Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Moving On

This is good, my mind is clearing and getting rid of all the cr@p that was in there, I walked past the Hospital and thought to myself - that I'd walked this road many times but today it didn't matter - I knew I'd have to still walk this path after my cystoscopies but it doesn't matter anymore it doesn't make my heart sink and whilst it - of course - must hold some fears about recurrence - it can go to a lower place in my mind from now on, it doesn't need to be at the forefront of my mind anymore.  Move along nothing to see here.  

As the problems that dogged my mind these past 7 years start to melt away and become background noise and as I take more steps to free myself up I realise that I should have done this years and years ago.  For all the right reasons I didn't and I wonder whether I should have but of course, that is in the past and it didn't happen and I didn't do it so not much to say other than You must learn from history and not repeat the past (unless it was good of course).

I said sometime ago that I felt a big piece of me died way back in July 2006.  It was like another sort of cancer took over in my head then and filled the dead areas.  Look back at my 2206/07 blogs and I talk about the voices, the evil voices which just gnawed away at your self confidence and took you apart and ridiculed you and made you feel small and worthless.  I always felt that cancer strips you of everything like that it takes away self belief, self esteem, confidence (like you can't believe) and it takes you to the lowest ebb sometimes.  And yet, I tried to keep cheerful throughout it all but it did affect me.  It ground me down and even today there has to be the uncertainty of it coming back or that you are somehow more susceptible to other cancers having already got one.

The battle inside your head is as big a battle as you have under the surgeon's knife and the treatments to ensure it doesn't come back.  

Then you survive and wonder why, or what purpose there may be and then off you go and try and search for what that might be.  My belief is not strong and I spoke to people who talked through much of that with me.  I tried different things and worked around my illness and maybe I should just have gone back to working in that corporate jungle I'd come from?  Probably not....  Still not sure unless needs must.

Right now, I am relieved of so many of the burdens I've just spoken of.  I don't actually know where I'm heading at the moment but I know that I have cast off many of these past burdens and millstones.  Freed of most of these and others fading and becoming less important, it feels great to have my mind back - or at least it is coming back.  All the anger and frustration has now gone and whilst not everything is there yet - it is like someone has just vacuumed my head out and take all the cobwebs away and I can rebuild my confidence, my belief and my life.  Not good "stuff" still lies ahead for me to tackle but I've finally addressed the Elephant in the Room and as my mate is often heard to say I've had to eat the Frog.  Or eat your own dog food as I once also heard it.  I hesitate to say it took 7 years, more likely 5 years I suppose.  Everything comes to he who waits unless someone gets there first of course? :-)

It's great to walk into the light and blink at it's beauty and wonder just what the hell have you been doing for the past 5 or 6 years?  The Prodigal Brain has returned :-)   

Monday, July 29, 2013

Breaking the rut

I finally sorted out the bath side panel - after a year!!!!  A year...  This is the problem with me that there were all these jobs to do - granted it wasn't a 5 minute job (about 2 hours) and I just never got around to fixing it.  I set to today and despite it being quite hot and humid got stuck in and had it fixed.

I have a list of other things around the house I must do and I just needed to sort myself out and set my mind to it.  Things like getting the car MOT'd, have some rendering to do outside some gutters to fix and a few other things like that.  All of which take little time but I can do them it isn't difficult and it just needed me to be in the right frame of mind and be motivated to do them. I am now motivated to do these things and now I'm back in my office and have some ideas that I can work on to move things on.  

Finally I feel free in mind and spirit which is great.  I can concentrate on sorting out business and moving forward, tidying this office up and getting back on top of things and back in control once again.  It's a mind over matter thing.

Cheat Day

I suppose Saturday and Sunday were both minor cheat days for me.  I had beer and some Vodka and a little chocolate and a few Lattes so that counts.  I didn't have too much other than that though and so today I'm OK but still decided to skip breakfast after the slight excesses and also that I don't actually feel hungry.  That's a combination of how I feel at the moment and also that I don't tend to feel hungry these days anyway as this diet/lifestyle tend to satiate you naturally and I find I just don't hanker after food anymore - or perhaps I should say carbs which are addictive.  .

My brother has lost 1 3/4 stone on the diet so far and is doing really well. I think that is in less than a month but he did need to lose some and I'm guessing that it is falling off him until he gets towards his goal.  It is good to see that and he is feeling good too.  I'm delighted that it is working for him and hopefully he realises not to go back onto carbs and he will be fine.

I have to say that it is quite easy to stay on this diet and I fully intend to although I have stalled recently I have to say.  The thing is to keep the faith and it will soon kick off again.  I can imagine that all the stress of the past few weeks hasn't helped me much but I am where I am now and that's where I wanted to be when I kicked all this off about 5 or 6 weeks ago now.

After all my troubles in the past years and weeks, I finally did something about it and now I feel calm and in control again at last.  I have taken some huge leaps this weekend and whilst not everything is far from ideal, I do have a platform to move forward and I do have some purpose back and some direction although I will need to set that in a week or two when I have had a chance to fully understand where things are.

Today I ship all my stuff back into my office and begin to plan out a strategy for moving forwards.  This involves many things of course but the main one being getting a job or starting my businesses up.  I must decide what to do and get down to sorting it out as I've put it on the back burner awaiting this very moment and a decision needs to be arrived at.  

The Balloon Joke

Once upon a time there 3 balloons, mummy balloon, daddy balloon, and baby balloon.

Tired of baby balloon creeping into their bed every night, "Tonight you must stay in your own bed" said mummy. 

When he was sure his mummy and daddy were asleep baby balloon crept into their room and tried to squeeze into their bed.

But try as he might he just couldn't fit in, so he undid the bottom of his mummy and let tiny bit air out of her. But to his dismay he still couldn't fit in, so he crept round to his daddy's side of the bed and undid his daddy's knot and let a little bit of air out. Again he tried to squeeze in but still couldn't quite fit. So he undid himself and let a little bit of air out. Then he fitted in nice and snuggly and fell sound asleep.

When his mum woke up she was furious!  "Get into your own room at once and think of what you have done young man!" she shouted 

"I am so disappointed in you! Not only have you let me down you've let your father down, and you've let yourself down too!"

So why tell this joke?  Well - I just hope no one dares say that I let anyone down or they'll get my fist in their face - that's all.  No really they will :-) 

Well not too much booze but a new day dawns

The embargo won't be lifted for at least 3 weeks so you will have to speculate what is going on. Only Mrs. F. and I and a few people know, not even my Mum so please say nothing for now, all will be revealed around mid to late August.  At 3am I went to bed and was up sort of OK at 8 this morning.  I keep saying to myself that the answer is not to be found in the bottom of a booze bottle and so it proved to be.  However, it could have been worse and I could have completely overdone it.  As it was, I didn't but I need to keep off the booze all together I feel as it would be an easy thing to just go there at the moment.  The trouble is - I know myself quite well and I have these occasional extremes it's part of who I am and I just go off and into some sort of mini self destruct mode - only for a short while - a matter of hours.  

