since it was first done, and is slowly becoming a patchwork quilt of badly carried out repairs. I am sick to the back teeth of the poor workmanship, poor service from the housing association, and the crap attention to detail from the contractors.

I should also add that a few months after the bathroom was first completed the cold waterpipe behind the bath sprung a leak. Soaking the floor and bath panel. The pipes all had to be replaced, as did the bath panel.

I just want the whole thing re-done now, properly, once and for all. Is that unreasonable?
The floor can't have a toilet bolted to it, the walls need plastering properly, the bath needs plumbing in properly, the toilet needs securing, the tiling needs re-doing, the shrouding around the pipes is knackered. Surely its cheaper just to start over?

I don't know who wants to take responsibility for it, but between the following companies, you have made it a joke.

Bryhill
Apollo
P&R Plumbers
L&Q Group
Regards

Michael
Sent via Blackberry®

SO pissed off right now.

Months and months waiting to get the job started, weeks of a simple job dragging on, and finally we get to the stage where I can take a long soak in the bath again....

Oh hold on, apparently not!

Dear Bryhill, P&R Plumbers and L&Q..... YOU FUCKIN IDIOTS!!! This is NOT how you re-plumb a bath back in. Where is the overflow pipe numbnuts!
Regards

Michael
Sent via Blackberry®

Friday, November 23, 2012

Stale!

That's how this week feels to me right now. With being off for the early part, and how having had 2 mornings of broken routine due to the builder being in, its a week I just want to finish and soon. Worst part is I know the building will continue into next week, so its not over just yet.

So many things just hanging in limbo right now, my mind is not my own.

All that said, I am thankful its literally only material things going on in my life. Meanwhile friends are going to hell and back right now with battles of their own. Pregnancies, premature babies, all the things that really tug at your heart strings and make you thankful your life if not as painful and stressful as theirs. But all the while wanting them to know that you are there for them if there is anything you can do.

So if you guys are reading, you know me well enough to know I will cross mountains and oceans to help in any way. Just say.

Hope everyone has a good weekend ahead, mine is pretty mediocre, but quiet is the plan. Just got to get this day out of the way, so here we go, on the train and awaaaaaayyyy.

Peace and love to all x
Regards

Michael
Sent via Blackberry®

Stale!

That's how this week feels to me right now. With being off for the early part, and how having had 2 mornings of broken routine due to the builder being in, its a week I just want to finish and soon. Worst part is I know the building will continue into next week, so its not over just yet.

So many things just hanging in limbo right now, my mind is not my own.

All that said, I am thankful its literally only material things going on in my life. Meanwhile friends are going to hell and back right now with battles of their own. Pregnancies, premature babies, all the things that really tug at your heart strings and make you thankful your life if not as painful and stressful as theirs. But all the while wanting them to know that you are there for them if there is anything you can do.

So if you guys are reading, you know me well enough to know I will cross mountains and oceans to help in any way. Just say.

Hope everyone has a good weekend ahead, mine is pretty mediocre, but quiet is the plan. Just got to get this day out of the way, so here we go, on the train and awaaaaaayyyy.

Peace and love to all x
Regards

Michael
Sent via Blackberry®

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A little embarrassed

To say the least! I have a habit when I am off work of watching PMQ's. Prime Ministers Questions. Now as everyone knows every now and then, we as citizens of this great country take time out to vote for someone to represent us and our local constituency on the national forum in the House of Commons. Rarely these days to we know much about these people and their background, in fact most don't even know what their plans are. Instead we take it back to playtime at infant school and vote for nothing more than our favourite colour.

There is daily outrage in the country about the state of the country, the leadership, the laws and the benefit system, yet so few people actually take the time to know what they are voting for at all. The grass is always greener, tackle some real crimes, lower taxes, pay my rent... All the usual shit that the uneducated and lazy people of the country moan about.

So back to PMQ's before I forget. WE, the people voted these people in. We, the people are responsible for each bum on the seat, and we the people are thoroughly embarrassed each time these people of power and responsibility act like a class full of 8yr olds with a supply teacher.
You would not accept a cop driving down the road, hanging out the window shouting get ya tits out. Nor a fireman whopping his chopper out to piss on a litter bin fire. If your milkman threw your bottles up your path, you would complain, and if your food at McDonalds is cold its the end of the world..... Yet time and time again we stand by and watch this bunch of childish clowns embarrass us on the world stage.

Never mind MP's expenses... I want them docked wages for every time they act like pre-pubecent teenagers in the underwear section of M&S. PMQ's is 30 mins to raise issues for future debate, question actions and get the whole house together for an address. Not for a food fight, not for jeering and sneering, and not for shouting each other down.

So please MP's... Learn to shut the fuck up, grow up, and behave in the civilised manner that the laws of this country dictate we live by in society. You are shameful and embarrassing.
Regards

Michael
Sent via Blackberry®

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pot-Kettle-Black

Ever had one of those moments when after a long period of being moaned at and criticised by someone for something you were doing (in your case legitimately), suddenly that person then does the exact same thing (illegitimately), and thinks its perfectly fine?

For me, while it pisses me off a little, I actually find it quite funny, and in some ways sad, especially given the reasons behind the behaviour. Amazed at how someone who spends so long commenting on other peoples lives, judging everyone around them, can suddenly just flip a switch, while flippin the world the birdie, and sit there like a smug little fucker, and think that everything is ok.

Well, wakey wakey, that's not the real world, and I for one will NOT sit by and pass up the opportunity to make life hell for you. Slip once, and I will do everything I can to make sure you can't get back up again. Slippery floor and a foot on your chest, just give me that chance to keep you down the way you beat me down and tried to finish me..... I dare you!

We all judge each other, on a daily basis, on all levels. From sneering at someones dress sense, to making cutting comments about their life choices. So don't think I am saying its poor behaviour, its natural. But the intention behind it is where its at. If you are just a judgemental and outspoken kinda person, then the chances are you mean no harm by your comments, you just can't help yourself but make your comments known.

Others however, gossip, plot and spinelessly create situations out of nothing. Taking a genuine situation, spinning it at 1000rpm until its all muddled up, then present it to the world as a smear campaign against you. I know, I have been on the receiving end of one of these.

However half a revolution more and the tables are now turned. A similar situation arises but now roles are reversed. Questions asked at all levels about how genuine this all is, poor attitude towards those you should be respecting, and some very lame reasoning for actions.

All I can say is what I have said all along... The clock is ticking, and just how long it keeps ticking for is up to you... Yes YOU, yourself, your own worst enemy.
Karma has bitten twice already, and is waiting to take the final bite...

