Thursday, March 31, 2011

Made it

To As 21st Birthday - well if I last until Sunday that is! Tomorrow is preparation day and Saturday we are having a party with friends and family. I am really looking forward to that and I hope she has a great day. Twenty-one years - it hardly seems possible that it has been that long but it has.

I am now pleased that I'm here to see it - at one time that felt like it may not happen and I was cut up about "not being there" for the kids. They are no longer kids and I guess that they'd be able to function quite well without me given their ages of 21 and 18.

In a way, I feel very happy and I'm looking forward to a party and having people around. I miss the old days. Somehow, we don't have people around anymore and we don't go many places. Either I'm not up for it or Mrs. F. isn't. I have made it a policy to try and do more this year and I'm not working too much tomorrow as I want to do the cooking for Saturday and preparation work. I want As party to go off with a bang.

I'm quite pleased about one thing though. Since getting the new router installed I've actually been able to get the computers all networked - or it seems to have. Of course now I've got a new PC arriving on Monday to replace the big household server but that should be fine - I hope that it will improve things all round. I've been backing up that machine - as I am now back in my real office next door to it. Hopefully that will be easy enough to sort out on Monday when it arrives. Of course - these things always take a lot longer than they should with all the messing about.

Somehow I have to move all my old emails from that machine to another one. Not easy but I guess I'll manage it. I have just realised that I haven't really looked at many of these since Christmas time so I had better catch up with them and get them moved ASAP.

Feeling OK and in a happy place at the moment but getting worried about my friend as I haven't heard anything yet.

Time to ramp down

And take my equipment out of my temporary office downstairs in the dining room and transport it back to me real office upstairs. It is As 21st Birthday party on Saturday and we are going to spend the day (Friday) cleaning the house and getting ready. It looks as if I will be doing some cooking tomorrow which will be nice.

I've moved most things excepting the PC up now and it looks a bit bare down here :-)

The business stuff is getting gutty and hard as we try and find examples of what businesses have allowed for various parts of their infrastructure and staffing, insurance, utility bills etc. So far it has been pretty difficult to find enough evidence to put in our business plans but gradually we are finding things. Sometimes, even with the internet, you just cannot find stuff.

I'm hoping that we should soon be able to nail down the business plans - I've just done two pieces of work that have frightened the daylights out of me and the financial investments look incredible but they returns look to be worthwhile. Now to complete the maths and go find an investor or two :-)

Feeling a little tired but will be having a celebratory weekend with A for her 21st Birthday and lots of people coming over so that will be nice. Looking forward to it.

Late and time for bed

I found today one of those head buzzing days when I appeared not to have done a lot but on reflection found I'd covered lots of ground. It started out with half a morning lost to setting up a new internet connection which is now happily effected and working rather nicely and seems to be working at some speed too. Which is good. All PCs are migrated over and a new PC is on its way to relieve Mrs. F. of using the old Evesham that now requires winding up like an old fashioned gramophone to get it working and then only in slow motion replay mode!

I will spend some time clearing that down and installing the new one early next week and I hope that it will prove to be a good move and that not only will she be able to use a fast computer but also it will network with this PC and I can print from anywhere in the house once again and share files across the back up systems.

It is a bit annoying to say the least that it no longer works seamlessly - hopefully next week.

It sounds as if a friend may have had a relapse - I'm waiting to hear officially what has happened. It terrifies me to think he may have cancer again. He's a lot younger and it just isn't fair is it? Then again, looking around the world today, not a lot is fair. I've just realised that my blog is backed up to the old PC so I'd better back it up to here too just in case I lose it in the transfer. I'd hate to lose this lot.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The trouble with customer service is that

It isn't service is it? Yesterday - or was it Monday - I was told that I needed a new router as we had an old fashioned set top box and that the latest would save us money - so a new router, faster speed and less money - a no brainer!

At 9 am this morning - no internet service - huh? So I go check it all out and yep - no internet service at all, tried everything, did all the testing etc. As luck would have it before I got really angry a man turned up with a box and inside was a new router, cables and everything I needed. I had already pulled out the TV exposing the cabling point etc. I got to work and within 5 minutes all was connected, splitter installed, modem/router connected all lights flashing etc. Good. The instructions said ring up this number and get connected. After listening to the welcome message and going through a series of steps it then said have your account number ready? So I had to stop the call and go find that. Then when I get through they will only speak with the account holder. Finally we get past that then they want a password. So I say - can you see my phone number? Yes well is it from the account? So we eventually do some more stuff and I say that why would I want to power up the modem/router they sent me as if I was someone else. So we go through all of that and finally, it kicks into life and I'm happy, at last, as it works pretty much out of the box and appears to be faster.

