Saturday, December 31, 2011

What 2011 means to me.

2011 has been a strange old year for me to say the very least, filled with a lot of different experiences, some I was prepared for, and others that I could never have imagined, certainly not at this stage in my life anyway.
Facebook has made this entry easier thanks to its handy little Timeline feature that is now has, and looking back it has certainly had a few highs and lows.
At the start of the year I had much unfinished business in all walks of life, things I had not done, goals not yet achieved, and other things that were just hanging there, waiting.
I'm not going to dwell on losing loved ones again, too many entries have had that flavour to them, and its time I moved on from that approach. Its the other things that proved more significant. Using anti depressants for the first time in my life, becoming dependent on chemicals to make my day to day life bearable was one of the first things to really happen. As mums condition got worse, so did my ability to cope with everything that life threw my way. This choice to medicate has impacted throughout the year, and looking back I can see where things could have been different had my mental state been different.

Around Feb, the birthday period for me, I became more impatient about the whole situation with Sian, and my blogging became more careless, especially towards her feelings on the matter. Needless to say it was only a matter of time before Anita would step in and wake me up a little. My daughter turning 16 was always going to be a big deal, but the timing for everything else falling apart around me was less than perfect.
At the same time I was starting to rebel a little from my usual life, and started exploring what else was out there, what parts of life was I missing, and starting to become more social, but in a very strange way. I don't want to say I was being fake, that's both untrue and unfair, but I was not sure of who I was at that point, and the medication brought out a side of me that has laid dormant for many years now. And that was for the greater good I am sure.
As pressure built around all the changes in my life, the first eye opener occurred, reading statuses on Facebook I started hearing news of Tas passing. I was away from home at the time, driving home from my aunts, and stupidly as I had no plans to be away for more than the day, I had no extra medication. This was going to cost me dearly. Reaching out to a friend I came to terms with what had happened, spoke to another very dear friend (Kim) and then got myself home. As a storm grew around the funeral arrangements for Tas, with arguments and testosterone fueled posturing begun, I started to feel very bitter towards people, anger built up inside me, and disgust as how people dared to behave in the moments after the passing of a loved one.

Also in Feb I passed an important exam for me, my ADI Part 2 (driving test). That was something I have been working towards for a long time now, but due to circumstances I have not been able to progress as fast as I wanted to. Now Part 3 awaits, after failing the first time (off my face on a cocktail of prescription medication and cold medication). This was a proud moment for me, as I was able to tell my mum, who was at this stage really quite poorly, the good news. It made her a happy and proud mum. Obviously by the time the next stage would come around I would not be so proud.

The coming months would see a decline in my mental state, as well as mums physical state, and would bring sad news to a whole community. As I became more and more detached from day to day life I started spending more and more time away from home. While caring for mum was my priority, I realised that I needed my own sanity to enable me to be able to do what was needed of me. My birthday had been spent calling mum an ambulance and getting her sorted out, and ended with her refusing to go into hospital for treatment, so I didn't have a great day that day. As I rebelled I began to find new fight in me, new strength to bring to the game, and a way to deal with what life was throwing my way.

Then the next bombshell, Graeme broke the news that he was now defined as terminal, and that for me was a breaking point. Visiting him within what felt like hours of receiving the news, and getting to hold on of my closest friends ever in my arms one last time was a very emotional moment for me, and one I will never forget. Sitting in the lounge at his parents house, chatting about the good times, remembering the bad, and reminding ourselves why we were still so close after so many years. Coming to terms over the next few months were not easy, but it was refreshing to feel human again, and make slight contact with my emotions for the first time in years.

As the year continued to fly by, things all become a blur for me, so thank heavens I blog a lot, and use Facebook for my memories. Silly ideas, fun moments, and meltdowns all lay ahead for me, all in a very inconvenient order.

As we reached summer, Graeme had passed, much falseness has been displayed at yet another funeral, however this one was an amazing and most memorable gathering. Just as the little guy wanted, I felt so much happiness that day, completion and a part of someones life til the end. Quite selfish I know, but that's how I felt on the day.
With mums condition being very bad now, and her spending more and more time in St Christopher's Hospice, it became easier for me to think for myself, or at least that's what I thought. Cancelling the annual trip to Florida, which was meant to be for 3 weeks this year, I opted in a moment of madness to go to Magaluf with Rachel. Quite what appealed to me about this so much I don't know, but the idea of just getting away for a few days, letting my hair down, getting blind drunk, and dancing til I had blisters on my feet appealed to me for a short moment. But whoever knew such freedom could have such a price.

Before travelling I came under increased pressure from work to return asap. yes I had been off for a long time now, and was both aware of this and unhappy with the situation, but i didn't expect what was coming. A movement, a group action, and a lot of back stabbing had begun, and people, yes not one, but at least a couple were starting to put pressure on management to deal with me as it 'wasn't fair'. Shortly before I went away the hospice asked for mum to consider going into a home, ans soon. So all hands on deck we begun the search for the right home for mum. By this point, knowing how much mum hated the idea of a home, I was becoming very unhappy with myself, even though I knew it was for the best. While decisions were being made about funding I flew off to Magaluf.
Needless to say, with so much on my plate, stopping taking medication, and replacing it with alcohol was always a recipe for disaster, and that's exactly what struck, on DAY ONE! Thankfully I had Rachel there to catch me before I fell too far, but it was a close call. Sinking into a mental breakdown is a horrible place to be, especially so far from home.
Within days I was back home and seeing my GP for stronger medication, and I was now in a real mess. However my cries for help on Facebook were turned on me, and before I knew it suddenly I was being accused of all sorts of things and acts of misconduct at work, with screen prints of my Facebook pages, and photographs of my Blackberry Messenger status supplied by work colleagues being put together to make what I can only describe as preparation for my execution. Thankfully for me, not everyone I work with is a back stabber or an utter twat, so help was at hand in the form of honesty and support. And I am eternally grateful to Craig and Devon for their words and actions during this time.

After receiving all the evidence being presented against me, I communicated with work about my fragile mental state, and as reassurances were given, another crushing blow. On the 5th of August, the day started like any other, but it didn't feel right. Making my morning visit to the home to see mum I saw she was in discomfort, so called for a doctor. Instead of leaving I decided to to stay for the whole day, so after messaging my sister to let her know what was going on I spoke with the doctor who had seen mum. Deciding on a course of action, I again let my sister know what was happening, and went and sat with mum again. Giving her some ice-cream at lunchtime, it felt nice to be so comforting and supportive. The breakdown in Magaluf and extra meds were clearly helping me. As the afternoon drew in, Paula arrived at the home, and we talked for a bit while the nurses saw to mum. Shortly after we went to sit with mum, and sadly but very peacefully with us both there, mum passed away, very gently.

Also in the same time frame, Anita, Sian's mum had made contact again, and we had agreed to meet up, both parties, and discuss the road ahead, and how we would approach the subject of contact with Sian. The meeting was very nice, productive, and I honestly believe we all parted knowing a lot more about each other, and I felt like I knew a part of Sian I have missed out on. However this was not everyones opinion, and some of the things said and done on the day and in my blog had hit a nerve with Sian, and she was keen to let this be known. For the first time in 12 years I heard Sian's voice. For the first time in my life we held a conversation, albeit a short and sharp one as Sian expressed her feelings on the matter. Suddenly I felt like a scolded child. Sadly this was the last I heard from Sian. So I hope college is going well, and you know where I am. I will leave that there.

As life started to take a new shape and direction, along with a lot of challenges which lay ahead. Some of which are still going on now, both at work, and in my home life. With the help of people I respect, the issues with work were soon resolved. Understanding was reached, facts found, and rumours and bullshit laid to rest. Returning to work after that is one of the most challenging things I have ever done. Rising above the soft smelly foundations that my job is built on is really not easy, but in my new found life, I manage with it.

Since mum passed I have again found my true self, managing to get off the anti depressents quite quickly, with no ill effect, re-establishing myself at work, and focusing on doing the job to the best of my ability, however not managing yet to let go of what went on behind my back. I have also quickly got back on the track of others interests, and pursuits, and have my ADI3 clearly in my sights.

