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Wayne's Blog

Read through my latest blog posts and feel free to comment on them if you like.

Anything before 27 January 2019, can be viewed here: OLD BLOG.

 

 


 

 

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2020 - What a write off

Posted on 25th May, 2020

My life usually has nothing to report, therefore and generally, no need for a blog! This year, with the COVID19 pandemic, there's been even less going on... not even visits from family. The other day, while Kelly was back local collecting the boys from their Dad, she stopped by at the end of the drive and dropped off some beautiful yellow Cala lily flowers, some chocolate and some Cadbury's Melts cookies. Bless her. It was her way of letting us know that she thinks of us and misses both. Such an angel.

In other news, Jezz and I have managed to venture into town and queue for Wilko's. We sat in a park for a few minutes and walked around the block. We've also been to another Waitrose. Still playing cooperative games on the PlayStation daily and sometimes cook together. see, there seriously no new news to offer. Oh... we have been to a few garden centres and bought some plants for the garden.

Bloody COVID-19

Posted on 10th April, 2020

This is going to put a cat amongst the pigeons but it’s a slightly different take on the thanks given to the NHS staff by the general public banging pot and pans outside their front door.

 

My first thought is a lack of understanding that most people have for not seeing a negative effect they can have by an action they take. I’ll explain that a bit more further on. My next immediate thought is the herd pack mentality that humans seem to have. And finally, thought should be given to what physical achievement has been accomplished (not emotional) and maybe such energy would be better utilised elsewhere.

Consideration has played a major role in my life and some might say to an excessive degree. My first thought of a colourful but loud firework going off in a neighbouring garden is not that of the smiles and joys it brings to the cold, shivering, nose snot dribbling sightseers gathered but for the dog who is two doors down, shaking uncontrollably and suffering from severe panic whilst trapped between the wall and the back of a sofa. The collective sound of people cheering, shouting, applauding and worst of all banging a metal spoon against the inside of a metal saucepan must be a similar panic attack provoking noise, especially if their environment is typically a more quiet place, usually. My thoughts then make me realise that there is an ever-increasing amount of people suffering from mental health issues whose conditions are triggered or made worse by the action of others. I have witnessed, first hand of a neighbour who suffers from schizophrenia and had to leave his home because of noisy road re-surfacing works that were going on outside and lasted just a day. Clearly, in that instance, the work had to be carried out and could not be avoided. The frail and the elderly, too afraid to look out and observe anymore inconsideration of humankind who are suddenly petrified of loud excess noise are left shaking with heightened anxiety until the noise dies down. And then, just maybe, the very nurse who is being applauded for their bravery and heroism, whose shift starts at 11pm and doesn’t need to be awake for another hour, or a doctor who has finished their 14-hour shift and finally managed to get home and go to bed exhausted at 7pm (give or take hours in both examples)... do they really welcome the noise?

 

For me, yes, I did make an effort and applaud the marvellous and unbelievable selfless effort that frontline NHS staff perform every day. It’s an overwhelming realisation that these kind-hearted brave people choose to do this for a living and certainly not for the money but subsequent weeks of screeching and yelling in the street? I’m not feeling it. Mass thanks? No thanks. I saw and felt the unity the first time and with a tear in my eye hoped that the message rang out nationwide, purely as a token heartfelt thank you to the hard-working frontline NHS staff, key workers, care in the community nurses, supermarket staff and beyond... that the nation gave recognition and huge appreciation for all that they do in the name of a job. But this came at a price. For all those scared shitless indoors... too afraid to come out, too afraid to join in... suffered inside their home. We can easily be forgiven because a one-off the purpose outshone the negative effects but weekly... I’m not on board. The first one time felt special and very emotional but now... for me, the appreciation and thanks seem suffocated by a clan of inconsideration and just an excuse to be loud and vulgar.

I feel hypercritical when I watch a YouTube video of an Italian piano player performing amazingly from his balcony, playing to his neighbours when a neighbour harmonises with his saxophone, but once again, should we perhaps not give consideration to a night-worker or someone who doesn’t appreciate the good intentions because they are fraught with mental health issues.

 

An alternative show of appreciation.

My sister shared a story with me recently. While she was approaching the separate aisle for the key worker queue, outside Asda, an elderly gentleman noticed her nurse’s uniform and started clapping. He gave a cheer and said loudly: “thank you very much, dear. Thank you for all you’re doing.” As everybody else in the queue turned to see what was happening, they all joined in with the applause and cheering. It was highly emotional.

REFLECTIONS - March 2020

Posted on 18th March, 2020

I haven’t been writing my blog of late because I haven’t done anything or been anywhere to report on. Also, what has gone on in my life is too depressing to write about. Worse than that, documenting it brings everything to the surface, in exactly the same way as being assessed and asked to recall all of my failings.