In reality, yesterday was a pretty bad day - in fact the whole weekend was pretty bad but there you go.  I'd say it was the worst few days of my life after having had cancer, yes, that bad.  However, I sound up beat and that is the flip side of having a bad few days.  I'd feel a lot worse if I hadn't of had a bad weekend.  I know - sorry - it doesn't make sense yet... in a few weeks it will.  BUT PLEASE, if you do know, say nothing.

I think I might have finally worked out what I need to do - a list of priorities if you will.  I need to clear my head which is a tiny bit fuzzy this morning - not surprisingly - and focus on completing this project I am on - which is mainly a case of quality checks and then packing stuff away.

I can then get my head into gear to get some outstanding chores completed.  I think I might have a way forward at last but need to discuss with some friends and see if it all makes sense.  

Two in the morning

I've been thumping music through my Sony MP3 Walkman at 30 volume and drinking Vodka and dodging the showers outside :-) you may think strange behaviour for me but those who know me know that this is one of my "releases" - I need to let off steam and the bad thing is I tend to overdo the booze and engage in excesses of some kind or another.  

After my walk we all met up at the local pub so I had a few beers - nice.  Then when we got back home I just fancied listening to music, looking up at the stars and thumping some music into my head at the same time.

Mission accomplished as I managed to do all of that :-)  These excesses are probably bang on character at the moment.  More on that later but for now I need to do many things including being within myself at the moment so loud music, booze and solitude are the order of the day.  More when the embargo is lifted :-)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday - A Day of Rest.

I think it may not quite be that.  I'm going to take myself off for another long walk (did this yesterday) in the lovely countryside around here.  Was wonderful walking over the hills, past cornfields and through the woods yesterday.  I really enjoy the peace and solitude and the beauty of the English countryside.  I can stroll along at my own speed past the Pilot's grave in the woods - we are near Biggin Hill the WW2 airfield - and then through a covered arch of trees over a wide path, along a bridle path and then back up over the hills past outcrops of woods and back to the Village.

After the overnight rain it is a blowy day out there but still warm enough to go in tee shirt order.

Life is never quite going to be the same again and my Bladder Cancer Journey takes yet another fork in the road or another unexpected turn on the Roller Coaster.  I say unexpected - but in reality that's not so.  In reality what's just happened was inevitable.

Anyway - a new chapter begins - more when the embargo is lifted.  

I know you love me to be enigmatic :-)   

Can't Say

For the moment things remain frozen and I can't say what is going on here.  So you'll have to await further announcements.  Not my rules I'm afraid. 

I spent most of the day sorting out the computer and have finally - I think - sorted it all out by steam having to do most of the transfer by old fashioned drag and drop on a folder by folder basis.  As luck would have it - I only missed a few folders out on the original pass so doing this again made sure I picked most of it up.  What an arse that it didn't work like it says on the Microsoft Web site.

I've a lot of decisions to make coming up based on what has just happened and I'm in a strange place as I am happy and sad all at the same time.  I've done what I set out to do a few weeks back and it's been pretty difficult I have to say - perhaps the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.  

Because I haven't done too much analysis and thinking I'm actually in a strange place now because I don't know what to do next for the best.  Particularly when it comes to work.  I'd like to think I ought to go start my own business and was part way down that avenue when I got severely sidelined by what's just happened.  So now, consequence of that decision actually need me to go and rethink it all - and so in some ways I've got a lot more problems than I started with.  

Oh well - that is what happens when you just go with your instincts and your gut feelings I suppose.  A lot of people live by the seat of their pants - I hate it - but I am beginning to see the attractions.  

Post too enigmatic for you?  I hope to explain more at some point when the embargo is lifted. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Wide Awake - Never Trust Computers

I am doing some work that involves migrating an email system across from an old to a new Laptop.  My customer has one of the most complex filing systems I have ever seen which when screen shots are made runs to some 17 pages of A4 and more if you take the sub folders into account.

I ran a test where I managed to get the emails off of his machine and onto mine. Everything ran exactly as it should have done and so tested and assured it worked I set to work transferring.  I hadn't banked on a new OS and new Software which somehow screwed up the transfer of a vast majority of the emails.  I did a second check and still the same - files and structures were all broken.  I've therefore spent a long time offloading thousands of emails and their appropriate folder structure to a hard drive and now I am converting them back to way they were...

It is also - now close to 3 am - fair to say that there are other reasons keeping me up at night at the moment and I'll come to those when I can over the weekend.  For the moment, suffice it to say, I'm running on fumes :-) More later

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Lifting Of The Great Weight

Dear reader, it can hardly have escaped your notice that my head has been in some pretty awful places not just of late but also these past 7 years.  I have no doubt that different people deal with things different ways and I have been trying to approach my particular problems in every way from scientific to complete scattergun :-)

Problems build up in you - or they do in me - but they build slowly and like a Volcano the Magma Chamber slowly fills, small Earthquakes are registered and after a while, all hell breaks loose as the Volcano erupts.  So in many ways it has been a long journey towards this day.  

It's only been just over a month since I decided that I needed to tackle an issue that has dogged me for some considerable time.  I changed my attitude, I had to, I could no longer let my personality type bottle in and suppress what was happening to me.  It didn't really help that this all coincided with the anniversary of my getting Cancer, My Father's death last year, my Anniversaries of diagnosis and operation and today it would be 7 years to the day that I would have been released from Hospital to start this long long road to recovery.  

Last night I finally, finally got around to "kick off" the process of sorting myself out once and for all.  I finally, as I termed it, Bit the Bullet.  We used to say that one had to "Eat the Frog" - an unpleasant task that had to be done.  In many ways what is about to happen is unpleasant and uncomfortable.  Many people will be upset but no one will die.  More later.

But the main thing here is that by finally starting to address this and Lord knows I've procrastinated for far too long, I feel a huge weight has come off my shoulders, I finally don't feel this sick to the pit of my stomach feeling anymore.  Whilst I know that things may become unpleasant, they need to happen.

It's the 26th July 2013.  Time to move on......

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Biting the Bullet

Inevitably one must Bite The Bullet and tonight that happened and progress is beginning to be made and whilst it isn't sorted out by any means - I finally don't feel sick anymore nor do I feel bad - I've made the step that I feared take, addressed the Elephant in the Room and set things in motion.

Whilst I've not resolved the problem I've initiated the process and that means I finally feel the release of all the tension I've had over recent weeks and dare I say recent years.

More later when things take shape. 

