Friday, August 26, 2011

Thank you Fedex

Thank you for this beautiful spray of flowers at this time. It brings light into a home filled with darkness, and happiness to replace the air of sorrow which looms.
Sent using BlackBerry®

Let it rain.

Cleansing rain, washing away all the troubles and trials of the past week, metaphoric and real life. Its the second day for me returning to a 'normal' life. Back to work, back to a routine that revolves around me. More importantly back earning money to pay off the bills and debts of recent months.

After weeks of waiting I finally received my first ESA payment from the DWP. Employment Support Allowance on the same day I return to work and no longer qualify for it. The trials and tribulations of trying to claim from a system I have paid into faithfully for over 20 years now. But that's another matter. Something I will come back to.

In the meantime, this is me and work we are talking about here, so let's continue. After months of hoping and promising them to go back to work, I have finally done it. Straight in at the deep end, full hours, full days. Although returning to work on the Weds before a bank holiday secures an easy return. 3 days this week, 4 days next week, then full 5 from week 3. Not planned, but has worked out well. Yesterday went well, not too much stress for the first day back, which was good as I still needed a refresher on how to do what, and refreshing all my passwords, clearing email etc.

It feels good to know what I am doing at a given time of day, and for what duration. In a cruel way its nice not to wake in a mad rush to get to the hospice or home each morning, then seeing what I have time left to do with the remainder of the morning or day. I have turned a leaf in my life. Completing a chapter which has been a challenge, and now returning to the path ahead of me. Ok no one likes to work, but in fairness Fedex have been good to me most of the time, and I am grateful to have a job to return to at this testing time.

I am still loaded with ambition and desire though, and still have drive to learn further skills so I have options. Part 3 here I come!

Day to day life feels so very different these days. Sitting around watching the news while I eat breakfast in my lounge, how novel. Probably the first time in my life that I have done this, other than while on holiday. Laying out on the sofa to write this part of the entry feels great. As I wait for the clock to signal the start of Day 3 at work for me, I have nothing stressing me really. Bills that were worrying me were addressed yesterday, and I work in the knowledge that I will at least have some income on payday.

Next up, get fit again. That should be fun lol.

Have a good day.
Sent using BlackBerry®

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The day of reckoning is here!

Am I still a complete mentalist, am I still in the wrong place to work, or will this be the day the doctor finally agrees that I can return to work, and fully at that?

And also my financial reckoning too, what will become of my money situation. Will I be given help after over 20 years of working, or left to suffer because I'm not enough of a f**k up!

Well its early evening now, quite a while since I wrote the start of this entry, and it has indeed been quite a day. First off I went to the GP at 8am to make a same day appointment. I was given 9.50 as my time. Came home and fed the dogs and did a bit of tidying to pass the time, then back to the GP. We had a good long chat about how the funeral had gone, how I was feeling etc, and after some contemplation he agreed I could return to work on my full hours. If nothing else, to help me restructure my life.
His only condition was that I go back to work tomorrow, so I start the day knowing I have work, rather than just falling into work on unsteady feet.

When I came home from the GP there was a letter from the DWP (dept of work and pensions). I knew it would say one of three things... Yes, No, or we need more info. I must have sat staring at the letter for 10 mins before opening it. Eventually curiosity overcame the fear and I ripped it open. It started "Dear Mr Snasdell, I am pleased....." That's all I needed to read. Thank heavens for that.

Agreeing to pay many weeks of backdated benefits, I can finally start to claw my way out of this financial hell hole I am in. Missed payments, misunderstandings, and mis-management of some of my affairs have left me in a right mess, but now there is even something coming in, there is relief too. Now I can call creditors etc and have something to say, rather than "I can't pay", which to me is something big, I hate empty, pointless words.

So now today I have made a couple of phonecalls to some of these people, and they have been wonderful. Blackhorse were amazingly helpful, and made me feel so much better about it. Not sure I will be able to say the same about others yet lol.

For now, I am taking a break after walking one of the dogs, and getting my thoughts together on what to do next.

Today is a weird day for me. Believe it of not its the first whole day I have spent on my own since mum passed. Up until now I have been surrounded by friends, children, and family. But today I'm not. That's not a bad thing, in fact its a step in the right direction, however its been weird. More time to think about things, miss mum, and find my feet.
The first time I actually missed mum was a couple of days ago, something happened that I would always have talked to mum about, to blow off steam and calm down, but she isn't there now. So finding new ways to cope with such matters is a learning curve.
That's not to say I don't miss mum in other ways, but its the first "oh crap, she's not here" moment I have had. Don't realise how important some things are and what you rely on, until they go eh!

