Friday, December 29, 2006

Pain is close to Pleasure

My niece is 10 years old today, it's flown by, and so we celebrated her birthday this lunch time with a party at her house, where all her surviving grandparents were present as was myself, my sister and brother in law. Not a big party, but she's going to have a party early next year at the local leisure centre, as normal.

We had a pleasant time at her house, whilst she played with her new toys from both Christmas and now Birthday, all was well with my mum and myself for that matter. Nothing was wrong and no problems we knew of.

Once home however that's when the pain came. We got a phone call to say that my God Father had passed away on Boxing day. Uncle Fred as I knew him had been in a home for the past few years and if I'm honest I'd not been to see him for a few years, but he was always with me if you know what I mean. He was a neighbour to my parents and sister in the house before they moved to where we've lived for the past 35 years. He and his sister became very much close family friends, if not part of our family, and remained so after the houses they and my family had lived in had been pulled down. As my grandfather died whilst I was a baby or just before I was born, it was at a point where I didn't remember him or even know him, my Uncle Fred became the closest thing to a grandfather that I had, and to lose him just hurts so much. The guy was legendary, apart from him being my grandfather he was a well known butcher in Salford through the 60's and 70's, people knew him far and wide. I recall being in Florida on holiday in the early 80's and some one stopped our family as they recognised the Salford accent. After telling us where they'd grown up, they then asked did we know the butcher Fred... We travel thousands of miles on our holidays and we are asked by a random family if we knew him, that's the measure of the guy.

I feel awful not going to see him for so long, but it's been difficult, and it's a big regret. I doubt he'd have known who I was however, he was losing it the last time we spoke, but he'll always be a part of me. It was strange that only last night at mum's with some of her and dad's friends around we mentioned my Uncle, and talked with passion about him, unaware that he'd died. I'm sure if there is something after death, then right now, he'll have met up with the rest of his family and my dad wouldn't be far behind to catch up on the past few years they've been apart.

To my Uncle Fred, thank you for all the wonderful tales and times you spent with our family. I'm really finding it hard to come to terms with the news, but where ever you are, make sure you've some sausages made for when we next meet, it may have been over 25 years since your butchers shop shut, but I've never found a sausage that I've enjoyed as much as yours....... Here's a poem that I found online about my uncle and his butchers shop. You see he was famous enough to be found via google.


Cross Lane was famous for all it's ale-houses,
And shops that sold frocks, and men's baggy trousers,
Pawnshops, chip shops, and good theatres, too,
And some, like the pot shops, that sold dolly blue.
Fred Oddie, the butcher, with a good sausage trade,
And a barracks nearby, where soldiers were made,
There were bicycles, handcarts, and tramcars with bells,
And the markets, of course, with linoleum smells,
Lucketti's hot potatoes, and ice cream in tubs,
But the best of Cross Lane was the piano'd pubs

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Jet Set Spectrum

In times gone by I may have mentioned things about my past, things I've done, seen or heard. Well this is going to be one of those threads. Having seen a bit of a show on television over Christmas about the best Christmas toys ever, I was taken back to times gone by. The Rubik Cube was shown on the clip I first saw, and wow that grabbed me something rotten. I had a cube one year, I'm not sure it was a Christmas present, but could I do the bloody thing? No I couldn't. For years all I could contend myself was first getting 2 sides and then 3 sides done. Not once did I ever peel the stickers, not once did I ever think about pulling the cube apart. About 5 years ago now, I managed to get everything in place after another bout of nostalgia, and also having found the cube in amongst all the other junk that I've got. It's never been messed up since. I must point out that the school record when it mattered for the fastest completion was around 12 seconds.

Last night or yesterday morning when I talked about my niece's Nintendo DS, I started to recall about my own first ever experiences of computer games. I show my age here by accepting that I was around at the launch of Space Invaders, and what a storm they caused! I had a hand held space invader game for one Christmas, which also had a second game on it, which was breakout. It's so old that I can't find any pictures of it online, I wish I could just to show you how old and how bad they were. Well searching the internet will find you anything won't it. I've found the said invader game that I was talking about..... Here's a link to see it in all it's former glory.. It took a while to find it, but find it I have.

