You must be somewhere in London, You must be loving your life in the rain

In February 2012, while still having a job in Hatfield (Hertfordshire) I sort of half moved to London. I’d spend the weekend in London and most weeknights still living in Hatfield, then in July I moved to London full time, driving back and forth between the two every day, thrashing the nuts off my car. In September 2012 I started a job in Central London. I literally was living my dream, the dream I’d had since I was six – to live and work in London. A dream that had almost been taken away from me at one juncture in life but I’d clawed it back. It wasn’t exactly as I’d expected it to be (I wasn’t the Barrister, as I’d originally planned) but still, it was Central London, that mystical place that millions of people turn up to in tin cans called ‘trains’ every day. This was just about the biggest fucking adventure of my life. I thought that it couldn’t get any better than this, the places, the people. Just everything was amazing and exciting.

Then on 16th January, four months after I started working in central London, this happened.
Vauxhall

The Vauxhall helicopter crash.  No, I’ve never posted this picture before.  It hit the building directly next to mine.  This is the evacuation process.  We spent the rest of the week in the basement of a grotty disaster recovery building on Southwark Bridge Road.  There were no windows, no mobile phone reception and for the first day no internet connection.  It was a lesson in how, even in London – one of the most connected cities in the world – you can be completely uncontactable, and out of touch with the world.  It was so lonely, especially as my work required security clearance so I couldn’t talk to anyone about it.  I couldn’t even tell anyone but my most immediate family what my job was.  Do you have any idea how alone that eventually makes you feel?

Then, because you’re a contractor, the people you contract to treat you like shit.  They shove you around wherever they fancy.  We were moved between offices four times in a year.  Of course, no definitive dates were ever given to us, generally we were just told we were moving “at some point” then some people would turn up one day with some crates.  The worst one was a grapple that lasted for a good four months that started with threats of them moving us from Kennington to Holloway, eventually they settled on WC1 instead.  When it came to moving, we eventually one got one week’s notice, despite them knowing we had to move for at least those four months.

Living here’s not been without it’s pains.  This flat has been a fucking nightmare.  It has no insulation, so heating it (with electricity, there is no gas) runs at over £1000 per year.  We went on holiday three days after the helicopter crash, were promised that a load of work would be done on it while we were away for the two weeks including treating mould and rewiring for new, more efficient heating.  We got home at 1am to find wires hanging out of the walls, nothing working, cigarette burns in the carpets and everything in shit state. They’d only started the day before.  Mere weeks later, when coming to fix more things while we were away for a weekend, they turned off our freezer, destroying nearly £300 worth of frozen food we’d only just bought.

Every socket was like this

Then there was my downstairs neighbour, who, in less than a year hit my car five times, denying it every time until it was caught on CCTV.  He also reversed into some scaffolding keeping the roof up and denied that until we mentioned it was on CCTV.  At one point I had to call the police at 3am on another neighbour because he was violent beating up his partner.  The police being the police didn’t really want to get involved in a domestic.  This was the same guy I’d accused of beating up the kid that lived with him four years previously.  Looks like I wasn’t far off.  He left before the police picked him up and only came back to pick up his stuff a few days later.

It’s always these times in your life, when you try to look over and review the things that have gone on that you can never actually recall that much.

Let’s talk about trains.  Some people might recall that I wrote this post and it caused a bit of a stir.  That was just one of quite a few times when a suicide caused major distruption to services in and out of London, I had many a night when it took three or more hours to get home.  Shit happens, you do what you can.  That doesn’t make it right to physically or verbally abuse railway staff.  There are still way too many people out there who think that them getting home is more important than the person who died.  I had other journeys with shouting matches between me and people who think that someone who is ill should be thrown off the train and allowed to die instead of the service being cancelled.  I had some woman try to push me off the platform and onto the track at Victoria, I’ve texted BTP for assistance.  Gotta say that I think my defining moment was getting someone with their feet on the seats to move was by throwing their lunchbag down the other end of the carriage and watching them run after it.

tryyourhardest

I’m not the biggest cunt out there, honest.  I have actually helped some people.  The people who have ended up in the wrong end of a Caterham and Tattenham Corner service and realised that they really didn’t want to be in Kenley, I’ve dispatched them safely back towards Tattenham Corner.  I also once helped a very young child whose dress was trapped in a moving escalator at Vauxhall station while hundreds (no exaggeration there) of people just ignored her and her mother’s cries for help.  I also stopped to help an elderly lady and her wheely bag who had been pushed off a bus by a very nasty bitch (herself at least in her 60s).  Even when I caught up with her and had words she didn’t have anything to say for herself.  I was also the sole witness to a knife crime in Streatham to which I gave the police a full statement.

If it wasn’t for coming to London I would never have started playing Ice Hockey and by christ this shit is amazing.  I’m still a terrible goaltender but I’m signed to a team, I get ice time and most importantly I have fun.  If anyone ever tells you that they are an ice hockey player, never, ever, ever doubt their commitment.  The EIHA is a bit of a laughable organisation who do so little to encourage people to play or join, so it’s amazing we have leagues in the first place, let alone people who continue to play considering we all have real lives.  It’s not like people who play football after work or on a Sunday morning, or people who do netball after work.  Nah, we’re playing hockey starting at midnight, not getting home until 3am, or we’re starting nearer 10pm and not getting home until midnight then still getting up at 5am to go to work the next day.  We’re taking a week’s worth of holiday from work, spending £500, which could be spent on a week in the sun to actually spend 8 hour days doing nothing but skating, drills and other intense exercise.  I wouldn’t change that for one moment, even if I do look slightly worried.

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Let’s have some happy stuff.

I’m a world record holder.

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In June 2014 I took my then partner to the top of The Shard.  He had no idea what was about to come.  The night before, I’d been out with a friend for a drink and got a bit tipsy.  I’d been planning this with her for a little while but I didn’t know how to do it.  Come that day I still didn’t know how to do it, so I wrote it all down in a card.  The trip to the top of The Shard on 7th June 2014 was actually a proposal.  I didn’t have the words, so I had to write them down.  I forgot my proper camera, and it rained that day.  Still, at least he eventually said yes, even if he cried too much and didn’t actually realise what I was asking him in the card.  It wasn’t until we got to a pre-booked afternoon tea at the Oxo tower when they brought out a dish that said “Congratulations” and he was really confused that he admitted he didn’t realise what I’d said.  He did finally say yes.

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I decided that we should completely cheat on London, having got married there for the first time round.  We ran off to New York and got married there instead, just the two of us, in November 2015.

weddingnov2015

Over the past couple of years my job has become unmanageble.  It’s got to a point where it’s made me so ill I can’t continue.  I’ve always had migraines, since I was a child, but never to the point where I was having four or five of them per week.  I made repeated complaints to my boss about various issues and nothing ever changed.  For a while I blamed myself – maybe it was all my fault, maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough, so I kept trying harder and harder.  I was getting up earlier each day to try and cram in more and more, get into work earlier.  Maybe it was me?  Maybe I needed to do like you hear so many people talking about, put in two or more hours every day outside of your contracted time, then it will get better, you’ll get that recognition, you’ll get what you want and it will start getting easier.  People will respect you for this.  That’s not how it worked out.  Instead, I got my first Cluster headache at the end of June 2015.