But in general I think everyone is coping well. I think I need a good long chat about things soon, to friends or to the blog at least, so look out for an epic entry.

So there you go, an interesting day for me, changing the way things are looking for sure. And while there is change in my life, Libya is about to fall to the rebels. We are all fighters really, just all for different causes.
Sent using BlackBerry®

Friday, August 19, 2011

One more lap...

Seems like my ride on the emotional rollercoaster isn't over just yet like I thought it would be. Raging tempers, irrational behaviour and feeling like I'm some sort of idiot with no decency or common sense is what I feel right now.
Losing my temper over the smallest things, and not being able to get over it for increasing periods of time.

I don't know what has brought this on. Talking about mum to many people who I can open up to, I am fine about it, there are really no underlying regrets, upsets or angers about the whole thing. Maybe this is just part of me taking control over my life again, and being over protective about it. Maybe its confusion in my mind about where I am in life and what I want right now. Either way, its seriously pissing me off right now, and I'm getting angry about being angry! How the hell does that work?

A quiet stream, a rock to sit on, and some pebbles to throw into the water to make ripples is where I need to be right now. I would be there to if I had the money, up in Wales around Snowdonia would be idyllic. Then I could scream as loud as I want, and worry no-one.

I wonder if I stress people as much as they stress me at times. Probably more me stressing others if the truth be known.

I'm currently sitting in the car, in the roasting sunshine, in an ADSA carpark (right over in the corner), just to get some fresh air (albeit hot) and just to be in a safe place so I don't rip anyones throat out for speaking to me, or making me stressed. I really wish I knew where all this was coming from, but I have no idea. And before you wonder or worry, yes my medication is all up to date.

Each time I rise from a low, something like this brings me down. Seemingly forgetting certain details of what's happened. Which worrys me, am I blacking out, am I saying things I don't know I'm saying, or have I actually really got some form of underlying mental issue that I need help for? Quite a scary realisation.

People have made huge sacrifices to accommodate me over the past 6-8 months, and all I find myself doing is crapping on them in return. Its a horrible feeling to see and feel control of things slipping away from you, and quite frankly, I am actually considering an evaluation soon.

Thanks for reading, don't think I'm a freak just yet please.
Sent using BlackBerry®

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I did it.... my way!

And that was the final word on the occasion. Yesterday was the funeral of a mother, a grandmother, a sister and a dear friend to so many people, including myself. A day we have known as been coming for a long time now, but never knowing for sure how each of us would feel and react on the day.
This uncertainty has loomed over me for over 3 years, and in the past year losing John, Tas and Graeme, but failing to grieve in any way, I have wondered if I was saving it all up for mum. This curiosity has eaten away at me for so long now, and mums passing, then her service were always going to be the true test.
Strangely, to some at least there has been no grief, only a small period of mourning, and some fond recollections of our years together, first as her child, then a friend, and ending as her carer and companion making her final weeks as comfortable and dignified as possible. It may surprise people, but I have to say that the whole event has been a huge relief in so many ways.
No more suffering in pain, or taking tablets to appease others. No more appointments, examination, worries or stress. No more feeling that she was a burden upon us, nor needing to apologise when she felt she had put us out of our way to do something.
A mother and a dear friend is lost forever, and I cannot say that doesn't sadden me. No longer can I get her hooked on new TV programs, talk to her about my day, or make her proud of my next achievement in life.

However all that said and done, I have 38 years of memories, silly stories, times of comfort, experiences of wonder. I have learned so much from mum it is unreal. Common interests, shared beliefs in the world, and times of happiness and sadness, always shared.
I am the son of an amazing woman, and I will forever carry her in my heart. Doing things in her honour, making her proud whenever I can. Remembering all she has ever taught me, and most certainly the lessons I learned in the past few years. To never give up, rise in the face of adversity, be strong whenever the occasion calls, but never be afraid to show your true emotions and feelings when the time is right.
I have seen a few people in my life battle such cruel diseases, each one of them eventually losing their battle. But none have ever refused to face their opponent. None have rolled over and said "take me". I am so choked to have lost these wonderful people from my life, but so very proud to have known such strong, determined, and wonderful, warm individuals. Always trying to rise above their issues to maintain a normal life, always wanting to help other people rather than dwelling on their own problems. I am truly blessed to have known you all.

For me, my journey continues. For every day I am blessed with, I feel a duty to live it for all. Not always an outstanding memorable day. But a day lived for all, appreciating the gift of life I have, and never daring to be ungrateful for another day surrounded by such wonderful caring people. People I shared mums final journey with yesterday. Close friends, family and neighbours. Their presence there made the day an outstanding and fitting tribute to such a strong woman, so I thank each of you from the depths of my sometimes dark heart.

