Christmas again. It's been 12 months now since I saw my eldest daughter and the pain of that almost broke me this year. Every aspect of my life was effected by this loss and the damage will, I believe take many years to rebuild. It was sometime in September or October (I think) when something clicked inside and I started to pick up. I feel so much more positive than this time last year. A place will always be available to her in our home and our hearts should she decide to come home. The same cannot be said for my parents who turned their backs on us and refused to support us when we need them the most, the hurt I feel runs deep and I can't see a way back.
Like many, we have felt the pain of austerity imposed on us by the Tory coalition government. No real pay rise coupled with rising costs put paid to our annual holiday this year. All we managed was a day trip to Llandudno, it's the first time in 10 years that we haven't got to our beloved New Quay (Cei Newydd). I'm hoping something can be sorted out for next year, I can't imagine not going back again. We also visited Warner Bros Studios, Harry Potter Tour in Watford earlier in the year.
A new phone back in January changed my mobile window into the online world. The Nexus 4 converted me to Android in a big way and within the time I've had it (and my Nexus 7 tablet) I've learned so much about the art of customisation and automation, I now have brilliant LCARS styled Star Trek devices. They have given me so much fun this year.
My little girl started secondary school this year, I am so surprised at the way she has adapted to life at 'big school' and is doing really well there. I am so proud of her as she grows and becomes more indepenant. She has an active after school life and is at some extra curricular club most afternoons after the school day. She has been involved in performances and concerts over the festive period bringing joy and cheer to local people, shoppers, the elderly and even local dignitaries.
Cycling has always been a large part of my life. I credit it with keeping me together during the dark times. Watching pro cycling also gives me loads of pleasure too and I was thrilled by the 100th Tour de France, the whole race was amazing and topped off brilliantly with the victory of Chris Froome for the 2nd British Yellow Jersey in a row. I restored a vintage bike for use as a commute / hack bike to take the pressure off my Boardman which I spent quite a bit of money getting roadworthy. I signed up for a coast to coast ride for next year which is one of the biggies on my bucket list.
I was involved in two cycling accidents this year, the first was a minor fall whilst at work giving me a bit of soft tissue damage to my knee, I was back up and riding within 2 weeks. The other was about 6 weeks ago where my commute bike was hit by a car and my wrist was broken, the road to recovery promises to be hard and painful.
So what lays ahead for the up and coming year? Lots of physio, that's all I can foresee for the moment. The future is pretty much unknown to me. The ashes of my life lay around me and I have no idea what I need to do to rebuild and I am not giving it too much thought at this moment. I'm getting through a day at a time for the moment.
Merry Christmas to everyone, hope your day is spectacular.
Television is in integral part of the Christmas experience and I have many happy memories of reading through the Radio & TV Times looking for the gems of entertainment. Of course movies were a big part of the Christmas line up in my younger years, not so much these days in an age of DVD, Blue Ray and streaming services.
I still relish the arrival of the TV listings magazines and scour the pages marking the programmes I don't want to miss. This year I've decided to share some of those highlights with the world. Of course with hundreds of channels it's easy to miss things, one thing I haven't missed are the reality show specials which play no part in my Christmas telly line up.
Friday 20 1700 - The Chase Xmas Special (ITV) A special 'Text Santa' celebrity charity edition of this popular quiz show. 2000 - Text Santa (ITV) Charity festive telethon. I'm not a big fan of Ant & Dec but I'm guessing this will be on in my house. 2030 - Citizen Khan Christmas Special (BBC1) One of the best sitcoms of recent times gets a festive special. Disappointed that it didn't receive a higher profile slot (such as Christmas Eve). 2325 - The Matt Lucas Christmas Awards (BBC1) Not the best show on TV but it'll provide a festive backdrop whilst you're wrapping presents. Saturday 21 1740 - Pointless Celebrities (BBC1) A special edition of the tea time quiz with guests Keith Harris with Orville, Rotherham's own Chuckle Brothers and Father Christmas. 1935 - 'Allo' Allo (BBC2) A festive episode from 1991. A classic! 1915 - (movie double bill) Deck the Halls & Four Christmases (CH 4) A couple of films to make you feel Christmassy I hope, don't think I've see either of these. 2200 - Father Ted Christmas Special (More 4) Father Ted is one of the funniest things on TV even after all these years (from 1996).
