Adam Bird

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Monday, 31 January 2011

£200. What would you do?

£200 - What would you do?

The fine people at Archibald Ingall Stretton, the advertising agency in which I work are just as keen on personal staff development as they are on ensuring our professional know-how is up to scratch. Which is why, as part of our personal development, they wave a carrot of two-hundred British pounds as an incentive, to go out into the big bad world and learn something new.

This could be anything of our choosing, like learning how to wing-walk, speak Dutch, or cook like Gordon Ramsey. Perhaps we're away on our holidays and get the chance to learn how to Scuba Dive, or Bungee Jump – all skills that enhance our personal being, or personality traits. After all, what better way to find courage and confidence than by doing something confident and courageous?

Last year, my first with the agency, I let this benefit pass me by. I decided long ago that wing-walking was something that I could put off for another day, and that Dutch people had pretty good English anyway. What I really wanted to do was something more run-of-the-mill; a creative writing course, or failing that a beginners guide to digital photography enabling me to finally work out how to use my recently purchased SLR.

Finding a course however, proved to be a bit problematic! No matter how much I tried, I just could not find a time and location that fit in with my lifestyle. The Gravesham Adult Education centre had plenty of courses for me to choose from, albeit if I didn't work on Monday's or Wednesday's between the hours of 10am and 2pm. The closest evening course to me was Folkstone, a place just over an hours drive away. For the want of trying, I just could not find anything suitable, so gave up with nothing short of a whimper.

Come January, the window of opportunity opened again and before I started looking at local airfields, I decided to broaden my range of Google search terms. At first, they once again proved to be not much help indeed, until quite randomly, I came across The Write Place, the answer to my prayers. They held evening classes, it was in Dartford, which is local enough for me and most importantly, it fit in with the allocated budget – a “Hallelujah” moment if ever there was one! A brief email correspondence later, a verification check with the nice lady in HR and off I am now - all set to start later this week!

Where then does my ambition lie? What am I hoping to get out of this class? Well, initially at least it's a one month trial, to see if I like it, if it is actually for me. Rather than the agency I work for investing a large amount of money on something that I won't complete, it's better all round if I scout it out beforehand so that I can make an informed decision about carrying on.

Having authored this blog now for just under four years. A period of time that remains a lot longer than I ever envisaged, and have written a whole lot more than I ever though possible. It's opened a couple of doors, (well one, my forgettable experience on the BBC's politics show!), it's been biographic, it's been honest and most importantly it's been fun. I wouldn't have written what I have if I hadn't at least enjoyed it. But for now, it's probably a right a time as any to find answers to at least some of my questions.

Have I got it within me to write something entirely fictional? Is it possible to take my outlook on life and impose it upon a narrative that people will understand and more importantly, enjoy? Is it possible to learn how to write with a natural flare, or is it something that you are born with? Can I, as a blogger, who over the past four years has developed a tone of voice, a way of writing things down that I am comfortable with, devise for example, a female narrative? Express the pain in which she feels on a daily basis or describe the joys of a first time experience? And finally, have I got it within me to describe a place, a time, in which I have never been, never seen and capture the essence of authenticity with only words that I know and understand?

Tough questions indeed, but, quite easily, the answer to all of them may well be a simple and resounding "No". In the same time that I have been authoring this blog, I have read near enough over 120 books, various pieces of literature over a range of genre's, mainly crime fiction, but a range of different characters have made their mark. Whether it be characters that I have loathed, characters who have felt like long lost friends only for that back cover to close for the final time and leaving me with that sense of sadness, a poignant longing and a wonder of what will become of them.

There have been characters who have made me laugh and although it pains me to admit to it, there are those who have made me cry. But all of them have one thing in common, they are fully formed, entirely three dimensional and live and breath across a ream of paper bound together by glue and the reader that holds it within their hands.