As I listened to the tribute to her be read, I smiled. I loved the simplicity, yet beauty of the casket, as she would have too, and just pictured mum there, finally resting, in the knowledge that she has been an amazing mother, and done her children proud and beyond. Hearing the all the things she has done in her life, I could do nothing but smile with love and honour to mum. Standing to read my own words I chose not to read my pre-written piece, but to speak from my heart, thanking all present for sharing this final moment with us, and reflecting on the pride I live with, the lessons learned from my mother, and how she will forever be present.

As I contemplate my next move, I do it in the knowledge that my mind is once again free. Free from stress, worry and anxiety. A little depression remaining but that is purely down to money. A weight has been lifted, and while mums body is free of pain now, I am also free, but of strain. It is hard to comprehend how much pressure you can find yourself under during times of long term terminal illness, unless you have been there yourself. To those who have, I salute you, to those who are on this journey now, I offer my support to you, and for anyone who isn't, if you know someone who is, give them your hand to hold when times are hard, your arms to bare the load when the pressure is on, and your heart to allow them to share their worries and sadness.

My heart is with my other friends who have loved ones who are fighting this battle now. As I regain my strength I offer my hands and heart to you whenever you need it.

I will finish up by explaining the images attached, and a few closing words.
The image of the flower is a lily mum took great pride in. Growing in the pond at home. The picture was taken by me on my first DSLR camera, and an image she took with her to hospitals, hospices and the final home. This will end up as part of a tattoo I am having done in her memory.
The flowers and card are those at the chapel after her service. Wanting no fuss, only a few flowers were brought along, as she preferred the beauty of them growing, rather than cut and wrapped. But thank you for those who brought flowers.
And the final image, well that's me. Trying to put together a look that would have made her proud. Pink tie and hanky to add colour and pay tribute with the official cancer colour. And a strange decision but Farah trousers, just like those bought for me at school over 20 years ago. Struggling to find the extra money to add towards my ILEA clothing grant for school, so I could have fashionable trousers and fit in at school. So mum, the Farah's are for you.

So onwards and upwards now. I shall return to strength while always remembering where I got my fighting spirit.

Thank you mum for all you have done for me, to raise me into a man you could be proud of. I am proud to say that Ann Snasdell was my mother, and that I am the son of an amazing woman, a great friend, and a soldier.
I love you mum, as much today as every other day, and will do forever. I miss you so much from my life, but know you will always be there in my heart.

Farewell Ann, friend, mum.
Sent using BlackBerry®

Monday, August 15, 2011

The day draws closer

As the days have passed since mum left us, things have seemed to be pretty normal. While its what I was expecting, there have been a few uncertainties along the way, along with some weird feelings and moods. I am still sleeping quite a lot, dozing when I can, and staying in bed as late as possible in the mornings too. But this is something else.

A loneliness that cannot be satisfied, an emptiness that cannot be refilled. But I can't quite put my finger on what's going on in my head. No constant sadness, no depth to the feelings of depression. Maybe the word is unstable. The slightest little thing can tip the weight on my mood right now. I am just hovering in the middle of happy and sad, swaying between the two at the slightest change of the social wind.

I am at ease talking about mum passing, no pent up feelings about the situation. All things considered, I believe I probably got more closure with mum than most people do when someone passes. The closeness of feeding her, and sitting with her. Nothing left unsaid, and all cards on the table, which is exactly how I have always wanted. So I don't think its that.

The bigger issue for me is the decisions that have always been weighted by mums condition, and have made things hard to do because of the uncertainty of how I would be when she passed. Now she is gone there is nothing stopping some of these things, and with others there are more obstructions than I had first imagined.

Without mum in my life I am for the first time an adult with no senior, and feel like I have choices to make, and need to put my own stamp on life. For years now I have imagined how it would be, and to a great degree that's how its all played out. But there are other areas I have full control over now, and maybe I'm just lacking confidence. Like a learner driving for the first time after passing their test, I know all the theory, and have experience in the practical, but putting it all together and going at it solo... That's just a bit scary!

Right now I'm sitting in the garden with a big grey cloud over my head, and that's not just a metaphor. But its a graphical representation of how things feel right now. Gloomy and stormy. With drops of rain constantly falling, I really can't be bothered to go in. Combined with the cool wind its a welcome break from the hot and sticky day we have had. And maybe that best defines how I am being right now, hot and cold. Changing like the weather in the day, finding the best way to pass a few hot hours before the changes move in and I have to adapt again.