Once again..... Do it, I dare you!
Regards

Michael
Sent via Blackberry®

Monday, November 12, 2012

Perception

That's what makes things 'real' to us. We are presented with something, and from the facts we have, added to our beliefs, and spiced up with a little of our knowledge, we have real life. Or our perception of it at least.
The human mind is a complex thing, and given the way it works, it is hardly a surprise that with such a simple set of facts, we can be left with so many different opinions and beliefs from it all.

From an early age we start to form opinions, some we are guided on by our parents and significant peers, and others we develop through experiences we have, and how they work out.
Spiders, perceived by many as creepy and scary, but only because this is impressed upon us by our parents, and other older people from an early age. From this point on, we perceive a spider to mean danger, fear, and something to avoid. If we are able to open our mind enough to reassess this later in life, we can actually change our view of this.

The same can be said for so many other things in life, from religious belief, political belief, and even attitude towards sexuality. But these bigger things in life are rarely up for discussion or reassessment later in life. In fact, once we have a belief in these fields, most would struggle to reconsider.

Its not a bad thing as such, differences in opinion are what make conversation. Critical dialogue that is needed in day to day life in order to reach sensible decisions, and compromise. A decision immediately being unanimous is not a common thing, and we have opinion and perception to thank for this.

How dangerous would life be if it was as simple as an idea becoming reality with no further consideration of discussion. But at the same time, how great could things be if blinkered people could just see past their beliefs and be willing to consider other peoples thoughts, emotions and perceptions of a situation.

Sexuality, race, religion. Three of the greatest fighting points of mankind. Because we have differences there, and because it is beyond discussion and conversation, there is only one thing left. Hatred! And how crazy is that! (My perception of it anyway)

We have a beautiful gift called life, and really should be free to live it the way we choose to. There are of course moral issues here, and other peoples well being and happiness counts. So obviously rape, pillaging, and murder would be out of the question. After all we are 'civilised' now, or so we would believe. There we go again, perception!

A tribesman would have you believe that he is advanced, and comfortable, as would a playboy millionaire. Generations of families in the 3rd world have continued by reproduction at an annual rate, to ensure one offspring will survive. This is also true in nature, and 'acceptable'. However advanced, civilised society says the loss of a child us unacceptable and un-natural, therefore we fight against this with humanitarian aid. Sadly it is human nature to continue doing what we know, so while the advanced world continues saving lives, the 3rd world continues making them at a phenomenal rate, and the population continues to boom.

That's my perception of the world anyway. Religious people should embrace their OWN beliefs, and live within the boundaries that they set for themselves. While not bothering others of other beliefs with hatred and threatening behaviour.

People of all sexualities and races should be able to live together without prejudice. Why should one persons creed or colour dictate how we behave towards them, and why should someone who is attracted to someone of the same sex be frowned upon? It happens in the animal kingdom, to which we fundermentally belong to, and we watch on with amazement and nothing else. You don't kill a male dog for mounting another male dog for example.

I could go on all night, but will end by saying, the world you see, the world we all share...... Its all about perception. Open your mind a little, and take one moment to consider why someone acts the way they do, or thinks the thoughts they have.... Its really quite eductional!
Regards

Michael
Sent via Blackberry®

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Deja vu.........

Ever had that feeling that you have been through something, done something or seen something before... Of course we all know what deja vu is, but other than that quirky feeling of 'I have been here before', have you ever REALLY been through something all over again?

Its never good things that happen over and over again either is it, have you noticed that? Only the bad things, the things that knock us back, push us off course and really mess with our minds. Over and over, like a bad repetitive dream.

Obviously you know where I am going with this, off on a wild rant about something non specific and vague, but with the aim of getting it off my chest. Naturally! So without messing about any more here goes.

Having one close relative of friend die is always tough on you, mentally, emotionally and as I have found sometimes physically too. Illness, depression, anger, and so many other things can crop up when we are going through something close to us. Someone passing is one thing, but someone slowly slipping away it something completely different. As I have said before, the hardest part of coping with a loss isn't so much the actually removal from existence of the loved one, but more the mechanics of how they are removed from our lives.
A tragic accident is short, swift and something we are presented with in a flash, and have to deal with. No choices or chances, just taken, in an instant. Tragic and hurtful, but we tend to move on quite well from these things. Left with only the happier memories of our times together, our mind is at rest.
However the other option is disease. Slow, painful and tragic. Sorry if I offend at this point, but you know I don't like to beat around the bush. Disease takes many loved ones from us all annually. We see them slowly slipping away, weakening, suffering, and fighting with all their strength. But the truth is, once the disease, cancer for example takes hold, the outcome is inevitable.

My journey with mum is very well documented I believe. The hard times, the good times, the fights with condition, and the fights with the family. Each time I read back and remind myself of something that happened, I can recall it with such clarity, it is as if it has just happened.
So having walked the path once, finding myself back on it again now with my aunt should be somewhat more predictable. And I have to say it is. Progress, condition, deterioration etc is no real shock to me, but then again I don't think anything  'unexpected' happened with mum either. I have read enough and seen enough about cancer to understand what it does and how things work.

I dint quite know why, but once again as we reach a pivotal part of the journey, and Joan's condition has taken a bit of a turn, I find myself frustrated. I have always known I would not be able to be there every day, but for some reason it seems to be stressing me out. Having been through a serious bout of depression and anxiety when mum was ill, I know what it feels like to start slipping back in that direction. The same way someone who drinks regularly knows when they are about to lose their legs, I can feel mine starting to buckle a little under me too.

Seeing the signs is one thing, but doing something about it, that's something totally different, and far easier said than done. Slowing down in activity, lacking interest in doing things, removing yourself from social situations, not being able to concentrate, and worst of all, deprived of sleep. All signs that things are not right in the brainbox division. Medication worked wonders last time with a lot of that, but that was never a road I was happy on, and would not be one I would choose to walk again given the choice. Never say never though, right?

Instead, this time I am trying alternatives, getting it off my chest as it arrives (hence blogging now), speaking to people about it, increasing physical activity to naturally release endorphins, and trying to stay social at every opportunity possible. I can only try right. So firstly I apologise, to my friends who I may start to bore with tales of me, me, me. People I may suddenly start talking to a hell of a lot, people on the same wave length as me. If at any time it gets too much, just say.

A lot has changed in my head since mum passed, and I would like to say I have become a stronger, more independent man, who lives in a way I feel I would have mad my mum proud. But I also live in the shadow of doom and gloom, that of Joan being so ill, and ever closer to leaving us. Its not something I shy from, and I think about it every day. Realising responsibilities, thinking of ways to make contact, and make each of her days something enjoyable and special. While at the same time remembering that time is not on our side, and any day could be the last.

Maybe its the not knowing, the uncertainty of time remaining that makes these things so hard. Going back to what I said earlier about the mechanics of a loss. One you were not expecting just happens, before you can blink, think or take another breath its over. With a long term situation you are tortured with wondering how long is left, what else you can achieve, and how you will cope. Twisting and contorting your mind in so many ways, driving yourself crazy trying to cope with something before it has even become reality.