Coffee With Flocky

Bless good old (not so much of the old) Flocky Bicep - he's a real mate and feel sorry I had to go see him for the pretence of coffee only to offload all my problems onto him.  He's been a real help to me over many years but more so at the moment when so much is going on in my life.

At least had a good long walk, got back to find my car here - which is good - so they sorted that out for me.  Still can't help but feeling very sick in my stomach and my head is so messed up at the moment.  I can't think straight and I hate being so out of control as such.  It makes me very uneasy indeed :-)

Fear and real uneasiness about what is going on with my life at the moment.  I've done the big shake up thing and got myself out of my malaise and started to turn things around when I've walked into a massive road block.  The Elephant is now in the Room and I'm ignoring it. Thinking about it is making me ill and not doing anything about it is causing me to have huge mood swings.

What is the Elephant in the Room?  I can't tell you at the moment because it is for me to deal with and me alone.  Needless to say somehow I've got to do something about it.  I've had plenty of time to think about it, I've spoken to two of my closest friends this week to make sure I'm not being over dramatic or missing the point or just not thinking straight which is my big fear on this - am I thinking correctly or am I wrong.  I think I know I'm right and I don't like the answer at all. In fact I'm pretty sure I'm right and don't like the answer :-) 

Sure I'll write more when I've sorted myself out or even when I'm trying to sort myself out.  For the moment, the Elephant remains in the room but only I can see it.  For some reason that just flashed into my mind Family Guy and Chris Griffin's Evil Monkey in the Closet that only he can see :-)  Except my Elephant is much bigger and possibly more evil...

Disturbed Night

It's bad when I go to bed thinking and so it proved - my head was it's usual computer like self and woke me every hour or so during a funny old night which didn't appear as humid as before but felt it anyway.

I'd already tried to switch off at around midnight when I stood outside and had a small glass of red wine.  It was then that I noticed strange pinpricks of light at my shed at the end of the garden.  I hadn't noticed these before and thought they might be animal's eyes in the darkness so I wander up the garden - there are no obstacles just grass and when I got there to my annoyance noticed that there were a series of lights on in the shed.  It is darkened and blackened out as a photographic darkroom for my daughter.  I would imagine the last time it was used was about a year ago (I may be wrong).  Which means I've been paying an electricity bill for lights and equipment all left switched on for about a year in my estimation.  

I didn't get angry - I don't do that - just left a curt message on the kitchen worktop.  I've now switched off the mains to the garage as a double precaution......  

Having had fitful sleep I've got up this morning and need to do some work on this computer for my friend and hopefully I can complete all of the major work today and when he returns just switch it over.   That should clear me to go make a start in the office if it has suitably cooled down - it's still pretty hot up there.

My head is still in a crazy place - said enough about it yesterday and the day before other than - I know I know the answer and I'm just not brave enough or fully committed to sorting it out so have only myself to blame for my own self pity :-)  When I build up the courage and fully understand the consequences of those actions then I need to act.  Until then I need to realise that the solution to this is in my own hands and that I need to work on that.  It's no use whining about it when I have known the answer all along and when I could sort it out but I don't because it is unpleasant, hurts people and so on.  Sometimes you have to just do it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I Wonder If....

I wonder if some piece of me died back there - 7 years ago.  It is exactly 7 years ago to the day when I had the operation that probably saved my life.  And there's me wondering why I've been all moody and strange these days....  

But I just wonder whether something got really broken back then?  I've not been the same since really.  I lost my job, I had others but nothing really satisfied me although the Charity came close to fulfilling a need. The last business was a brilliant idea but the markets weren't ready for it and probably still aren't even now.  Gave that my best shot but prolonged the inevitable really - it meant I worked hard for two years and spent all my waking hours at it.  It was enjoyable, possibly the biggest challenge of my life but did I do it so as to put off making some important decisions in my life?

I've run all the extremes in these past 7 years, diets, exercise, work, not working, psychometric reviews, weight gains and losses the whole gamut of emotions the whole experience of coming to terms with this thing that nearly killed me.

Today, I'm physically fit and I'm healthy, probably more than I've been for years.  A few more months and I should be down to a good weight that will make me more comfortable with myself although I'm a lot better now that I'm 3 1/2 stones lighter.  There's nothing wrong with me that a new brain that hasn't been pre-programed won't sort out :-)

Mentally, I'm a bloody wreck, have been for a number of years.  If you come here or know me you'll know that it isn't unusual for me to be bouncing off the ceiling with happiness or be digging in the cellar trying to find a trap door to hell.  Either can happen within minutes of each other.

And so that got me to wondering what on earth is different from pre and post cancer me?  The blindingly obvious is that I was brutally and macabrely confronted with my own mortality.  To stare at death is frightening especially as I wasn't even 50 then and felt I was at least bullet proof :-)  Try as I might I can only see small things that changed.  In many ways all the preconceptions you have about Cancer (generally) are proved wrong.  You win and you lose some friends and some family too - it's not their fault and you trying to fix things for them doesn't help a lot. What else?  Well everyone else gets on with their lives when maybe you think they shouldn't.  You get left to go it alone pretty much - although people are "with you" and "look out" for you they don't go through what you go through they don'r actually have the treatment and have the head f**k that you get with the treatment, the operations and the post traumatic body shock afterwards.  Only you can experience these things and only you know, deep down how truly frightening it all is.  Knowing that it can come back at any time, knowing that if some treatment doesn't work then there are radical alternatives that will save your life but alter it for ever too.

I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy of that I;m convinced and anyone who uses it in a threat is no human being because it isn't even remotely nice.

But I can't help thinking that something in my head or my body died back then and has never come back.  A piece of me that was there before isn't there now.  I know that I am no longer the hard nosed bast**d I used to be known for in business.  People thought I'd donate my heart to medical science only so the surgeons would have something tough enough to sharpen their scalpels on!  I had a pretty neat way with words so that some said that my words could be cutting like razors and I had spittle like battery acid!  I am no longer like that, I now have a conscience which I didn't really before.  I also found that I have a very low emotional threshold which I never had before.  I've said before that if you showed me Bambi's mum getting killed it would wipe me out and anything that is sad wipes me out - it never used to.  

So I can see these sorts of changes in me but something else changed and I can't see it because I'm too close to it.  I know something happened because I feel I've done nothing but whinge about it for 7 years and yet should be grateful for being alive so I can't have it both ways can I.

Suppose I could have had the choice but I think I'd still choose alive thank you very much.  So what died?  Buggered if I actually know really.  I just know that it uncomfortable just sitting here and living with this depression in its various guises.  Most of the time I'm up but occasionally (looks like July isn't a good month) there's the recollection of this heat, was very hot the day I was operated on, the discomfort and the few years of treatment all have drilled things into my brain to be released and revisited when I least expect them.  You can't beat being alive and so I'm not complaining about that, being fit and healthy, no that's good too.  It's this missing piece of the puzzle that's so damn annoying.  If I can fix that I can get on with life rather than living in this sort of doldrum I'm in at the moment.  

