Tag Archives: Life

Day 10 – A Style Icon

Surely I can’t really be feeling that much better after just 10 days of denying myself sugary pleasures? Yet I feel good, I seem to have lost some weight, I feel that my health is great and I have been on the receiving end of compliments about how good I look. I was even described on day this week, as a Style Icon! Yes, me!

Ok, that remark was probably tongue in cheek, but it made me feel good.

I also feel good right now because the normal difficulties of our life suddenly seem not to be as insoluble as I may have thought.  I have just spent almost an hour on the phone to someone who has been able to give me some good advice and some practical hints about what to do about to make things better. 

Perhaps this confidence may be a little premature, but this evening I feel good and Sue and I are going to enjoy that wine that’s in the fridge with some supper.

Ride Safe


Social Networking

Oh No, I’m a failed geek! I’m not on Google Wave which launched yesterday.

Ride Safe

Social Networking

I am increasingly convinced that social networking is the way that we are going to communicate in future.

The problem I have is which one of the many on offer now is going to be one that we all use. At the moment it feels like VHS versus Betamax mixed up with HDDVD v BluRay.

So, as an almost fully fledged geek, I am currently on:

I have also set up applications to link between these various applications and have even got my mobile phone to update Twitter which in turn updated my Facebook status.

So what else should I sign up for to ensure that my geek status is maintained and enhanced?

Ride Safe

Gareth and Emma’s Wedding

It seems ages since my eldest son, Gareth, and his partner, Emma, asked us to keep 11th July 2009 free.

In fact he asked if we would be willing to do the disco for their wedding. Willing! I was absolutely delighted to have been asked. I really felt that it was an honour to have been asked.

This conversation must have been at least a year ago and the wedding was always a long way into the future. However, the date did have some impact on our plans. Before we became the victims of a successful campaign by a few members of the Sherwood Chapter of the Harley Owners group, we realised that we would not be able to attend the weekend of drunkenness that passes for their rally. Not that this would have mattered to us, but I am at risk of digression into old wounds and that’s a story that has already been told.

As July approached, we discussed music with the bride and groom and found out a little about their music tastes (Gareth is into Kings of Leon and also uptempo house, while Emma is a huge fan of Take That.) We also compiled a CD for the wedding ceremony itself which included the traditional Wagner Wedding March, better known as “Here Comes The Bride”, a superb mix from Take That’s “Rule The World” to Shania Twain’s “From This Moment” which was to be played while they were signing the register and posing for photographs at that point, and their unusual choice of exit music, “All You Need Is Love” by the Beatles. 

I was most relieved that this CD worked perfectly on the day, but was a little disappointed that the person operating the CD player in the venue stopped the music just as Take That had mixed seamlessly to Shania Twain. However, I was probably one of only two or three people who noticed.

But, as usual, I have jumped out of any kind of logical sequence for this story.

The big day really started on the Friday before when several of us went over to Long Eaton to deliver the disco equipment to Trent lock Golf Centre, the venue for both the wedding and reception. It was then that we hit a small snag. They were expecting a few people, including both bride-to-be and groom-to-be to bring in table decorations and place names, but because they weren’t expecting a large pile of disco equipment, we couldn’t set up until the following day, but they allowed us to stack it in a corridor close to the dance floor area, but warned us several times to be careful of the newly decorated paintwork on the corridor walls.

So ended the build-up. Dear reader, you should breathe a sigh of relief that I spared you the reminiscence of shopping for my shirt and tie as part of this build up, but I make no apologies for this post capturing the memories of a a very proud dad, as we finally get to the big day, which can best be describedwith a few (hundred) well-chosen pictures, almost all taken by Sue.

Sue and Dave arrive at the wedding - Visual proof that I can scrub up quite well when the occasion demands it.

Sue and Dave arrive at the wedding - Visual proof that I can scrub up quite well when the occasion demands it.

The morning rather dragged for me as we didn’t have to be at Trent Lock until 2pm. We arrived at the appointed hour and got into conversation with some other early guests and a very nervous bridegroom along with his best man and one of the ushers, my other two sons, Daniel and Matthew respectively.

Best Man Daniel, Bridegroom Gareth and Usher Matthew at Trent Lock before the ceremony

Best Man Daniel, Bridegroom Gareth and Usher Matthew at Trent Lock before the ceremony

The ceremony itself took place upstairs in the Nicklaus Suite. Emma, naturally, looked beautiful and once the formal part was over, Gareth’s grin seemed to be fixed in place for the rest of the day and evening.