I thought it was just a one off.  Then when I went on holiday in February 2016 and for seven out of the ten days we were away, I had these every day, many of them each day.  I lost almost the entirety of the holiday.  There was nothing I could do about them.  I could barely leave my bed, painkillers didn’t work.  I was barely able to eat, I couldn’t go into the sun, could barely stand sound.  One day I’d gone more hours than other days without any pain, took one sip from a can of beer and within half an hour I had a drooping face and had gone blind in one eye.  I had my next attack in June, the day after I came back from my next holiday, and this attack was so bad my GP made me go to A&E where I was treated as though I was having a stroke.  I am 30 years old.  When I finally returned to work some days later and explained it all to my boss, all he could say was “oh well”.

I now have a neurologist, and I take Topiramate, an anti-convulsant, to control the “normal” five per week migraines that I get.  The next time I have a cluster headache, I’ll start on a new treatment (Verapamil) which will mean more pills and also an epi-pen to carry around forever.  Who’d have thought that just going to work, doing an office job could take you from a relatively active and healthy 20/30-something to having the worst pain known to man, being treated like you’re having a stroke and wanting to die because the pain is so bad you’ve gone blind?

Now I see just how pointless this mindless pursuit of wealth actually is.  It’s nothing more than that, you’re never going to find happiness in it.  All these people buzzing around London thinking they’re important.  All these people who think that they’re better than everyone else, that they have to get to places before anyone else does, that they have to cram themselves into the last little bit of space because they’re just so fucking important.  You’re not, you’re just as fucking worthless as the rest of us.  Your life is no more important than that of your office cleaner.  Your pathetic chasing around of that pound sign on your payslip is just as shallow and empty as the junkie chasing their next fix.

I’ve spent a lot of my life in hospital, and I always wanted to rise out of it to make something of myself instead of depending on everyone else.  When all this pain started I realised that I didn’t have to do this any more.  I wondered a couple of times if I’d made a massive mistake by taking on a new job, there were a few doubts, but then I realised I felt the same when I took on this current job.  You gotta do, what you gotta do to be happy, or at least content, and healthy.  Your health and wellbeing is far more important than money.  You do not have to keep on doing this.  You do not have to keep on destroying yourself.  If you can’t do it any more, don’t.  If you need to stop, stop.  Who cares what other people think?  Your wellbeing is more important than what any jumped up shallow bastard around you thinks.  You do what is best for you.  You are not weak for having to slow down, stop or change your mind.

Since I explained this to my colleagues, two others out of my team of four are doing the same.

At the same minute that this post is published I will be walking out of an office in WC1N for the last time in my life.  I will never set foot in there ever again.  I will be giving up my security clearance for a life in leafy Kent – back where I originally come from.  Where I can actually live a life that, hopefully, won’t try and kill me.  Where I don’t have to get on a train at the arsecrack of dawn every day, where I don’t have to time my life down to the very second.  Where maybe, just maybe, one day I can stop taking all of this medication to get me through the day without so much pain and can actually be happy, or at least content and feel human.

If this is all you ever ask for, this is all you’ll get.

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Crime Uncovered at The Museum of London: A Review

Crime Uncovered at The Museum of London is a small collection of the items from The Crime Museum (colloquially known as the “Black Museum”) at New Scotland Yard.  The reason it’s only a selection is because the museum at Scotland Yard is not, and will never be open to the public.  This is merely a glimpse into some of the evidence from famous, and not so famous crimes, as well as a look into police procedure.

Crime and investigation are in my blood.  Multiple members of my family were police officers and some dealt with some serious major crimes that gained a lot of media attention.  When I was a small child I always wanted to join the police.  Illness meant that it wasn’t going to happen, so instead I set my sights on doing a law degree and becoming a Barrister.  Unfortunately this, too, stalled and I’m in a bit of limbo – though it looks like the law degree may be restarted.  Alas, I still work in a law related field.  It really is something that I’ve never stepped that far from and feel magnetically drawn to at whatever stage of my life I’m at.

Of course I had to go to this exhibition.  Despite the fact it’s been open since October I only managed to get there on 03/03.

You must book tickets in advance – I’d done this during the week and because I was on a unique concession I just had to walk up to the ticket desk and pick them up.  The staff at The Museum of London were most helpful.  If you turn up on the day without a ticket you may be disappointed as the final days of the exhibition are largely sold out a day or so in advance.

You get into the exhibit and you’re in a couple of small rooms with death masks, artifacts from prisons, evidence from trials.  There’s a small case with items from the Jack The Ripper period, and a large case with the real lengths of rope used to hang some famous criminals including Amelia Dyer, the “Reading Baby Farmer”.  Once you’re through the couple of ante-rooms you’re into the main exhibit.  I do recommend reading about the items there, and also the history of how the Metropolitan Police came into existence.  You’ll also learn how “New Scotland Yard” came to be called New Scotland Yard, despite being at 10 The Broadway.

In the main exhibit it’s been laid out as individual chronological crimes.  There are murders you’ve heard of, murders you haven’t, murders that marked a significant sea change in the way that police investigations were conducted, and even some crimes that weren’t murders but still had a significant impact on the police and crime as a whole.

Masks used by the Stratton Brothers - the first criminals to be convicted in Great Britain for murder based on fingerprint evidence, 1905 © Museum of London
Masks used by the Stratton Brothers – the first criminals to be convicted in Great Britain for murder based on fingerprint evidence, 1905 © Museum of London
Masks used by the Stratton Brothers – the first criminals to be convicted in Great Britain for murder based on fingerprint evidence, 1905 © Museum of London

This is the point that the exhibition starts to become jarring – for me.  You are looking through glass at items that were used to kill people.  The masks above were used by the Stratton Brothers – the first people to ever be convicted based on fingerprint evidence – during a robbery which turned into a murder of two elderly Deptford residents, in 1905.

Think about that for a moment – those masks were on the face, touching the skin of two real people who then murdered two innocent people out of greed.  Other crimes mentioned are The Acid Bath Murders, The Krays and Dr. Crippen.  These are crimes that have been sensationalised throughout history in the media and fiction.  They are things that we feel removed from because they were so big, almost as if it was a story or a movie, not something that actually happened.  In fact, they’re so amazing they could only be fiction, right?  The truth is stranger than fiction.