And So Wednesday Dawned

And with it a new day in my return to health and my return to sanity.  Not that I was insane by any means - no today like many others presents me with - not a lot actually - nothing to really look forward to.  I've a little work to do - that will take all day but I don't need to be in attendance.

My car which was fixed last week is unfixed and needs attention so the mechanic is coming around to look at or fix it.  

There's no one in the house apart from me.  I'm happy with my own company but presently not so good in the head area with so much going on in there.  It feels like the rudder has come off my ship and I look back and feel that for the past 7 years there probably has been a screw loose at least :-)  Well I thought it was funny.

Here's my dilemma even though I can't tell you exactly what it is.  I need to make a big decision and I mean a big one.  It is the right decision for me, I'm pretty certain this is the answer.  I know it in my intuitive brain to be so.  My practical brain is pretty much certain that it is the right decision and I think that yesterday after a day of cross examination by my friend on Monday, I pretty much arrived at that decision too.  The problem then is that all actions have consequences and they affect other people.  What is right for me, may not be right for them (conversely it may be right for them - I can't see it but it may be so).  I dislike the idea of hurting anyone (OK some people on my "pay-back" list).  That's my dilemma in a nutshell   It isn't the decision itself - that's pretty much made and I know it to be the right thing to do. It is hurting and affecting other people through that decision and some of them are just passengers (if that makes sense) who are innocent bystanders in my view of the world.

I'd like to think that lots of people who know me want me to be happy, in fact I know so.  For me to be happy, am I prepared to upset people I know and care about?  Bloody tricky isn't it.  I like to think that the one thing I hold true is how I empathise with people, I very rarely do anything that I consider to be a selfish act, I wasn't brought up that way and I've lived by those rules all my working and home life.  It is very rare that I will do that but it appears that I may not have much choice in the matter and that I may need to just act.  Procrastination isn't a good thing - it makes things fester and I can't continue to do that, I need to sort it out once and for all.

I want to be out of where I am now in a pretty desperate rut because I don't really know what to do with myself in terms of the boring stuff like having to make a living earning some money and I just can't get past the first steps at the moment because there is something holding me back.  Sure, doing "something" will make me busy and keep my mind off things but I'm afraid it isn't solving the real problem I'd be addressing the symptoms and not the cause and so I go around again in a circle.  I really don't want to work in Corporate life anymore - I can't stand all the politics, nor do I want to go Contracting - it was great earning all the money and the work was good but I was hardly ever home.  I no longer want those. I can hardly get started at the moment in my own plans because I know that I need to make this decision first.

Anyway - still in the rut but know what I have to do about it.  It isn't going to be pleasant though so will just have to man up and sort it out and bite the bullet, step up to the plate and stop talking in cliches :-) 

Sort Yourself Out

I can hear myself saying it "Get a Grip!!", "Sort yourself out!" and many other phrases.

In many ways Monday was an interesting day as it exposed some raw nerve endings and actually it did what it was supposed to do.  It exposed the futility of me trying to not address many areas of my life.  It exposed the fact that I'm just not moving on, that the plans I have aren't working and aren't likely to either.  That my thought processes aren't working either and that I'm not being realistic in my review.

So not much wrong there then?  In reality I've put off some serious decisions for far too long, years in many cases and I just need to bite the bullet and go sort it out.  Bladder Cancer got in the way of my plans at the time and then the struggle to get back on my feet also meant that it was easier to put off or delay things and now - I'm at an impasse because my life had ground to a halt.  

In some ways I'm happier than I've been for years and in others possibly the saddest too.  When I look back here on the blog and in some of my other writings and deliberations I wonder if I'm not due to be admitted to an Institution but I think lots of people must be having these struggles with what is the right thing to do.  Do you follow your head or your heart, do you take a risk or not?

Life is not a rehearsal, I need to quickly sort myself out as I don't want to be in the same situation in another 6 years.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Oh Dear

I've not been on great form today and was trying to work out quite why that should be.  Mrs. F says she's worried about me - apparently I'm moody and brooding and it's quite strange because she reckons I'm like I was last year when I got really depressed and down.  The strange thing is that suddenly I realise that I am a bit down and not my goodself - writing this I can feel it and yet there's me saying on the other hand that I'm really up at the moment and enjoying the new me.  It's not schizophrenia but mood swings are pretty much happening all the time and I'm just going to have to work my way through them.

I'm pretty sure I know what is bringing this about but it's nothing I can actually control and so perhaps, being the control freak that I am, it is messing with me head.

I think too that subconsciously I've arrived at a conclusion of my deliberations and the answer isn't the one I like or am happy about.  It's logged into the back of my head and now I've got to come to that same decision myself.  Maybe that is what it is.  I recollect being like this when I had to resign from the Charity - it was a decision that I had to take and one that I didn't like or enjoy at the time.  I remember too though that I had to resign from there - I certainly couldn't have survived being there any longer.  

It's a funny old thing is life, the universe and all that.  If Mrs. F. can see me looking back in the dumps and I'm not even thinking that I am - then there's some funny old stuff going on here and I'd better arrive at the conclusion pretty damn fast.  I'm an intuitor - I already know the answer, I don't like the question and I don't like the answer.    

Day Out In London

Had a nice day out in London, wandering along the Thames from the South Bank Centre and over to London Bridge, we took a diversion into Bermondsey Street to see our old offices.  Plenty of refreshment along the way and got home before the huge storms broke.

It wa nice to catch up with my mate but he does have a bit of a habit of chatting up the ladies and it was all getting very strange and bizarre indeed towards the end of the night so much so that I left him with this crazy woman and headed off home.  Strangely enough I saw him just as I caught my train so he had escaped from her :-)  

I thought yesterday might be useful to re-arrange my head a bit - we haven't been out on a "Purge The Devil" for a long time (10 years +) and so it was quite good in some ways to catch up but in others it didn't really help me too much to sort out and start to re-wire my head.  Anyway it was a nice day out.

I crowned it though by grabbing a coffee and sitting outside on the patio.  Unfortunately I hadn't noticed that the table and chair had been moved nearer to the step so managed to shift my chair which hit the step and toppled allowing me to throw hot coffee all over my shirt and sustaining a nice scraped Elbow with a 2" rip along it.  Lucky I didn't crack my head on the step really!