Sunday 22 1535 - It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas (CH 4) Don't think I've seen this film. 1725 - The Muppets & Lady Gaga at Christmas (CH 4) Muppets are popular in this house. 1850 - Porridge (BBC2) Festive edition of this classic from 1975. 2205 - Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special (Comedy Central) Funny 'un-pc' ventriloquist. No sure if this is new or if I've seen it before, still worth a look.
Monday 23 2000 - The Gadget Show Christmas Stocking (CH 5) Shiny tech that I can't afford. 2030 - Would I Lie To You? At Christmas (BBC1) I love comedy panel shows. 2100 - John Bishop's Christmas Show (BBC1) Comedy from one of the best UK stand ups. 2200 - Only Fools & Horses (Gold) Classic Christmas special from 1992. The one with the 'Peckham Spring'.
Christmas Eve 1310 - It's a Wonderful Life - film (CH 4) I have this on DVD so this is more of a recommendation. this is THE Christmas movie. 1715 - The Nation's Favourite Christmas Song (ITV) Cheap schedule filler. No doubt we'll end up watching.though. 1930 - The Perfect Morecambe & Wise Christmas Special (BBC2) It's not Christmas without Eric & Ernie. 2100 - QI XL - festive edition (BBC2) Love this show. 2145 - Backchat with Jack Whitehall & his Dad - Christmas Special (BBC3) Enjoyed the first series, hoping they can get better guests for this special. 2200 - Not Going Out Christmas Special (BBC1) This show has suffered recently from the departure of some of the major characters leaving Lee Mack to carry the show.
Christmas Day 1500 - The Queen (BBC1) I don't think I've ever seen the Queen's speech, I'm usually asleep by this point. 1815 - Call the Midwife: Christmas Special (BBC1) This one is for the missus. 1900 - The Simpsons - Christmas double bill (Sky 1) I love the Simpsons. 1930 - Doctor Who (BBC1) The wait is over, the Doctor Who is the staple of Christmas Day. A regeneration too. 1940 - Christmas Night with the Two Ronnies (BBC2) Classic comedy that will serve as an excellent background to the festivities - from 1987. 2030 - Downton Abbey (ITV) Another one for the missus. 2130 - Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas Special - 1/2 (BBC1) I'll be drunk by now. Glad I have Sky+. 2215 - Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? Christmas episode from 1974. Boxing Day 1805 - Gangsta Granny (BBC1) Looks good on the trailer. 1945 - Still Open All Hours (BBC1) Follow up to 'Open All Hours', really looking forward to this. 2100 - Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2013 (CH 4) The ultimate comedy panel show. 27 December 2000 - Celebrity Come Dine With Me (CH 4) Only reality style show I'm giving time to. 2100 - Vicious (ITV) Fairly poor sitcom from some heavyweight actors. Seasonal edition. 2100 - Merry Christmas Mr Bean (CH 5) Another classic.
A fairly basic round up of the highlights I'm looking forward to this Christmas. If all else fails I still have Netflix.
So it's been almost a month since I finally got my surgery on my broken wrist following last month's cycling accident. On 1311.21 (21st Nov) I went in for day surgery (which I thought was wholly inappropriate for the kind of operation) to have a metal plate screwed into my wrist bone. The following Tuesday I said goodbye to the cast and am now sporting a wrist brace (which thankfully I can remove to wash and deal with itches).
I have limited movement and little strength in my right hand, I still can't write properly and drawing by hand isn't possible (although I can do a little on my computer).
So I'm off work until the new year which may sound good but the boredom aspect isn't great. How the long term sick or unemployed manage is beyond me. Have you watched daytime TV for a prolonged time? I'm surprised how bad most of it is and how much it repeats itself. I eagerly await the Christmas schedules.
