• Looking forward to the mid-life crisis

    So I suppose you will be wanting to know if I feel old now, having reached that grand age of forty years. No not really I suppose. No older than I did at thirty none and I felt about eighty thenÖ
    No seriously, the party was fun, well, I assume it was, I enjoyed myself and most everybody else there seemed to as well. To discover the links new and old people in my life had was brilliant, we eventually hit the hay at about three thirty and I know some heads hurt in the morning. If you came, thanks for showing up and if not, I will try and see you soon. A special thankyou to the big man for supplying Sir Mix-a-Lot I like big butts.
    Going to see the Enemy tonight, should be an absolute blinder. Itís my getting rid of the stress of the last few weeks night tonight. I wonít elaborate, except to say that on a scale of one to ten, my stress register has been on about fifteen.
    Right, this was just a short one. Be back soon

  • Paying respects

    Went to see my Dad this weekend. His ashes are scattered under an oak tree in a new wood on the outskirts of this city. My Mum, partner and I walked up in the wind on Saturday afternoon to stand and smile and remember, it had been eight years that day since he went, his heart gave out and he died. I thought I would get upset, but in the end we stood and laughed at what a good man he had been. Mum was supposed to be away this weekend but she stayed and I was glad she was there. He never met my partner but I know he would have liked her. Itís fitting that he rests there in the tree, growing well. I took a leaf.
    On Sunday I had the children and we all walked up again, my Mum with us for her third visit of the weekend, the eleven year old, the eight year old, and an old friend of mine, my sisters and the family. We got to the tree this time and the eleven year old walked over and hugged it tight. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes as he did it, he was three when my Dad died and when he heard his words were, ďBut heís still alive in my heart.Ē, as is relayed in his report from nursery when it happened. The eight year old followed and hugged the tree, The eleven year old also shook a branch, his hand.
    Itís good to have somewhere to go and see him, to listen to the wind in the brown leaves and feel the drizzle on your face, Iím glad we went and said hello, I find excuses not to go far easier than getting into the car and walking to him.
    Anyway, on Saturday night, I toasted his memory with a glass of his favourite single malt, and I was joined across the country by others remembering him.
    To Dad, I will see you anon.

  • Can you wait?

    Yesterday my daughter asked me ďWhenís your birthday Dad?Ē
    ďTwo weeks tomorrowĒ I replied.
    ďCan you wait?Ē she said looking at me grinning.
    I know what she means, the wait for your birthday was interminable, even worse than Christmas because there was no real build up, but inside you knew that next week on Wednesday or whatever was going to be brilliant. I remember when birthdays were presents, parties, getting the bumps, presents and waking up to shout ďItís my birthday!!!Ē at the top of your voice. Then you really couldnít wait for your birthday. Parties and cakes and even if you got clothes it was still brilliant.
    The thing is, Iím forty in two weeks. I donít know where it went. I canít remember when I turned into a grown up. When birthdays became just another year gone, when they got one step closer to being old.
    Donít get me wrong, Iím not being a miserable old sod who doesnít want to celebrate
    Iím having a party which will be a real laugh, all my friends are coming and if you are reading this and havenít been invited, well I guess I forgot you, give me a shout and remind me.
    This year is going to be a good one. From March to March when I am, gulp, forty one.
    They say that life begins at forty, with that in mind I am starting again, looking forward to my mid life crisis and getting even older and wiser.
    So in hindsight what I should have said to my daughter is
    ďYes I can wait, just about, but do you know what, itís going to be brilliant.Ē

  • What was that, Christmas?