I am probably pretty crap company right now, my attention span to things varies from full on to not bothered in minutes. Even things that I love like shopping are slipping in my interest ratings over the past few days. I guess lack of money can impact on that quite heavily too, and maybe that in itself is one of the roots to my unhappiness right now.

Things don't seem quite as bad at work as I might have first thought in my own delightful paranoid way, but I'm still uncertain what to expect. Either way income is what I need right now, and once that's flowing again, maybe I can really start to get back on my feet.
How about I just blame money for now, it seems a logical reason to feel pissed off, and its something that's kinda in my control. So let's be positive here. I'm touchy because of outstanding bills, and not enjoying shopping as I have no cash, so once I do have money flowing again, everything will be alright.

In reality I am blessed with great friends, who have been so supportive over the past months, some might say I have more friends there for me than most. So how about I stop being selfish and ungrateful, and start to appreciate the priceless things I do have in life. Quite good health all things considered, a roof over my head, great friends, and people who care for me and love me on many levels, all I need to add to that it a touch of positive thinking, a pinch of hope, and a sprinkle of faith.

So there is my life recipe, now let's pop it in the oven and see what becomes of it.

Its amazing how refreshing writing this blog is at times. As I write, it makes sense, as I share, the load becomes lighter. Some see it as a weird thing to do, sharing too much personal information with complete strangers, others find it heartwarming that someone can just open up like this and let them into their lives. Helping with their own situations, making sense of what otherwise seems so lonely and individual. To me its empowering, screaming from the top of the WWW, while at the same time softly whispering my woes to people who care, and those who are there to help me along the way.

Years ago I started to write a book which I am determined to finish writing. Its impact on others has been huge, without ever being published, so to me written word is so very powerful. Now I am again inspired, not only to self help by writing this blog, but to try and help others by doing more writing. Let's see how that turns out. At this pace I could be doing a chapter a day with ease.

Thank you for reading, even if its only one person. Comments are always welcomed, but knowing there is any audience whatsoever is the bit that makes it all make sense.

Thank you :)
Sent using BlackBerry®

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fresh air...... At last.

Fresh air, space and time to breathe for the first time in a while. Where am I, or was I? Cannock Chase, in the company of Samantha. A long time BBM buddy who I have been meaning to meet with for months now. So while in Derby it made sense to make time to finally meet up. And what a beautiful location to meet. Yet another part of the UK I MUST return to, with my mountain bike.

Just sitting in the back of the car, taking in the peace and quiet, and the calm surroundings of other people relaxing and haing fun.

Conversation with a new person is always easy, especially seeing as I don't shut up haha. As soon as we had met and got acquainted it was time to go again, but another friendship made, and bond created. Its nice to find common ground and someone easy to talk to, so I'm glad that she is there. I'm sure BBM will seem different now.

The journey there and back was eventful too. Within 10 mins of the journey starting I had a Micra decide to stop on the A38 sliproad to join the traffic, sudden stop or what. Then stuck behind a van doing 35 in a 60. It seemed every over cautious person was on the road today, there is careful, and there is irritating and slow.... Maybe I was just being a little short tempered as I was pushed for time.

On the way back there had been a smash on the A38, with a very shaken family on the central reservation with a smashed BMW. Makes you think about the risks of driving.

Yesterday I went to see Graeme's mum and dad. Its been a few months since he passed now, so I felt it an appropriate time to touch base with them, check in to see how they were doing, and have a good chat. I didn't realise we had so much to say to each other, but every word was worth while. Sharing emotions of the final days of Graeme and my mum, finding out all that has happened since his passing and seeing how his memory lives on. I am so grateful that my journey took me to theirs, as it feels like I have faced a demon, and overcome something. I cannot think of a more emotional thing than talking to his parents about him and mum. If anything would trigger emotions, it was that.

I have also spoken to my counsellor Peter via Facebook and email, and received some good advice about how to cope with things, and when to consider further counselling. Very unbiased, and nice to know there is a genuine figure of support there. Thank you Peter.

With the big day closing in, the thought of memorial has sprung to the front of my mind. Seeing some lovely pewter abstract urns in Catford the other day, I decided that I would very much like one. And also to take a little more with me on any foreign trips I may go on. So now the hunt is on for appropriate vessels for such causes. One for the display cabinet and one for taking away with me.

Another thing that has touched me is the groups of people that are going to try and make the service. Its heartwarming to know how some people care, and are willing to go to any length to offer support as and when they can.

Right, I guess that's enough sentiment for one day. Tomorrow I must go and get something suitable to wear to the service.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.
Sent using BlackBerry®

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A dark void appears.

