How are we doing so far?

I’ve been T-total for over 1 month now and here’s a little update on how it has been going.

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So it’s been just over a month since I decided no more to alcohol. How’s it been going? I can answer that and say that it has been pretty easy. Here’s what’s been happening.

 

You might have thought it crazy to stop drinking in the build up to Christmas, what about all the different parties and social occasions? Not to mention Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, 2 very popular social occasions. The simple fact is I didn’t want it anymore and why wait to make a start. So this Christmas was tactically (on my wife and I’s part) quieter than other years. If you are not in a location where you can be tempted it doesn’t even become an issue. That’s not to say we were not social, we just changed things a little and varied what we did. It worked great and alcohol wasn’t missed.

 

The most challenging time (and I use challenging as an over emphasis here as it wasn’t too bad at all) was being around family who persisted to continuously offer drinks, as well as buy drink as a Christmas gift. What do you do? How can this be avoided? Everyone has a glass of wine with Christmas dinner? Well not this year for me. Every time I was asked if I wanted a drink I politely declined it, and showed no frustration in being repeatedly being asked. It was decline after decline after decline. OR said can I have a water please, or a cup of tea. It worked so well.

 

My approach has been different this time. A few years back when I tried to stop I advertised that I was stopping. Told everybody. Made of point of saying this is happening and this was met with many different responses, most of which were unsupported by friends and family. A lot of comments were thrown my way in saying that;

 

“go on, just have a drink”,

“it doesn’t matter just today”,

“it’s my birthday, you should celebrate with me” as well as many more…

 

This just made it a constant challenge. Especially as I didn’t want to miss out on social events. This time around I’m just not telling people what I am doing. On occasions where I need to be social, I just politely decline. So far (and I know it’s only been a month) only my wife knows and she is completely supportive. The family may be suspicious, the frustrating thing in some ways is they are not asking the question of us. However this also makes it easy in not needing to justify. I say frustrating because to show interest and care in someone you might ask why? (That might just be me).

 

No one at work knows, I’ve not told friends, some family not seen, not anyone and it is a real positive so far.

 

When channel flicking last weekend I stumbled on Adrian Chiles “Drinkers like me” where he made a documentary for BBC2 on his relationship with drink and I think what he now perceives to see as himself having many problems in controlling his consumption and a need to constantly “have a drink”. It was eye opening! In many cases unbelievable how much he and many others he was speaking to were consuming, every week! The recommended weekly allowance is 14 units, Adrian was hitting between 50-100 units. Other people he was speaking to having more, and this was perceived as normal. What came through though in spite of all the medical advice on risks to health was that it was all an acceptable risk to the people drinking, no one perceived it as an issue and actually felt it was needed to have a good time. They discussed how socials with old friends, always revolved around alcohol because it helped to try and recreate good times previously had, with alcohol! The idea of not drinking on a get together never entered the equation. The views and thoughts coming through linked on alcohol were all thoughts that I have had made myself in the past, I could relate to the people on it so much.

 

One interview on the show was with Frank Skinner who I do admire as a comedian. I had no idea he had been T-total for 30 years but before then was a heavy drinker. The one thing I noted from his interview above all else was that his social life went significantly down when he quit. He had to distance himself from those friends who wanted to drink because he had a reputation for being a big drinker. This made me think that it is going to be ok for me to avoid socialising myself if I feel like I might be tempted. I understood exactly what I meant because this was my previous challenge. I felt re-assured that I am doing the right thing by myself.

 

The show helped reinforce to me the decision I made last month is correct and I thank Adrian and everyone involved for taking the time to make the show and wish him the best in his on going journey.

 

So one month in all is going well and I could not be more motivated to ensure that lasts. I write this again to hold myself account against and maintain a significant reason not to go back. This is my view and what I am working towards but so far so good! For anyone else who’s made a resolution to quite or reduce their alcohol in take stick to what you are doing, it may mean a change of routine or approach but stick to it, you set the resolution for a reason so keep going!

 

Thanks for reading.

 

An honest appraisal of a very bad habit.

I’ve had a challenging relationship with alcohol and it is not a relationship I am happy with. Something different happened last night though and I thought I would take some time to reflect on my weakness to it in a hope to better manage the relationship and make some self improvement.

This morning was the first time I’ve woken up after a night out on the beers, not done anything stupid or that I regret, and I still feel ridiculously guilty. This is a new experience for me. There’s been plenty of occasions where I’ve got smashed then threatened that I’m “never drinking again” and then got back on it at the next night out. These occasions are less frequent these days compared with days when I was younger but I want to take the time to reflect on my history with alcohol and maybe seek some self improvement along the way.

 

So what happened last night?

 

Very simply it was a quiet evening out with work colleagues over dinner and a few drinks. I’d certainly had my fill of alcohol for the evening but nothing crazy happened. This morning I’m overwhelmed with guilt inside and so I’m assessing it now through this writing.

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I think it is a fair assessment of myself to acknowledge without doubt that I have a problem with alcohol and that I would say I’m an alcoholic. But not necessarily in the typical sense. I only ever drink on social occasions. I can happily go an evening, a week, a social occasion and not drink, it would actually be very against my normal routine to drink after work and during the week. I don’t need it. But when I start drinking and “after a few” something switches inside where I just do not want to stop and my character very much changes and not necessarily always positive. I cannot remember how many parties and nights out I have been on where I have blacked out through alcohol and in some instances collapsed. Re reading what I have just wrote down is quite scary, in fact it’s incredibly scary!

 

The scariest thing is the fact that I know if I start drinking I run a serious risk of having a drunken incident. And at a certain point the only way I stop drinking is if closing time kicks in, the booze runs out or I pass out, those are the only 3 things that stop me. It’s never me stopping myself. This is a fact and in the case of last night it was the pub that shut. I was certainly on my way but was fighting with myself inside to go steady and not get smashed.  Ultimately the perception of the evening to others may have been having a relaxing evening but I was not relaxed, I was having an internal battle and losing. So why even bother putting myself through this? Surely it just makes most sense to not drink?