    So thatís another Christmas come and gone then. Another year lived through, not the best of years in my case, one to survive rather than enjoy. But as they say, the light is appearing at the end of the tunnel. You see, a couple of weeks ago I asked someone out on a date. My first date, may I stress, for about twelve or thirteen years. We had got to know each other slowly and I decided that if I didnít go for it I would regret it. So I did. Then she said yes. What the hell do you do then? I hadnít actually thought of anywhere to go, more the sort of we could go for a drink male vagueness that I am quite good at.
    We ended up at the best Italian restaurant in town. Had a brilliant meal and put the world to rights.
    We have either spoken to or seen each other every day since. It seems very right and I donít want to harp on about it, but itís the best thing to have happened to me for a while.
    Now then, what was I talking about, oh yes, Christmas. A time of goodwill to all men, love and peace and happiness. Oh and second mortgages on presents, too much bloody traffic going into town, drunk teenagers in Santa hats carrying mistletoe. Hyperactive children who keep waking you up at stupid oíclock to tell you that itís NEARLY CHRISTMAS!!!! I love it. I love the whole Christmas songs on the radio, the children getting excited and all the same films all over the telly. I put the tree up in the front room, put lights and tinsel on it and then went to bed, the next morning the children had decorated it before I got up out of bed, brilliant! I couldnít have done it better, I know that there are people who do their trees themselves and refuse to let the children anywhere near them in case their colour scheme is broken. I donít think like thatÖ
    Anyway, I finished work on Friday and went out to one of the places I work atís Christmas party. It was a meal and a free bar, cheesetastic disco and good company. Really good laugh, and the fact that my friend who gave me a lift home had to forcibly remove the party blower from me proved that maybe I had had one shandy too many.
    Christmas really started on Sunday night, we went to see the Pogues annual Christmas tour. Down the front, only got covered in beer once, didnít fall over, held hands and pushed people around lots. I love the Pogues, their music has got me through some awful times. I donít like any other music in that vein, I just like them because Shaneís voice lends something to the music, an edge perhaps, I canít explain. You either get it or you donít. They were truly brilliant.
    The run up to Christmas day was pretty exhausting and just seemed to be rushing around loads, much like any other parent I think.
    I stayed over at the kids Mumís house on Christams eve. I was woken up by one of the teenagers putting the kettle on at 6.45 on Christmas morning. We had finished wrapping at 3.30 in the morning. Joy. The kids came down and we had the usual laying waste to the piles of presents, living room knee deep in mutilated wrapping paper. I went and fetched the ex mother in law and delivered her to the pub. Then went back to the ex wifeís house, said hello to the eldest childrenís Dad, then delivered the eldest to the pub to see his Granny and Grandad and uncle. I stayed for a pint of shandy, then we went to my Motherís to see all the family there and give and take presents. It was lovely, a really nice visit. We then went back to the house and got ready for dinner, the kids mum went round to her brothers to deliver presents and I had strict instructions on which order and when to put the vegetables on. Needless to say I promptly fell asleep on the couch, but woke up fairly quickly and got the veg done correctly.
    We were about to eat and got a phone call from the ex mother and father in law who wanted a lift round to us. So I got back in the car and got them, came back, then sat down and ate a really nice Christmas dinner. All the children were having a really good laugh and as we insist on puttiing sprouts on each plate itís great seeing how they get out of tatsting them for another year. The sixteen year old did try one this year and she was almost gagging, which Iím sure isnít supposed to be funny but bloody was!
    After dinner I took the oldies home and then went back to mine to let the dogs out. Then came back to the kids mums house and more friends came round. They watched Doctor Who while I chatted to my friend, then we opened even more presents. I then said my goodbyes and Merry Christmases and left.
    I went home, fed the dogs, then went to my friendís house to promptly fall fast asleep on her couch and on her shoulder.
    A good day.
    Trouble is, Christmas is really good at reminding you of what, or who, isnít there anymore. This has been the seventh year without my Dad. Thatís still a big gap in our family. Then this has been the first Christmas my family has been apart and that has been hard work. This has been the first Christmas for me to have found someone new which has been strange to say the least, and not in a bad way at all, just strange.
    Itís the time of year that you take stock, you count your blessings or your curses. Try to remember where you were last year, be it good or bad, then if itís not too painful you compare it to where you are now. You remember those that you would have sat with under the tree, or found in the pub down the road, those people that are no longer here. You think about what may have been, who you could have turned into, and just how far down the road you have travelled, alone or together with whoever.
    Life goes on and on and on. You just have to keep moving.
    Last word goes to Mr Shane MacGowan.
    ďIt was Christmas Eve babe
    In the drunk tank
    An old man said to me, won't see another one
    And then he sang a song
    The Rare Old Mountain Dew
    And I turned my face away
    And dreamed about you

    Got on a lucky one
    Came in eighteen to one
    I've got a feeling
    This year's for me and you
    So happy Christmas
    I love you baby
    I can see a better time
    When all our dreams come trueĒ
    I hope that Christmas was as good as you hoped for. I trust that the new year coming will better the one we have just lived through.
    Keep singing, keep trying, keep moving.