I may sound cold in saying this, it may just be me who thinks it, but I cope far better with the actual death than I do with the build up. Passing is a part of life, a certainty, in my mind once the moment arrives, it passes quite quickly. But in some sort of weird mission to make everything right, when someone is ill, I am driven to do all I can in the situation, play any role I can, and make sure there is nothing left undone or unsaid.

The thing torturing my mind right now is timing. Making sure I see Joan again as many times as possible, and spend as many minutes and hours with her, just making sure all the silly things are done. We talked of having a Chinese takeaway, as she doesn't remember ever having one before, watching programs, discussing quandaries, and making the sort of conversations that delve deep into your mind, and remain there long after the conversation ends. I guess really what I want is memories, but that's natural, right?

You can probably tell by the scatty way this is written that my mind is not quite right at the moment, I certainly can. But I am trying here, trying hard not to let it get any worse. Hopefully next weekend I will see Joan, and clear my mind a little. Some honesty, some openness and some straight talking as ever. Fingers crossed as I re-join the motorway for the drive home, it will be the air rushing through my hair, and not the thoughts rushing through my head that accompany for the journey home.

PS, thank you to Rachel for being there on the phone yesterday when things were getting a little sketchy. x

Friday, November 2, 2012

Its that time again. From the heart.

Yup, that time where I  go off on a wild ramble that says a lot but amounts to nothing, kinda anyway.
I spoke to my aunt Joan's carer today, Chris, just to get an update on the situation with Joan's arm and shoulder. Last week when we spoke, the doctor was due to come out early this week to assess how the pain relief was working, and to see if the dose needed adjusting. Well the doctor decided that they were indeed having the desired effect, but a stronger dose would probably be better.

At this point I'm not sure what patches she is using, but do know the dose has risen from the initial 10mg to 25mg now, and as time goes on, use is returning to the arm. Not that Joan is willing to accept that they are working. In typical fashion she is a little against medication and modern medical practises, so she is standing her ground that its still causing a great deal of pain. HOWEVER.... Chris has noticed that Joan has returned to doing her crosswords, and is carrying out other functions which had previously become too painful to do.
So however you look at it, Joan is managing the pain and discomfort pretty well, hopefully its because the medication is taking it away. The doctor certainly feels this is the case.

Before my aunt was diagnosed with cancer I had never met her neighbour and now carer Chris. While visiting her to tell her mums secret of having breast cancer for a year back in 2008/2009, my aunt dropped her own bombshell by saying she too had found a lump, and just like mum she was reluctant to seek help for it. Feeling it was a foregone conclusion of what it was and how it would go, they both initially felt they would just go with the flow. Needless to say this was NOT to be the case.
After the diagnosis and speaking to Joan I heard that Chris, her long time trusted neighbour, had agreed to care for her in an official capacity.

The first time I visited after hearing this, I went to visit Chris and her husband who live just over the road from my aunt, and at this point I guess you can say we both formally interviewed each other, trying to make sense of the others intention in the situation. I think it is fair to say that by the end of it we had built a lot of trust and respect for each other, so we were in a happy place to move forwards in Joan's best interests.
As time has gone on, the conversations between myself and Chris have become increasingly open and blunt, discussing mortality, relatives, and care regularly and without holding back.

I received a call from Chris about a week ago, late one evening, and this is when I first learned of the current issues Joan is having with her shoulder. Chris has been great from day 1 keeping me up to date with appointments, and anything going on in Joan's life that she felt I should know about, including any changes in Joan's condition and moods. We spoke again tonight and she updated me on the situation with doctors comments and opinions, and how things were going. The doctor saying she still feels the pain is caused mainly by arthritis and a frozen shoulder, and not primarily a spread or progression of the cancer.

However she went on to say that Joan's appetite is slowly dropping away to nothing, and that she is losing a fair bit of weight now. Saying that I would notice a chance the next time I see her. This of course is not great news, but at the same time mum did go on and off her food from time to time, so it is in no way any sort of life force indicator that suggests the end is nigh or anything else so sinister.

So, all these facts, but no personal comments from me yet, strange or what, Well here goes.
I wont say its an easy thing. I do know what lays ahead, and if the truth be known I feel like after many childhood and adolescent years, I am finally getting to know my aunt. A long time in the making, and the timing kinda sucks really. But at the same time I am in a position both mentally and in life where I feel comfortable with the conversations we have. I feel educated enough to engage in long meaningful conversations, and we have fun. We laugh, we talk about serious matters, but most importantly we connect. I have spent hours with some people, days and weeks even at times, and really not clicked. However with Joan its just there. Not a family thing, just a level that we are both on.

I don't know how else to explain it, maybe its my mind playing trickery with me, and separating family and friendship to make the whole matter easier to work through. Either way, at this point in my life I feel like I have bonded with a great friend, and in doing so I have opened myself up for them. Whenever we spend time together I feel like I have brought her some strength and happiness, and leave her a little more revitalised than she was when I arrived. I know when I leave there, I certainly feel that way. Always with a smile, and always with a deep warm feeling in my heart. Am I ready to let that go, of course not. And I wish, just like with mum that I could do something to extend their time. The whole situation was the same with mum, visiting her at the hospital, hospice or home, I always felt that regardless of time spent there, 15 mins of 5 hours, it was always time well spent, and I felt I was doing not only what was morally right, but what was good for both parties too.

As it becomes more obvious that we are about to lose a loved one, as their time with us begins to fade, regardless of our relationship with the person, no matter how long we have known them, there are certain things that really make coping with a persons passing a little easier, for me at least.
When it was clear from what he was telling me that Graeme didnt have much time left, I made a point of visiting him, spending some quality time with him, and just relaxing. Letting both conversation and silence flow when it felt natural, and making sure that we both had the opportunities to say our peace. Not our goodbyes, that would be far too sombre, and would be accepting THE END.But instead allowing closure on certain aspects of our lives, and to make sure we share common grounds on our last page in life together.

The same was true with mum, having had quite a strange relationship with her for many years, and sometimes lacking a little respect. It was important for me to restore that respect, and make sure that she knew deep within her heart that I loved and respected her every day of my life, and that I was grateful for the gift of life she had given me. Now as another close loved one clocks up their last few miles, I have made it my mission to give back. For all the kindness she has given from so far away for so long now. Just like my other aunts, offering financial assistance where possible, and making sure we never went without, it is my turn to repay the gift, and to make sure I am there to support and assist her whenever and however I can.

