Monday, 23 September 2013

Wise men say...

...only fools rush in. But I, can't help, falling in love, with youuuuuu!

Ahh, whatever happened to UB40?

When it comes down to it, whatever happened to music in general?

Gone are the days when a piece of music was like poetry - Don McLean's - "American Pie", Billy Joel's 'Lullabye', Extreme - "More Than Words".

I mean COME ON! They just dont make tunes like that anymore.

It's something I've been doing a lot of recently is listening to the lyrics in songs. A lot of the time I think we hear them, but we don't really listen to them.

For this blog post (seeing as it's a special one :D) Im going to do something a little bit different. Im going to write a little about my life so far, and im going to start each section with a song title that really sums up how I felt at that moment...

Colin Hay - "Waiting for my real life to begin..."
Reason - Everything was fresh and new - the whole world was in front of me, I was just waiting on my time to come.

Just out of high school and eager to get started with life. I had big dreams. I was going to be a world renowned computer programmer. I'd be responsible for coming up with "the next big thing." It would make me millions and Id spend my days jet setting from country to country living the high life...seventeen I was, and at the time...working in McDs.

Rod Stewart - "Sailing"
Reason -  I was an explorer, adventuring across the ocean. The thrill of adventure saw me eagerly awaiting my first trip to discover wonders unknown.

Software engineering whiffed. It wasn't for me I had decided. Hours upon end spent staring at a computer screen trying to figure out why my sub-routine didn't like my array indexing. Or trying to figure out what the hell a "Protocol 4" error was.

Instead I was going to join the Merchant Navy and become a very windswept and interesting fellow who travelled the world.

And I did this, to a certain extent. I travelled to a lot of fantastic places, but life at sea is...well it's just that. It's life at sea!

I'd spend 5 weeks in the ocean, working 16 hour days and being on call the other 8 and then when we finally got to the port If I was lucky Id get 8 hours ashore before having to be back on board to carry out one watch or another.

David Alexander - "Working Man"
Reason - The reality of working life hit home and I began to realise that to get anywhere in life, you had to work hard.

The last foriegn port I visited was a port called Ponto De Madeira on the north eastern shores of Brazil. The tidal changes here meant that the winches had to be manned at all times. With a crew of 24 men and 13 two man winches we were short crew as it was. One of the cabin boys went ashore and never came back so we were down to 23 and that meant that every man on board was awake and on deck for the entire 64 hour stay in port.

It was really horrible. When people tell me now that they are tired, or when I begin to think it myself I remember how I felt finishing that shift and the fatigue quickly leaves me.

Frankie Miller - "Caledonia"
Reason - I love Scottish music at the best of times. But this song is guaranteed to give me those patriotic tingles that only music can make.

On the return journey to the UK we went through some horrific, and I mean force 9 horrific weather. The engine lost power in the Bay of Biscay and we were pretty much at the mercy of nature as we were battered about by the wind. I dont think Ive ever felt so humble, or helpless in that moment as I did then. I was and am too young to be a sad "lost at sea" story. I had no idea what I was going to do, but I knew when I got home I would not be returning to sea life.

Years passed. If I had to pick five songs to sum up those five years it might look like this:

Queen - "Pressure"
Deacon Blue - "Dignity"
Kenny Rodgers - "Gambler"
Van Morrison - "Just like Greta" (Pure poetry! - but don't listen if you're feeling sad :( )
Miley Cyrus - "The Climb"

although Im sure I could add another fifty and it would still not sum up those years.

Then something totally unexpected happened. And it all happened with a trip to the bathroom....

Idina Menzel - "Defying Gravity"
Reason - This song for me is about taking a chance on something. (It's actually about the wicked witch of the west before she was wicked). When the final bridge kicks in and Idina really opens up It makes me think of free-falling, pure excitement, adrenaline.

It had been a long day at work. One of those day when before it had even hit lunchtime I was looking forward to running a jacuzzi and getting my nose in to a good book for a couple of hours.

I had been working on a writing piece for a friends anthology about birth defects and medical conditions and disabilities in general which effected how other people perceived us. "Excuse me mister!" was the working title.

As soon as I got home I started the tap, put down the seat and started to read through the piece I had written again. But I'd lost interest. I had been reading it and re-reading it for days. I needed something different to look at.

Too lazy to leave the bathroom and go sifting through stacks of books I opened the cupboard and found the usual selection of "Hello" magazines and the likes, and there was also a copy of the local paper from the week before.

Not that I am not a fan of "Hello" (I mean who isn't?) but I picked up the Lennox Herald and flicked through the pages.

About half way through I came across an article about a local girl who had won a regional award and had been nominated for the national finals for being an inspirational person. The article mentioned the condition she had and a little bit about herself.

The girl was beautiful, but there was something else there. She just looked so...courageous.

Jacuzzi's ready.

I put the paper down, hopped in to the tub and chilled for a bit. Having run out of reading material I grabbed my phone and googled "Neurofibromatosis".

I was amazed by what I read. This girl, who was standing there so confident and proud had been through all of this. The penny dropped then. "She would be perfect for this anthology".