  • happy birthday

    My boy was eleven on Friday, I got up early and went around to his Mumís at seven to be there when he opened his presents. He was very happy and pleased with his haul this year. Star Wars lego, books, DVDs, a shark pirate action figure thing and allsorts. Then my daughter got ready and I took her into school. I had to go and see the boyís teacher to talk about him going back to school, when I walked into the classroom there were about ten or fifteen children there already so I started to say about him going back and the whole class went totally silent. I looked around and they were all listening and waiting to hear what I was going to say about their mate. They looked really pleased he was coming back. Work was itís usual hard, tiring, laborious self. Apart from one ray of light but thatís another story.
    That night I went to the gym and cross trained, boxed, lifted heavy things and attempted to do situps. Thanks to my personal trainer as ever Ė really easy this week matey! Itís okay, I donít think he reads this yetÖ
    I took the children to a carvery that night which as it would be was full of Christmas parties, my boyís friend went as well and put so much cauliflour cheese on his plate it was pretty much a whole cauliflower and then attempted to put about two pounds of sprouts on as well, can you imagine the effects of that in a small bedroom, you couldnít light a match!
    We went back to my house and they watched Ugly Betty, I played draughts with my eight year old. Then they went to bed.
    The morning was spent tidying by me, I always tidy the house on a weekend, and playing by them. We had a good game of the simpsons board game which my Mum came around just in time to join in. Then we had the boys birthday treat to do. Had had a load of mates going to see the Golden Compass. They loved it, I was disappointed, but then I did like the book an immense amount. Then we went to Nandoís for something to eat which was really good as usual. Then my friends started to phone me to ask what was going on that night. I ended up going home, getting the stuff for the sleepover, getting that to the kids Mums house, then driving over to Rugby to fetch one friend, then going home, collecting the rest of the stuff for the stopover and going to fetch another friend. Then going to the kids house to deliver stuff, then go to another friend who had paid for the Ricky Hatton fight to deliver beer and a bag for later. Then we went to the pub to watch the Amir Khan fight on telly. I didnít drink.
    The Amir khan fight was over in 74 seconds so wasnít hugely exciting. We finished at the Pub, my friend wanted food so I took him to the burger shop, then dropped him at the house where the fight was going to be on telly, took my other friend home and went back to my house and to bed. At one oclock in the morning.
    At three fifteen my alarm went off and I got up, went to my friends house to watch the fight which was good. Even though he lost. Then went home again and went to bed at six in the morning.
    I got up at ten, went to the kids Mumís house to get her and one of the stopoverees that had to get home, brought them to my house because that is where she had left her car the night of her Christmas party, then they left. Then my friend phoned to ask if I was going to the gym, it seemed a good idea so I went and collected her and we went. I trained, it hurt. That kind of sums it up really. We then went and got a roast dinner, lovely. Then I dropped her home and did my expenses for the term. Thatís one big job done now anyway. Then I rang my friend and we talked and laughed.
    So that was my weekend. I fell a little weary now with all the running around, my arms ache from training and I am smiling. I feel a good week coming.