The exhibit moves on to terrorism – something that is very relevant today, but a lot of people seemed to walk past this part.  There’s also a small section on public order with a large burned riot shield used at the Broadwater Farm Riot.  I stayed at this item for quite a while, it was hard to reconcile that someone was actually holding that in 1985 while being attacked.  It’s very clearly been charred and burned, and there’s a large tyre mark where it’s been driven over.  PC Keith Blakelock was murdered during the Broadwater Farm riot.  His murder was commited by rioting youths who hacked him to death in an attempt to decapitate him.

Moving on, the exhbit also contains items used to make counterfeit currency and jewellery.  There’s a small piece on Georgi Markov, the man killed by ricin poisoning from a modified umbrella.  There’s also a section with offensive weapons, from professionally made Flails to homemade spiked batons.  One of the cabinets includes a collection of guns.  One of these guns is entirely made of wood, but it is functional, another is handmade of metal, there’s starting pistol, a cigarette lighter, and possibly most disturbing of all is a toy handgun.  I had to look at this for a long time because I couldn’t believe it was a toy.  It looked so real and I can entirely understand how it can be mistaken for a real weapon.  Before people start criticising the response by the police to imitation firearms, perhaps you should take a look at some of these imitation firearms and see if you can tell the difference?

At the end of the exhibit there’s a dark section with video interviews with some of the people responsible for the exhibition.  Most people seemed to be just walking out without watching this, but it’s worth staying for.  It tries to give a more human side to it all.

I enjoyed this exhibition and I’m very glad I went.

This is where I need to give my opinion on some things I experienced while I was there, and unfortunately, it’s about a lot of the other people who were there.  It was very easy to tell that they hadn’t come to this because they were interested in police procedure or investigation.  No, a lot of these people had come because they wanted to rubberneck and look at the grisly bloodstained items on display.  They wanted to see whether all of the things they’d read about in the papers or seen on TV was real – was it as bad as they’d seen in some ITV dramatisation.

There were people going through the exhibition pointing at items and making some ‘funny’ remark then laughing about it.  Hold on, that was part of the murder of an innocent person, why are you laughing?  One pair of women who were behind me most of the time started their trip by saying they thought they’d come to an S&M museum because there was a birch rod on display.  It was one single item showing some of the punishment that criminals were subjected to in Newgate Prison, what better item to crack a joke about.  The same women weren’t bothering to read about any of the crimes that they’d never heard of – they made it very apparent they were only interested in the ones they’d read about or seen on TV.

I came across other people who’d spend only mere seconds looking at the items on display, not read about their significance, and then just breeze on, having learned nothing.  There were some teenagers there constantly asking their parents “Do you remember this?”  “Were you there?”

When I got to the section about IRA bombings in London, it was empty, no-one was bothering to read about it.  It’s almost like people don’t believe it happened, or think that because it’s not on a scale of terrorism as we know it now, then it has no significance.  What many people don’t seem to realise is that the threat from the IRA hasn’t entirely gone away, and there are many, many people still alive who are personally affected by the IRA bombings.

This isn’t some exhibition so that you can come and have a look at some bloodstains and then go about your life as if nothing happened.  These were real people.  They were someone’s son or daughter, someone’s brother or sister, someone’s mother or father.  They were real people – they might have been murdered 100 years ago, but that doesn’t mean we can treat it like fodder, like some fictional trash you might pick up in the Waterstones bargain bin.  They were real people (innocent or not) who were unlawfully killed by another human being who was caught and had to pay the price.

Many of the people at this exhibtion reminded me of the people I saw at Forensics: An Anatomy Of Crime.  I genuinely wish that people visiting this had far more respect for the items on display.  It felt like I was in a microcosm of people who had never been victims of crime or even a witness, and it was as though they had no perspective on how crime utterly destroys lives, and people.  Not just murder, but rapes, violent crimes, riots and drugs.  Crime literally rips the soul out of people and many of them never get it back.


Crime Uncovered at The Museum of London is open until 10th April 2016.

You must book in advance.  Tickets range from £10 on a Wednesday to £16.50 at the weekends.

Metropolitan Police Officers and Staff can enter free, but you must contact the museum directly for the booking code and attend with your MPS ID.  The same applies for officers from other UK Police forces.

Your nearest tube station is St. Paul’s on the Central Line, but you can easily go to Bank, use Exit 9, walk along Poultry and Cheapside, then turn up St. Martin le Grand.

I leaned on the wall and the wall leaned away

In January 2011 I left a long term relationship.  In April 2011 Portal 2 came out.  These might seem like two entirely separate events that cannot be related.  In truth, they are unrelated but do eventually come together.  Leaving that relationship and everything that followed was hard and being a gamer meant that I played Portal 2 when it came out.  Portal 1 was fantastic, Portal 2 could only be better.

During the gameplay if you dropped yourself down into a little side room off one of the experimentation chambers you could hear a song playing.  That song was called Exile Vilify and was by The National.  It touched me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mcP3iG2Ksw

On 27th August 2011 I purchased High Violet by The National, their most recent album at that time.  From then on I listened to very little else.  It wasn’t more than a few months later and I had their entire back catalogue.  I can say with total honesty that never has a band or artist been so on point with how I was feeling through a myriad of emotions, situations and huge life changes.

Four years later and they are still the main band that I listen to.  When I first started they were little known outside the US and their song for Portal 2 got them out there across the rest of the world.  Since then their music has been gently getting everywhere.

I’ve been to see them twice, once at Alexandra Palace, and once at The O2.  I don’t normally cry in public, but they got me.  I know that music has the propensity to envelop and move everyone, but I really have not come across a band whose lyrics can move me on different days.  Previously I’ve always attached music to the emotions that I had the first time I heard it.  For a long time when listening to High Violet it made me feel sad as that was the overall feeling I had when I started listening to the album.  However, over the four years since then I’ve got a different job and I’ve moved to London, so those songs have, in some instances, changed from songs that would always make me cry to making me hugely jubilant.

Bloodbuzz Ohio was their first single from High Violet.

Some of the lyrics spoke to me then and they still do now:
“I never thought about love when I thought about home”
I had a somewhat tumultuous relationship with my parents regarding my divorce at the time, and when thinking about my family and my childhood home the thought of being there, being safe and loved never occurred, it was just somewhere else in the country that I didn’t want to go.

Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks – the title makes absolutely no sense, but to me the lyrics did:
“Leave your home
Change your name
Live alone
Eat your cake”
I would listen to this as I walked home from work late at night in Hatfield, because it perfectly described what I’d done earlier in the year.  I had left my home, changed my name and lived alone.  And I enjoyed it.

“All the very best of us
String ourselves up for love”
I felt, and to a degree still feel that – while I don’t actually regret having that relationship as I wouldn’t be where I am now without it – it was probably the biggest mistake of my young life.  I was mature and intelligent enough to realise that it had all been my decision, no-one had forced or goaded me into anything I had done it all willingly, and the shitstorm I was in was my doing.

