Sunday, October 31, 2010

The underlying anger

I find it both useful and destructive this underlying anger that I have these days. I can't tell you what that is about as if you know me you probably realise that most of the time I'm pretty much a level headed sort of guy, old enough to have politics a little too far right for the comfort of my kids (hey that's what Dads are there for right?) and I'm a pretty funny guy, I have the most warped, off the wall, lateral, sarcastic, off beat sense of humour. I'm prone to being quite opinionated about things, I know that, it is my job to take things and drive them through as a champion so I'll argue my corner but if you have a good point to put, that's OK too. If you let me I'll take over the meeting.

I'm just as likely to be quiet and keep myself to myself and that is also the other side of me, so you wouldn't really expect this black anger as I rarely let loose on my friends and even with idiots from companies who think they can do the customer service nonsense on me, I'm normally firm but fair.

It's the seething anger that lies within me that is a little disturbing. I've only truly vented and exploded with my full Mr. Nasty 3 or 4 times in my whole life. I remember one of my friends saying to me afterwards he had never ever seen someone so angry before. I wasn't violent with it, it was just nasty, and I remember thinking afterwards, don't ever get me really nasty as I have no idea what I would be like if I lost control. Channelling the anger is one thing but the adrenalin fuelled ferocity of it was something to behold. I hardly remember what it was about but probably someone had been baiting me and I let loose and didn't repeat the same swear word twice and probably didn't draw breath for 3 minutes whilst delivering the benefit of my experience. As someone once remarked after hearing me drilling someone that they hoped I didn't kiss my children with those lips - probably because all of the bile that had been forced through them at my target.

Even these explosive moments are not a patch on the dark and brooding anger that wells up occasionally within me. I can't even tell you what it is all about, it's like the dark dog is trapped in there trying to get out and stick me back into depressive moods but not succeeding and then there is some sort of "Injustice" anger - no doubt doing the "why me" victim bit and there is something else in there about how no one "gets it" and how tangled up you are in your own survival and that no one else gave a stuff, other than cosmetically. There's the recrimination voices giving it the "if you hadn't done ........(stick in anything you like here) then you wouldn't be in this predicament" and all the voices and nags that you get are just all in there arguing together and occasionally there is this real wish to just let someone have the benefit of this broadside of anger for, at the end of it, no real reason. Someone might be acting a pratt and I'd just like to tell them they are but who am I to say it.

Funny old thing the mind - it gives me more grief than being ill ever did. It plays tricks and pokes me, it's owner like some school room bully. I find it fascinating and annoying all at the same time. It does affect me as it makes me question my actions and I give myself such a hard time over something I may have said or did, over things I have no control over even.

Tonight, I can't tell you why it is, I am just seething. It doesn't have too much to do with the hassle of the weekend and the trials and tribulations of getting this new laptop/pc working. No it wasn't that. It isn't the fact that this month is full on, it isn't even the fact that the business is about 1 month behind my plans, no it has nothing to do with any of those. So what is it? I wish I knew myself because then I could do something about it. By writing this down I have come down a huge series of notches and I think that what it boils down to is having someone to talk to about it. My "condition" has hardly if ever been discussed in the house apart from when it has been absolutely necessary, I very much doubt the "cancer" word has been spoken more than a dozen times in 4 years 4 months! Beyond the realms of feeling tired, hungry, sleepy and wide awake, I doubt it is discussed at any depth. That could be it I suppose? This blog is good for getting stuff off of your chest and out of your head. Whether its right or wrong it doesn't matter, the result at this end is always that it makes me feel better to have written and shared it than left it bottled inside.

In the course of writing this particular missive I have gone from seething anger to quiet and calm - that's the power of blogging when no one is listening.


I don't get it - at any other time of year it would be extortion with menaces but apparently it is quite acceptable practice to get dressed up in a disguise (remember bank robbers do this so as not to be caught) and go around the town suggesting that if you don't give a treat you'll get a trick. When I wasn't particularly well a few years back that was eggs thrown at the house, without - I hasten to add - anyone actually turning up at the door.

We know who they were and justice appears to have been done somehow or the other.

So this pagan festival that we exported has been redelivered and repackaged for the 21st Century and we now have people roaming the streets dressed hideously begging at doors! It is a strange world indeed or maybe I'm a spoil sport. I can't quite see the attraction in sending your kids out begging dressed as zombies and witches? No wonder so many people are screwed up these days.

The weekend has been given over to sorting out this PC and many other technical problems that you have to deal with day to day if you have to work with computers and PCs. If ever a device could be called the spawn of the devil it must be the Personal Computer for there is nothing personal about it at all.

Back to work tomorrow and a month coming up that is full on. It starts tomorrow with my kid brother's birthday for which I must call him. It then ramps up considerably over the next few weeks as I have meetings and my trip to Scotland to look forward to. I become Chairman of the London Lunchtimers (if voted in on Thursday) and that will be rather fun. I'm not sure if I will be up there for the evening as well, I'll say maybe at the moment.

I am out Wednesday too and I now have to swot up on some words for a meeting in two weeks time. In between all of this I need to be working on the website, business plans and other stuff. It all adds to the pressure on me to get things delivered in the next week or two and by the end of this month I need to be in a strong position to go and start talking to potential financiers - interestingly the business cards will arrive this week and the letterheads are ready to go so just the web site and we can really get motoring.

There is a further meeting about the wiki I developed for the central charities and it looks as if I will have some work to do this month that will give the business some revenues in December. Talking of which - I need to invoice for the work I did last month too. Suddenly there are loads of things to do and it feels like not enough time to do them. That feels like that because of the inevitable set back changing technology has had this weekend - it feels like I've lost 3 days just fiddling around trying to get the technology to work for me.

Clear up and some rest

I realise that this past week has been hectic and full on for me. I managed to get to bed at around 2 am this morning after wrestling with the vagaries of re-building my PC which required multiple reboots and all sorts of attention grabbing actions, that only I could do to help it decide what to load, where to load it and whether or not I wanted a load of garbage-ware added to bloat out my system even more.

I am actually looking forward to being able to use it tomorrow in anger on work. It does work like a dream and is a fast as you like. It still has many of the silly issues that I hate about software and computers.

In other news my parents have sold their place, bought their new place 10 minutes walk from my brothers house (which is a relief to me) and are hoping to make the move just before Christmas as there aren't many people in the chain. They have to downsize considerably to do that of course which is causing some anguish. These days I'm pretty certain that there are lots of things I could do without and with modern technology I could get all my record and CD collection electronic, all my books digitised and wander around with a laptop and my Kindle and MP3 player - let's face it, the only space they take up would be tiny compared to what they take up now. I'm sort of going off possessions and things to own. Somehow they don't hold the importance they did for me these days. Some sentimental stuff for sure, a box of family bits but ornaments and the like - I'm not sure.

Mrs. F. and A are gradually getting better, they appear to have lost a fair amount of weight. Mrs F has lost 4 lbs which given that she is vertically challenged anyway is a lot of weight for her to lose. A has lost almost double that which she is secretly pleased about but it is still an alarming amount to lose in a week but they just haven't been eating properly and are only just getting back to normal food now. Hopefully they'll get stronger this week.

Oh Dear 26th October Missed

Yes, how dare I miss such an important date as last Tuesday? For important it was. I guess with Mrs. F and A being sick as you like and neither are that good even now 6 days on I missed the date altogether.

It is 4 years since I started the blog, four years in which I've probably gone through ever conceivable emotion, every possible scrape I can get into and fortunately I've managed to still be here. If I make it to next July - then I am going to plan a 5 year celebration along with my business colleague.

Today has been difficult as I have been awaiting the synchronisation of my old and new PCs. That took 24 - yes - 24 hours. I have just had a row with Microsoft as the old software from the PC that died cannot be used on this PC even though the old PC is completely trashed and after I paid a fair amount of money for it. Apparently as it is part of a Vista PC not a Window 7 one they wont allow it to be put onto this new machine. That's the problem with modern day highway robbery for you. You can't get a Vista machine (who'd want one anyway), if I did have then it would have been OK. The irony being that I've had to upgrade to windows 7 this time and pay out even more money to not be able to run my software on it. The answer is easy enough, there is plenty of other software out there and it will be my mission to avoid ever using Microsoft again in this way. If they'd have listened to what I was telling them instead of reading off a script then maybe they'd have understood the grievance I have about it. As it is, nigh on telling me to take a flying leap and then saying have a nice day at the end says volumes about their complete neglect of their customers. Toss pots!

Having said all of that - the new PC is rather splendid and I'm now enjoying it but still getting used to the odd way it does things.

Happy 4th Belated Birthday dear Blog.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


I got that wrong, I thought I had been reading Julie when I had been reading Jeanette. That's what happens when you are concentrating on 10 things at once, like why it took 24 hours to synchronise my new and old laptops! Now happily done.

Well almost - there are as always lots of issues around drivers, software that wont load and all that guff. I like the way it refuses to load one of my expensive Microsoft software packages - it now wants me to do some other nonsense. I haven't finished yet - it is pants having to spend two days just loading and transferring stuff. There has to be a better way? But there is, if I get enough finance to make it so :-)

Friday, October 29, 2010

A big Raspberry to you Mr. Cancer

Why you shouldn't talk to your cancer.