  • Who needs an appendix anyway

    Havenít written anything on the blog this week. The Thursday before last weekend I had a phone call off my ex wife to tell me that my ten year old son had been ambulanced to hospital with severe stomach pains. They decided it was his appendix and that they needed to operate that night. At about eleven oíclock the surgeon came to look at him and said that they had an emergency and that he probably wouldnít be seen until the morning. I went home and my ex wife stopped with him.
    I missed him going for his operation as I was taking my daughter to school. I got up to the hospital and we waited for his operation to finish. Afterwards he told me it was really scary that when he woke up neither me or his Mum were there and all he could see was a doctor that he didnít know. We stayed with him all day then all his brothers and sisters came to see him. He was in a lot of pain just moving, laughing was agony. His Mum stayed with him overnight and I went home and his sister stayed with me.
    Saturday was again spent mostly at the hospital, he was doing really well, the pain was still there but he was getting out of bed to go to the loo and sat in his chair for a while in the afternoon.
    I stopped Saturday night and he woke up in so much pain on Sunday morning that he needed morphine which was quite scary as far as I was concerned. Well okay, I felt totally helpless as my little boy held onto my arm and screamed at me in pain. By Sunday night he was feeling a lot better and I left him with his Mum.
    He came home on Monday, now has a multicoloured scar and is getting up and down stairs on his own. Tonight is the first night I have had him over to stop since his operation.

    As well as all that going on and getting very little sleep whilst feeling my stress levels rise slowly and steadily ther is other stuff to write about as well.
    My friend took her dan grading in aikido and although I couldnít be there to watch I have seen the photos and heard that she was absolutely awesome. Check it out at
    This dan grade is well deserved and a major achievement for her. The aikido club is at
    check it out.

    I have been tired and grumpy this week, but Iíd like to thank my personal trainer for ignoring that completely and half killing me last night at the gym, I almost couldnít get up at the end. I got lots of texts asking for updates for my son and asking how I was doing which made it all a lot easier. Heres a sample
    Before his opÖ

    Just heard about the boy how is he
    Is the boy ok heard he is in hospital
    OK fingers crossed everything ok let me know if theres anything I can do matey
    Hope hes ok keep me posted then mate
    Give him all our love
    Give him a kiss from us

    During his opÖ

    Everything go ok
    Has he come out of op yet, is there anything that you need

    After the opÖ

    oh good hes ok
    you with him now? Itís a very painful thing having your appendix out
    Glad it went ok love mum

    One of the nights I got home and was really low, I got an email off a friend that made me feel so much better, just giving support and thinking of me but it really did help. You know who you are so a big Oi! Out to you.

