Saturday 25 December 2010


As John Lennon once said 'And so this is Christmas', this particularly is the 40th one I have celebrated.

My Christmas is a family one with my wife and 2 daughters. We shared dinner with my father-in-law and soon Morticia's step sister and family will arrive for drinks and nibbles. I'm making a point not to visit any social media today and apart from a couple of texts and this blog post I've not touched my phone, I've also left my Blackberry swiched off for the day.

I'm glad to be here after what has been a difficult year. Morticia's illness and the possibility of a dietary condition (which proved negative) caused tension at home along with teenage angst with my eldest daughter. The voting in of a Conservative lead coalition government and all the job uncertainty that brought has been pretty much on my mind. The most difficult this to bear for me this year has been the passing of my Grandad who meant the world to me. Life carries a lot of pain, it's what shapes us but sometimes it feels that the pain is too much to bear, this year is one of the most challenging in those respects for me.

On the good side I managed to make the family holiday to Wales happen once again, I really never tire of that place. Work is good and I find myself now spearheading the social media revolution within our team running a Twitter feed and Facebook page. My cycling has dropped off a little but this is because I'm still waiting for the Cycle to Work scheme to start up again.

I hope that next year I get cut a little slack my fate and finally manage to get thing evened out. All I want is to enjoy life more without all the difficulties that seem to be piled on me in abundance. It will be the year of my 40th, a real milestone, one that does bother me. Still, let's see...

Tuesday 21 December 2010


Every public sector employee in the country is currently going through hell at the moment. Not knowing what the future holds or whether your job will be cut is a real and apparrent fear. I feel a little luckier today since it was announced that the budget which funds my job is to be ring-fenced (ie protected) for the next 2 years. This means I can enjoy a small amount of peace of mind. For me as the only wage earner in our household the prospect of losing my job is unthinkable, it would quite simply unravel my whole life and that of my family.

So this Christmas I can raise a glass safe in the knowledge that I can still do the job that I love in the New Year.

Sunday 19 December 2010


As anyone who has known me for any length of time or used to read this blog some time ago will know, my wife, Morticia, has had a long standing illness which challenges us every day. A few years ago she had open heart surgery and we hoped that once recovered things would return to normal. Unfortunatly this has not been the case and after years of testing and visits to doctors and clinics, this year, we finally got a clear diagnosis of CFS/ME. I'm not going to go into what that is here, if you want to know then feel free to Google it.

We struggle through day to day and as her primary carer I can meet most of her immediate needs. Where I fail is in the looking after the house and garden, getting those little jobs done etc. Don't get me wrong, our house is clean, it's just cluttered with things that really could do with sorting out. With my time filled with work then the needs of the kids and Morticia I rarely get time to do anything else. When I do get downtime I need it to rest and use it to either relax or explore a creative outlet. My cycling is confined to commuting or extended commutes, no leisure rides for me.

Don't misunderstand me, I wouldn't swap anything and I'll do anything for my Morticia and my children. Sometimes it all gets on top of me but I don't have a channel I can express that through. Friends are great but surely they're getting bored of hearing about my problems.

There is a small light at the end of the tunnel. Last week we finally managed to get to see the CFS/ME service for South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire. It was an experience to finally speak to a health professional who understood. I have high hopes for our future, and hope that together we can manage this and get on with our life together.

Tuesday 7 December 2010


This week I have been late for work everyday because of major fail in public transport.

The heavy covering of snow has been followed up with record low temperatures, some places getting as low as -20 C. All main roads and the majority of side roads have been gritted so buses are running pretty much a full service.

Buses running late or missing are not a way of encouraging the public to adopt mass transit for their commute, what's the point if you can rely on it to get you into work. I'm lucky since my supervisors are understanding about my predicament. I would use the car but it's a real pain to get it off our road since it never get's gritted (I live on a cul-de-sac) and the couple of times I've ventured out with the car I've needed assistance from neighbours.

With the winter weather set to continue for the rest of the year at least I forsee more logistical misery. I for one can't wait for the big thaw so I can get back on my bike*.

*Some may ask why I'm not cycling, after all there are plenty out there who are. Well that's their choice, I've assessed the risk and decided that I don't want to put myself in unnessesary danger, after all it only takes one patch of ice!

Thursday 2 December 2010

1012.02 SNOWED IN

On Tuesday the snow really moved in on us and the next day it was our turn to be on the news. My overtime was cancelled that day as we all decided it would be best to attempt to get home. Because of the weather I'm using public transport and so I went out into the blizzard to assess my options. I ended up catching a bus travelling down Prince of Wales Road which, considering it's a main dual carriageway, was an 'ice rink'. The bus managed to get me to the Arena in Attercliffe but from there I had to walk the rest of the way home since all the other buses had been taken off.

Yesterday was more of the same with a covering of about a foot of snow and main roads inaccessable to most traffic. All public transport (except trams) were cancelled. I was told by my supervisor to make my way to a more local office to work for the day. Two others from our team did the same.

Today I decided I was getting into work whatever. Luckily most main roads were accessable and buses were being run along them.

More snow is forecast as everyone struggles to get around. At this point there is an average of 2 feet covering in most places. My road at home is completely cut off (vehicularly speaking) and I've very little chance of getting my car out.