 

Like most Brits I started drinking as a teenager. I was and still am a quiet person generally. What I found with alcohol is I picked up my confidence (a false confidence) but nonetheless I was more outgoing and I really liked the way it made me feel. My father installed a strong discipline on us and I feel this has played a part on my low confidence through life, never to try things for fear of stepping out of line. Alcohol changed this for me because I simply stopped caring about the rules as it felt great. A couple of drinks felt good, if I kept drinking it would get even better. The problem is I have no grasp of my limits of alcohol until I have gone way beyond them and I am then in a situation that I am unable to deal with. But that did not stop me from continually repeating my approach to alcohol because there was a few hours of fun before this point happened. My parents would ask my why I did it and I would answer with “I don’t know” which at the time was true. I didn’t understand it. They would give me a couple of pointers to help try and avoid it happening again but I would never listen to it and they would never grill me hard enough to try and find out why I behaved in the manner. I’m giving myself that grilling now!

 

At the age of 32 these occasions are rare by comparison to weekly in my teens and then alternate days at uni during freshers. But they have still occasionally occurred. I actually try and avoid some social situations that I feel are just too risky for me as I’m nervous of the outcome and as a result put myself off of attending because I just don’t want to do it. I’m easily confident enough now to say no to not going and not bow to peer pressure. There was a period in my mid 20’s where I managed 13 months t-total and it was great. Hard work at times because feel the need to insist I drink because of my history and maybe being a bit of “party animal”. I minimised contact with some people where I knew alcohol is always a factor with getting together with them and so it seemed easier this way to manage it. I actually feel more confident now to say no to these people but it is still hard. Going forward this is what I want and I know for a fact my social circles will change off of this decision. You have to question the value in a friendship if the other person doesn’t respect what you are trying to achieve for yourself and I don’t believe my not drinking to be selfish behaviour, quite the opposite in fact.

 

There are a couple of significant incidents in my life to date that also changed my approach to alcohol. The first is the passing of my mother when I was 20. This was a difficult time for my family and I and at times now it still presents it’s challenges. I had/have 2 coping methods of managing the stress. The first and best is exercise and fitness. The second was alcohol. I didn’t just hit the bottle but when the social events came around I hit the drink hard, much harder than I had been and I genuinely did not care on the outcome. I just went for it and didn’t care if it was going to kill me, I just believed it wouldn’t because that would not be fare on my family.

 

Talk about selfish and irresponsible!!!

 

It was meeting Dawn who is now my wife that stopped me on this continued path of self destruction. I found something worth living for and being a part of through love. I wasn’t by any stretch perfect (still not) when it came to socials but she has helped me no end. The only time we as a couple have quarrels and issues is due to my drinking, it always has been. Yet I know if I drink I’m going to upset her or at the very least make her worry. However when I’m drinking I certainly do not care about that, I just wake up the next day with so much guilt and remorse for drinking. She is incredible for putting up with me for it and deserves much better from me, I hope I am getting there.

 

My 13 month break from alcohol was due to an incredibly stupid night out that I did disgrace myself on. I was adamant I would never drink off the back of it. I was doing so well. Then the second incident occurred in my father brought a monumental stress on Dawn and I and I was not coping. The stress for me was worse than the stress of my mum passing I believe. I also had stopped using alcohol for 13 months which was one of my stress coping mechanisms (still noted as a bad method). The exercise wasn’t enough to deal with this new stress my father had inflicted and I hit the alcohol again on a few social occasions to get out of my head and stop thinking about the situation for a while. It was a short term fix, not the right way.

 

That catches us up to now and I am questioning why I need alcohol. November this year in 2018 was fantastic as I had less drinks than the fingers on one hand. But drinking now in the present day makes me nervous because I know at a point and it only takes a few drinks I am on it and away, a collision course to another drunken blacked out incident. People have always made their jokes and comments on it which I used to find amusing, it happened and I wasn’t too bothered when I was young because the night out over all was really good. I’ve felt with comments that have been made recently that I am in disgrace from my past behaviours and it’s now no longer funny. I am embarrassed by some incidents and it is angering me to now reflect on them. Work colleagues frustrate me by continually repeating a mistake I made over 2 years ago which is without question the stupidest thing I’ve done on alcohol. (I question as to whether it was alcohol that caused that incident alone) I have my suspicions on foul play. But I cannot prove it and most believe just me and just drunk again. So I’m avoiding work socials as well because I simply do not trust myself. This may well down the line damage my opportunities but it is a risk I feel happier to take. It may even be an opportunity to change the way the work place socialises and go for alcohol free socials.

 

That is the key. I cannot be trusted in any way when under the influence of alcohol. I know I keep going for more and more alcohol. I’m only thinking of myself at this point and that is the disgrace.

 

Some people I know have never seen me full on drunk before and would love to see it. That “party animal” from my late teens/early 20’s has gone. If I’m drinking I have an internal battle initially and then I switch and I’m off. I sometimes compare it to the Incredible Hulk’s anger where Bruce constantly battles with his rage and then a point kicks in where he explodes and bad things happen, people get hurt. For me I know this is generally hurting Dawn and occasionally behaving badly to friends around me that I am out with.

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Another character I compare to is Stu from “The Hangover” movies. He says he has a demon inside him that needs to come out occasionally and he just gets messed up and again bad things happen. This sounds familiar… I’m just lucky that I’ve never ended up in a situation quite as bad as this but too many times I have let my “demon” out because I cannot control it.

Image result for stu the hangover demon

Then there are others who think before I have even had a drink that something bad will happen because they have only heard stories on me, not truly witnessed it.  This has made it’s way back to me and frustrated me because do they have a right to judge me like this? But then I think they are spot on and actually I only have myself to blame for the reputation I now carry and actually badly want rid of. I’m not sure that is possible but I have to try and change the perception people have of me.

 

I read a book recently, Anthony Middelton’s auto biography and it is one of the most inspiring books I have read to date and I’ve taken plenty away from it that I hope to be able to introduce into my own life. Here is one key line that has definitely helped me today and the book is an exceptional read as anyone will take something away from it.

Image result for ant middleton

“You should stand in front of the mirror and be brutally honest with yourself.” – Anthony Middleton, 2018.

 

I believe I have just stared into that mirror and had that honest assessment of myself. I need to work on my strategy in order to manage my relationship with the drink and be a better person going forward. I simply do not like who I am after a few drinks!

 

So going back to last night and actually not enjoying the drink truly. Waking the next day now with guilt and nothing bad happened (but knowing it could have) what do I do? The logical step is just to say enough is enough and I have known this for a long time. I’d love to believe I could do it but I could never guarantee it, it would be wrong to promise but I’m laying down this blog as an attempt to remind myself of why I want to stop, why it does not help me to drink and use this piece of writing to hold myself accountable to. All I really wanted to do last night was play badminton and I am quite gutted I missed just an ordinary club night. So can I use this blog as a reminder to me when I am feeling weak and tempted to not cave to it. Can I kick this habit that has given me a poor rep? I believe I need to try. I know what I want and what I need to do, delivering and trying to kick this addiction is going to be hard, however not as hard as it was 10 years ago perhaps. I know if I don’t start to drink then there can never be a problem.