  • A decent weekend

    Friday night I went to the gym as usual, but could only do three rounds boxing against my trainer in pads as my knee started to hurt like hell. I was walking the dogs yesterday when the one decided to say hello to a cat heíd just spotted on the other side of the road. I was between him and the cat so he tried to nudge me over. He is a Great Dane weighing roughly the same as an average bloke so his nudge pushed my knee to the side and it hurt since then. Anyway, after killing myself training I collected the children and we went home. We sat and watched children in need; I couldnít believe how cheesy boyzone were. I mean I was never ever a fan but they were so bad. I still believe that Ronan is an alienÖthink about itÖonly Cliff Richard is that nice all the timeÖ
    Saturday we had a bit of a lazy day, apart from a run around and swing and climb in the park, the children, not me, then watched Night at the Museum before taking them home. I really like that film, even without the brilliant effects I think the film is still really enjoyable and the kids love it.
    Took the children home and then got ready to go out. It was our friends birthday that lives in Rugby so we were going to the Chinese restaurant for the experience which is they bring lots of food out and you all share it, fantastic. AA route finder is fantastic so we got waylaid while I got the map out and we found our way. He was impressed with his presents, a wrist exerciser, a bar of chocolate, a steak and a birthday cake. He always buys everyone a card and bar of chocolate from the garage for birthdays and said that he might have to step up his present buying now.
    The Chinese was lovely, apparently this guy used to have a restaurant in the centre of town but lost it playing cards, so he opened this one and the food is excellent. We ordered rice wine as well, which, to be honest was undrinkable. Anyway, the other highlight of the night was going back to our friendís house and seeing that he had tidied up and the house looked brilliant, it usually looks like students live there so it was a major achievement. A good night with good friends. Got home about half two shattered and very full.
    It took a lot of effort to get out of bed on Sunday morning, I didnít do much, had a hot bath and soaked for a while reading my book. Then my friend Suzie came round and we went to watch boxing, her trainer was fighting and his was the best fight of the day, my trainer was there as well and was giving me hassle about drinking pints, they were shandy, if I drink beer in the afternoon I am asleep by six oíclock. I could have quite honestly just drunk tea but I didnít see them serving it.
    We went back to my house and had tea then watched the Boondock Saints, brilliant film about to Irish men in Boston who by accident kill two Russian Mafia soldiers and decide that they are going to kill evil people. If you havenít seen it get hold of it because it really is very good.
    Finished my book and went to bed.
    Yesterday was hard work, I feel very ill now, I wonít bore you with any of the symptoms suffice to say I think its man-flu. Worked hard as usual in case my boss is reading, then was the assistant Cub Scout leader. Then babysat my kids at their Mumís house while I fixed their computer. If you havenít already heard there is a virus spreading through msn that does very odd things to your pc, it comes down saying it is a picture but isnít so do not open it if you want your pc to carry on working. Thatís what I had to fix on the ex wifeís computer. My eldest wonít be happy; heís been using the internet connection for his Xbox. Now the computers back heíll have to share.
    Having said that for Christmas he is having an Xbox wireless adaptor and I have bought a wireless router that I will install for him.
    I had a text off my personal trainer yesterday insinuating that I had drunk loads at the boxing match. So today I texted him various times..
    ďHad a kebab for breakfast any idea how hard it is to get one at 7am and on 3rd pint of Guinness. You have driven me to thisÖĒ
    He replied
    ďI have a couple of hours off 2day. Im in the process of deciding wot torturous fings I can do Friday at 6pmĒ
    Obviously trying to scare me. So I replied.
    ďIts quite hard to read this after half a bottle of baileysĒ
    He didnít respond to that so I carried on
    ďI didnít know you could buy a bucket of 25 pieces of chicken from kfc I finished it but could only manage 5 cream cakesÖroll on tea time.Ē
    Eventually he found the time to text me
    ďUr testing my patience! LolĒ
    On that note I could have stopped and hoped he would cut me a bit of slack on Friday, but thought, no, soÖ
    ďMmmm this whole roast pig looks lovely ill just fill the pan with lard to cook some chips inĒ
    So far no reply. Maybe heís given up, I think my Friday session at the gym is going to be a tough one, never mind, it was worth it for the chuckling I did as I wrote the texts.

  • Oh No It Isn't!

    Itís been a good day today. Started last night watching the pantomime. Thereís something about shouting booooo!!!! At the stage while a wicked Queen hams it up and looks outraged that anyone should boo her. Then there were the seven dwarves, most of which were taller than Snow White, brilliant. But the best thing about the panto, as always, was the dame, complete with makeup over the moustache and hairy arms in a selection of outlandish costumes, hunting for a man in the audience. Fantastic and all in an old church hall on wooden chairs. As good as some so called professional pantos I have seen over the years. I was going to take the children back to mine after but because their Mum and the two girls hadnít actually been home as it had taken hours for them to get their hair cut, they hadnít got any uniforms or lunch boxes to bring round for the morning. So they stayed at their Mumís house. It was a bit odd waking up on a morning they should have been there without them.
    It was hard work getting up ; I seem to have a bit of a cold or something so I am tired. Having got up and negotiated entering the stream of traffic outside my house the day has been fine.
    Work was work, did lots and it was fine and dandy.
    Walked the animals then went to a friends house to fix her computer, ended up bringing it home then going to another friendís house for a cup of tea. Chatted and planned the weekend, then I went on to another friendís house I havenít seen for a while. We chatted some more and put the world to rights.
    Came home, fed the animals and watched GI Jane. Quite a good film really, I didnít realise it was Ridley Scott. That finished and I carried on tinkering with computers.
    Then started to write this.
    Thought I would listen to The Pogues while I did. If I Should Fall From Grace With God. I forgot that the Fairytale of New York was on it. I donít listen to it that often now. I know itís the best Christmas song ever and so forth and so on blah blah blah. But it reminds me of happier times and dancing arm in arm with people I havenít danced with for a long time. The Pogues gave the soundtrack for some bloody good times and eased me through some very bad. I think that Shane MacGowan was the finest song writer of the last twenty years and his songs reach inside of me and make me sing out loud. I have listened to an awful lot of music over the years but there are only a few albums that I can listen to all the way through and still know every note as if they are old friends. The first three Pogues albums are like that. Like that friend you donít see for years and then they appear out of nowhere in the supermarket or at the pub and you spend half an hour catching up then donít see each other for another five years. But it doesnít matter.
    Wrote my friend a poem today, I think they liked it. I like my friends to be happy. Good night.