Wouldn't mind I wasn't even drunk :-(  

Some Images:

 The View from the Anchor towards Saint Pauls

The Shard from the Grapes Pub at London Bridge.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Cheat Day

I really hate the day after cheat day - I feel pants this morning and know I've eaten and drank carbs.  To those not on this sort of lifestyle / diet the cheat day allows you to eat those forbidden carbs that you don't touch all week.  To me though the cheat day is taking on a different meaning - it is making me feel rough and for example I feel bloated, I don't feel like eating at all this morning, it messes with your intestines (least said about that the better) and I really don't feel great this morning at all.

Add to that the weight gain just in a day of a few pounds and you can see that it isn't always such a good thing.  I'll lost that weight in a few days but even so, I feel like I need indigestion tablets to settle my stomach and will just take it easy for the rest of today.  

So I'm wondering now whether I just don't have a cheat day anymore and just occasionally break the diet with the odd beer or bit of birthday cake or something like that.  I think it is the quantity I consume all in one day and also my body just isn't used to it at all.

Given that I want to lose even more weight as well I think that the strategy has to be to break the diet on rare occasions and do that a little and not frequently.  

A Day Out

Actually it is later today - Monday - meeting an old old friend who has known me since I was 16 or 17.  We call these meetings Purging the Devil.  Indeed we have done that many times but I don't think we have done this since before I got ill.  Some catching up to do.

We used to go out drink and smoke too much and get all wrapped up in stuff - the rights and the wrongs etc. Sometimes it would be raucous and sometimes very sad almost tearful - it's the way it happens.

I am looking forward to this meeting as I've got a lot to tell him and I need my head taken off, rinsed with Vodka and re-stuck onto my body!  I have so many things going on in my life and DEAR BLOG, I am not telling you the half of it.  Maybe you can read between the lines but life just got great and brilliant for me.  Something wonderful was the words I used just a few weeks ago and so it is.

It will be a hell of a day because I know he is a great listener and I am going to get more out of the meeting in many ways than he is.  I need my head to be drained of all the stuff that's in it.  I'm completely out of control at the moment and it's exactly what I want.  It is exactly what my friends want but my poor old head can't take it :-)  I find it just so mental at the moment - I am ready to explode and release all this pent up energy.   

I'm pent up ready to make some massive decisions in my life and I mean massive in terms of my future and where I want to go and what I want to do.  It's important to me to talk to my closest friends and make sure I'm not doing something totally stupid.  Having let go of my analyst side and let much of what I'm doing now be intuitive not planned means that I have to just double check to make sure I'm not veering way off beam :-)

Having good friends around you is important especially in terms of keeping you on the straight and narrow.  Whilst something wonderful is about to happen - I just need to make sure I'm not dreaming it! :-)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hypothetical Situations

I'm stuck here - it's as if I have 30 or 40 scenarios and each of them is possibly the answer and the route out of a predicament I find myself in.  

The answer doesn't really lie in any of them but perhaps in all of them there dwells a small part of the truth.

I feel I need to take or make a decision - it's profound and it affects the rest of my life and in doing this I it makes a further couple of outcomes possible.  One is a comforting, familiar world, one that I have lived in for many years.  The other sets me off on a new course and direction.

I've tasted the life elsewhere and I like the idea of just getting out of the current rut and get along elsewhere and to my own agenda.  

I felt I heard the voice of caution this evening and wasn't sure that I should be cautious anymore.  I've been cautious and steady for 30 years or more and why wouldn't I after giving that level of service not want the opportunity to cut loose - go and do what I want to do?

Then I recall this piece of music and listening to it - well it isn't resolving my issues at all!   But it is a great piece of music.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Proof on the Diet

Today I tipped the scales at 15 Stone down from 18 and a half in mid January.  I'm going out and got my suit out that I haven't worn since mid May.  It must be 4 inches loose around the waist and I needed braces to hold it up.  My waistcoat - unavailable to me for at least 6 years fits with plenty of room to spare as does my jacket - about 2 inches on both garments.  Suddenly my waist had gone in, although there is still a little tummy there it isn't a pot or an overhang, there is no fat on my sides at all now so hopeful that this will go too and I can start to get it even flatter than it is - from the side it is hardly noticeable although I notice it.  

My neck has also shrunk a bit as I can get my 16 1/2 and 17 inch shirts on with ease so that too is good meaning my wardrobe has opened up even more.  My 18 inch neck shirts look huge on me now :-) 

A real wow moment and had to go and show Mrs. F and A my progress.  Will be interesting to see if the guys at the Lodge notice this afternoon I haven't seen many of them for some months.

Postponing cheat day until tomorrow as we are having a BBQ.  I am also out on Monday so need to work out quite what I'll do then as it will be a long day and whilst I'm happy drinking Red Wine = I don't want to be drinking that all day long for sure.

Anyway - proof if you need it that following a High Fat and Low Carbohydrate Diet regime works well.  Here is a good site to give you some details CLICK HERE.

My kid brother has lost a stone in two weeks and I reckon he could quite easily lose significant amounts for the first month before settling down to just losing regularly like I'm doing. 

To Be The Best You Can

Somehow this thought had been going around my head for ages and today it surfaced again and it's like a wee voice inside of my head.

It's saying if you could do anything you wanted to do, go anywhere (or live anywhere) you wanted to - what would you do?  

What's your dream?  What's have you always wanted to do but never got around to it?  What would you, given no limitations, want to do?

And that's the whole essence really of where I am and where my 4 week + odyssey has now taken me.  

I've spent a long while thinking and reflecting and now have most (not all) of the pieces together but these aren't nice logical elements I can stick in a spreadsheet and analyse because these go deeper and are more emotional that that and look at a deeper realisation of who I actually am and proposes a vision of where I may like to go or the possibility of fulfilling a vision of ideal.

We can do practically anything we want to - if we put our minds to it.  For a long time I've held myself back and played a very conservative card.  I've done everything that modern society expects me to do.  Got married, worked hard, got a house, got kids, put them through University, gave them a good start in life and provided all of the basic needs of physical, ethical, open mindedness, fairness and charity.  So is my work here done?

There's a part of me that has been deeply troubled for a long time and that's what is there left for me to do and also - in some peculiar way - what am I going to do now that I've survived Bladder Cancer?  As my friend - who no longer has his Prostate - he can never get Prostate Cancer again because he doesn't have one.  Me?  Well I can get Bladder Cancer again and that's got to play right at the back of your mind and if not all then most of the time.  I'd like to think I'm going to get another 30 years on this planet and that would be grand.  I look after myself and now eat the right things and have begun to exercise.  There's more weight to lose, there is blood pressure to bring down but other than that I am pretty fit and healthy and I feel physically very strong - I can bash out press ups and wall presses without to much difficulty and can almost touch my toes again.  I don't have any other major ailments that my friends appear to have so have to be grateful for that.

So what exactly am I wittering on about you may ask?  Well it is the feeling inside of me that I there's more, more to do, more to see, more to achieve and perhaps something different.