 

What I do feel good for is putting it in writing. Making a little more sense of it and actually trying to further improve myself in recognition of a frustrating weakness. I’m not willing to settle and accept this is the way I am.

The worst day off my life – or so I thought.

My mum passed away and at that time it was the worst day of my life. I hope my blog here can illustrate how life goes up and down but everyone has a choice about how they wish to manage life’s most challenging times. My choice was to be positive and make the best of every opportunity coming my way. To be the best I could.

Very recently in the media the journalists have been discussing how people are using social media as a platform to work through their own personal issues by means of helping themselves and sharing their experiences to help others. It got me thinking;

“Can I do this to work through my own issues?”

“Would my experience assist someone else with issues they are undergoing?”

“What positives can I draw from what I have learned through experience?”

 

There is only one way to find out…

 

Wednesday, 15th November, 2006. I will never forget it. 

 

I was waking up (early) for my early shift at work and getting up at 6am as per normal on any other early shift and just like any other day. My father was also surfacing at this time for work as he normally did. The day was commencing as normal. We went for breakfast downstairs, and I returned upstairs to brush my teeth, my father to the bedroom but my mother, unusually, had not yet woke up. My youngest brother had also stirred at this point and was surfacing from his sleep.

 

The shriek from my father came as he could not wake my mother up. The light was still off as I came into the room but as I approached my mother to look for a response, I could not find one and shouted to my brother to phone 999. My father and I rolled my mother over on to her back, I had first aid training and was confident in what I needed to do and mentally preparing myself for CPR on my mother, as horrendous as this sounds I was going to do this. As we rolled her onto her back something was not normal. The body was stiff and all the limbs, head and body stayed exactly frozen in place, all rigidly solid. I did a quick breathing check which I believe I already knew the outcome but needed to. I then bombed it down the stairs as fast as I could to my brother who had put the call in, snatched the phone off him to provide updated information to the emergency services. I shouted at this operator in what was terror on my part as I knew the situation was bad, actually unbelievable. I took the cordless phone back with me to my mother in attempt to find an airway and commence full CPR. The operator to their credit was excellent, calm and tried to talk me through checks and gain an understanding of the situation we were in. Trying to put a chin lift in to check for breathing was impossible, her head would not move. Before I knew the paramedics had arrived, asked me to leave the room so they could take over. I didn’t know what to do next, waiting was the only option.

 

My father was pacing downstairs and I tried to approach and hug him, I’m still not sure if I was looking to reassure him or looking for reassurance myself. All I know is this made him angry and he pushed me away. I didn’t think much of it at the time but this memory as stuck with me, the rejection. We were not close then and the distance was only going to increase after this event, not that I knew this at the time.

 

Police also arrived. Clearly the paramedics have a procedure here and very quickly the house was surrounded with blue lights and emergency vehicles. The news was then officially broken to us by a qualified emergency response person that my mother had died during the night, cause of death unknown. An autopsy still could which followed still could not find a cause of death. She had just passed in the night, and this is not commonly known but termed “adult sudden death syndrome”.  I’d never heard of this before and could not believe it possible. Our lives had instantly changed overnight.

 

So why do I write about this?

 

How do you draw positive from tragedy like this? Our family life as we knew it was in a state of turmoil. What I knew myself that we were four men living together and all fairly undomesticated. Mum had done everything for us and without question it was her who made our home. This could not be clearer to anyone who could analyse our situation from outside looking in. She was the glue that held us together, the warmth in the family and the one who looked after us all. I knew we were going to struggle. I remember thinking on that day, “we’re going to have to get the fuck on with this! There’s no one here anymore to take care of us”. This was now our reality.

 

I was 20 at the time and I cannot believe how much I grew up over night. I didn’t have a choice. None of us did. But how selfish were we all that this was an issue. That we may actually struggle cooking a meal for ourselves, cleaning up after ourselves, everything my mum did for us that went for the most part not complained about and almost certainly not appreciated enough from the four of us. This is my biggest secret and biggest guilt. That I did not do more for and with her when she was around. These are normal things have to be done, it is what normal people do, it’s a part of living. Then other social things, instead of going out as a 20 year old with my mates on a night out, why did I not stop in now and again? Easy to say in hindsight but it is a regret. All this was anything but easy. Mum would have been the person I turned to for support here and she was gone, who helps me deal with this?

 

My family did not necessarily share this view of “getting on with this”, my younger brothers I can forgive for this, one had just finished school and the other was a teenager in school. They to had to grow up far quicker than expected and perhaps were playing catch up to where I was already at in planning how to get this done and press on. We were young men and had our lives to live still.

 

As I type this previous paragraph I’m also wondering did I even properly grieve my mum’s death? I don’t know, what’s an acceptable time to grieve, is it measurable? Is there an end to this and the grieving is done, how do you move on from this? In 2018 today I don’t have the answers to these questions. I can only offer some insight and experience into where I have got to today. I actually don’t believe you truly get over the death of anyone, I’m not over this that’s for sure. It’s an experience for sure and I feel only manageable by how you choose to deal with it. I wanted to get on with things, I felt I needed to get on with things in a positive way that would enhance my life and those around me. I believed that this was the only way to go about dealing with my feelings surrounding my mothers passing and I knew I was not going to end up in a situation again where I was so dependant on the support of a person (but not allowing others to support me when needed). I needed to be able to stand and survive/live on my own.

 

My father made grieving after my mother nearly impossible as well. I guess you never know how anyone is going to deal with the passing of anyone, but a wife/husband/marital partner  must be the hardest as this is the person you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with through love. I could not have imagined the rage and anger that could pour out of someone though. I mentioned before about distance between us. I now in 2018 have not spoken to him in over three and half years and that’s a story for another time. I don’t even know all the reasons and his feelings on my mum’s passing. His life was built around hers and he was probably the most dependant on her in how his life was to function going forward. I’ve witnessed (from her passing) that he really is not capable of taking care of himself. The family home is in a state of neglect and he only cares about himself and his own feelings, I don’t believe he cares at all for the feelings of others and his actions (that I’ve witnessed) demonstrate this. This is all stems as well from his choice. He would say “this is just the way that it is”. I believe he is choosing to live like this.