In the next week or two I will take a trip up there, before there is any cause to, so to speak. I don't want my next visit to be because I have got word that she has declined, or is feeling worse in any way.  I guess in reality I cant actually control that, and that at some point before one of my visits, I will get a call that suggests  I go sooner rather than later. But if I can beat it this time around, that's one more time we won, and didn't allow life to dictate to us what our next action should be. 'We' as in me and Joan.

So, that's the starts of what's in my head right now. I would love for one more Xmas together with my aunt, in a condition where she can enjoy it, and who knows maybe even another birthday for her too. I won't go setting time scales here as no one knows what's around the corner. But I would be lying if I said its not reached the stage of playing on my mind, and appearing in my thoughts and dreams at night now. I really don't want that day to come, but know that when it does, she has been cared for in every way possible til the end. I also know that she is receiving the best possible care, and I am eternally grateful to Chris for all the long hours she puts in taking care of Joan, so sincerely, thank you Chris, from the bottom of my heart.

So I shall leave it there now, the dogs need feeding, my back is aching and my mind is dangerously close to getting moody.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. More will follow for sure.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Even the best laid plans...

Yup even the BEST ones can go wrong, and that's what's happened to me today. The final hurdle on what was meant to be something cool, and I fell!

All worked out in my head, and all set to be fun, but of course it wasn't going to go to plan was it.

Maybe I will start to believe in what I used to, the more excited you get about something, the less likely it is to happen. Sure feels that way at times.

Well as Avril Lavigne is screaming in my ears right '.....just keep on laughing, one things for sure, there's always a brand new day'

Such is life, fuck it, I'm gifted, I'm ALIVE!
Regards

Michael
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dis-association

Ever had that moment when you realise you no longer want to associate yourself with something or someone.
A long term affiliation with this thing or person, but suddenly you see this for what it is and decide enough is enough.

I guess we all do it throughout our lives without even thinking about it. But what brings it to the front of my mind now is sitting opposite someone on the train. Someone I went to school with. Now its nothing personal to him, but more just the whole school experience. Once it was over with there were very few people I wanted anything further to do with.

It was never a fun part of my life, and the second I left primary school I cut all ties with everyone. Only re attaching one thread later in life with one Paul Jefferies.

This has got me thinking though, about those 'turn away' moments, when you see someone that might start a conversation, someone you haven't seen for years, and with a moment to decide you think hell no!

There is an almost endless list of people who I am happy just to dis associate with in a heart beat, some I have, some I would love to. Does this make me a little arrogant and pretentious? Well if it does, sod it, I will take the names nd titles with happiness.

Truth is, over the years I have become better and better at selecting who I socialise with, and who I allow into my inner circles, and if there is no place for you, I will tolerate you, but honestly, I will turn away the second I get the chance... #JustSayin
Regards

Michael
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Monday, October 29, 2012

Tough decisions

Have you ever got involved in something for all the right reasons, with the right intentions, but come out of it losing out big time.
I don't mean financially, I meant mentally and emotionally.

Sometimes we commit ourselves to something that we feel strongly about. Our intentions are just to help a situation to the right outcome, so all parties are 'happy' so speak with how things go, and no one is left out in the cold.

Sadly, regardless of your input on something, and no matter how hard you try, things don't go the way you had hoped, and before you know it the world is falling apart around you.
Not only are things not going for others as you had hoped, but the negativity from the whole situation affects how WE perform and behave, and suddenly things are spiralling out of control.

Well you have heard the expression once bitten twice shy..... On this occasion I find this being the right attitude, and presented with a similar situation all over again, this time I choose the selfish path. The one where me and the main focus are cared for, and the feelings and involvement of others takes second place.

In fact the more distance between the 2 things the better. I maintain focus, I remain committed, and most importantly sane!
Regards

Michael
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Friday, October 26, 2012

That heart stopping moment

The late night phone call from someone who is caring for an elderly relative. What could they possibly have to say to you at this time of night?
Well last night was my moment, with Chris, my aunts carer calling me at after 10.30 at night. First the home phone rung, and I ignored it, having had numerous PPI calls at all sorts of hours. Then the mobile went too.
Looking down and seeing 'Chris (Joan)' my heart stopped.

Walking to the kitchen to take the call, my worry was soon put to rest, with Chris saying she had not realised the time before calling, and was sorry to call so late..... Phew!

It wasn't all good news though, Chris is always forthcoming with updates, and this was no different. Joan is now having problems with her shoulder. The doctor has diagnosed a frozen shoulder, but the treatments are not doing much for it. Combined with Joan's similar attitude to meds and treatment as mum had, she is an awkward patient. Not wanting stronger pain killers, or treatment injections, but eventually agreeing to try both.

Chris reports that Joan is in considerable discomfort with her shoulder, and even the anaesthetic in the steroid injection not giving much relief to the pain.

Obviously the thought has to cross your mind that maybe this is a spread of the bone cancer into a little used joint. Now this is just guessing, and you have to take the doctors diagnosis at face value. However Chris also reports that Joan is losing weight quite quickly now, and on and off her food.

While there is no immediate call for me to visit, obviously I don't want to miss a second, so am really keen to show my face there again some time soon, just so she knows I care as much as I said from the outset, and I keep my word that I'm there for each twist and turn.

This news combined with the news of the new lumps, and the slowing/stopping of the effectiveness of the meds she was on, it is only natural to fear the worst is coming at some point. But that said, she is like mum with her fight being non stop, and hanging in there forever. Its been a couple of years since she was first diagnosed with a tough fight ahead. I bet the cancer wasn't expecting a fight like this. Go Auntie Joan :)

So that's my heart stopper for the day.

Back to normality for me today, or at least that's the plan. Time will tell.
Regards

Michael
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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Off the grid

 

After a really shit start to the day, and a pretty crappy days prior to this, I decided to pull the plug on my ‘social’ activities for the day, well at least today, maybe longer. I didn’t see the point in pretending to be socialble when I really don’t feel it.

So off has gone the data connection on my Blackberry, signed out of Twitter, Facebook deactivated, headphones in, David Guetta live session on, and blank out the world for the time being.

 

Not quite sure why im feeling like this right now, nothing majorly up with me, just pretty fed up and tired and could really do with a break. However getting time off work at the moment is impossible due to shortages of staff, sickness, and holidays being booked up. Seems every time I try and get some time off there is something stopping it happen.

 

Just sick and tired of being in the office now, lies, loud voices, and bad habits all really grinding me down now. I have expressed my desperation to the boss about some time off, and can only hope that the break comes before the explosion from within. I am coming pretty close to it right now I have to tell you. Just need a day or two to chill out, relax and do my own thing, then after that hopefully I will return to normal. That or medication!

 

So if you have tried to get in touch with anything other than good old fashioned SMS or voice call, im afraid you will be out of luck.

 

How long will this last, I dont know, but I have to say in a strange way its actually quite enjoyable.

 

Me...... out!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Where's your head at?