It's almost that fact alone then, that provides a cast iron guarantee that whatever flows from the recesses of my mind and imagination will not see the light of day. A commuter will not be sitting on the Circle Line on a cold wet Monday morning being kept warm by the fluidity of my prose. Not because I have a lack of confidence nor lack the courage to believe in what I have written. I understand my own limitations. I understand that my imagination won't allow me to dream up tales of fantastical heroism, that is for the JK Rowling and Terry Pratchett's of this world. Crime writing has a plethora of authors who are constantly coming up with intricate 'who-dunnits', it's any wonder half of them aren't behind bars.

Whatever happens, I'll be learning something new. By learning how to write more creatively I can bring more life to my blog, maybe during #postaweek2011 I might actually write something a little more evocative, totally fictitious and scare my few readers with the darkness bounds of my imagination! At least if all else fails, next year I'll be able to write about my adventures in the skies as a wing-walker in intricate detail!

Monday, 24 January 2011

A Great British Summer

Sandcastles

January, the month in which people are supposed to spend in a state of morbid depression, a fact now celebrated by an unofficial date that is officially known as 'Blue Monday'. A day in the month which scientists reckon that they have proven, beyond any reasonable doubt to be the most miserable day of the year! Last Monday, instead of feeling blue, Stephanie, Oliver and I decided that the only possible remedy would to be to book a holiday and give us all a reason to live again!

Both Stephanie and I know that, baring any financial miracle that 2011 is to be a year of consolidation, settling some overrun debts from our wedding last year, whilst planning for the future and providing Oliver with a long awaited sibling. Our plans to slowly circumnavigate the globe, or to rebuild our home have been put on ice and have been replaced instead by the Karma Sutra and “50 Thrifty Ways to Manage your Weekly Budget”. When Stephanie's parents asked us then, would we fancy a long weekend away in Dorset – we positively jumped at the chance!

By adding Dorset to the pomp and pageantry of Aprils Royal Wedding, plus Oliver's August trip to Devon with my parents and Octobers half-term sojourn to an as yet, undecided English Riviera, this year is shaping up to be a very patriotic affair! And why not? They put the world “Great” next to Britain for a reason!

There is something uniquely special about the quintessential English seaside town. People my age and from my home town will remember long car trips down to the coast, probably to Margate to ride the Scenic Railway at Bembom Brothers, or Dreamland, however you referred to by name the very same place. A place that had a big wheel that was fashionable long before all the big cities started doing it. A place that since my generation, has been in terminal decline.

Margate, like many places dotted around the country have clearly seen better days, but there are still some crown jewels sprinkled around our island. Weymouth was a place where, as kids, we went off for the weekend, slept in tents on the shores overlooking Chesil Beach and had carefree days bathing in the waters of Weymouth harbour, a beach naturally sheltered so that you could walk out for miles and still be barely submerged.

It's been a few years since I've been to Weymouth, but being a water-sports venue for the Olympics next year, I'm expecting her to be looking at her very best - in preparation for being under the glare of the worlds eyes in eighteen or so months time.

But before then, Stephanie and I, along with Stephanie's parents get to enjoy five days of educating Oliver on some of life's finer things. The familiar, feel good soundtrack of the seaside penny arcade, and the strong sticky smell of beach confectionery, toffee apples and candyfloss, sticks of teeth breaking rock mingled in with the staple of an all English summer, fish and chips!

Here's keeping our fingers crossed that other Great British tradition doesn't rear it's ugly head, the unpredictable weather!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

A Tale of Two Strippers

Dancers

Week three of the #postaweek2011 challenge and so far I've managed to discuss faith and social morality, so perhaps it's time for something a little bit more light-hearted! How about a couple of fairly humorous anecdotes about recollections of boys trips from yesteryear, loosely inspired by BBC3's fly on the wall documentary, Sun, Sex and Suspicious parents? Okay then...

Before I set my confessionary heart on the line, it would probably be a sensible idea to tell you just what Sun, Sex and Suspicious parents is all about. It's fairly straightforward, each week we follow two teenagers heading off into Europe, with their friends in tow, as they undergo a modern day rite of passage; the week long booze, drugs and sex fest – the single sex “lads or lasses” holiday.