I received a letter instructing me to attend another assessment. It was to be held in a building in Croydon and then a panic attack ensued. I focused and made a request for a home visit instead and was asked to provide ‘further medical evidence’ to warrant a home visit. My GP didn’t help and I found out later that it was because he had returned a form declaring that I had no anxiety issues, nor that was I housebound. I contacted my consultant at the clinic who was extremely helpful, as was one of the health advisors. The letter stopped any further appointments being made at the assessment centre and my case was passed to the team who organise home visits. I was advised that there would be a long wait as there is a backlog of appointments.

In the meantime, I returned to my GP’s office where I broke down and cried in front of him. I said that I was very disappointed in him and that considering he is the very person who prescribes a high dose of antidepressants and Diazepam, then he should be aware of what causes my anxiety and panic. He reconsidered and decided that he should write a letter and that maybe I would benefit from a home visit. I was grateful but said that it may not be necessary as my consultant had stepped in.

The face to face assessment took place in my home last week. The lady was pleasant and I didn’t feel as uncomfortable as I thought I would be. I was extremely nervous leading up to the appointment and realised that I was resorting to the Diazepam more.

During this time period, I have received letters stating that it is that time again for me to choose a new vehicle. I have been arranging test drives and have considered the Volvo XC40, a Toyota C-HR Hybrid and another Mini Countryman. I compared the models for each make and the optional extras and their costs. I decided on the Toyota and placed the order a couple of weeks ago.

And now new anxiety has reached the UK. Over the past few months, the world has been trying to cope with a new virus that is highly contagious, the Coronavirus (Covid-19). It started in China and quickly spread to Italy. The rates of infection and deaths have been increasing globally. It feels as though it came to the UK in late February. I haven’t joined in the mad panic buying and emptying of the supermarket shelves but the rest of the world has. I suppose it’s because of the way I usually shop. Kelly remarked that when she saw news items of people fighting in the supermarket aisles over toilet rolls that she thought of me and realised that I wouldn’t be affected as I’ve always bought and stored in bulk anyway. But I experienced first hand last Sunday, when I went shopping with Jezz to Morrisons, that people were buying aggressively and we were both keen to find a new way of grocery shopping, particularly as the virus and the panic are getting worse every day.

First post of 2020

Posted on 21st January, 2020

Hey - how ya'll doing? It's been just over a month since writing in here and that was Christmas 2019 done and wrapped up. Christmas tree is back in the loft and most of the edible presents are eaten. Jezz bought me a full-back massager and I'd been using it daily. Either an unrelated injury to my lower back or over-use gave me such a lot of pain that I needed to go and see Claire to sort it out (chiropractor).

On 20 December 2019, sadly Nanny Evans died. She was 101 and Debbie's Nan. I have known since 1981. She was an amazing lady, Welsh and tiny but mighty. She was so alive through the decades and was loved by everybody.

Yesterday Kelly and I went to the Sakura Indian restaurant for a curry. She was over this way. I went to the same last Sunday with Jezz. It's good to get back there. We were all going there regularly until Kelly moved away.

Last week Debbie asked me to help her to create a tribute book for Nanny Evans. We got the tributes and the photos into the printers on time and I collected them yesterday. We discovered an entire page missing and I got back onto Donna at the printers. She brilliantly rescued the situation. It was a problem their end but I was able to collect a second batch today. They look fine, from what I can see. We need them for tomorrow when Debbie hands them out to people at the wake. Nanny's funeral service is tomorrow.

 

Reflections - December 2019

Posted on 10th December, 2019

Just a few things I've done since I last blogged... went to Brighton again with Jezz, a bit of retail therapy and a few more Christmas gifts. We bought each other something from one of those shops in St. James's Street.

I took the plunge and drove to Aldershot on Mother's birthday. It was to see her, give her a birthday present and we went out for lunch with Jamie too.

 

I've spent a lot of time reflecting and thinking... and in particular, about my pal, David Jack. I haven't stopped thinking about him, to be honest. I know we didn't see a lot of one another but we were very much in touch, almost daily. I miss him so much. He wins the award for longest delay of shock when someone dies! 

Life at home has been pretty perfect of late. I don't want to jinx it but it's all been pleasant. Apart from the telly blowing up in the lounge last week, things have been ok.

I bought all the Christmas presents early this year and have kept an amazing budget. It's allowed me to spend a little more on Jezz this year... which is good because I feel that he deserves it.

Afternoon High Tea at The Grand Brighton

Posted on 10th November, 2019

On Thursday 7 November 2019, Jezz and I set off for another day out in Brighton. We parked up and went for brunch at Burger King. After a bit of shopping we timed it so that we would arrive at The Grand Hotel by 2.15pm. We were shown our table in the terrace and we ordered our choice of tea. Then quiche and sandwiches arrived followed by cakes and scones. We took photos and it was quite an emotional time. We left there after a couple of hours and drove to St. James's Street and bought one another a gift. It was a really lovely day.