Been a little bit off the mark recently, and a little off my usual rhythm. Not quite sure what's going on, winter blues maybe. But the truth is nothing is really up as such.

Seems that I just miss my cues on my day to day life, and once you are out of sync, the day can just crumble. Yesterday was a good example of this with a really crappy start to the day. Thankfully by the end of it I was back on form. A little music in my ears, and a few good decisions made the day a bit more bareable.

So what do I need to do moving forwards now to keep me sane. Well I think the key is adapting to winter time, knowing its damp out, realising the dogs are going to get wet on walks and being prepared for that, and probably the biggest problem for me right now is keeping the beast caged.

The beast being the animal inside that wants to escape during training. The same beast that keeps allowing me to push a little too hard and end up with small training injuries like I have now.

Quite simply, if my day doesn't begin with intense physical activity, I run the risk of it turning into a pretty shitty day. Energy building up inside just leads to frustration, impatience, and anxiety.

Here's to a good day for all, maybe even me.
Regards

Michael
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Monday, October 15, 2012

Virgin Media SuperHub

Aka a frickin pile of junk. Dropped connections, refusals to connect, takes forever to connect. What else can I tell you.

Disappointed beyond belief, and right now super fuckin pissed off and fed up with this pile of junk. With its blue light flashing all bloody day and night, I mean I know it has to, so you know its working and all that.... Oh hold on, that's right ITS NOT WORKING, its just pretending to!

The old one, was lovely, connected fast, rare issues, perfection, and not covered in more lights than Oxford St at Xmas.

But this, oh no, this is just utter utter total complete rubbish.

I shall call Virgin Media in the morning and see what they want to do about it. Til then I will use my 3G signal through Orange (EE) and forget I am even paying for this crappy thing.
Regards

Michael
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Friday, October 12, 2012

Greetings from the bath.

I took the day off work today, to get a few things done, to unwind a little, and just to be a little bit lazy if I'm honest.

As I lay in bed, contemplating getting up, I thought what better way to start a cold, windy day, than in a hot bath, so here I am. I have to say though, with the building nextdoor progressing, I am slightly put off the relaxation of my bath, by builders walking past my bathroom window all the time. But hey, I got my Blackberry, what other distraction do I need.

So how about some updates from me, its been a while hasn't it!
House... Well the bathroom is still awaiting repairs, however that's progressing rapidly now following my complaint to the top.
The trees outside have finally been operated on, and are looking much better, daylight returns. Thankfully there is no noticeable movement from the walls anymore, so I'm guessing nextdoor is finally rock solid.

Work, well work is work, 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, always battling against the turning tide so to speak, but I haven't given up on my pursuit of that little something extra.

Health wise I can't moan, since I started training, ailments have been few and far between, other than occasional gout. Speaking of training, that's still going well, still doing P90X. Aching daily, so I'm doing something right.

As for other stuff. Well, I was very happy yesterday to make the (virtual) acquaintance of a young lady with thinking rather similar to my own. My ethos on life isn't so unique after all, but that's not a bad thing. Just means I'm not quite as bonkers as I first thought. Or if I am, I'm not alone in being totally bonkers. We have named our life ethos 'Twittonian' lol. Just thought I would put that word out there, and lay claim to it.

Its always nice to speak to like-minded people, just because it makes you realise you are not uncaring or callous, not mean and selfish, but instead realistic about things.

As winter draws in now, and dark days bring with them dark moods, I'm sure it will all be kept going by some colourful blog entries from me. This year for the first time I head towards my dreaded 3 months almost stress free. Hopefully things won't change in the coming weeks and months, and I can sail towards Dec-Feb with a smile rather than a grimace. Time will tell I guess.

Right, I'm getting sweaty hands now and don't wanna drop my phone in the bath, it might take and tweet embarrassing pictures or something, so that's me done.

Have a great day and weekend.
Regards

Michael
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Friday, October 5, 2012

Decisions decisions

Yesterday while watching social feeds of all sorts, an opportunity came up that has shown its face before. A change of direction for me, or at least an opportunity to apply for one.

This isn't to say that my driving ambition has passed, I'm still keen to qualify. But this other chance has always appealed to me. Steps things up a peg or two, gets be fresh challenges, and interests me.

Either way, its only a slim chance I'm even allowed to apply, let alone get an interview, pass and get the job. Time will tell.

Just wanted to tell y'all :)
Regards

Michael
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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Is the house moving again?

Eeeek. Hmmm is the house on the move again. These are quite big and all appeared quite quickly in the last day or 2
Regards

Michael
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Friday, September 14, 2012

6 Church Rise has walls!!

Exciting times just keep getting better, finally you can see the initial shape of the house. Can't wait for bricks too!
Regards

Michael
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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Redemption days

Sometimes these things take a while to come, but sometimes they are worth the wait.
Regardless of what happens next, yet another chapter in my life ends today. With the whole mum passing, Sian having her say, and now this, 3 huge things in my life are finally over, and now I can move on properly.

Part of me is hoping that today is the start of something equal to what I endured, an eye for an eye and all that, but another part of me doesn't care what happens next.

All a bit vague I know, but they are my thoughts, those involved understand it, and it makes me feel better having spoken about 'it'
Regards

Michael
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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Guess its time

Been a while since I last frantically hammered the keys of my Blackberry on a train or platform to let all you spectators know what's going on with me, so here goes.

Last few weeks have been pretty lazy if I'm honest. With mums anniversary of passing, came a serious drop in interest in life in general. Letting things build up, dates to pass and bills to remain unpaid. I guess its just been a time of adjustment for me.

I have had 2 sittings on the tribute tattoo to mum now and its looking fantastic. Other than that I have done nothing, honest, NOTHING! Not even trained.

This week however the wind seems to be hitting my sails a little more and the energy is returning. Enthusiasm to get things sorted, positive thoughts towards all things outstanding, and determination to get back on track.

I am planning to start training again next week, which sadly coincides with the start of the next round of building works at home, but I can't let that be a distraction or excuse not to train.

Other things I need to do are ordering dog supplies, cancel my Virgin mobile account seeing as someone decided not to pay for it anymore, cheers for that! And other things like updating my Virgin media account.

Aaah so much to do but I'm in the right zone now, so here goes.

Thanks as ever to the people who have stuck around. To anyone who is a little down right now, fear not, it will get better, eventually.

Right time to get on a train, and enjoy thos glorious sun on the platform. Have a great day.
Regards

Michael
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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Here come the floors

Well the foundations are as good as done, and its time to put the ground floor in.
How better to do it than with modular concrete slabs, craned in.

As a little boy in a mans body this is exciting to see. And I am even off for the day too. Woohoo lol

So from this point in I am kind of expecting accelerated progress now.