Little do these innocent teens know as their (possibly deranged) parents are following behind and watching each move they make from a variety of secret vantage points. You could be forgiven for thinking, this guy watches too much TV, but my excuse is, it's January, money's tight and there will be plenty more interesting things to write about later in the year!

Anyhow, back to the programme and back to the first episode. Two teens heading off to Malia, parents following, one set watching as their sweet and innocent daughter eyes up suggestively a Greek water sports instructor and the other, watching their son, dressed up in drag, with his head down the lavatory regurgitating his previous half hours excess.

It was at this point that I had a horrible flash back to Wednesday 5th September 2001. The night England beat Albania 2-0 at St James Park in a World Cup Qualifier. That same night, by way of a thank you, the Greek proprietor in which we sat within the confines of his bar gave our party of eight a Raki each, thanking us for our custom. Four people wimped out, so me, being a 21 year old idiot that I was decided to waste not, want not. Down the hatch, we're on holiday, lets have it!

Bang, lights out!

Next day, I wake up. What the hell is that? Covered in slime, grime and God knows what else! From what I have garnered from the resulting decade since, is that after the football, those fateful Raki's flipped a switch. Next bar along the strip witnessed another strip. That of an inebriated football fan who should have known better. The only thing that I have in common with a Greek Adonis is that our names begin with A, so I dread to think just what the hell that must of looked like. But friends or foe reunited me with my clothes and I walked back. Got the beer bus, one way please, did not pass go. Found my bed, collapsed, clothes disappeared all over again.

Reaso came back, just to make sure I was alright, a good friend, or perhaps not? Noticing my rather, spread eagled demeanour, switched all the lights back off, except the one above my bed. Illuminated like a prize turkey. Went back down the strip, left the door open as he went, left me be. He wasn't to know, or maybe he had a prophecy, but those girls, they won't forget. The excitement of their first all girls holiday, the joy of arriving at their hotel in time for a night out, vodka down the hatches and “Oh dear God!”, the horror of the boy in the room next door, “Welcome to Malia”. We won't actually go out on our first night, we'll spend the night making “Ugly naked bloke” look pretty, graffiti and make-up, won't he like that when he wakes up!


Watching then, as this poor lad, on holiday with his mates, blind-folded, doing a shot during a drinking game only for his parents to remove the blind-fold as part of the “grand reveal”, I felt his pain! Fortunately though for him, he knew where the line was, and didn't venture too far across it. His parents actually congratulated him on his conduct, said that they were proud. If only I could have said the same for mine!

This week, a new episode and as opposed to last week I thought this one was going to be okay, which it was, to start off with! This time around, same format, different parents, different teens and a new location, Ibiza! This time though, the memories were still beautifully raw and instead of the same feeling of trepidation, I had a huge feeling of longing as I wanted to go back and relive the stag weekend all over again. I didn't have the worry of thinking, “glad my parents aren't watching this one” as of course my Dad was with us when we went.

It wasn't until the very end that the old flashback's kicked in and the cold sweats of recollection hit hard. Basically, the grand revealing was to take place in a lap dancing club in the West End. The unsuspecting teen, his friends watching as he enjoyed his first experience of a lap dance. Big grin on his face, mates cheering, “Go on son!” at the very moment his parents walk in and “Surprise!”

Although I couldn't relate to the entirety of his embarrassment, poor fella, it was a little too acute for even my liking! But he doesn't quite hold the monopoly on embarrassing first lap-dancing experiences!

For Reaso's 21st birthday, we spent four nights in Las Vegas, home of the Showgirl. But for a trio of 21 year blokes, the thought of witnessing scantily clad ladies in the flesh was a little easier imagined than done. After all, this was Las Vegas, this is where the mobsters live and dark dingy spaces are used for lewd and despicable act's... Isn't it?