I just hope that it is more reliable than the last router. It should be faster and with a bit of luck, next week, when I get the new computer, it will also be networked around the house once more!

Fun - it isn't :-)

Monday, March 28, 2011


Tonight I chatted with the chap I had quite an altercation with last year and it's interesting that now his wife has died that he comes along on Monday nights and joins in with us. Bless him he is a bit dotty and a little bit slow on the pick up of the "in jokes" but I never have been an in your face comedian operating as I do on the borders of the pythonesque and have a barbed, surreal and pretty nasty sense of humour.

What's nice is that we have buried the hatchet and there is no animosity about the wee altercation we had. He was at his most engaging this evening and that pleased me as I don't like to have some sort of ongoing feud with the man.

He hadn't realised that I'd had cancer and so we chatted about that and he spoke at length about his wife and the pent up problems he had and so I suggested that he might like to consider writing a journal to get it out of his system. I explained about this blog and how useful it had been to me. Now I feel a little guilty as perhaps I should have been writing it, as an author would do, for their audience but the truth be told, it is for my own use and my own purposes. It's pretty much as I see things day to day. I certainly hope everyone who reads this are better balanced than I am, in better health and have slightly more sanity than I do :-) No really I do. I've been on one hell of a ride this past 5 years - I've had stuff happen to me that just defies logic and has taken me to the highest and lowest ebbs of my life. I'm glad you may be reading this but I do find it terribly self indulgent and perhaps that's why it works for me but may never work as a true cancer blog. I'm off loading on you not actually giving you anything in return.

I found that the most amazing thing these days is the swing between good and bad days, mediocre days and those when you are flying. I'm in a "good place" at the moment. Spring is here, new life and flowers and buds and blossoms everywhere - it's really nice. In July we - or I - or my business partner and I are going to celebrate our 5 year survival - we aren't sure what we are going to do but it will be something....

When I was 50 I survived that by living 1 year beyond diagnosis. I've had an amazing 4 years since. Time to celebrate.

Business is getting closer and closer. We either will or will not progress further with it by July. I feel as close as we have ever been to delivering the plans and so I/We continue to push forward. It's getting really hard now as we do tha last mile but it certainly feels like the right thing to do still and after the best part of 3 hours conference calling today - I sure hope that it is worth it. It's feeling more corporate too. Planned conference calls between us and Europe, meetings and individual calls, trips to hotels and meeting rooms. Perhaps we can just make this happen - I do hope so.

Well it's time for bed and I need to be up and running first thing tomorrow - lots to do and lots of things to discuss and agree, document and improve on.

Blogging Less

I guess that having little to say means that I'm not rushing to the blog and scribbling down once or more a day these days. I suppose we can take from that the lesson that things return to a normal state after a while and I don't suppose I've thought too much about BC in the past few days or thought to blog at all. It was the return of the F1 Grand Prix and I was out most of Saturday. That was nice except for one moment when I got too hot and wanted to flee from the meeting. I've noticed that a lot it's a bit of the claustrophobia and these sorts of "hot flush" events that I get. Generally I feel warmer than I ever did following the treatment (I think) and I don't tend to feel the cold as much but I do feel hot offices and buildings and it was almost unbearable on Saturday. I had it happen in a couple of meetings this year and so I need to be especially careful about it. It even happened a week or so ago at one of our practice meetings. the trouble is that I feel feint and very uncomfortable. I get a little panicky but generally I am able to control it through breathing etc.

I've been having some wild dreams these past weeks. As we begin to pull together the shape and scale of the business we can now see how big it is and how challenging, this triggers off all sorts of new thoughts and ideas and they manifest in dreams and nightmares. These are amazingly clear and the people and their voices are accurate and very real. Of course the situations and landscapes may not be. However, if I remember them, I can tell that they are to do with aspects of the business, areas of concern and they deal with success and failure as well as working on complex ideas and aspects of the business.

At the moment, I'm a bit worried about my health - it was the Census at the weekend and it was amusing that my wife put me down as being in 'Fair' health not 'Good'. I wasn't too sure if I agreed with that but I suppose, given the last 5 years of problems - that would be about as accurate as we can manage. I wonder if I will be around for the next Census in 2021? I need to get back into eating properly and doing some exercise again as I've easily put back on 1/2 stone and need to lose that. I'm blaming the winter. I hope that as it is now getting brighter and warmer that I will start to come out of this quite depressing winter period and get motivated again. I can also start to migrate away from all the heavy winter foods towards some salads again now it is warm enough to have them.