The first weekend after mums passing when the pressure isn't on to achieve much, and I have to say it sucks. Its not necessarily it dawning on me that mum has died, but more that I am on my own til Monday evening now, and don't have anything to fill the void of time with.
Limited money, bills coming up soon etc, its just deciding how I best use the funds available.
I could travel north, see my aunt before the funeral, stop in with friends and find some other things to do. But I would need to tax the car first, then pay the petrol too. That said it would help to have the car on the road by Wednesday for the funeral, so that cost is 'justified'.

I could visit friends more locally, but to get to most friends I actually want to see would again take a car, or rail tickets.

I'm not sure what I actually want though, company, comfort, or something to keep me occupied. So that kind of makes my decision of what to do a little harder.

My day didn't start too well, struggling to wake up from a bad dream. I had had a car accident and smashed through a motorway barrier and slid down the side of a house. From gaining consciousness in the car after the 'accident' I was actually aware it was a dream, but was fighting desperately to wake from it. Very distressed in the dream and getting more distressed in real life, after what seemed like a few minutes I managed to wake, but was very shaken by that point.

After taking some time to get myself together I managed to get started on the day. Dogs fed, it was my turn, but no milk, so dry Frosties for me. Then I have got on with a little sort out, some washing up, and sorted a couple of bills.

And that's it.... Now the day has stalled somewhat, and I am left with nothing much I want to do. There are some bits of rearranging to do, some bits to clear out, and some other jobs I can't be bothered with right now.

If I do go away I might offer the house to my sister and kids, give them a bit of space to relax a bit, and have some personal space.

Right I better get one... I have loads to do........NOT!

Sent using BlackBerry®

Friday, August 12, 2011

A day of many angles.

So its a week since mum passed now (ok 8 days if you must), and so much has happened in that time its hard to keep up. From the word go it has been full on. Travelling to Wales the day mum passed, to see her sister, spending some valuable time there with my aunt Joan. Staying with Cadell at the end of the weekend, and chilling out with Archie. Then coming back to a broken London.

As per the blog, the next few days were spent observing the riots and wondering what would happen next. Then visiting the registry office and the funeral directors (Steven Mears) to make the plans. Sorting out the chosen music for the day, and coming up with the most beautiful piece I have heard in years, Ludovico Einaudi's, I Giorni.

Once those arrangements were out of the way, the remainder of the time has been spent getting other affairs into order, like benefits claim, doctors appointment and seeing as well as speaking with friends and mums friends to see who can attend on Wednesday. If I haven't already mentioned, the funeral is On Wednesday 17th August, at 10.45am in Honor Oak Crematorium.

Meanwhile in other events, the riots, or the aftermath at least. How refreshing it is to see, that over 1000 people have now been arrested. Over 500 charged, and many processed at courts working throughout the night. What pleases me most is that lots of the arrests have come following the little scrotes having THEIR doors and windows smashed in. It sucks to be you right now eh! If you have not been arrested yet, watch over your shoulder... They are coming for you.

Skipping back to the arrangements for mum, I spoke with my half sister Lynn earlier today. She has not seen mum for many years now, but is choked up about her passing and will be coming, with her extended family to the funeral. So Steve, Simone, Sammy, Thomas will all be there, and are coming quite some distance. So thank you to them for making such an effort. Unfortunately some of mums friends will be unable to make it due to Sainsburys not allowing them a little bit of time off to pay their respects. So that's a whole chunk of people I would have loved to have seen on the day, unable to make it.

Still not sure who else is coming, but will be using the medium of Facebook to send out a blanket message to gauge who will be and won't be. Helps to know who to expect, so there are no shocks or disappointments on the day. There are a few I hope don't come, but if they do, I will be polite.

In the meantime on speaking to my GP he has signed me off until the week after the funeral. He thought I should leave it longer, but a distraction and a routine will be good.

Right I better get on, I have phone calls to make to people to tell them I have no money, doh!
Sent using BlackBerry®

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Unrest in Eltham.

Tonight through various sources I was told that Eltham was experiencing some unrest. Reports of the EDL and Millwall fans taking to the streets to reclaim them, and 'defend' their town. Quite noble in some peoples eyes.

On arriving in the area at around 10pm it was immediately obvious something was happening. Very heavy traffic, numerous police vehicles in the queue, and dozens if not hundreds of young white men walking up the street with a spring in their step.

Getting out of the car and joining the flocks of people, I started to walk up to the junction by McDonalds (for those who know the area). Instantly I felt like I didn't belong, and using my Blackberry to film the police passing on blues was not appreciated by the groups, showing their disapproval by shouting "he's filming, he's filming". I stopped!