“Man its all been forgiven
Swans are a swimmin’
I’ll explain everything to the geeks”
These lyrics, however, took me a lot longer to reconcile with.  It wasn’t until after all was said and done, everything had been put to bed in July 2012 that I felt I could begin to forgive myself for my actions, my decisions and how I handled everything.  Once I started doing that, the swans were a swimmin’ again and life could be rebuilt.

England.  This song did hold some sad feelings for me when I first heard it, but now since moving to London it’s completely different.

“Put an ocean and a river between everybody else
Between everything, yourself and home”
Essentially, this is what I was trying to do when I moved to London.  I wanted to get away from everyone I knew, everyone who had ever criticised me, everyone who said I was good enough, intelligent enough or physically healthy enough to follow my only childhood dream.  I wanted to get away from those people and that toxicity.  Unfortunately it meant that I had very little contact with my parents for a while, but that was needed at the time.  It worked, and it was the best thing for me to do at that moment.

“You must be somewhere in London
You must be loving your life in the rain
You must be somewhere in London
Walking every lane”
I am somewhere in London, and I do love my life in the rain.  I am somewhere in London walking every lane.  A sneaky little smile comes over my face every time this song comes on when I am actually walking down a road in London in the rain.  I almost feel like this is my song.   That, entirely selfishly I embody this song to the fullest and as though my entire life was the build up to it.

Beyond High Violet I felt other lyrics too.

“Looking for somewhere to stand and stay
I leaned on the wall and the wall leaned away”
I’m not the most socially adept person, never have been and never will be – I don’t actually have the desire to be so.  So this particular lyric is very close to home.  I’ve felt through a fair amount of my life that when I’ve tried to get to know some people they’ve moved away and not been interested and it’s felt like even the walls would move away from me.

“You know I dreamed about you
For twenty-nine years before I saw you
You know I dreamed about you
I missed you for, for twenty-nine years”
In all honesty, this hasn’t been relevant until this year when I turned 29, and I can only think of my partner.  I’ve never felt so deeply connected to someone, genuinely to the point of tears.  And as soppy as it all sounds, I missed him…for 29 years.

“You get mistaken for strangers by your own friends
When you pass them at night
Under the silvery, silvery Citibank lights
Arm in arm in arm and eyes and eyes, glazing under

You wouldn’t want an angel watching over you,
surprise surprise they wouldn’t want to watch.”
This song only came to mean something once I got into the swing of life in London.  It feels like it’s about the monotony of life and doing what you have to do to survive, which in the western world is just work and seemingly sleep.  I would genuinely mistake many of the people in my life for absolute strangers now due to not trying hard enough with those relationships and sometimes because I simply don’t want to talk to anyone.  At all.  Plus, despite us all thinking that we’re unique and special, we’re not.  We’re all the same boring losers, so why would a guardian angel want to watch over you?  I’m sure they have better people they could go and visit.

I Need My Girl.

“Remember when you lost your shit and
Drove the car into the garden
And you got out and said I’m sorry
To the vines and no one saw it”
The first time I heard this song I thought about me, but it was in the context of that’s why my partner would think about me.  So, upon getting home from work that day I brought up this lyric with him, and he concurred he thought the same.  Apparently it’s the kind of thing I would do.  It was probably a premonition as I do now go and talk to my tomatoes daily.

Graceless.

“God loves everybody, don’t remind me”
I associate this with the times I’ve been walking down the road and someone has told me that God or Jesus loves me.   I don’t believe it.  Funnily enough, none of them have been able to answer why I spent a quarter of my life really ill if Jesus loves me.

“Grace
Put the flowers you find in a vase
If you’re dead in the mind it will brighten the place
Don’t let them die on the vine, it’s a waste”
I’m a very fatalistic person and remind myself every morning as I walk out of the front door that this could be the day that I die, or maybe my partner won’t make it home from work. The same as wheneverI get on a plane I say to him that at least we would die together.  I’m very accepting of my own mortality and impending death – it’s going to happen and I don’t know when, so I may as well not fight it.  When I die there won’t be many people who will care or be bothered, so they might as well put some flowers out, it’ll brighten the place up.  They better bloody look after them though, if they die too quickly, it’ll be such a waste.

I stood up at the O2 and shouted the lyrics to this song as loud as I could.  I wish I could get away with doing that on trains each morning.

I wrote how this made me feel quite recently.  I still can’t listen to it without crying.

Music and lyrics don’t have to make sense to enjoy them.  If something just feels right inside you, then there’s nothing wrong with it.  Music speaks to everyone differently.  This post is entirely selfish and I’m not ashamed of this.  I swear I could make up an entire song from random lines scavenged from songs by The National.

After all is said and done, we’re nothing but useless cogs in the wheel of our country’s economy, as summed up in Theory Of The Crows.

“Traded my day light for a career.”

 

Today, you were far away

Ten years ago today the first person in my life that I was truly close to died.

Today
You were far away
And I
Didn’t ask you why

I had known this person my entire life.  He had known my parents for a very long time before I was born.  As all of my real grandparents were dead he was a substitute grandfather and, despite being a priest, he treated me the way I would expect a grandfather to treat their granddaughter.

What could I say
I was far away
You just walked away
And I just watched you
What could I say

He imparted so much knowledge onto me.  He wanted me to know and absorb everything that I possibly could.  He wanted me to be the best that I possibly could.  He gave me books, some I still have.  When I was about 14 I read Stalingrad so that we could talk about it.

How close am I
To losing you

He gave me London: The Biography because he knew I loved London.  He loved London too, and even after spending years in Hong Kong and Scotland he only ever wanted to be in London.

Tonight
You just close your eyes
And I just watch you
Slip away

He gave me his sister’s copy of Grey’s Anatomy from 1950s.  It’s genuinely beautiful.

How close am I
To losing you

I told him that I was going to drive to visit him as soon as I passed my driving test.

Hey, are you awake
Yeah I’m right here
Well can I ask you
About today

Fourteen days before I took my driving test my mother called me and cried down the phone.  He was dead.  My Father had been with him when it happened.  My Father was in London for such a stupid reason, but visited while he was there.  They were simply making a cup of tea when he collapsed and died instantly.

How close am I
To losing you

I didn’t have the courage to visit his grave until 2012.  He’s buried next to his parents.  I would like to be buried there too.  A decade on and I still cannot article to someone how much I miss him without turning into a mass of tears.  I don’t think I ever will be able to, I just don’t have the words.

I miss you.

How close am I
To losing

 

The Bakers: Back and still not giving a damn about one another

So last time Becky was getting half naked in front of her parents and kid, Svetlana was picking up the slack with Topher, and Heathcliff was fucking off to go fishing every day.

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For some stupid reason I decided that I wanted Becky to have another kid and dump it on her parents, so she had to meet a guy.  I would have got her back with her ex, but according to the family tree and her relationships she didn’t have an ex, and her kid Topher just materialised out of nothing, as he doesn’t have a father listed.