Later this week it will be A's 21st birthday - I can't believe it has been that long - it seems to have flashed by. We will be having a family party this weekend and then A is off to Paris with her boyfriend - that will be nice - I love Paris and at this time of year it is truly magnificent. After Vancouver and Brussels - I wouldn't mind working there again, I enjoyed my times there and whilst sometimes the people can be a bit off (like they can in London) it isn't bad and the centre is full of wonderful historic buildings. She should enjoy that.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz

That's my head that is :-) Wow - so many figures and spreadsheets - my eyes are blurry after a day hard at the figures and getting the business plans sorted out.

Hard work but enjoyable as finally we start to see the figures materialising and the whole thing taking some sort of form and gradually taking shape.

It's been a long time and we aren't there yet. It's a bit pareto like and the last 20% is going to take 80% of the effort - but hopefully not the duration. We are getting so close you can taste the cream cakes and coffee :-)

But that's enough for today - my eyes really are glazing over with the concentration of it all. So off to sit and watch the TV I think.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hard Work

Never hurt anyone. Yesterday was one of those good days when the business turned a massive corner as we populated the business plan and things started to make sense (at last) and things like staff levels became clearer and we started to get a handle on costs and revenues.

Which made the series of dreams last night completely explainable as these were all in the future, building the business, attending meetings, things falling in to place and actually getting somewhere.

Feeling good and just about to get flying into the next sections of my work. It's all starting to come together and not before time :-)

Monday, March 21, 2011


A friend - not a close one - but I've known him for some time and he told me about 18 months ago that he had Lung Cancer but had suffered a series of illnesses along the way died Saturday night. We got an email saying so today and telling us that the funeral details will be out soon.

I think email has helped inform us about such things and to circulate details of the funeral arrangements etc is good. It is a little non-personnel but often we have missed such events in the past as someone forgot to ring etc. It was perhaps though a little unforgivable to copy in the dead person's email address! Then for someone to explain about the deceased's wife's mental state copied to all in a response no matter how well thought it is hardly excusable as the family may well pick up that email.

It's not going to be the last this year unfortunately and there are a few more with equally bad diagnosis. I do hope that the words used and the way that email is handled might be a little more thoughtful from those who act before the think. This is one of those times where a little thought and a check of the email addresses before sending of "their opinion" would have paid dividends.

A good day for me earlier. Met up with an old friend and it looks as if we might be able to do some business together. Fingers Crossed.


A quiet morning - thank goodness - I've got to drive over to West of London a little later to meet a friend. I haven't seen him for about 4 1/2 years I suppose. He came to see me after my second operation as he was in the country and I couldn't get over to see him.

He is in the UK for a few days and we arranged to meet. It will be nice to see him as he is a really nice guy and it will be interesting to see what he makes of our new business which is actually why I contacted him in the first place.

Having to re-build the team means I can go and talk to people I know well and check out their availability. There is a lot of work to be done in a short space of time and having the right people involved and ones that I know their capabilities will be great.

The measure of this guy is obviously that he came out of his way on a business trip to see how I was and meet up with me. Not many people would have done that. I'm looking forward to meeting up with him again and catching up. Let's hope that our Orbital Motorway (M25) isn't being the outer London Car Park today!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Easy Days

Trying like mad not to be sitting on my computer all weekend as well as all week long. Difficult as there is so much that needs to be done and spare time seems wasted time somehow. However, I know better than that and need to make myself rest. I did so yesterday with the Rugby - all three games in one day - it was a marathon event but I managed it with a few beers to assist to keep my attention.

The sun has made a big difference although, unless you are in it, you'd still be forgiven for thinking it was winter. The Frogs have spawned in the pond, the washing machine has gone wrong and I've had to clear out the waste pipes in case it is that which has caused said washing machine issues. At least the pipes are now de-furred and that potential is gone.

Have retreated to the dining room and my PC for a moment as Mrs. F. isn't in the best of moods and it's always worth getting out of the way rather than trying to apply logic or reason to why the washing machined isn't working.

I have a few chores to do now and then I will retreat into the living room. It was meant to be the opening Grand Prix of the year in Bahrain today but as you can imagine, that won't happen. The Qatar Moto GP is however on and live coverage starts in an hour or so - I will be watching that with interest.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My Goodness - The Sun

Has come out it feels like for the first time this year - clear blue skies, warm, daffodils crocus and buds - suddenly everything looks a lot better - it seems to have been a dark, grey and thoroughly depressing winter this year and maybe this will start to lift our spirits a bit. Hard times for many at the moment and austerity measures are about to bite with the budget due this coming week we can only imagine what other burdens will be put on us to repay the debts the country has racked up.

The world seems to be in a bit of turmoil at the moment but - hey - we've got a Royal Wedding in a month or so that should be fun - I don't want to be called out at midnight to go fix things in London trying to get through the crowds and park the car and sort out some software glitch at a customer's premises!!! What a nightmare that night was!

