Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Good Grief / Bad Grief

Today we got back from Llandudno. Late Saturday night, I booked us two nights at the Grand Hotel in Llandudno as a last minute break away.

We dropped the children off in Rhyl on Sunday afternoon and drove an extra 30 mins over to Llandudno. We paid extra for a premier room with a sea view. I do like a nice view. The room wasn't exactly "premier". Woodchip wallpaper, shower that squirted water everywhere, refrigerator didn't work. I think it's fair to say that Llandudno is frequented by those of advanced years. All those pensioners proper let their grey hair down at night. They had a pensioner karaoke and my god they can belt out a tune. I know this because our room was right above the bar where they were singing. Not happy. Who'd have thought that me, the 35 year old would be lay in bed, all pissed off at the noise the pensioners were making!?

On our full day there, we went for an explore in the town. Found a smashing bookshop run by two children. From there, we decided to take a trip up "The Great Orme". Very impressive sounding it is too. We found the tram station that takes you on the first half of the journey up the side of the mountain, paid - and got on. It is another testament to Victorian engineering that that thing still moves. There is a wire between the tracks and the electric motors on the tram grab it, and pull the tram up. The gradient is mental and it really should not be able to move. It's only gone wrong once in over 100 years. 13 people died, but lessons were learned.

We got to the top and the cloud was... low. We couldn't see much but we still managed to spend a couple of hours up there. Luke and Deb enjoyed themselves, too - which is the main thing.

That evening, we ate out at a Wetherspoons that my (not normally) eagle eyed wife spotted during our initial mission of discovery. It was an incredible place. It is called the Palladium and (as you might have guessed) it used to be a theatre. We ate in the stalls!

After we checked out this morning, we drove home via the Welsh Mountain Zoo, which overlooks Colwyn Bay. Very nice it was too. At 10am, I think we were the first visitors to arrive, which was splendid! We had the zoo to ourselves. Luke was very impressed with all the animals and birds - especially the monkeys. He decided to call the monkeys Michael. All of them. After watching a display featuring some birds of prey, followed by some marching penguins, we set off home. "Back to Luke's house Daddy" was the call from the back of the car.

Called in at Costco on the way home and picked up some bits for our evening meal. "Days" by The Kinks came on the radio as we left Costco. I turned it off. I adore the song (albeit the Kirsty McColl version), but I knew the effect it would have on my lovely wife. As well as being played at my mums funeral, it was played at her Dad's.

Grief is a funny old thing. It's one of those emotions that you hope you never have to have any contact with - but we all do. More than any other, it manifests itself in so many different ways. Some people carry on as normal, bottling it up. Others have a huge release and then move on. Others simply can't accept that such a thing has happened to someone so special in their lives.

Why? Why is the one word question asked more than any other. And whilst it is only one word - there is no answer. Nobody knows why. It is one of those things in life that has no logic. It is not a cause and effect thing. It doesn't happen because someone has been bad or done wrong. It just happens. And it hurts so much.

I have spoken before about how I bottled up my grief surrounding my mum's death when I was 13. That wasn't right - and it wasn't wrong. It was my way of coping. I sometimes regard myself as feeling numb when it comes to grief, but I'm not. I certainly accept that I don't know what to say to help people deal with it. My lack of communication is open to misinterpretation, but all I have to draw on are my own experiences of "proper" grief and I'm not sure that what I did is the way other people "should" deal with it.

So yeah - you do what you have to do. You exhibit whatever emotions you have to. You will never get "over" it, but you will eventually get "used" to it. It's shit - but that's life.

Monday, 21 September 2009

The Longest Hours

I don't think people realise just how long a night can be until you've been awake during loads of them. They are OK up until around 2am. Sometime between 2 and 3am things really start to slow down. By 4, it's hard. It remains bloody hard through to 6am. From 6 onwards, the end is in sight and you can start to perk up a bit then.

I don't know about other people who work nights, but I use music to get me through the night. I spend quite a while deciding what mood I'm in, then I will build a playlist, or choose an album in iTunes and that should see me through. This evening, we (myself and 2 friends I'm working with), have had 5 hours of DMC Dance Classics. Every one was a winner.