So as I prepare to sign off on another year, and embrace the utter insignificance of the number at the end of the year changing, I look back at 2011 and wonder. Wonder if another year could be quite as dramatic as this. The loss of a mother, and some dear friends, the rekindling of sorts of my relationship with my daughter. being classed as medically depressed and anxious. Failing a test, missing a milestone, and rediscovering the real Michael Snasdell.

All that is left to say is thank you for reading all of this, and I hope everyone is able to look back at their past year with such clarity.
And then I guess its time to roll the credits.

Thank you to mum for having me, and making me the man I am, it was an honour to have such a woman as my mother, and only parent.
Graeme Breen for inspiring me to be strong when everything is so weak and desperate, I will never forget you.
Thank you to my GP for taking me seriously, looking after mum for so well and for so long, and then taking care of me so well when it all went badly wrong.
Chantal Coles, for sticking around through the thick and thin, putting up with my unpredictabiliy, and supporting me on all my decisions. You are a saint.
Rachel 'chestbump hi-5' Eustice for keeping it real, waking me up, and helping me to party harder than I have ever partied before.
Noel 'Bampson' Amos for demonstrating what a true friend is. Never ceasing to amaze me with ideas an distracttions right on cue, and always having the words of wisdom when needed. Yes, even when calling me an eskimo!
To Fedex (weird I know) for continuing to support and employ me through all of this. Thank you for keeping the faith and playing it by the book.
And then there is everyone else, catering, grips, camera work, wardrobe. All the people that made 2011 what it was for me, and holding it all together.
Roger (AA), Devon, Craig, Steve, Sammi, Cadell, and so many more.

So raise a glass, shed a tear, scratch your arse, or give a cheer. 2011 draws to a close. We have all lost a little, gained a lot, become wiser, made mistakes, and seen things for what they REALLY are. Tomorrow will NOT make things feel different, wont take away the pain of a loss, nor increase our bank balances, but we will have something far greater.... Each other. Together we stand, strong and mighty, ready to face and endure the challenges of the new days ahead of us. And I for one know, with you guys by my side, I am ready and stand tall.

2012, please be good to use all, but if you cant, we are ready for you...... BRING IT !

Happy New Year

While you think I may finally be joining in the spirit of things, embracing tradition, and being positive about things for once, you qre sadly mistaken.

Instead I say those words with my tongue pressed firmly in my cheek. Happy New Year, seriously? The is nothing wrong with wanting to write off a bad year, put the past behind you and forget it all, but its the hope we enter the new year with, and pressure we put ourselves under that cracks me up.

In 2010 I lost my oldest friend John Littlebury to a motorcycle accident, at the end of the year mum was diagnosed with brain cancer to reinforce her breast cancer. So as I entered 2011 I did the traditional thing of accepting mum would pass soon, but planned for a better year. However soon I would discover all this planning, hoping and promising things to ourselves is hopeless. No one could have predicted Tas dying so suddenly, Graeme to take such a decline and pass like that, and for me personally, for my mental state to reach rock bottom, almost lose my job of 11 years, and then for mums condition to fall off a cliff and for me to watch her pass kind of so unexpectedly.

All the wishes being batted around right now, there is no harm in it really. But I feel for those with so much invested in the New Year thing. Face facts, about 5% of the population will start their New Year hung over, great start. Maybe 1% of those will spend it in hospital or receiving some form of treatment, not forgetting the other poor sods who have to work through the new year in order to nurse and mother the pathetic people back to full health again.

What I am getting at here is, please don't promise yourself 2012 will be a better year, or hope for too much from it. Most of what will happen is totally out of your hands, and for those dieting, seeking new employment, or wanting to change their lives, I wish you the best of luck. But just remember, the New Year is a dawn like any other, the sun will rise, and new day will begin, and opportunity will once again present itself to us. Treat every day like a new chance, not just tomorrow, and live it like it was the last, as for quite a few, it quite literally will be their last.

Stay safe, have fun, and I leave you with my preferred greeting.... Happy New Day.... Embrace it!
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Tuesday, December 27, 2011


No stupid, not an infection or anything like that. I have worked out the reason of why I'm feeling the way I am. All I have done for days now is slept. I am not unhappy, not miserable or depressed, but whenever I'm on my own I just........ sleep!

It has just occurred to me this is the first extended period I have been on my own since mum passed. Its not that its Xmas, I'm sure of that. Just time to reflect for the first time in a long time, and there is a lot to reflect on.

I don't think its a bad thing, but having just woken from a type of dream I have not had for months, the signs are clear and obvious. I chose to spend most of Xmas alone, as I usually do anyway, maybe it was a subconscious decision to invoke this?

Really I would love to have spent a bit more time catching up with people I have not seen for a while, up and down the country and faces and embraces I miss dearly, but circumstances just have not allowed for it. Maybe I will make an effort over the coming week.

I just seem to have run out of steam right now, the ideas are there, but the motivation lacks, seriously. Decorating the house has come to an abrupt halt, even though I have the materials to do what I need to do.

Right now I need a kick up the bum, and a big one at that. So much lays ahead of me in the coming months, and again maybe that is something that is weighing on my mind, I'm not sure, but I need to get ready to deal with these things as they all start to arrive.

Right, time for some music on my new headphones, A-Jays 3's you know lol, and then try and get off my arse. Maybe a long walk?
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011


OK so as this letter says, this is my first involvement in this debt, until now my sister has been good enough to deal with mums affairs.

However... Right at this very second I am angry and offended by the language used in the letter. Yes I have agreed a payment plan, but never was a date discussed. And yes a sum is outstanding, but this is Day 1 for me, so mention of debt collection agencies etc in their first written contact with me is somewhat OTT.

I know it is a letter to my sister which I am cc'ed in on, but maybe as first contact they could have gone to the effort of writing to me separately, maybe even emailing me to first check a suitable payment date.

I am sure most will think I'm over reacting, but this has been a farce from Day 1 with this funeral director, with misinformation, and a number of other issues which I won't go into right now.

Friendly family run business..... Hmmmm

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

So much going on, so little time.

Time to blog that is. It has once again been a while since I managed to write anything meaningful, so as the dust settles, quite literally, I thought I would take a few mins out.

Currently sitting at the kitchen table watching the timer on the cooker counting down, coming closer to the moment my dinner is ready. Exciting or what. However in this case it is. I have undertaken a challenge (my own) to do something about the weight I have been gaining recently, and am in the first week of taking direct action.

Setting myself a target of around 1000 calories a day, and making sure I return to my original physical routines of walking the dogs etc, I am hoping to make some headway into the excess I am carrying. In the first few days as the body adjusts, losses are inevitable, but maintaining the routine and the loss is key. So I am having cereal in the mornings, fruit and snacks in the afternoon, and finishing up with a high protein dinner. Occasionally some fruit or cereal a little later if still actually hungry.

My starting point was 247lb, and the first goal is to drop that below 240, anything with 23* will signal the arrival at the first goal. Over all weight as a number isn't the objective, waist size and physical fitness is the true goal here and one I am dead set on.

In other news, major refurbishment of the house is under way, with the lounge being stripped and plastered this week. New roof going on, and some serious decorating to be done over the coming weeks that's for sure. Some great ideas in my head, now to turn them in to reality, that's the hard part.

Other than that, the main story has to be I'm DRUG FREE, over 3 weeks now, and about the only side effect as such is my lack of concentration, and memory loss from time to time, on a very small and short term scale. I'm forgetful, nothing more lol.

Hmmm what else was I going to say.....

Not a lot really at this point, other than to say you can follow my diet progress on Twitter. @therealslimsnaz . I was going to blog it all again but with my train of thought like it is, I thought best to keep the character count down.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Long time, no blog

Well it has been hasn't it! I haven't looked at the date of the last one, but I know its been a while now.
So what's changed. Well I am 2 weeks clean from anti depressants, and feeling my normal self again. I have put weight on and know I need to sort myself out before it gets out of control again. The clothes are already starting to take the strain.
I have also just spoken to my aunt after not seeing her for a good few weeks now. He status is a bit up in the air at the mo, so I will have to make some more calls to find out what's really going on. She has requested no visitors til after Xmas now, and has a hospital appointment this afternoon as a follow up from one last week. So I'm not quite sure what's going on there. A call to Chris is needed.

