Technology to the Rescue


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.


The Wedding


After months of planning and stressing Eccles Hall has now returned to some sort of normality.

Weddings are a fantastic way of bringing families and friends together for a day of making memories that will last a lifetime. The wedding in question was my son Simon and his partner Kayleigh’s and what a wedding it was.

It only took Lady Ann twelve months to buy two hats, three pairs of shoes and two wedding suits to make sure she was happy with the results. With the Hairdresser calling in early to help her look fantastic it was left to me to do the only thing I know I can get right, a trip out for bacon sandwiches.

Now the only rule that Lady Ann insisted on was that I had to turn my phone off and not take any photographs on the day, (I only managed two tweets of the whole day). I wasn’t breaking that rule only because retribution comes hard and fast in our house.

It is difficult being the family of the groom because here in England quite rightly it is the Brides day and she calls the shots and may I say she did a great job. She did something I have never managed to do and that is to get me and my family all together, on time and in one place and that is no mean achievement its almost like shepherding cats.

I would think Kayleigh’s father wasn’t quite as calm, he had to share his house with seven women getting ready and I can only imagine what pandamonium ensued in his home that morning.

The service was brilliant and with the help of a great vicar who was most entertaining, a great reading by Kayleigh’s mother Janet all went without a hitch. Watching the happy couple smiling at each other whilst making their vows is something I will remember always. The rest of the day though is another story so it is down to our resident ninja photographer to remind us of all the bits we can’t remember. Once we have some photographs I will post them up.

The only other thing I remember clearly was the best mans speech which was a brilliant rollercoaster of a ride without embarrassing anyone and having everyone in stitches.

It was great meeting both family and friends at the reception and made for a brilliant party. All that remains for me to say is I am a very lucky person who is surrounded by an even bigger circle of friends than I had before and at my age you can’t have to many friends.

So whilst the happy couple are basking in the sun on honeymoon all that is left for us to do is return our suits, collect up all the presents and the remains of the biggest wedding cake I have ever seen and try and get some normality back into everyday life.

Our Bucket List Successes

My Daughter left this on our coffee table. Very worrying.
If you have been following my blog for a while you will notice several references to my imaginary Bucket List. It’s my list of things to do before I either enter a care home or shuffle off this mortal coil and go to meet whatever maker awaits.

We started this list a couple of years ago when we thought I had suffered a heart attack. Thankfully it wasn’t and before you ask it wasn’t indigestion either.  Apparently I had ruptured the cartilage that joins my rib cage to my sternum. Inoperable but it sort of repaired itself and things are back to almost normal.

The one thing I lost during the six weeks of investigations was the feeling I once had, that I was invincible and that death only happened to other people and that has been a good thing.

It is almost like being given a second chance at life, to do the things that would be very difficult to do if your health gave way in such an life changing manner. So myself and Ann sat down and had a discussion about what we would like to do before the inevitable happened.

I wasn’t a big list but it meant we had to change our rather conservative outlook and stop ourselves judging activities solely by affordability and see how we could perhaps do something that wouldn’t break the bank. So here are the ones we have already crossed off our list.

Our bucket list successes

Work a little less and play a little more.

I quite haven’t managed that one yet but Ann says I enjoy what I do so much, I haven’t done a days work in my life. I agree but the hours can be long and it can get very stressful. But the weekends are now family time.

Make sure I spend more time with the Kids and Grandkids.

The past couple of years have been great, they stay at least one day a week and bring life back into our house, a reminder of what it was like when the kids were home. I am sure they only come to use the technology and for me to help them with homework but its great and they keep us feeling young when they are here and exhausted when they have left.

Buy a two seater sports car to use on road trips at weekend.

My kids call it my belated mid life crisis, but I just tell them I bought it so me and Ann can spend time together without any hangers on being able to join us at short notice.

Enter a Classic Car Rally

We did this last year and are about to do it again this year. We have driven on race circuits and test tracks that are not open to the pubic, we have also met some great people and made some good friends, most in similar positions to us.