 

My mother was gone and I have father who sees no reason for his existence but her death defines his existence. He always (and probably still does) said “why not anyone else, why her”. I actually believe that he would see one of me or my brothers in this situation to have her back. He was only interested in his own feelings and his own existence, I’m certain he didn’t really care how we were, we were just around and living in his house, we cooked, cleaned and took care of him as my mum did. But feelings of grief for mum had to be kept away from him, we just did not want to bring the issue up with him. The feelings were confusing but I knew I had to get out of our home. I’ll rephrase this though. The word home associates feelings of warmth, love, care, safety. This was not our family home that’s for sure. My mum’s passing took this away with it. It was merely a house of memories with memories of past happier times.

 

How was I coping with this toxic environment? I certainly now in 2018 could never go back to it. I’d sooner live on the streets than return to living in the “family home”. Most won’t believe me when I say I was thinking of undergraduate study before my mum passed but I was. After visiting a few friends at their uni’s I thought I’ll get on a course and this will be my out, I can survive November through to September. Their is an objective in sight. I set a goal for myself. This was without a doubt my positive response to my mum passing and I went to Uni, the BEST decision I had made to date back in 2007. The negative response was drinking far more than I had previously. Not drinking at home, that would never have gone well. But I continued to socialise with friends who were supporting, but I drank hard when I went out. This is because I used to set out on socials to get absolutely smashed when I went out because I didn’t care and that’s what I was going to do. I also believed that nothing bad would happen to me getting so drunk because that would not be fair. How stupid is this view but this is what I believed. I also just needed to get out of my head from everything happening at home and the drink was a release, if only for a short time. I’m definitely pleased this view has changed over the years. But it was right for me at the time, I only did what I thought would help. I’ve learnt many new things since then and been able to cope far better than I did as a 20 year old. Mentally I have become far stronger than I thought I could. When I thought back on the day of my mum passing that we needed to get on with things I have learnt how to make this positive as well. It’s not just going through the motions and accepting the situation you are in. It is understanding why I am doing it and how I can take positive from it, then getting on with it. I just wish I could have learnt this when my mum was alive.

 

One thing I am proud of is how close my brothers and I came off the back of my mum’s passing. We have our up’s and down’s for sure but today we are in a position of trust with one another and their to support each other when needed. We have all progressed and done many successful things in the wake of my mum passing. There are good things to be found in tragedy, just keep your eyes open and optimistic and you can find them.

 

There’s a lot more to this story and that does include the worst day of my life. But for anyone experiencing bereavement it may not feel like it just now but it will get easier and better (my view). There will be somethings that you do that you feel you need to do and that is ok because it is what you need to do. What’s not ok is if your actions are hurting others around you and it is to the detriment of their life. Or perhaps even not taking action to the detriment on your own life. This is why overall I tried to be positive in how I do things going forwards. Look for good opportunities. This I know would make my mother most proud (and I do know I have done some things that she would not be proud of)  but more importantly it is how I need to go about my life to try and enhance my living for me an my wife. I’ll not forget the message given to my brothers and I before my mothers funeral from the minister. She told us

it is ok to cry if you need to cry, it’s ok to be upset and angry. But it is also ok to be happy, and laugh, and enjoy the good memories that you shared with your mother.

This has stuck with me and it will continue to do so because she was absolutely correct. We cannot go on dwelling on the past losses and sad times, letting that define us because I believe that leads to a very negative outlook on everything in both what you think and what you do. Life will go on and it is all about how you choose to deal with this and I would encourage people to be positive and look for the good things in life and the good people around you as there is so much. This won’t be easy in the short term of a bereavement and I am certainly not saying forget your loved ones. They helped shape the person you are so use that to continue to make the best of yourself in honour of them. But I urge you to go on and forge a path that makes you happy and would make people you have lost proud.

 

I hope this is of assistance to you. It’s taking me many years to pluck up the courage to write this and open myself up to some real honest home truth’s. I truly believe that we all have to live and deal with challenging times but can thoroughly enjoy good times after and make a real success of ourselves. The challenging experiences will make you stronger in ways you cannot imagine. There is no right or wrong with experiences like this, we’re all individuals, there’s just better and worse ways.

 

Thanks for reading. If you have comments or even questions feel free to leave them. I found talking about these things helpful so I can answer based on my experience.

 

Badminton and the love of sport.

My love of badminton. Enjoy

I have such a passion for this sport as it is an immense game. I totally love it and it seems many others do as well. The Guardian newspaper at the start of the year had badminton at number 7 of most popular sports in England out of a total of 33 “Sports”. On closer viewing though the sports that beat it were:

6. exercise movement and dance (whatever that is as a “Sport”),

5 . golf,

4. football,

3. Cycling,

2. Athletics (albeit the image used look like a group of park runners)

1. Top of the pile was swimming.

So when you analyse these 6 that beat badminton I feel football is the only team based activity like badminton (maybe golf as well). Golf and football are the only direct competitive sports focused on a scoreline and not a time or distance on this list. Golf and Football also dictates the need for an opposition, not so in the others. This for me is a big factor in my love for the game which is being competitive. Having a social element in sport, having banter with people over what may happen in a game, the off court chats and just feeling a part of something bigger than the the game alone. Others may disagree but I do not feel you get this in the same way from something that others are not directly involved with and that you must complete on your own.

I think I first picked up the racket when I was 13-14 years old, so I was a teenager and starting to think about what I wanted to do rather than what my parents pushed me into doing. At this time my mum was playing at a local club the same night of the week as I was going to Scouts. Truth be told I think I had stopped enjoying the Scouts and partly because I was embarrassed about being 14 years old and in Scouts, I was quite a self conscious teenager. I knew I could not just stop going to scouts, my parents would not have had it so I asked my mum if I could come and play badminton instead, what a call that was! I just seemed to take to the game so quickly and threw myself about the court getting involved as much as possible and competing hard to try and win the games. I loved it and was thriving. Some of the adults would give me tips and help me out but there was no formal coaching, a lot of self learning, reflecting and trying things to get better and ultimately win! (Let’s not get confused here, sport first and foremost is about winning!) I’d even saved up paper round money to go and buy myself a quality racket. I still have this racket and it will always be one of my favourites. A Wilson branded racket would you believe but it is immense. It’s about 17 years old now, I’d be incredibly upset if anything ever happened to it. But this was the way I was feeling about playing the game generally.