Have a read about attitude to cancer (about 2/3rds way down)


Well said, the world's a poorer place without this lady.

I wasn't expecting this news

Another warrior has gone. I've followed this blog for years and this morning was totally shocked to hear the news that Julie had died. She had been given a year to live but didn't make it past a few months. She was just undergoing trial treatment and there isn't much news about what took place as the last thing I saw was the trip to get the treatment a few days ago.

It felt like someone had punched me in the chest. What a shock for her children - one of whom is in Japan studying and only really went as he knew he could get back by the time it was expected his mum would die.

If you ever get a chance to read through this blog, it has some great moments in it, some sad ones, of course and the episode with Citibank is pretty disgusting really, at least now they'll get their hands on the house - blood suckers! I hope the VP chokes on his bonus.

RIP Julie - I'm quite upset about this this morning - you become quite "attached" even though you never actually meet your cyber friends I am reminded of a quote I like to use at times like this:

"Don’t cry because its over, smile because it happened."

Slowly the household returns to normal

A isn't well still and has to go and have a blood test today to sort her out, she has been completely knocked sideways and remains lethargic and in bed or wandering around in PJs and jumpers. Mrs. F. is just exhausted and unable to go to work this morning. In fact she did 1 hour working in the house yesterday and that was that.

I'm working away and have finalised the logo and most of the artwork, letterheads, compliment slips and the web site icon. The Web site is being built now and so finally things are moving forward but perhaps 1 month later than I would have liked. Rome wasn't built in a day.

Today is new laptop - well desktop replacement - day. My Sony Vaio arrives later and will no doubt require setting up and messing around with for most of the weekend to get it to fit the home network etc. Having worked out the printing issues and the network issues I just need to start all over again. This thing is a bit of a beast as it has a whopping 18.4" wide screen on it! and a Tb of storage. It is an amazing piece of kit and I'm looking forward to that but also have a tinge of sadness as my trusty old laptop (well desktop replacement also) will be relegated to back up machine. For 7 years it has travelled around the country with me. It has been dropped, bumped and thumped and at one time it travelled all around London with me and my projector giving presentations. Amazing :-) It's just had the one new hard drive in all that time. Lately though it has been a real pain as it will not run modern software - shame. It may get a new lease of life if it is still around when our new service gets to market.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Taking Stock where are we

Well, A and Mrs. F. are getting better but they are still very weak. I spoke to my Nephew who met up with A and Mrs. F. on Saturday at the V&A in London, they all had different things to eat but it appears that the restaurant they went to may be the connection as he was also ill on Sunday night.

I've lost a fair amount of sleep, worry or attention perhaps? Anyway, today was a half decent day and we moved the business on a bit further meeting the web master. There are some frustrations of course as we still await some deliverables and these are now becoming critical.

Yesterday I went to the dentist and this was a less than pleasant experience only because of 4 years of tartar build up needed to be sand blasted off. That did hurt and made my gums bleed but now, of course, it is fine and feels great. The last fillings are over and now it is one root canal and one extraction and that should be me set up.

I have purchased a new laptop at last, this one is 7 years, almost 8 years old now. It has done well and now is beginning to show its age. I remember going for top of the range and it has paid off and happy with my Acer I went and looked at another, did my research and saw a stunning one that was expensive but worth it - I found another that was a better price but with a couple of bits of less specification. So I found that I wanted to get the one that was slightly less specification but had some superior features. After putting it in my basket and being made to register, I was then informed that it would be extra for delivery, OK I suppose but at that price (over £900) I would have thought it would have been included. Then they wanted a load more money for me to use my Credit Card. I await their phone call tomorrow with some interest :-) as I got fed up at that point and cancelled the order.

By luck I looked at a site I was looking at earlier had some end of line Laptops and I secured the last Sony Vaio with a whopping 18.4" screen - excellent and looking forward to getting that on Friday.

All these problems I have been having with my PC are apparently all down to its age and so this should sort things out on that front.

My parents have now sold their house and put an offer in on another not far from my brother so that will be good if they get it. It is much smaller and less work for them and so that also is a great relief as the other place was becoming a little too much to look after. Being near enough to my brother is also quite nice - perhaps 5 minutes drive if that.

I still feel a little pressurised to get things done and I need to work out all my commitments and make sure that there is time to cover everything off. I think that I just need to sit back and take a little stock of the situation and not be too worried by it. I'd like to think that this is just me doing some checking on my self :-)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A little quieter now

I've collected L from the station - she had been up in London seeing a show. Mrs F has stabilised - at one time I was almost certain it was ambulance time I have to say. A is showing signs of recovery as young people do. She has to go into University tomorrow but I will see how she is in the morning. I'm just taking stock, having now repaired the network adapter (but not sorted the overall network problems). At least we can all get on-line now but seeing th network and sharing files and printers may take a few more tries :-(

I am now under some serious pressure to get things sorted out. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that I've lost the best part of 10 hours work today. Tomorrow looks to be equally as bad and with a trip to see my dentist - the afternoon looks to be pretty much a lost cause if my mouth is as numb as it was two weeks ago :-)

In fact, I did say to my business partner that we are both putting a little too much pressure on ourselves and perhaps just need to take a break for a breath and some reflection and then go on from there. We forget how much we have produced and how far we have come. We got a stack of work out last week and are really in a good position to tackle the more interesting parts of the project now. With a bit of luck we may even get to a position to talk to financial backers before Christmas which would be good. However, we may need to temper our enthusiasm a little bit as the market does get a little quiet in December.

Well - I'd better finish off down here, drink my cup of tea and get off to bed or rather to my chair as I don't want to disturb Mrs. F now that she is resting at last...

What a day, what a day....

Monday, October 25, 2010

I don't like Mrs. F. being ill

She is pretty ill as is A today with some food poisoning, they both had some strange concoction of chili sausage and were both ill, A first overnight and Mrs. F from the early hours. she isn't good at all. A is slowly recovering but looks pretty awful, Mrs. F. is vomiting nothing at the moment. I've got some stuff from the Pharmacist and some of the rehydration stuff too but that eased for an hour or so before that reappeared. She doesn't want the Doctor and there isn't a lot you can do about food poisoning other than let it takes it course. L is out in London and due back late so I need to pick her up from the station gone 11 tonight I guess.

I don't cope with illness at all well these days, I used to be OK but I have a series of bad nightmares about being ill and it doesn't help that I can't do much other than bring water and clear up the mess. I doubt I'll sleep much tonight either as she is pretty restless, maybe I'll just sit up in my rocking chair in the bedroom and keep a bit of a vigil. When A came up and asked if mum was going to be all right I nearly lost it. I've at least satisfied myself that I have enough knowledge to keep her sorted out and have phone numbers handy in case she isn't OK.

What a horrible day, the poor girl has been terribly ill. I couldn't go out tonight and just had to leave everyone to it. I don't like letting them down but needs must. In addition I was going to blog about the talk on Saturday - I will have to do that when things calm down. In addition to all this - somehow all the PCs have gone wrong - which indicates to me that the Microsoft updates that arrived over the weekend have conspired to kill off my network printing services and I can no longer share files or anything else across the network I built. L's laptop doesn't want to connect at all - and whilst I have managed to get the others to connect they wont print or share files which means more hours of messing about courtesy of some technical wizard trying to make things easy for me!

I have the dentist tomorrow - I shall look like a Zombie by the time I see him in the afternoon. I also find that my trusty laptop will probably have to be replaced too now after 6 or 7 years of sterling service albeit with a new hard drive. More expense to explain away to Mrs. F. when when feels better. At least L passed her theory test for driving today which is great news. We could hardly share it when she got home as it looks, smells and sounds like a Hospital upstairs :-)

I had some great plans to get some work done today and they have been completely scuppered as have the need for me to get ready for an important meeting on Wednesday when I have the web designer coming around so we can resolve all the technicalities around that.

I could end up being quite stressed out by the end of this week if it continues apace like it is!

What a weekend and today

Just hasn't started in great fashion.

I'll do some more later in the week but it looks like an attack of the Norovirus here - or something similar. Mrs. F and A are being sick all over the place and luckily L who's theory driving test it is today seems to be all right. I am not feeling great but I now have to get her to and from the test centre - which effectively kills my morning off.

The Weekend was full on as I had a Lodge meeting Saturday morning followed by lunch and then an Ladies' Night with 5 course dinner to navigate. Especially as no one had worked out they needed an MC and Chaplain - which I ended up doing myself.

The house sounds pretty awful this morning as you can imagine. I've been up a fair bit of the night tending to the wounded and they don't appear to be an awful lot better. L and I so far appear OK. I certainly don't want anything like it.

I'll pull a post together about the talk we had on Saturday from an eminent research professor who is one of the world's leading experts on Prostate Cancer. Amazing things he mentioned and discussed with us. Suddenly, my regard or Ketchup has gone up and it appears that this is one of those "special" food stuffs - amazing yet true.

Stay tuned.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Feeling quite rough today

I had a very bad night - I slept OK but my head is just so muddled at the moment. I don't understand things happening around me and I can run multi million pound projects, run teams and do all these great things but ask me to tell you about relationships and I can't tell you anything. I don't get it because my brain is wired a different way to most other people I can't tell if someone is flirting or making a pass, I can't work out all these coded messages that are used and the trouble is I know I can't and then beat myself up about it.