Good company... good mood... all good

Posted on 22nd September, 2019

Last week, Jezz was off work for a week, annual leave. We spent a lot of time together and it was great. We genuinely enjoy each other's company and it always feels special when I reflect on my time with him. We mainly shop and eat out but it's nothing extravagant and sometimes just involves a day out, like Eastbourne and browsing in the local charity shops. Lunch can just be fish and chips and a mug of tea... whatever it is, it's so nice to be doing it with Jezz.

Also, last week saw Jezz joining the gym I have a membership with. I mentioned to him that if he joined, that I would be his gym-buddy and go with him, whenever he goes. He joined and started that very evening. We've been twice now and intend going three times a week, resuming tomorrow evening, Monday. We've both downloaded the app and following different workout plans. I'm not sure how I'll get on with mine, probably a bit ambitious but I'll do as much as I can manage. 

It's been a year since David died... I've spent some of this weekend, reflecting on some of the happy times we shared together. I miss him so much more than I thought I was going to.

A bit fed up

Posted on 2nd September, 2019

It gets a bit samey. Each day with little or nothing to look forward to. The pains in my legs have returned without explanation. I want to go back to the gym... it's paid for 'til July next year... what is the matter with me?

I have a horrible dilemma that has been in my life for some time now. I last experienced something like it with a previous relationship. There are moments of happiness and excitement and it's a pleasurable time in the company of somebody you think is as appreciative of your company as much as you are of there's. Then there are times when it is manageable but a challenge and there are really bad downtimes when you reflect if it is all worthwhile. Hurtful comments that hit when you've asked for it, typically as a comeback in an exchange of put-downs and insults I feel I am able to cope with. When they are made without provocation and completely unexpected, the hurt takes on a whole new set of symptoms. Someone in your life that you are fond of can call you names and you can return the friendly fire without too much damage either side but an insult, either uncalled for or unexpected can re-shape my general and global mindset of the person. I start to reevaluate whether pleasure is derived for them to be unnecessarily unkind or if there is any validity in their post-explanation when they say they are only doing it for my own good or I was just thinking of you.

One thing I am learning as I get older is my tolerance for nonsense, excuses, lack of consideration, abuse and being taking advantage of is reducing dramatically and noticeably. With this particular issue, I am conscience that I am stalling and shelving the problem until I find the strength to throw in the towel. I have reached a stage where I can see to compare the benefits with the disadvantages of having this level of hurt in my life but loneliness and uncertainty, not related to this person, kicks in and I ceasefire until the dust settles.

I am reminded that my importance in this person's life is insignificant, that there is no fondness freely admitted if only to serve as a means of reassurance that it's all a worthwhile effort.

I find myself making a sufficient effort to keep in touch, let them know that I think of them and care about them and for me, it is not about having that same level of care reciprocated because we all show that we care in different measures and completely different ways... but you do need a small and simple sign of recognition every now and again to reaffirm that your love is needed or wanted.

REFLECTIONS - August 2019

Posted on 23rd August, 2019

I've experienced a scenario that has highlighted a mild defect with my choices and decisions in life. It has left me feeling very much on the fence, 50-50 with whether my choices are correct or not, right for me. Before I share with you what the incident is, I feel compelled to almost justify why I set my life choices up and just what it is that makes me both comforted and distressed at the same time.

When people in my life move away, it's inevitable that relationships will take a swift change and usually in the direction of some distance between them and myself. It's no one's fault... opportunities happen that make people take the chance or improvement of moving to another part of the country or the world... relationships, a business proposition, a family matter, the desired place to live, cheaper lifestyle... so many different reasons. It's never been a problem but people nearly always say... we must still see one another and stay in touch. If this kind of comment is just said as part of the farewell spiel then it's all ok with me. But if the person moving away is expecting to share the responsibility and is announcing that expectation, then it's not ok... with me. And yet, at exactly the same time I love that people are moving on, even more, if moving up. No one should expect a loved-one to forego life-changing positive decisions because it may upset or offend them.

By way of example, I've realised and appreciated that if I chose to be involved with a home swap that involved my moving away, to Bognor for example; I already have in mind not to preach to my sisters, who currently live local to me, that they will be expected to visit, travel and make the effort!

My example today is that my beautiful daughter, who coincidentally moved 60 miles away a few years ago, decided recently to acquire a dog to add to the wonderful family that she has made with her fabulous husband and my two handsome grandsons. As she was in the area, she called and wondered if I'd like to see them but stated that she had her dog with her. I have never wanted to own a pet and have several reasons for this. The main one is a bereavement issue but another one is that both Jezz and I do not want animals in our home. I have the same attitude about smoking which even extends to around the home but I have to relax that sightly or I'd look crazy if I said no smoking outside too. Lol.

