Monday, January 31, 2011

You know what?

Ssshhhhh - but it is 5 years this July since I was diagnosed, I keep thinking about that and just how well I feel now. It was great meeting up with my old colleague last week who saw me when I was ill and boy did I look it. I'm not sure if you look grey and drawn because of the worry or the treatment or indeed a combination of them both but rest assured once you got past that, moved on a bit and the BCG has grabbed you and thrown you about a bit and totally exhausted you it gets better. Suddenly you have other "stuff" to worry about and other things to do.

I realised that I would never have gone off and done this new business venture before - it wouldn't have fitted my plan of my life and how I envisaged things. Now, there is purpose and belief and commitment where I did feel at one time that I couldn't look that far into the future.

I think I was very much tomorrow, tomorrow when I was ill. You know, get through today, tomorrow will be better and each day will be better. Generally it was and life is pretty much up and down a lot for me not because I am a sort of up and down person but I am trying to alter to my new life and because - in reality - everything has changed. I don't think I have one relationship that hasn't changed in some way or other. My relationship with myself (if you can have one) has changed. I still regularly turn in on myself and get really angry that I am like I am or that I cannot relate to certain people, situations and other life stuff like I used to. The trouble is, that's the cards I'm dealt and that is what I've got to get on with - like it or not.

But does it make you any better a person? Surviving this far in - yes it does but you will probably never ever be the person you were before you got on the roller coaster. A little less brash, a little more human. Mind you there are things that I've said before about this - the emotional side, watching films and plays and other sad things really does it for me - I'm still a wreck when I see these things. I'm not certain how I will get on during Wednesday as it is my friend's funeral. I'm going with friends and it will be church, burial and then back to a local Hotel afterwards. I've tried to avoid funerals although I have been to a few, the terrible one with my friend's child and my other friend's dad. This will be awful - he had 4 children and I can only imagine how rough I'm going to feel about that. I remember my friend for all the right reasons and what great fun we had, what a great bloke he was etc. I can imagine that he was a brilliant dad - you just knew he would have to be - that was what he would have been.

Tragic stuff. Next week it is my friend's dad's funeral and that will be just as bad, he died suddenly and tragically too. I'm not sure what it is - I think it goes way back to when I was a kid and got a little traumatised in a graveyard in Rye, Sussex - it was pretty eerie as a huge storm flooded the graveyard and one of the stones was bubbling away and later a year or so later I remember my mum getting hit by a falling gravestone - either that or I'm just a woos!! :-)

Anyway - I was sat here today bashing away at my work when it dawned on me that I might be starting to lead a life away from bladder cancer and all the stuff that went on at that time.

What's surviving like? It's bloody marvellous - I just forget to celebrate that fact every day like I should. All the changes and all the things I've been through - they're fading memories now and things to be parked if possible to allow them not to cloud my future. Change is as inevitable as taxes and death I guess. I'll live with the first and hope the other two are a long way off.

Friday, January 28, 2011

2011 isn't starting off great is it?

Another friend called today - how are you? Well........

How about this poor chap - Colon Cancer, they're about to operate but find low platelet and cell count so they sort that out and get him in to do the operation they cut out the cancer but he gets a chest infection and things start to get bad, but he gets to go home, get back 4 days later with a worse chest infection - 4 weeks later he gets out but so weak and platelets and cell count so low they wont start chemo and now they taken some bone marrow to biopsy.

So we chatted about the ups and down the good days and the bad days and he said he wouldn't see me in February like planned but hoped that he'd see us in April when he was fit enough to get into the car!!!

Talking of cars daughter No. 2 L has just passed her driving test and so was very pleased about that and drove herself home last night. I don't drive the 2nd car leaving it for Mrs. F and A but now there are three of them for car No. 2 and I allow Mrs. F to drive the Jag. I'm not sure that I dare let a 17 and a 20 year old loose on my car. We will have to have a car rota up on the wall :-)

Just seen some of A's pictures of NY - impressed, I must go some time maybe when we get the business sorted out (or not).

Back from New York

So THAT'S what a Hershey's Bar tastes like :-) they were lucky to get back as it snowed and I understand there was 18" of snow and quite a few planes were cancelled. So A arrived back mid morning after a night on the red eye.

She had a great time in NY although her Aunt seriously impeded her progress in getting around so certain things she wanted to do were missed and she will just have to get over there again.

I've been pounding away at a piece of work I thought I'd finished. I completed a document and just wanted to check that I had covered everything and got some research done which proved that I'd not covered off many of the areas. It is a good thing of course that I checked but the document has gone from 90 to 127 pages and is still growing. It's been one of those things I've just had to do and something I've just had to complete - with a bit of luck I may see the end of it tomorrow and finalise it and get it out for review.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


It was a draining experience last night going through the traumatic details with my friend but I was pleased that I did and I hope that it helped out.

Went up to town today and met a few people I haven't seen for years and years. Talk about chalk and cheese one was really extrovert and charged and the other was very staid and didn't really react a lot. Funny - I was expecting a slightly different reaction.

Anyway - there was a nice surprise awaiting me on my return with the delivery of some research work that looks like it will help me complete my document earlier than planned.

Today was quite good, once again, we found that our ideas are going down really well and that we are going in the right direction. Let's see if it converts to money or not before we count any chickens.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Well I met my friend who's Dad died last Thursday morning. We met up at our usual location at the pub and it was as useful for him as it probably was for me. We Brits don't do emotion much but we had a bit this evening - necessarily so, his father was a very well known person in the news industry and there are a lot of people as baffled and as perplexed as us about his sudden death. He had a stroke but it was located on his brain stem and it was unfortunately one of those things you don't recover from. I've spent an evening listening to stuff that, only if you've experienced it, you can truly understand.