Last night I met with all the folks from work and suddenly I realised that other factors were at play too, like we only meet every few months and that in itself means lots of attention and discussing the gossip and direct contact which to me is all well and good but I realised when I got home that all this attention and body language left me completely confused. Then I realised how isolated an existence I live at the moment, I am sat here at my desk working away, reading, writing, thinking etc and I'm not having the sort of day to day interaction and the ability to talk and interact.

I'm feeling rough because I'm ploughing a lonely furrow here - it is mainly cerebral work and cannot be done in groups except workshops etc. I think I shall also change my music selection - listening to Tracy Chapman can be a bit depressing sometimes - mind you I could always stick on some Leonard Cohen :-)

I don't remember being like this as many times before I got Bladder Cancer. Maybe it is that, maybe this is just one of those depression moments I have written about before, at the moment I can't tell - I can see what triggered it and I can see that the result is me feeling really down and rough. I have a feeling it is also that yesterday I did about 18 hours out of the house and the successes of the past few weeks and the "high" from them and the realisation that there is still more to do before we get near to our target may also be draining me too.

It is going to be a nice weekend with a meeting tomorrow followed by a Ladies' Night in the evening which will be nice. Korean Grand Prix on Sunday and I think an easy day for me, I need to recharge my batteries - talking of which my battery tester has arrived now so I can check out a drawer full of batteries (no one knows if they work or not!!!) only in my house could it happen that good and bad batteries all got mixed up. We have now started a recycling area for dead batteries.

I hope this little dark cloud over me gets out of the way and that this sneezing and runny nose aren't something from the train journey to and from London yesterday. Maybe that's it too.

All in all a not good day....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

When silence isn't golden

Well I reckon I have totally hacked off my friend as I haven't heard from him since Monday when I dropped the bombshell about his new employer. I suppose it may be better me delivering the punch than someone else a few weeks down the line when it's all gone even further?

We made some more progress on the business today getting towards the holy grail of having our business logo, tag line and web site sorted - it is getting close and the goose bump moment came today when the tag line and logo were agreed and the artwork arrived - along with the invoice :-)

I was hoping to get this sorted by the end of October - that looks a tadd ambitious to me at the moment. Perhaps by mid November. The trouble is we are hurtling towards December and Christmas - we are about 1 month off target - not bad I suppose. We agreed that we carry on and not give up 3 feet from the Gold.

Off to town in the morning for a day of Festival Forum workshops and presentations. I am glad I am not organising this one having done much on the last 2...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

End of a long day

I've had a long day and it's time to go to bed. I'm wondering quite what the rest of the week will bring - it's only Tuesday and I feel I've done a full week already.

I have an interesting day on Thursday, going back up to London to see the troops and run through the new web site I've developed for them. I've managed to stop them asking for me to change it (because they can) by then. I can't believe they are titivating about with it when it has been through close to 16 versions getting to here. The powers that be have a bee in their bonnet about changing one of the titles of the plan. The trouble is that by doing so they totally confuse it with other areas of the plan hence it was originally discussed and changed by committee 14 versions ago!!! Don't ask me, I just do what they want to do but it seems stupid to me. My problem is that change for changes sake isn't a good thing. By changing one section they totally change the whole tone of the piece. That's what they never get - it is the whole thing that is important and reading something in isolation will inevitably lead to a problem later.

Oh well - you can't tell them!

A Troubled Time

I looked up my friend's new business and started to get quite concerned about the turn of events. You know when you look at a web site and go ooohhhh what doesn't add up here? Well I did a bit of digging and found that I couldn't establish any of the bona fides for the testimonials. None of them were from established businesses and I only found one of the businesses operating out of a one room office in a serviced building. Then I did a search at Companies House and found that this business, whilst stating 15 years in business, was only incorporated in March of this year. There are no previous businesses.

I then looked at the site and they made more of recruiting salespeople than getting customers - a bit strange to have a site that does that I would have thought. They are below the 8,000,000 in the Alexa rankings for their trade. What do I say to him? I mean he's quit jobs with real money to chase this one which is commission only and my gut feel is - it isn't what it purports to be at all. It is something setup to be a sales vehicle. When putting their name into Google and similar all you get are job adverts for people to work all over the country for commission only, they advertise huge payouts. Surely a bit of due diligence would have rung some alarm bells on it.

Unfortunately, like many, the promise of a quick win and a quick get rich approach is too tempting. All too often these things turn out to be bad for him and it isn't the first time. The trouble is, I've told him so many times before that I am the harbinger of doom. I've made him aware of the recent incorporation of the business. He, having made hundreds and hundreds of calls and not even got an appointment yet may be able to draw his own conclusions.

I go back to my comments earlier this month about feeling bad that I can't help or feel so helpless and not able to make a difference. I can't do everything, I've felt that I should try and help everyone and spread the joy of my survival. I can't do it can I? I feel really bad I just bring this guy bad news.

It appears to me that in the headlong rush some make to get out of the rut they are in they find that they just dig themselves further into the rut they are in.

Powerless to help

My friend who drains me of energy turned up tonight and was once again in gloomy mood. He has finally worked out that he can't afford a number of things and this weekend's Ladies' Festival is one of them, his wife said enough is enough and so it is. I hadn't realised that he had given up the couple of jobs he was doing when the last one came along so he could concentrate on that which wasn't a good idea as it went pear shaped. This new job isn't doing a lot for him either and the steady income he did has is no longer available.

You can't make this stuff up and he is a troubled, tortured soul but what can I do? I can listen, I can advise (not that he has ever taken any of my advice in all the years I've known him). I could give him some money, pay for him to come along at the weekend but he wouldn't like that, he and I both know that - he is too proud - yet I've made him admit he would do it for me if he could!!!

I know I whinge on about how this guy saps my strength but I can only feel sorry for him in his present predicament, however brought about, these days it is so difficult to get out of the rut you are in and even thinking straight will not work as he isn't thinking straight. I feel utterly powerless to do anything. Whatever I do will be misconstrued and I am in my own battle to make ends meet - not as deep as he is of course - but I need to be mindful about it.

I remember the conversation around me paying off my mortgage and him saying that he had more debts than when he bought his house. I won't go into the details but it is a serious case of heart ruling head. I sometimes used to look at him taking his family away to the Maldives or Florida or some far off sunny locale and wonder how they could afford it. The difference is that we did foundation work and didn't spend what we didn't have.

I wonder if I would have preferred to have that sort of lifestyle then and be paying for it now (he is 5 - 6 years older than me) but have to work right up to and beyond retirement. I'm a little more circumspect and have been pretty much checked by the financially astute Mrs. F. over the years. We will push out the boat when necessary but everything has been centred on making a family home, making sure we had what was needed and we even made sure that things would be OK before embarking on having a family. Interestingly, the last of our long-term investments come out next year and the year after. We put things in place 25 or more years ago so that we knew that we would have something available at this point in time. The difference is striking but should I be feeling this bad because I put this stuff in place?

It is so difficult to maintain objectivity when it is a friend. As a friend he is pushing it to the very edge of the envelope but perhaps, now that the realisation is hitting home he will at last take a long hard look at his situation and will remember all the sage advice I've given him over the years.

Then again - maybe not. Life's like that sometimes.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Unplanned makes for good times

I got a call on Sunday and was invited to go to the pub. Well I don't need a second invite :-) I went up and spent about 4 hours there total as my friend and I had 2 hours together then a friend's son happened to be back from Uni so I called A and she came over to see him as they are the oldest of friends = they were born within hours of each other and that's how we all came to be friends. Nice!

I got back in time for a nice evening meal and then had a booze induced snooze :-) That's a nice Sunday but it stopped me working and so it should - glad I didn't do anything. However this morning I had to dash up to the Costa Coffee shop up the road to see a few guys about getting things straight for next week's meeting. I've then done the document I should have done on Sunday afternoon which increases the subs for our Lodge - I'm not going to be popular but it is something that should have been done some time ago really and no one get up the balls to do it at the time, now it HAS to be done and of course the pain is significant just when most people can't afford all these increases. It is a matter of biting the bullet and just doing it.

I've been invited on a bit of a bender weekend to Scotland in November. I'm keen in a way to go up there but these boys can drink! I need to find myself a cheap tie too as when they came down here earlier this year they relieved me of mine which at £15 was a bit of a blow! I won;t be wearing my nice silk one that is for sure :-) So I need to decide if I want to go. It will be a nice opportunity to see Scottish working and have a weekend's break. I'll see if Mrs. F. concurs and wants to get rid of me :-)

I still feel very well indeed and I am starting to notice it in subtle ways, just feeling fitter and my mind is almost back to working at its creative best, I am not getting anywhere near as tired as I used to get and a fair amount of my stamina is back. Once those sorts of things start to come back so your self esteem and confidence begin to build and everything starts to come back.

I'm feeling up to doing some work at the Lodge of Instruction tonight as I think after all this time, I might finally be able to remember all the words which I haven't been able to for at least 4 years. It says something that I probably haven't taken a big role since being ill. I've managed to unclog my brain on the accounts too so it is all beginning to come back to me now.

