Betrayal

 

Betrayal

Betrayal is a word that sounds just like the emotion it evokes.

It arrives in our lives at the most inopportune moments and is often delivered by people who you would least expect it from and that is the bit that hurts. Now there are two ways to deal with this treacherous act, either confront the perpetrator or alternatively (my preferred method of dealing with it) play the long game, after all revenge is a dish best served cold.

So what do I know about betrayal?

By my reckoning I have been betrayed three times in my life, the first time by a so called best friend who stole my girlfriend. Forty or so years on and reflecting on the episode I can forgive him because she was very nice and I didn’t have the emotional experience to appreciate her. So to a certain extent that is how it goes.

The second time was in my career.

When you are a member of a team and you go the extra mile to make sure that everyone gets the recognition for any success only to find out when its to late that one of the team has taken all the glory for your hard work.

The third and final time is now.

I feel betrayed by the government who I put my trust in to look after me in my twilight years. Instead I find we are governed by a group of self serving individuals who don’t give a second thought about selling us down the river and abandoning the infrastructure that enabled them to be in such a position.

On a personal level I have very little to complain about. I have been fairly lucky health wise and our exceptional NHS have provided for me in my most vulnerable moments.

I have been the recipient of a very good education, like many of our MP’s in government who unfortunately a few years ago decided that this opportunity was wasted on the rest of us so decided to charge for courses or starve it of investment so it becomes almost insignificant to the recipients.

But the biggest betrayal of all is that I mistakenly thought that our elected representatives did it out of a sense of duty and to look after the less fortunate in our society.

You might think that I am being naive but I put that down to the fact that I was brought up to respect everyone not just the successful.

So there we have it in a nutshell, the working and middle classes have been betrayed by their own, the opportunists, and the easily corrupted.

This is the time to make a change. Lets give these people the result they deserve rather than the result they expect. It happened with Brexit and in America with Trump.

During this election campaign please hold the thought that these people do not tell the whole truth or even anything like the truth

You never know third time lucky we could do away with the spivs and opportunists and put the fairness back into politics.

All I ask is that you vote, I care not a jot for who (unless its for this uncaring government, then I might wince a little) but for someone who you can trust and can put integrity above the mighty buck.

Unfortunately I am not seeing many of these individuals around!

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The Secret to a Happy Life

Beautiful young woman sleeping and smiling while lying in bed comfortably and blissfully on the background of alarm clock is going to ring. Sunbeam dawn  on her face.

Picture a scene. You are in your thirties, it is a Sunday morning and you are in bed with the strands of sunlight drifting through the curtains. Your eyes open and you see your partner in life bathed in the early morning light , asleep and naked.

Now I have got you attention!

This is the mother of my children, my best friend and above all this is the person that I am comfortable with. Every contour looks familiar and welcoming.

This is the person that I belong with and this is what I find erotic. It is not the nakedness but he warm feeling I get from lying in a bed with someone I have experienced my most intimate moments in life with in my arms and loving every single moment of the experience.

As get older I have discovered that I don’t remember the grand gestures in life or the life affirming moments, all I want is to cuddle up with someone who knows me and give me comfort in my darkest moments.

I believe what is important in life is to be given unconditional love and cuddles from your nearest and dearest (and beer but that does not sit well with Ann).

Have a great Easter Guys.

Epic Video Production of the Week 4th April 2017

I can’t believe its two years since my last track of the week, but as they say time flies when you are having fun.

My original proposition was that each week I would choose a song from a movie which may be popular or not. The only criteria is that its a great song and it fits the scene in the film perfectly. Let me know if you agree and please feel free to suggest some of your favourites.

This weeks track however is the video for Everglow by Coldplay. Now what makes this special is that it is an alternative to the one put out when the track was first released.

The track is all about loss, about missing your soulmate for whatever reason.
Now Im not a great Ice Skating fan but this performance is mesmerising. Look out for the moments when you think how did she do that.
Tanja Kolbe and Stefano Caruso : for choreographing and performing
Directed by Mr Joe Connor
DOP : Patrick Mellor
Editor : Ellie Johnson at Speade
Grade : George K at MPC
VFX : Cherry Cherry VFX
Colin Offland : Producer
Matthew Clyde : Producer
Alexa Haywood : Agent and for being a legend
Ellora Chowdhury : Grade producer
All at Chief Productions
All at Cherry Cherry VFX !! for their incredible VFX work
Production Comapany : Chief Productions
If you like the simplicity of it just look up the making of video, it was not that simple!