I keep forgetting I've had some interesting times in the past - that was another one of those things you take for granted but was actually an amazing time.

Let's hope the sun stays out for enough time to warm us all up and lift the depression of the past 4 or 5 months.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Cancer Bond

By which I mean the immediate empathy you have when anyone you know tells you they have Cancer. Straight away you are in the zone and don't need to go through the awkward questions to start with you can get straight into the conversation about what you've got and what stage and what treatment and how do you feel etc.

Suddenly you are sharing diagnosis, treatments, tiredness, head issues and the lot. Mind you it is a bit difficult when you find out that they are terminal or things "don't look good". That's still a difficult one to talk conversationally about because what exactly do you say? It is all twee and it doesn't matter as they are coming to terms with mortality and you aren't and have no idea what that is like other than the initial stages of the disease when you thought that it was going to happen to you.

It's as difficult to talk to someone who is dying even though we share the Cancer brother/sister hood of this most awful of diseases. There are three people I know who are now on the run down and I find it more and more difficult to find something worthwhile to say to them that doesn't sound as if I'm about to say something like how lucky am I that I am not you (that sounds horrible but you can understand why you'd think it).

Perhaps I need to confront my demons again and see if I can't work out a way to do this. I just feel acutely aware of how lucky I am not to be in the same situation as them and I can't put myself in their shoes as I don't want to go back to that dark place again. It played on my mind and it was a dark and horrible time. Self preservation kicks in, I'm prepared to talk about Cancer and discuss the treatments and side effects and all that but not the inevitable outcome of some sufferers who have the worst prognosis. Hopefully I'm not a bad person for that - it makes me feel a fraud sometimes that I cannot face it but in reality I know very few people who can.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Resigned Feeling

I have that today. Last night I was a bit put out as there was an announcement that didn't make sense. Suddenly all the rules got changed and a number of us were left asking the question, what do we have to do to be recognised and be rewarded. It really doesn't matter too much what I'm rattling on about at the moment other than to say that someone got promoted and no one understands why he should be preferred over a number of us. It's not the person, I know him and he's a good chap etc but he's hardly done the years or the input to achieve such a promotion so soon. What has happened just de motivates and cheapens the whole thing so I'm now just going to do what I do and not put myself out or volunteer to do any more than I currently do now. It's not worth it. It's a shame but by devaluing the whole process this way, a huge number of people were left disappointed because we quickly realised that the goal posts have moved.

I will just back away from all the stuff I do and spend a bit more time dedicated to myself. When it is all going one way like it is now, then you may as well go back to looking after yourself.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

House full of sick people

L has been ill since Saturday, A has just gone down with it, Mrs. F. has been up to the Doctors for a stomach complaint too. Me - I feel this bad ALL the time :-)

I've had a silly cough for weeks now and it was only that it was mentioned tonight that I thought about it. Better get that checked out if it is still with me next week!

Been a good day in a way we spent time on the business and realised how utterly complicated it was :-) No bad thing so we simplified it and we decided on a set of actions to try and rationalise the financial plan to make it less cumbersome. We are getting to the exciting, nervous, doubting, worrying, don't believe it bit in the process where the finances and plans all come together and start to make some sense. Well they would do if it wasn't for the scale of the ambition and the scale of the problem we are tackling. It's all good fun though and will keep us busy for the next 2 months I reckon. We will probably have to consider that we will have taken a whole year to actually get this far but the amount of work we have put in is commensurate with the amount of money we need to build the business.

I hope that everyone in the house feels a bit better tomorrow than they have today. I don't want to be ill as it is one of those pleasant evenings coming up tomorrow where we get to sit down for dinner with about 300 others for our Officers' Mess. I can get there by bus and so have a drink or two and Mrs. F. (if she is fit enough) can come and pick me up later.

Monday, March 14, 2011

So It's OK to have doubts

In everything, it's OK to doubt yourself and I found that it is the same in business and in sickness and in many things. I do find that I doubt myself perhaps a lot more than I used to. It is a good thing although it can also be disruptive. I think I used to have few if any doubts before bladder cancer, I steamed along and was pretty confident, very much knew what I wanted to achieve and how I was going to get there. I was pretty much the self made man, successful and a little arrogant - which I needed to be to do my job. Probably am still a bit arrogant I guess but nowhere near like I was before and as I've suggested before, Cancer rips away so much of your self esteem and confidence.

So the weekend was awfully tragic with the Japanese earthquake thing happening to which I heard today one of my friend's was involved in but they are OK and travelling back to the UK today.

It was nice to get out to our Lodge meeting on Saturday and get involved in that. We had a good time and met up with some guys we haven't seen for a long time.