We convinced ourselves that we were better off out, we didn't know what we were letting ourselves in for, but mystically, every time we opened our guide book we'd open randomly at page 69. Gentleman's lounges, lounges for Gentlemen, rooms with a view, whatever, however you wanted to dress it up. Come on guys, “We are in Vegas”, we chorused to each other until it stuck.

Last night, off we went, Cheetahs, the Gentleman's lounge for beginners as it didn't say in the book. Your stereotypical nondescript building, covered in neon lights, some not working, some blinking when they shouldn't be. Your big, bulky motorbikes parked outside, the glitz and glamour of the strip a shadow away.

In English terms, a dive. The exact reason why we weren't enthused to begin with, but “we're here now guy's, we can't just leave. One drink and we're off” a mutually signed contract by the three of us that was never binding.

Three bottles of bud, standing at the bar, looking at the floor, don't want to look elsewhere in case the punk with the leather jacket and eyeballs tattooed wants to know just what the hell we are looking at. Couldn't drink the beer as felt too sick through fear, so just stood there, making small talk “beers nice”, “like your watch Roz”, “maybe we should have one dance, we're here now”. “you first”, “no, you go”, “no you”.

Standing there like three prize plums, it's any wonder we wasn't thrown out for being homosexual, let alone being approached by a lady wanting to engage in conversation. But engaged we were, and so taking the bull by the horns, I sauntered off with the first female that spoke to me, to find a quieter space so that we could discuss Leo Tolstoy or the like.

The room in which she led me into was full of like minded couples sitting on rather comfortable, but cramped benches, the ladies, quite chivalrously decided to make more room by sitting on their chosen partners laps where discussions were whispered in ears and demonstrations of flexibility and subtlety were commenced.

I sat on my hands (because I was led to believe that a bouncer can chop them off if you accidentally touch) and nodded like a parcel shelf ornament as she whispered something I couldn't quite work out in my ear and began her routine. “Wow, Vegas is awesome! I love this place. This lady is really bendy! Did she really just do that? Might have to remember that one” And so it continued, still sitting there, time going slowly by, the fun and excitement turning to mild panic as I realise that I need to pay this lady for her time “excuse me, when does this finish?”, I asked “I told you honey, its twenty bucks a song” she replied. “oh... okay luv, we'll make this the last one then!”

Her routine finished, currency exchanged hands and off I went, back to the others, who were waiting for my return. My reaction would determine whether we stayed or went and despite looking forlorn and embarrassed as I trudged back, I informed them, that in my role as pioneering gentleman's club guinea pig I had spent a small fortune and proceeded to teach them of the pitfalls and protocols which I had only just learnt myself.


Some people seem to get themselves into a pickle no matter what their best intentions are. Looking back, Reaso seems to be the common denominator, maybe he has been an unlucky omen! But no matter what bad luck as befallen me, I can be thankful that at least my parents were not watching via secret cameras in the room next door! At least they were bold enough to let me make my own mistakes. Unlike those poor teens, who we shall continue to watch as they head off to Ayia Napa, and other places I haven't been to, hopefully not being reminded each week of ghost's in which I though had been long suppressed!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Murky Waters of Soapland

Switching Over

I had anticipated difficulties when deciding to embark upon this #Postaweek blogging challenge; finding suitable content, making the time to meet each deadline, but more importantly writing what I wanted to write about in a coherent and concise way. I wanted to also challenge myself by writing something that maybe I would have steered clear of, by giving my opinion on something that people may disagree upon and have their own views, but then isn't that part of what writing a blog is all about?

Over the past few weeks, more and more has been written about Eastenders and the controversial storyline involving a newborn baby's death and the subsequent aftermath, in which a grieving mother swaps her dead child for her next door neighbour's healthy one without them knowing.

It may sound like something from a nightmare, but the reality is, these scenes are being played out in lounges across the nation on a near nightly basis and we are living through each characters eyes as they come to deal with, on one side a false bereavement, the other the loss of a long desired child. Whilst us, as viewers, have the added benefit of an insight into the truth.