I asked about amongst friends and family but despite her being local, no one seemed to know her. Having almost given up on the idea (and I am sincerely glad I didnt give up at this point because it was a close thing) I was on Facebook one night and the thought occured to me that maybe I could search for a person using FB.

I sent her a message that night, it took about 10 weeks for a reply to come back my way, but it was the start of something I never really expected.

Disney - "Something There"
Reason - This song really sums up that kind of 'strange' bit in a friendship where neither person can figure the other person out. Both parties silently wondering if they should be holding hands or not. Or whether a kiss should be replacing a hug. Its about that little bit of doubt that creeps up in your mind, clouding the things that on hindsight, your eyes should have seen clearly.

Just after my birthday in January I knew that she was special. Sure Id had relationships before but I knew that this one was different. With Toots there was never a dull moment, always something interesting to talk about or place to go.

Like turned to love at somepoint over the next couple of months. Yes, you read that right...months!

The dating the romance the dancing, the beat your heart skips whenever your phone gets a text message, It was all amazing. I knew I had never felt like this before.

I cant pin point exactly when the transition happened. I remember a night in my flat and Toots started to feel unwell. Her vision was blurring her hands and arms cramped up, I was really scared. I phoned her dad and went with her and her parents to the hospital.

I sat in the waiting room for hours and then when we finally got to get through to see her I had this overwhelming urge to take her hand and just let her know I was there. Seeing her lying on the bed In that instant I would have done anything to cure NF2 and take whatever pain she was in away and make it my own. I would have swapped places with her in a heart beat.

A similar night when we were staying at the wigwams with a big group of her friends. Toots again started to feel unwell and the same symptons were happening. We were miles away from anywhere. We phoned her parents and for the next hour I just hugged her and kept her warm, doing everything I could to make her comfortable.

When someone you love needs you, you'll do everything you can for them, even if all you can do is be there.

Lonestar - "Amazed"
Westlife - "Flying Without Wings"
Reason - For the lyrics that some up an emotion, and for the countless dances around the living room.

Things with toots just went from strength to strength. Camping trips, DVD nights, nights out, nights in. I loved every minute I spent with her.

I realised at somepoint that my goals when I was younger were all wrong. Its not about the money youve got in the bank or the letters after your name. If you dont have anyone in your life to be in love with then its all just...well a bunch of numbers and letters!

On the 21st of September, the time felt right...

Shania Twain - "From This Moment"
Reason - Every single word is true.

Toots and I have been talking about getting engaged for the last couple of months. I had ordered a ring and it was due to arrive in the next couple of months.

Me being me, I had big plans. I was going to do it in December, an elaborate scavenger hunt that would have her touring places we had been on dates, taking part in challenges against her family and friends to win clues pointing her to the prize - me and a ring :D

Toots knew the ring was due, but not exactly when it was going to be there, and she had no idea about the grand proposal ideas I had in store.

All that went out the window on Saturday morning when the postman knocked the door!

I got out of bed and signed for this small un-assuming package and knew exactly what was inside. I think I stood for about ten minutes staring at the envelope thinking to myself, "What do I do?"

I didnt want to leave it downstairs to let nosy fingers open it or much more likely, the dog tear it apart. So with some quick thinking I covertly wrapped a pair of jeans around the envelope and went back up to bed.

"What was that?" Toots asked as I went in. "Whats with the grin?"

"Nothing" said the worlds worst liar.

"Aye right, what took you so long?"

"I was erm, signing for a card."

A skeptical look met that remark, a look that kind of said "Eh, do I really look that stupid?" without actually saying a word.

"Where is it then?"

"I left it downstairs" As I carefully placed the jeans on the floor and climbed back in to bed.

After another couple of comments about the daft grin I was wearing Toots turned to face the wall.

A good five minutes passed before she turned back around, 

"What are you grinning at?!"


Then her eyes lit up as it all fell in to place.

"That was it, the ring!"

I dont think my face could have told that lie even if my lips had wanted to.

Toots then spent about twenty minutes coaxing me in to showing her the ring and just proposing there and then. I think she actually got a little frustrated when I said no and once again I found her back turned but this time with a pilllow placed between us on the bed, covering our faces.

UB40 - "(I can't help) Falling in love with you"

A good five minutes passed as I thought aboutt verything. Could I really do it now? What was holding me back? Finally I come up with the answer,


I tapped her shoulder and told her I love her, that the last year had been the best of my life and that I always wanted to be with her.

With fingers trembling I reached for the box the ring was in. Nicole had turned around but the pillow was still between us so we couldnt see each other. I opened the box and held it just behind the pillow out of view.

I tapped her shoulder, she kicked my feet.

I tapped again, this time she got my shin.

One more time, this time she went for gold and got me in the nuts.

The box was open, the only thing in the way was the pillow. I moved it and as I did I asked the question.

"Will you marry me?"

Nicoles face beamed in a way I've never seen. Her eyes literally lit up as she saw the open box and she heard the question.

"Yes!" She said and I know my face must have beamed just as bright.