However I moved on from that, and found myself an owner of a Sinclair Spectrum, with a massive 48K of memory. Yes, folks you read correctly the height of modern technology at the time, was a home computer with a rubber keyboard and 48K of memory.

To this kid though it was heaven, it meant I was up to date with everyone and I could chat about games etc with all my friends and if I'm even more honest, I was one of the few who had a bloody computer (not that it's helped me learn about the things!) Many a rainy holiday was spent with friends around at my mum's house and depending on if anyone was in, we'd be on the big television downstairs or upstairs in my room on the portable. That was the beauty of the Spectrum, it was so small it could be taken anywhere, and all you needed was a tape recorder with jack plugs in to load the games from tapes. The black market for games was huge for the spectrum. For those of you, who think that cracking games and sharing them online is a modern thing, well let me tell you this. It started way back before the time of the internet even. Of course even then the software companies were trying to stop it.

I recall a particular game which was and probably still is one of THE most talked about spectrum games, Jet Set Willy, had integrated into the starter a colour code you had to type in before the game would load. You could copy the game easily, but it was the colour chart which came with it that meant it wasn't the easiest game to pass onto your friends. Saying that though, you could easily crack the game itself, but a simple 2 lines of code, which provided infinite lives and the chance to go and see the whole game and complete it with ease.

The one thing that I must point out here, the graphics were never hot, or hot compared to what they are today, nor was the 8 bit sound system, but the game play had to be well thought out and planned. For those of you who have found joy in the Championship Manager/Football Manager series of games, will be interested to know that Football Manager was a very early game for the Spectrum and it just took off. It was no where near as detailed as it is today, but then it was a master piece which others looked to emulate.

I used to have a Spectrum emulator on here, but I lost it when the pc crashed about 18 months ago, and I've never got around to putting it back on here. I still love some of the games that the spectrum had, and even now some of the sporting games are excellent, if only to see some of the names of hero's that I grew up watching.

Here's one for those who find this place, leave a comment about any old games or toys that you had, and recall fond memories of. It might be something that I recall, or even had. That would be fun.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Mish Mash

Well it's Boxing Day again, and I'm not going to question the reason why it's called so, as I did that last year. I will however reveal that this years Christmas present list consisted of 2 t-shirts, 1 hooded top, 1 new fleece and a game of scrabble. Oh the joys of Christmas. Gone are the days when I'd get something other than t-shirts etc. It's not that I don't mind getting t-shirts etc, as it's the giving and not the receiving that matters at Christmas, but it's always nice to get something original, and unfortunately I've had nothing like that for a while now.

I'm not going to let it effect my mood mind you, it's still in a positive mode, well as positive as "icky" can be and though the weather hasn't been great of late I'm not allowing that to jolt any sort of depression upon me. I do know that the grey skies above the house are holding plenty or moisture, and it will fall either as rain or snow in the next few days. It hasn't been that cold to snow as yet this winter, but it's always nice to see a little bit of the white stuff at any point in the year. We get so little of it anymore that we've got to make the most of what we get.

Talk of the weather leads me to go back in time to something I said to my mum the other day, we are now past the 21st of December, which is officially the shortest day of the year, and thus we are now on our way to spring and summer. It may not seem that way, but as we have pasted the half way stage of the winter I'm starting to look forward to the long summer days again, even if that means playschemes.

I saw my niece yesterday as of course she went around to my mum's to collect her presents, it wasn't long before the dvd was in action with one of the dvd's she got for Christmas of myself. Whilst watching that, she was playing her Nintendo DS, that she got for Christmas. I was quite suprised at the thing to be honest, I've not seen one in close up action like that before and they are way above what I sort of expected of them. So credit to Nintendo for the creation that is the DS. Not that I'll be buying one like, it's just that I was a little taken aback by it.