Friday Night Confession

Portrait mad frustrated woman isolated white background

As my regular readers are aware that Friday Night in Diggle is spent at the Happy Beaver talking to several people who have one thing in common, we all like a drink and like to escape from our high-powered jobs for a while and find respite from the pressure we are all under in every waking moment.

Often this pressure is not from our careers but from balancing the demands of our jobs and family commitments and trying to give our children the opportunities we wished for.

Now this is a very difficult path to tread. How many times do our kids use emotional blackmail to get their own way, I would suggest rather more that we would like to admit to.

On one the one hand we don’t want our children to feel privileged, but on the other hand we want them to take advantage of our experience. This route is fraught with danger, and at what point do you appear to be a pushy parent.

I have heard cases of parents having a meltdown after a very long day of supporting their children using language that would make a rugby player blush (you know who you are so I will save your blushes).

This does not make them a bad parent, it makes them human. Children will push you to test the boundaries, that is their job. On the other hand, you need to support your children but when it clashes with something you want to do you feel guilty of letting them down and it sort of spoils the experience even if you are strong enough to put your own needs above theirs and that is very sad.

Sometimes saying no is the best option.

As a parent, I am very lucky. I have children that at any given moment I can call on and they would drop anything to help if they could. Admittedly they are in their thirties and forties but it is payback time.

But some of my younger friends are in a situation that they feel that they are expected to run around after children, parents and various charitable causes because that is how they have been brought up, with a sense of duty and I think that is very admirable. But that is not why they do it, It is because they take great satisfaction out of what they do.

It is the stuff that our nation is made of, it is who we are and what we are made of and it reassures me that when I am gone there are people just like me who will try to make a difference, and that is comforting.

So, to everyone who feels a little bit guilty of neglecting children, parents, or friends please remember that at my last recollection there are only twenty-four hours in one day and no matter how you try to make it different that is how it is.

So, to sweary mums everywhere who are at the end of their tethers, who care for children, balancing careers and elderly parents I love you one and all, it’s because you care, it’s because you have huge hearts.

You may not think your children will thank you for it, but eventually when they have kids of their own they will realise what a sacrifice you made for them and that is reward enough for any parent.

March is Mortality Month in our House

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Everyone I know has a month in the year that they dread. In my world it is always April but the dread starts mid March and as I write this it is mid month you can imagine how I am feeling.

I like to think of myself as a glass half full kind of guy but I cannot help but feel that the sword of Damocles is wafting over my head. I know it is as Mr Spock says illogical but at the back of my mind I have started to feel like something is coming which I may or may not like.

As usual I have been taken out tonight by my nine year old grandson  (that is a very bad excuse for going and drinking with some very nice people) and it is a very nice experience. But after a couple of pints of Guinness it is at this point in the week that I start thinking of the bigger picture and my own mortality.

Can I say that I am lucky and I have managed to achieved most of my life goals and the ones that are left are not worth mentioning especially since Kylie Minogue has a new boyfriend.

I am however starting to think that I may have left it a little late to fulfil some of my childhood dreams.

So here is my Bucket list:

To have a Gin Sling in Raffles in Singapore

Watch the Sun rise at Aires Rock

To have Breakfast on Route 66

and above all watch my kids be settled and happy.

So which on the list do you think is my priority?

Obviously I am a responsible adult and it is that my kids be settled and happy (although I do rather fancy breakfast on route 66.

So my advice to all you millennials reading this is you have to follow your dreams, don’t leave it to late or you may not be in a fit state to enjoy it.

Above all be kind to people who hold such flights of fancy, because they are the people who will achieve their dreams on your behalf.

So when you are in the old folks home and I am sat at your side dribbling and incoherent I hope that we will have least achieved some of our dreams with the people who matter the most to us!