See Michael Bubble Live

This was Ann’s. So who am I to judge. I saw him with several thousand women of a certain age when he visited Manchester last year. It pains me to say this but he was very good and every bit as talented as he is good looking (according to Ann who still glazes over at the mere mention of his name).

Have a Romantic Holiday. 

Santorini in Greece is possibly the most beautiful place I have ever visited. We spent a week in a fantastic hotel and did nothing but relax and eat and drink. It exceeded our expectations by a million percent. We went sailing on a yacht visited other islands and again met people from all over the planet and found out that basically we are all the same with similar stories to tell and photos of kids and grandkids to be shown.

Watch Queen with Adam Lambert Live

This was my concert of choice, we had chance to see them when Freddie Mercury was in the band but we had just moved house and thought we could catch them next time, we all know how that ended. So for my birthday Ann got tickets to see them this time around. It was the best concert I have ever been to. It was stellar.

I suppose if I view the effect my health scare has had on our lives, we have not lost anything, in fact we have learned a valuable lesson. Treat every day like your last and don’t waste a second, time is to valuable a commodity to waste so if you get up in the morning and its all still working you are quids in already.

So what else are we planning, you will have to wait for the next instalment of my Bucket List Successes, coming soon to a blog near you.

Taking Stock at the End of the Year


I don’t know about you but last time I blinked it was Easter and now I have just returned from my grand daughters school nativity and I am looking at the impending Christmas celebrations in a state of shell shock. 

As another year grows to a close if you are like me you will mentally taking stock of what has happened through the past year and how you have faired in the grand scheme of things.

So how do you judge how well or otherwise you have done. I suppose its all down to your own personal experience. Now I am a fairly positive individual, I am in the cup half full brigade opposed to the keeping up with the neighbors gang so my outlook is obviously coloured by this.

Now at my age the first thing on the list in your health, without it your life becomes instantly more complicated, and your time is consumed by waiting in crowded hospitals with people who could infect you with the black death at any given moment. This time last year I was recovering from what everyone thought was a heart attack. It wasn’t and I am still here and even more of a bonus I now know I have a perfectly healthy heart so I can now eat butter again for the first time in a decade.

So the next thing on the list is my Family. My long suffering wife who has had serious health problems in the past appears to be recovering. I know this because she is showing signs that her lust for life has returned and has made this year very special, its as though I have the woman I first met back in my life and that is priceless.

During the past twelve months my offspring have both found partners who will put up with them and there foibles and who are blissfully happy. I know this because the phone has stopped ringing quite as often. The only drawback to this scenario is that the number for Christmas dinner has doubled and the presents under the tree mean I cannot see the television without sitting up straight in my chair.

Unfortuately this year saw the passing of my cousin Jennifer who passed away a few weeks ago and my thoughts are with her family at this time, I find myself feeling a little guilty because I should have taken the time to keep in touch whilst I had the chance.

Friends are the next on my list, this year has been an exceptional year, I am lucky to have friends who always know when to turn up just when you need dusting off and leave when they think you can stand on your own two feet again. More importantly I haven’t lost any or been to a funeral which is always a bonus. It appears that living through the sixties and seventies was very detrimental to your health and longevety. 

The last thing on my list is my job. I am one of the lucky ones in life, I love what I do, I suppose my wife is right when she says I haven’t done a days work in my life, and I hate to admit it but I think she is right. The great thing about my job is the people I meet and try to help deliver various projects. From students who are at the start of there chosen career through to business men who need a hand in trying to understand the brave new digital world in which they have to exist. 

The most rewarding part of my role is helping community groups who are trying to improve were they live with very little in the way of resources, these people are the true heroes of modern society, people who share the little they have to help the communities they live in. 

So back to my opening premiss, How do you judge how well are you doing? It’s very simple, as long as you can cover your bills, have your health and are surrounded by people who love and care for you, you are better off that at least half the planet. 

According to my wife, if you add someone to do the ironing, copious amounts of Mince Pies and Horlicks into the mix life doesn’ t get any better. So all that remains for me to say is I hope that you and your families have a merry Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year.


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