Nil Sleep Saturday Becomes Nightmare Week


Yes, that’s right.  I didn’t sleep at all between Friday and Sunday, last weekend.  To be fair to those following my blogs, I need to say that normal service is far from what we have right now!

The simple fact is that some events have conspired to make it impossible to focus on anything particularly well.  It’s family affairs with poor Jenny dashing about all over the place, on top of having had to return to work today after two weeks vacation.  I’m afraid that I’m thinking more about Jenny and the state of things with other family members, including the health of one who was rushed into hospital very early this morning.  So writing meaningful blog posts or doing any of the numerous other things I routinely do have been pushed aside for now.  Obviously, I’m hoping this is short term, but Life has no guarantees – beyond its infallible ability to kick you when you least expect it!

So, there you have it.  Fingers crossed.

(In the words of a song from Jesus Christ Superstar: Can we start again please?)

Birthday-Wedding Anniversary Combo!


Yep, with exquisite timing, tomorrow (28th June) is mine and Jenny’s Wedding Anniversary!  33 years wed, and proud of it.  This auspicious day will be followed by my birthday on 30th June.  That will be my 56th, which doesn’t sound much, considering I feel more like 156! LOL!  Jenny,  being the utterly wonderful person that she is, and always loving, braved a journey into the town centre – a place we detest visiting – to obtain my present (which is for both events!): a wireless mini-keyboard and mouse set from Maplins.  It’s fantastic.  No more trailing cables meaning I have to quickly set them aside for people to be able to get past me.  They are excellent quality, too – with a protective membrane that lies on top of the keyboard and a tiny usb ‘dongle’ which can be fitted into the mouse for transport, so it doesn’t get lost.  But there’s a huge downside!  Because the ink is extremely low in our printer – I can’t print anything out.  That means that, not only have I been able to buy Jenny an anniversary gift – I’ve also failed, for the first time in years, to make her a card.  I am extremely unhappy on both counts.  I hate myself for it, and for the health problems that have robbed me of the ability to do what’s not only right, but what has always been a delight.

A Post From The ‘Hood


You read that right!  This is a message from the ‘hood – fatherhood, in fact.  Oh come on!  I’m well past the middle of my fifties – no way would I know where to start talking about any other kind of ‘hood!

Here in the UK, it was Fathers Day.  Now, that’s a funny kind of ‘special day’.  I mean Mothers Day is simply a rebranding of the Christian ‘Mothering Sunday’.  That’s very definitely an ‘occasion’.  It’s a celebration of Christ’s mother, Mary, and all mothers as an extension of that.  I’m afraid that Christ’s poor old dad, Joseph, doesn’t seem to have rated similar treatment.  Naturally, that didn’t stop Business from making sure that they invented a matching ‘day’ – there was a good profit to be made from it, after all.

Now, don’t get me wrong!  I have absolutely no objection to Fathers Day, any more than I object to Mothers Day.  As an agnostic, the religious origins of Mothers Day have less significance to me, so the lack of the same for Fathers Day is no big deal.  In fact, I very much approve of both days!  Good parents should be celebrated.  I feel for those who were not blessed with them.  Happily, I have to say that my parents were excellent and I owe them a debt beyond any ability to repay.  The only way I could possibly hope to go some way to paying that debt was to try to be as good a father as I was able.  Only my children can determine whether I succeeded.

I was contemplating putting a dedication to my father in one of my books.  I really think it would be appropriate, and long overdue.  The problem I hit was a question of which book.  I’ve already got a dedication in the book I’m writing at the moment, and which is close to completion, and that is such that I would be guilt ridden if I changed it!  I guess it can go in a future book, of course.  I know that I really must do it, whatever happens.

I owe so  much to my father.  He taught me a great deal and has always been there when needed.  He would be now, but for his bad health.  But the important thing is that he gave me gifts you can’t buy!  He taught me about nature, walking silently in even dense woodlands, so that wild animals could be seen.  He taught me caring and honesty, loyalty and integrity.  He gave a love of books and reading by example, being a voracious reader himself.  He even had a go at writing but couldn’t devote himself to it with other things that were important to him.  He taught me not to judge by the standards of others, but by my own conscience, which is why I have always detested any kind of prejudice.  He taught me to hate hypocrisy and to always keep an open mind on matters of faith.  He taught me, above all else, that being a father, a Dad, is so very, very much more than being a mother’s spouse!  When I was little, he had to work 12 hour shifts, but whenever he wasn’t working, he was always ready to do the unexpected, from waking us up to watch a cartoon on TV to getting us into the car and going off to discover new places.  He demanded little of us in return: respect, honesty and consideration.  And he knew that those things come most easily when they have been earned!  But, in truth, the most precious thing he taught us was to be the best parents we possibly could be!