Just over 4 weeks ago I took that first step.  I can't even tell you what a roller coaster of a ride it has been.  I had a day of such deep depression I couldn't believe it, it was like having gone back 5 or 6 years.  I've had days of amazing highs too.  I've tried and not always succeeded to keep my analytical brain behind in decisions and actions trying to just make decisions based on the enjoyment of something and things like to just go with the flow and to live life.  Somedays that has worked really well, other days not so well.  

What's going through my head now is that perhaps it's time to stop ignoring the wee little voice.  To have my Ray Kinsella moment (Ray Kinsella is the central character in Field of Dreams).  "If you build it he will come" resonates very loudly with me at the moment.  I said before that I'd just like to up sticks and run away somewhere, go some place and just setup afresh, live a simple life and an enjoyable one, perhaps write my book, paint my paintings, create some music,  read my vast collection of books, finally do my History Degree, get a local job and just live.  I've had enough of the high life and feel it's time to consider whether it is possible to just take out all the complications in life (many made by myself I grant you) and just settle right down and get on with enjoying life not fighting it all the time.

Then, and only then I suppose can I assure myself that in that I did the best I can be.  

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dealing with the GP's Nurse

I'm not saying she's not the sharpest tool in the box but it annoys the hell out of me dealing with people who believe that on one particular day of the year at a particular time of that day if my blood pressure is raised then I need to urgently see the Doctor to see what they can do about it.  Not when I've presented some 50 or so readings taking in the past year and when I've given two weeks worth showing various times of the day that show my blood pressure readings!  

But I will go and see my GP and have a "chat" about this in a few weeks.  The issue is that my readings taken over a long period show that there is a downward trend and that it does fluctuate a bit but how on earth you can go for one reading like that I have no idea.  

So I asked if my prescription had been sorted - yes was the answer.  Got home got a call saying they couldn't sign off until I had a BP test - so I explained that on the system it clearly showed that I had an appointment today - so they signed it off.

I then asked whether there was any record of me being a Type 2 Diabetic?  No there wasn't - one high reading of 7.6 but other than that - no.  So something else I have to take up with the GP.

But I did get all defensive when she suggested I'd need a 24 hour BP monitor and more blood tests - something along the lines of you've got over 60 Blood Glucose readings to work with and the last time I put one of those damn 24 hour machines on it raised my BP sky high as it stressed the hell out of me.

No I wasn't happy at all.  I may ask for the nurse I actually know and have words with the GP about how they can take one reading a year and determine my drugs requirements, it hardly appears scientific to me.  I'm hoping the longer I'm on this High Fat Low Carbohydrate Diet that too will reduce my BP significantly so that this time next year I can come off all these damn drugs.

Never Be The Same Again

I absolutely adore this track - it reminds me of when I was ill but at the time it was uplifting.  It may as well be the soundtrack to my current situation in life and so I like to hear it and just get my head into gear.  Music has become a real staple of my day these days - I forgot how much I used to listen to the radio and now I have the Internet, My Sonos system, Youtube and Apps like Shazan and Soundhound.  

And then there is this too - I'm having a Melanie C day so far :-)

Life's Good - Life's Sweet

At the moment Life is great for me.  it isn't quite where or what I want it to be but hey it is early days yet and Rome wasn't built in a day.  The struggle I have constantly is the battle between emotional living and being an analyst.  If only I could decide who in this self-imposed schizophrenic state is the more dominant partner?  At the moment it is a struggle and powerful as my emotions are at the moment I am still controlling and holding these in check.

The reason is that I find the emotional responses and actions are actually quite frightening to me - it makes you go out of control and it isn't logical or reasoned and I had a strange episode earlier where I just went into a depressive state - I countered it by going for a walk and then chatting with a friend and that was it over and done.

I think that the damage that was done to my mind and my body were actually quite significant and so I'm weak in terms of being able to fight off some of this stuff.  My joke about crying at Bambi's mother's demise is about right.  Silly stuff affects me deeply for no apparent reason at all.  

But overall life is sweet and life is good.  It's bloody complicated and complex and going to get worse but it is still good.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Grasping That Hand

You may recall that hand reaching out and me hanging from the precipice and wanting to reach out.  So to hell with it - I did.  Best thing I ever did by far.

Not quite out of danger yet but certainly feeling a lot better in myself.  Have a great deal to be thankful to my friends, old and new, for.  Feel I've been saved from a huge pit of despair and am actually well on the road to getting the old me (the bit I want to keep) back and on the way to rebuilding my life the way I want it to be and not how circumstances were dictating it to be.  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Day Without A Blog Is....

OK, I'm settling down and yesterday did a full day's work on this laptop backup and transfer project I've picked up.

Was out with my mates from school last night -- somewhat amused to find one was quite intrigued by the new me and the other one didn't notice :-) I suppose there's not too much to notice then but it was interesting to me that one noticed how much more "extrovert" I was last night.  That's good it means that I am getting a little bolder now and less introverted which is part of my overall plan.

I'm feeling absolutely great this week - the weather is absolutely amazing really hot a little too humid maybe but we must not complain.  It's one of the longest warm periods we've had for about 9 years or more.... Although I recall it being very warm the year I got ill.

Being me, being alive, it's all very good at the moment and I'm getting away from the struggles I had and beginning to let go and enjoy myself a lot more and be happy with my lot.  I still feel like I want to up sticks and just go off somewhere but that's more a feeling than the need to do it (I think so anyway).

I think I can see some avenues to build my business up and my next real challenge is to knuckle down and sort it out and get the business plan completed.  I did one 4 or 5 years ago and I just need to recover my discipline to do this.  I think perhaps I can actually do that now and once the weather makes it conducive to working in my office which feels like an oven set to Gas Mark 4 at the moment, then I can get tucked into that.  At the moment I have retreated into my Dining room which is quite cool with it's North facing window and Oak strip flooring.  I still need a fan blowing constantly though!!  It has to be low to mid 30 Degrees C I would have thought.  It's definitely shorts and loose shirts and open toed sandals weather without a doubt.

Have to say that after a dreadful few weeks things are settled back down now and really feeling good, on top of my game and happy - yes at last happy with my lot and where I am.  I mean life's still complicated but in reality it really is all good.  I feel good, I'm losing weight still (although still have some trousers and shorts I'd like to fit into again) and whilst I'm not cycling in this weather - that is getting me out and about.  I have some work to do - all is good - It actually has been a month yesterday that things changed so progress sure and steady :-)  

Monday, July 15, 2013

WTF? Really it's easier to give obese people drugs than guide them to eat the right things? NO - REALLY??

Somehow - we are now treating obesity as a disease that can be tackled with surgery and now,  drugs that mimic a gastric band so the Telegraph reported today.  I mean what, you can treat this with more man made chemicals after we told people to eat all these cheap plentiful man produced carbohydrates that make us fat???