So what's ahead for me. Well Xmas is around the corner, but I won't be doing much about that to be honest. Got work going on in and on the house at the moment, so the place is a bloody mess. Hallway in the middle of decorating, bathroom being torn apart, new roof being fitted, so the driveway is a mess. Oh its a great dusty place to be *sniff sniff.

My plan, get away from it all for a bit, get some fresh air on the day and enjoy it with myself. While trying to resist the temptations of fatty foods over the festive period.

To be honest, the whole weight thing is the important part to me right now, so I really wanna take the bull by the horns and get back under control and feeling healthier again. My poor Specialized Hardrock Pro really needs a good workout, so come Jan I want to be back on that again, and into a routine with the dogs, getting out twice a day.

Aaaah this looks rubbish, so I will try blogging again later.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dear Odeon Greenwich... Thank you for your service.

Living proof that I am fair in all my words, here goes a positive to cancel out a negative, or at least to balance it.
I am currently seated back in the Odeon Greenwich, this time to watch Twilight. On sheepishly approaching the security guy near the ticket collections on the ground floor and asking what time we could go to the Gallery, we were informed now, and that we could go straight in.
On suggesting we didn't wish to jump any queue he informed us that it is policy that Gallery patrons do NOT queue with the rest of the screen patrons, and that they should go straight to the Gallery upto 30 mins before the start of the film.

I informed him this was not what we were told, and explained what had happened on a prior visit. He seemed offended and disgusted that we had been spoken to that way, and went on to apologise on behalf of everyone at the location. He said he was going to raise the matter at the next GM, as this was not satisfactory, and wanted to make sure it didn't happen again.

I thank him for his polite encounter, and clarification of the previous situation. Maybe if I could find out who the mystery poster was on my previous blog about the Odeon, they could speak to this guy and learn some manners.

So, thank you Odeon Greenwich. My faith is restored.
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Monday, November 14, 2011

aka Snazy, aka The Facilitator

For a long time now I have found myself as a moving part within peoples lives. Playing a part, be it emotional, sexual or physical, which is a piece of a bigger movement. Starting the ball rolling for a seperation, being supportive for a hard time, or just giving comfort at a time of need. One way or another I have somehow become a facilitator.

I am not quite sure how this role comes about each time. Big cuddly (ok fat) me pops up somewhere, becomes a part of a persons everyday life, and before you know it something is happening. My role changes to one of emotional support of some kind, and suddenly a ball is rolling, and there is no stopping it.

Over many years now I have found myself doing this, and have played a part in relationship breakups, helping people through confusing and conflicting times in their lives, right up to just being a friend til the end, giving strength and support to a person as they find their own way through a maze or conflict in their life.

Of course, becoming so deeply 'invovled' with someone has its risks, and emotional attachement is always present. If it wasn't I dont think I would be very good at doing what I do. Breaking that, or even just defining that attachement can sometimes be a bit of a pain, a heartbreak, or even a big arguement. I dont set out to mislead, nor to pretend to be someone im not, but in the blur of all the heat and action, sometimes lines get crossed.

There are people who I have encountered, and still remain in their lives. There are others that simply drift away, set back on course for what lays ahead of them, and on their proper path. Those who remain in my life are people of importance that have made a bigger impact on me, and people who I feel i have not yet finished being there for. Maybe I dont have enough faith in them to get it right, maybe the bond is too strong to just let them go, I dont know. But either way, I enjoy still having them about, so its not a bad thing.

So this joking title of Facilitator, just seems a little fitting for me. As I meddle in other peoples lives, trying to do what I can to make their situation right, I wonder to myself who is there to do the same for me. Or do I indeed choose people to help, who in some way return the favour as part of the whole situation. Maybe that is it. I have never felt like I have been hard done by, nor come out of the situation down on the deal. I guess it is entirely possible that the whole matter works the other way around, and I indeed choose people who I am needy of, and as by chance, in some way need me. In which case I guess that should be changed to The User then.

However you view this, from whatever angle I look at it from, I can only hope that those involved in these circles take away from the situation as much as I think they do. A little happiness, satisfaction, and direction at the very least.

As I have ponderd this entry over the past days, so many thoughts have filled my head, but none of them seemed worthy of putting on the final draft. I have many views on the whole situation, but as I look back over the course of my encounters, casual and emotional, I really do think more good than bad has come from it. So given the chance I will engage in facilitating as much as I can in the future.

If you have not worked out what I mean by facilitating, its like this.
Being 'the other man' has given someone in the past the vision to realise they were not stuck where they were, there was more to life than the same old pressured routine, and this gave them the hunger to be away from their routine.
In other cases there has been call for a wingman. To be there as someone who could be relied upon to bounce ideas of, talk to when things got hairy. A good mate I guess you would say, but one that was not too close to all the intricate details of your personal life.
On other occasions its just been a shoulder, strength when needed, and on call 24 hours a day to get someone though a tough spot in their life. Usually short term, just to cover off a low point in life, but this seems to be the most common these days.

Just in case there is a misunderstanding... this is not about sexual conquests, bedpost notches, or anything crude like that. And the time scale I am talking on stretches 12+ years now, in fact thinking about it now, I have actually been doing this since I was 15-16, before I could drive.
The first time I remember, I would travel 6 miles a night almost every night to spend time with a girl who was really struggling with her life. Down about as low as a person can get before completely shutting down, I tried in vain to help raise her from this point, but failed miserably. Looking back that is probably my motivation for carrying on the way I do these days.

All round nice guy, or selfish predator, you decide. But I know there are some out there who have appreciated my time.

PS, Most cases have indeed been females, but there have been odd occasions that I have been there for male friends too. However I should point out that there were NO sexual favours there lol.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Financial folly

There comes a time in everyones life (well those of us that skate between the red and the black on our bank accounts monthly anyway) when you have to take stock, and see what the real ins and outs of your finances are.
Well I have just done mine properly for the first time since mum passed away, and its looking rather grim to say the least.

After doing all the adding and subtracting the numbers come up with -£50, so that's a bit of a pain to say the least. To make matters worse, that isn't factoring in any food for the month either, so my weightloss program may well be accelerated somewhat. Where there is a will there is a way, and somehow the numbers will add up somewhere along the line I'm sure. Just need to do a bit of juggling here and there.

On top of this there are a few things I am a little behind on, some of which is sorted, other bits are yet to be discussed and re-arranged, but I will get that done soon. Its just been one of those tough periods where grabbing the bull by the horns is far easier said than done, and hiding the letters away, and ignoring the phone has been far easier. You always know a phonecall from any creditor is bad news.

Good news comes in the shape of utility bills believe it or not. As everyone struggles to keep up with the huge, above inflation rises of fuel prices, my usage has plummeted. Using in some cases half the electricity and gas I was using this time last year. Because of this my accounts are both in credit, and my monthly payments have almost halved.

Then there is my mobile phone usage. Because of choices to arrange mobile phones for friends and family, as well as an addiction to having the latest handset, my mobile bill was huge, for a personal user, I had a bill of about 120- 140 a month. Thankfully with some rehab, a little common sense, and a rethink, I have managed to get this down substantially too. This month will be the first month I get an adjusted bill with the new tariffs etc, so I'm hoping that will half too. If all goes to plan anyway.

I have been in far worse situations than this before, and although its neck deep right now, I am at peace knowing my head is not heading below water, and I can stay afloat. Getting more buoyancy will of course be an improvement, and that is what I am striving for next. If I can pass my part 3 I will have the chance to increase income, so I need to knuckle down and get my shit together.

Things can only get better right... Bootsale time soon, get rid of some junk and get some cash for it.