As for me, and me in depth? How am I? Well as I've described "icky" before I can't really add a better description than that right now. I must say that on Christmas eve I sat in front of my pc, and if I'm write I was perhaps writing here, or else where, when I got a pang of loneliness, but I fought it off with some hard talking to myself. I accept that I am feeling lonely, but if I'm OK with it then so be it. At other points in the year I may say the opposite, but right now it isn't an issue. I've got so many things going on right now that I'm more than happy to leave that topic till another day.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Greetings

For anyone out there, happy Christmas... This is year is probably one of those years where I don't feel too down to be honest. I'm not depressed, feeling a little lonely, but to hell with it, I'm me and if others don't want to know that then sack them, I'm who I am for a reason and they are not the reason.

So what's new in my life? Well not a lot, but life isn't that interesting at the moment. I go to work, I go see mum and then I come home. Nothing else to report. I wish there was someone in my life, someone special, but that's something for future considerations. I'd have to be out and about looking for that person and with my current lifestyle that isn't going to happen, but do I really want to change the way I live just to find someone? I'm after all just about coming into a period of calm in my life and I'm starting to enjoy things again. Why would I want to place myself into a situation of failure? That would be crazy..... Though no pain means no gain.

I guess the reflective mood is due to the time of the calendar year. It's coming rapidly up to the end of the year, a year of so many emotions and so many advances that I doubt I could translate them into a simple summary in 7 days time. I will use a hockey term here though. I'd probably say I'm Plus 5 or 6 for the year. Which is excellent considering I've had minus 28's and minus for many years in a row. Slowly but surely my life is getting better.

As it's Christmas day, what would be my ideal Christmas present this year? Well what would have been would have been a t-shirt from my sister/brother in law, with Edmonton Oilers Stanley Cup winners 2006. Had that arrived, I'd have been so happy, but it wasn't to be, and the memories of May/June will be with me for a long time. I don't think I've been so wrapped up in a single sport since the 12 days of May in 1999. I really don't know what I've got, with the exception of Scrabble from my sister/bro-in-law, though that should have been mum's present. I know mum got me the printer, but I'm talking about presents under the tree at mum's. I'm sure that my niece will bring her Nintendo ds around with her this morning and then ask to put one of her dvd's on. Which one I'm not 100% on, though High School Musical is the favourite I guess.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Here We Go!

Today is my last day in work for a while and I'm just about getting excited about it, though as today we've got 2 Christmas parties to run, I'd better not get too excited or I won't last the course. 2 parties in one day sounds a bit stupid, but as one is for young ones, roughly 2-7 years of age, and then the next one being 7-12 it's better done that way than all together. Last night the teenagers had there disco which went down really well.

Once these are over, I'm off and out of there for a while and it's going to be a time to relax and get myself sorted and recharged before going back to work. Life is so up and down that I need to have regular breaks and this is coming about a month perhaps over due. I have said in the past I need to have regular breaks, but that includes the odd weekend away or trip out, but since the problems with my car earlier this year, I've not been able to afford such a thing, so it's going to nice to have a break now.

Nothing is still planned for Christmas, though I'm sort of looking forward to seeing my niece, as she's starting to get excited about Christmas. Saying that, my sister has pointed out to us, that she's starting to question the whole Santa thing, and we think it's going to be the last one she'll still believe in the big guys role in Christmas. I think I was about 8 or 9 when I really knew who Santa really was. I think it was two Christmas Eve's in a row, when being disturbed by my parents entering the room with the presents and seeing who it was with the presents in the pillow cases as it was then. That sort of convinced me, so when I confronted them the second time they tried to pass it off, but as they then left the next set of presents down stairs, it was sure a sign of them trying to perpetuate the story. Oh and the fact that at a particular Christmas party we had one year, my Uncle played Santa, and it was so obvious who it was......

Still it's Christmas and Santa is so symbolic of the time of year, that not to perpetuate the story to those younger would be unfair. I don't know how many white lies that such a percentage of people maintain to children. It's the one big lie we all like to keep to ourselves till as late as possible.