Sad maybe, but I'm enjoying watching this, and can't wait to see what the end result really looks like.
Regards

Michael
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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Roses are red, and pink, and orange...

Having a quick tidy in the garden the other night and i decided it was time to give the rose bushes a trim. On cutting them I though why let it go to waste.
Mum spent years trying to get roses to grow, and finally had success with a few bushes of them. So I thought, why not try and see if I can get some more bushes from the off cuts....

So I present to you, my first attempt at growing roses from cuttings.

Watch as I fail miserably lol
Regards

Michael
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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Walls @ 6 Church Rise

Exciting times are upon us (well me anyway) as the walls of the garden flat begin to appear. The next phase is truly here, and I can finally believe there will be a house next door again, one day soon (ish)
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One of 'those' days

You know the sort, we all have them. Nothing major and stressful, but just a day of minor hiccups that ultimately start to piss you off a little bit.

Well I'm having one today. Woke up and got up at my usual 'lazy' time as I have been recently. I think that might actually be a part of it, no structure. I shall come back to that. Walking the dogs, its threatened to rain. Email from the bank, I'm short for a bill, shirt I wanted to wear is dirty, dog not eating breakfast.... The list goes on.

Now I'm not going to stress about it, gawd no! I watched 24 hours in A&E last night and was reminded of what real anxiety and stress feels like. I don't wanna be back in that situation any time soon. Just watching someone panicking over nothing is enough to straighten me out a little. So, deep breath and all is well again in the land of Snaz!

But going back to structure, I think that's where I'm falling apart. I need the routine of P90X or Tai Chi back in my mornings, and that will start again next week. A week booked off work to allow for the adjustment, so I have a plan, no need to panic.

Other than that I have little to say. Olympics Part 1 went well, proud to be a Brit.
Just watching the Ecuador and Julian Assange story unfold, will we go into the embassy, will he flee.... So much going on.

OK weird looks on the train have started, so this is me signing out.
Have a good one people.
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Monday, August 13, 2012

OMG Bricks!

OMG, brick things and everything! This time next year I might have neighbours !
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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Today in 'over the hoarding'

Well today sees more concrete being poured, large pumps, foundations and rear staircases (as well as builders bum)
Can't believe how long the whole foundation process is taking. Sure is gonna be one sturdy house!
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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Coming to my senses

Quick entry just to say this.
The past few weeks I have been drifting around in my mind, and getting by with things. Eating junk, lazy on activity, and really not interested in doing much.

Thing is, as I stand on the train this morning I can actually feel myself waking up, coming to my senses and wanting to get back in the groove. I knew this time would come naturally and was never going to force it, just didn't expect it to arrive quite like this.

Nothing has triggered it, its just waving and washing over me while I stand here. Positive thoughts, motivation, and determination all rushing back into my mind, and it feels fantastic. Just in time too.
The plan was to get back on track next week anyway, so this fits perfectly and gives me a few days to start making adjustments to my days to allow for it.

I'm sure I will pay the price for slacking off physically. But mentally it has been SO worth it.

So that ends my random entry. Other than to say, seeing my new tattoo started has something to do with all this for sure.
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Sunday, August 5, 2012

One year on.

Well todays marks one whole year since mum passed away, and today was all about reflection and moving on.
For me I have had today planned out for a long time. Not a day of sorrow or sadness, but a day of peace. Not in the traditional sense, but my mind has been at rest. A year on and no longer fretting and worrying. This year I am relaxed, can look back at all the good times, and remember the final journey I took with Ann Snasdell, my mother.

The biggest part of today was the starting of a tattoo. Between 12 and 3pm, the final hours of mums life. Marking them with a tribute to her that will last with me forever. Seems a bit strange I know, but a tattoo is what I know best, and was what she knew I did in honour of loved ones passed.

I have attached a picture of the work so far. It has a long way to go, but getting it started at the right time was key here.

For the rest of the day I have made sure I have kept good company, and had fun conversation. With Michelle and Steve at Innocent Needle Tattoo in Croydon, then Dean and Ian at Storm Bromley, its been a good day.

Deep within there has been constant thought of mum, and visiting St Christophers yesterday seemed very fitting for me too.

I won't drag this on, I am sure those that know me know what I am thinking and feeling right now. A year on, and time to move on. Never forgotten, but no longer an active part of my life.

Thank you again mum for all you did to raise me, and make me the man I am today. I hope when you left us, you left with a sense of pride that you were an amazing mum. Love you forever x
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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Its wrong to judge.

Yet sometimes you can't help yourself. Especially when you have 95% of the facts. Knowing someone for a long time, from childhood, and seeing the way they turned out is sometimes a painful thing. I mean that in a nice way.

We all know someone who has done NOTHING with their life, through their own choices, they just fail to function, and are motivated to do absolutely nothing with their lives. No relationship, no career (or job for that matter), no direction. Just benefits beer and bed. How sad!

I am certainly not one to preach about a full and fun life, but I have had experiences, things to learn from, pass on and make me a 'better' person. Its not about wealth, its about fulfilling your goals and ambitions, making the most of each day, and being able to exchange stories with like minded people, and have different experiences to them.

When I was growing up, we had little money, few toys, and quite honestly nothing much to celebrate. But all that aside I had a great childhood really, some great friends who shared their toys and games, a loving mother who tried to give, and encouraged me to try and succeed, and a whole lot of energy. Compared to some in a similar situation I turned out alright really. Strong minded, determined and an individual.

Recently, as I walk around my local area, the area I grew up in, I see some of the people from my childhood and wonder what went wrong. Now I know my ideals are not theirs, but seriously, what sort of existence is it to spend half your life in the pub, to avoid work for 20+ years, and to really have nothing to show for the past two decades?

I am sure plenty of people look at me in the same light, and if that's the case, fair enough. I guess we can all only see down from our pedestals, so that makes it easier to 'judge'.

I don't know what else to say really, dunno where this is going. Other than to say its really sad to see these people, people that had all the same things as me, and decided to do nothing with it. I can't imagine having hardly ever worked in my life. To never have had a holiday, to not drive, no relationships etc, all because I just didn't have the interest to have a life.
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Friday, July 27, 2012

Feeling flaky

....and I'm not afraid to admit it.
First few sessions since re-starting are really taking their toll on me. However armed with previous knowledge I know not to push too hard. Pacing myself and making sure the impact levels are right, and splitting workouts where needed is the way to go.

This morning after the dog walks my legs were fatigued. So when I started yoga it was always going to be a bit of a battle. Instead of pretending to do the moves, and only giving 50%, I worked to the point where form was suffering, and stopped there. Once my legs have rested I will finish the routine this evening..... Before walking the dogs this time.

I know I push people hard, and to anyone in TeamSnaz who thinks I'm going soft, think again! But there is a point for anyone where training is pointless, and that is when form suffers. There is NO point in going through the motions if you cannot commit to it and dig deep to make those moves beautiful.