It was after that when I started having one of my doubting moments. Basically I was questioning the sheer audacity of our business plans. It is a plan of major scale and ambition and, we feel, well supported by three years work (part time) and getting close to 9 months work full time. That's just to get the business plan together to start up not to go to production!

These doubts are good. Why? Well they make us question ourselves constantly. Are we barking mad? Have we thought it through? Does it make sense? If you don't doubt yourself and just blindly blunder on I'm certain you'd come a cropper. At least by constantly testing ourselves and having these doubts we are keeping things sane and ensuring we are fully prepared to review, make changes and move on. Things just have to be right and checking like this ensures it is. Of course, it isn't nice to keep doubting but if it plays its part in making sure we have covered everything then perhaps it is worth it.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Poor Japan

How awful, I woke to see the news and just felt sick in my stomach to see the tragic consequences of the Earthquake and Tsunami unfolding in real time.

Perhaps we should all learn something from that and those scenes. I saw a car running ahead of the waters but it looked to me as if it eventually had to succumb. Just one of many thousands of tragedies this day.

A meeting in London today broke the mood and I met up with a very old friend which was great. Unfortunately he had to work and so the meeting was short but I do hope that we will get him to join us in our venture, he can bring so much to the party.

I'm feeling a lot better at the end of the week than I was at the beginning so I ought to be thankful for that.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Even Better Today

Gradually improving situation brought about through the realisation that we are more advanced than we thought we were, we have achieved a lot despite all set backs and that we thoroughly researched our business.

Had a good day today and also a good night out with some colleagues - a nice beer and a Chinese meal - which was excellent, as always, and reasonably priced too. It's still difficult getting these guys to commit. Frankly I'm not surprised as we don't have any funding yet and so to ask young guys with commitments at home - young families too - to come along with us will obviously be one hell of an ask. such is the life of a start up business. No money and no people. When we get the money we can get the people but it's all a risk and you can see that these days, no one wants to take the risk despite what rewards may be there in the fullness of time.

Lots of people despise those who build businesses and yet, if they knew the half of how downright difficult it was, would give up at the first sign of hard work.

Better today

A lot better thank goodness. A night out with friends appears to have done wonders and a day steadily persevering through my workload also helped - as did an extra hour in bed I gave myself this morning.

Later today - as it is past midnight - my business partner will be here. We will have an interesting time as we surely are entering the end game and we are on the last lap. Of course there is a possibility that the 5% remaining will take 95% of the effort but, what the heck, let's get on and tackle it.

I do need to do some serious soul searching though and I need to try and relinquish doing so much. It was fine for a while and even the last 5 years I haven't really given up that much in terms of the things I do. I've back seated the family history for a while. I suppose that it is pretty good that I have done so as I used to spend at least a day a week on it at peak and one year (2001) spent 6 months doing it. Hence I have a 700 page family history web site. Mind you I haven't been able to do much with it these past 10 years - I think I updated it in 2003 and that was the last time. I keep the records straight and that's about all these days.

I still could drop off more things. I really find it a struggle to do the accounts for the Lodges but I'll do them, it just takes away more of the little leisure time I do have.

If the business takes off then I'm going to have little enough time to do things I want to do. Building the business will be full on. Of course, if we don't get any interested investors then plan b will have to kick in whatever plan b might be :-)

Maybe its that thought that makes the next few months interesting but is probably bringing me up short. It's fair enough to doubt yourself, we all do it. It's understanding what it is that's making you doubt that for me is difficult. It appears to me that you never actually "get over" your cancer. You can never just park it and carry on, it sticks around like a perpetual shadow following you wherever you go and even if you haven't thought about things for a while, every now and then you'll catch a glimpse of it haunting you and bringing you back to where you don't want to be ever again but where you know, with BC, you just might be.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

After a Curry

The world seems to be OK. Again, all my firends there all talking about their deceased fathers and of course my dad is very much alive. I kind of lived with that.

A nice curry - very nice indeed, my local curry restaurant does a very respectable curry and I had the Lamb sautéed in Sambucca. Mmmmm.

We did the usual rounds of jokes and had a good deal of fun but somehow, I'm still not 100% me at the moment. I do my best, we had a good time but I was below my usual effervescent self.

I'm thinking that it is definitely the "end game" that is making me like this and that we (collectively) have moved on and transitioned in this last week. It's all real now, very real - that's frightening and not a place that's nice to go to - a big challenge but also a test of our mettle. I just need to convince myself that I am up to the job. I doubt myself too much, too often and I know I can do this. Let's face it, this is a walk in the park compared to what's happened to me in the past 5 years!

Stil not much better

Got a mountain of work to get through and I guess losing half the team isn't actually helping - not that they actually did that much. Seeing it stretched out before us is a bit daunting and perhaps that's part of this quite depressive mood I'm in.