Arriving at the junction I was greeted by about a dozen police vehicles, including a large number of riot officers from the vehicles. Hearing shouting and seeing movement I headed over, just in time to see the police moving in to take two men out of the crowd. The jeers of the crowds went up "we are The Eltham, we are the Millwall".

As the crowds became louder, I decided to seperate myself from them. Heading to one end of the group I was faced with a wall of riot officers, walking to the other end I was greeted by the same. Strangely intimidating looking, yet great to chat to. Leaving the containment was no problem, and managed to exchange words. Hearing him explaining to someone he has had about 10 hours off in 3 days. Poor sods!

I wandered about for a few minutes longer, taking a few more of the attached shots before heading off. To round it up I would say the crowd was good spirited, yet due to the number of people on the streets, and the potential of what could happen, the police were going nowhere fast. As I finally did move on I passed a police van stopped at the traffic lights, giving a young lad a piece of his mind. The cop concerned was already quite wired from a bit earlier. The lad had thrown a pipe at the police van as it passed by. So he deserved everything he got.

The night ended in a slightly more lighthearted way. We went to Catford to grab some food, stopping at McDonalds. The same location of the JD Sport looting of the previous night. Tonight there was a police presence there, but all was quiet. Police exercising stop and search, while a few more took a well earned break. Taking it in turns to walk through the drive thru, and as pictured, some having a sit down at the table.

It was nice to see nothing too serious happening in London tonight, but strange to see no mention of the numbers of police and youths in Eltham on the news.

Thanks for following the blog, and reading. Please feel free to comment and share the link to this blog.
Sent using BlackBerry®

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Where does this madness end?

This seems to be the question on everyones mind right now, and there is a good reason for this.
With the violence first starting in Tottenham a few days back following the shooting of Mark Duggan, it has seemingly lost its cause and spiralled out of control. Turning into a mindless pot of trouble, constantly being added to by groups with their own agendas.
Last night for example was completely unrelated, and just a damn good excuse to go out and smash up the local area, and loot what you can while you can.

The people doing this have just highlighted how broken down society has become, and how lawless and without moral people have become. So who does the responsibility lay with. Well this is a question that has been debated all day on TV. Ask the political opposition and they will tell you its because of the cuts. Ask youth workers and they will tell you how the adult generation and the country are failing the youth of today. Ask some of the mindless idiots participating and I'm sure they will blame the police, the tax system, and cuts in the university system. Let's be honest, if you stood a chance of getting a degree, you would have enough sense not to have got involved in this. Idiots.

OK, let's say its because of the cuts. So the country is near broke, spending has been cut, so let's cause millions in damage to drain the financial resources even quicker. That should sort it, eh!

Or no, its the governments fault, so instead of working together to sort this out, the elected member of parliament are just using this news to launch their own verbal riots on each other. Grow up you bunch of idiots, and work as one, share ideas, and let's get back on track.

Maybe it is the poor hard done by youth of today. Not enough dole money to top up their mobile phone, have a Nando's AND get Call of Duty 26... Oh no, that's terrible. Get of your lazy expectant, disrespectful little Nike covered arses and do what most people do... Earn a living, learn to respect your possessions, then you will understand how the people you are affecting feel.

Either way, something has to give, someone has to stand up, and somehow this all has to stop. But before it stops, will it escalate further?

Two factors lead me to believe that things could get worse before they get better. 1/ The interim press release from the IPCC regarding Mark Duggan. There are NO indications he fired before being shot dead. And the bullet which struck an officers radio was from the CO19 officer shooting Mark Duggan.
And 2/ social confrontation. It is becoming increasingly obvious that society itself is starting to stand up to this disgraceful behaviour. Groups of people sick of this are popping up in opposition to this behaviour, and slowly but surely The Big Society is showing its hand. So how long now before there is a physical confrontation between these mindless opportunist thieves, and a group of locals wanting to put a stop to it all. Or worse still groups like the EDL and BNP setting upon the gangs.
I should say that the above mention of the two groups in no way suggests it is just ethnic minorities causing this unrest, that is simply not the case. But comments on social networking sites do seem hellbent on making people believe this rubbish.

So as I continue to write this entry I am now walking the streets of Lewisham. Its early evening and still very light, but already its clear to see that's the police are preparing to seize control of whatever might occur tonight. As we walk past Lewisham Police Station you can see the police staging their operation. A LARGE number of police van, all the officers dressed in full riot gear. Officers on horseback also dressed in riot gear.

Travelling into other areas, Bromley, Lee etc, it is clear to see how they have been affected already, and how they are preparing for tonight. Hi visibility policing already on the streets, high value targets heavily boarded up, Richer Sounds etc taking no chances. One nice thing is London traffic is lovely tonight.