Unfortunately this club declined and disappeared (but I’m pleased to hear that currently it is back up and running). My mum tried out another local club which I went along with her to for a bit. I was probably about 15-16 at this time. I was also playing weekly with school mates in prep for GCSE examinations and we needed practice and were great competition for each other, really challenging each others games and enjoying the sport. But the new club was not the same for me as the first club I had joined, not even close. They had qualities about them that did not suit me but possibly suited my mum, by now I was a far stronger player than she was. And from memory a much stronger player than many at this club and this actually excluded me. I remember being on court and nothing was coming my way because the other players were trying to avoid putting the shuttle near. I’m not wanting to sound arrogant here and I still had so much more to learn but this was quite a low standard of club and I am an aggressive player, especially then. I also understand why people kept the shuttle away from me because as with all sporting games my opposition also wanted to win. This was a club in St Ives just for reference. I latched onto this way they were playing against me, but there was nothing I could do. They were playing tactical game but it was bad tactics just to avoid putting the bird my way. What could I do?

I got fed up and I left this club. I’d finished GCSE’s, I’d picked up the oval ball again and I had many other things going on in my life and I felt I did not need badminton anymore going into A-Levels. I’d even stopped playing with mates recreationally. On reflection I should have done more to find another club that fitted me, not something you think about so much as a teenager.

 

Time passed and I wasn’t thinking so much about badminton, I did my A-Levels, went out to work, started martial arts as I drifted away from rugby. Life rumbled on and my rackets gathered dust. Then as things happen, life changes, and in 2007 I left Cambridgeshire altogether to take up study in Coventry. This was a turning point in my life and an opportunity to branch out and try new things (or pick up on old things). I was leaving the world of martial arts that I entered for the last 2-3 years in Cambridgeshire (and enjoying) but what was I going to do in Coventry? I thought about picking up the oval ball again and getting back on the rugby field. This was seriously being considered but I met a few of the guys and they were idiots and I was not game for a suicidal amount of drinking, even if I did enjoy a good night out. No, this was not what I wanted.

So I approached the badminton stall and the people I spoke to here were incredibly friendly and welcoming. I got the info I needed for the club and got along to the first club night, another great decision! (not that I realised it at the time as I just wanted to try badminton again). There must have been about 70 people turn up here and there was only 3 courts, this seemed like madness! Credit to the club for getting everyone involved, some sort of round the world activity. I remember walking out on court, Wilson racket in hand, setting up to hit the shuttle for the first time in 4 or 5 years I think. Here’s the clearance to me, I was going to clear it back, lined up, missed the shuttle completely with a total air shot. How embarrassing! I wasn’t the player I remembered and when you are trying to create an impression at University this was not the way to do it. I moved off court and thankfully next time on I stepped up I hit it. As term began club numbers settled down to about 20-30 members, I was a fresher and so pleased just to be playing again and I was falling back in love with the sport again that on reflection I had definitely missed out on a lot. I was also meeting new people and cool people who were accepting of players of all abilities which in some ways surprised me with badminton, but this is University I guess and young people are far more open minded.

Unsurprisingly I wasn’t picked for the team straight away but I made sure I got along to as many club sessions as possible (3 in a week was what was on offer) but it was freshers year and sometimes the early starts were too much. But I was given the nod by the second team captain for a run out on the team as I had improved and started to find my game again. I loved the format of BUCS leagues for Badminton, 2 singles player and 2 doubles partnerships forming a team of 6 and doubles was and is my game. I remember the lad I was partnered with as well for my first year, top lad but oddly I was warned that he was a loose cannon on court and no one could get on partnering him so good luck. Always a good pep talk… However it couldn’t have been further from reality, we had an absolute blast and gelled incredibly well with our games complimenting one another so well and I do remember we won most of matches which was awesome as well as being the only part of the second team that year to take something from Varsity day. (Varisty day being the Cov Uni v Warwick Derby fixture in all sports, it’s critical this is understood for later on).

Then there were the Coventry University badminton club socials. These were some of my most favourite nights at University, always consisting of a theme of some sort, maybe only 1 a month but they were great fun and began to cement some friendships that would last well beyond the 3 academic years. For some it resulted in much more which is absolutely amazing! These occasions I felt were always important for the club, people could get to know each other off of the court but it added to the club experience at University.

When the exams kicked in unfortunately that was it for the year. Everyone kicked out of sports hall use and make way for endless rows of tables and chairs, that was it for year 1. For me this also meant going not far off of cold turkey from badminton for about 5 months over the Summer break. This was quite hard to take as I had fallen in love with the game again for sure. But I got a few games in with a mate over the Summer which was cool and it really wasn’t long before second year was coming. I’d put my name down this time as getting involved on the committee, I thought I’d go for the popular role of club treasurer, a great way to make friends, haha. But I also knew going back, not everyone has left and I know some badminton players already, get some courts booked guys! We were fortunate enough that the first team captain of the club was a national player and I’ve never seen to that point (and certainly ever played against) anyone of this ability. He’d been battering me during the first year (but teaching me so much as well) and now he was picking up where year 1 had left off. But for all his ability he had no attitude, never looked down on anyone knowing he was a far greater player and was genuinely happy to help where he could. This was a refreshing attitude from such a player and in many ways inspiring. My lesson from this was that I wanted to forever more emulate this attitude in all subsequent badminton clubs because this is absolutely the right way to play the game and get other people involved. If you have an attitude about you, then your club will suffer and in time potentially die out and I’m currently seeing this more and more in many sports, not just badminton. This is not the type of person I want to be and an important detail in welcoming the next freshers.

So second year is off and I was behind the stall this time. Also unsurprisingly we had another ridiculous amount of freshers turn up early on and again this quickly fizzled out as they are all trying new things. Then when it comes to paying some money they run and run quickly. Not right but what was great was we identified those that really wanted to commit to club and keep them. For me as well it meant finding a new doubles partner for matches, manage my role on the committee and encourage club participation but that was all cool. When you love the sport this stuff is not a chore. The new doubles partner was found and we also continued to have a very good year. The team (2nd) had a great year in getting promoted, results were great and we had a strong squad which was awesome. We also pushed each other, I remember team training sessions, pushing each other on sprints, and in practice games on court. This year’s varsity day sticks in mind, my partner and I were playing for the win (of the second team fixture) in the 3rd end and it was 18-18. We couldn’t find a way to win it though. So the match was drawn which was a significant improvement to the previous year. Coventry still lost overall however Coventry had always lost in the entire varsity day history between the Uni’s, so to take this wasn’t a bad result at all. But again second year was over, another Summer loomed. Before this I chucked my hat in the ring for presidency of the club and as mine was the only one in that was an easy election. I had had two great years by this point and it was important to me to try and continue this run for the club and for the University and give more back. I wanted to see that the Students coming through had experiences and memories like I had to look back on fondly. I also wanted to try and continue to drive up the competitive nature of the club and ultimately play a good standard of badminton. I also wanted to get the club involved with the University alumni activities to try and kick this off so all students still felt a connection, this may have been wishful thinking and a little naive as it relies on future years to feel as I did, but hey, I had to try.