Right, enough doom and gloom.
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2 men on one Erection

Hope its what you were expecting to see!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

My Guy Fawkes night (Nov 5th 2011)

Amoongst all the doom and gloom of all the recent events and my entries, there was a ray of light... Well more like multiple flashes of light actually.
Sat 5th Nov was spent on Blackheath Common watching the ever amazing FREE fireworks display laid on by the local authorities. Huge number attended, and the weather held out until the last bangs and flashes had passed.
So below I have linked the 5 videos I shot of the display. This year viewed from a different point to normal, but was just as good.
Congratulations to the hundreds if not thousands of people who managed to arrive at the top of the hill at 8.25-8.30 just as the show ended. And to the hundreds more who were still making their way up the steep slope of Shooters Hill.

And before the videos, one more comments.
Thank you to all those working for London Fire Brigade last night. Your Tweetathon really did go some way to open my eyes and those of many others, and give us an insight of what you deal with annually. I am astounded by the number of idiots out there still trusted with matches, lighters and even petrol. For those wondering what I am on about, here are the totals that LFB dealt with last night...

Taken from London Fire Brigades Twitter page.
London Fire Brigade
Some grand totals on From 4pm to midnight we took 528 calls and firefighters went to 114 bonfire related incidents.

London Fire Brigade
That's more than a call a minute and, roughly, a fire every four minutes

London Fire Brigade
Just been called to an out of control bonfire on a park nr Ikea in Croydon

London Fire Brigade
If you’re reading this and still have a in your garden please take care. Another bonfire related incident in Mayeswood Road, SE12

London Fire Brigade
Bonfire out of control on East St, Walworth and another one on East Avenue, Hayes

London Fire Brigade
Yet another call to an out of control bonfire - this is nr Eltham High St, SE9

London Fire Brigade
Keep a close eye on your bonfires tweeple, just been called to one that's out of control on Bounds Green, New Southgate

London Fire Brigade
Out of control bonfire on Briar Road, Romford. You should always build your bonfire well away from buildings, sheds, fences, trees & bushes.

And so on...... Seriously, how stupid are people?

OK, video time, so here are my videos of Blackheath 2011, which thankfully the LFB DIDNT get called out to.

Remember, remember the 4th of November.

Ok the saying is the 5th, but for a small group of families, and many onlookers and other parties involved. Involved in what you might ask. Well it is the colossal crash on the M5 I am talking about.
A week of so ago I started to write an entry here about how we, the public, interact with the roads, and where our responsibilities lay. From speed to awareness, quite simply if we are not willing to take on these responsibilities then we should not drive, at all.
For a long time now the training of news drivers has seemed somewhat inadequate, and the permission given to a newly qualified driver seems a little too generous at times. After learning the basics of operating a car and passing a test, we then spend the rest of our lives honing our skills, and deciding how we will drive. Speed, mannerisms, respect for others etc, this is all decided way after passing our tests.

Sadly, after passing our test, most feel confident and competent, and as soon as that belief arrives the level of concentration dwindles. Mobile phones, maps, sat navs, drinks, sandwiches... The list is endless, but either way, what is actually happening on the road we are throwing 1.5 tonnes of metal down doesn't seem to matter too much.

What I am getting at is, the average driver is far too easily distracted, chooses not to pay enough attention, and most have the 'it won't happen to me' attitude.

So back to the M5. The first I heard was on the news late Friday evening, a multiple vehicle smash, mangled wreckage and fire... Never a good piece of breaking news. As it became topic on Facebook a friend who works as a medic out that way advised me he was on scene and things were looking grim for many. For Simon to say something like that meant things were clearly bad. As the news has continued to report, the truth of what happened and the more realistic death toll are slowly coming out. At this point there are 7 dead and a number left in critical condition.

So what on earth causes an accident like this, fog, stationary traffic hit by an out of control lorry, ice maybe? Well the usual suspects were first to be blamed, following too close, to high a speed for the conditions etc. However from early on I was privy to the true suspect... Fireworks. Those being treated on scene all spoke of a huge firework display just off the motorway seemed to have caught everyone's eye... Possibly even the drivers.

As the word finally filtered through to the media, and it became their focal point to blame for the accident, the reports and interviews started, as did the debates on the radio. And suddenly the idiots start coming out of the woodwork. The mainstream interviews with witnesses just added weight to the fact that the display was still going when the crash occurred, and the more who came forwards, the more that it confirmed that fireworks were going to be the main factor.

So the idiots that I speak of, who are they? Well last night while driving I was listening to a chat show on the radio, and one particular gent seemed quite convinced that he was the voice of the masses. He described how when driving at this time of year, fireworks are 'always' going off just above the cars or the carriageways, and the automatic reaction is to lean forwards, look up and ask 'what on earth was that'. Explaining that everyone does it.

Well dear chap, if this is how easily distracted you are, may I suggest you stop driving immediately. And if you are reading this now thinking I'm being unfair, may I also suggest you too consider your ability to drive, especially at speed on motorways. Yes of course things will catch our eye from time to time, but unless you are required to take immediate action, there is really no need to start staring at things when you are travelling great distances per second.
This behaviour can be tied in to a single category, rubbernecking. We are curious by nature, no doubt about it. However we can make the final decision about what we concentrate on. Everyday on the roads, thousands of people are caught in sometimes huge traffic jams, miles of tailbacks due to an accident. Maybe a multi vehicle, or just a single vehicle, but once we see those blue flashing lights we HAVE to know what's going on. The people sitting in the tailback I speak of are NOT in the same carriageway as the accident, no, they are passing in the other direction. However they are SO intent on having a 3 second glimpse at why there are blue flashing lights, they will slow down on a live flowing motorway from 70+mph to about 20-30mph to make sure they see the misfortune for themselves for a extra second.

Once the first car has slowed, its all over. The traffic behind has to slow too, and as the average speed up to the incident drops, it is only human nature to have a look for yourself, so the speed drops and drops until people are now passing at 5-10mph. Hundreds if not thousands of motorists caught in this never ending cycle now, all passing and feeling the need to catch a glimpse. Spending sometimes upwards of an hour sitting in traffic on a motorway carriageway what has NOTHING wrong with it, no blockage, no incident, just nosey people.

Going back to an earlier entry I spoke of observers and players. These people are 99% observers. No interest in stopping to assist if they could, no, they just want to see it. Once I was driving on the A217 and joined the tail end of a small tailback. Looking up the road there was a car on its roof, another heavily damaged car, and a whole load of parked cars. The strange part was there was hardly one person out of their car. The accident had just happened, but the traffic I was sitting in was purely people just looking on to see how it would unfold. No obstruction on our side, just nosey people. Being a player I found a safe point to stop, and got started helping the injured. With the help of a lorry driver, and a few other people we got everyone assessed, emergency services mobilised, and the scene safe. As for the others, well they stayed stationary watching us work.

Rubberneckers, nosey people, observers, call them what you want, but in this situation they are a liability. Not only because lack of concentration can cause an accident, but then by the nosey behaviour of them, the roads become snarled up, emergency services struggle to get to the scene, and in the worst case scenario, there is another accident.

In one incident quite a few years back there was a large multiple vehicle crash on a motorway (following are guestimates based on recollection) With somewhere in the region of 80-90 vehicles 'involved'. The main impact area then turned into a fireball, and there was loss of life. When I refer to involved, not all cars were in the main area, and some were damaged through taking evasive action further back up the carriageway. However, my point on this story is the reaction from the other side. Rubbernecking started, and as emergency services began arriving on the affected side, a crash began on the rubberneck side. From recollection this incident ended up with something like 103 cars involved, and a higher loss of life than the initial accident they were all so keen to see.

I will wrap this bit up by saying I know we are curious by nature. Nosey about everything, and that's what helps humans develop and learn, its 'human nature'. But we are also intelligent creatures, and can decide between the right and wrong time and method of learning. To understand burning or electrocution we accept what we read, and learn from experience of others and choose not to be involved just for knowledge. We can do that too when we are driving. A firework going off, an accident at the side of the road, or even an person we are attracted walking up the road (yes the number of rear-ending accidents spikes in the summer for this reason) , choose NOT to be distracted please, and maintain responsibility for your vehicle and your actions.

