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Wednesday, 26 December 2012

1212.26 THE CAPTAIN'S (LATE) CHRISTMAS MESSAGE

So Christmas is effectively over, although I never thought we were going to pull it off. This year has been the worst of my life. The departure of my eldest daughter, the reconciliation and subsequent break down in the relationship with my parents have resulted in utter despair which meant an extended time for me off sick and found me in counselling and temporarily on antidepressants. 

I am determined to rebuild my life for the sake of my remaining family. 

Christmas day was good. The dinner was great (even if I had to save the day with the gravy). I got a new Nexus 7 tablet (so did the kids) and we had good company. It was tiring for Morticia, I'm expecting her to sleep in today. There was a hole left by our eldest daughter's absence but we made the best of the situation. I'm sure she missed us as much as we missed her. 

Saturday, 25 August 2012

1208.25 THE BIG HOLIDAY

05:16 - Bloody hell it's early. The plan is to get past Manchester before the weekend traffic kicks in. Target set off time is 6am.

07:33 - We've arrived at Chester services in Elton, just off the M56. This is a chance for a leg stretch and toilet stop. I'm glad to be past Manchester (and the horrible M60 ring road). Morticia just brought me a cup of tea (£2.15! Bloody rip off).

Next stop Wales!

09:14 - Stopped in Bala for toilet (for me, damn that cup of tea). The rain in heavy as I sit resting in a public car park.


09:30 - We've moved around the corner and are now parked by the lake enjoying a pre-prepared picnic. 


10:55 - Morticia takes over the driving for a while. Plan is to stop at a cafe further down the road.

11:40 - Stopped at Machynlleth, didn't partake in the cafe but stretched our legs.

12:14 - I'll be taking back over in the driving seat soon, just approaching Aberystwyth.

13:00 - ARRIVED!


18:12 - Earlier we had a little walk around, saw at least 4 dolphins (within 20 minutes of arriving) from the pier. Had my first pint of Brains in the Penwig (where we are staying) before checking in. Once in the cottage I (and Morticia) had a couple of hours sleep - I just woke up.

21:57 - Back at the cottage. Been out for a couple of pints followed by chips and corned beef rissole (unique and epic). It's time for an early night, the holiday starts proper tomorrow.

Friday, 24 August 2012

1208.24 PACKING AND PREP


10:03 - Tomorrow we go to Wales on our annual holiday. As it stands I really don't feel like going after yesterday. I'm sat in my dressing gown waiting for the bathroom to come free. 

12:03 - Shopping at Morrisons for food for the trip, didn't expect it to cost that much. 

21:06 - Finally sat down after a hard day sorting out everything for tomorrow's journey. The roof box was a bitch to fit (first time on this car). Looking forward to my bed, should be up at 5.

23:08 - Bed, taken a Nytol so hopefully the few hours I get will be restful.

23:38 - Bloody heavy rain keeping me awake!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

1208.23 GIVE US A BREAK

No matter what I do something comes along to kick me down again. Why the fuck do I bother? My head hurts, my chest and heart feels heavy. I'm struggling to cope, everytime I feel I get a handle on things something happens to knock me to the floor.

GIVE ME A BREAK!


Harley did well in her exams considering the fact that she had to pull back following a particularly dark time. Unfortunately her results weren't good enough to get her onto her chosen college course despite some guarantees given to her from them previously. She was devastated. I've made some calls and hopefully opened a few doors for her. There's always a plan B, especially at her age.

Monday, 20 August 2012

1208.20 BACK TO THE DOCS

Today I returned to the doctor to talk about my how I'm coping with things. It was a different doctor although I was glad she was a female like the previous one. Speaking about such things are easier to a woman than a man I feel although if I think a man would probably be happier with the latter if I'd gone in with some embarrassing itch.

I agreed that I've been a time bomb waiting to go off and finally I reached the end of my fuse, hopefully I managed to stop the explosion. My journey back to health is a long and difficult one. I have to try and make lifestyle changes and allow myself time and be me. That's going to be hard.

I've been signed off work for a further 2 weeks, this takes me to the other side of my planned holiday to Wales.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

1208.14 NOT SO DANDY

I just heard that the Dandy, a comic and British institution is in danger since its circulation dropped below 8,000. I grew up with the Dandy and Beano (I even dabbled with the Topper and Whizzer & Chips). I used to enjoy copying the cartoons and learned a lot from the art. I was also entertained, it's something that's lost on today's children.

Star Letter

Back in the 80s I even had a drawing and letter published in the Dandy's letters page (Star letter nonetheless).

I for one will mourn its passing.