Anyway, I got her to meet Geoffrey Landgraab.  They met at a party, he was the only guy there that didn’t look 100% douche.  So she danced with him.  That’s nice.

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I sent Becky to this party thinking that she would get some food because she was hungry, and man…it’s a party, you get food in these places.  There was none.  So, I told Becky to go and make some food for everyone to share.  This cray-cray cow freaked out at Becky cooking in someone else’s house.

I love their ideas of what is socially acceptable and what isn’t.

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“Jesus guys, it’s just a fucking salad.”

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While Becky was out dear Topher was at home being “looked after” by his grandparents.  There was less looking after, and more of them getting jiggy in front of him.  I think he sicked up in his mouth a bit.

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Still in a bid to get away from bringing up someone else’s kid Heathcliff would now go out fishing and then dumpster diving.  Living the dream man, living the dream.

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Just before Becky was about to get jiggy with Geoffrey her father got electrocuted by the TV and wandered around the house half naked.  WHAT A WAY TO MAKE AN IMPRESSION.  It’s only marginally worse than the fact that Becky made dinner for Geoffrey: grilled cheese sandwiches.

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“Fuck off Dad.  I’m trying to get some!”

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While his mother was getting some, and his grandfather was slightly singed Topher became a teenager.  I can only imagine how much therapy he is going need.

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“Just a bad prawn guys, honest.  I couldn’t possibly be pregnant!”

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And so it begins.  Topher’s odd upbringing seems to be on show now.  I wouldn’t really call that a professional face painting job that you paid §50 for.  That looks more like you smeared some kale over your face.

The Sims 3: Basic Bitching Bakers

So,  last time Becky had dumped her kid on her elderly parents to become a world class podium polisher.  Charming.

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Having not created this family and knowing nothing about Becky’s parents, I have to wonder where she got her classiness from.  I have never, in my near 30 years sat on the toilet in order to eat or drink something.

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Basic Bitch is at work, so her mother teaches her kid to walk.  I seriously made sure that Becky didn’t interact with her son at all.  Neither did Heathcliff in truth because I sent him out of the house permanently fishing.  Oh yeah, you can see in the corner there that their sofa has gone.

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Even if it was pissing down, hailing, and sometimes an electrical storm going on Heathcliff would be out there trying to catch the perfect fish.  He never got one, but there’s no harm in trying I guess.  Gets you out of the shithole that is home.

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Becky even missed her kid’s birthday because she was too busy polishing podiums so her mother had to do it.

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Fuck me.  The family tree doesn’t show this kid’s father but if it did, I think he would be ashamed.

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I don’t know why I included this picture.  She’s wearing a stupid dress and about to fall over with a random stranger.  Well done.

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Becky can just fuck right off.  First it was the smoke bomb next to the hot dog stand, now she sets off a full on fucking firework.  Jesus Becky.

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Heathcliff is so desperate to get away from his house, his Basic Bitch of a daughter and the screaming brat that he’s taken to fishing in the graveyard.  Good on you, Heath.  Enjoy the peace for now.  You’ll be a resident in there soon.

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I don’t know.  I just, don’t know.  She shares a room with her parents and kid, and she sleeps half naked.  I just…I don’t even.

Back soon with more.  It really does get better.

The Sims 3: Moving on to The Bakers

So, it’s been a while since I’ve done anything about The Sims 3, yeah?  In fact, it’s been years and that’s largely because over the past few years I haven’t had time to play much.  Now I’m considering getting The Sims 4 (quite why I didn’t do that while I was off sick I don’t know) so I wanted to have one last little foray into the world of The Sims 3.  If I do get The Sims 4 any time soon then I might just do a few videos as that seems to be the cool thing to do now instead of picture stories.

This story is going to be brutally honest, I will not censor my language with the pictures or the story.  If you don’t like it, you know what to do.

baker001Meet The Bakers.  These guys were a pre-made family in the game and they were described as being something like a retired couple whose daughter moved back in with them with her son, so will her bratty little kid ruin their retirement?

Their names are damn special.  Heathcliff, Svetlana, Becky and Topher.  Topher.  Seriously guys.  Call your kid Christopher or not at all.  They didn’t have much money, which was the way I liked it because Becky’s parents were “retired” (read as lazy-fucks).

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One of the first things they did after moving in was go to the summer festival where Mother and Daughter took each other on at an eating competition.

baker003I think Becky won this one.  Her ever charming mother can be seen here puking up in the foliage.

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Heathcliff, despite his advancing years decided to try rollerskating.  What a douche.  He could break a hip or something.

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I think we’ll learn as we go on that Becky is just a basic bitch.  Here she used some festival tickets, bought a smoke bomb and dumped it next to the hot dog stand.  Keepin’ in real Becky.  Fuck you.

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Heathcliff and Svetlana spend a lot of time WooHooing.  They didn’t care who was around (as you’ll see in another post) they just liked to get jiggy.  Careful Heathcliff, you might put your hip out.  Douchebag.

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This is just about the only family picture of them you’ll ever see.  I decided that Becky the Basic Bitch was going to dump her kid on her parents and go and get a high flying career.  So they all went out together once, took a picture and that was it.  Becky never spoke to that little scrote Topher again.

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Svetlana had to now take care of Becky’s crotch-nugget, she had to potty train him, teach him to walk and talk, play with him, feed him.  She could often he heard in the halls of the house saying “Fuck you Becky, I had a life before this.”

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Wahey!  They’d been in the house about three days and some fucking burglar comes by.  This guy stole their sofa.  Their shitty §200 sofa and that was it.  Oh yeah, you can see Becky sharing a bedroom with her parents – I bet she loves hearing them getting their sexytimez on.

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I had to force Becky to get up when the burglar broke in.  She didn’t even notice.  Basic Bitch.  She called the cops (I made her call the cops) and then instead of being freaked out about it, she started telling the cop how amazing she was at polishing podiums.  Oh yeah, she’s in her pants too, nothing like letting everything hang out in front of the law.

Next part coming soon because this lot are gold.

Making football better and fairier

I am not a football fan.  I’m not going to lie about this, I think it is a game of little skill which has no meaning, and is solely played by narcissists for the money.  Unfortunately, I end up watching a lot of it because my partner likes it.  After many years of watching football he has become as equally fed up of the behaviour of players, officials and governing bodies as I have and when we’re watching a game together we often shout out ways that football could be made better.

It will become apparent when reading this that both my partner and I are (or in his case were) ice hockey players.  The game of ice hockey isn’t perfect – no sport is – but football could learn a lot from it, and other sports.  Therefore I present to you my (in no particular order) 10 ways in which football could be made better.