Next time you see blue lights at the side of the motorway think this instead, something has happened and help is now on scene, you are not able and probably not willing to help, so look away, move on and just be grateful we have these people in vehicles with blue lights to be there when we need them.

Since I started this blog last night (5th Nov) there has been another multi vehicle crash, details are as follows...

"Six people have been injured in a crash involving 11 vehicles on the M6 motorway in Lancashire.

Police said the crash involved seven cars and four lorries and happened close to junction 29, near Leyland, south of Preston, at about 01:40 GMT."

This time thankfully a lot smaller and no loss of life. But the big question is, why does everyone drive so bloody close together! That's another story!

RIP those lost on the M5

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

In a second you were gone..

At 38 years old I have experienced the deaths of quite a number of people now, some might say maybe a few too many in fact. From all walks of life, in different circumstances. I am not one to be affected by grief as such, but would be ignorant to say someone's death does not bother me in any way.
The role of honour gets longer by the day, but for the record here are a few, just to give an idea of what my mind has dealt with.

Adam King - Road accident (pedestrian)
John Littlebury - Traffic incident (motorcyclist)
Kevin Flanders - Traffic incident (motorcyclist)
John Weston - Traffic incident (motorcyclist)
Mary Lunt - Short illness, cancer
Graeme Breen - Long term illness, inc cancer
Ann Snasdell (mum) - Long term cancer
Tas Hossain - Brain tumour

That's a snippet of it all, but gives you the right idea, its not like I have never known anyone who has died. And this point is important for what's coming now.

In all the deaths I have dealt with, I have never been in a situation where someone was snatched from my grasps within seconds. I was there the day mum passed, in fact for the moment she passed. I had spoken to Graeme and John days before they both died etc, but it has never seemed instantaneous to me.

What provoked this thought is the shooting of two people in SE22 today, quite local to me. Ok they are not the first people to have been shot locally, let alone nationally. I didn't know them, nor would want to I don't think based on their apparent gang affiliations, however the way they went made me think. Put the affiliations aside and you are left with an individual surrounded by friends and loved ones. In a split second they are pierced by a shard of metal which instantly takes them away from everyone around them. Like a light switch, turned of, lights out, life extinguished, gone forever.

This is not about me mourning the loss of this individual, but more about my curiosity about how you cope with such a thing. Within 5 seconds you can go from talking to someone like there is nothing wrong, to cradling their lifeless body in your arms, helplessly.

Yes I have dealt with death, and it is not pleasant to watch your own mother take her last breath, then depart. But knowing she was ill, knowing she was weak payed a major role in dealing with this. Losing a friend in an accident I was not present at again doesn't compare. How can it, I heard the news much later and dealt with it the only way you can.

I think the combinations of surprise, presence, and helplessness makes losing someone you love in the blink of an eye, the most unbearable way to lose a loved one possible. From murder to sudden medical issue, from road accident to accident at home, each is as traumatic as the next, and as I sit on the train, surrounded by strangers I am left wondering how many people on this train know what that feeling is like.

The closest I have ever witnessed was a motorcycle accident on Chelsea Bridge where a man was killed in an instant. A complete stranger to me, however the shock of it and the sudden way it occurred probably affected me more than any other death I have knowledge of. To watch a perfectly healthy person transition from life to death in a heartbeat is astounding, shocking and down right upsetting without a doubt. Trying to make the subsequent 999 call was proof enough that it has affected me.

So to go back to the funeral today, as its the most current example, I can't imagine what it was like to have someone's life extinguished before your very eyes. Remembering that they were at an event to say farewell to another fallen loved one. Factor out the gang and the behaviour, and remember for a moment that parents, relatives and other friends would have been present.

I hope that for each person I lose along my journey in life, that no one I love is lost in such a cruel way. I wish never to be present at a loss like this. And I also hope that I will not pass in such a way either. In fact I'm sure we all think that way.

Life is a gift, death is a certainty. Dignity throughout is something we all wish for, and happiness for our loved ones is a must.

My thoughts go out to anyone who loses a loved one from their company in a second like this.

Phew.... I need chocolate!
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Thoughts of the day....

OK, first up, Sian. Its been a long time since I wrote about her, and it feels weird to just drop her like that. Its not like the first phone call was all I wanted.
However, from the time of her call to me I have tried to keep it quiet and respect her privacy. So I just wanted to take a moment to say, I have not forgotten about her, and dont stop thinking about her.

So on to other things now, and starting with my favourite subject, ME !
The past week of so I have tried to start a new regime, to get organised, and get my life in order. I have been drifting along now for a few months since mum passed away, and been a little ignorant to dealing with some of the bills and other responsibilities that I now have. Needless to say thats left me in a bit of a mess now. So from this week I am making an effort to snap out of it. Starting with exercise. I know its a weird place to start, but from experience, moving the body moves the mind.

So every day this week I have got back out and about with the dogs, giving them a walk. Just having a reason to get up at the time I do, and getting out in the fresh morning air to walk the dogs starts the day off right. And as the days have passed, I have felt more and more motivated to get on with other things in life. Sadly however, getting my rent sorted seems to be the one thing I cant get my head around right now. I know its in arrears, and I know I have to deal with it ASAP, but cant being myself to check my bank account and get on with it. I shall have to draught in help with that.

Other things like getting my life back, socialising, being helpful again and other such wonders are slowly creeping back in too. And as I start to communicate with the outside world again, I can start to dispose of things left in the house that are no longer needed. Things that hopefully can have a second life and go on to help others. Mums walking aids and other such things are the starting point there. With lesser things heading for bootsale like my old VHS video recorder, and a wonderful collection of cables and other junk that may make someone else happy, for a small fee.

I think for me its just a matter of finding the right balance of keeping myself occupied and not sitting bored whenever I have free time, and the other side being allowing myself enough free time to socialise. Money of course helps with socialising, but thats another matter right now.

Right, having read this back I can only say badly structured and floating about from topic to topic, so I will stop for now. I seem to write better from my Blackberry these days.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pawn, Observer or Player.. What's your role in life?

The more time you spend mixing in the public domain, the more opportunity you have to participate in the lives of others. Being a player. If you commute you probably spend a lot of time around people you see everyday. You may not interact with them much, if at all, but given half a chance would you offer a hand, intervene or step in?

I know its a weird question for some, the thought of becoming involved in something that is originally nothing to do with you may seem totally alien. However to others, like myself its a part of everyday life. It might not be life critical, it might not change the world, but even helping someone with their buggy up some stairs, giving directions, or just checking someone is ok, is truly playing a part in life.

To me there are 3 types of people in this world, pawns, observers and players. Call them what you like. But this is my breakdown.
A pawn is a person who lives a simple life, head down, gets on, never gets involved and aims to do as they are told. An observer is someone who is more active in life, aware of their surroundings, adapts to what's going on, but still keeps themselves very much to them self. Then there are players. Fully involved in life, willing to step in if they can help, always aware of what's happening around them, and never shying away from the opportunity to make an impact on someone else.

Regardless of morals or intentions, no matter what drives you in life. In general you will slot onto one of the above categories.

When I look back and reflect on past experiences in life it is easier to see how the groups operate, allow me to offer an example.
A few years back I saw a rather crazy or deranged looking man walking down the main road with 2 axes in his hands, merrily chopping away at lampposts etc. Clearly realising he was a danger to the public I immediately called 999 and kept him in my sight while guiding the police in to my location. However.... As I talked to the police on the phone I realised 80% of the people on the street were oblivious to his behaviour, too consumed by their own lives. These Pawns left themselves vulnerable to all sorts of dangers by being unaware of what was going on outside their bubbles.
On previous occasions when a major incident is occurring, the police operator will advise you they have received a number of calls, and being on the scene of such an incident you will usually see others on their phones, observing and reporting... But on this day, nothing. Suggesting the other 20% were observers. Aware enough to avoid the matter, possibly able to tell the story to people at work (as one of my colleagues was) but playing no part in the matter, no 999 call, no warning of people around, just being aware of what was going on outside the bubble, to avoid it bursting.