Television is, by and large a fictitious medium. We watch television programmes as an escape, as entertainment, or in watching soaps, view a social commentary to what is supposed to be happening in peoples lives across contemporary Britain. We are supposed to be able to relate to the characters successes or failures, happiness or disappointments and in some cases are actually able to use these situations as guidance for our own lives.

Every once in a while a "shocking" storyline hits the screen, whether it be a lesbian kiss, or an incestuous relationship. A storyline that is deemed to be too controversial for the Great British public, who aren't quite ready for the discussion of a sensitive subject and would rather it be buried away where they think it belongs. It hits the screens, a manner of complaints are made, OFCOM get involved and newspaper scribes are quick to mount the high horse and feed us opinion telling us how wrong it all is and that the world has gone to pot.

A lot of the criticism aimed at Eastenders is the reaction Ronnie had to finding that her baby had passed away. By her swapping babies as a defence mechanism against her grief it is alleged to give a bad impression on those people who genuinely have lost a child. It may be just me, but does anyone genuinely believe that? Or that in some way, when a baby is a victim of SIDS, blame should be held at the feet of the parents?

Are we then to take the world of Eastenders seriously? If so, could we offer a plausible reason for her actions? A look at the characters back story will tell you that somehow in the past twelve months or so, her daughter was run over and killed moments after discovering she was actually her long lost child. She then proceeded to get herself pregnant again and lost the baby at the hands of her evil father, who only went and got himself murdered the next day.

In no way am a justifying the storyline, which I find particularly crass, uneasy to watch and unnecessary. There have been several rather disturbing scenes, none more so than when father Jack showed grieving Alfie a mobile phone photo of 'his' baby son. The faint look of recognition was haunting and sent a shiver down the spine.

Being a father the very thought of losing a child, through any circumstance, fills me with dread. In fact, the only way to comprehend the idea is to not discuss it, don't even entertain the thought, take the "it'll never happen to me" approach. But then, so does the thought of my wife having an affair, or my parents being murdered by a deluded vicar, all story lines which have frequented our screens in the not so distant past.

At what point does acceptable become unaccepted? If soaps are supposed to represent contemporary Britain shouldn't they be tackling issues that we read about daily in the newspapers, despicable and desperate acts such as those committed on Baby P for example, albeit an extreme one? Would the perpetrators have managed to commit such evil deeds had a soap been bold enough to bring such topics into our front rooms?

The point is. Soaps don't represent contemporary Britain, they are representative of a group of peoples' imagination, a voyeuristic look into people's lives who don't actually exist, written by 'creative' people who take a subject matter to the extreme. Call it entertainment, drama or content suitable for the trash. But if something can evoke an emotion, a powerful one, or provoke a reaction, a negative one then should we restrict it or encourage it? Or maybe do what I'm going to do. Concentrate on real life.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Faithless not Hopeless

Searching for answers

Towards the back end of last year, I did something out of my comfort zone. I went to Church and completed "The Alpha Course" where I learnt a little bit more about the Christian faith. This year, I have decided to write more, so that's what my first weekly blog is going to be about. I didn't say this was going to be easy.

All my life I have had the spectre of Christian faith surrounding me. My mother, a believer in God but not a practising christian encouraged Jessica and I to learn all the stories, the doctrine and a hymn or two. We were packed off innocently to Sunday school each week like good boys and girls. We learnt about David and Goliath, Samson and his hair, Jonah and the whale, all those Old Testament stories which children the world over are told.

As we grew older, my dear Nan began to get further and further into the church, attended regularly and transforming her and my Grandad's lives. I say that with fondness, as they changed from people who were in trouble with the police, to sensible law abiding citizens. But hindsight is a wonderful thing. I didn't quite see it that way as a child on the verge of becoming a teenager.