I say it was unexpected because this is a man that had life written all over him, he was one of those characters you come across who you were, as a child, a little frightened of. He was a funny man and so his humour didn't always translate when we were young but we grew to love him because he was such a lovely guy and we always had a lot of fun when we were around him. I'll put a link to him in here when it is published in the papers but tonight was about easing out some pain, letting my friend tell me ALL about it and I'm just beginning to feel the fall out of that now that I've got home. Fall out? What I mean is that I've listened and provided the environment to off load things that perhaps can't be said to family but can be said to your friends and some things I wasn't absolutely ready to hear but I could, thankfully, relate to from my own experiences. So there is an upside to cancer as the emotions that I went through early on, prepared me to rationalise and explain why it was better for such a quick resolution to the initial stroke and why it was all mercilessly quick.

What was poignant to me was that whilst there was life that person lived but when seen when they have passed away it isn't the person you knew at all - it is a shell. We both got pretty messed up around this time but I was able to just reflect on the fact that he had said goodbye and that his last words - which were very characteristic of his character and humour were "this is another fine mess I've gotten you into!"

Bless his heart - he had continued to be his cheery and happy self until the end and my friend - I hope - will remember that - this is how he always was and why everyone liked him so much and why he was held in such high esteem. We will have difficulty at the funeral because there will not be room for all of those who want to say goodbye to him and support the family.

It was good to have my other friend turn up a little later who had been through all of this with his father as he was able to take up the baton as I was beginning to fade fast after 2 or more hours of friends supporting each other.

There were lots of positives and many fine memories to reflect on too. It is one of those tragic things that happen that someone who appeared very healthy and in good spirits should succumb this way, this quickly. In a way, that's a blessing because if he had of survived he would have been trapped inside his body and that would have been awful for a man so full of life and energy.

I sincerely hope that when my turn comes that it is swift as this. I would hate for it to be a drain on other people or my family.

These events inevitably lead to the dark side of my own experience - these things leave me drained and physically and mentally empty.

Here we are again

1:20 in the morning - I'm wide awake - could do another 8 hours straight the way I'm tuned in at the moment and yet I know I ought to go to bed. My mind is just crackling at the moment the synapses are firing off lightning bolts and I'm really charged mentally although I am keeping a reasonable air of calm about me.

I managed to finish a great chunk of work today - really important - hard graft - unbelievably hard graft and it just kept growing and growing as a task the more I looked into it and then as abruptly as it can possibly be - I found that I had run out of research I was beginning to go around in circles and suddenly that task was done. I was pleased about that because it was seemingly open ended. I was able to fire off a request to an organisation that I am a member of to do some final checks for me. That should assist me to ensure that I've covered all the right ground and that I've included all the right organisations.

I can then get on with another piece of work that will pull together all my industry and customer research into one document too.

However, I have to switch my brain off and it just wont do that - it's getting exciting and it's "real" now - right there in front of us. We still need huge scepticism and reality checks and not getting carried away with ourselves. Now that I've gotten over the fact that it really is just the two of us pushing this, I feel that I can now step up to that challenge properly. The Elephant in the room is being addressed and it's one of those awkward moments - the ones where you suddenly realise that it's all down to you to make this happen (or try your best and not quite make it).

I need to re-programme myself so that I don't burn out.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A late night scuppers Saturday

I wasn't trying to be late on Friday night but whatever I did seemed to lead to me staying up quite late and then when I dragged myself to bed, I had just fallen off when my phone went around 12:30 or so. It was my daughter texting me from New York. Nothing bad in that except we are in the UK and so what for her was early evening was early morning for us. She needed some information which I had to search for and text back and then - I was awake - could I get back to sleep? None of it and when I finally came to on Saturday it was far too late to get up to London for the family history event.

So - I missed that and ended up working on the business for the rest of the day and then we went to friends for a Burns Supper at which I did, in my faux Scottish accent the address to the Haggis - luckily only the first 3 verses - I think no ones ears could have taken more than that. It was a lovely evening and one of those weird and wonderful things happened. I was thanked for donating my old laptop to the charity that my friend and one of their other guests are volunteers for. We got chatting as you do and worked out that this ladies granddaughter was our daughters best friend. These people don't live locally to us and we have never met them before. My friend would be likely to have met them through the Samaritans and so with 60,000,0000 people in the country it just so happens that we are connected to this person in two ways. What's the chances of that happening?

Today I've taken it easy and just lazed around as I recognise that I'm not actually taking too many rest periods away from work - even so I keep a jotter nearby to add notes. We are getting to that really intense part of the business and it is sort of make or break time - it is hard graft and it is particularly so now that, in effect, only two of us are actually doing all the work.

Anyway - another interesting week awaits. I hope it isn't as tragic as the week I've just had. There will be two funerals to attend to at some time in the next few weeks so I will just have to see if I am up to going to them. I've had a few issues with that since I had bladder cancer and whilst I've managed a few - I find that it plays on my mind a bit and I struggle with it. Need to face up to these ones although my friend's one is just awful and so tragic.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Family Hidtory Day

Tomorrow - I suppose I had better go and find the details and get myself sorted out on that - like train times and where we are meeting. It should be interesting as I haven't been to Stratford in East London for years and of course that is where (or near) the Olympic Village and all that will be for 2012.

I'll be looking to get there early and find a nice café to grab some breakfast. I may not stay too long as we are out on Saturday evening and I don't fancy hanging around in London too long and I'm not sure that I'll stay for the AGM - these things drive me barmy whenever I go to them and as there is no Family History Fair there this year - there wont be much to do so I'll make my excuses and dive off early.