If not don’t you think you may regret your missed opportunities, I know I will.

What the hell is an EpiPen!

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Image courtesy of International Business Times

Now I know that some weeks of your life are epic but trust me this week was by any measure unforgetable. I don’t mean in a social media context but in a real life heart stopping way.

As many of you are aware that my new regime of four day weekends means that my life has taken on a more relaxed pace and I am becoming used to more time to do what I want rather than what I need. But on Wednesday morning when my alarm went off and I didn’t hear it, life took on some urgency, I needed to be in work and in class in 30 minutes.

This means that the niceties of life cease to exist. Gone is the shower, breakfast and the obligatory cup of strong coffee, all that is left is the dart for the door and get to work asap.

Now this is the strange bit, how come you leave ten minutes later but arrive at your destination ten minutes earlier. How does that work?

So I am in the office contemplating wether or not I can catch up on my caffeine hit which I have missed  when my colleague who I work with decides to have a breakfast bar and a coffee because she to had overslept. This is were it gets a little wild, so I suggest that if you are of a nervous disposition stop reading now and go and do something far more interesting.

Picture the scene, I am in a semi comatose state waiting for an influx of caffeine when with some urgency my colleague discovers she has eaten a breakfast bar laced with all sorts of nuts and heathy stuff that apparently is very good for you but she is allergic to.

I can say with some authority that the effect of this oversight was dramatic to say the least. Within 20 seconds she was gasping for breath issuing instructions that I could barely  understand and dropped to the floor in a semi conscious state.

Now as a typical bloke I didn’t want her to know I was clueless and as my wife has said when she has had medical episodes I needed to appear to be calm and stay in control. Now thats easier said than done, I was in way beyond my comfort zone and expertise.

She was giving me instructions that were nearly audible and way outside my understanding. She instructed me to find an EpiPen in her bag. I had no idea what an EpiPen was let alone what to do with it. With a some help from her I managed to find this life saving device buried deep inside her bag in her makeup pouch.

So with that hurdle overcome I now need to know what to do with it. Gasping she said I had to inject it into her thigh, for a split second I thought how the hell do I take her tights off and how do I inject her without hurting her (I know this is pointless when you are hanging onto life by a breath but a man of my age is way out of his depth)!

Can I just reassure you all, I did not remove any of her clothing and whilst I was dithering as to how I was going to inject her without hurting her she made the decision for me. All that was required was brute force and ignorance, whilst I was dithering and trying to come to terms with what I had to do she decided that actions speak louder than words and struck the device with such force I thought she had broken her leg.

After a few seconds things began to improve and she started to breath again and normality returned to my world (apart from my heart trying to burst out from my chest).

In that moment I discovered two things, that life as we know it can change in a heartbeat and that to be prepared is always preferable to discovery learning.

So to all my friends out there, I can assure you that I am hopeless in a crisis, I appear to be in control but inside I am screaming. If any of you have allergies that could be life threatening please let me know and show me what to do before it happens so I am prepared and in some sort of control.

One thing I can tell you though is that I didn’t need a caffeine hit after that, I was wired for twenty-four hours and it almost led me to have heart failure.

So for those who are interested my colleague is now recovering and hopefully we will laugh about this when next time we meet. That is far better than the alternative outcome that could have taken place, which goes to show even grumpy old men can be useful sometimes.

What a Difference a Day Makes!

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The Great Orme Llandudno

Lets have a weekend away Lady Ann said, but the pressures of being of a certain age are that when you want to do something you enjoy is often dictated by Hospital and Doctors appointments. Now I am not complaining and I am sure glad of the NHS even with its chronic underfunding and the chaos that ensues every winter.

So bearing that in mind we decided on a midweek break Tuesday to Thursday, inbetween the Doctors and   Diabetes clinic appointments.

Now when I was a teenager like most people I thought I would live forever and that I would always have a pep in my step, how wrong was I then. It’s not that I feel any different inside, (Lady Ann often comments that I need to grow up) but my body is beginning to creak a little. It’s not the knees groaning under the strain of exercise but more like my lungs running out of puff just when you need it most.