So I said no and mentioned that I didn't want a dog in my home and she was ok with it, I think. And it's here that I have mixed feelings. I want to relax my boundaries, it would only be a short while, not be so dramatic if there was an issue and it would have meant that I would've been able to see everyone. However, the other part of my mind is suggesting that I set my boundaries for my comfort and security and adjusting them changes how I feel to a point of not being comfortable and that that may have an impact on any hospitality that I am capable of. A small element also makes me think that there is no need to alter your own comfort zones if it is going to be remotely unsettling but to perhaps take into account, that as a result, I am going to miss out on an otherwise pleasant and relaxing experience.

 

I have spent the entire morning thinking back how this attitude of mine has affected my day-to-day living and enjoying, or not enjoying, my life. I've not gone to family gatherings because (a lot of the time) I don't like busy environments. This particular feeling has variables because sometimes, normally dependant upon the venue, I weigh up any anxiety possibilities and then choose to go, or not. I still struggle with the problem of not being comfortable with travelling, especially for my daughter's wedding in Scotland, earlier this year. To try to combat this feeling, Jezz had a work engagement at a busy pub, on a Saturday night and invited me to be with him. I wanted to if only to show willing and support, so I took the plunge and said that I would. I enjoyed being with him but wouldn't jump at the chance to do it again. It was noisy and I felt vulnerable throughout and only relaxed slightly once back in the car and on the way home.

The fear of travelling and being away from home prevented me from going anywhere and it is a huge regret. As a result of that, I went crazy and renewed my expired passport and announced to Jezz that if he wanted to go anywhere in the world... I will now go with him. The very disappointment that I felt by not attending my daughter's wedding was enough to make me realise the selfishness that people in my life invite me/want me to be with them and my fears stops it all from happening. It was a last-ditch attempt to overcome this problem for once and for all but more than that, I figured that any fears that I have for Jezz travelling on an aeroplane, with me with him, we go together. It's a horrible thought but real enough to make me rock my stance off its stubborn axis.

 

I have realised now that the 'taking the plunge' and going for it normally does pay off. I get my fears into check and just go for it. The feelings of the trip this year to Alton Towers with Jezz was, and to some extent still is, mixed. Coping strategies were to share the driving, stay in a luxurious boutique b&b and pace the day with Jezz's total support of needing to stop for a break, abandon a particular ride or possibly the day. His readiness to abort at any stage was a huge comfort for me but that didn't stop the panic when we arrived at Alton Towers or queued for some of the rides.

 

Another example of being outside of a comfort zone and it impacting on my life is going to see my ole pal, Vicki as she fosters cats and Jezz has an allergy. If I go, I have to go alone or we arrange to meet at places like quiet pubs for lunch.

 

What I do feel today is that over the past couple of years I feel that I have learned not to have expectations of others. I think it's kind to be pleased with how people live their lives and not let it interfere with my friendship with them. I suppose, in return, I expect them to have the same attitude towards me. Without the need for any excuses, I am convinced that I would be more outgoing if my health was better and not so temperamental. 

Brighton Pride 2019

Posted on 6th August, 2019

Brighton Pride 2019

Last Friday (2nd August), Amanda came up later in the afternoon. Jezz came home from working a late shift. We had sausage and egg muffins. Amanda stayed the night on a z-bed in the lounge. The idea was all of us to be up and out by 8 Saturday morning. We were heading for Brighton and it was Amanda's first time in Brighton ever but we only discovered the night before that it was also Brighton Pride. A little hesitant, I still wanted to go and I drove. We managed to get an ideal parking space and headed straight for Bill's restaurant for breakfast. We then waddled our way back down the lanes and did a bit of shopping and window browsing. We then stood amongst hundreds of others in North Road and watched some of the parade passing by. After an ice cream each, we went on the pier and played on the 2p arcade games and won a prize for Amanda. Naturally, had doughnuts on the way off the pier. We headed back home via The George Hotel pub in Henfield for a late lunch. A great day out.

 

Life At Home

At home, I've been more tired than usual. I'm not sure if it's the new tablet added into my regime to help lower my glucose. The tablet seems to be working and I monitor my blood each morning. It was as high as 16 but have managed to get it down to 6.1 (on a good day). I have cut down on chocolate a lot, almost cut it out but have a craving every so often.

Depression and mood seem moderate but I do still feel helpless. It's usually when I'm alone at home. I potter about the place and can get about day to day but my energy levels keep me indoors. Even supermarket shopping is a task that I seem to need to prepare for these days. Sunday evenings at Gary's gets me out of the house and only once recently was I too tired to go.