Emma and Gareth had only been married a few minutes

Emma and Gareth had only been married a few minutes

After the official photographs outside, it was time for the best meal I have ever tasted at a wedding. Sue captured this picture of the menu, which doesn’t do justice to the food or to the very good service from the venue staff.

The Menu for Gareth and Emma's Wedding Reception

After the speeches, all of which were sincere, funny in parts and far more real that some of the over-rehearsed and stage-managed presentations that we have seen at some weddings, we were amazed that we were singled out to receive some flowers from the bride and groom for our help in doing the disco. (Remember that they hadn’t heard us play at this point!) My mum was also given flowers for her skill and hard work in making the wedding cake, which was a work of art in itself.

Gareth and Emma's Wedding Cake - Made by Mum ChuffingHog

Gareth and Emma's Wedding Cake - Made by my Mum

 With the afternoon part of the proceedings over, it was time to swing into action and get the disco set up. Sue and I were helped by Daniel and Matthew and one or two of their friends and the rig was quickly assembled and the entertainment started. I was really pleased that there the dance floor filled up straight after the first dance (Bryan Adams – “Everything I Do”, with the long intro edited out) and stayed full all evening.

I made sure that I played Kings of Leon and plenty of Take That and from all the singing along and joining in, I am sure that most of the guests enjoyed the evening as much as I did. We did have a minor problem in that the after I had turned the volume of the music up to “disco” level, rather than “background” the lights were overwhelmed by the sound and their sound-to light function simply shut down. This was solved by Sue keeping one finger on the microphone at the back of one of lights for the rest of the night.

It’s great to realise that more than 40 years after I started playing records for people to dance to, that I can still keep a dance floor full and happy. It’s even more amazing that many of those dancers would be the sons and daughters of people that I entertained all those years ago.

Gareth and Emma on the Dance Floor
Gareth and Emma on the Dance Floor doing Cha Cha Slide

Sue took  a LOT more photos, and if you want to see them let me know and we’ll find a way, but for now, I’ll just say:

Ride Safe

T.I.A. 16th July 2009

It’s been a strange month since my last post here. I really should have been posting about my son’s wedding or letting you know about the Harley’s service, but on 16th July something happened that worried me and everyone around me.

I had a Transient Ischaemic Attack, known for short as a TIA. To those of us without a medical background, it was a mini-stroke.

I had seen the advertising and the TV commercial promoting FAST, and had done enough first aid to recognise the signs of a stroke, so, yes, I was scared.

I was at work and sitting in front of my computer when I felt a numbness down my right arm and pins and needles in my right hand. This soon affected the right side of my face and then the right side of my lips went numb. My Volunteer Centre colleagues called Donna, the first aider down to see me and they quickly decided to take me to hospital in Burton-on-Trent.

Of course, I phoned Sue and told her not to worry and that there was no need to come straight over because I was OK. Clearly I wasn’t, but I really didn’t want to cause her any problems (she hadn’t been in her new job for very long, and I knew that she’d be busy, as well.) This later proved to be my biggest mistake, because she was worried all afternoon until I finally asked her to come over from Nottingham to Burton, at which point I was on the receiving end of what can best be described as “grief”.

Anyway, I am jumping ahead. I was loaded into Donna’s car and shipped off to the Accident and Emergency department at the hospital. After a very short wait, I was whisked in to the treatment area where I was quickly seen by various doctors and nursing staff. I had an ECG and a blood test and was made to lie down for the next couple of hours under regular observation. The numbness in my arm had gone off before we even arrived at the hospital, although my brain continued to tell me that there was something that I could not define wrong. There probably wasn’t anything physical.

Throughout this time, Donna stayed with me and just as she absolutely had to leave, Sue arrived after a second phone call asking her to come and fetch me. By this time, I had also had the news broken to me that I would not be allowed to drive for a month.

When my blood test came back from the lab, the doctor told me that my platelet countwas very high. It seems that these little cells are what causes blood to clot, so a large number of them is not good for someone at risk of a stroke, which I now am. The doctor wanted me to be referred straight to Haematology and part of the delay in being allowed to go home was waiting for the specialist to return a phone call.

Since I was in hospital in Burton, it was decided, with some input from me, that I should be followed up in Nottingham. So when I was eventually released from the hospital there, the doctor extracted a solemn promise that I would go and see my own doctor the following day.