So after a quick sit down and a brew after loading the car up we headed off to Wales, our nearest other country neighbour, only a couple of hours down the road. First stop was Llangollen, a beautiful little town tucked on either side of the River Dee for a lunch with some friends.

As beautiful as it is Llangollen has one serious flaw in that if you are on Vodafone your phone suddenly becomes just a piece of plastic and glass cluttering up your pocket. Trying to find each other was a nightmare without a signal. To make up for this though a lady in one of the many shops Lady Ann stopped in kindly lent me her mobile to give them a call.

After a great lunch and much chatter we were off to our hotel in Llandudno. Now I know what you are thinking Llandudno is hardly a romantic place but it has two things that appeal to us, one its flat and easy to get around with plenty of retail opportunities for Ann but more importantly it is surrounded by great roads for me to pretend I am a rally driver.

dsc00226Driving up to the summit of the Great Orme is a great way to spend a morning. We had a great day eating, shopping and driving so what’s not to like.

Now Thursday was a different proposition altogether, it was the day Storm Doris came to call. It was really wild, not just a little windy but driving on the coast road the sea was epic and very scary so we headed homewards early just because we thought if this had hit Eccles Hall we would need to be there to sort out if anything blew off.

storm-doris

In theory this was the right thing to do, in practice it was a mistake. People driving far to fast without lights on in a storm is always an accident waiting to happen and having spent an hour sat in a rolling roadblock looking at the back of a police car I discovered it would probably have been better waiting for the storm to pass. But you live and learn.

It was lovely when we got home, it was as though nothing had happened, it was calm and nothing had blown off the house, which living in Diggle is always a bonus. So our adventures are now over for a while and I am sat here with a brew looking at patches of blue sky and even though it’s freezing its still better than sitting through a storm like Doris.

Connection or Coincidence?

tunisia

Is it me or do things in life make you think that someone somewhere has a master plan that dictates what happens to us in life.

Now being a rather cynical individual (my wife’s opinion, obviously not my own) I always thought that life was a set of random events with the only thing connecting them was our own participation in them.

That was until fourteen years ago my daughter started dating a soldier who came from the opposite end of the country. We live in Oldham near Manchester and he lived in Odiham near Basingstoke, now if you think the name thing is slightly spooky then read on, it gets even spookier.

As with some modern day romances they met when he came home from a tour of duty and he was staying with a friend in Oldham, she became pregnant with our Grand Daughter Saskia and as some remote relationships pan out they had split up before she was born.

After Saskia was born Sarah received a request from Saskia’s father’s parents who would like to meet her and Saskia. So, arrangements were made and we were to meet at a half way point near the motorway and then go to a friend’s house in Milton Keynes Village so we could have a chat.

We arrived a little early at the meeting place and subsequently they arrived, I got out to let them know to follow us back to our friends. I got back in our car and Ann said I’m sure I have met her before to which my response was 300 miles apart, probably not then!

We arrived at our friend’s house and I went to make everyone a brew (a true northern bloke me, and yes it was Yorkshire Tea, arguably the best in the world), whilst I was busy Ann and Sarah were talking to them in the lounge when all of a sudden there was a huge outburst of laughter. I went into the lounge to see if it was me they were laughing at, (yes I am that paranoid).

But they had discovered the most amazing coincidence.

They had discovered that eight months previously Ann and myself had been on holiday for a week in Tunisia in early December. (for a rest before starting our Christmas family marathon of planning, shopping and generally getting all the family together under one roof for Christmas Day).

It seems we had met this couple in the Hotel where we stayed and had chatted and had drinks together on more than one occasion during the week.

So is that a coincidence or is it a connection in someone else’s master plan.

As all good journalists say I will let you decide.

 

bash-comp-2017

My entry into this years competition

I am Getting Grumpier by the Day!

President Donald Trump holds up a signed executive order to advance construction of the Dakota Access

President Donald Trump holds up a signed executive order to advance construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline

So here is my next instalment of life according to the Grumpy Northern Bloke and trust me I am very grumpy at the moment. Now I know what you are thinking, obviously Lady Ann has done something that has upset me, sorry to disappoint but no., as always she is my anchor.