Final year, more work, less time, less badminton? Not likely! It actually meant far less drinking which cannot be too bad and much better time management to maximise what I wanted to do more of which was ultimately as much badminton as in previous years. But just before term started I learnt that 2 of my key committee members (and good friends) were not returning to University as they had landed other opportunities and to say I was a little gutted was an understatement. 1 was also my doubles partner who I was hoping to have another successful season with, especially as we had been promoted! This couldn’t break things though. I started firing messages out to members of the club that were all quite junior (only just completed freshers) and I was looking for people to step up. It was amazing because the response was great and people got involved. They rallied quickly and we were prepared for the start of the new academic year. What was pleasing was this was another great badminton year for me. We had competitive badminton, the second team struggled as we were not as strong and in a harder league but I cannot fault the players commitment, every one of the lads really gave 100% every time, my new partner and I went through this entire year undefeated including taking both our Varsity games. So that was something to celebrate even if the team struggled. There are many more fond memories from the social side of this year as well.

My biggest badminton memory would be of Varsity 2010, St Patrick’s Day Wednesday March 17th, if the lads involved ever read this they will not thank me for immortalising the occasion online but it’s a great tale and truly highlights why people love sport. The entire University was rallied for this year, this Varsity was going to be the one! Teams were picked and we had an earlier fixture in the afternoon. Let battle commence! Things were level pegging, my partner and I did our job and took 2 wins of the 8. Unfortunately the singles lads only won 1 of 4 and the other doubles lost their first match. The tie was 3-4 to Warwick. Final set of the final match, Coventry playing for the Draw. The focus wasn’t too high but I heard the score 12-20 called with the Warwick lads just about to serve, I thought “get in lads”, see this one out and we have a draw. 13-20. 14-20, 15-20, 16-20, ok lads, stop this and get the match point, 17-20, 18-20, Come on! 19-20, 20-20, (full credit to Warwick player serving) 20-21 Now you get the point, FFS! 21-21, 22-21, 23-21 Seriously! Are you kidding me. We were gutted and not least of all those 2 lads, this loss probably hurts more than any event to date and I still remember the feelings at the time. But chin up, it’s St Paddy’s day and we have the Derby rugby match to go and see. Time to go and get the Guinness’s in. We had a good few pints and reflected on the game, amazing how much a beer can make things seem better. Until we arrived at the stadium where the head of sports and societies bounds up to us as excited as anything to tell us the entire day was drawn and everything was on this rugby game! Unbelievable! The way Varsity works, if a team wins 2 points, a draw 1 point and nothing for a loss, so as there are 5 hockey teams that is 10 points up for grabs. But we were gutted, we knew there and then that one of those single badminton points above was a 2 point swing where Coventry could have been guaranteed a draw and playing for the win! Instead of level pegging and unfortunately Coventry lost the rugby and another Varsity day to Warwick… What a sporting memory though and what a night out that followed! I don’t really remember all of it…

Final year was then over but I’m so pleased that through Badminton I have forged friendships that have lasted through the common interest. The end of University was tough knowing I wouldn’t be coming back to all of this but it always had a definite end point. It was back to Cambridgeshire where I went cold turkey on the sport again and picked up the martial arts again, only to play a handful of times in the 4 and half years away, again. This didn’t last… It did take until 2015 but I found another club to get involved with locally. Was I rusty? Yes. Did I need some more practice? Hell yes! Am I loving the sport again? Absolutely! And I’ve even got my wife playing competitively and enjoying it, training her up from an absolute beginner and I could not be more pleased with how well she is doing.

I look back at my badminton time to 2015 with many fond memories beyond just the sport. I love playing the game and I love winning. If I’m not trying to win why am I bothering to play? I ask myself this, I generally cannot tone down my shots and the way I play to suit others, make it easier for them, it’s not in my nature. Plus people take full advantage of this given the chance. I look for people to push themselves and challenge me, take me on and beat me. When I recognise my opposition is strong I try and rise to their level and be competitive, find a way to get around them and take the games. Always in the background of this I’m looking to improve, get stronger, get faster, become more tactically aware. When I played at University I would try and blast and muscle my way through, maybe because I was younger and quicker? However I feel fitter now as I drink less and I am considerably lighter in weight. So perhaps the variation comes with experience which is everything and I would encourage anyone reading to draw on that experience from others to make improvements to their own game, no matter what sport.

What’s also amazing with Badminton is that it’s such a social sport suitable for all. This is a credit to the sport. I have had many great socials with previous clubs and my present club through people who share a common interest coming together, getting to know one another off of the courts. Take a little time to get to know the people around you as well that you play alongside week in and week out, it makes you feel so much more a part of something bigger than just the game. I also think if these friendships are formed it makes it easier to help one another and improve your game within the club. I’m always happy to help and offer advice and pointers if wanted, it’s not always so I don’t volunteer it all the time. It can be harder to approach someone if you feel asking makes you look weak, in my mind this couldn’t be further from the truth as it shows you want to get better, you may just not know how to do so. If you don’t ask though you cannot hope to know. Sport shouldn’t be easy, it should be challenging and engaging. I’d rather win (or even lose) a hard fought, tough game than obliterating easy opposition, there’s no satisfaction there. The buzz off of a hard fought victory is amazing and there lies the love and addiction.

On reflection of the entire piece I started the writing in order to share a passion of one sport that I love. I’m sure many others who participate in sports get the same feelings and have their own great stories and memories. You don’t get these in a gym. I do use the gym but only to get fit to play badminton. I don’t have any legendary tales to tell about my greatest set of weights lifted, or quickest 5km row? Who does? I guess if you are fed up of the gym then give something else ago that gets you active or allows you to meet new people, you might just surprise yourself at how refreshing a change is. Badminton is not just a game I occasionally play, it’s without doubt a part of my life and who I am now.

I really hope you have taken something from my blog here. I’m passionate about this sport, thanks for reading.