I did this and was promptly referred to the City Hopital in Nottingham the day after.

Here, I underwent the same battery of tests that I had been through two days before, with the addition of a CT scan on my brain. I am relieved that they found one, but that there was nothing untoward on the scan.

 It was fairly quickly decided that I had probably had a TIA, that my blood platelet count was high and my blood pressure was too high, especially for someone with diabetes. So after a wait for tablets to be delivered from the hospital pharmacy, I was allowed to go home with a revised tablet regime.

A week later I went to see my own GP and I was delighted that my blood pressure had dropped well into the recommended safe zone.

OK, I am still at risk of a stroke, but I am now at much less risk than I was before this warning shot. And I feel 100% now.

Not being allowed to drive bit is a bit of a nuisance, especially as it is more than 30 miles from home to work. The boss immediately agreed that I could work fom home, but I wanted to go in to see the team, so a compromise was reached. I would go on the train once a week and work at home on the other days. My home computer was quickly set up to access my work computer remotely and I booked my train ticket online. Sue went with me to Nottingham station for a Cross Country train direct to Burton-on-Trent where Donna met me to take me to Swadlincote. This was so smooth and easy and only took a few minutes more than my normal journey by road.

The day after I had returned to work, I was at home when there was a knock on the door at 7:30pm. Sue opened the door and called me over when I was presented with a massive bunch of flowers from my colleagues at South South Derbyshire CVS. I think that this was the only time in life that I have ever had flowers for me, (although we have had flowers jointly for Sue and me).

A very surprised and delighted ChuffingHog with his flowers

A very surprised and delighted ChuffingHog with his flowers

I also suggested that I change my holiday to cover two of the non-driving weeks, so as of now, I am on a fortnight;s holiday. I have no real idea what we are going to do with the time, but I’ll try and let you know.

I’ll also catch up on the wedding.

Ride Safe
(Even if I can’t ride at all at the moment)

I’m Getting My Life Back

Tha last few months have been the busiest that I can remember for some time.

As well as my wonderful new job in Swadlincote, we have had visitors over from Denmark, been to Thoresby Hall for a wonderful weekend. Sue has also changed her job, we’ve test driven a Smart car, been to a wedding and handfasting on Dorset and survived Volunteers Week.

I’m amazed at how much of this has been captured here on the blog – although its initial purpose of recording no more than trains and bikes and occasionally, music has been swept aside by everything else.

I still have to write about our Dorset Wedding, but the Volunteers Week adventures are being recorded over at the Volunteer Centre South Derbyshire blog.

Ride Safe

I’ve Done Something Good

Perhaps I should apologise for having shared this news with my Facebook friends before telling you, dear blog reader, about this.

I hinted in my post last week about our wedding anniversary, that I needed to pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat for Sue’s birthday. Well, I think I may be about to succeed.

I must confess that I still haven’t bought the card yet, but I wish I’d got a picture of Sue’s face on Saturday evening when I told her that I’d booked the weekend away at Thoresby Hall Hotel. Her reaction went beyond speechless, through stunned and right into dazed. When she went off to Tesco to buy a celebratory bottle of wine, she phoned a friend and babbled incoherently.

Now, some two days later, she’s just told me that she’s still excited about going. This is a little unusual for the woman who takes everything in her stride and who can sometimes comes over as a bit grumpy and miserable. (At least that’s what Tony at Lakeside always says.)

Sue has wanted to go to Thoresby Hall for ages and has always been really interested to hear about friends’ experiences when they’ve been there. From her tales, I feel that I already know the Blue Room Restaurant, the courtyard and the health spa, but the nearest I have ever been to the place is passing it on the A614.

Thoresby Hall is one of the chain of Warner Leisure hotels for adults only. It has a Spa, the fabulous surroundings of a stately home and great food.

It feels a bit strange writing a review before we’ve been to the place, but, rest assured, I’ll be back next week with the full details – including my own impressions of a Spa Experience, for I went slightly mad and booked myself for this as well as Sue.

An indication of a possible reason for all this excitement, and yes, I include myself in this, is this picture of the place.

Thoresby Hall
Thoresby Hall

Click on the picture to see more about the place and to understand more about why Sue is so up for this.

I have a good feeling that this is going to be a very Happy Birthday for my beloved.
… and no, it’s not a birthday with a zero on the end and I won’t spill the beans about exactly which birthday it is.
We won’t be going on the bike either.
Ride Safe