Is it me?  Is this just completely bonkers or what?  My kid brother has been on the Low Carbohydrate and High Fat diet for 2 weeks now and has lost a stone - sure he was big to start with but the weight is dropping off and he doesn't feel like he's being starved and neither does he feel hungry either.  We are not meant to eat this junk and such high levels of sugar, fructose and other horrible stuff that's cheap and plentiful just think of the damage we are doing to ourselves...

The only people getting rich out of obesity are the food processing and drug companies and  we are being told all this junk is good for us!  Please, give us the facts and change our diets and let's reverse these terrible problems all come about in the past 40 or so years since it was decreed that all these insulin spiking foods were good for us.  Turn the food pyramid upside down and finally you will have something near the truth of the matter.

What Cost Is Too High

I often wonder what would happen if.......

All my life I've taken the logical solution, the safe bet, the right thing to do, the least expensive option - I've been the average Mr. Middle Class Englishman in everything I do.  Sure I've taken a few chances in recent years but they were calculated and I knew what I was getting into and there wasn't any permanent harm done.

No what I'm thinking here is if something came along, in later life that was just so bonkers so off the wall and an opportunity arose to do something so crazy so silly would I do it?  Stuff like upping sticks, moving to the middle of nowhere, taking up extreme knitting or something I don't know but just something that was so wildly out of character for me would I do it?  I often feel like I've been in a Mid Life Crisis since I was a young guy.  Often I've felt that there is so much I am capable of doing and yet I only operate to a few percent of what I'm really capable of.  

To the 'new' me, the one with less logic and more emotion driving my life forward tells me there's more out there.  An example would be the great day out I had yesterday.  All we did was meet and have a chat and got on famously well.  It was a beautiful summer's day and West London looked it's finest.  There was a cooling breeze, there was pints of fine Youngs Bitter sitting outside at Kew Green and just soaking in the atmosphere, chatting about not much really - then a walk around Kew Green, down to Kew Bridge and the Thames path and walked along that.  People were out enjoying themselves and cycling, walking and just generally enjoying the day.  We wandered back to another pub and had a few more beers and it was just perfect.  It was as if I had gone back twenty or thirty years.  There were no pressures, no time to get back no rush to finish off your beer - just taking it easy.

It's difficult to say you don't get enjoyment from everyday life but when I think of that I wonder why all my leisure time can't be filled with good experiences like that.

And so back to the question I posed at the beginning, if your life could be transformed by something or perhaps something and someone then would you leap from your cosy existence? I don't know the answer but suddenly it's an option.  Would I leave all that this life has for me here and just sling it all away on a whim, a flight of fancy, a change of lifestyle?  It's appealing, very appealing but I'm not entirely sold on it but that's because of what I am I guess.  Oh well, another imponderable to start the week off with.  You know me :-) 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Double Cheat Day

Well I went up to London to see my cousin - we had a great afternoon.  We went to a local pub on Kew Green and had a nice time.  I managed to make sure I just had a salad but of course, I was drinking beer all day - but have to say it was just nice to go and do something so different.  We wandered around the green and down around the Thames, past the National Archives and back to finish off with a few beers by the station.  It was all very nice and in such hot weather was just great to have some time to chat and catch up.  After all it must be 15  or maybe 20 years.  The journey home was a nightmare as only we can mess up.  a full train arrived but I saw there was one 4 minutes later but - no there wasn't - about 20 minutes later one came along and it wasn't going all the way, then we had to change then that train changed direction and so I used my normal get out of jail instincts and headed for another underground line and made my way home a different way.  What should have taken 31 minutes took close to 2 hours! 

Looking at my face in the mirror I sure did catch the sun though - have gone through the tired sleepy bit and now wide awake.

Phew a Scorcher

We're British - we complain it is too cold and then when it gets warm we complain again - it's what we do :-) but it is a scorcher out there and I'm off to London soon.  Luckily some of the trains are air conditioned but not all of them though - and the Underground could be interesting but needs must and I'm off to see my cousin today over at Kew Gardens.

I need to remind myself that life's answers are not always found in the bottom of a bottle.  Not that I'm hungover but that I should have just turned in and gone to bed last night rather than sit up and watch two films.

Cheat day it may have been yesterday but I didn't really need the extra beers, I'd already had some with Flocky at lunchtime....

Oh - it's a year today that we had Dad's Funeral

I realised that I was watching two films that I'd watched the night my dad died:

Koyaanisqatsi and Field of Dreams and that I was a bit of a mess in the last one.  It always "gets me" does Field of Dreams. It's a bit like the Shawshank Redemption in many ways and somehow it's like sticking peeled onions under my eyes :-)

It's a year ago since Dad's funeral and I guess that hasn't helped either but both films took on their other meanings tonight which is of hope and so I'm sort of OK that I watched them.

Later today I'm meeting up with my cousin from the US who is over here for a short while. I haven't seen him for about 22 years or so I guess.  It will be nice to catch up.  My daughter L is running in memory of her granddad in Race For Life at Hyde Park tomorrow.

I thought, as it's the anniversary of Dad's funeral - I'd just replay the words I said that day:

"Good morning and thank you for coming to support us today.  We hope that you will also be able to join us afterwards at the Crown Hotel 

Before I talk about Dad, both Mum and I wish to take this opportunity to thank T and S for their invaluable support.  They've been available at a moments notice around the clock when dad has needed attention at home.  They have provided mum with transport to and from the Hospital, which is a long way from the house, over many weeks, and on more times than we would have liked.  They've shared some of the most traumatic moments of this past year and have been by mum’s side supporting her during each and every one of them.  

T and S - Thank you for being there for mum and for dad.  We hope that you can now take a well earned break and not be on edge all the time waiting and wondering what the next phone call will bring.

I know that It goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway, that mum, throughout dad’s illness, has been with him every step of this roller coaster journey and she has been at his side throughout and I know that dad appreciated that you were there being a loving and familiar face in scary, unfamiliar and sometimes unpleasant or bewildering surroundings.  Thank you for caring for dad the way you have and for being there for him.  I know that you would have had it no other way but we thank you nonetheless for that.

So what can we say about Dad?  You can't sum a life up in 5 minutes and I don’t intend to do so but perhaps I can just give you a flavour of what he was like and just a few reflections on what life could be like in the "F" household.  

Dad was a very private and in some ways enigmatic man, I doubt many of us TRULY knew him fully.  He worked hard, he had an encyclopaedic mind and was quick witted.  He was a very practical man a shrewd and intelligent business man.  He travelled extensively throughout the Middle East and the rest of the world and was lucky to escape from the Lebanon when the crisis kicked off there back in the late 70s and early 80s.  