So what now?
Well my predictions are that it has to get worse before it can get better. With the huge police numbers on the streets tonight it can go one of two ways. The gangs could consider it too risky to try anything, and start a quiet few days until the police drop their guard. Or the other option which I fear is that they will see this as a challenge and rise to it. More organised violence, wide spread and indiscriminate, making a point to the police that they can and will do as they please. Stretching the resources to their maximum and beyond the point of effectiveness.

Only time will tell, but for now I thank the police for once again putting themselves between the gangs and ourselves, and trying to maintain some form of control. My thoughts and thanks are with all the services which have to respond to this outrageous behaviour.

Pictures attached were taken a couple of hours ago in Lewisham.
Sent using BlackBerry®

The riots continue

Last night I was very stupidly out and about the local area, seeing what was going on around the local area. Focusing on Sydenham, it was obvious something was going to happen at the large Sainsburys.
Outnumbered and ill equipped, the police used the best possible tactics available to them. A number of camera equipped traffic cars were used to illuminate and film the gathering gangs, in order to gather intelligence for future arrests. Given the limited resources, I applaud the police for using this tactic, and not trying to confront the gangs.
By late in the evening we saw the petrol station at the Sainsburys come under attack, thankfully unmanned at this time.

On returning to the area this morning it is now clear that the attack on the petrol station was just the minor part, and while windows were damaged, the main building took the brunt of the action. As you can see from the pictures, the petrol station did well, but the empty TV displays in Sainsburys also pictured, were the main target. There is of course the possibility that these were removed before the store was vacated, but no confirmation either way.

Walking round other local areas, Catford also took a beating last night. JD Sports ransacked, and other businesses as pictured also randomly targeted. Even a funeral directors had windows put through. Blockbuster took quite a pounding too, as per the pictures, and almost amazingly the window display of dummy PS3's and X-Box's was also rummaged through by people dumb enough to believe they would leave 3 grands worth of consoles piled up like that. Thank you for demonstrating your stupidity, enjoy your cell.

Now as I'm writing this, the local areas, Penge, Sydenham and Forest Hill are all bracing themselves for the threat of another round of violent disorder. Local shops are shutting up early, some like Finches sports shop, removing all their high value goods the best they can. Other business owners are slightly more optimistic and are braving the warnings and carrying on. The feeling on the streets is one of worry and tension. It is refreshing to hear so many young people speaking of how shocked and disgusted they are and how the matter needs dealing with firmly.

The display of disorder over the past 72 hours is totally inexcusable. Its just a shame that all that seems to have happened is that this has been used for political manoeuvring, and blame tossing.

Let's hope this all ends soon, as the footage on the tv is a disgrace.
Sent using BlackBerry®

Friday, August 5, 2011

R.I.P Ann Snasdell 23/02/38-05/08/11

It is with a heavy heart that I tell the readers of this blog that my mother, Ann Snasdell slipped away peacefully this afternoon.
She has fought an amazing battle with cancer and many other health issues, but finally passed away today.

I would like to take this chance to thank everyone for taking the time to read and respond to this blog, as well as offer their support.

I will make a full entry later, but for now, rest in peace mum, with me forever. X
Sent using BlackBerry®

Not a good day for mum.

I arrived early this morning and walked in on mum crying out in pain and distress. She had just been given morphine, and the hope was that would settle things down for her. Unfortunately an hour and a half later the pain is spreading, the distress and discomfort is getting worse, and there is no sign of it letting up.

Having removed her pad, it also appears she has had an accident in the bed, but is in so much distress, she cannot be moved at this time to sort this out.

Over the past hour she has been crying out, sometimes with cries of "oh Michael" but then running out of breath before she can say what she is trying to. Almost like the scene of a dying man trying to give up the name of the killer, or location of the treasure. Infuriating and frustrating to say the least. If she could just tell me where the pain was, I could direct help to her.

She flails in pain on the bed as I sit there being unable to do anything other than a hand of support and comfort. She looks on at me like a child wanting the parent to just take the pain away, but I'm helpless. Refusing to have her hearing aid in, I'm not able to speak to her very much, so that's causing problems too as she mis-hears what I say and gets more frustrated with me.

Its strange, as I look at her there helpless, in pain, the range of thoughts going through my mind range from, this is the wonderful person who gave birth to me, and gave me life. Now I sit and watch her life draining away. Right through to how I wish the suffering could just be over with. And I know at points this is a thought she shares.