Missing a workout is not an option, but training wisely is, and that's what I am doing today. To anyone else training, who is struggling with the heat etc, drop the intensity if needed, stay hydrated and listen to your body NOT your mind. Your mind will want to quit a lot sooner than your body, trust me.

So today is a flaky day, but will end with perfect form, and beautiful yoga.

Dig in people, I know its hard, I know it hurts, and I know all too well that you will sweat like mad..... But its SO worth it. Trust me, I'm a doctor!

Happy workouts people.
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Monday, July 23, 2012

Behind the hoarding (today)

Well another nosey insight into what's going on at 6 Church Rise today. The hole gets deeper, the trucks keep coming, but there is still no sign of gold or Australia.
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Hurrah, the Olympics are coming!

Apparently that's a good thing. So I'm told.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not all negative about it, there are some positives in there too. But most of the positive things I see in the Olympics being in London are unconventional.
The actual events etc have very little interest for me if I'm honest. Yes of course there is the perving at girls in tight fitting clothes, but that's what the internet if for right! lol. (im joking!!) There are a couple of events that sound interesting, BMX and things like that. The athletics and all the other usual disciplines are a bit dull to me, never been that excited about watching people run marathons.

The questions like 'will Bolt win', and wondering if any records will be broken are also of some interest to me, but if it doesn't happen, I'm hardly going to be disappointed.

For me its more about the architecture, the technology, and all the other geek worthy stuff that has been put together to make the event happen. Watching Mega Structures about the Olympic park being built was fantastic, and many more special programs about that sort of stuff will be cool to watch.

On the down sides... Transport is going to suck. There is no doubt in any ones mind that getting around in London for the next 4-6 weeks is going to be a nightmare. The roads, public transport and probably even some of the streets in some areas will be horrible to say the least. With London Overground advising to walk parts of your journey, and messages coming out of the mayor's office suggesting people work from home, change their usual plans, and adapt to allow people going to the Olympics to travel, just makes me a little angry.
No impact on local businesses I'm sure by closing off huge chunks of roads to the public. No impact to businesses in general having half their workforce turn up an hour late because of over crowding on the trains and buses, and so on.

As a Londoner of course I am proud to live in the host city. Yes I think it is epic how much has been done to make sure London is ready for this 'once in a life time' event. I guess working in the transport industry, living in London and being a keen follower of current affairs, I kind of get the feeling that I am going to drown in the Olympics, and any excitement or enjoyment that could be found in it, will be lost with the overwhelming exposure to the issues caused by the damn things.

OK let me close on a more positive note.....
London 2012, I'm glad it has finally arrived, and am excited to see how it will all turn out. I am proud to have so many people visiting the great city that I live in, and chuffed that I live here and don't have to travel to get to the host city.

Right, I'm going back to sulking about it now. The fun starts tomorrow, the impact begins on my job.

Enjoy 2012 London Olympics people.... someone has to!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

An update from the Forest Hill mines.

Well as you can see its all looking a little more organised on the site now. Still not confident there will be no movement, but progress is progress eh.
I wonder what the projected completion date is, I really should look it up.
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P90X update

I know you wanted to read one while catching up on my rants, so here goes.
After training as much as possible while in Florida, I have returned to the UK with sore shoulders from messing about in the pool and the sea. So I have decided before embarking upon my beast month of strict diet and hard training, I will give myself a week to recover.
In the middle of this week I feel tired, lazy and unmotivated. Feelings I am no longer familiar with, so hope to shake them pretty soon. My mind is in other places, and secretly I think my body is pining to train again.

So next week I will be back in the grind, with Amit joining me on my quest for a month I will be in good company.
The team of people cracking on with P90X now is ever growing, and that makes me feel good about the program and myself. Seeing so many people giving it a go drives me on to keep working harder, and maybe inspire a few more.

Paul, Zak, Lee, Ivan, Amit, Rob,Dave, Ivan, Laura, Carly, Jason and more, all officially part of TeamSnaz and going through the motions of P90X. Others also considering and getting ready to start it. Its amazing what a simple conversation with Noel in a car on a Saturday afternoon can lead to.

Roll on next week, I cant wait to get back in to the swing of things, and maybe add a little running to the mix too. Hmmm

In a bit of a pickle right now

Its amazing how one simple thing can push you over the edge isn't it. There you are plodding along, 'coping' then suddenly WHAM you are on your arse!
Coming back from holiday is never easy, especially when its been an epic trip. Getting back into the grind of things, and taking the reins once again can really suck at times, but this isn't about post holiday blues. Well not entirely anyway.
Getting away for a couple of weeks is the best thing that could have happened for me right now, and I have returned with a new sense of being for sure. Obviously however this trip doesn't make everything simply go away. So needless to say there are still some sharp edges to my life. If did however allow me to return fresh, and start over with regards to certain aspects of my life.

The past few days, if I'm honest, I have struggled a bit. A little down, a bit jet-lagged and motivation to exist  a little shaky to say the least. I have taken a week off from P90X to allow my sore shoulders to recover a bit, so that inactivity is not helping either. I am sure I will bounce back from that.

However in a few weeks time its the first anniversary of mums passing, and one I will be marking in a rather strange manner.... Starting a tattoo. This tied in perfectly with me catching up with an episode of 24HRS in A&E last night, in which a lady suffering from cancer was admitted to Kings with very similar symptoms to those mum had a few times. This really hit home, and allowed me to see the whole situation from the outside for the first time. many thoughts came to mind throughout. Very touching indeed.

So really, this is just a cry for attention and sympathy right now I guess, and a kick in the pants. Having been put in my place regarding another matter recently, suddenly I feel a little down about myself, and like I am getting things wrong all over again. I hope that's not the case, as its never my intention to cause offence to anyone. Well that's not true, but if I intend do, I always succeed!

Thanks for reading, I shall now remove myself from the floor, and stop whining.

Done it again!

Apparently I have lied about people, misrepresented them and cast dispersions upon their reputation.
Well if writing things you remember as fact is a lie, then I am one big fat liar!
If remembering things in a different way to others is a sin, then I am a sinner.


To be honest im pretty fucked off right now, but I think im hiding it quite well.


Other than that, I have nothing of interest to say.  

Monday, July 9, 2012

A moment to reflect

With the anniversary of mum's passing fast approaching, and having some time away from everything and everyone to reflect, my mind is free to flow.

Just laying by the pool listening to some choice music tracks, and my mind wanders off for a while. Allowing me to take in the true depth of what's going on, and how different I feel right now.

I can honestly say this is the most relaxed I have felt for so very long now. 3 years of trips away from home, constantly worrying that the call might come. Many years of going away, but still feeling the need to stay in touch with base camp to make sure all was ok.