Friday, 10 August 2012

1208.10 BIG DAY OUT

As part of our learning to function together as a family and to put behind us all that has happened recently we decided to go out for the afternoon. We visited Sheffield City Centre to see the golden post box (in honour of the Olympic gold medal winner, Jessica Ennis) and to see the 'Sheffield by the sea' event (an idea they blatantly ripped off from Rotherham).

Me with Jessica Ennis' Gold Post Box

We had a great trip, afterwards we called at Meadowhall for a bit of tea and a spot of light shopping. Morticia by this time was really struggling to get around so we decided to head home.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

1208.08 RECONCILIATION

Harley returned home today following a long mediation involving my parents. I'm not about to kid myself that the next few weeks are going to be easy, a lot has happened and things need to be resolved. For now I feel a little better, although my stress levels remain high I feel that I have some hope now.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

1208.07 CYCLING GOLD

Olympic cycling has been the one thing that has gotten me through the last week and a bit. Today was the last day in the velodrome.

Victoria Pendleton was robbed of a potential gold medal by a very controversial decision by the officials, it was the second time in the games that she had been on the receiving end of their interpretation of the rules. She won silver in the women sprint which was the last medal of her professional career.

Laura Trott and the legendary Sir Chris Hoy (in his last appearance at the Olympics) both took gold in the Omnium and Kerin (respectively). Chris is now the most successful British Olympian after exceeding Sir Steve Redgrave (who was on hand at the velodrome to congratulate him).


Monday, 6 August 2012

1208.06 SICKNOTE

I haven't visited a doctor for years for myself. It was a strange experience to go today and lay it all out, my problems and fears, the fact I'm not sleeping properly and the way I feel about life at the moment. I did this depression test which I scored highly on (although the doctor recognised this was due to my situation rather than me suffering from full on depression). She was a very kind and understanding doctor and it did feel good to get things off my chest. She offered me drugs to help me but stated that they had addictive qualities, I declined these but she signed me off work for 2 weeks and referred me to a 'wellbeing practitioner'.

I don't know where I'd be without the Olympic Cycling over this period, for a brief time I've allowed myself to try and escape the reality of the situation and lose myself in the sport.

This evening our Team GB cyclists scored yet another gold when Jason Kenny triumphed in the Individual Sprint, well done.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

1208.04 A WEEK OF HELL

It's been a week since my daughter walked out of the door. It's been indescribable, I haven't worked, I have barely slept and I've had a headache for days (no painkillers seem to have an effect). I spoke to my parents today at our house, I'm not sure where we go from here.


Another gold in cycling gave me a little lift this afternoon. The Olympics are the only thing keeping me going throughout all this.

1208.04 SHEFFIELD GOLD

Well done Jessica Ennis on her gold medal.

Friday, 3 August 2012

1208.03 MY HELL (part 4)

Tomorrow it will have been a week since my eldest daughter stormed out of the house following an argument regarding the company she has been keeping and her attitude / lies. I am hiding from the world, not taking phonecalls or responding to texts unless they are from my parents (who have unwittingly become dragged into this by my daughter turning up on their doorstep). The only thing that is getting me through is the Olympic cycling, it's providing me with a diversion and somewhere to bury my head.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

1208.02 MY HELL (part 3)

Not sure what is happening. My parents are taking it really slow which in turn makes the whole situation more difficult for us. I don't know what will happen in the next few days but I do know that it is those days which will determine the long term picture. My parents are jeopardising the good work in rebuilding our relationship following years of estrangement by potentially going against our rules and giving our daughter 'asylum'.

I am still too worked up to return to work but I must soon face up to going back. My mind has difficulty concentrating at the moment, it always dwells on the current situation.

I watched the Olympic cycling again (track action this time in the velodrome) by means of a diversion. I enjoyed watching our successes with Chris Hoy, Phillip Hindes and Jason Kenny in the men's team sprint. Disappointed for Victoria Pendleton when she and her team mate were relegated following an illegal overtake.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

1208.01 MY HELL (continued)

We are still not a family. My heart lays heavy with the pain of our separation. I had a long conversation with my dad last night on the phone. I laid it all on the line telling him everything about the last 3 years and in particular the last 12 months. The hell that I put forward I think shocked him, having said that I haven't heard anything since.

There has been some light in my darkness. I allowed myself a couple of hours to immerse myself in the Olympic cycling, in particular the men's road time trial. What a result, I am so proud to be a British Cyclist - Well done to Bradley Wiggins (gold) and Chris Froome (bronze).


Tuesday, 31 July 2012

1207.31 MY HELL

I thought things were too good to be true. On Saturday the walls of my life started to crumble. My eldest daughter walked out of our house following an argument, she ended up at my parents where she remains. Despite my explaining the history and situation to them I don't believe that they appreciate the gravity of the situation.

I haven't heard anything for 2 days. Does she still live here?

