Make a wish.

It’s amazing how being a parent can change your out look on life. Many years ago if asked to make a wish I’d have said money or fame or something to improve my existence, but being a parent and responsible for the life of another gives you a different perspective. 

Tonight we went to see Tom’s secondary school. He’s year 6 now so goes to ‘big school’ next September. He’s excited. He’s nervous. I’m not worried as I know he’ll do just fine. 

So I guess my wish is for him. For my son to have the absolute best start in life, the best education, the best opportunities, the best of everything. He’s growing up so quickly. He’ll soon not be my little boy anymore. I wish for him to be a successful young man.

Eight things you love about yourself.

I’d said yesterday that it is difficult to give myself over to critical self-analysis. I think this task, choosing positives about me, is a little tougher. It’s obvious this list is American-based. Brits don’t do ‘love about yourself’. It was easier to choose 7 improvements than 8 positives. But here goes.

  1. My height. 6′ 6″ gives me a unique viewpoint (and keeps me out of trouble).
  2. My job. I love love love what I do. It’s a privilege and an honour.
  3. Emotional intelligence. I can typically work people out quite quickly.
  4. Laid back. Almost to the point of horizontalness.
  5. I can help people. Be that financially, emotionally, however. I can and do help people.
  6. I love how close I am to my mum.
  7. I take good photographs. It’s something I’d like to explore more. See my Flikr and Instagram below.
  8. Some people sometimes say nice things about the things I write.


Seven things you’d like to improve about yourself.

Ahh, critical analysis of oneself. Something I’m extremely good at.

  1. Stop being so sarcastic (see above). Perhaps not something I can do much about. I do sarcasm like other people do hugs. But maybe, and in only certain circumstances, a slightly less bilious commentary would be a good idea.
  2. Improve my relationship with my brother. Yes, THAT brother. Because you’re a long time dead and life shouldn’t be taken so damned seriously.
  3. Spend more time with Tom. Work is a killer here. Shifts are not an ideal situation for maintaining a routine and we all know kids need routine. But he’s getting older now and will be at Secondary School this time next year.
  4. Improve my overall fitness.
  5. Improve my overall health (diet).
  6. Get my house in order. I’ve been back here for two years now and planning on decorating for two years now. And I’ve done very little*.
  7. Read more. I’ve got a reading list but I’m not reading. Too much telly and ‘puter games. Books are the way. “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”

*nothing, I’ve done nothing.

Six things about fall you’re looking forward to.

Autumn. It’s Autumn. The season is Autumn.

This’ll have to be quick as I’m due in court today and it’s going to be unpleasant. Six things I’m looking forward to about Autumn.

  1. Portugal. A week in the SUN pretending it’s still SUMMER.
  2. Berlin. I’ll be 40 this Autumn and visiting one of the world’s greatest cities to celebrate.
  3. Cold DRY mornings. Something about a crisp frost makes me feel cosy. I do not like it being wet.
  5. York. Us boys haver a fabled last York trip of the year to look forward to at the end of September.
  6. Getting fit not fat*

*Twice recently I’ve been called fat. Once it was suffixed with a c-bomb so I think that was more an attempt to insult rather than offer constructive criticism. Watch this space.

Top five highlights from summer.

In no particular order:

Crete. Never been to Greece before. I’m one of them holiday makers who tends to not go back to the same place over and over again. I’ll always choose ‘ooh never been there before’ over the safe choice of somewhere I’m familiar with. And I’d never been to Greece before.
It was a pretty cool and relaxed place and we had a pretty cool and relaxed time. Food, drink, quiet chill times. Just what the Doc ordered. And then there was that skinny dipping incident.

Devon. Twice! It’s such a different place to the north east it might as well be continental. I spent one week and then one Bank Holiday weekend persistently drunk.

York. Twice!! We used to do York three or four times as year over the summer months. That’s slowed significantly due to work commitments and us growing up. But I’ve managed two weekends on the bounce on York this summer.  Seems like as we get older we have less time to spend with friends. It’s important to capture what few opportunities present themselves.

Bamburgh Castle and the Northumbria Coast. Of all the summer days out this one was the best. It was my first time and we took Tom. He loved it! The castle has impressive views of the beaches and there were English Civil War re-enactors. After the castle we drove down to Boulmer beach and stopped at Seahouses for fish and chips.

And finally. This summer my best friend asked me to be Best Man at his wedding. It was an honour to accept at to be part of their special day. Definitely a highlight!

Thankful Thursday.

It’s Monday, but I’m not going to let that stop me. These are the things I am thankful for on Thursdays or Mondays – or any other days for that matter.

  1. I am thankful to have been born a healthy, white, heterosexual, british citizen. I have never faced discrimination or hate because of my skin colour, nationality, ethnicity, marital status, religious beliefs, sex, gender or sexual orientation.
  2. I am thankful to be gainfully employed. I have a roof over my head, food in my belly and clothes on my back. I can go out and enjoy my life without worrying about where my next meal will come from.
  3. I am thankful that my son is strong, healthy and happy. His needs are accommodated as are the majority of his wants.
  4. I am thankful for my family – all of them be they close by or distant. Be they estranged or not.
  5. I am thankful for the woman who tolerates my miserable, stupid, stubborn arse.
  6. I am thankful for the ability to travel as see new places. This year, London, Glasgow, Krakow, Devon, Crete, Portugal, Berlin.
  7. I am thankful that my friends are happy and content in their lives. That they are looking forward to the future.
  8. I am thankful that I will stand up next to my best mate next May as Best Man at his wedding. It’s an honour to do so.
  9. I am thankful for living in an age where I can connect with people from all over the world in an instant, sharing ideas and information that my parents and grandparents before them would never have access to.
  10. I am thankful that, in my own small way, I can make a difference to people’s lives.

Favourite fashion trends right now.

This is a joke right? I haven’t been in fashion since Japan surrendered. I spend half my time in uniform, a quarter of my time in bed, and the remaining time trying to be as comfortable as possible with as little effort and cost as possible. I’m not fashionable. Men who are 40 typically are not. I sometimes joke that style never goes out of fashion, but I wouldn’t class myself as stylish either.

My ‘style’ is typically plain t-shirts (£2 each from Primark) and jeans in summer, cargo-type shorts in summer. If I’m going out I might stick on a shirt which is either plain or subtly patterned. Hoodies and woolly jumpers complete my ‘look’. I do have too many pairs of shoes though – most often Converse or similar.

So there you have it. Plain t-shirts/shirts, shorts/jeans, and something on my feet. That’s my style, that’s my favourite fashion trend.

Something you’re proud of accomplishing recently.

Sometimes it’s an accomplishment to just keep my mouth shut. I’m a grumpy, miserable, miserly old twisty git and still having friends (sometimes) and still having a relationship (all the time) is an achievement in itself. I think after enough time elapses you develop an innate affinity with the status quo. You don’t want to rock the boat or accept/adapt to change. You just want to sit in your pants watching the telly, drinking beer and eating pizza.

However; youse lot aren’t going to allow me to choose ‘doing nowt and not complaining too much’ as an accomplishment, are you? (“NO!”) So I’ll choose something else.

In July I finally managed to pull together enough time and assistance to complete the restoration of my bench. I inherited it from I don’t remember who I don’t remember when and it sat in the back yard of my home for years rotting away. I didn’t want to throw it away so together with my stepdad it was restored. From this:


To this:


And I have to say I am pretty pleased with the results.