Maybe such an event is a little too extreme to use as an example, let me dumb it down a bit.

OK, a recent redevelopment of a road near me has caused concerns about how to cross it. I know, we all learned to cross a road as children, but for the less aware amongst us, crossing the road is seen as a right, and not something that takes care and consideration. So this road, its only 2 cars wide, give or take a couple of feet, but apparently still a challenge to cross for some grown adults.
The arguments posed by our 3 groups are simple, a pedestrian crossing should be installed to allow commuters to cross safely, a zebra crossing should be installed to allow safe crossing, or people should just be more aware of their surroundings and learn to cross a bloody road properly.
OK this isn't a similar example of our 3 groups, but its another angle on how the mindsets of people work. Those wanting a pedestrian crossing want to hand over total responsibility of who says its safe to cross. Our pawns want a little green man to tell them the decision has been made for them, cross without thinking outside the bubble at all.
Our observers however, a little more savvy, and confident of things outside the bubble, wanting some control over their decision, but ultimately still looking for something to stop the bubble being damaged. Then there are the players. Capable of interacting with the world around them, able to make an informed decision and not requiring something physical to give them the reassurance that it will all be ok.
On a side note, and as a secondary observation, put all three groups on an open road or zebra crossing and only 2 groups would be able to assist or consider assisting someone else across the road. Elderly, carrying an object etc. The pawns would be blissfully unaware that there was even anyone else there.
Needless to say, in this instance the majority want some form of crossing to use for this tiny yet terrifying piece of road, with only a small minority able to comprehend that it is not practical to have a crossing on such a small piece of road.

I have many more example of how the 3 groups behave. In an emergency situation, after a car accident maybe. Pawns won't notice what has happened, however may feel their way is being blocked so become irate and sound their horn. Observers will be aware of what's happening, maybe advise others, almost certainly complain to friends, maybe even take pictures. But it is only the player who will become involved and check for injuries, make calls, and try and help.

What I am trying to get at here is we need to break out from our bubbles once in a while and become involved. In countries stricken by disaster 99% of the population instantly become players, seeing to their own needs and the needs of others. Karma, give and take, call it what you want, but one good turn deserves another, and usually someone involved will receive as much as they give, in thanks or out of respect. But instead all we do in the UK is expect, demand and assume we are entitled. Rather than earning and working for things society teaches us that the less we do, the more we deserve. The social scrounging epidemic is just one example of that. We don't have to be involved in life, we don't have to participate or do a single thing, raise a hand to help another person, in fact nothing at all. And in return we will receive a place to live, beer money, bus passes and all sorts of other concessions.

Its time to stop being a pawn, and at least step up to willing observer status. Stop standing and staring when you see someone struggling, don't just watch on as a man struggles to get their broken down car off the junction, don't assume someone else will make the 999 call for the suspicious person you saw, or the smoke you can see coming from the window. Play a part, stand up and be counted, and feel that you belong, and made a difference.

I have spent years getting involved, from fires in woodlands, to serious road accidents, weirdo's with axes, to concern for wellbeing. Its empowering, it gives you a sense of being, has no real recourse, and makes a difference to someone elses life. One day you will hope someone is there for you, looking our for you, or willing to help you.... So be that person for someone else today.

Take a moment to think which of the three you are, a pawn, an observer or a player...... At the end of the day I'm not judging anyone, you are what you are, its for you to decide if you could me more.....

Yours sincerely

Michael Snasdell
Player of Life
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M25 impressive.... Tent City... not impressed

I refer to the accident on the M25 today that caused a 19 mile tailback. First question really is, how few people really check the travel news before heading out in the morning. Given that the accident occured at just after 03.00 this morning, and the worst of the traffic was building up some 3 hours later.... Fools.

The accident itself was a lorry striking the central reservation rupturing his fuel tank, spreading diesel all over the carriageway. From there is becomes a bit of a blur. Apparently the diesel caused a reaction with the tarmac, causing the surface to melt, making it unsafe to drive on.

From the time of the accident to the estimated time of repair, a tiny 12 hours would elapse. 12 hours for a clean up I hear you say.. but no! In that 12 hours they get the equipment to the scene to tear up the surface, remove the debris, bring in new tarmac, and re-lay a whole new road surface, planning to have the road back open by the start of the todays rush-hour. Which when you consider the magnitude of re-laying a larger section of motorway, 2-3 lanes for a hundred yards or so, thats some epic task to achieve in twelve hours... Let alone with no notice of the job. To just jump into action, get the troops and equipment together and sort the logistics of trucks, materials and manpower... Now thats really going some. So well done to the Highway Agencies for making that happen.

On the flip side there is the annoying bastards at St Pauls. Still not going anywhere, and getting slightly confused in their own direction now. All of a sudden the purpose of setting up at St Pauls was to get the church behind their efforts. Hmmm. You wish to enrole the support of the amazingly wealthy Church of England, and want to get them to back you in your anti capitalism campaign ? Or is it that you just want to befriend them now to apply pressure so you can stay irritating the hell out of the Corporation of London for even longer?

Someone quitting their job because they CANNOT condone physical action against you is NOT a show of support. Its being pushed into a corner by selfish arseholes who demand the religious members of the St Pauls organisation choose one side or the other. Their choice to walk is not a sign of support, in fact if you think of it from another angle, the only thing it offers support for is physical intervention by the police. By not being able to say what they really feel, leaves them no choice but to quit. So stick that in your peace pipe and smoke it.

I believe one of the men of the cloth said last week to the protesters, you have had your say, now its time you moved on.... Then quit shortly thereafter. Do you still consider this support.

My point is, everyone knows your cause, everyone understand the plight of the 99% (except the illusive 1%), and everyone knows where you are. The problem is, the only thing people are talking about now is how damn irritating it is all becoming. Its costing the tax payer, the 99%, their hard earned taxes to keep you all looked after, clean (as clean as can be expected anyway) and managed by the police. And before it is said the police dont need to be there..... Dont be so stupid, firstly you lot cant be trusted, and second of all there are a LOT of people who are sick to death of you now, and its not long before it becomes something the public decide to act on in person.

Protesting is about having your say, spreading your message, and making a good case for yourself and your cause. NOT being a pain in the arse, costing the tax payer money, and costing people their jobs. Your cause has lost its fire now, and the public have lost interest. Look at the news reports, and all anyone is talking about now is legal action, and how much of a beating you will all get when you are finally moved out.

How the hell....

Small 20mph residential road with traffic calming measures, wet surface, early morning 'must get there' state of mind and most of all SPEED... That's how the hell you get an accident of such magnitude on a small road like this.
I walk this road daily while walking my dogs, sometimes straight up from where the distant shot was taken from, and other times emerging from the side road where the accident begun.

So let's hypothesise how all this happened shall we... Here is my take on it.

The Saab enters from the bottom of Kemble Road, picking up speed as it travels up the road. This road is a rat run, and the poor traffic calming just encourage it really. As the Saab approaches Loxton Road, about 75 metres up on its right, a Mini begins to emerge. I can only assume at this point there was a misjudgement of intention and speed, and the Mini is now 45 degrees into the path of the Saab.
The first impact occurs Saab offside front to Mini nearside door, punching the Mini off to the right, and causing the Saab to veer to the left (more than it already may be doing for evasive action.
As the Saab moves left it now makes a second impact with a parked Fiesta, this time Saab nearside front to Fiesta offside door. This impact heavier that that to the Mini, joins the cars together for a moment, causing the Saab to drag the Fiesta up the road a little causing the Fiesta's frontal impact with the tree. This impact frees the cars once again and the Saab now missing its nearside drive components, grinds to a halt.

Meanwhile on the other side of the road the Mini comes to rest quite firmly in the rear end of the 4th vehicle involved, this time a parked Micra.

My biggest worry is I know people who live on this junction, and I quite frequently stand and chat on the adjacent pavements. The sheer scattering of cars and debris could have caused nasty injuries to passing pedestrians.