Time is dragging on the run up to the big day as if I was a child, only I'm not excited like a child. My main hobbies have been cruelly taken from me so I spend my days watching Netflix or TV. Occasionally I'll get out and walk but it's cold and unpleasant out there so I limit myself to a couple of half hour strolls a day.
The very neat scar on my wrist, when the hair grows back you won't see it.
If you know me on social media platforms then you'll know what happened to me last week. Wednesday morning I was all set to set off on my cycle to work at 07:00 when I noticed that the back tyre was flat. I sent a text to my supervisor at work just to inform him that I was going to be late. I fixed the flat and gave the bike a once over before setting off.
I only got as far as the main road 'round the corner when, whilst stationery, giving way to traffic I was hit from behind by a car. The bike was totalled and I was left with severe pain in my right arm. I called work to let them know of my further delay and got myself to A & E.
When I got to the reception desk I could feel the effects of shock kicking in, I struggled with some of my personal details (I couldn't for the life of me remember my post code). I'm not sure how long I was there for but following an x-ray, consultation, plaster cast, further x-ray, I was allowed home but asked to return the next day. My arm / wrist was broken.
My consultation the next day revealed the extent of the damage and the possibility of surgery. I was told to expect a phone call the next day inviting me in for a CT scan and was also asked to go 'nil by mouth' in case I needed surgery that afternoon.
Next day I had the CT scan and sent home.
A phone call from the hospital that afternoon, I was asked to come in to hospital on Sunday morning to speak to the surgeon with a view to having the operation later that day. I got into hospital and was given a bed, I even got to speak to the surgeon. Unfortunately I was sent home with a view to getting surgery either Tuesday or Thursday.
It's now Monday night and tomorrow I must go 'nil by mouth' for a fourth time whilst I wait for a phone call.
The summer is over, one of the hottest for years (and I didn't even get a holiday to enjoy it) and my thoughts turn to thicker clothing, braving the elements and being generally cold. As I get older I enjoy winters less and less. One thing I have never hidden away from is cycling through the bad weather. I was looking forward to getting into some winter training on Sunday mornings (of course weather permitting), unfortunately this isn't happening. Not through lack of motivation or time constrains.
Earlier this year I shelled out over £100 to get my bike back up to spec, not much in the big cycling world but to me it's a lot of money. I then sold some bits and bobs to scrape together a bit of money to buy new tyres and other bits. Unfortunately, due to the current financial state, I needed to redirect that money to the family pot and I never managed to claw it back. Then the biggie! My right shifter stopped working (a little plastic thingamebob inside the main housing broke). Doesn't sound like much but to replace is going to cost me over £100! This effectively means that the bike is off the road pretty much indefinitely (unless I win the lottery or something).
I still have a bike for commuting, it's nearly 30 years old and is as heavy as a small Japanese car and not brilliant but it's still getting me from A to B, but it's no good for training or pleasure rides.
So until I get some cash (which I can't see happening this year) my training is being held back. Hopefully I can sort something in time for next year's planned coast to coast ride.
I consider myself in recovery at the moment. Depression is a demon that works silently and strips you of your life slowly and completely. I feel as if I've been in a battle within myself. When you feel there is no future in your life that is when it hits. If it wasn't for my little girl I don't think I'd be here today.
Lately I've been getting things into a bit of perspective. Things are far from OK and I still have a long way to go. I think it's time to start talking to the world outside my head.
I have notes and draft entries which I'll publish at some point.
Today I'm on a training course for work so I was looking forward to the cycle from home to Wath. It's pretty rural and quite undulating, perfect for a leisure ride.
I set off for the 12 K ride in good time so I could take it steady and arrive in plenty of time to have a cuppa before training commenced. I got to the halfway point just after a decent climb when I had a revelation, my shirt I needed to change into when I got to my destination wasn't in my bag. That explained that nagging feeling that I'd forgotten something as I left the house (which I'd quickly dismissed). I had no option but to head home. I ended up being about 20 minutes late for the course. Lucky for me training never really gets going straight away.
Yesterday I was feeling pretty low. That's an understatement. Today at exactly the same time I feel, well not happy but perhaps less unhappy. I'm not in the dark place I was, it's like I found a small torch.