After that, I chose my generic 80's playlist, and set it on it's shuffling way. It hit the bar a few times, but - it threw out some utter classics. Allow me to share a few of it's findings if you will....

Firstly - Sam Brown, with Stop.

I properly LOVE that song. It oozes emotion and tells an excellent story to boot!

I'll only post one more because I don't want to bore you TOO much!

Another properly good song, if not a little cheesy. Nothing too unexpected for those that know me, eh?

I remember when I was younger, going on holiday with my friend and his family. I can't remember if It was 1984 or '85. I suspect 85, though. Anyway - we stayed in a caravan in North Wales. I'd love to tell you exactly where, but for the life of me I can't remember. Inside my head now, when I look back at it - it was idyllic. My friend's mum was a good friend of my mum and I was treated like her own son.

It was during that holiday that I had my first proper crush on a girl. Helen, or Hayley or something like that. She had no idea, of course, because I wouldn't say boo to a goose, never mind "heeeelllooooo" to a girl! Myself, my friend Danny, Helen or Hayley and her sister hung round together for several days, playing pool and playing chase. It was all go, back then! Eventually, she went home to Widnes (I remember that detail, strangely enough), and we returned to Skelmersdale, with only fond memories of my first crush, and that Michael Jackson song running through my head!

Tangent coming up......

I spent a good while chatting with an old friend of mine from School last night via the miracle that is Facebook. Maria and I were not the closest of close friends at school, but we always got on really well. It was really nice catching up with her and hearing what she's up to with her life now. I love being able to do that. I made so many good friends at school, and I hardly see any of them now. I'm pleased that Facebook has given me that opportunity to keep in touch with those special people.

Not sure if I've mentioned already that we've bought Abbeys 13th birthday present for her? She is going to receive an 8gb ipod nano. It's WELL good. Pink, but WELL good. I am mildly jealous of it if I'm honest. I know she will love it, and I hope she looks after it. Thanks to Alan who I worked with a few nights back, I've been able to fill it with the complete shite that 12/13 year old's listen to these days.

I'm old.


Saturday, 19 September 2009

Reflective Nights

Something odd happens when I'm on a night shift. I almost always feel lonely. I think it's because more often than not, I have time to reflect, and that leads on to melancholic thoughts of my happy childhood and that in turn leads on to those who shaped and formed the person I am now - but are no longer with us.

I've just spent the last thirty minutes on Google Earth finding all the places that were special to me as a child. My nans' houses in Bootle and Huyton. The flat I used to live in with Mum and Dad in Bootle, and a park I was taken to by Mum as a child.

Looking at all these images made me feel really detached. Is that the right word? I'm not sure. Let me try again. I felt homesick. Which is odd because it's been 30 years since I lived in Bootle and even then I was only there for the first 5 years of my life. I think rather than homesick for Bootle, I miss the people that living there represents to me. Mum and Dad, obviously, but both of my nan's too. I looked at Dad's mum's house and remembered playing in the garden there. My first taste of Lilt was at that house, too. Dad's sister Rita (deceased) gave it to me.

I looked at the images of Mum's Mum's house in Huyton and I could smell the roast dinner. She had the smallest kitchen, but was perfectly adept at catering for 15 people without breaking into a sweat.

Bloody nights.

And now, I am missing my wife and children loads, too. Deb and Luke are coming home from two nights at her mums tomorrow and I can't wait to see them. My other children, I will see on Friday. I spoke to Rob and Charlotte this evening online, and they both told me they really missed me. I filled up. If only they knew that however much they miss me, I miss them so much more. I told Charlotte that we'd spend the weekend hugging each other. She was happy with that.

Abbey won't be joining us this weekend as it's her thirteenth birthday and her mum is taking her out shopping. I have arranged to take her out for tea on Friday when I go to Wales to collect the other 3. I'm looking forward to that.

I'd best go and do some work. Loads of stuff has failed whilst I've been writing this.

Easy now.....

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Hosepipe Ban

So yesterday was a glorious day. Maybe glorious is a bit OTT. It was nice. It was sunny and it didn't rain. There will no doubt be a hosepipe ban brought in within the week if this carries on.