I'm not sure how all this stuff works exactly but at the moment, I can probably say that I am the best I have been since July 2006 or perhaps even before that. Long may that continue. I now need to build on my well-being and sensibly use all these extra strength, brain power etc to do something worthwhile.

We have started using the phrase to "engender positive social change" as part of what we are attempting to do in our new venture. Social philanthropy doesn't "cut it" with all investors but we hope we might get this message across that we can do real good with our view of the future. Here's hoping that we aren't barking mad :-)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Saturday - part work part play today

It was good to get my smart phone working this morning at breakfast. It does loads of things that are probably very interesting but for me the ability to make phone calls and receive emails is plenty together with it being online - especially when here as I can connect it to my wifi network which is just dandy. It does some smarts like working out photos of people on facebook and sticking their birthday and photo next to the phone number so that's convenient. Let's see how it gets on - it has a big battery which is what I need to make sure I'm not always charging it. I've almost worn it out today as I have been setting it up and doing all sorts of tests and merging data etc.

I've also managed to sort out one lot of accounts and I'm happy that I can probably put that lot to bed early next year after the financial year ends 31st December. I have a little more difficult job on Sunday as I have some accounts in not great state that I've just taken over and I have to make a call on increasing fees - a tough call the way the economy is but I can't see an easy fix for it at the moment.

I'm not sure that I feel any better about my lot than I did last night. I find the present times quite strange as I am working flat out and yet have hardly anything tangible to show for it at the moment. That's mainly not surprising as the business is pretty young. We need to do so much more work in this run up to Christmas. It isn't that really though, it is whether there are other fallouts coming through me doing it? It seems to be a cause for concern - not to me.

The more I think about meeting with the Lawyer on Wednesday the better I feel. I've met only one person who dismissed our ideas and it was because he was lazy and also that he had no social graces. This guy was - as you would expect - extremely clever in what he asked and how he asked it. His "line of questioning" was very good as it drew out what we were doing and re-enforced the homework that we had done, where we were and that there wasn't an area we couldn't answer with relative ease or that we had prepared for. There were a couple of interesting moments especially around the level of investment we had put in and would put in to match the investors. The surprise here is that we have thought that through and the answer is that there is no way we can match them in any way especially because the sort of investment we are going for is to build a large business, our paltry sums would be swallowed and be worthless. Our risks are in working on this now with no income. The business probably wont make any real money for 18 months even after we have finance and so the risk is that we could end up on basic money for 18 months and still get nowhere. Anyway, even on that point we had done some work. We are getting towards being more confident and soon we will have enough pieces in place to do a soft launch.

Until then, I'll have to continue to work at home all hours and just get on with it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

So Why Did I Survive?

Now here is an interesting problem that I get - not sure if everyone else does though so don't take this as a common occurrence it may be just a few of us...

You can look at this particular question a number of ways and you can rationalise it different ways too.

When I've done all the basic rationalisation I came to the conclusion that I did it for myself. Yes I did it for me. Why me? Well because frankly the way other people treat me now, there is no way I would have done it for them. By that I mean that I had a sort of idealogical, rose tinted view of survival and what it would be like. You see, it would be like starting all over again, with a clean sheet of paper. Things that weren't great beforehand would be better, I'd make the word a better place (OK I might still do that! :-)), I'd be treated with a bit of respect, that relationships would somehow magically mend and become closer as they had drifted apart.

I felt that adversity would indeed build a lasting bond and produce this much better life because I had survived and because I saw life as precious and it meant something. What I went through (and am still going through) must have mattered, it was character building stuff, it changed me a lot, it made me more sensitive, more caring, more tolerant (yes it did!!!) and it gave me a whole new outlook on life.

And yet, as I've said before, only I changed, it's still the same old, same old. OK - I've heard from a very drunken source just how frightened everyone was for me but no one has ever said that to me sober. No one has ever admitted, just a little, that they were worried about what was going to happen to me and its as if it never happened. That's what has surprised me the most. No one gives a flying **** about me really apart from me - sure my parents but that's different and my mum I know has taken it the hardest but we have always gotten along just great and I know that it wounded her more than just about anyone else.

I survived (accepting all the medical stuff of course and good fortune and early diagnosis etc) because I wanted to, more than anything I'd realised that it was important to fight this and those who don't inevitably lower their chances (that's what I believe anyway). It wasn't pleasant, it wasn't heroic, it wasn't some huge battle it was as it was, tough going, stoic stuff. I did it because I truly felt things would be different afterwards. Tonight I feel robbed of that - nothing has changed, things are still the same, attitudes linger and I get treated the way I always did and get taken for granted. That's life and what you deal with - I'm sure everyone deals with that sort of stuff day in and day out and that's fine, why should I be any different?

Well - I should be different because that's what I thought would happen and it hasn't (well it hasn't yet). I'm not particularly bitter about it, it just is what it is really, nothing has changed which in my opinion means that perhaps the only person who gets to learn from the whole experience was me. It seems a waste that no one else took away the messages and positives of the journey really. Just me then :-) As normal.

Banging Around in My Head All Afternoon

Portrait (He Knew) by Kansas

He had a thousand ideas, you might have heard his name
He lived alone with his vision
Not looking for fortune or fame
Never said too much to speak of
He was off on another plane
The words that he said were a mystery
Nobody's sure he was sane

But he knew, he knew more than me or you
No one could see his view, Oh where was he going to

He was in search of an answer
The nature of what we are
He was trying to do it a new way
He was bright as a star
But nobody understood him
"His numbers are not the way"
He's lost in the deepest enigma
Which no one's unravelled today

But he knew, he knew more than me or you
No one could see his view, Oh where was he going to
And he tried, but before he could tell us he died
When he left us the people cried,
Oh where was he going to?

He had a different idea
A glimpse of the master plan
He could see into the future
A true visionary man
But there's something he never told us
It died when he went away
If only he could have been with us
No telling what he might say

But he knew, he knew more than me or you
No one could see his view
Oh, where was he going to
But he knew, you could tell by the picture he drew
It was totally something new,
Oh where was he going to?

They don't write them like that any more -good I hear you say :-)

I had forgotten how much I like Kansas - the trouble is that it is some 30 years ago....

Anyway - I just liked the lyrics on this one.

Numbness - when does the pain begin

The pain is always when you get the bill, £280 which was 4 fillings - I wasn't expecting 4 I was expecting 2 today so that was "different".

I got to the Dentists about 10 minutes early and he was late anyway and so that wasn't too bad, I was remarkably relaxed and even now I'm not overly stressed about things. What is quite amazing these days is that after all the stuff they stick in you, especially for us bladder cancer patients, and where they stick it. Getting an injection in your gum hardly seems a problem at all :-)

So it proved but he did stick in a number of jabs and I was a little uncomfortable with that but hey it needed to be done and the 4 filings were pretty major, two white ones and two amalgam. I was a tiny bit uncomfortable with trying to breath and told him I was having a little difficulty but that was about all. There was a bit of time at the end that was off putting only because it took much longer than I expected.

Anyway, I have a completely numb face as a result at the moment and an appointment to get the two fillings on my left hand side done in ju ... (at this point my PC crashed and then restarted and then did it again. If I can't get my new venture to do better than that I don't deserve to be in business. Apparently it was doing an upgrade in the background and decided that it didn't matter what I was doing, it was going to screw up my work) st under two weeks time. After that it is a case of a bit of root canal work on one tooth and a potential extraction on another. Ho hum.

My mouth is still numb after 2 hours - hopefully it will go and I can actually eat something and do a bit more than sipping coffee later.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dentist in the morning

First trip to get some work done. I'm pretty much resigned to getting there and getting it over and done with. I need to have a chat with him tomorrow to see what the plan of work is and I need to make sure that I take my diary to set up some time for the next batch of treatment. Hopefully it won't be too soon but it took 2 weeks to get this first appointment so I may just have to take what I am given.

Not looking forward to the numb lips on the way home. I could however do with the walk over to the dentist and back by way of exercise although I did a fair amount of walking around London yesterday I haven't managed to get to do any exercise this week down to the sheer volume of work I've been doing.

Next week will be fun as I have to go up to London on Thursday for the annual Festival Forum. I am looking forward to going out for a few beers afterwards with the girls from the office. I've realised too that next week is just full on as we have a Lodge meeting on Saturday morning followed by a Ladies Night that evening (two meals in one day - eeek). I've been invited to a meeting on the following Monday too which I'd totally forgotten about - I need to check I can still make it. I've taken to working downstairs and so miss my other PC where a lot of my stuff is also kept.

I'm feeling well, quite up following yesterday's meeting. I hope that we will see some real progress early next week - we need to or things will stall. I also need to spend some time sorting out accounts this week ready to go and sort those out as I know run 3 lots of accounts and 2 of them need tidying up - one I can complete for this year and complete the balance sheet, the other needs to be picked up and for me to make some sense out of it. That's the weekend gone by the looks of it!

Come on come on

I am getting impatient to get our web site together and get our branding and all our hard work seen but, as I know by now, I must follow the process and eat my own dog food. For years I had advised businesses about making business change about how to build websites and on-line banks, about software development, bidding and running work, due diligence, process, operational and management techniques and guess what? All that stuff I've been peddling for year and years..... actually works :-) It did for my customers and does for us now. How on earth could I desert the process that I put in place.