The next concern is speed. I would say I'm not pointing fingers here, but the fact is I AM! Given the speed limit on the road, and the position of the cars post-accident, I would have to say the manner the Saab was driven is was almost reckless. Travelling @ 20mph, the impact with the Mini alone would have been almost enough to stop the Saab in its tracks. The fact it managed to punt the Mini so hard, and so far out of its way suggests there was either no time to react, or there was speed involved..

But that's not all. Not only was there such a violent punt, but then the Saab managed to carry enough speed (one would assume now under braking) that it struck a parked car further up the road. Again, under normal circumstances I would expect the second impact with a this time stationary object to end the motion of the car. However once again it doesn't. The impact is violent enough to embed the Saab in the Fiesta, transfer motion into the stationary and one would assume secured Fiesta. So much energy transfer that it managed to propel the Fiesta at a great enough speed into a nearby tree to cause extensive damage to the front of the vehicle.

NOW... The Saab is STILL carrying enough inertia to keep going still, separating from the Fiesta and continuing another car length before finally coming to rest. Assuming throughout this accident a reasonable reaction was made to try and stop the vehicle, the distance travelled and damage caused is quite astounding.

So, people of Forest Hill, and those who travel through it or to it for work.... Slow down eh!

I'm not for one second here saying the Mini didn't fail to look left, and pulled straight into the path of the Saab, causing an immediate, heavy impact. But I would say the damage from the subsequent impacts indicate the Saab was doing more than the posted 20. Maybe its time that Kemble Road was furnished with full length speed humps.?

OK, so just for a little clarification of the start and finish positions of the vehicles were, here is a little diagram.

Arrows are starting points of cars, rectangles end points. Stars are impacts (pink 1st, red 2nd.) Colours of symbols refer to the colour of the vehicle.
Hopefully this demonstrates the distance travelled by the Saab in total, and the road layout and markings.

Friday, October 28, 2011

I'm on a slippery slope... Again!

I don't know how I keep finding myself like this, but over and over I find myself heading south. Its almost like havings downs and up's in life, rather than up's and downs. When I bounce back it seems I bounce down not up. Do I live some weird anti gravity life?
I have to be totally honest and say its doing my freakin head in here. All I want is a decent period of time on the up for once.

Right now I'm over weight, owe money, unhealthy, lazy and under motivated. So much needs sorting out, but all I can think about and do is eat, sleep and drag my arse into work. Its pathetic! I know I CAN get out of this, but its a matter of doing it, and finding a way to stay away from the edge for a while.

Today I have made a start, trying to be positive. Bit of tidying up, got up earlier, made a couple of long overdue phonecalls, and taken some photos to report some repairs on the house. Baby steps I call it, others might call it a half hearted attempt. Tomorrow I will try and get back in the morning dog walk routine. With the fireworks season underway they won't get evening walks for a while now. There are so many more steps, so hopefully my strides will increase in size, and I will pick up speed.

The next hurdle which I need some speed to tackle is the weight issue. I would not call myself a yo-yo weight loser, more a bungee... Goes quickly, stays off a long time then springs back on gently but continuously lol. Either way it needs sorting.
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Thats all I have to say about how I feel right now, about a multitude of things.
Health, feeling crap, sore throat, no voice, sniffles, cough and still no proper answer from my doctor's about my stomach pain. The receptionist tried to read the results from the scan today but said it was better a GP spoke to me about it as there were words she didnt understand on there. So a call back request has been placed. This will take place in 1-3 days time! Til then, its stomach discomfort as usual for me.

Then there is the Occupy London rubbish. Dedicated to their cause, willing to illegally occupy areas of London they are not permitted or wanted on. Happy to close St Paul's Cathedral for however long it takes... Oh but wait a minute....

"A police helicopter's thermal imaging camera showed the tent encampment was almost entirely empty overnight.
This has led to accusations that the 300-strong group of protesters are part-timers, going home to warm beds in the evenings to sleep.
The protesters are aware of the vacancies and allocate empty tents to newcomers.
Corporation of London councillor Matthew Richardson said: "It is incredible. The overnight monitoring of the site by the police showed that 90% of the tents are unoccupied.
"It just shows most of the demonstrators don't have the courage of their convictions and are just here to make trouble."


So in reality, as quoted above, they are exactly what I said a week ago, pathetic !

Right now I am just on a proper low, feeling like crap, worrying about the wrong things, and just sick and tired of feeling like this. Not depressed or anything, but just no motivation to be doing anything positive. I just want my health back once and for all, and no more of these outbreaks of ulcers, sore throats, etc.

Moan over for now. Was going to write more, but in the general mood of things, I cant be bothered.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The weekend in Wales and Derby with the kids

Well this weekend I have been to Wales and am now in Derby with the niece and nephew Katie and Calum. The trip to Wales was for them to meet my aunt Joan, and the stop in Derby to drop in on Cadell and Archie (my part time son) and bring them back to London with us.

The meet with Joan went well, they were nervous to start with but soon relaxed. By the end of the few hours spent there they were happy and charged with energy, and Joan was so pleased to have met them.

So I will be quiet for now and add the pictures for all to see. I will add more text later
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Not even funny!

Further to my observations and opinions earlier regarding the Occupy London protesters lsxlondon, I just watched a live news report, showing now over 100 tents outside the cathedral, and confirmations from the 'protesters' that they will NOT be moving.

In the background is a banner saying 'respect us'...... Are you fuckin serious! You are imposing yourself on St Paul's Cathedral, forcing their doors shut to tourists and worshippers, losing them £20,000 a day (thought you cared about people and the financial situation!!), and after this you want respect!!

Respect is earned not deserved. Move on, show you deserve respect, then you might get just a little.

I can't see it happening though, and am sure we will see more disruption over the weekend. You bunch of chimps!
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Dear 'Protesters'

If that's what you choose to call yourselves. I just wanted to clarify something with you all.

In the 80's we had 'flying pickets' that appeared on any picket line that showed up in the middle of the unrest surrounding the miners strikes. For Greenham Common we saw loads of people just jumping on an exciting bandwagon of nuclear activism. In more recent times we had the riots in the towns and cities of the UK, where we saw opportunistic little idiots claiming to sympathise and understand the causes which were the cause of the unrest, and display their understanding by looting shops and burning them to the ground.

This is not forgetting of course the Student Protests, in which we saw an extraordinary demonstration of violence and stupidity. With hopeful students going to prison, buildings torched, and a complete waste of police resources, and damage to public property. Mainly by mindless idiots who just joined in, but partially by educated and intelligent people.

Now we come to 'you'... Where exactly do you fit in here? Popping up at Dale Farm, then at Occupy London, and then back to Dale Farm etc... Wtf is your game? I don't get it. Are you hormonal, over sympathetic, pathetic, or just trouble makers?

Dale Farm, yes it has taken eons to make progress on the evictions, and its not nice to be turfed out of your long term home. But then again if you do something illegal, its pretty obvious the law will catch up with you eventually. I feel sympathy for those affected, and pity for the youngster who find themselves on the move. However almost all the trouble caused at the protest and subsequent eviction was caused by YOU! The non travelling travellers were upset and showed their anger and distress, but it seems it was the 'activists' or 'protesters' that were doing the stupid and dangerous things, as well as the acts of violence towards the police and violence.
The law was against you, the police were there to enforce the bailiffs, so violence towards them was nothing to do with democratic rights to protest, it was just ignorance to everything around you, and an excuse to be a trouble maker and get some TV time.
When its all done you will all just piss off to the next protest, lose contact with those that you 'care' about and remember nothing more that the bricks you threw at other human beings. The same human beings you accused of brutality for so much as pushing you!

Moving on we have Occupy London aka Piss Off St Pauls! What exactly is to be gained here. You have a gripe with their financial neighbours, so are sitting on THEIR doorstep, causing an obstruction and distress to visitors. If you have a complaint about an Adsa pie, do you complain to Tesco because its more convenient.... The answer is NO!
Not only do most of you have little involvement in the financial structure of this country, let alone any input to it other than your bottles of cider, but I'm sure most don't even understand the point of the protest at all. When I was there to observe your stupidity on Sunday I was in awe of the mixed messages being read out, and on banners. The lack of structure to it all, and the dumbness of the behaviour of the mindless attention seeking idiots there.