We were supposed to be going to Derby to visit Lisa & James, but they all came down with some sort of illness and after a quick chat with my wife, it was decided it'd be best not to go. Luke is still getting over his cold that he had last week, and Deb's not long since started receiving a needle from me every morning to down-regulate herself in preparation for IVF treatment. So - we had a free Saturday.

We decided to take a walk into Wigan to collect some new glasses for Deb. We walked up the canal to Wigan Pier, then up Wallgate into town. It really was lovely. Luke had a smashing time seeing all the barges going through the locks.

As we walked past the train stations, a gentleman was flung out of a pub across the road from us. Another gentleman followed and they proceeded to assault each other in the street. Much is made of binge drinking (i almost typed minge then. that's a whole other topic), and it's association with youth, but this kind of fall-out has been happening for as long as alcohol has been around. The people around us reacted in a strange way. Everyone was tutting and voicing their disgust, but they almost all stood still and gawped. We hastily moved on, not wanting Luke to see that sort of thing. That aside, it was a nice trip into town.

On the way home, we discussed food, and I rang our local Chinese and placed an order. Deb took Luke home and I went to Peters. Strange name for a Chinese, but I don't care what it's called. It's boss.

Got home, watched x-factor, drank no beer, watched an Episode of Life On Mars on Virgin on-demand, and went to bed.

I really do wish Luke would re-gain an understanding of night-time and what is expected of him. Waking twice just isn't cricket.

Today we're off to Bollington to visit Emma & Andy for lunch. Everton kick off at Fulham at 4:15 and is on Sky Sports 1. Here's hoping I'm not too far away from an appropriately connected television at that time. Personally, I'd be happy to be home then. I could finish off my ironing mountain and watch the match. We'll see.

The flawless blue sky that was visible about 30 minutes ago is now a grey cloudy mess. I hate how unpredictable British weather is.


Wednesday, 2 September 2009


The weather is well iffy today.

Some of my friends from work have gone for a walk up Mount Snowdon for charity. Good on them. I wanted to go, but we couldn't spare the staff at work. No really - I did!

We found out yesterday that our next "go" of IVF is going to take place much quicker than we'd anticipated. Within the next month. My lovely wife rang me at work to tell me and I was, erm - surprised to say the least! I hope my wife didn't interpret my surprise in any other way. I was just genuinely surprised it's going to be so quick.

My head is going through some strange feelings over the last few days. I was thinking at lunchtime today how I could describe my feelings to you, and all I could think of is that I feel like I don't belong. Maybe I've spent too much time off work and the fact that I am now separated from my family for 13 hours a day isn't helping me. I just feel like I want to be with my people all of the time. I feel like I want us to all have a big hug and just hold it forever. Weird huh?

I've just had to put a fan on me, here in work as I'm SO friggin hot. I seriously do have some sort of genetic disorder, or malfunction that prevents my body from regulating it's temperature correctly. If I was a central heating system, I'd be replacing my thermostat. I'm not a central heating system, though, so I'll just melt instead.

I think my beautiful wife and child (and me) need a holiday. We have some time booked off work in a few months and I want us to go ahead and book something. Even if it's in this country that's fine. Let's get something booked, somewhere nice, and we then have some sort of R'n'R to look forward to as a family. Personally, I'm thinking London, but... I don't know. I just think it'd be nice to do "stuff" in the capital. Visit Tusauds, go on the eye - visit Liz's house. Usual touristy stuff.

My daughter Abigail and son, Robert, started their new high school in welsh Wales today. Charlotte and Matthew have started their new Primary school, too. I do hope they all got on ok. I will speak to them later today to find out.

Not had the most eventful day in work (so far). Just been on the phone to a Vauxhall dealer about getting cruise control fitted to our Zafira. They're calling me back.

Did you know the letter "n" ends all Japanese words other than those ending in a vowel?

I want to try and prepare a really nice meal for my wife tomorrow night. She is working tomorrow day whilst Luke is at his childminders. During that time I shall shop for ingredients and do some prep during the morning. Sleep during the afternoon, fetch Luke - then cook! If the rain holds off, might mow the lawn tomorrow morning, too. I can hardly cope with the excitement.

Vauxhall just called back. £140 for cruise control fitted. Including a new stalk.

Tempting...... but I need DAB and iPod first. Damn I need about £400.