Social media – What’s it really all about?

I feel social media is far more complicated than posts and “likes”.

These are some thoughts on my feelings towards social media, when it started for me and where I feel it is at in 2017.

This will no doubt be a re-occurring topic of my thoughts if there is to be any longevity in my writing as I have some very mixed views on “Social media”. It’s such a fascinating entity that I always think about and discuss with others on a fairly regular basis.

So what social media’s do I use? Well the latest I guess is this Word Press Blogging site. This is a social media I assume? For me it started on msn (and I was late to that party) and Myspace, wow! That’s going back a bit. Early 2007 I signed up to Facebook, there’s a big talking point. Now with the evolution of the mobile phone I’m on twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, What’s app, snap-chat, messenger, and there’s probably a couple more.

Why do I want to talk about social media? I guess it’s because I want to make sense of the space, try and rationalise why I use it and understand if it helps or distracts me. I remember when I was at University and I read academic papers (back in 2007-2010) about social media as a social space. Social media was very much in it’s infancy. I very much binned off the thoughts of academics about how these platforms would impact wider society and the social consequences of them. But they are and should be evaluated and I guess that’s what I want to do in my own way and discover what I want out of using them. This may make others think about how they interact and use their personal social media’s. This is the key part, it is personal and all about what the individual wants to do with it, how they want to portray themselves.

I am going to skip over the Myspace and msn, I may come back to them as that is where it started but it was small use in the grand scheme of my social media usage. Facebook is the big one for me and probably my most significant talking point as I’ve been using it for over 10 years. That’s a third of my life and arguably makes it an incredibly significant part of my life now from when I first started using it. I actually loved it when I first joined. What a cool way of keeping in contact with friends that did not live near by. You signed up, there was a basic profile of info on yourself, a profile pic and you would add friends as you find them. How cool was this? Everyone my age was signing up. This was even pre-Facebook status’s and back just before starting University (I was a little late at 21 in getting to the University party as well). So it was just open messages or private messages. And this was simple, no adverts, no large corporations with their own agendas. And very much when I was just a student so it was sharing pics from the latest night out or creating an event for the next social. Or the odd poke/throwing of sheep at people. What a simpler time. And for me it was a very important part of University in coordinating a social life and establishing friendships with people that are still on going despite geographical distances. That’s definitely an amazing thing with this social media, reducing the distance of keeping in contact with those important to you.

University is daunting for young people, so to be able to help meet new people when you’ve made one of the biggest steps in your life is great. Establishing friendships and links to people you meet early on really helps you feel settled in your new community. Social media offers the opportunity to meet these like minded people and arrange social events. This has to be a good thing.

Finishing University was tough when viewing social media. I had friends in lower years still there and carrying on a lifestyle that was taken away from me. I became jealous and frustrated with it. This would be late 2010 and I also picked up my first smart phone with apps and Facebook was one of the first downloaded. The social media had evolved. I no longer had to log into a PC at a fixed point to check messages. I could log in any time I feel like now, Great! Or is it? It was arguably less addictive I had to use a PC. Looking back this was a big change for me and social media. My life had changed significantly, and now what was happening on my social media was also changing with it and I don’t think I liked it. I was becoming fixated on following everyone else’s world instead of my own.

As I progressed through work in a post graduate life more and more people were signing up, it was no longer just for the young or just for the students and post grads as maybe was originally intended. Or was that just the first thoughts of the social media corporations, really the intent was to get everyone using it one day. But then I found myself adding my work colleagues, my relatives and elderly friends, the boundaries of the various elements of my life were disintegrating through social media as everyone had access to some very personal details that were maybe only ever meant for a select few. I always hoped these people don’t dig back into my Facebook, but I have no control on it now, unless I block/delete them as friends, but then they may ask me why I’ve done that? Would it be easier to sack Facebook off? Do people need access to this level of detail on me, am I really bothered about knowing the same sorts of things about them?

I used to be very open and post literally anything on my social media page. Always keeping in mind that for me it was always about having fun and having a laugh. Now I still keep this in mind but I’ve changed what I post and how I portray myself because of who I know now can look at this information. But is this an honest view of me and I would have to say no it is not. I’m fearful of being judged for how I choose to live my life and how my posts will implicate my life in the real world. It’s funny because I used to to think I need to make at least one daily post of some sort. But now, if I have nothing interesting to say, that may not make someone else smile or laugh then I’m not posting something for the sake of being heard. I feel it is not necessary and I certainly do not want to start posting negatively or sharing things that bring others down. Or even maybe my thought is just not all that interesting in the first place. What I do know is I have had a small internal debate in whether I believe what I am about to post is acceptable or not. I’m certainly conscious of the fact that I’m not just posting, others are reading and how do my posts make others feel and truth be told I could not hope to have a clue about this. I don’t know how they are feeling and whether my comments would be welcome in their lives at that moment in time. Wow this is a minefield. And would a dislike button not be interesting? That’s something that could potentially ruin relationships with your “friends”.

So if I’m not posting things on social media, what am I doing on it? Looking at other people’s posts? Why do I care so much about what my “Facebook friends” are posting on their pages, do I need to keep up with the latest about them, what do I talk to them about if I already know? I think I could probably delete a third of people off of my Facebook and it wouldn’t change my life in any way, I haven’t seen these people in years and have no plans to do so, but then you never know??? I’ve already done this, after University I must have deleted a good 200 or so people just because of this. So what am I doing on Facebook? No events are created any more, or at least events that I would get invited to. I do use it for Badminton, both locally and friends from Uni, we do use it to keep in touch and organise/plan forthcoming activities and these have been absolutely brilliant. It’s incredibly helpful here and a real positive of social media. I also use it to assist my wife in promoting her business and probably one of the main reasons I still use Facebook. My wife day by day is increasing her business social media following and this is an area I can definitely help her with. Facebook has been one very good avenue for her business developing as posting pictures of her creations is amazing and the feedback has always been lovely and well received.  Her business is small and still developing a customer base so why not use this social media platform to help her make a name for herself and her brand, many others already do.