  • weekend again

    I have been drinking red wine tonight, I hear itís healthy to have a glass of red wine of an evening. Antioxidants or something. So surely having two glasses is even healthier. Stands to reason doesnít it.
    Had a good weekend, spent most of it with the children, well they went to a party then my eight year old went to her first proper sleepover. So I had my ten year old and his mate to stop which was great. They played pokemon then on the computer then watched a film then played the simpsons board game then played something else and I had a cup of tea and read my book.
    Went to the library last week and struck gold. I know, many of you are now looking at this laughing about the fact that I went to the library let alone I enjoyed it. Well, if you donít read you are losing the most wonderful place you can escape to, that place inside your head that still likes stories. A book will take me away for a while and transport me to wherever the author may want to take me.
    Anyway. I have read in the last week, A Tale Etched With Blood and Hard Black Pencil by Christopher Brookmyre which is absolutely brilliant. Junk by Melvin Burgess which is about two 14 year old runaways and their lives as they slip into taking smack. Harrowing to be honest, very good book and very well written but still, harrowing. And I have also read Star by Pamela Anderson which is ace, and fairly autobiographical I think, great silly book anyway and it even has a picture of the ghost writer on the dustcover with pammy. Iím now reading a Terry Pratchett book which as ever is great fun.
    On Sunday I went to collect my daughter from the sleepover and she announced in the car that she hadnít had lunch and that she had had a piece of Chocolate cake for breakfast, to be honest Iíd been quite tempted by the slices of cold pizza at breakfast time so I understood completely the having an ace breakfast thing. So we came home, I fed her and we started to watch Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, fantastic and they enjoyed it after moaning it was in black and white. We did have to turn it off though because my Mum came round and we ended up in another round of the Simpsons game.
    Good fun.
    There was one moment.
    The children had gone inside and I went into the car to get the bag that they had left there, as I did so I felt something above me in the car, as I realised it was my daughterís helium balloon it drifted off into the sky. So I called her and we watched it fly away Ďhigher than the aeroplanesí, for one moment her lip wobbled and I thought she was going to get upset but because I was so enthusiastic about it escaping she was happy to watch it fly awayÖphew.

  • Friday night feeling tired...

    My boy isnít very well. He had an asthma attack at school on Friday and since then he's been quite wheezy and not brilliant. He was up Tuesday night until about half ten eleven time and was wheezing loads. I understand how he feels because I get asthma myself. His is usually completely under control so Iím not sure why he is so bad at the moment. I gave him some reiki because that always calms my asthma down and although it did get quite hot the asthma didnít ease off very much. If you donít know what reiki is look it up on google, itís natural energy channelled through yourself and has a wonderful relaxing, calming and healing effect. Look now Iíve managed to look like a complete hippy on my blog, thatís my reputation shot.
    Anyway, Tuesday night a friend came round to pick up his laptop that I had fixed, then another friend came round with an enormous apple mac that needed updating and stuff installing, I didnít realise quite how long it would take, I went to bed at midnight, leaving it to run and ask for the other six discs in vain until the morning. Marvellous.
    Other things that have happened this week is that I have finally got some comments on this blog. I know people are reading it because I can look to see how many have accessed it but I never know what you think until now. Hence this time there are no vampires, werewolves or fantastical happenings at all. Unless you count the loud shouting of children, that is quite scary enough for me to be honest.
    My friend came round last night and we had a curry, then watched RockíNíRoll Highschool, the Ramones film. If you donít know who the Ramones where, they were an American punk band that were brilliant. What more do you need to know?
    My sonís asthma was still pretty bad last night so his Mum is taking him to the doctor today. Probably get a steroid inhaler to keep it under control.
    I bought my tickets for The Enemy today, back here again, will be brilliant!
    Anyway I have whittered enough for one night.


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