Just to conclude my Santa bits and bobs. I have great reservations about the big guy though. For any of you who have read this over the time will know this argument, but for the new here, let me ask you this, if you have children. All year round we tell our kids not to talk to strangers, not to go near strangers, and yet for one month a year we openly encourage them to go and sit on this strangers knee and to talk to him as much as we honestly can. Sorry, but Santa has a bad side to him for me, and if I were ever to adopt, I'd have to seriously question my own theories in letting my child go see Santa in a store or grotto in a mall.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Supposed to be Happy

OK, taking away the events of the weekend, and having started to get my head around the subject, I suppose that I should be happy and glad, I've less than 4 days before I take around a month off work, and less than 7 before Christmas, but something is missing.

I just feel flat, no enthusiasm, no energy to make me happy, and yet there is nothing going on to make me get down. I know I'm prone to depression at Christmas, if anything I hate this time of the year with a large spoon of honey on it. Yet, this is different, I just can't find a happy medium about anything. I find myself hungry and yet don't know what to eat, I find myself thirsty and yet don't know what to drink. I sit on a chair and can't be comfortable, so I lie on the floor or chair and still can't be comfortable. It's something to concern me with, as this sort of mood is the hardest to explain. I'm really in a pickle over this.

I think I'll go and see my manager today and just alert her that I may have to duck out for a day or so this week, if I get worse. It's the wrong time of year to subject anyone with one of my depressions. I have seen the shift in me, I've seen a chink in my armour and can do something about it. I'm sure she'll understand, but I'm going to try and not let it show or effect me at work. I guess the teenage party on Wednesday night will be the one to gauge how well I'm doing in not letting me effect me.

What else? Well not a lot to be honest, I'm plodding along the path towards Christmas and towards next year. I'm sort of looking forward to it, but of course it's just another year, and that's got me thinking. What is left for me right now? I really don't know, there's not a lot left for me to do with my life, and if that's the case I'm going to fall into a wheel. I'm sort of scared of that, but with the money situation as it is, then I've got no real option have I?

Sunday, December 17, 2006


An entry for entries sake you can call this, so no real direction or topic is springing to mind, though I guess this weekend has been one of abject relief and some pain to be honest.

I guess the pain is the most significant part, though it's not something that I could see happening, and in many ways it's not effected me, but late on Friday, my mum told me she's thinking of moving. Now that's understandable, she does live alone in a house that has 4 bedrooms, a sitting room, a living room and a rather large kitchen, let alone a big back garden. It's a bit too much for her now she's alone. So the sensible part of me says this is a good idea, but deep down, and I mean deep down I'm hurting over this.

This is the family home, it is the only family home I know, I was 6 months old when my mum and dad moved into this house, so this March it will be 35 years she's lived in that house. Added to the fact that next door but one, was where my dad was born and brought up, that drive holds everything that is close to my heart for my family. I can't simply imagine not calling that place home, EVER. If I had the money I'd buy that house off my mum tomorrow, and not bat an eye lid about it. At the end of the day it's for me HOME. I always imagined that my mum would spend the rest of her days there, with all the friends and neighbours that she's made over the past 35 years. From my earliest memories there are still 8 families that still live in that drive that I grew up with.

I'm trying to get my head around this, it isn't my sister talking here I know it isn't, but I just didn't see this coming. As I say it's a good idea for mum, but from the sentiment aspect I'm a little suprised.

Away from that this weekend has been a pleasant one, in terms of me just lolling around and not doing a lot. Work is now nearly completed for this calendar year and I'm certainly on wind down. I think tomorrow I may go in early and see if they want the soft play room cleaning. I know it's a long laborious job, but it's one to fill the hours in that I need to work this week.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bridge Building

Well today is my sisters birthday and over the period of this journal, I've probably stated on many occasions that my sister and I don't get along that well. It's true I'm telling you we don't, and it's meant that access to my niece has been restricted. That I'll never forgive my sister for, it's not as if I'm a danger to my niece far from it in fact, but hey if that's how my sister and her husband see it then all be it.

However over the past couple of months though, I've seen a thaw in my sisters attitude to myself. These have come at times when her husband has been away from home on business. It's got me thinking that all the animosity isn't generated by my sister, but in fact by my brother in law. I know what the problem is, but it's nothing that should have created a rift like it is right now. It's his problem and shouldn't be passed on.