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1.  Diving
In Ice Hockey if someone decides they are going to partake in a bit of diving, they will receive a two minute minor penalty.  The will also receive a warning from the NHL.  If they do it again they get a $2000 fine, a third time is $3000, a fourth time is $4000.  When you’re getting to be fined $4000, your head coach is also fined $2000.  If you dive a fifth time or more, your fine is $5000, but with each extra incident your head coach has to pay another increase of $1000.  A player diving for the eighth time in a season costs a total of $10,000.  Premier League footballers are so desperate for their money they’d stop diving pretty soon if they were losing thousands of pounds per game, especially the ones who currently do multiple dives.

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2.  Time Wasting
There’s a deplorable amount of time wasting in football.  Anything from arguing with the referee to faking injuries.  The faking injuries makes me angry because it’s so pathetic and completely unnecessary.  No gents, it doesn’t make it look like you’re appealing for help for your team, it makes it look like you’re three years old and Mummy told you that you couldn’t have any sweeties, so you’re throwing a tantrum.  It doesn’t happen much in Ice Hockey (and it’s far more likely someone will chuck the puck out of bounds to waste time), but some people try to take the piss, and often the commentators call them out on it.  I’ve watched enough football to know that the commentators in the UK rarely go for the jugular and call a footballer a lying liar who lies.  They really should, by not doing so just perpetuates the myth that their behaviour is acceptable.

These are people who kids think they should live up to, who those kids’ parents believe are respectable role models. Well, they aren’t.  These people should be punished for every occassion they behave like this.  There should be fine or an immediate sending off for anyone faking an injury.  At the current state of affairs you would end up playing five-a-side in the Premier League, it’s that rife.  Don’t be a dick, if you’re not hurt, you’re not hurt, get up, grow some balls and carry on.

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Hockey players regularly pull out their own teeth on the bench, then get back on the ice a few minutes later, so don’t tell me that someone brushing your ear is a massive head injury.

3.  Penalties
I’m not talking penalty shots here, I’m talking punishment.  At the moment teams are awarded free kicks and corners, let us get rid of this completely and bring in a penalty box instead.

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Someone on the team been misbehaving?  Did a bit of diving, embellishment or faked an injury?  Someone argued with the Ref because they didn’t like a decision so decided to call the Ref a cunt or give them the finger.  Send ’em to the box.  It’s like the naughty step, they have an alloted amount of time to think about what they’ve done and the opposing team have a proper advanage.  I believe this dramatically cuts down the amount of bad behaviour because players don’t want to be top of the league for spending time in the box, that reflects badly on them.  They don’t want to be watching the game, they’d rather be playing it.  The more time you spend in the box, the less likely a club are to renew your contract.

Hockey has different amounts of time depending on the offence, so I propose something along this:
Two minutes – Tripping, shirt pulling, arguing with the Ref, deliberately kicking the ball off field and other similar minor offences.
Five mintes – Diving, name calling/pretending to want a fight, handball, minor time wasting and similar.
Ten minutes and removal – Removed from the game completely and another team member has to serve the 10 minutes in the box for: faking an injury, biting, verbally or physically abusing the Ref/linesmen, deliberately injuring an opposing player and other offences that would get players a red card.

At present there is no proper punishment in football, so the players behave any way they like knowing they’ll get away with it.  So, a handful every month might be sent off, but being sent off once in a season isn’t going to change someone’s behaviour.  Being sent to a box where everyone looks at you and you have no choice but to watch the game carry on every time you behave like a child, does make a difference.  I’ve seen Ice Hockey teams go from having the top penalty minutes in a league one season, to being hundreds of minutes away from that accolade the next season because they understand the repercussions of their behaviour.  Footballers don’t, so they continue to behave like poorly parented children.

Some of these are questionable, but their behaviour is still nowhere near as bad as that of many football “fans”.

4.  Empty Net
It’s the dying minutes of a playoff game and you really need to score but the current rules don’t allow you to make any worthwhile changes.  So, let’s shake it up a bit.  Let’s allow you to have an empty net.  In the last few minutes of a game you can pull your goalkeeper and replace him with another attacking player.  If you actually have a good team who aren’t just good at one end, but are good defence and good forwards, then you’ll be okay.  Your defence will take up the goalkeepers slack anyway, and your new attacker can try to score a goal for you.  Once a whistle sounds your goalkeeper comes back and your attacker leaves.

Maybe your goalie can even score for you.

5.  Pay
Pay in football, and in the Premier League in particular, is sickening.  These people aren’t worth the millions that clubs play for them.  Football doesn’t actually require skill – anyone who can run erratically around a field can play football, the only behaviour you have to acquire is knowing where to place yourself in relation to the ball and that is a learned behaviour, not a natural skill.  Some people are going to be better at it than others, just as some people learn to be better a fixing printers than others – that doesn’t mean they’re worth more.

I have two ideas for a not so radical and a completely, totally, utterly mentally radical pay change.
Not so radical: Force a salary and transfer fee cap onto each team.  This is the case in the NHL and in the 2015-2016 season each team can pay no more than $71million in salaries to the players.  Bringing Torres to Chelsea cost £50million in transfer fees alone, which is already $77million and well over an NHL salary cap.  The NHL cap is done based upon a percentage of the entire league’s earnings for the previous year, so it tends to go up every year.  The earnings of the Premier League are, like the player’s pay, sickening so there’s no reason why this couldn’t be instigated.  Sure, some teams couldn’t afford to reach the salary cap – so what? – that’s the case anyway, some current teams don’t have a criminal or a Russian with a bottomless pit of money to throw around, so they have to stay within a budget.  Perhaps the unfair part is that a number of lesser players would be traded away so that teams could keep the big names.  But then, that might give them the push to go on and become better.

Totally radical idea:
No contracts where people are paid tens of thousands per week to play one game and do a bit of training.  Nah.  Pay them by their time on the pitch and pay them the national average wage for turning up to training.  Quite literally, pay them by the minute.  Tip-top players will keep themselves in such good nick that they’re out there all the time.  Players who don’t have quite that dedication or perhaps are a liability due to previous injures/being badly behaved won’t get paid as much and will be easy to either train harder, or weed out.

Pay them the national average wage per year (around £27,000 maybe a bit more) just to come to training sessions.  Any extra training they do off their own back in their own time can be rewarded with small bonuses.  Then pay them, say, £10 per minute at first as a base rate.  This can increase to a maximum of £100 per minute of being on the field for the very, very best.  Their pay is suspended for every minute that they’re not actually playing because the whistle has blown or they’re in the penalty box.

Before anyone says this is preposterous – I work in a highly skilled and technical job.  I am one of the only women in the UK who does it.  I don’t get paid anywhere near the national minimum wage to do so.  Why should a bunch of badly behaved kids kicking a ball about get paid huge sums compared to  someone who does something to actually contribute to society?

6.  Sourcing of players
This suggestion would also bring the pay rates down, probably not to a respectable level, but it sure would bring it down.  Teams can only recruit players from within a 50 mile radius of their home stadium.