Flocky came over earlier laden with coffee and pastries so that started the day off well. It has been hard work again slogging through some of my research work but I'm getting there.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

How bad is this week going to get

Now a note from my friend that I've known from school, his dad died early this morning after a suffering a stroke last night. That's just so sad as his mum isn't at all well either. Very quick and of course traumatic as it wasn't expected. Managed to do the sorting out and get his mum looked after but can only imagine the trauma all that has caused as his wife lost her job after years of service because the new guy just wanted to change everything (arsehole spreadsheet manager!) so their year is pretty grim.

It's a pretty shitty start to 2011 already and we aren't out of January yet. At least Flocky is coming around tomorrow so that will cheer me up a bit.

Not that I am massively down. Glad to hear that A has arrived in the Big Apple and will be doing the tourist bit and off to Vermont tomorrow for some skiing. Good on her.

I'm "eating the frog" and ploughing through a really gutty piece of work that is just mind bendingly boring as I document all my research.

I am cheering myself up with the fact that I am going to the family history AGM on Saturday and will meet some of my far flung family and catch up with some of the latest news. We are also going to friends for a Burns night supper which will be a bit tempered by the news that their friend (and mine) was killed yesterday.

I've known better weeks folks...

The world's a little quieter this morning

I had a disturbed night - I expected that even after a couple of brandies. What an awful thing to happen and I'm still very withdrawn at the moment about it. I hardly know his wife and 4 children but my mind travels over to them every so often and it just makes me terribly sad to think about what they must be going through.

I'm able to start to remember the good times we had and some of my anecdotes about him - that will repair me I suppose. It's a bit like the shock of losing our friend over 30 years ago, in his early 20s he had a wife, another school friend, 2 daughters who were very young and a 3rd on the way and went to play Squash and no one knew he had a congenital heart problem. He collapsed and died. I was away, I didn't know until I came home and found out some weeks later. It was the most shocking thing, the circumstances and the timing (we were all getting married around this time) and I remember suddenly being aware of my mortality and taking the news pretty badly. The children are grown up now but when you see their faces, you still see him. That's always a strange moment coming face to face with someone who looks so much like him.

Anyway - a sad day and I'm feeling reflective and a little sad and a little morose. Not unexpectedly.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Silent and Shocked

My friend rang up and I missed the call somehow so called back an hour or so back. It was pretty bad news and he told me that our mutual friend had fallen off a roof and been killed earlier today.

To say I'm in shock is to under state the situation. He was probably a year or two older than me I guess and I worked really closely with him on a high stress, high profile project that defined my arrival on the high tech centred world some 19 years ago. We worked really hard and we saved my company millions and millions of pounds and we had an outrageous time doing so - we both learnt lots of things, we stayed friends since then and my clear recollections of him are singing goodnight to my friend and I as we left a Mayfair restaurant and hearing him half a block down the street serenading us before we caught a taxi to the station. We had some outrageous nights out in London and he was one of those larger than life lovely people you meet.

He leaves a wife and four children which is utterly tragic. He was rebuilding his business and he and I were only corresponding over the Christmas period about out plans to build our businesses.

I'm stunned. There will no doubt have to be investigations as to how this happened and why? I'm glad to have known him and sorry that he will no longer be around but I'm shocked at the way / how he died and the tragic consequences of the accident.

I said to my friend who called - "there but by the grace of God go I" and I imagine he and I both went back to the time about 17 years ago when another friend died after being hit by a train. I look back to 29 years ago when my boss was killed in a car crash leaving me to run the business and in effect close the business down. These tragedies - they're just appalling. I can hardly believe though that my friend is gone and that we won't be whacking back Oysters and Lebanese wine in some Soho restaurant ever again.

Puts things into context a bit I think. Not sure how well I'll sleep tonight but have had a couple of Brandies to see if that will help as I'm pretty upset by the news.

On a much brighter note A is off to New York in the morning and I hope she has a brilliant time. I've never managed to go been going but been cancelled and all sorts so I hope that she thoroughly enjoys that and that she gets to go skiing in Vermont at the weekend too.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


It is indeed hard graft and quite plodding work at the moment. Lots of hard, essential grind before I can get to the interesting bit which includes the numbers. The trouble is I'm working too late and I need to make sure that I stop now and go to bed and get up early fit and ready for a heavy day tomorrow - planning out where we are going to go next. It should be fun and a break from the tedium of the work I'm doing at the moment (although it is of great value - it is just so boring).

I heard about my friend who had the Appendix Cancer - a massive tumour - larger than they thought being checked now and - unfortunately - lower bowel gone and a bag in place. he is off the drips and getting back onto solids. He is cheerful and alert - that's nice to know - he's a nice lad. I'll hear later this week what the results are but he is as well as can be expected. I don't even want to guess what it was like for him - you can hardly imagine what a 13 hour operation and the recovery from that are like.

It puts my stuff into some form of perspective!

Accept it and move on

Boy am I feeling better in myself today. I had a full blown swipe at one of the team for being an arse (or ass) and that made me feel better. A bit of the old me came out there as I finally decided that political correctness and pussy footing around was no longer the way to carry on. As Winston Churchill used to stick on his memos "action this day!"

Too right - I've worked out what was wrong (not what I thought it was) and now that I know what it is I can move on. In fact today felt very different in many ways. I am determined to get things moving now and I find that my reticence before wasn't needed. The problem is that being nice to people and trying to accommodate them all the time and "doing the right thing" all have their place but I look at it like this:

We're climbing a mountain, it's massive, every time you get a bit nearer it looks bigger and steeper and more dangerous. A big group of us started out and all said they'd come with us but for differing reasons they're not leading and they're not carrying our packs, cooking the food, putting up the tents or doing anything vaguely constructive any more. We knew this a long time ago but we let it go and we stumbled along with a heavier and heavier load and our crew kept our spirits up by telling us what a great job we were doing and telling us how we could improve our performance and even reviewing our diaries and memoirs so that we could accurately reflect how useful they had been to us.