I am proud to share the echoes of my father’s wisdom as they travel down the years with me.  If I have achieved even a fraction of what he achieved, as a father, with my own children, then I am content.

Until the right book comes along and deserves a dedication:

To my father, Ken, who gave me everything!

Bragging Rights!


Yep, you read that right!  I’m exercising a father’s right to brag – about my kids!  Again LOL!  Well, two of them, anyway.  I’ve had no real news from Damien, so I can’t mention anything for him, unfortunately.

Reuben 20min sketch - rearing horse Take a look at this incredible ‘sketch’ drawn by Reuben, in just 20 minutes!  His partner, Dawn, is so proud of him, too, that she posted this on Facebook.  In fact, she’s taken to posting his sketches quite often, lately, since his return to art.  Sorry it’s not a ‘cleaner’ image bur it’s a photo’ and not a scan.  You can click on the thumbnail to see a larger image.

Apart from these sketches, Reuben’s making excellent progress with my book cover!  He drew two sketches and I have chosen which one he’s to work up into a colour piece.  I’ve pointed out to him that, if he does as good a job as I believe him capable of, then he could well find that other authors may be interested in him creating book covers, or even illustrations, for them too.  From what I’ve seen online, it could be a very useful supplement to his income.  When the next book is ready, I will be conducting my first ever ‘Cover Reveal’ for one of my own works.

l-plate-printable-template

Meanwhile, in a small town some 25 miles away, Emma is taking driving lessons, and doing very well too!  Conscious of some of the contortions expected of drivers, many of which they’ll never employ in real driving, I’ve advised her to make sure that she tells driving instructors and, eventually, the examiner, that she suffers from Fibromyalgia and that restricts her flexibility significantly.  Hopefully, that will make driving a more comfortable experience for her.  It would be a huge boon to her whole family if she passed her test.  It would reduce the fatigue she suffers from walking and open up their options for family outings.

No family related post would be complete without mention of Jenny!  She has been busy crafting, making blackwork cross-stitch pieces, as well as lovely little colour pieces, for various people’s birthdays, along with ,making their birthday cards.  She’s also making other things, like cots and highchairs out of card, using templates.  It always sounds so easy, when you say that a template is used.  Believe me!  It’s not!  The templates are good, but getting the job done right and looking good demands considerable skill, including choosing the right materials and embellishments.

And, in the immortal words of Elmer Fudd…. “That’s all folks!”

Family and Health


Health

It’s looking like I have a huge “Thank you!” to say to my doctor!  The new meds are doing a fantastic job, so far.  Not only have my pain levels come under better control (for as long as the dosage lasts – today’s my first day on full dosage), I’m even sleeping better.  As a lifelong insomniac, that is a huge thing!  Three nights, now, with at least six hours solid, undisturbed sleep.  It’s bliss.  More, it’s increased my energy levels so when any ‘breakthrough’ pain occurs, I’m better able to handle it.

Family

I was delighted to see, on Facebook, that our younger son, Reuben, has been drawing again!  He’s a fantastically gifted artist, but seldom actually Reuben's Owl Sketchdoes anything, which is very frustrating.  He’s particularly good with pen or pencil.   Just take a look at the owl he has drawn.  He drew this as a “20 minute doodle”.  Some doodle!  I wish I had such talent.

I would love to be able to persuade Reuben to illustrate some of my stories.  Unfortunately (for me), he’s incredibly busy, with work, his table games club and a young family.  Seems unfair to have given rise to such a talented son and not to be able to profit from it LOL!

Seriously, I’m very proud of all three of our kids.  None of them have found adult life easy, as is all too common for our children, but they are all battlers.  Our eldest, Damien, is an excellent writer, if only he’d actually exercise the talent more.  Reuben, the middle child, is clearly a talented artist, but again doesn’t do enough of it.  And Emma, our youngest, is a wonderful singer and very able musician, but again seldom demonstrates her talent, other than in the privacy of family life.  Admittedly, they all have young families and Life challenges, which aren’t exactly helpful to the exercise of talent.

Oh, in case you’re wondering, Jenny’s not left out in the talent stakes!  She is a wonderfully gifted crafter, whose creativity has been creeping out into the light of day more and more.  Despite her protestations, born of a severe lack of self-confidence, she is truly creative.  She demonstrates time and again that she has the ability to come up with new ideas and creations.  I’ve done my utmost to encourage and reassure her, but I fear that she thinks I’m just being the dutiful husband and heaping praise without regard for honesty.  Really, she should know me better than that!