This year is different, I am in my home from home with my family from family, and feeling so relaxed its unreal. Looking at house prices I can see myself getting my finger out soon in the drive to move away once and for all. Anything left going on at home this year is under control, and the stress levels are non existent.

Laying in the sun, soaking up everything going on around me, then comparing it to previous years, its really crazy. On the flight out here I commented that it was strange not giving mum a kiss on the forehead and telling her I will see her soon. Knowing that when I take pics and videos, I won't be showing them to mum and getting her reactions to them. No calls home, telling the temperature and getting the response 'oh that's just too hot' lol etc. It all amounts to on thing.

A momentary realisation that mum is actually gone.

It takes lots of different but normal things to happen to make it all seem real. And I think this was the final page on 'real things' that needed turning. Don't get me wrong, there is no upset etc, a little sadness (especially with the music playing) but nothing bad. Its a celebration for me. I know mum wanted us to feel free of any guilt, burden and responsibility, and now I feel I am doing as she wanted.

So that's my deep thoughts of the moment. I can go back to laying here, smiling and enjoying myself, and planning how the hell I make this place my home!
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Saturday, June 16, 2012

A brief GRRRRR

I just wanted to get something off my chest.

When you make decisions in life, you are left to live with them. Whatever the outcome, good or bad, you made the choice, so it is for you to make it right.

However, along the way, in making the matter right we may lose out. Financially, socially or many other ways.

What is important is that we correct our mistake at our own cost, and not at the expense of the happiness and welfare of others.

Some people however are too fuckin selfish to realise that, and put a price on EVERYTHING, even happiness!

To you people..... You are arseholes!
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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Another day, another commute

But the clock is ticking and soon there will be no more... Not for a couple of weeks anyway.
As the countdown continues to tumble, the trip to Florida gets closer, 2 weeks away from the UK, a long time coming, this trip is really gonna set my mind free.
Taking the new fitness regime with me, not a minute there will be wasted. And this year we have company so will make the trip a little more interesting too.

Weather out there has been dry and high heat recently, so I'm sure it will rain lots when we get there, but who cares. As long as I wake each day away from home for a bit, that's all that matters to me.

The ridiculous hire cars we have will help make it all the more fun for sure. 4 people, 3 cars and about 18 seats between them collectively lol, over kill, hell yeah, its the US baby!

So as much as it pains me to go to work today, its not long now, so anything is bareable.
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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Just can't sleep

No idea why, but for some reason recently I have been waking up at about 5am daily, regardless of the time I go to bed, or how tired I have been. Usually I would lay there and just keep trying to sleep, but from years of experience I know this only results in waking up feeling like crap.

When you are awake, you are awake, can't fight it. Usually there would be a reason to wake up early, noise, stress, excitement, plans... But no, nothing at all recently. OK I like to be up early to train, that's certainly become a routine for me, and waking up at around 7am for that is just fine. So why my body has decided 5am is better I do not know.

Instantly the first concern for me is a weird one. What's going to happen when I fly to Florida? Is my body clock going to go completely bonkers? Worrying times, is jetlag going to have me all over the place when I return?

Maybe its all down to a healthier body and mind, and that I really don't need as much sleep as I have got used to over recent years. Don't get me wrong, if my body decides it wants me up at 5am daily, I can adapt to that no problem. Its just a bit sudden and unexpected. I wonder if my body has decided 'get up a couple of hours earlier, and you can do tai chi too' lol, now that would be good eh.

Either way I guess I am going to have to follow my bodys orders and do as I'm told, so I'm up, awake and ready for the day now. Guess I should do something like X-Stretch to get the day started huh.

Have a good day people.
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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Peaceful Saturday morning

So I woke to the sound of this bugger of a machine drilling and hammering away at the concrete once used to flood the basement and secure the foundations and surrounding houses on the site at 6 Church Rise

From the day the original structure became unstable and needed securing, I always knew that this was going to be an irrirating time. Getting the dozens of tons of concrete, which were just pumped blindly in there, back out. So here we are!

I can't moan too much really, it could be a lot worse. But today is the first time in ages I have really NEEDED a lay in and extra rest and sleep.... However it was not to be!

Right now I can't wait for this phase to be over with, and for some reinforcements to go in to make the whole thing secure again. Once a building starts to appear out of the ground I will be far happier. Its been 4 years since disaster struck, and I can't wait to see a house there again, and not have god awful hoarding around the place. That said I will miss the extra daylight I currently get.


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Thursday, May 31, 2012

6 Church Rise

The fantastic building works that are currently going on next to my house. Those bits of metal give me such great comfort that the sides of the hole can't collapse in.
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Quick check-in

The clock is ticking down now to our departure for Florida 2012, cars booked, kennels sorted and loads more prep done. Just the smaller details to sort out now.

Meanwhile my clothing size continues to drop, so I will hold out buying my holiday clothes until the last minute. Training is going well, and I'm really looking forwards to spending some vanity time in the sun and the pool. I'm no adonis, but I feel great.

Meanwhile work is reaching the point of being a chore again, so much politics going on, and shit organisation its unreal. Along with people being work shy, and always blaming the next person. I'm no highly motivated worker, but I like to think I'm a team player. Shame there is no team to work with.

So what else is going on. Not much really, getting into summer mode now, adapting to my new lifestyle of getting up at 7am and getting stuck into training daily. Strained my back the other day, 2 days of no training was devastating for me. SO bored.

Other than that, life is pretty normal.

Oh how's this for restraint. I am due an upgrade on my phone but am NOT taking it. I knoooow! Crazy huh.

Right that's me for now, hope all are well.

If you use Twitter check out #TeamSnaz for my latest adventures.
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How annoying!

Just when all is going well, you yawn and pull your back. How the hell does that happen?

Anyway, onto more important things. Firstly training. All updates on my P90X can now be found on therealslimsnaz.blogspot.com
Now the recent highlight that needs marking forever. Congratulations to Mrs and Mrs Stokoe. Was great to see Laura so happy on Sunday after so many ups and downs in life :) And of course nice to see such genuine shared happiness and emotion between Laura and Ivan. The weather was amazing, the planning was great, and the day was mighty. One to remember for a long time.

Speaking of the weather, not sure how long this is all going to last but isn't it glorious! I'm sitting in the middle of a park on the way to work as I write this. Getting my 30 mins of sunshine I take a day. Surrounded by crows, and bathed in sunshine. That said, I can't wait to get off to Florida in a months time.

Right I'm gonna get on, I have rays to catch, so have a great day.
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Monday, May 21, 2012

The new weighted training vest

The new training aid, a 0-22lbs weighted vest. As mentioned in my earlier entry. This should really help me put that extra effort into all my activities, and make Plyo HELL !