No more of this bringing players from thousands of miles away, or having a team where a majority of players need a translator just to understand what the coach is saying.  Get real homegrown talent from nearby.  I’ve had this discussion with other people and some of them said that there wasn’t enough ‘talent’ in the UK.  We’ve already established that all of this is learned behaviour not raw talent, so you don’t need only kids who play at a premier league standard aged 7 and three quarters.  There are plenty of young people out there who are capable and willing to learn and put in the dedication, but those people are missing out because teams would rather pay huge sums of money to bring one person from 10,000 miles away.  It would pay off for teams to train locals and give back to the local community instead of shunning it.

7.  Technology
Hockey, NFL, Tennis, golf and such all use live instant slow-motion replays to make calls about goals, offside and other offences but football doesn’t.  I firmly believe that this is to do with nothing more than a power trip by the officials and in some cases corruption.  Not sure about a play being offside?  Take a couple of minutes to look at the slow-mo (the clock will be stopped – we’ll talk about this in a moment), then you can make a truthful decision, not one based on something that was kind of seen by someone at the other end of the pitch.

It makes no sense for the biggest money spurning, corrupt and blindly followed sport in the world to perpetuate said corruption and favouritism by officials.  It diminishes the trust that fans have in teams, leagues and officials.  If football is so important, why aren’t more people calling for clarity?  I’ve included a video which explains how reviews are used in the NHL.  Unfortunately the video pre-dates in-net cameras, however the reviews are done by people in a central office, and not at the scene, therefore they aren’t being influenced by the on-ice players.

Use such technology not only to see if a goal was scored in football, but also if someone was offside and to find the appropriate punishment for someone deliberately causing an injury/faking/wasting time etc.  Technology makes the game fairer.

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8.  Stop the clock
Many sports worldwide use a stop the clock method of play.  The Ref blows the whistle so play stops, and at that exact moment the clock stops too.  This reduces time wasting, and in the case of all of our reforms this means that it would reduce bad behaviour and also potentially the pay rate of individual players.

In sports where the clock stops players know that the more they whine and argue and carry on whatever behaviour caused the whistle to be blown, then the longer the clock will be stopped for.  This means each game takes longer to play.  If you’re playing a game that requires huge physical strength and stamina, the last thing you want is one or two of your teammates time wasting.  If you’re a genuinely cohesive team, then you’ll all understand that and instead of playing entirely for your own needs and ends you’ll consider everyone else before you knob about.

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9.  Ticket prices
I pay £8 to go and watch my local Ice Hockey team play a game.  Tickets to a football match shouldn’t be much more, and they certainly shouldn’t cost more just because a team is higher up in the league.  People are inherently stupid with money – case in point, the previous tenants of my current abode spent hundreds, if not thousands of pounds on season tickets for a London Football club, but didn’t pay their water, council tax or TV License.  Apparently football is more important than having somewhere to live with active utilities and it appears that some people will go to great lengths to watch football, sacrificing far more important things.

The stuff that goes with being a football fan is expensive too.  Programs at games often cost £5 or more, the food and drink is more expensive than getting something in central London.  Buying a replica kit will set you back around £60 for the shirt, and at least £25 for the shorts, and that’s only for one of each team’s three kits.  Of course, all these football mad kids pester their parents to get them one, or three.

Apart from the sheer greed and profiteering by individual teams and the Premier League, there is no reason why any of this should be so expensive.  It’s divisive and means that only people who are sufficiently well off can go and enjoy a game.  That’s not exactly fair in a game that likes to claim it’s for everyone – grassroots upwards.  These are the people who keep your club in existence, without them you’ll soon be gone.

10. Stop TV rights battles
The Premier League as an organisation needs to be brought down not just a peg or two, but pretty much to the bottom.  They decide their TV rights by choosing the company who is going to pay them the most, therefore it ends up being Sky who get the majority of the games, and those that they don’t get are on something like BT Sport.  Apparently, according to the Premier League, that’s fair.  Well, it’s not.  To acquire a Sky Sports package, you’re looking at paying at least £30 per month.  To add BT Sports to that so you can watch the handful of games on there each season, it’s around £10 per month.  That’s £480 for an entire year.  I can think of far better things to do with nearly £500.

What about the people who don’t have a Sky or Virgin setup?  They don’t have the option to watch these games except in the pub or illegally online.  So why not use up some of the bandwidth of channels such as ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4 which tend to show mainly repeats by using them at the weekend to show football?  Anyone with a Freeview receiver can watch the games then.  Oh, I know why, it’s not raking in millions for the Premier League.

In truth, the only way that you’re going to ever improve football after you’ve fixed the players’ pathetic behaviour is by ditching the corrupt and money grubbing Premier League body.   Without their restrictions which are all entirely based on money, football could actually become a people’s game as it would be accessible.  Without the Premier League body you could have a genuinely fair league where everyone is on an even playing field.  Until you get rid of the Premier League you will have nothing but liars and thieves running the show.

You’re sticking what up my nose? – Living through sinus surgery

For about 10 years now (probably longer) I’ve had problems with my sinuses not draining. I don’t mean that I had a bit of a bunged up nose like people with hayfever get for a few months every year.  I couldn’t lie down at times, I had an almost permanent headache, I couldn’t wear my glasses because of the pain from the pressure inside my skull.  I had to get up during the night to walk around in the hope that moving would release some pressure and allow some mucus to drain.  I couldn’t do the exercise in the gym or outside that I wanted because I couldn’t stand the pressure.  It was bad.  Bad enough that I took painkillers every day, spend a stupid amount of time trying to pull and force mucus out of my nose (to the point where I had caused a permanent open wound on my septum).

I tried everything you possibly can from a doctor.  I had sprays, anti-biotics, anti-histamines and steriod drops.  A month of anti-biotics didn’t clear up the infection which had probably been there for years.   The nasal sprays tasted nasty and only provided a small amount of relief for a short period of time.  The anti-histamines made me feel like shit – no exaggeration, after taking one week long course of them I was so tired all of the time that I needed to sleep again by 10am.

The final resort was Vistamethasone drops in November 2014.  I dutifully took them as I had been prescribed: three drops into each nostril three times per day.  I had been taking them for about a week when suddenly, sat in a bar, my nose started to bleed.  Over two days I had four nose bleeds that each lasted for an hour or so.  I stopped taking them but the bleeding took another week to completely stop.  An ENT specialist sent me for a CT scan.  This showed that my left frontal sinus cavity was so blocked that it didn’t even register as existing on the CT scan – it was as if I didn’t have a sinus cavity there and my skull was just solid.

A date for my surgery game through in May 2015.  I was totally psyched for it.  Like, totally dude.  I’d been referred for FESS or Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery.  There was also a +/- on a Septoplasty.  Essentially they were going to go in and open the lining of my sinus on the left side and if they couldn’t fit the endoscopic camera up my nose they would need to do a Septoplasty.