It is what it is though and I just need to get on and do it. Perhaps I'll cheer myself up with my mates later. That normally does the trick.

This isn't a good place at the moment

I cannot put my finger on what it is at all. I'm just not in a good place at all at the moment. I feel lethargic, slow, stressed (but not to breaking point) and generally out of salts. It's just bizarre as it has only kicked in these past few days.

It's almost as if I know something is about to happen and yet I don't want it to. Something coming down the line that will affect the way the rest of the years will pan out.

Whatever it is, I do hope I shake it off before tonight. I'm out with some friends (all my old school chums + 1) for a curry and I want to be on better form for that. I'll probably rise to the occasion - I managed to last night when we were out.

I hope I get out of here soon, I feel pretty down and depressed at the moment and cannot for the life of me understand quite what has brought it about. Perhaps it is that we are getting near to an event that could shake up my world and perhaps, deep inside, I just don't want to be there or perhaps I'm worried about going there, which is strange really considering that's what I want. Maybe there are some worries about what that will mean to my family, my friends and ultimately to me?

Monday, March 07, 2011


I've been a committed (not in the sense of being stuck in an Institution) Freemason for 28 years this month. In all those years I've been - as far as I can be - a useful person, doing various roles and working my way from the early beginnings to being a reasonably well known person in my local Province. I even worked for 2 years or more in the heart of the organisation doing my charity piece and setting up a new area for them in the worlds of PR and Communications.

This weekend, I get to do some of the ritual work as Worshipful Master of the Lodge (just for a stand in appearance) something I haven't done since I was Master in 1991 apart from odd stand in roles. It will be nice to get up into the limelight once again.

But there's something not quite right at the moment about it and it's to do with the business and also my concentration on the work in hand, getting this company rolling. It's taking time and a lot more effort than I thought it would (if you look back over the past 2 or 3 months posts you'll see why). But more than that I'm feeling tired and disinterested at the moment and perhaps somewhat jaded in my outlook. I'm still Treasurer of 3 units, Chaplain of a further 2 and I kind of realised that I don't have the commitment that I once had for this any-more. Hell - I'm getting tired of it taking so much of my time and in a way, whilst I enjoy it very much I dislike the way things are panning out these days. There's a lot of politics being played and somewhere along the line we've lost the meaning of it all. I'm thinking that pulling away from this over the next year or so and leaving it to the youngsters to pick it up is the way forward.

I'd really like to give up some of the long standing stuff I do as I've been doing it so long that I'm not bringing anything "new" to the party at all. I really think it would be useful for me to pull back than try and do anything about it. I want it to be for other people after I've had some 15 years in the limelight and I could do with the rest really.

I think that change is coming this year and that it will do me good. I probably have to give some things up at some point. What would happen if I couldn't carry on? Someone would have to be found to fill my place - it's the way of things, life goes on.

we are now on the cusp of seeing if we can get our ideas to market. We know that most ideas just flop but we think we have something that has mileage. If we do get the opportunity to take it on, I'm not going to have an hour to myself for long periods of time and so it is a bit academic deciding what I can and cannot do. I remember when I set up my business in the late 80s that I didn't have much to do in the Lodge. I had an Office but I could work on that one thing like crazy in between times and could do what was needed a couple of times a year. Now, well I doubt that I could get anywhere near that level of commitment - its 25 or so years ago - I was young and much fitter.

It's a feeling "in my water" that there's change coming along the road and that my Masonic hobby will change and also that my attitude to it will also have to take a back seat if I am to give the business a chance.

My dreams are back with all their technicolour strangeness and I had a bad one where my friend and I go and see where my friend died in January just up the road here. We found the spot and were told off by the office staff for being on private property, we had a row as I recall and then things faded out. I still can't believe he's gone and left us, what a tragedy that was to start 2011.

I was also acutely aware that there is a fine line here and that is whether people are remembered after they go? All these wonderful human beings lie forgotten, held in esteem by their families - maybe - but we don't know all these people at all. All the war heroes and their obituaries line our newspapers, people with interesting and accomplished lives, amazing feats and stories but at the end of the day, how many are truly remembered? How many names are on our lips daily? I'd state very few and it makes me wonder what it is all about sometimes. I mean, someone does something extraordinary and is recognised for it at the time but later on, maybe even before they die, their names are lost. The world is looking on to the next "now" thing.