So bridge building has began between myself and my sister and that I'm pleased about. It's a shame that we've let things slip between us. We have never been that close, but it's coming to a point in our lives that we have to realise that we are going to be the only ones left of our family soon and that is important to both of us and I guess it's the building block as to the bridge. Long may we continue till the bridge is finally completed if it indeed can be completed.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

United in Pride

Some of you may think that I'm going to launch into some sort of push or entry into my sexuality or some sort of celebration into that, but those of you who do from the title will be wrong.

The title is simply a reference towards what happened yesterday. MANCHESTER UNITED 3 - Manchester city 1
, it wasn't the biggest win in recent times for either side, but the significance is huge. For this gives rights to the red side of Manchester bragging rights till the teams next play, it gives United fans the pride to walk around town, and into work tomorrow morning and feel safe from any city fan winding them up. For the city fans it's a matter of take the stick they'd give to us if they had won, and boy does that hurt when you are on the end of it. I guess that I'm very happy with the result. More than happy, as it was at the end of a tough period in the season for the team, and now they are having a couple of days rest, before preparations for next Sunday's game.

With the local derby being played this weekend, I was able to focus on that towards the end of the week. I should point out that this weekend has been work free and I'm so relaxed and chilled that Monday will be fine in terms of work, unless something major crops up, which it won't. So if anything, I'm probably at my best for some time right now, ready to envelope the world around me and waiting for a call or text from Lisa to say we'll meet up later today. I'm hoping for that, but I'm not going to let it effect me if she doesn't I know she's busy and that she's a million and one things to do this weekend. It would be nice to see her though.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The End is near!

A huge title for this post, but one with a little meaning to it. Before anyone panics that I'm thinking of killing myself again. Well I don't mean I've killed myself before now, or else how would I be posting here?? I'm not an immortal nor am I some sort of time hopping alien, I'm just referring to me THINKING of killing myself again. That hasn't been the case of late anyway. The title of the post refers to the fact we are in December and that of course it means the end of the year is upon us again.

Over the next month or so I'll probably start to reflect heavily on what has been another packed year for myself with some highs and lows and lot's in between. I wouldn't suggest it's the best year of my life, but it's not the worse by a long way. So the last six months or so have been filled with depression and recovery, it's not been as bad as some years.

So what has been going on since the last post, which seems like ages ago now. Well I've been surviving again, and doing so in some fashion. Whilst not being too happy with things at work, due in part to the incompetence of a colleague who has managed to throw back all the support I've given her over the past six months in my face in one weekend, I'm happy with the way things are going. I've worked none stop at work for the past three weeks now, and so I'm looking forward to a quiet weekend where I can sit down and relax and hope to disperse all the stresses and tensions built up from work over recent weeks. I'm starting to suffer from headaches right now, which is due in part to work.

My leg still has some bruising on it, and most of the heavy bruising has gone, though the internal bruising is still there. If I look at my leg, you can still see how much darker the skin around the area where I hit the bath than the rest of my leg. This is now five weeks on and still some surface bruising exists. It's certainly the worst that I've ever suffered, and that's saying something considering the state of my legs.

I'm down to just a couple of presents to get for Christmas now, and that's pleasing to know, but of course the presents left are going to be hard to find as I don't know what to obtain for those that I need. That though makes Christmas all the more exciting I guess. I do know that within the next week or so I'm going to have to go into mum's loft and get all the decorations and stuff down. It's a hell of a job, due to the state of mum's loft, but hey it's gotta be done.

The End is near!

A huge title for this post, but one with a little meaning to it. Before anyone panics that I'm thinking of killing myself again. Well I don't mean I've killed myself before now, or else how would I be posting here?? I'm not an immortal nor am I some sort of time hopping alien, I'm just referring to me THINKING of killing myself again. That hasn't been the case of late anyway. The title of the post refers to the fact we are in December and that of course it means the end of the year is upon us again.

Over the next month or so I'll probably start to reflect heavily on what has been another packed year for myself with some highs and lows and lot's in between. I wouldn't suggest it's the best year of my life, but it's not the worse by a long way. So the last six months or so have been filled with depression and recovery, it's not been as bad as some years.