Sunday, 22 July 2012

1207.22 LE TOUR HISTORIQUE

As I sit here in my mother in law's house I am still in awe in what I just witnessed. History has been made today by a cyclist over 100 miles away from where I sit. I just watched the final stage of the 99th Tour de France where British rider Bradley Wiggins has just become the first Briton to win the Yellow Jersey. It was also an awesome sight to see one of my favourite cyclists, Mark Cavendish take the stage on the Champs Élysées for a fourth consecutive year. It's something I will always remember, history was written today and a chap with a down to earth charm and distinctive sideburns became a legend.



Wednesday, 13 June 2012

1206.13 RED TAILS

ACTION PACKED AIRBORNE ADVENTURE WITH HISTORICAL OVERTONES.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0485985/

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

1206.05 JUBILEE

I wasn't too bothered about the up and coming Diamond Jubilee celebrations at least until the event came along. We didn't attend any events (mainly because there was very little locally). I did find myself being carried forward with the wave of patriotism and national pride, hey they even gave me a medal.


Saturday, 2 June 2012

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

1205.30 THE BETRAYAL - A TOUCH OF CULTURE

I don't get out much so when Morticia mentioned a trip to the theatre to see John Simm last year I of course agreed. The time came around for the play and we duly went along to the Crucible Theatre (most will know of course as being the venue for World Snooker). Whilst in a nearby pub before the show I was tweeting a friend about my night mentioning that I was about to see a play with John Simm in but couldn't remember the title. Mr Simm actually tweeted me to tell me what show I was about to see...

I'm not about to turn theatre critic and review the show, I've not been to the theatre much in my life which is a shame because when I do I really enjoy it. After the show we saw the cast (there were only 4) in the bar across the square, Mr Simm and one of the other cast even signed Morticia's programme.

Monday, 7 May 2012

1205.07 THE BEST BIRTHDAY EVER

Last year I turned 40 and failed to complete my 40 B4 40 challenge. I also did very little in the way of celebrating, I didn't fancy a party and although I did go into town for a drink and go for a meal, very little of note happened.

This year I wanted to make amends for me being a misery-guts. I'm not a party person, I've no interest in big social gatherings - What I really wanted was to have special time with my family, my Morticia and my girls. Where better than to spend my birthday in my favourite place in the whole world...

Cei Newydd (New Quay)

The added bonus was that whilst it was my birthday on the Saturday, it was Morticia's birthday on the Sunday. What is normally our destination for our summer holiday was this time a long weekend. We set off early Friday morning and after the usual magical drive through the heart of Wales we arrived at the Hotel Penwig around lunchtime. New Quay is like a dream, when I'm not there it's as if it's not a real place but when I'm there the world outside doesn't exist. It's such a perfect place.

The Penwig is under new management and whilst it still a perfect place to base ourselves it's not the same anymore. We were pleased that the previous manager who met us out on Saturday night.

The departure was a little easier this time around (usually it's like being ripped out of paradise) since we will be hopefully returning again for our full holiday in August.

To spend my birthday here was bliss, it just could never get any better.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

1204.28 TURNING POINT

I've hinted before about some of the dark times we as a family have been through over the last few years. Recently I find it has been hitting me hard, although I've done my best to hide the effects I can no longer afford to keep kidding myself. Comfort eating, laziness and general apathy cannot continue. Even my cycling has dropped off to bare minimum. My weight has increased although I'm not near my heaviest if things don't change then it won't be long. Also my family history means I have to watch myself, weight gain could be fatal and I need to take that more seriously instead of putting it off until 'tomorrow'. Today needs to be my turning point. I've done it before, I can do it again... 

Thursday, 26 April 2012

1204.26 THANK YOU VERY MUCH

This time tomorrow I will be reunited with my Morticia. For the last 2 weeks I've been a single father whilst my good lady has been on holiday in the United States of America, to be more exact Memphis on a pilgrimage with her mother to the land of Elvis.

I've never seen what the big deal with Elvis or the industry that has grown up following his demise. As a Star Trek fan I'm the last one to cast aspersions on any one's obsessions and I'm not about to start.

She flew out a week last Monday, we've been separated before but never in our lives (and I'm talking about the time before we were even together) have this many miles been between us. Her plane landed on Tuesday morning but has been staying with her mother mainly because of the difficulty picking her up midweek, and to give her a chance to get over the jetlag. 

I've missed her terribly and I've realised that she is the one that keeps me in line. You hear all the time about people's other halves, it's no exaggeration. She's my everything and it shouldn't take being apart for me to realise and appreciate her. I can't wait until tomorrow.  