Life's a funny old thing isn't it? I have great kids, I have done my best, I live in a nice place, I can afford to chase a dream, I survived this type of cancer so far but I am not absolutely certain that survival is my destiny, I hold a vision for a better place through technology and I have great friends and some that may return to be great one day. But something isn't right with the way it is, it isn't "ticking all my boxes" and this year may well be the shakedown on that. Let's see where the journey takes me and let's see where the roller coaster finally comes to rest.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Then I haven't mentioned cancer too much

I suppose you begin to forget things like what it used to be like and what it was to have cancer and live with it for a while. Today I live with the "threat" of it all the time not having it because, as far as I can recollect, I only had it for a short time about four times. The first time they cut it out, then they found some more at the next TURBT (a re-seed as they called it), then CIS and then the minute tumour they found a little while back.

The fear will always be that it can return and unfortunately the rate of recurrence is very high for this particular type of cancer. So you never get to be fully in remission or feel free. You initially hate it and that's pretty much what you would expect. You respect it, let's face it, it's an amazing thing that you can get cancer and they can cure you.

What of the scars? Well the physical ones I can't see but apparently they do exist and I suppose, as the bladder repairs itself they eventually go away. I'm guessing that Kidneys and tubes are somehow damaged too but let's hope that it is minor. I'm still struggling with fitness and that is something I hope to really tackle this year. It's the mental scars that take some fixing.

I've often blogged about these scars and the most obvious one is the inability to see others suffer and I can't really watch films, tv or even real life where there is something sad. I just watched Finding Neverland and was really uncomfortable with it especially the ending. I cannot tell you what this is all about except that it is and isn't a great thing. Sure I may be "more in touch" now with my emotions. But the other sets of emotions are to do with right and wrong, social justice, that sort of stuff.

I suppose it isn't too bad to come out of the jaws of cancer and just have a handful of emotional scars and worries? Of course you could do without them but perhaps it isn't too bad a price to pay?

How Strange

Last night I thought I'd sit down and watch a couple of DVDs that I bought recently.

I started off with the Motorcycle Diaries and then finished off with Cinema Paradiso. Both are sub titled foreign language films and the first one was just a really interesting look at Che Guevara and his early life. This morning I learnt that the other Che (Alberto Granado), who we see at the end of the film, died yesterday. The link is here. I had previously seen the Che part one and two that looked at Cuba and Bolivia and the remainder of Che's life - it made a lot of sense, seeing this film, how that must have shaped his thought. I found it an uplifting and unusual road movie and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Cinema Paradiso won a string of BAFTAs and an Oscar and didn't disappoint but it really chewed me up at the end and brought through some interesting points to ponder on. It wasn't at all what I expected but I was drawn to it by the music of Ennio Morricone and that it was highly recommended by a friend.

Looking at the news today and seeing the death of Alberto on the very day I was watching the film was a bit spooky though...

Saturday, March 05, 2011

A good night out

We celebrated last night and Flocky Bicep came and joined us for a few beers and a curry. That was nice and a pleasant end to the week. I found a new dish that I will try on Tuesday night when I am out. It was a Lamb dish flamed in Sambuca. Very nice indeed.

I am just preparing for a quiet weekend and one in which I hope to sort out my various Treasurer duties and work on the books. I hate chasing money and I don't really like being a Treasurer it is an OK sort of job and someone has to do it but I would prefer to get back into the action. I think though that I should give things a rest for a while as I hope we will be working like mad this year to get the business off the ground and if I can't do something properly, I'd rather not do it at all.

I'm tempted to do some "work work" but feel I ought to give myself a rest as I just pile into it every week and a break is necessary to keep me fresh.

Friday, March 04, 2011

That's a barrier out of the way

My business partner has had things sorted out now and so that clears the way for us to get cracking and begin to become more "visible" in our business activities.

Funny day today - we are going out to celebrate tonight but I know he is feeling a bit flat although he has no need to be. A bit like I felt getting my last clear, you'd have thought it would be a BIG thing but it isn't somehow.

It is actually great news but we don't get carried away with things at all but I am glad that his ordeal is ended and that he can get back to normal. They were going to postpone until December which would have been a nightmare and wouldn't settle anything. At least some sort of sense has prevailed and this nasty little episode can be put behind and we can move on. We have plenty of things to worry about without any more.

I just had a call from Australia - a lovely lady and a distant relative who is just so nice to talk to. Bless her, she stays up late to call me so it must have been around 2 in the morning when she called. That pleased me. It restores my faith in humans when you speak to someone like that and you realise you have a friend miles and miles away. We have never met but have talked and corresponded and I think I'd love to meet her and spend hours talking about the family and our family history.

Pleased me

Just off to bed and heard that Steve has another clear which is brilliant news indeed. Very pleased for him and brought a smile to my face as for some reason, I always feel for my fellow BC patients.

I had a good day up in London and it was quite a pleasant sunny but bitterly cold day. I popped into the office and I didn't get a great feel for the place - it was nice to say hello but I got out in 10 minutes flat as I didn't like it that much.