But like anyone who is waiting for a long time for their baby to be born, the wait has been many years and it isn't over yet. Our baby is already 6 months overdue but none of us was in a position to start earlier. Now we are right into the work it is a little frustrating to see it just out of reach still but it is coming along - just not as fast as we wanted.

My business partner and I had a chat last night and both of us have "friends" that are being like millstones and Harry Potter death-eaters to us. The sort of person who burdens you with their problems and drains you of your energy and loads up your system with their stress and makes you feel bad. They, on the other hand walk away with their burden lightened leaving you a positive wreck. Such is the nature of the cancer survivor's lot that whilst they are pretty tough on the outside and have been through stuff you don't really want to know about, inside they are little frailer and weaker than they will admit to you. I'm wracked with guilt sometimes about not being a friend to people and yet I'd probably not be that much use to them.

Other than that - I've been amazingly busy this week and work has been all consuming and very interesting learning about advertising, tag lines, SEO, web placement and all that good stuff. All good fun.

Around Midnight

With due deference to Thelonious Monk - it is actually the time now and I have arrived home. Today started at 7 am and we had a full on day until 4 when we went off and caught a train to London and started a meeting with a Lawyer at 6 in a noisy Soho pub. We eventually went on to a nice French Restaurant where we could at last hear ourselves talk.

Had a good day we decided - it was full on and we were "challenged" on a number of our assertions about the business but, generally came through them with good answers - we had done our homework which I knew we would....

Two days in one almost and a really useful 16 or so hours today! I shall give myself an extra 30 minutes in bed tomorrow - I've deserved it...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

In my dreams

I was having an interesting talk this evening and I realised that no one understands a word about what I say about my new business - it is so "off the wall" that explaining it must be like explaining radio or TV or Morse code or Steam Engines for the first time. Such is the problem that our little band of pioneers have taken on. How did Baird decide to call it "Television" or Marconi "Radio" or Edison "Phonograph" - gee I hope that was right :-)

See what I mean - how would you come up with stuff that was just - way out there - far left field - so different you;d think we were on hallucinogenic drugs! (I can't believe how difficult it was to spell that - you'd have to be on drugs to do that!).

We are working on something that is so different to anything out there but isn't impossible to deliver now - it is all existing technology. It just comes at it from such a different way that to explain it to people is almost impossible. We have a meeting in the morning to rectify that - but it is just so revolutionary and so simple you wonder why no one thought of it before? They may have done but there is no common language (yet) to release it to the public.

Things are really exciting as I described my plans to my mother today as being as close to engendering positive social change as I could manage. I suggested that the journey in itself was going to be the thing that changed my life and made survival important - in fact that this current journey I am on would be something that would define the remainder of my life (however long that may prove to be). By that I mean that the process of this current journey will not only deliver something that is truly beneficial to society but that getting to that point will be such a journey that we will find out so much more about ourselves and will test us to the extreme. I feel that there are a series of temptations in the way not least of which is bailing out early, before our work is seen through as it is the alternative and easy way out. It means we take the cash but don't see the vision through to its conclusion. So many interesting things in a highly commercial venture which actually has life changing possibilities and altruistic guiding principles at its heart.

My business partner and I had similar traumas at around the same time and our relationship - whilst going back many years prior to this - has blossomed and we used to meet to discuss how we were feeling and coping with our issues and as time went on this idea (not mine but his) grew and grew to the point now where it has taken over a huge part op our lives. It is almost like something you have to go through to get on further - if that makes sense? We have to go down this route.

Tomorrow we see if we can settle the real selling words and actually determine some new language about what we stand for and what we will do. So far, it is our biggest sticking point. Later on we will meet the person who may become our Lawyer (wish I was clever enough to be one) who will be chatting about protecting our arses in the future.

Suddenly, I feel divorced from my non-business friends who see but don't get the risks and who really don't get business at all. We may well fail - so many young fledgling businesses do but, we will have given it our all and will have filled in the gaps and repaired the holes in our self-esteem that cancer will have given us. I think it may be interesting if anyone works for us though - how on earth are they going to "get us" if they haven't had the trauma and experiences we have had in getting where we wanted to go?

Having Struggled With My Own Problems

Having to struggle with other people's is draining my energy again. I'd forgotten how much one of my 'friends' is having his own struggle but is incapable of letting his friends help him, pride is not a good thing when you are sinking like a stone. The Kubler Ross Cycle can look like this graph and at the moment my man is somewhere between denial and anger and has a fair old way to go to sort through the problems he is encountering.

The trouble is that the anger is targeted at me and his friends and the more you try and help the greater the depth of denial and antagonism. If you don't help or let him get on with it then you're wrong again then too - you can't win when they are like that. I did give him a bit of a bark back but also now let him think that he is right if that satisfies his "I'm the victim" stance. I'm not sure how long I will last out before I explain the facts of life - I've already told him straight a couple of times but there's no telling some folk.....

Enough - I'm just depressing myself now .... :-)

Monday, October 11, 2010


Not my paranoia - my friend - who is stretching that description. You may, or may not recall, that I bumped into said friend when I was going for a couple of appointments a few weeks back, one to introduce my business partner to some very old friends of mine and secondly to meet a potential team member whom, now met, I would parade before anyone who would listen to demonstrate what a lack of social skills and a head up arse attitude will make you end up like.

So, you may recall out of nowhere, this guy appears and takes up my space on the train (this is my friend) and we proceed on a journey up to London, I don't tell him I am meeting the other two as - he has little or no money and we are going to spend a bit for lunch and after all, what does he need to know for? It ends up that he finds out and tags along which completely stymies my meeting to do the introductions and gets his problems off his chest. I am talking to these guys about getting £1M of funding - not how I've squandered all my chances and am pissing off my firends by not reading the in between lines stuff.

Tonight he tells me that I didn't want him to be there. So I said that's right, it was a business meeting even if he does know them - if I'd have invited him he could have come along. The guy can't read the signs at all. He obviously got that I was pissed off with him though as he mentioned it tonight. As I said to him, it was an introductory meeting, to meet my old work colleagues to do some networking, to get some connections and was not a beer fest to which he wasn't invited - it was serendipity that brought him to the same train as me not because I didn't invite him. Did he understand it? No of course not, it just grieves me that this guy is slowly going down the whirlpool and as he's getting faster and faster going under he is just alienating any attempt at logical discussion and giving me a load of grief about it. I'm a little too soft to tell him where I think he should shove his opinions. But you probably guess that it is pretty dark there.

I am seeing him tomorrow perhaps I will explain it one more time that it is business and not personal. If I had wanted him to be there and I didn't I would have asked him. I would certainly not have invited myself along and then dug him out for getting the hump. As it is I need to reconvene the meeting to discuss the points that I couldn't with him being around. Talking £Ms in front of a guy with bad prospects to actually get a job at the moment isn't going to help his self-esteem in that situation.

Things that make me feel a little queasy

I had the most horrible set of flash backs over night. Back to them sticking things into me and my own personal horrors. I know that perhaps you shouldn't say that things are horrible but they are and probably more so now than they were then. A bit more about this later.

A friend tweeted this earlier today and I went and read it and got that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and the slight ache of stress in my chest kicks in. It isn't that it is inaccurate - far from it, neither is it anything other than what it is. It doesn't mention one thing in my humble opinion and that is what it does to your head. I think that it must do something if you've got the news that it is - or it may be - terminal - you need to deal with that. They don't say all the ways it messes with your mind. Your perception of self and your self-esteem, your morals, your faith, your friends and family, your relationship with the world and your interaction with your environment. Reality becomes somehow different, things move from extreme to extreme - logic somehow gets thrust to one side and your whole mind and body goes out of equilibrium throwing you a huge curve ball and knocking you off balance. You can choose many ways to behave and many ways to combat it but that whole section seemed to me to be missing as it is in the Consultant's room too. We treat the physical manifestation of the disease and we rarely, if ever, in my opinion and experience, treat the massive impact it has on your psychological well being.

Remembering what I used to be like and I'm not entirely changed so I'm told, I am now far more of a comedian than I was before - I was funny before now I am more so, more sarcastic, quick witted and many other things but I can go too far and don't know when to stop (until I know when to stop which may have been too late). I am confident but also much less pushy and (know it all is probably too harsh) assertive, unless I really want to be. Nowadays I really don't do fools and jobs-worths at all - they really take a bashing. However, I fall apart really Quickly, I get terrible guilt trips and find silly things to reproach myself for even if I could in no way have influenced them or done anything about them, I find many things make me emotional. Anything to do with my children can reduce me to a wreck - just silly stuff this is, remembering them bringing me something back from school can turn me into some sort of weepy film scenario. I'm not sure what that is exactly but it's all connected and this isn't just family this is anything that is sweet or sad - I think it has to do with innocence and starting out that way and then all the stuff that come afterwards. It is one of the many injustices that exist in this world that cancer makes you aware of.