Kettling! Seriously, it was a containment. If you want to experience kettling, go to the Notting Hill Carnival or other such busy place. POor treatment... You had toilets, water and food. Not tear gas, water cannons, and non lethal rounds being fired at you... You didn't only get your democratic rights, you were pampered to a level you did NOT deserve. Only to cry foul play, and brutality.

You can probably tell I am NOT a fan of your behaviour. Nor the way the reasonable people of the UK have their tax money spent on managing your unruly protests, poor behaviour, and for that matter, pay for your facilities and the repairs to the property you damage.

There is protesting to make your point, there are sit-in's to cause disruption to the operation of a company or organisation. There are strikes to disrupt the productivity of a company (although you would need a job first) and then there is downright stupid behaviour which serves no purpose other than to seek attention, dilute the seriousness of the true cause. Every cause you touch turns stupid, every voice you try to 'help' to echo, you in fact drown it out.

You are bored, irritating, costly, jobless, mainly unclean, trouble makers with nothing better to do with your lives than jump on any media bandwagon, proclaim your commitment to the cause, and then run away with it.
If you REALLY care about money, and the financial situation of the country, stop causing so much trouble, let innocent businesses trade without fear of disruption or destruction, stop the need for huge police numbers (in overtime) to manage your poor behaviour, and save the country some money. And if you really care, do some volunteer work, soup kitchens, care centres, park projects. There are plenty of places calling out for free help. But then there are no free facilities, and no media attention, so I guess that's you out.

To all the genuine people who know the cause they support, commit themselves to it, and demonstrate in the true democratic way, I applaud you for sticking to your guns, following your beliefs, and having your voice heard by others, and I truly hope these idiots who ruin it for you, grow up and get jobs soon.
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What the hell is going on!

First up, what is the chances of 50% of the workers in an office losing a parent in 3 months. Further to that, the number increases even further if you up the time scale to a year. 4 people out of the 6 in my office have had a parent pass in the last 12 months! Its a crazy number, and one that really defines mortality to you.
To go hand in hand with that, in the past 16 months I have lost my oldest friend, one of my closest friends, my mother, and a close friends father who I knew very well. On top of that there is another friend who also passed shortly before that. Not a good year for a personal death toll then (pardon the phrase)
I can only hope that the person I am about to talk about doesn't add themselves to that toll any time soon.

So, my Aunty Joan, who is currently receiving treatment for breast and bone cancer, but fighting like a trooper, just like my mum did. Her health for her age is amazing, let alone for someone who has cancer in such awkward places. It would be lovely if she can just keep hanging on in there forever more, but the reality of it is far more gloomy. So why do I speak of her, well that's simple, I'm going to see her tomorrow.
Its been a while since I have seen her, quite a long time in fact. I have not seen her since the weekend of mums funeral which was back in mid August, so I am long overdue a visit. To add to this I am taking advantage of the half term holidays and taking my niece and nephew to meet Joan too. The last time either of them was in Wales was when they were babies, and far too young to have met Joan properly, so no time like the present eh.
The plan is somewhat up in the air at the moment. Where I would love to spend the whole weekend with them there, and take my time showing them the sights, and taking them on a trip down mums memory lane, I'm not sure how far the money will stretch for accommodation etc, so we shall have to see.

I did have a master plan in place, but at the moment it all seems to have gone a little arse up, so its going to be an 'as it happens' weekend. A few sights, some photography and education for Katie, a little fun and games if the weather holds out, and bonding with them of course, which apparently I have not done enough of. Fingers crossed I can make the most of it.

The success of the weekend will of course depend on if I get my voice back in time to shout and scream at the kids, scream at other roads users, and not forgetting actually conversing with my Aunt. Without my voice I am going to feel a little useless. In all seriousness I want to be able to show them the sights, and tell them some stories, not just pull up, point, smile and move on. Talking to my aunt is also very important to me, and I also like to talk to her carer too, to get a clear picture of her health and her well being. Little things like appetite, activity level and interests are all important to know, so I can make my own judgement on her outlook so to speak.

The losing of my voice is the final insult to a week of having a cold, then a chesty cough, and now coughing so much I have manager to lose my voice. Less phonecalls for me at work I guess, that's one advantage lol. However for day to day things its causing me hell, especially for making phone calls to creditors etc. Speaking of which, reminds me of something else. My to do list. Written up a few days ago, with anything and everything I have to do, from reporting repairs, right through to sorting finance. If I say so myself I have managed a large number of the things from the list. Trivial things like cleaning, and huge thing like sorting money matters out have all been taken care of so far. Just a few more things to get out of the way, hopefully I will have this sorted by the end of the weekend.

On another note.... My god I have put weight on! Huge amounts over the past couple of months. Stress and poor health have not helped, but the truth is I have become a lazy fat knacker too. A habit I need to get out of soon, and get my weight and lifestyle back on track. Morning walks with the dogs have suffered, eating habits are stupid at the moment, and clothes sizes are rising, but still within tolerances. So that's next on my to do list.

And another note, my scan. I have heard nothing back from the doctor, not sure if I actually will on something like this. Maybe I am meant to go to see him, I really should call up and see what the score is on that count, and see if they decided it was anything noticeable or just me being a whiner.

Right that's me done for now.
As a foot note I want to say that my thoughts are with Steve Warwick and his family now after the passing of his father last night. Its a tough time for them all I'm sure, and I just want them to know I am here if I can help with anything.
And also to the Pirrie/Somers family. With David having his bone marrow transplant yesterday, the next week or so are very important, so here's to hoping that everything that is needed to be seen happens, and that he is on the mend very soon. Respect to his brother for making the donation.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What a terrible day.

Such conflict in my emotions today, caused by the passing of two people.

Firstly there is a sense of happiness that the world no longer hosts one of its cruellest dictators. A man who has ruled with tyranny for decades, and created a country so misunderstood by the world, that until a few months ago most thought they were a nation of terrorists, and a country full of trouble. As the story has developed, it has become clear that Libya stood for so much more, and was determined to cease the movement of the North African nations against their rulers, and finally stand up for what they believed in.

Today they gained their freedom. In what some might describe as an unjust and bloody way, but it has ended the terror he inflicted once and for all. The name Gadaffi will no doubt live of for years, with the likes of Hussain and Bin Laden, and connected to their distant crazy relatives of tyranny like Hitler. All crazy people who used terror and torture to install themselves in power, and who turned people against their own in the promise of a better life in return for inflicting pain and hate upon their own.

The past few years have seen the fall of most of there hateful people, and we can only hope it was assisted by the West for the right reasons, and words like money and oil don't start creeping up in agreements. The British Empire was historically greedy and selfish, so let us not see the birth of the American Empire for this generation.

Then I have to turn my attention the the conflict in my own mind. Another passing has occurred today, which has provoked a completely different reaction in my mind and heart. The father of a dear friend of mine. In fact it is fair to say the entire family have been dear to my heart for many years now. He has been suffering what most would consider unbearable pain for as long as I can remember. The kind of discomfort you would beg to be freed from, and the sort of decline in health that makes a grown man weep to even consider, let alone experience.

Throughout the twenty years I have had the pleasure of knowing him, he has fought tooth and nail to maintain his quality of life, not giving up driving until it was impossible, refusing to roll over and let illnesses get the better of him, and never really feeling sorry for himself. I know many people who have suffered illness and pain, but few who have been so nobel in their journey, and who have maintained such dignity.

Having lost my mother only a couple of months ago, I can truly empathise with how Steven is feeling right now. However as mums decline was so one directional it was always clear to see where things were going. For Steven and Andrew (brothers) they have had to watch their fathers health behave like an ECG, up and down, bottomless lows only to bounce back to the top of the scale again. Strokes and mini strokes which rewrite the medical rules of how many one person can endure.

The world has lost a true fighter in every sense of the word tonight, and I say proudly that it has been a true pleasure being part of the life of such a true gentleman, father and husband to the Warwick family.
My thoughts are with you guys, and if you need a single thing, you know where I am.
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