Back to working tomorrow and sorting myself out - I need to make an appointment to see the dentist to see how his work is getting along. I know that I still have some tenderness where the root canal work was done but it doesn't hurt me - I just know that it is there sometimes and it feels almost as if it were slightly bruised.

Anyway - it is midnight and I need to get some sleep.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Lunchtime for me - Judgement Day for Steve

I'm alright as I am off to London as Chairman of London Lunchtimers. Steve however, will be going off to his medical centre and being checked with a scan and a flexible cystoscope to see if all is OK.

So as I'm on my way home I imagine Steve will be getting checked out so the very best of luck and good wishes to him. I suppose my next scope has to be in the next 4 to 6 weeks so I'd better watch out for the letter in the post.

I'm just readying myself for a trot back up to London. It is pretty cold outside and it froze last night.

As I said yesterday, it is a strange old week this week, I can[t tell you why, I don't know exactly perhaps I'll find out later.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Jazz Night

Off there tonight and looking forward to another evening out of the house. A has gone off to Edinburgh, L is down in Canterbury having her interview with the University and I'm stuck here wondering what the next bit of work I need to tackle. There's loads of work to do and I'm not concentrating too well at the moment. I'm thinking about my colleague in his tribunal today and for the next few days. It is a stressful thing having done it myself but I don't think he will be as stressed about it as I was. I wasn't particularly well either which didn't help.

It's a funny old week for some reason that I can't put my finger on.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Lads Night Out

It wasn't planned that way - I just wanted to see M and he valued my Dad's stamp collection and like mine and Mrs. F's it really isn't worth what you thought it ought to be worth. Funnily enough it is a good idea to use the "mint" stamps after 1971 to add up to today's postage than to sell them on! How terrible - stuff that isn't even worth face value!

SO there we have it and it appears that other "stuff" isn't worth a whole lot either. Enough to make it worth someone's while to eBay or do something similar with but not for someone who is "in the trade" so to speak. This stuff is worthless although there were a few nuggets in the collection.

I kind of thought this would be the answer and so tonight is disappointing but mainly as I have to tell my mum that this huge collection is worth more in terms of current day postage value than selling it. Disappointing I know.

But that wasn't all really. Of the 4 of us, only I have my father left alive and so tonight was a discussion about the deceased fathers and that was interesting but perhaps a little too much for me.

We are a week early and so will meet up again next week to go for a curry where, I hope, we can get back to a better evening although, having said that, we did have a 30 minute laughing session about old times that nearly made me cry as I was hurting so much laughing at some of our stupid antics of 30+ years ago!

Tomorrow, my business partner is in his Tribunal for the first of a three day hearing. I hope it goes well for him, he deserves to get a ruling in his favour considering the crap he has had to endure. I hope that it all works out well but he will be out of contact for three days (as I was last week) and so I need to spend that time wisely and get some pretty gritty work done, the sort of stuff you need to grit your teeth and get on with, the "frog eating" work as we call it.

I'm pleased to have gotten out of the house tonight but actually didn't get a real opportunity to speak to my friend and then ended up 'sort of' admitting that my experience last week was far from favourable. I surely hope that the spring weather and the new extension cheer my folks up.

The anger really comes from the fact that neither my parents nor my brother have responded to A, whose 21st it is soon, to say whether (or not) they are coming to her party. A bit like my 50th a few years back. I don't expect them to come along but it would be nice if they'd make the effort even to say no - or am I asking too much?

Should I worry? Of course I should, their my family and it hurts like hell, you might as well stick a knife in me. At least Mrs. F's side of the family have always supported the kids. I'm probably a little bit upset and raw about it but at the end of the day, they know we would attend their celebrations travelling hundreds of miles and staying in hotels if needed. You'd have thought that they'd do the same. I'm sure my Mum would but she isn't 'allowed to'

Time for bed and sleep if I can manage it. You can choose your friends but you can't choose your family.

Resonance Indeed

This is a rather interesting article - well it made me think if nothing else.

Recovering from the shock

I guess that is what is happening this week. We knew some time ago that our business partners weren't pulling their weight and I blogged about that realising what the implications were going to be. In a way, nothing has changed but it is a bit like realising someone is going to die, and then they do. It is still a shock and it still matters and you feel it.

Well, that's what we are going through now, we knew it was coming, we understood what that would mean and now, we are here. There's nothing we can do about it, there's nothing that would have prevented it, there's no use crying about it but undeniably it affects everything.

The coming to terms with it is the main thing, I didn't expect that it would be easy but neither did I expect to feel quite as deflated about it as I am at the moment. I'm sure that it wont be for long - this week is just a peculiar week I think and once we get it out of our system, we can move on. It feels very strange that there are now just two of us where last week we were 4.