They have just, as I write, administered more morphine, and called for the GP as they are not happy with her deteriorating condition. Hopefully the extra dose of morphine will help a little more. Fingers crossed.

Throughout the morning her short comments have ranged from "I don't want to give up" right through to "I can't take this anymore". So it is hard to gauge her true feeling on the matter. I know she has never wanted to go through pain like this, and it was always her wish to pass before things got unbearable. But the not giving up comment changes all that.

Her refusal to take new antibiotics for a urine infection have not helped, as that itself is adding to the pain she is going through, although unlikely to be the only cause of this bout of discomfort. I'm hoping the GP can offer a little more guidance on this, but I know they can't perform miracles. With mum unable to talk right now, that isn't going to help matters either. She says a few short words to me, but tends to just ignore medical staff.

In the meantime all I can do is sit here, be some comfort, keep my sister and others informed of what's happening, and hope for her pain to ease sometime soon. I feel amazingly calm about this, and am surprised at home easy this is to go through. Yes I find it distressing to see my mum in this level of pain, but at the same time I am seemingly coping with it. Just like arriving on the scene of an accident, the natural instinct has kicked in, emotions are put to one side, and I find myself just getting on with the job in hand. I had this scenario with my counsellor about a year ago, and its playing out exactly as expected.

Right, so this blog entry has given me enough of a distraction now, I better get on, grab a coffee and wait to see what the GP says. Hopefully whatever the case, it can be dealt with here.

Thanks for reading.
Sent using BlackBerry®

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Another day with mum.

Here at Westwood House with my mummy :)
She may be taking a rest, but it feels great to be here. Connected, comforting, and just doing the right thing really. There is little I can do as breath is short for her, so conversation has to be kept short. Instead I find it easier to talk to her, so she can listen in short spurts. Local things, messages from people, and interesting news. Not money worries, or other depressing stuff.

Its great to actually grasp with what is needed, and to understand how best to be with her, rather than overwhelming her, and bombarding her with talk, questions and pressure to perform.

As she drifts in and out I just continue from where I was, as if she just closed her eyes. That way she doesn't feel the need to apologise all the time for dropping off.

At the moment she is snoozing, and sounds a little uncomfortable. Its times like this that honesty surfaces, and the masking of any pain or discomfort appears. Things to note for the next time a doctor or nurse does the rounds.

She really isn't very well right now, and from what I see there is unlikely to be any significant improvement from this state. Maybe an infection will pass a little and she may perk up. But from the wasting away of her muscle and tissue, she is unlikely to recover much strength or mobility from this state.
Its sad to see this unfold, but at the same time its natures cruel way, and there is little that can be done. So it is easier to try and accept it and go with the flow to be the best support to her I can.
Rather than mental turmoil within, and struggling to be of any use.

The final day may be a long way off, or very close. Whatever the case, I will be here whenever I can, just to be company for her, and comfort when needed.
Sent using BlackBerry®

Monday, August 1, 2011

WTF is going on?

Jeez as if going home today isn't bad enough, the journey is just here to torment me now. First train made an emergency stop from speed, refreshing to know the brakes work, thanks for that.
On arrival at St Pancras my stupid damn ticket would not work through the barriers, leaving me queuing being a stack of tourists trying to use all manner of tickets, etickets and passes. I then discovered my connection was NOT coming due to flooding on the line.
Next up, well I had to get a tube to London Bridge. Hot day, sweaty people, yucky time to be on a tube, let alone when you are having a bad day.
OK so finally made it to London Bridge, result....
Nope, 5 mins before the train was due to depart it had no platform... Eventually 2 mins before it was due to leave, that word appeared.... DELAYED! Next train due in 15 mins but already had a platform, so I headed for that. My useless damn ticket still won't work on the barriers, but eventually I'm through and on the train. Sorted!
Errm nope, after 5 mins the doors locked, lights went out and AC went off. So we sat there for another 5 wondering wtf was going on.

I am however please to report the train is now moving and heading for Forest Hill.... I hope!
Sent using BlackBerry®

Time to go home.

This time always sucks, facing up to the realities of life, responsibilities and commitments. Its all those things that I so frequently want to escape, and I guess over recent months have probably done this a little too often. But right now, with everything the way it is, it just feels the right thing to do.
Debt mounting, mum worsening, work looking less and less favourable (understandably), but all makes a pretty grim life to go back to.

All that said and done, once I hop on the train and start heading towards home a transformation will begin, and by the time I arrive home, I will be someone else, and begin living my normal life.

News on the wires is that mum is still getting worse, so if nothing else, that's the reason to get back. And of course to see my beautiful dogs :)

The journey begins NOW!
Sent using BlackBerry®