The nearer we got and the more daunting everything looked the easier it looked to our followers - those rose tinted goggles and romantic visions of climbing the Matterhorn hove into view for them - planting their flag dressed in Harris Tweed and a stupid hat with a feather hanging off it. Perhaps only we knew what lay ahead because we had planned for this moment. Planned to go to the summit as a team. We got to base camp a few weeks ago and all that's left is us, some of our kit and a mobile phone so that our followers can call us and give us advice from a safe and controlled distance. Their advice is as useful as sun cream on a rainy day and in an effort to assist us they have resorted to stating the bleeding obvious and playing back our plans as their new ideas. Our crowning moment is for the team to now explain to us the basics of Arctic survival, quoting from Scott's diary and reminding us to slaughter our Huskies if we run out of food. It is perhaps one of those moments in time when the rhetoric and advice freely found from websites, wikipedia and survival books are replayed endlessly to us as if we haven't even thought about them and hadn't worked out that it would be cold and we would need to pack a tent! Thanks guys - all value added or is that added value - I never can remember - perhaps you'd be kind enough to go find that our for me then roll it up and stick where the sun don't shine - go figure :-)

Now we realise, this mountain is for us to climb, for us to conquer (or not - that's always an option) and the bit that everyone else has forgotten is that if we do conquer this and reach the summit, it will be our flag and our names in the history book.

This next step requires us to equip ourselves properly and take on the challenge. We are fully prepared and have packed all the right gear - we are a little fatigued having had to carry it all ourselves but that just means we are fitter and more resilient.

My attitude - bring it on, I haven't come all this way to not try and do this but I've been disappointed that not everyone wants to come with me despite their assertions and protestations that they would. It is frightening and daunting and it doesn't look a nice place to be but that's the challenge we set ourselves and so we just need to keep faith with our convictions, tread boldly and test ourselves out once again. If there's just the two of us doing it and we get there then it will be the two of us who take the kudos and the glory - will others want to reflect in that too - you bet they will.

I hate to say it but I now see how divisions and arguments can easily erupt when suddenly it dawns on the major partners that they are in fact doing all the work and others aren't pulling their weight. No matter, at least I know, I've made my feelings understood and I can take it to the next level now I'm aware of it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Fellow Cancer Suferer Requires Some Funds

Here is a LINK to a blog about a lady in the US who is undergoing pioneering treatment but has to stump up the costs herself to get to and from the centre which is half way across the US from her home. She has just undergone Cyberknife treatment as well but just gets on with things.

If you can spare some cash to assist in the travel arrangements I'm sure that would be gratefully received and I'm guessing that if you are local you'll be able to assist in other ways.

Want to know a bit more click HERE. I'd commend the blog to you as well because it has an incredible main story and lots of other things happening too.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

You know who your friends are

That's what it is in the back of my head bang, bang, banging away. What is it?

It is that you are on your own no matter what people actually say. Here's my nagging niggling thought. I've not been great in the head for a good few weeks and of course, it has to be a couple of things doing that:

  1. Cancer undermines most of your self confidence and self esteem
  2. I am finishing my old job at the Charity - I have to say good bye to it
  3. The new job is in reality not a whole group of us but just the two of us

Let me explain:

  1. The thing that cancer does to you is to make you worry about it coming back or coming back as something else - I mean if you've got it once - perhaps your body will do it to you again and let you down. So underlying absolutely everything must be that in the back of your mind and most of the time you get a quiet moment you think like that - it isn't negativity - although maybe it is in reality.
  2. I've just wrapped up my identity access badge and sent it back, will do my last invoice and will alter my email etc. I've hung on long enough and you soon get forgotten no matter how popular you thought you were. No one is as interested in you as you'd like to think they made out they were. They've all gone back to business as usual and that's fine. I now need to break the bonds and ties.
  3. Here's the real scoop. I asked one guy to do one thing last year - he has taken 6 months and delivered nothing in the whole of that time. Sad but true. There are two of us thrashing out the detail and the nicest bit about that is that there will be only two of us able to face the investors (plus our financial man) but the others are lost in the wake of the ship we've built and sailed - they haven't read the stuff we've produced. That's the way it is and so I just need to accept that as I thought it was a team effort but I see that just the two of us are going to complete this. No wonder it felt lonely.

Anyway - I have a new vigour to get on and get something happening. I really shouldn't have started a finance document tonight as my head will be full of numbers. So I've stopped now and will complete this post and then hit the sack.

The shock of that reality is the sheer amount of work I've got to do in the next 6 to 8 weeks - oh well we have a meeting this Wednesday to resolve some of that and let's see what happens there.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


That is an emotion you can struggle with. As I leave the charity and pursue something a little more entrepreneurial I see the question (besides work) of what is the purpose? Why, having cheated the really dangerous stuff and being much better and all that. Why?

You know that thing when your number is up and then it isn't? Fifty or more years ago it would probably have been curtains for me - I suppose they could have operated but who knows. Today I suppose you are more likely to survive or live a little longer but it just strikes me that maybe there should be a purpose.

I'd really like to think it is the new business, after all it is about social equality and access for all and if only we can get some finance, who knows what good it could do. I suppose that we will have to wait and see if we are convincing enough to potential backers. What I do know is that in business that may be my purpose but I'm not sure about private life? I need to think about that and adjust myself to it because at the moment I've lost one of my philanthropic activities and there is a bit of a hole left by it.

My Roller Coaster Life

Continues - and I'm stuck here writing my blog and messing around late into the evening. I've actually been to bed but cannot sleep so back downstairs. The last 4 or 5 years have been like this and I suppose I should be used to it or do something about it.

I'll just get to bed when I feel tired I suppose and until then I'll try and do something to tire me out which is just as likely to stimulate my brain rather than shut it down.