Dad loved gardening as T and I can testify having been “encouraged” to help turn over and then double dig the clay sodden ground of the appropriately named Claywood Close, in Orpington when we moved there from London in 1967.  It was there that T and I hit, with a resounding and echoing thud, what we thought - with our over active young minds - must and could only have been a second world war bomb buried in the mud and it was dad who carefully checked and found it to be the submerged trunk of a large tree ploughed into the ground by the builders.  

We also spent many days creosoting the enormous fence around the garden for pocket money something that would have Health and Safety people going bonkers today. There was no minimum wage in 1967 but knowing mum and dad we probably got paid over the odds and it supplemented our pocket money very nicely indeed.

Once finished, Claywood Close was an amazing riot of colour and had a huge vegetable plot and mum and dad produced one of many amazing gardens there and in fact all their subsequent houses.  It was one of dad’s great joys and the floral arrangement on his coffin reflects his great love of flowers and of their wonderful colours.  He knew all the Latin names of the flowers, shrubs and trees and where they’d thrive best and his vegetables were amazing, it was like having your own Geoff Hamilton or Alan Titchmarsh in the house.  
T and I probably didn’t get the health benefits of all those home grown vegetables.  Back then T and I thought a packet of Rowntrees fruit pastilles would deliver your 5 a day and we probably still think that today.

Dad was a great lover of music and we have tried to reflect some of that today but with such varied artists as Queen (one of his favourites), the Rolling Stones, Status Quo, Country and Western and Traditional Jazz in dad’s collection to choose from it proved difficult.  We hope you enjoy the choices and that he would to.  I was going to explain, but you can ask us later, why we had the Acker Bilk songs.

The house was a happy musical place, although I’m not sure that all of T’s and my music choices were always fully appreciated.  If the music got too loud and we didn’t turn it down when asked, dad would pull the fuse out and all the power would go off to our bedrooms rendering our record players useless.

Together with my Trumpet, dad’s and my electric guitars, T’s drum kit and dad’s keyboard we must have been great neighbours to live next door to when we got together to make music (well we called it music).  

It’s not a widely known fact but my dad was the greatest cricketer in the world, he was also the best footballer, the fastest runner and the best table tennis player or at least he was in our back garden.  To us he was Freddie Truman, Brian Close, Bobby Moore, Bobby Charlton and Gordon Banks all rolled into one and as every child knows, their dad is a superhero, indestructible and totally brilliant at absolutely everything.  

We learnt how to trap and strike a football, how to bowl an off break, why you polished the cricket ball on one side, how to play a forward defensive stroke, bowl a googly or thrash a loose ball to the boundary.  He was a demon at Table Tennis too and had a table tennis trophy to prove it.  He even built us a table tennis table which saw plenty of action. 

He played a mean game of cards and a shrewd hand of dominos too and like his dad, my granddad, he wasn’t averse to dropping a biffer in every now and then, you have to watch out for those "F's" I can tell you!

Not only in the field of sports was he proficient he also taught us woodwork, how to saw straight “let the tool do the work” he would say, how to hang wallpaper, paint, lay bricks, plaster, and he taught us electrics and plumbing too. 

Dad loved doing crosswords; he enjoyed Science Fiction books and got great pleasure from modern technology and what science could now do.  Often he would reflect on how things he had read about as a young man had come true especially Rockets and landing men on the moon, computers, mobile phones, medical advances and the like.  Dad was always well read and could talk to you on almost any subject you wanted to bring up.

Dad had a keen and shall we say “well developed” sense of humour.  We call it the "F" sense of humour, it can be pretty dark, it can be downright stupid and it can be witheringly funny too.  Even just a few weeks ago, when a nurse asked if she could take his blood pressure he said, as long as you bring it back again afterwards!  His sense of humour and stoicism and dare I say bravery saw him through these past difficult months.  He battled on and whilst there were some pretty bad days he kept courteous and polite and he tried to bring his humour to bear throughout. 

Always the joker, on one occasion he kept other patients amused by holding up two urinal bottles to either side of his head looking like an over sized Shrek character.  His final admission to hospital was due to a fall and even that became known as Dad’s “Del boy moment” as he crashed through the door of the bathroom.  He managed a wry smile when we told him that one.  

Dad adored the humour and sometimes silliness of films and shows like Airplane, Only Fools and Horses and Dad’s Army as well as comedians like Tommy Cooper, Eric Sykes, the Two Ronnies, and of course Morecambe and Wise.  We’d be watching these with him rolling around with laughter and it was even funnier if mum didn’t get the joke or see the funny side as that would make us laugh even harder.  It’s fair to say that we had lots of fun growing up with mum and dad.

It could only be him who on one occasion sent his sons off to the playing fields looking for Sheep’s feathers.  It kept us happy for hours and hours until we finally twigged what was going on.

As I said earlier, Dad enjoyed Cross words and puzzles of all kinds – he could normally complete the Telegraph crossword in around 10 minutes – it would take me that long to get just one answer – in fact it still does.  He was brilliant at doing things on Countdown and programmes like University Challenge.

He used to ‘wind up’ some of our fellow commuters on the train.  Sometimes, when the crossword was particularly difficult, he would make a large gesture of folding his newspaper early on in the journey and looking at the city gents struggling to fill in theirs, he would sit back and say “that was an easy one this morning” and smile.  

He was a bit of a rascal too as he would get us to arrive early at the station and he would sit in someone’s regular seat.  They’d spend the journey up to London rattling their newspapers at him or mumbling things like “I say Gerald, isn't that chap in your seat?”  T and I had difficulty keeping a straight face on these occasions and would set each other off trying not to laugh.  

On other occasions he would throw his voice and make cat meowing noises whilst people would be looking around searching for the poor non existent creature.

Dad used to drive mum to distraction sometimes with his japes getting an “Ern, get away with you!” or something like that.  Life was never dull in the "F" household.  He’d drive the car on the white line of the road when there were no other cars around to get mum to tell him to “Ern, get off the cats eyes”.  He’d carry on doing it to see just how far he’d get before getting a bash on his arm.  T and I would be scorned not to encourage him but that was part of the fun of going out on an expedition in the car and dad was always up for a laugh.

Dad was a man of promptness and celerity he would hate to be late and by now he’d be looking at his watch, shuffling his feet, lifting his eyebrows and rolling his eyes at me for making a long speech and he’d be horrified that I was saying nice things about him so I’ll end with this.

We remember Ernie, our dad, with a great deal of affection and with enormous pride.  We are very fortunate that he and mum were together for 56 years and we are grateful for their love and the solid family home and foundation they built for us.  He was a great dad, a fabulous granddad, a funny and a generous man and above all he was a really nice bloke and we will miss him dearly.

“So Long Dad” 
Be good 
Oh yes - And if you can’t be good, be careful."

Nuff said