My issue is something that most people in the UK will think is insignificant in this day and age, but as you know I am a sort of old fashioned guy who thinks that a man’s word means something and I am outraged that the President of the USA can and has behaved like a petulant child.

He has overturned several of Barak Obama’s agreements all because he thinks that the dollar is mightier than the rule of law. In the second it takes to sign a mandate he has reneged on several treaties signed by his predecessors who acted in a humane and fair way.

The biggest issue I have is his dealings with the North Dakota Pipeline project. Obama agreed with the indigenous population in the area that this pipeline will pose a significant risk to the water supply that is the life blood of the population of North Dakota. Obama asked the army engineers to find a better route to ensure that the water supply to the population will be secure without risk of contamination. That is a decision of a man who respects his population.

Two weeks after is in-ordination Trump overturns the decision and enables the pipeline construction to go ahead. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things you might say but there are one or two points that really get my back up.

Point One

He has a vested interest in the pipeline, he invested heavily in the scheme at inception. He owned and then sold his shares in Phillips 66, another company responsible for construction and according to CNBC. The CEO of Energy Transfer Partners contributed more than $100,000 to President Trump’s campaign and the Republican Party.

How can it be in this day and age this can this be allowed to go unnoticed, not only does he think it is acceptable but he openly believes that he is the law and is almost untouchable.

Point Two

With his new (illegal) immigration policy he thinks he can ride rough shod over people who are American citizens who just happened to be travelling abroad for business . Just because they happen to be from a country on his ill conceived list gleaned from oviously dodgy research that says they are a security risk. He has systematically given law abiding citizens an excuse to radicalise.

I appreciate that being the President of America it is not the easiest of jobs and allegedly being the most powerful man in the western world I expect better from him. All I ask is a little less bravado and a little more humility which would go a long way in ensuring that the world is a safer place to live in.

After all it’s the only world we have and it has finite resources. So lets all calm down and try to get on and negotiate without resorting to chest beating and victimisation of minority groups.

Technology to the Rescue

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We have had a mixed start to 2017. On the one hand I am now in gainful employment for the next couple of months and I am enjoying the experience of working in a new team, it sort of clears away the cobwebs of complacency.

On the other hand Lady Ann’s back has decided to give in again and she is resting horizontally for the next couple of weeks which means I am head cook and bottle washer. Now it’s not serious, I have shirts in the wardrobe and I do know how to use a microwave and a frying pan.

Seriously though Sciatica is one infliction I do not want to experience any time soon as she is on enough pain relief to stop a herd of elephants but she still has spasms every now and again which mean when you are asleep you are woken to the sound of screaming like an axe murderer has broke in and is setting about them. To say the least my nerves are a little jangled at the moment but who needs sleep anyway.

Now this is were technology has come to the rescue. I have found I can do almost anything as long as I take guidance from Ann (her words not mine). This comes in the form of FaceTime. She has the iPad upstairs and I am like a robot slavishly following her every command. So far we have done FaceTime clothes washing, FaceTime cooking and if Im a good boy tonight I get to FaceTime Dishwasher loading.

Now I know this makes me sound like a useless lump but Ann wants stuff done in a certain way, which is definitely not my way. My way is more along the lines of minimum effort maximum productivity.

I don’t mean I don’t do anything domestic in the house, I have a few times during the last forty years and in the past when Ann has been hospitalised my daughter Sarah is always at the end of a phone to give me advice should I need it. This time however I have decided that I can do it myself mainly because at Christmas Sarah grassed me up to the whole family that I couldn’t use the washing machine. They say the truth often hurts and they are right.

So tonight I sit here having made my lunch for tomorrow, done all my chores and in a couple of hours my final act will be to take Ann her Horlicks up something I have religiously done for the last twenty or so years.

On a serious note though to all the people who are caring for loved ones, I take my hat of to you, you are by far the unsung heroes in our society, people who do it out of love and not duty. It doesnt make it any less hard whichever way it is.

I only hope that Ann is soon back on her feet and we can go out into the great wide world again. That is the bit we both miss, this weekend our world has shrunk substantially but we have a roof over our heads, food in our fridge and are still together and in this day and age is something to celebrate.