This in someways is a conflict for me. I don’t think Facebook was ever intended to be used for business, I hope it wasn’t part of the original strategy. But if businesses want to throw money into social media for advertising, I cannot imagine anyone on the social media side turning it down. So why shouldn’t we also use this platform to make some money for ourselves? Facebook won’t make it easy though. The amount of notifications I get now saying boost this post for $30 to get it seen by more people. Hang on! What’s happening, are people even seeing our posts anymore? I’ve started to see that Facebook is no longer an honest and balanced platform. If it’s not pushing it’s own Agenda and adverts at me that it thinks it might like, I believe it is selecting the friends posts it thinks I want to see and pushing them to the top of the pile, or the popular posts, usually an engagement or pregnancy announcement. This frustrates me, it just seems far more complex than that simple social media I joined in 2007 and fell in love with. Yet I still cannot bring myself to delete it as there is now a catalogue of my history within it, I have thought about deleting it on many occasions, but I do need it for parts of my life, and yes I possibly could be a little addicted to it, but maybe not as much as I used to be. That’s on for others to judge.

Then there is my biggest gripe with the entire social media space. As we age and our experiences and how we live our lives shapes us I think we now judge others without even talking to them. We see things they are doing and critique them for it. Without knowing truly what is going on, and at the end of the day, they are using social media to illustrate what they want others to know about their lives. Maybe social media is an extremely shallow platform where we only see the best of people’s lives because that’s how they choose to portray themselves on social media to their friends. Do we then talk to these people about what we are seeing? Probably not, not even a comment on a photo? I can safely say I won’t talk to most about what I see on their social media, who has the time to do that? But does it leave me feeling a little jealous at times, perhaps, a little frustrated that I maybe haven’t travelled the world, or ran a marathon, or done all the things that I see my social media “friends” doing. Gosh I sound complacent but Facebook is impacting our feelings.

Does social media pro long a friendship beyond it’s natural time? (for want of a better way of phrasing) People’s lives change all the time, marriage, moving, new jobs, starting families, meeting new people. In my opinion a person can only take on so much of a capacity for interacting with so many people, there’s only a finite amount of time and things change. I thought at the start of this blog that social media was great for keeping in touch with all those people, because it is current. Now social media is both current and past and there’s too much happening. Before social media I think people lost contact with each other. Those that wanted to make the effort stayed in touch and this will always be the case. Is the rest just shallow vanity and seeing how many “likes” I can get for my latest post? I think for some it is. For some is it more? In an age where it is so easy to communicate have we forgotten to do so, because it can be done at any time, or we can catch up by looking at someone’s profile and reading the latest rather than speaking to them? Are people isolating themselves through their own social media, but we remain in contact with people saying we need to meet up soon, knowing full well that soon is never coming round in many instances. We can see everything about people and yet we know nothing at all.

I find these personal social media’s very confusing at present. What do users of them want to get out of them or what are they trying to show about their lives that they need to tell to everyone else that they know. They are great for sharing pictures and video’s with friends that live far away that  you want to stay in contact with. But with applications like What’s app and messenger this can now be done privately with individuals or groups of people just as easily and you can have proper conversations whilst you do so. What is the significance of posting so publicly to all you know to be judged, positively or negatively, and invariably with out you knowing it is happening. A direct message can be discussed as it is meant for you, a public post is hoping someone will interact. What if no one interacts with a post, how does that make an individual feel? Have people seen it, do they care?

I’ve posted a lot of questions in this piece with only limited answers from my own experience and personal thoughts about the entire situation. I’m very sceptical about the entire use of social media as I simply don’t understand where it is going, what the companies are trying to achieve and what their users are trying to achieve. I believe there is a place for it, I’m just not entirely sure what.

Thanks for reading and I hope this has given you something to think about with your social media.

First Blog

I’ve always wondered why people bother to blog? What’s the point, who would be interested? If I’m honest as well I have not read many people’s blogs and therefore have a limited understanding of what they are about. Why should I expect people to read what I write? Truth be told I don’t. So why am I bothering…? In time I guess I will find out, hopefully I will learn something about myself and open mind up to other people’s blogs and share in what they have taken time to write.

What I do know is that recently I’ve been thinking more about doing this, blogging/writing, and now I’ve finally put in some effort and I’ve started. It’s amusing in many ways as I don’t believe I am a very creative person (here’s my new challenge) and sometimes I don’t feel I’m a very interesting person, typically I do know I am a very quiet person and keep most of my thoughts to myself.

I have recently been inspired by a friend who has started writing herself and by my wife who has developed her own business and doing very well with it. It got me thinking how can I be more creative, challenge myself to do something new and different for myself. Writing like this is well beyond my typical comfort zone but I am very curious to see what comes from it. Opening up and exposing my thoughts to a wider audience seems scary and in many respects quite foolish.  But now I’ve started, and who knows, I might write something that could be interesting and helpful to others to read. Or I may just make sense of my feelings and my views of the world around me as seen through my eyes and help myself in some sort of capacity.

To introduce myself I’m 31, I’m very happily married, I work in a full-time job and own my own home. I think with being a quiet person I can also be a cautious person. Never biting off more than I can chew at any one time and keeping things relatively low risk. My ultimate goal in life is just to enjoy it. It’s always been that way from a hard lesson learnt quite a few years ago, I may open up on that one another day. I’ve always been a firm believer in doing what you enjoy, if you do not enjoy it why are you doing it? Maybe this is why I’ve started writing, I’ll find enjoyment through writing and rationalizing my thoughts… (and this literally just entered my head, maybe it’s already working). I love being married and love my wife, we have an amazing time together and this is simply due to the fact we enjoy each others company and the things we do together. I enjoy my work, it’s not without challenges but it’s such an interesting industry that I feel suits me. I’ve been in this job nearly 4 years and that massively supersedes any other 1 role I’ve ever done before. My work and life balance is very good at present and I intend to maintain that as best I can as it works for me in my life.

What I hope my blog won’t be is a man ranting about all the problems he sees in society and be very negative and bleak in my outlook. As well as wanting to enjoy myself and life I always want to be positive and find a solution over creating a problem. I don’t totally know how blogging works, if they can be critiqued? I won’t likely get in arguments with people over what I write, I’ll just ignore it/delete it. There’s too much hate in society already. But collaboration and sharing idea’s with others I’m all for. Why whinge about something, work together and find a solution to fix it. Surely this is the best way? Surely? But I hope my writing is open-minded and balanced in appraisals, I don’t lean heavily on one side of an argument. I guess this will be a wait and see once again.

It’s funny, I found writing at University challenging and that was about topics with a wealth of information available to read upon. There’s no written information about what I plan to write about now, all in my head, all my own thoughts…

So that’s my opener. Not too much to say at this time but spending 30 minutes and a few short paragraphs with some other simple idea’s noted about what I might write about and there is the making of my first blog.