Sunday, 25 March 2012

1203.25 BATTLESTAR GALACTICA

When I was a kid I remember watching Battlestar Galactica, it was the early 80s and I was (and still am) sci fi mad, these were the days of Star Wars, Star Trek was back and Buck Rodgers was having his adventures in the 25th century.

I was overjoyed in 2003 when the re imagined mini series came to our small screens. I avidly watched the 1st season of the newly commissioned TV series. Unfortunately because of my shift patterns and the fact that no one in my household would entertain it for me, I lost my way and gave up trying to catch up.

I had to wait for Sky+ and for re runs to be able to complete my viewing, I started again from episode 1. It was worth the wait, what an epic series, twist and turns, mysteries and enigmas abound and for once a solid proper conclusion. I need to buy myself the box sets now.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

1203.18 DAYTRIP TO WHITBY

I've never been to Whitby.

Hard to believe that I have lived over 40 years without visiting this fine seaside town. So when we were deciding what to do on Mother's day this year we decided to rectify this (Morticia has never been also and really fancied a day out to the coast) and head north to the town famous for whaling (in the past), Captain Cook, fish & chips and Goths.

Arriving we found that lots of others had the same idea. The town was packed and finding a parking space was difficult. We managed to find a car park with a few spaces left.

I wasn't sure what to expect, what I found wasn't the traditional seaside resort. Sure there were arcades and bars, ice creams but the feel of the place was distinctly different. The shops obviously took advantage of the gothic, there were some fun and interesting things on offer.

Highlight of the day was fish & chips in one of the many fish & chip restaurants. I didn't go with any recommendations so I think we were lucky to pick a good one, Robertson's Fish Restaurant.

We had a much needed family day out, it was like a relief from the stressful times behind us and I hope a turning point as we move forward together as a family.

As we (or I) drove into the sunset, well sort of, I took a slight detour through Scarborough, a place I knew very well. A place with a lifetime of memories.

We all said we must visit Whitby again someday.


Tuesday, 6 March 2012

1203.06 DAD


Some years ago I fell out with my dad (or he fell out with me). This lead to becoming estranged from my family, as time progressed I realised that the damage grew deeper with every passing year and I faced up to the reality that I may never speak to them again.


Things changed at the end of last year. My uncle died at a very young age which shocked the whole family. At the funeral my dad spoke to me, we agreed that life was indeed too short and that the situation has to change. A few weeks later I visited my parents and spoke at length about the things I believed led to our estrangement. We ironed a lot out and a few weeks later (delayed because of other events, see previous post) they came over to our house to visit, and re-get to know their grand-children.

Tonight we all went out for a meal at Meadow Farm, one of our favourite eateries. All went well and the feeling I feel at having my parents back in my life is truly indescribable. It's still early days but I have high hopes for the future.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

1203.01 HOW LOW CAN I GO?

I haven't blogged for a while. There's a good reason for that,  life recently has been hard, there has been issues and trouble abound. I'm not going to go into detail about it, that's personal stuff that isn't really for sharing. All I'll say is that the last month has been a very dark time for our family. We've asked for help.  But it's yet to materialise despite being promised. I'm struggling day to day even though I try to put a brave front up, sometimes I wonder how I will get through or if all this effort is worthwhile. Then I look at my family and realise that they are the reason I do this and we are worth saving.

Friday, 13 January 2012

1201.13 UNCLE ADRIAN

Today we said goodbye to Uncle Adrian, he passed away between Christmas and New Year. I haven't seen him for a number of years but we had reconnected on Facebook in recent times. I have many memories and he was an integral part of my childhood, the summers at my Nan and Grandad's house.

He's passed at 47, all I feel is that he was taken too soon. No parent should outlive their child, I can't imagine what my Nan must be going through. At the funeral today I looked on at his wife and daughters and tried to imagine what impact it would have on my girls if it were me after all I am 40, not much younger.

Funerals are a chance to say goodbye but they are also a very selfish time, you think of how you will miss the person and how your life will be affected. As it should be.

If there is one good thing to come from his passing it is that I spoke to my father for the first time in many years, we've been estranged for such a long time. Maybe we have a chance to put the past behind us?

After all life is too short...

Sunday, 1 January 2012

1201.01 HAPPY NEW YEAR

I'd be lying if I said 2011 had been good to us. Yes there has been some good times but we've had some hard times too. Now is the time to look forward, not back. We begin this new journey as usual at Morticia's mother's in St Neots over a few beers.

Our eldest continues to be our greatest challenge at this moment, the mission to keep her on the right path. I start the year with a wish to rebuild the lost relationship with my parents and to strengthen my family.

As I tap this entry I finish off my last beer of the evening/morning and my thoughts turn to my Uncle Adrian who passed away yesterday (1112.30) suddenly aged just 47. I'm still in shock about his passing.