Crazy crazy stuff. If I were normal though I wouldn't be me!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Time - where are you going

Yesterday was a nice day really but I was anxious not to lose time because I had to go up to London and so I was feeling like someone had "robbed me" of my time. I have no idea why - I was after all going out to enjoy myself, something I ought to do a bit more really. I'm chairman and so needed to be there but I didn't stay for too long as I wanted to get back but by the time I eventually arrived home, I could only realistically do a few hours work.

Today my mind and general demeanour are much better - so perhaps getting out was good for me. Today I've been catching up with loads of bits and pieces in preparation for a full on onslaught to get all my tasks done. I think both my business partner and I are coming to the full realisation that WE need to get this done and not rely on others. We have tried to get others to "step up to the plate" and actually they all have other commitments to fulfil and so they wont be able to. So we are hopelessly outnumbered and in it on our own in many ways. This is OK, we always - in the back of our minds - knew this was the case. It just feels like we've reached base camp and have just seen the peak of the mountain so high it hurts your neck to look up to the summit.

Accepting that is probably the difficult thing and now it's time to eat the frog and just get on and do it (JFDI) as we used to quip.

Also I arrived back to see that the charity and I will part ways at the end of this month - mutually of course - but that was both a sadness and a release - if that makes any sense? A sadness as my working there was a real lifeline for me in terms of paying back (in some strange way) my survival. It allowed me to recover not only from all the bladder cancer stuff - it allowed me to recover from the wreckage of the previous business and all the horrors that had happened there. A release too as I no longer need to check everyday for emails and actions which have tailed off now anyway. All my emails can be redirected and I can just do the odd small piece of project work as and when required.

I was a little upset about that last night but after some head sorting this morning I see it for what it is and I enjoyed my 2 years there and rebuilt much of my life and much of my self esteem and self confidence which cancer and the previous business stripped from me. Looking back I certainly came from a low low place and whilst I'm still not out of the woods, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to set it all up. Mind you, as I constantly tell people, I am a builder - I create things, make sure they work properly and then, when it gets to actually running the business, department or whatever it is, I have to go on to the next building or creative project - I don't do business as usual (BAU) - what would you rather do design and build or maintain it?

So changes but for the better I think. I have asked to be considered for a role as one of the Charity's Trustees - it may take some time to come up but that way at least I'd be able to put something back in the future.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

No news - good news?

Let's hope so - still not heard anything.

Had a reasonable day here today - business partner came around and we did get some work done - we are both feeling a little low still - I think that this because we realise that we are, in reality, batting on our own on this. Some of our partners are busy doing other stuff and so we are left with some serious work to do in a short time.

I think that this is hitting home. The work we've done to date has been research and preparation work. Now we are getting results and pulling it all together. It is an uphill struggle sometimes to get motivated and just "eat the frog" and get on and do it.

I'm off to London tomorrow for a lunch meeting - I'm chairman of the London Lunchtimers and so will have a nice day out but really I want to be here cracking on with my work. I foresee that I need to put some serious time into this and maybe that will help to get me out of my mini rut I'm in.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Not heard a thing

About young M and his Appendix Cancer Operation - maybe we will hear in the morning.

I had a terrible night's sleep thinking about this ending with the most horrible dream I've ever had which climaxed in some terrorist slicing off my daughter's head with a Scimitar in glorious technicolor! I daren't even tell you what a mess I was in as awoke from that as it happend at 2 in the morning.

Dreams are of course a collection of many things and inputs but it was just awful and I can see that it was a combination of stories from the UK and US press that combined to make that so and the "parent's worry" about his "little girl" going off to New York in a week or two. In fact she is so like me in many ways that I ought not to worry she is planned, calculated and sensible and has always proved herself to be so. Even now at 20 she still checks in and we know what is going on. She is very adventurous and sensible and planned all in one. L is the one that can be a bit of a loose cannon. A and L are off to Sheffield University tomorrow - L has an interview for the Degree course she wants and she has a reference that - frankly - I'd kill for from the school where she is doing her spare time work placement. She will get on and do well in life because she has all the common sense of her mother and the sense of humour of her father and a get on and do attitude. If they rejected her that wouldn't be a problem - she knows what she wants to do (and in my opinion what she is great at) and she will get there by whatever route gets her there. She will be a great teacher - it is one of the things I always wanted to be - I felt that was what I could have done but the 60 s and 70s weren't always about what you wanted to do but getting a trade first and then do what you want to do. I have the luxury of letting my children choose what is right for them not what is right for my wallet. If they bankrupted me getting there, I think that would be OK too? Well maybe.

I got everything that was possibly in my parent's power to give to me and it has worked out OK. I think that I owe that opportunity to my children - to give the best I can too. They've got a few steps up from where I was - it isn't where I'd like it to be but it's the best I can give at the moment.

They have to do the best with the opportunity they can - I am certain that they will. I may whinge a lot about things but deep down inside I believe that they will make the best of their chances because they are well supported by my friends and family as well as by us.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tomorrow a big day for

A friend of mine - poor lad - he has Appendix Cancer and they will be operating on him all day long - they say it is a 13 hour operation. It's just so sad that he has this - he isn't that old, I remember him being born and he has Cerebral Palsy - but gets on just fine and we meet up maybe 8 times a year for the Jazz night. He is probably only in his early 30s and is the nicest young man you could meet, very pleasant and he is a joy to know. I can only imagine what his family are going through now. He lost his dad whne he was very young - he died of Cancer and very quickly as I recall - diagnosed one day and dead within a few weeks - it was that sudden - a shock to everyone prompting them to move away and so we saw less of them than usual.

It was only a few years ago that we made the connection between out family and theirs and he is, indeed a far distant cousin by marriage - you ned to go back 3 generations and across 2 to get to them :-) We thought that was most amusing and he and I enjoy each others company and have a laugh and exchange pleasantries.