I looked at myself in the mirror earlier and said something about "sorting yourself out" it isn't that I am probably any different to anyone else - I mean what/who have I got to compare my feelings with anyway? Perhaps that's it - I have a few friends who I have discussed it with but I certainly don't tend to talk about to anybody much apart from this blog which - bless its heart - gets the full ire and angst to deal with, it gets the lot doesn't it :-)

So back to the flash backs and these are intermingled with the kids - they are mainly happy memories but these make me sad (perhaps something lost - me working hard when they were little and not being there enough?). I feel bad about just about anything to do with my pre-cancer life. I'm sure they don't feel like that but I just happen to. Then the hospital flash backs - which were just not nice at all. I don't know why but maybe again it is the brain processing stuff and just reminding me that it isn't all over yet and as much as I think I'm walking away from this, it is part of my life and always will be for better or worse, it happened and it isn't finished yet.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

At least the race was on

After he disappointment of yesterday, at least the race was on today and I watched that at 7am and followed that up with the MotoGP race straight afterwards.

I decided to take it really easy and have had a couple of hour long snoozes in my favourite chair today mainly to catch up with the lack of sleep from last night - my goodness did I have some strange dreams and two early mornings and the whole week of work.

Last week was a strange old week and an emotional roller coaster - I found myself really troubled and emotionally drained come Tuesday evening and yet once I had got that off my chest the remainder of the week seemed to go better. I'm absolutely flying at work at the moment. After much research and planning at last things are coming together but in a far more uncontrolled way than I wished for. Both of us (my co-founder and I) remind ourselves that at the moment we are treading a lonely road and we produce just about everything for the business. For the 2nd week I have worked in the dining room rather than in my office as I find I can better discipline my working day. For another week I have managed just one serious bit of exercise despite the fact I have done walking and some heavy lifting down the week.

This week gets interesting indeed as we ramp up the work and meet someone who will potentially be our lawyer or will be our legal advisor. We should also, I hope, be in a position to move the description forward and I am aiming for the web site to be completed later this month. It is hard work to make it all happen but no one said it would be easy.

I still feel the best I have felt for years and years. I think because I am getting stuff sorted out. The trip to the dentist this Friday will also help me to commence getting my teeth back under control and I am also hoping to get even more progress on sorting myself out a bit. Last week there were a few occasions where I was out of control, by that I mean that I was unable to control my emotions, my time keeping and my logic and level headedness just disappeared. Very unlike me to get quite so excitable really. I hope that this week I can keep a lid on it.

The dreams are just amazing things - the one last night (featuring Michael Caine of all people) was all about secrecy and keeping what we are doing a bit of an enigma for a little longer. These things are playing on my mind and are manifesting themselves in the most bizarre ways. Last week was definitely not one I want to repeat and I certainly don't want my head to explode into a huge guilt trip again, I don't need to beat myself up, cancer already did that. I just need to take it a little easy and to use my excess energy in positive ways.

I suppose finding yet another person who I know - on top of the lad with Appendix Cancer who now has Lung Cancer just puts the mockers on things, a number of others aren't doing well either. I can't work out why I feel so bad about it, I have no idea if they felt bad about what I had. I don't suppose they did but I see no reason not to feel empathy for them and their relatives.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Let's see - the funny side is?

That I got up early to watch the F1 qualifying from Japan. Like really early and got downstairs, did some pottering about, got a coffee, had my keep alive pills and sat down. Turned on the TV and there was.........

The News? OK exciting news they were just about to get to the Miners in Chile but where was the qualifying? There was nothing there and not wanting to know who was on pole etc. I trawelled around the buttons making sure I hadn't missed it, no it was scheduled to be on but wasn't. So I guess they must have published it later than it actually was and knowing it was going to be on later I contented myself with reading the paper from 5 in the morning rather than watching any more news or sports program until it came on at 1 pm.

I worked away keeping away from radio, internet and TV and at 1 pm the programme opened with a woman standing in torrential tropical rain saying that qualifying had been cancelled and it would take place before the race! Like 2 am our time Sunday and the race would be at 7am. They then re-scheduled all the programmes for the afternoon and that was that. Oh great! Just my luck :-)

As for everything else - its all looking good and work is great - I made myself stop this afternoon and I'm off to bed shortly so I can get up at the crack of sparrows to watch the race. I know I could record it but that really isn't the spirit and anyway, straight afterwards the MotoGP will be on as well so I might as well have a morning full of sport!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Super Nova

My energy levels are just massive at the moment - I could happily carry on working for days and not need sleep - I don't get tired and I'm not getting bored, everything is new and wow and (oh go on I'll say it even though I shouldn't and only for you - awesome). I just don't know where all this has come from. The trouble is it is destructive and constructive all at the same time. I doing some of my best work and some of my worst. I am being self destructive and yet it is all leading some place, I can feel it. It is climactic but not yet - it is just growing and growing and I'm just a bag of energy and I'm holding myself back.

It's like a creative explosion is happening which has fractured my normal logical way of doing things and led me to a point of huge surges in adrenalin rushed effort that may or equally may not end up in me doing something useful.

I've just had a lovely night out with CD and his friend. Last year we were a little tightly packed into the Guildhall. This time we were nicely spaced out. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening yet again.

Here is something that I hadn't thought about. The chap next door to me had been at the Guildhall for a big charity function the night before. He said that he gets to dine here and at Butchers' Hall and a few others down the year. the Guildhall at least 5 times a year and the Mansion House once or twice a year. He then said, and this made me think.... A radio and TV host (Richard Madeley) had been on the radio saying that he had dined once at the Guildhall and how "special" it was. He dined there many time and I tend to go once a year. I hadn't realised quite how privileged I am to be able to do this. It's one of the most historical places in London. The Guilds and the whole history of London, it's Lord Mayor etc. is all wrapped up in this building and there we were meeting and dining in high style in the Crypt of the Guildhall.

Sometimes, I don't realise how lucky and how fortunate I am - I doubt any of my family have ever dined there and as I've been there a number of times, I was annoyed that I perhaps had "taken it for granted". London is an amazing place in terms of its tradition and history. I keep thinking about joining a Guild and I keep holding myself back. I've got the forms for becoming a Freeman of the City of London on my desk too. I just haven't completely convinced myself it is the right thing to do - much as I'd like to - I'm not convinced the Memsahib would be entirely convinced.

Just Chill

I am absolutely buzzing and flying at the moment - someone's emptied a gallon of go-go juice into me and I feel like I've been on too many Double Espressos. I haven't felt this well in years but it's as if the flood gates have been opened and I'm just going off in all directions, doing stuff, working long hours, thinking too much, doing too much and then for some reason taking to beating myself up for not helping people and being self-centred. It is a real big bang sort of thing going on. I don't quite get it. Where has all this energy come from - you should have seen me striding down to the Jazz last night - big bold fast steps, I felt fit and healthy - I was glad to be alive and then, I rounded on myself, all the "regrets" of the past - all the things I perhaps should have done and how guilty I feel about this concentrating on myself.

The reality is somewhat different than this space I'm currently inhabiting but this is disturbing me now. I feel the best I've felt for years, I have some physical strength back and I am building a business and being creative and that is building self esteem and confidence. The issue really is to stop my head and my emotions ripping me apart here. The survivor syndrome, the regrets for being very inward facing and full of my own self importance, concentrating on getting myself better etc. I doubt many people would blame me for being like that, for reacting in the way I did. But, I'm not many people, I'm me and I've not forgiven myself for it yet.

I am going to have to try and keep this in check, it is destructive to me and its self inflicted. You learn a lot about yourself whether going through a serious illness or like I am at the moment building a business. It's about the journey - it should be done without regrets. Give it your best shot. I wonder if I have set myself some really high ideals and somehow - now - I feel I am not meeting them? Whatever it is I have to stop giving myself such a hard time, my head is trying to undermine everything, make me guilty and is telling me that I've let people down. How stupid is that? I have enough problems combating what life threw at me I shouldn't have to deal with being given a hard time by myself when it probably isn't justified or particularly well argued.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Superman - Ermm I don't think so...

I am not superman, I do not have hidden powers, I am not able to right all the world's wrongs, I cannot stop wars, I cannot stop people dying, I cannot reverse diagnosis, I cannot do all the things my guilt and my mind is telling me to do.

There's some sort of diametric force compelling me to be some sort of evangelist and to spread the great news of my survival to cure all ills, to repair everything to find jobs for the unemployed to go spread the word and, as I found out last night, I'm just beating myself up for all the right / wrong* reasons (* delete as applicable). I want to do the right things for everyone, I want to sort out everything I need to repay society, the people that cured me and so on......

There is something manic about this. Suddenly I have so much energy. I haven't had this much get up and go, pizazz, karma, electricity etc. for years and years. Suddenly, I've turned the corner and I'm free of hospital treatments, pre-assessments, blood tests and all that tedious sh1t that upsets you and gets you down and reminds you constantly that you are ill.

Now I want to get out there and help everyone and tonight as I walked to the Jazz night I realised that I can't do it. I'm "just me" that's all there is. There is only so much of me to go around and I have responsibilities of my own that I've ignored (or not been able to) for these past 4 or more years. Father, Husband, Bread Winner, Home Maker, Mediator, Referee and Umpire, Head of United Nations, Trusted Advisor to Presidents and Prime Ministers, Chore Owner, Epicentre of Humour, Comedian, Actor, Playwright, Entrepreneur, Political Critic, Poet, Bon Viveur, all round good egg!