I went in for day surgery, I was at the hospital by 07:30, all checked in and waiting to be taken in by 09:00.  All in all, I was in and out of surgery by 11:30.  In the end they did FESS on both of my frontal sinus cavities instead of just the left.  A Septoplasty was also done as the left nasal opening was so very small.  A bone spur was also removed from inside my sinus cavity that was causing an obstruction and was from when, as a fetus/child when the skull was still forming my left sinus cavity never fully formed.

I was home by 14:00 that day.  My nose dripped blood until the following day and was completely blocked – I expected this.  But here’s how it has gone so far up to a week later:
Wednesday – as bad as I expected it to be immediately post surgery.
Thursday – I knew to expect some swelling inside my nose and some more bleeding.  I couldn’t push any air through my nostrils at all.
Friday – The pain in my face was starting to get a lot worse – the pain was coming from the area where the cartilage was removed and also from the immense pressure within the sinus cavities.  I also started to get a small amount of pain in my right eye.
Saturday – I now feel like I have the worst cold in the history of my life.  There’s pain across my face and forehead.  I can hardly get any air through my nose, the mucus in there is randomly moving between sides depending upon how I move around.  The pain in my right eye is a lot worse.
Sunday – woke up suddenly at about 02:00, unable to breathe through my nose at all.  Get up and find that the entrance to the sinus cavity on the left side has become completely blocked by a semi-dried lump of blood.  Am awake for an hour and a half hoping that by moving around the pressure might reduce and something might drain away.  Eventually I fall asleep through sheer tiredness, but wake again at a bit after 05:00.  Painkillers haven’t worked this morning.  My face is hot, painful and my right eye hurts regardless of whether it moves or looks straight ahead.  I try to get some of the mucus out by blowing gently – tons of utterly disgusting stuff comes out and there is relief for about 10 minutes.  Face goes back to being hot and painful for the rest of the day despite taking Naproxen.
Monday – Sunday was pretty crappy.  Monday morning wasn’t too bad until I decided to bend over to put something in the washing machine.  From then on I had to go to bed and wait out the pain and pressure to go away.
Tuesday – Not half bad actually.  Took painkillers in the morning and didn’t feel too bad for the rest of the day.  Spent an inordinate amount of time trying to blow stuff out of my nose.  A few times large hard lumps of mucus came flying out providing temporary relief.  Didn’t take any painkillers to aid sleep, which was a first all week.
Wednesday, one week on – Got up, felt vaguely okay.  Ate, drank, can kind of taste things now.  By 10:00 though the pressure in my face was building and blowing wasn’t removing anything.  Time for some anti-inflammatories.  I did enjoy some food today because there was flavour and that included a bit of chocolate.  I’m now at the stage which you get to near the end of a cold when you can finally breathe through your nose again, but all you can really smell is the infected mucus stuck inside your head.  Ugh, it just makes me feel sick.  Someone told me today I sound like I still have a bad cold.  Slightly concerning that after a sneeze there was some fresh blood – hopefully that’s just a one off.

Since coming out of hospital I’ve had a few moments of asking myself why I bothered doing this because the pain and discomfort has been a bit excessive.  But I just kept telling myself it was all temporary.  This is only one week in and I expect at least a few more days of being quite stuffy and sneezing at everything.  I have a follow-up appointment with the surgeon in three weeks and I hope by then that it will all have settled down.  Right now I’d love to smell things again, other than what smells like my nose rotting from the inside out.

If you’re considering this surgery or it has been suggested to you I’d say that so far it’s worth it.  Even with the septoplasty my nose didn’t end up looking any different to anyone else.  It’s a bit weird at first that it feels different when you pinch it but after a few days you get used to it.  If my current state is anything to go by with periods of amazing, beautiful, wonderful freeflowing air through my nostrils then it will all be worth it.  Trust me, it’s really nothing to be scared of.

Now, when can I get back to playing in goal?

Becoming an ice hockey player: The Pain

Yesterday I said that there would be more on what happens to you when you become a goaltender.  And here it is.  In all its gratuitous glory I present descriptions and a few photographs of joy and utter pain of being a goaltender.

The pain, oh the pain!

Most of the pain I’ve experienced has been during my training.  Because, at present I do not have a pair of goalie pants and use normal player ones, they are somewhat lacking in upper leg/thigh protection.  As a goalie you will take a lot of shots to your legs.  Some of them will hurt.  Sometimes you’ll take shorts to your…er…lady parts too, and let me tell you, that’s enough to make anyone shed a tear.

Let me show you my first goaltending bruise.  This was on the back of my calf, just below the knee.  It took me days to realise how I got it, as you should never have your back to the players.  It was when I dropped down on to it, hence it is puck shaped.

What lovely colours

Unfortunately I’ve only got three to show you, but there was one night when I took five slapshots that were beyond painful.  Two were to my right wrist and somehow missed the blocker.  Another two were to my thighs – one of which made me near scream and I had to stop for half a minute before just resigning myself to being hit more.  The final one, of which the photographs is below, was a slapshot to the top of my knee by a very experienced Canadian.

Oh god my knee

I was amazed at myself when this happened.  We were doing a drill for goalies to get up and down and slide.  He took the shot before I got my right leg in place and this hammered in to the top of my pad and hit my knee.  I didn’t stop for one moment and just kept on with the drill.  That bruise lasted for a couple of weeks.

Now, this beauty happened during a scrimmage.  We were invited to join in with another team who train at the same rink.  They’re a recreational team and are entirely men.  Along with a few other ladies we decided to go along.  The thing with a scrimmage is that there’s no penalties, there are no stoppages, and you play like it’s the last time you’ll ever play.  I had, at any given moment 8 – 10 full grown men powering into my net and taking shots at my face.  This one, on the very sensitive inner thigh area was actually given to me by the guy who sells me my skating stuff.  Again, I did not let it show when it happened.

Ugh.

If you really want to be a goaltender you will need to have a good supply of cold patches, compression bandages, painkillers and a willingness to be hurt.

The joyus side

I’ve had a go in two games and one scrimmage.  The scrimmage I described above.  I would love to have another go at that, and may do in the not too distant future.  My two games were also good.

The first game I only got the last five minutes against University College London, but it was still considered a shut out.  The second game I got two whole periods against Chelmsford ladies in Chelmsford.  It wasn’t a shut out, as I let through one goal in the Five hole.  But I did get “Player of the Game” for my team.

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It was a very long day.  I’d worked all day, driven up to Chelmsford with my other half, changed and then finally played the game.  The game didn’t end until near midnight.  I got into bed about 23 hours after I had last got out of it.

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And that’s why we do this.  As a team, we were great.  We won 7 – 2 and all had a great time.  I might still be a useless goaltender, but with the help of the team I will get better!