I can hardly imagine whet it is going to be like for him and his mum and sister tomorrow. Let's pray for a favourable outcome - I imagine he will be poorly for some time after this and I really wish that they come through for him.

I tend to be very much thinking about myself at the moment - I think it is all reflection - I'd like to think it isn't being selfish. This poor chap has a mountain to climb this next few months and I just hope and pray that he does that - it hardly seems fair to me that he already had a set of bad cards dealt to him and despite all of that he has triumphed through and got himself through school, got a job he has held for a long time and gets himself about etc. He's good company and a thoroughly delightful young man - but for some reason that I have yet to fathom or work out, that doesn't matter in this world we live in. You'd have thought the good and the innocent and the caring would get a few breaks in life or at least deserve them but making sense of this life sometimes is extremely difficult.

My prayers tonight are with him and his family and the surgeons who have to call on the full skill and abilities to help cure him.

As if to spite me

My laptop today is not connecting to the network where last night it was happily chatting away to it. There appears to be no reason behind this behaviour except that I wanted to do some printing this morning and it wouldn't let me :-(

I'm definitely feeling Januaryish. I just can't get enthusiasm for anything - it all seems to be too much trouble and it all appears to be a big weight on me at the moment. I have up times of course and Saturday I felt the best I have done for a while as we were out at the Lodge and had a very good meeting. Suddenly there are lots of things in my diary and the enormity of the job ahead with the business has started to set in.

Today I am slowly getting started on reorganising myself for the onslaught that is to come. It should be one hell of a journey, I'm just a little reticent in starting it.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Much better frame of mind

I feel a lot better but have noticed that I am pretty tired and not sleeping properly yet again. I always seem to have problems at this time of year. I'm guessing I ought to get really stcuk into some exercise and some sort of routine and work starts tomorrow to reset my office and get myself back into some serious working.

It is amazing how small thing annoy me too - I was under impressed with an acquaintance of mine who thought it was amusing to mess up their answers on our survey - I wouldn't mind but I'd rather them have said I'm not doing it than to get all abusive about it? I have no idea what that proves other than they were probably drinking when they did it or have some other motive - luckily the delete button is easy for me to use....

Saturday, January 08, 2011

I haven't seen you for a few years David but I have to say

You look so well. My goodness, you did look ill when I last saw you, so grey and so drawn." Well this was true as it was in the January meeting of our Lodge when I was really ill - 2 years ago now - our 75th Anniversary meeting where I took a leading role and where I gave the history of the Lodge despite being really ill - perhaps the worst I have ever been in my life - because I had a double ear infection and hadn't long come out of Hospital and was just horribly ill. I remember the whole thing and how sick I felt. Oh dear - I was bad....

I had a terrible time in Hospital not long before, had an Op cancelled, had a terrible set of experiences and my GP was horrified at how bad I was before I went to see him (well I didn't think I was that ill). Bless him, this guy said to me how completely different I looked and to sort of add to this I was told I looked in my late 40s by a couple of the girls earlier on and I don't think they were after "brownie points" or anything. That made me feel good - you don't mind them knocking 8 years off your age after all :-)

So I chatted to this guy and he said how great it was to see me and how I wasn't "grey" or "drawn" and how I looked so much better. I could have kissed him because you may not realise what a lift this sort of conversation has for me. I Look back at photos I have of me when I was really ill and I do look drawn, grey and old and near to death (truth be known). Now I have a good complexion, rosy cheeked, and all the other good stuff. I could do with more hair (couldn't we all) and I could be a little fitter than I am - I still look a bit over inflated and carry a little too much weight though!

Anyway - I was so pleased to get a compliment like that and it just boosts your ego. We had a great evening and a fun time - long may that continue.

What is going on?

As a 30 year plus IT person - I still cannot believe the latest issues I've had with my PC and with those that forced me to go to a new operating system but don't allow me to use the software I bought off them? However, you may recall that I've been having network problems, so much so that this new PC would never connect to the local network at all and so all the shared drives (backup) and printers and scanners were unable to be used so I had to email my other PC or transfer files so that I could print them off.

I have no idea what has happened but for the past 3 days the computer has regularly connected to the network and I can use its full capabilities at last? I haven't altered anything that I know of it has just all suddenly clicked into place. Perhaps an update has come in - who knows - it works and that is brilliant.

Roll on when we can get Doddle to market and this sort of nonsense can be a thing of that past.

Friday, January 07, 2011

It's quite amazing how

A really promising conversation with a Corporate Finance house earlier today really lifted my spirits. I think my spider senses were on edge but I needn't have worried because most of the questions I had and assumptions I'd made were there or thereabouts and so I was pleased that common sense and working through our processes seem, once again, to paying dividends and after promising me 20 minutes we ended up at 45 minutes and it was great that this guy "got" what we were doing.

Suddenly things don't look so gloomy and I realise that the work we have done will stand up to scrutiny and we are thinking along the right lines. Even the £Ms of capital I was talking about didn't phase the conversation - amazing.

So I am happy about that and we will soon be getting on full bore at this. I can see next week taking on a much better temper than this one. I doesn't take much to get me fired up and back on track - today I feel so much better about things.

The mind is indeed a strange thing....

Spirits Lifting a bit

Gradually things are getting better and I'm feeling better - the car is back which relieves travelling pressures. A meeting with my business partner and a slow start to the year and a gradual ramp up may be helping. I think it may have been a good move to jump in and get immersed in work but in reality we need to think and plan a bit.

A is off to NY for 7 days flying out on the 20th. My Nephew is out there and so his mum and A will go out there to meet him. An opportunity not to be missed although I bet it is cold there this time of year.