There's a self-destructive element at play - suddenly I need to do reparations for my previous life - for putting everyone through the misery that the last 4 years has been (to them - maybe not to me). How I've worked at making it light, humour filled, approachable for my friends (not everyone could cope with that though) and all that work to wrapper cancer in an acceptable package, that everyone else was comfortable with and to weave the myth and legend around yourself for that time and now, it appears to me to need to be demolished and the facade taken down as all of that "nasty" stuff has gone, all the "is he going to die?" stuff is behind us and now, now we are left with the fallout.

Now I feel (rightly or wrongly) that I have to apologise for my behaviour not only during the episode but for all the possible wrongs I did to people before then. Smoking in pubs with your friends around who didn't - it's a crime right? All these things that may have contributed to my illness are now somehow manifesting themselves in me as things I should be sorry for, should apologies for, need to make amends for and so on.

I'm going to say that if you haven't had a life threatening disease or some sort of heavy depression or trauma you may not feel like this. I just feel responsible for everything at the moment and I don't want anyone to have had the mental anguish and wretchedness that I had, I see many friends having hard times and I feel completely inadequate to help them - then if I try I just Horlicks it anyway! I suddenly understand what a horrible time I've been through, I've now (finally heard) what an impact it had on my immediate family and also that my frankness didn't help them (helped me though) get through it. Everyone thought I was going to die. Join the club so did I. No one was more surprised than me that I didn't.

So now, when I should be all up and happy and yay-hay look at me, I've survived - I'm actually feeling massive guilt that I can't use that experience to help anyone.

I haven't balanced the fact that they really couldn't help me much either at the time I needed it - for some reason best known to itself, my brain refuses to take that into account. That we are all frail creatures and that we are generally quite inadequately equipped to deal with serious illness, death, pain and everything else you could associate with Cancer and Serous Illness etc.

I am having a real problem realising that I'm mortal, that I can't actually do much in terms of "good", that I haven't got the time or the money behind me to be Mother Teresa and that this is what life is like all the time. I feel desperate that I can't find jobs for my mates, point them in the right direction, ease their pain, repair their problems and yet, they don't come over here and fix mine. It's a bizarre thing, it has to do with survival, it has to do with paying back and feeling philanthropic but the wish to do these things hasn't fought out the logic and down to earth pragmatism of the situation. "You can't do anything more than you already do and that you would "normally" do!" I just need to get it through my thick head that I have all these great ideas, all this fantastic "do good" thoughts but that is all they could ever be, there isn't enough time in the day, money, social network and other stuff to make repairs of this magnitude on your own - it just isn't going to happen.

I feel bad because I can't change the world, I can't right the wrongs and I'm pretty much powerless to do anything that what I am doing now.

I need to eat a huge slice of "realism pie" at the moment my head is in the clouds for the right reasons but my head and my heart need to go and have a chat to set things back onto an even keel.

I once said that I never felt I could change the world and got soundly rounded on by a friend for that - she reckoned we could all change the world and that we all did, some of us changed it a little and some of us changed it a lot but that we should never lose sight of the dream of making the world a better place. Isn't she lovely? :-) When I stop having these wild swings in temperament perhaps I will be able to change the world a little - I hope so. I'm just trying to deal with these massive swings again. I had them some time ago when under treatment, maybe this is things switching back.

I don't feel as if I have any mental problems as such but I can see how you could have given the huge swings in emotions I get on a daily basis at the moment. It's learning to cope and be normal again (I'm sure of it) but, of course, how CAN you be normal after all this has gone off?

Leave you with it for now....

Jazz Night

See if the young lad is there and if he is, how he is with his Appendix Cancer. A few beers, live music and perhaps a little time to chill out. I was really wound up last night and beat myself up a lot. You may wonder about that but it is a strange thing to hear from someone how I had changed in their eyes. It was nice to hear that I listen more and that I take into account other people's points of view. Being a Project Manager makes you self assured but, by the sounds of it, a little too self assured and confident. Well that's a good change.

I beat myself up for a lot of reasons these days. I beat myself up because sometimes I don't think enough about other people. I've heard myself answering a how are you and then impolitely forget to ask them how they are. I am doing too many things at high speed, whether to make up for the past 4 years, whether through the buzz of what I'm doing or perhaps some other thing. I'm getting excitable and I need to just tone that back a bit.

So tonight an enjoyable and relaxing evening I hope. At least I'll get some exercise which I didn't yesterday or today as I was still firing off documents as 6 pm.

That wasn't nice

What a horrible dream - must have been triggered by something in the news yesterday I'm guessing. Was stuck in London and heard a large noise and looked up to see an large passenger aircraft with wings broken off about half way down spiralling into the ground somewhere near St. Paul's Cathedral. Was then, somehow up in North London at a building site (don't ask me Iijust dream this stuff) chatting to a guy about rebuilding a small hospital when a nurse runs up and says they need to use the facilities there as there has been a major incident. Then they realise that there is nothing there - it's just a building site. As we say that a bright coloured aircraft rushes past and arcs into a huge building about a mile away. Shades of 9/11 but amazing colours and explosions etc. A little while later I go and grab some chap at a coffee shop and apologise for that but need to know if my daughter is all right as she works for him? He assures me all is OK and I make my way back through the streets and then wake up.

Strange stuff for a Wednesday morning, very strange indeed.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Out with my friends and I am reminded ...

That about 4 years ago my friend KP suggested that I write this blog. I only hope that he is reading this now as I miss him a lot and understand the he is going through hard times himself. At the moment, I also realise that I can't help, I'm not wanted and that I have to keep my distance. Or maybe I'm wrong - here's the open note to say - can I help you? You've been a rock to me, even if you don't know or don't admit it.

I understand these things because that's what I was like when you spoke to me 4 years ago - it wasn't quite "I am your Father Luke" but it was near enough. Oh yes and I didn't know the difference between Prostate and Prostrate Cancer - DOH :-)

That's the way it is, that's how you feel at the time but - you know - we're you're mates, we're your friends and if you can't confide and let us just listen, then maybe you've not remembered what it was like when I was really ill, when I was down to my lowest ebb, when I thought I was going to die and when I'd reached the bottom and was preparing to dig down further and you said to me that - "it wasn't as bad as that". "Why not write a blog and tell everyone what it is really like". When you base-lined what was happening to me, it made it seem real and made it all make sense and a reason for me to start this blog. you did that fella - it was YOUR suggestion.

Fella, I did it because you told me it would help me and that it would help other people, because it was a way out of my cul-de-sac, because we are great friends and go back to when we were nutty teenagers together - for all close scrapes we got into, for all of those larks, those explosions, those precious moments, those laughs and the drunken evenings and the great gigs and the girls and all that. What times we had - how cool those times were how we still laugh at them - "Who me sir?!"

Don't leave me know (Supertramp). For everything you did for me for the past 4 years - for making me write this blog and for being there when I needed it the most - don't leave me know, don't sit alone and wonder, don't sit there and brood, don't blame yourself, don't wonder "what if", don't think I (or we) don't care. You've been there for me for these past 4 years, you really have, you've been kind and cruel (in only a way that a true friend can be) we've shared the grim reaper jokes, the Monty Python Tee-Shirt (goodness you were in on that as much as I was) and you've got me through what can only be described as the lowest point in my existence. I'm coming out of that now - 4 years of darkness, depression and all that stuff - it was you my friend that helped me do that. Yes you did!

Please, please, let me be there for you now, whatever it is, whatever ails you, I would never have been brave enough to bear my soul on this blog as I have without you - this record both good, bad, ugly, bigoted, right wing, left wing, commie, rubbish, true, half true, helpful and unhelpful is all because of that wonderful time when you spoke as a real true friend to me and suggested a blog could be the cathartic way forward for someone, like me, to share the emotional and physical issues I was about to have.

Think about what you did for me? At a time when life was just a matter of weeks or months survival (as I thought then - who was to know), when it was black and beyond the colour of pitch, when I was at my absolute lowest you gave me something to work towards and lean on and base my future on. Giving, at the very least, hope or consolation - or perhaps a realistic view of what cancer was like to others as a legacy (for that is initially what I thought it was) about the way to approach living with the disease.

Tonight, at the pub, I sat there and wondered where you were? You were really down the month before last (of course you would be) and unfortunately I cannot make next Tuesday (unless you can?? - I will cancel to meet you). Please note.

I want you to know how much you mean to me. I want you to realise how important you are to my survival. I want you to understand that if by your actions and my following them we made a difference to one person in this world suffering from cancer - what a good job we have done and I want you to realise that this blog - that I started because you suggested it to me, has been a real life line in my 4 years and 3 months (but whose counting) battle against this disease.

Understand you've helped me work my problems out (sure I've done them in public) and shared those with many other people who also now realise that to get angry, be tired, get frustrated, find stuff funny or find stuff sad is just part of the journey we are all on with this disease they call Cancer.

Whatever it is, let's talk, let's meet, let's sort it out. After all that you've done for me, it seems that this is the very, very least I can do for you.

I can't always sort out the problem but I can at least listen. I owe you so much but you want so little from me. You are a true friend indeed KP.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Oh No - Why?

Why indeed. I mean, I can accept getting Cancer myself and I can blame myself - my lifestyle and all that sort of thing, I've hung myself out to dry and argued the case here on the blog for getting on 4 years soon. What I cannot understand is those who've already been dealt a bad set of cards getting it even worse. It seems to me to be a very cruel world sometimes.