Nan and Grandad had moved up to Northamptonshire to be closer to the church. I say church, as that's what we were led to believe, but any time spent online looking at "Jesus Army" the words 'cult' and 'caution' are not far behind. I felt at the time that my grandparents were being led away by the church and my relationship with them was suffering as a result. We'd have the odd summer stay overs, we used to write (yes kids, with a pen), but we didn't see them very often. Our visits would include a trip to the house in which the Jesus Army used to live, great huge houses in the countryside with people wearing tie-die clothing and blessing you as walked by them.

In all honesty, as an impressionable teen, it was quite terrifying! We had the one unlucky experience of attending a full Sunday service. People repeating choruses from songs over and over like incantations, others shaking and convulsing whilst screaming in an unrecognisable language (known as tongues). Bodies passing out around us under the hands of people praying. Jessica and I stood in the middle like two aliens from outer space wondering who the hell these people were and could we please have our grandparents back?

It would be too easy to say that my experiences as a child have shaped my belief as an adult, indeed, I am sure that there is a contributing factor somewhere. But too much water has passed under the bridge since then for me to hide behind those memories.

Whilst Mum always had this flickering flame of faith burning inside her, Dad was the polar opposite. He would laugh at her, take the mickey and generally act as an atheist without proclaiming to be one. I decided to take my Dad's side and didn't believe 'any of all that' either.

As an adult, that all changed. Mum who had started going to church more regularly with a friend from her office took Dad along with her one day and they both enrolled on a course which explored further the Christian faith - the Alpha course, which over the space of twelve weeks turned my Dad from a non-believer to a born again Christian.

I was invited to attend Dad's baptism, but declined. Probably unfairly. My view at the time was one of disgust. Dad had spent his whole life laughing about it and taking the mickey out of Mum, I wasn't going to go just because he had changed his mind! Again, that recurring theme, hindsight, bites you on reflection! Oh how we could change the world through hindsight!

At the time Dad was discovering things for himself, my Uncle Matthew, my Mum's youngest brother was making headway through the streets of Medway, doing some pretty special things with the area's homeless community and turning from almost a street preacher to a pastor of his own church, which became a home from home for the rest of the family when my Nan passed away in the early naughties.

It certainly seems that everyone around me is a person of faith and that I am indeed the black sheep of the family. Mum and Dad had asked me politely for years whether I'd like to enrol in that years Alpha Course. Every time I politely declined - until last year. I felt that I owed Mum and Dad a favour or two, everything that they had done with the wedding and the honeymoon and being awesome parents in general. So when they asked, I said yes! Mum's face was already prepared for a negative reaction, so it was quite nice to surprise her with a yes.

Alpha, a twelve week course, starts of with rather lofty ambitions, it markets itself as "Taking on the biggest questions in the universe" or "The meaning of life is _____". Each session starts of with a communal meal, followed by a speaker who each week speaks upon a various topic, from "Is there more to life than this" all the way through to "How can I be filled with the Holy Spirit?". I had always suspected that the Alpha course was engineered as a mechanism for conversion. Get people who are fairly interested in learning more, feed them information, shower them with kindness and demonstrate the power of the church through subtle coercion.

In the end, I wasn't too wide of the mark. You are fed plenty of information, none of it fully lives up to the question that they use in the marketing, "The meaning of life is _____", well there isn't much of an option to choose from. It's Jesus or nobody, which isn't really what I wanted to hear. I was hoping for a little more rounded discussion but quite happily took on board what the people within our group were discussing, who were, each of them the nicest people you could hope to meet. Which again, probably didn't help my cause - maybe I needed an agnostic, or a Buddhist sitting within our group for a more rounded discussion. But as a conversion tool? I would be a little harsh if I said that it was used solely for that purpose. If you want to be, then there is plenty of opportunity to do so. But there is no pressure to get involved, or to even participate in the discussions each week.