Well, I think that’s enough for now.  Until the next post…

What a mixed month!


April has turned into a really mixed month.  While the writing is generally going well, and a paperback edition of one of my novelettes almost here, other things have been less good.

A recurrence of pancreatitis to contend with at the end of March, early April, things on the health front were definitely not looking good at all.  The pancreatitis subsided again, but other things surfaced.  Most significant was the increasing level of chronic deep muscle pain in both thighs, making it impossible to get comfortable.  My doctor increased the dosage of one of my meds, which had a very limited benefit.  Within a few days, it was back to the same.  So, still no going out!  Well, no going out until today.  Time to see the doctor again.

Travelling across town is sheer torture, with all the damaged roads and road humps.  I also ran out of codeine more than a day ago, so no support from that.  I wasn’t in a very good state by the time we got there.  Still, the doctor made a quick decision.  He has changed my meds, which will mean 3-6 days of being very uncomfortable, but then we’re hoping for a significant improvement.  I’d keep my fingers crossed, but they’d probably get stuck like it!

The future of Jenny being able to cope with me, as my sole carer, has also been put in doubt.  The doctor suspects that she is developing arthritis.  It’s a big blow and now I worry about her, especially when she has to cope with getting my wheelchair in and out of the car, and things like that.  It can’t be helping her condition!

***

A remote control for the Sky+ satellite TV ser...Last night, I had cause to pause a movie on TV.  When I got back, the Sky box refused to play the movie!  More, it refused to do anything!!  Well, that’s to say, it refused to do anything expected of it.  Instead, it proceeded to alter settings on the TV display.  Now, the picture is entirely the wrong size and shape for the TV and we’re missing bits all around – not good when watching cricket and the current info’ is only half visible.  I’ve tried everything to restore things, to no avail, and I can’t find the TV remote, which has the controls I need.  In a word: frustration!

***

If I’m quiet over the next few days, here, on Imagineer-ing, and elsewhere, do remember that I’ll be trying to cope with the meds change.  Fortunately, I have two or three posts scheduled already for Imaginer-ing, so they’ll appear on cue.  I’m afraid I don’t have any advance posts set up here.

Have a good April and remember to make the most of every day!

A Cautionary Tale


Our wedding 1980 The thing that was always my priority throughout my working life was my family.  My wife Jenny and our three children, Damien, Reuben Damien and Emma.  Eventually, as is  natural and inevitable, our children grew up and left home, going out into the world to carve out their own niches.  That left just me and Jenny.  A big spanner had been thrown in the works a short while before the kids left.  I had become Reuben disabled.  What should have been a time of new freedom for us, as a couple, turned out to be something rather different.

Emma We managed to do some things that we’d never done before in the first years.  Things like going to local air shows at Lowestoft and Clacton-on-Sea.  In time, our new ventures took us on a second honeymoon, on the other side of the country, in Morecambe.  It was our 29th year Cumbria from Morecambe 2009 married.  And what a wonderful time we had!  We saw things, and places, that were beyond anything we had ever seen before.  For me, the peak was seeing the Sunset from Morecambe 2009 mountains of Cumbria, with the lakes nestled amongst them.  It was quite something to be on the promenade at Morecambe and look across the bay to the beauty that is Cumbria.

Sadly, it would prove to be the last great adventure.  Not long after returning, I spiralled down as I suffered bouts of pancreatitis.  My weight plummeted, which was unfortunate as I didn’t have any to spare in the first place.  Since I hit bottom, Hemsby beach 2012 our outings have slowly ceased, despite some degree of recovery. We did manage some time away in a caravan, thanks to our friends Lorraine and John, in Hemsby, on the east coast of Norfolk.

Now, I’m rarely able to go out.  Even visits to the doctor or the hospital test my strength and endurance wickedly.  That means seeing far less of our grandchildren than I’d like, for me, though Jenny is still able to see them.  That’s why I’ve been so prolific with my writing.  It’s a distraction, at least.

The gather There have been some beautiful moments with the grandchildren that I was lucky enough to witness.  One was on little Logan’s “Name Day” (he’s the youngest, at the moment, the son of Reuben and his partner Dawn).  It was possible to get all the grandchildren together with Jenny and get a photo’!

All I can do for now is hope that things improve sufficiently for me to rejoin the visit trips.  It’s not the same only talking to the kids on the ‘phone or via emails or Facebook, and I’m missing seeing the grandchildren growing up.  I missed enough of our own kids doing that because I was working.

Learn something from my story!  Don’t assume that you have plenty of time to do things you dream of.  Nobody knows what tomorrow will hit you with!