I've been asked many times during my so called recovery if I have had thoughts of 'hurting myself', the answer has always been NO. I have never revealed that I have considered that this life I have is just too painful and I have thought of running, of course I never would. I still have so much here at home, my little girl for one is everything to me.
Work considers me 'over' whatever they thought I was going through. At home I'm supposed to be the glue holding the rest of the family together. I feel I'm at a crossroads and I don't know which road to take.
I haven't cycled since my cycling accident a few weeks ago. I seem to have lost all motivation. There is a dangerous and a real possibility that I may never get on the bike again.
I'm desperate for the cold weather to be over. The snow returned today just to pissed me off. I feel like I'm stuck in glue, desperate to move forward with my life. My body is bashed up following my bike crash and to top it off I've got a cold and feel shit. Today should have been my day off but I'll be working tonight until midnight (overtime) and again tomorrow morning (in addition to my regular shift).
We got through Mothers Day pretty much unscathed, it was difficult but we made the best. Our eldest didn't make any sort of contact which was disappointing but not unexpected. Last year we were a complete family when we took Morticia to Whitby for the day as a special treat. Life is so different now, we all still feel the loss 6 months on.
I know I've not blogged properly for a long while, apart from a few posts at Christmas I haven't really posted since August. It was shortly after this my world fell apart. I did write quite a few entries in the latter part of last year, I just never felt able to share, I think now I'm ready. I'll publish them over the coming weeks.
Supplemental 1606.07; I never actually got around to publishing those blogs, it's alway been too painful to revisit. I didn't get around to re-reading them until 4 years afterwards.
The day before yesterday I crashed whilst out riding my bike. I took crossing the tram tracks (which I've done a thousand times) at a bad angle and the bike slipped. I hit the ground hard.
Initially I dismissed the fall thinking I'd bounce back. I even cycled home from work. The real pain didn't start until the next morning, my knee is still swollen and my shoulder and neck have stiffened and I have pain in the soft tissue bellow my collar bone.
I went to minor injuries clinic and have been advised to take it easy and keep the pressure off. I've also been prescribed strong inflammatory pain killers. I'm now off sick from work.
Perhaps I'm not as young as I was and I just can't bounce straight back. It's the worst cycling accident I've been involved in so far.
It's been a long while since I blogged. I wrote posts but never got around to putting them up. It's been hard to sometimes cope, my stress levels have been through the roof but somehow I'm still going.
We are currently relaxing down at my Mother-in-law's this weekend. It's a much needed break for us all.
So winter arrived and the snow that was forecast has fallen (although not as heavy as they promised). As usual schools close since teachers are unable to get in yet most of the rest of us have to report in order to get paid. Transport struggled a little but managed to get through. All in all it wasn't as bad as the media made it out to be. I was disappointed that chaos didn't ensue and everything managed. Now we have the joy of the lingering surface snow being compacted to ice and becoming grey with the filth of the road.
I've not been cycling for reasons of safety (pressure from Morticia) so it looks like public transport for me whilst the snow lingers.
I was going to review last year, but I'm thinking 'what's the point?' since 2012 was such a horrendous year for my family and me. I had the most time off sick from work in my life when the stress broke me.
There were couple of highlights but not enough to lift me off the floor. I'm concentrating on putting my life back together and moving on. 2012 is over, it's time to get back on the horse.
First job in hand is my phone, I'm in my upgrade window for a new one. I have had a very good 2 years with my iPhone 4 which has been awesome. The refinement of iOS is apparent and works well. I was all set to upgrade to the iPhone 5 but the spanner in the works is my new toy, my shiny Nexus 7. Android has always seemed to be a shabby sub standard iPhone clone in the past and I've never liked the way the updates arrive via everyone in the world first.
Not so with the Nexus with its slick Jelly Bean OS and instant updates. So now I'm pondering my upgrade and wondering if the Nexus 4 would be the next one for me. I'm reading reviews and doing my best to avoid the nasty fanboy hatred from both camps.