I have no regrets going, I learnt a lot. The major thing that I got from the course was understanding finally where my parents were coming from. Why my Nan and Grandad made such a big commitment to uproot and move their lives away. But, crucially I still haven't found that missing ingredient which they all share. Faith. Ask yourself what I asked me. "Can you believe that there was once a dude called Jesus?" Yeah, that could be true. "Did that said dude, who went by the name of Jesus get crucified upon a cross?" Yes, again, in the realms of possibility that could work. Finally, "that dude, who died, and was locked in a stone tomb, did he walk out back out of it a couple of days later?" Erm... well exactly. That's where I get lost too, and that's the faith part that is missing!

Thinking about it all a bit too deeply, it would be easy to feel sorry for myself. After all, if they are right, Mum and Dad are off to a nice cushy everlasting party with the big guy, whilst I'm suffering heat exhaustion with the condemned.

To a lot of people, they'd be reading this and thinking, "So what?". A quote that you are reminded of during Alpha by CS Lewis (of Narnia fame), who once said:

Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.

A quote of which I tend to agree, which makes it all the more frustrating that for some reason I'm not seeing what everyone else is seeing, or should that be feeling?

At least Lewis didn't have the problems of family members who profess to be Christians, but singing off a totally different song sheet to everyone else. Whether that is down to misunderstanding teachings, or just personality disorders is open for debate. But how one Christian sibling can say to another, "I can't have a relationship with you as our churches believe in different things" is more confusing that the riddle about the bloke escaping from a stone tomb! Or how by becoming a member of a church means that you sign your rights to privacy away and have to watch where you park you car in case of being spotted outside the wrong persons house.

Confusions and questions will always remain, even for the most holy. The why and where of humanity will never be answered by us mortals, even with all the faith you can muster. So for now at least I have to find a happy medium somewhere. I have tried reading, I have tried listening and talking, but I'm no closer to sharing in with my parents faith. I wish to thank them for it, or at least Mum for when I was growing up who gave me my moral barometer which I will carry with me for life, and shall pass down to my children. I'd even encourage them to go with Nanny and Bampy to Sunday school so that they can learn the stories I learnt, although I will draw a line at any church service held within a school campus in Northamptonshire!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

New Year, New Resolution

2011 - write more

A new year, a new start, or at least that's what everyone is led to believe. The truth is, we all start each year with good intentions. To stop smoking, to lose weight, to drink less, to exercise more. But in reality come Valentines day our new years resolutions have been long forgotten, filed away with the Christmas decorations and put in the attic until December when they get dusted down and thought about all over again.

I haven't made a resolution this year, partly due to the fact that in October last year I stopped smoking, Just like that. No patches, no replacement therapy, no nothing. Cold turkey. The stress of having to cope with depriving myself of another of lives treats is just too much to bare!

There are of course plenty of things that I could do, lose weight, take up a new hobby, do a parachute jump, start collecting stamps like Gramps, but there isn't anything that stands out and inspires me, or indeed, nothing that could change me. Except of course... maybe... writing.

I have had this blog now for nearly five years and over which time I have had various emails, texts, Facebook comments, Facebook likes and conversations in pubs and people's lounges all generally saying very nice and complimentary things, which is humbling. Being the cynic that I am, I take it all with a pinch of salt. People always say nice things, nobody tells anyone anymore that they are going on, are boring and really need to get a life, thoughts of which I sometimes get from those dark and mysterious depths of my mind.

Nevertheless, upon reading a news article this morning on how Wordpress, a blogging platform, have set bloggers a challenge, to blog at least once a day or for the more casual blogger, once a week. Having already told myself that I needed to write more this may just be the perfect way in which to motivate myself to actually do it.

2011 promises to be a much quieter year than last, which was a series of personal highs. New jobs, lifetime ambitions fulfilled and marriage to the women I love. Oliver no longer pee's in public spaces and content therefore could well be at a  premium, especially as providing a weekly release is concerned!

Which is why therefore loyal reader, I send out this SOS! I am on the hunt for inspiration! Ideas, suggestions, thoughts and opinion. What can I possibly blog about over the next 51 weeks? Please have a think and drop me an email, submit a comment or post a letter with things I could possibly rabbit on about! It's either that, or the highlights of Accrington Stanley vs Gillingham each week!
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