I have a Lodge meeting tomorrow and that will cheer me up as I'll meet a bunch of friends too. It's been just one of those weeks and I wasn't at all surprised to hear that my business partner is similarly having sleep pattern difficulties as well. We had just a little too long to think about things over the Christmas break.

At least each day is a gradual improvement and a better frame of mind.

The annoying thing about this is that before Cancer (BC) I was never like this, I was always very optimistic and nearly always up. Cancer affects you in many ways, it kind of humbles you but it plants many seeds of doubt in you too. I know many people don't get this bit at all and carry on completely as normal but in my case, it has undermined my confidence and heightened phobias and other worries that were well managed or hidden before.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Flocky Bicep to the Rescue

I had coffee with young Flocky earlier today (it still is today) and that was really good for lifting my spirits. I've been down of late and heaven knows it is good to meet up with others who have had or have experienced something similar. You don't actually need to say a lot to those kindred spirits because you know that they know and they know that you know, if you know what I mean?

My business partner is similarly good for me as he has experienced Cancer first hand and we were both diagnosed and treated within days of each other. That is a common and amazingly powerful bond that almost goes unspoken but this blog is full of his and my experiences with the Black Dog. The Black Dog, for the uninitiated, is the dark gloom of depression and the black dog lurks on the outer fringes of your sight and conciousness. It is always there but sometimes it is a long way away and other days it terrorises you.

Tonight I went to the Jazz night and got mini panic attack. I stripped off down to my tee shirt from my huge warm jacket, scarf, gloves, hat and so on and was still boiling hot. Thankfully I psoke to some people who were also hot and they opened a window to get some fresh air in but I was massively uncomfortable. So much so I nearly rang Flocky to warn him that I was feeling queasy about Saturday's meeting of the Lodge if we had to dine in the smaller dining room when we actually had great numbers. I was feeling panicky just thinking about it and even writing about it too.

I am not sure why this is so but I can see that one of my big problems to overcome is this issue with claustrophobia. I have a friend who will come and hypnotise me to sort this out. He has managed to stop me smoking and to give me enough confidence to go to Hospital on my own and even have blood tests and other stuff that I never ever thought I'd be able to. Perhaps we can work on this. I do suffer if it is too hot though and I also have problems going to bed sometimes.

I feel that at the moment I am going through another period of change and so many things are happening to me (and just to me in my little world) that it destabilises my day-to-day existence. I cannot understand why I am doubting myself or all the things I stand for. I cannot get to the bottom of why I "need" the approval of people and worry what people think about me. I think this is just what a few weeks off and an introverted view has done. I doubt myself and my professionalism, I doubt how "good" I think or believe I am. I tear down my self confidence and spite myself for no other reasons than to inflict mental self harm. None of this is goodness although some of it stops me being a conceited bulldozer I suppose?

I feel on the borders of sanity and yet know that I am in overall control. This isn't the edge of darkness or the abyss, this isn't the descent into alcoholism and self destruction, it isn't physical nor is it overtly the actions of someone who will transcend the line. I feel I am someone who doesn't quite understand where they are now, a sort of netherworld area (like Neo in Matirx 3 - stuck in between worlds) where all options are open and I can stare into each and like or despise what I see. Where alcohol could be an answer (bit I know it isn't), where running away is an option (but it isn't) and where I, as an INTJ, get to do what I do every decade or so and that is to go into a complete meltdown and destruct then reconstruct myself. A view here kind of sums up the issues I have "INTJs spend a lot of time inside their own minds, and may have little interest in the other people's thoughts or feelings. Unless their Feeling side is developed, they may have problems giving other people the level of intimacy that is needed. Unless their Sensing side is developed, they may have a tendency to ignore details which are necessary for implementing their ideas."


"When under a great deal of stress, the INTJ may become obsessed with mindless repetitive, Sensate activities, such as over-drinking. They may also tend to become absorbed with minutia and details that they would not normally consider important to their overall goal. INTJs need to remember to express themselves sufficiently, so as to avoid difficulties with people misunderstandings. In the absence of properly developing their communication abilities, they may become abrupt and short with people, and isolationists."

I have become very insular - I don't express myself very well except in business situations and I do not express myself very well - although I probably get somewhere with this blog.

Anyway - Flocky came to the rescue and I know that I do have a number of people whom I can rely on to put me on the right track. I just cannot believe how emotionally unstable and insular I've become and how phobias are once again encroaching on me.

I like to think that in business I am right up there and really on top of my game. Unfortunately, as a private person I just seem to be a bit of a wet blanket and a bit of a wimp at the moment. I'm sure it is all connected to what I have been through.

I like the statement "The INTJ's interest in dealing with the world is to make decisions, express judgements, and put everything that they encounter into an understandable and rational system. Consequently, they are quick to express judgements. Often they have very evolved intuitions, and are convinced that they are right about things. Unless they complement their intuitive understanding with a well-developed ability to express their insights, they may find themselves frequently misunderstood. In these cases, INTJs tend to blame misunderstandings on the limitations of the other party, rather than on their own difficulty in expressing themselves. This tendency may cause the INTJ to dismiss others input too quickly, and to become generally arrogant and elitist." because it kind of explains why I am like I am. I know I am like this and I realise that if you don't get it as fast as I do, often enough, then you are probably too stupid to work with me!! :-) No - honestly - if you can't keep up you don't stay in my team.

It isn't a great personality trait and I know I am like it but I have always had to be a leader or take a leading role and you have to be a bit like this to do it. Don't get me wrong, I think I do really well considering what I've been given to work with. I just find it a cruel thing that I don't have the ability to express or explain myself very well and that means that I come across in the wrong way to many people. The nightmare is that it hurts me so much when I realise that I've messed up or misunderstood a situation because I can't read it - I don't do emotions, I do logic - now I know how Spock felt.

Enough for tonight!