Here's the deal, a young man of my acquaintance - I've known him since he was born and he has Cerebral Palsy - he was a lovely child and an equally lovely young man and I see him three or four times a year sometimes more, he was involved with the local church and so we saw him a lot, I knew his sister well and I also remember his father dying when he was only a young lad. A tragedy and what is stranger still is that I then found out through my family history research that his family are related to my family about 3 generations back so - we're almost family so to speak. I know his Uncle and he is a great friend and we all meet up, when we can, at the monthly Jazz night.

I saw his Uncle tonight and he tells me that he may be a bit tired and not quite up to it if I do meet him as this young lad - and he is only about mid or early thirties has Appendix Cancer. It's pretty rare apparently and he has to go to a remote Hospital to get it sorted. I'm just stunned. I mean what more does life need to throw at this poor lad. He has struggled on, worked hard and held a job down for years (he is still going in but is tired at the end of the day). What on earth did he do to deserve that? That is the faith testing question I have. The problem is I don't "get it" I don't see why there is this lottery of people who just get one disability (perhaps that is too strong a word - how about a challenge for the PC people) and then, when he struggles through all the prejudices and the levels of hardship to get on with his life and is a happy, lovely and thoroughly nice guy (you'd enjoy his company as he has old fashioned manners and charm) - why then does he get Cancer? He doesn't smoke, he has a lemonade shandy once a month at the Jazz night - what did he ever do to upset someone and afflict him all over again??

I felt that my faith (such a little faith as it is these days) was tested with me but I think that I accepted getting cancer I wasn't sure after having got it, why surviving was difficult to understand, in a way I still don't quite "get it" but I find giving this "innocent" young guy cancer as being cruel in the extreme. I still don't get why "he deserves it?"

Maybe I'm just hung up over it but it does seem to me to be unjust in his case, if it can ever be "just" in anyone's case. I wouldn't wish this on anyone but I don't know, it just doesn't seem fair to me that young people are struck down with such diseases. I suppose it's a bit like the expectations that these days you can wage war and not have any casualties.

It is a massively rare cancer and the figures are misleading and the quick and dirty internet searches I have just conducted are as helpful to me now as my first searches were when I showed the symptoms of Bladder Cancer. At least I can be some sort of help as he knows I've survived and he knows a fair bit about what I went through as we have discussed it.

I might be a bit of a wreck on Thursday morning after going out with him on Wednesday night so prepare for blog hell after I've spent time with him. I'm gutted and annoyed and displaying all the signs of a Kubler Ross episode - at the moment - I'm dong denial - I doubt I'll be in that zone come Thursday.

Life can be so unfair sometimes - you just wonder why the hell that should be?

PS: None of us deserve it BTW....

Exercise again

I couldn't believe it has been a whole week since I exercised but then I worked myself to a frazzle last week and didn't have time. the tale of the scale was I am down by about another pound so around 222 but nearer 221 by the thickness of a needle. So that's good - slowly going down but it isn't going to happen without exercise. Again this week is interupted by work and I can't moan I suppose but I will anyway. It would be nice to concentrate just on my health but I'm eating the right stuff, not overdoing it and if only I can fit in a bit more exercise it would be perfect.

A big meeting is mucked up tomorrow as one of the most important guys (the bloke writing our 30 and 60 second drills) wont be around and cancelled late this afternoon. Nuts! I hope that he gets his act together fast as he needs to come through on this element so we can move on.

So that's annoyed me as I guessed that was going to happen - you get a hunch when someone lines up the messages during three or four emails before. I'm feeling great still and finally begining to feel so much better about myself and just generally feeling well - well :-)

Sunday, October 03, 2010

That hit the nail on the head

The Kindle is rather good - I have it set to deliver some newspapers and one of the joys of a Sunday used to be getting a couple of Sunday Papers and then spending the rest of the week reading them. Having them delivered electronically is a bit bizarre I know but there was an article in the Observer HERE that caught my eye. Bill Oddie, who may not be known outside of the UK was a mainstay of my younger life when he starred in the Goodies a quite surreal (at times) and often slapstick weekly series that has (sadly) never been repeated - these guys were pretty much superstars in their day. They all went on to other things and are still writing and in radio shows etc. Bill Oddie became a TV naturalist and whilst things like Springwatch and Autumnwatch may have their place in light entertainment - I actually wasn't convinced that Oddie and his co-presenter actually got on well together especially as if you doubled Kate's brain cell count it would have made 10. Bill disappeared a while ago suffering from Depression.

What on earth has this got to do with me and this blog you may rightly ask??

Well it was because this leapt off the page at me "It would be silly to pretend my mind is at rest. Last year was the worst of my life. It destroyed my confidence and identity."

That really stuck with me. I was talking to my Mum earlier today and saying that for the first time in years I actually feel really well, I'm getting things back into some sort of order, I'm getting myself fixed up and doing all those things that for 4 years (at least) I haven't done. Things just got put on hold, stuff I should have done hasn't been. When I look back and beyond the 4 years (you may recall that in hindsight I felt I had been ailing for a while before) I see that I just switched down all activities other than what was immediately important. A bit like the words with the dentist earlier in the week - it hasn't been on my list of things to get done until now. Suddenly life is more back on track and this week has been full on and productive and, dare I say it, optimistic.

A new optimism and a new outlook and I am absolutely certain that whilst I always portrayed things in a positive light, was able to see the funny side and be quite brutally honest (most of the time) that in reality, I was far more depressed and certainly, like Bill Oddie, had lost my identity and a fair amount of my confidence too. I know these are different illnesses but this is why that leapt of the page at me. Denial (not a river in Egypt btw) is perhaps too much of a word for it but certainly how about deflection and illusion maybe?

What I realised as I read this was that it suddenly answered some of those questions and here I am being so much more upbeat than I have been for ages. Actually tackling things that I left 4 years ago - head on - like these accounts Ii haven't completed (and it is only a few hours job). The will wasn't there, the belief wasn't there and neither was the energy or the confidence to tackle them. Along with many other things I'd rather not do something than do it. I'd rather talk about doing it but then not do it. My University thing was part of that - I needed it to prove I could do it and it was easier to not complete it (even given how ill I was) than to try and catch up. Now I could have knuckled down and have done that - then - I didn't have the drive, certainly not the energy and, as strange a sit may seem, my brain would not have coped with it. Now I feel I can work with all my brain, most of the physical energy I have and things like concentration and stamina are really good. I don't have the tired spells any more and feel what I guess is about 80% fit but certainly much much much better than I have for 6 or 7 years I think.

I feel for Bill Oddie and the results of his illness just resounded with the sort of stuff that now I look back at, realise I have been through.

I'm actually pleased, in an strange way, that I have been through these things, these "tests" if you will, that I've had a bit of a stare at the dark side and that I've had to work my way out of the abyss that was requesting the pleasure of my company. Why? I think that the experience and the lessons I've learnt can only help to serve me (and others perhaps) better for the future. Age and experience - that's what I've got now and if I can call on the experiences properly it can only make me stronger.

That's enough for a Sunday - back to the papers - or the eReader should I say.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Accounts and Stuff

What a week that was - chaos and I don't normally like chaos but it was caused through needing to get involved in logos and design work, web design, copy-writing and other such stuff. My Kindle feels like it is weeks old and yet I've only had it 4 days. What a great little asset that is. At the moment I am using one of the experimental features - an MP3 player which is running in the background whilst I work. I've worked downstairs all this week to give myself a break from the Office and that appears to have worked as I have also been distraction free but the downside? I've worked every night into the early hours apart from last night where I consciously took the laptop in to the lounge, and watched a couple of movies. I'm listening to Yann Tierson and music from Goodnight Lenin and Amelie as well as Ennio Moricone and the film score to the Legend of 1900 - a great film.

Yesterday I went to see the Dentist. My jaw is a little aching today through one of my teeth being in not particularly good shape - but I knew that. The plan is pretty extensive and in two weeks time I'll go and get a couple of fillings and I need to make up my mind about some root canal work on one tooth and an extraction on another. I have a couple of others to be sorted out as well but at least I will finally get around to sorting this lot out. "How long since you were last here?" "4 years and 3 months". "That's pretty precise", "Well as you can see that is about a month before I got Bladder Cancer". "I wasn't sure if having great teeth would be much use if I was pushing up daisies!" "I can see that"

He was very nice and went through all the things that were needed and described what was going to happen pretty well and so I got the plan and now all I need to do is go and sort out that sort of money - pretty expensive stuff.

I'm finishing off a series of accounts, again mainly held up due to a series of unfortunate incidents which I can trace back to being ill. Like having to take over as Treasurer from someone who was leaving and then wondering after 2 or so years where the Statements from the bank were and having to sort out the "fact" that despite accepting my signature and me going in and out of the bank paying stuff in etc - they didn't have me down as the owner of the account!!! Great - so now I have that sorted and have enough statements (and an on-line account) I can go back and check and reconcile my records with the bank statements which allows me to present the accounts to the Auditors. What a nightmare - anyway - glad to see my record keeping was pretty good and it all appears to balance.

So finishing that off at the moment and then see what else I need to sort out as next week is busy as you like. My Dad's 80th Birthday on Thursday too.