Sleep Deprivation

I am still at it, 12:30 and still firing away and still not quite ready to go to bed. I need to be tired as I just lay awake with my mind going ninety to the dozen synapses firing off in all sorts of directions. I just got the bill for the car which has been away for all of Christmas and they found the ECU had got water in it, plus the 70,000 / 7 year service and I'm not going to see much change out of £1,650 so that wasn't the best start to the year. At least I get the car back tomorrow. Mrs. F. Wasn't pleased at all with that but then she runs a brand spanking new Peugeot that hasn't had its first service yet!

So with that hefty bill to start my year off I hope that the car no longer needs too much repair work in the next year or two certainly it wont need this massive service it has just had. It would have been an impact if I had of been working let alone with me not earning - well not earning much.

I think I will have some money to come in later this month though as I need to do some upgrading of a wiki web site.

I realise that the most conversation I had was about the car tonight! Not a lot else was said.

I was offered to go to New York this month as my nephew is over there for 3 weeks. Typically I have no time in January to do that. A may go if she can get a flight and a Visa sorted which will be good for her. I've only ever set foot on US soil once in Seattle and that to walk from a coach to a ferry back over to Canada :-)

Oh well there you go - one day I shall make it. If all goes well maybe in the next year or two we will need to wander over state-side. I hope she can make a flight and get visa and all that sorted. Amusingly we have adverts inviting us to California and Florida and yet visas have gone from free to $14 - all sorts of tax hikes have also just hit and so it is probably more expensive than ever to find a flight etc.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


Could it be that I just don't have anyone to talk to that makes me down at around this time of year? I spoke at length to my business partner today for the first time since Christmas Eve and I felt one hell of a lot better afterwards. It then dawned on me that in terms of "company" and peer conversations I really only had the briefest of conversations on Christmas Day with my brother in law's girlfriend and my nephew who I would put being on the same wavelength and interest levels as me.

The waste of oxygen is fine if you can talk cycling all day long which I can't. The Kids maintain their own council in their own rooms most of the time and Mrs. F. is always busy doing something busy to occupy herself. It kind of makes sense that I've basically been shut away for 2 weeks with little stimulus and certainly no one to have any sort of intelligent discussions with as I very much doubt anyone else is in the least bit interested in the great world around them.

I sure feel a lot better now than I have these past days so getting back to doing something interesting will at least get my mind off any other thing that may be holding me back.

Its interesting too as he was also feeling a bit down. I don't put it all down to this I expect that both of us are fully aware of the mountain we have to climb to get our ideas to market and we just spent a little too much time thinking about it instead of doing it!

At least I am not as down as I was - it looked terribly black yesterday, today feels a lot better.

Can't say things are any brighter

I feel very strange at the moment and I'm not sure what it is that is doing this but it is pretty unnerving and not at all pleasant.

I feel a lack of confidence and a general dark malaise again and the Black Dog is somewhere abouts close but not breathing down my neck. It is a most unsettling feeling as I cannot easily work out what is wrong or why I feel like I do. I have an inkling of what it might be but I don't want to go there and see if that is true. I'm not sure I want to face up to something that I think is there and - in truth - I'm not willing to discuss it here on the blog at the moment.

It isn't about my health I know that. I am happy that I am well and whilst I know that I need to get back into some sort of routine after Christmas and the excesses of that (we all deserve a break) it isn't that either. It isn't my physical health although things could be better but, as an article in the Telegraph on Saturday pointed out, we aren't meant to last as long as we are lasting and certainly not to 100 as they would have us now believe that up to 10% of the younger people these days will!

No it is not physical health at all it is mental and it worries me a bit as I really shouldn't be worried about much should I? I've got my health back and I feel much better than I have for years. There's just something chipping away in the back of my mind; some paranoia thats altering my perception of things. It's as if I've been marginalised and put to one side, as if I've come out of a long time in the shadows and emerged to a half life where things revolve around me but I'm not directly involved. I'm not engaged with the activities and everyone just gets on and does their own thing without reference to me at all. It's as if life is happening all around me and I'm not there. As if I were dead and a ghost and looking in on it like some spirit voyeur.

It's the most bizarre feeling and quite disturbing, like being sent to Coventry or some such thing. Where it is quite acceptable to take an action and not tell me it is taking place or for me to find that I'm in the house on my own and everyone has gone out to shop or those sorts of occurrences. It could be me not hearing someone saying they were going to do something I suppose. I'm finding this wider afield too that no one takes the time to respond to you even in the most urgent of communications. Is it that no one gives a flying F*** these days? I've written to people asking for an urgent response only to get a nothing back in return. I've gone out of my way to communicate something someone has desperately wanted and they haven't even bothered with a thank you.

Perhaps it's me? Let's see if a night's sleep improves the situation any better?

Monday, January 03, 2011

Worrying Signs

I'm a bit worried about my state of mind again - I'm finding sleeping bad again and I'm having my mini panic attacks especially when going to bed which makes me stay up later until I'm so tired I can't keep my eyes open much longer then I'm forced to go to bed.

I'm also getting recall anxious about things and I'm not absolutely certain why that should be. Work starts again tomorrow although I've been doing a little bit of pottering around getting people to complete the survey for me. That's been difficult in a way as some people just can't concentrate for more than a few questions and so I'm a bit worried that the figures will be skewed but I suppose we can look at individual questions and analyse them.

Maybe I'm worried about work - the difficult bit is coming up or maybe it is something else. I'm sure that the different sort of Christmas we have just had (its over as Mrs. F. Packed up the tree and everything this morning) the kids being off all over the place and potentially not being around that much may also be giving me food for thought. Whatever it is I wish it would go away and let me think about something else. Maybe it is just 2011 being laid out before me. Who knows - I just don't need all this head stuff right now.