And just like that, on a random Saturday morning lying in bed, my life changed forever :)

Aerosmith - "Amazing"
Reason - Like the song says "It's Amazing, with the blink of an eye you finally see the light, It's Amazing when the moment arrives that you know you'll be alright..."

It's Amazing!!!

Thanks for reading,
Dare to Dream,

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Where have you been!

Me : "Forgive me blog for I have sinned, It has been 3 months 13 days since my last update...what is the penance for this sin?"

Blog : "A bloody big update!"

The best laid plans 

Isn't it funny how despite our best intentions to do something, or to not do something, it always seems just a little bit harder than we anticipated? For a lot of people this sort of topic springs up around about New Year but in reality we make plans all the time, and I dont know about you guys but as soon as I make a plan the world seems to bend over backwards to make sure it doesnt happen.

...WHAM! Speed bump! And it slows you down or knocks you off course and then you find yourself on this downward spiral and miles and miles away from where you started, or where you thought you'd be.

I originally started this blog as a sort of writing outlet. Somewhere I could set targets and keep tabs on my progress towards certain goals. And at the time, my goals were, in my mind, modest..

Originally I was aiming for 1500 words a week. Remember in school when your English teacher used to say "Write an 800 word essay..." to which the reply was almost always a mass expression of exasperation from the class:

"800 words?! Itll take hours! Doesnt he know Ive got ten other subjects?!"

Well, (to anyone lucky enough to be studying higher English who may be reading) let me tell you, 800 words is easy!!! Hell 1500 words is easy!

The chances are that without much effort this blog post will be in the region of 1500 words and all Im really doing is telling you what has happened recently. It probably wont even take me that long to do, 45 minutes? An hour, tops.

But let me tell you this too. Its bloomin' tough to write 1500 words a week.

The 1500 word target (had I stuck to it) would have seen me sitting at 46500 beautifully crafted, lyrically listed, fandabuloucious words. For those who dont know, that's roughly half a novel.

For whatever reason, I have failed to meet this target, in fact Ive failed to reach 10% of this target.

The plan I had made failed to materialise, it didnt happen.

Am I upset about it?


The reason I've not been writing about things I've been doing, is because I've been too busy doing stuff to write!

What's been happening

So what have I been doing that has taken up so much time? Well, loads!

Way to much to talk about in just one blog update (unless you've got about 6 months of free time to read about it all!)

There have been camping trips and wigwams and nights out and restaurants and cinemas and sailing, yes an actual ship with sails! Bowling and mini-golfing, I've done fund-raising and watched some nutters (and I mean that in a nice way, you are nuts Connie ;) ) jump off of cranes with exaggerated elastic bands around their ankles. I finally played laser quest which I always wanted to do as a teenager!

Only this weekend I was on an inflatable gladiator joust getting beat up by my girlfriends dad! (*cough* I let him win. *cough* ;) )

And its funny, because looking back at my blog posts last year they seem so full of energy, so happy! But it's only now that I'm as happy as I am that I realise how much of life I was missing this time last year.

And the change in me is all down to one special person who I discovered so randomly. In the bathroom of all places! She is an exceptional person...

But before I go any further I just remembered a home-made bow and arrow, a flaming marshmallow and a "one in a million" shot resulting in someone being shot in the bum which I just need to have a rant about...


When did we all get so bloody smart? Eh!

The event in question happened at the WigWams I mentioned above, and dont get me wrong, it was hysterical.

And I knew it would be! In fact I was so confident that I whipped out my shiny new Nokia Lumia all singing all dancing Windows powered phone to record the occasion.

Then I laughed so hard I dropped the phone and the blinkin screen shattered!

Who, in the name of the wee man, decided to make mobile phones so fragile? I mean it spends all day getting knocked about in hand bags or trouser pockets. It's pushed and prodded and flicked and switched and shook and spends most of its day fewer than a few feet away from the rigours that we put ourselves through daily. And yet, the screen is so fragile that an unexpected fart threatens to blow shards of glass asunder!

Why is it that as technology gets smarter, and we rely on it more and more, it becomes so much more fragile?


Answer me that Mr Big Wig mobile phone developer!

And its not just me (or the Lumia model). How many Iphones have you seen with a gorgeous big crack right up the middle of the screen, rendering the hand set useless because the new fancy-pants touch screen mode won't respond any more!

It never used to happen! Remember the original mobile phones? They were just a shade bigger than house bricks and weighed about as much as a Ford Ka.

If you dropped them there was no threat to the equipment! God help the paving slab you dropped it on right enough but thats a whole lot cheaper to replace!

And it doesnt just stop there. It may just be me but it seems that technology is getting so smart it's getting stupid.

I work in a business where I am, like most people, totally reliant on access to information. Id have been as well to buy a bloody Dictaphone and record the statement "The system has crashed." the amount of times I've uttered the words!

Honestly, go back twenty years, even ten! When did you ever phone anywhere and have someone tell you that "My filing cabinets have crashed" or "My paper isn't working today."

The worst that could happen would be a pen would run out of ink and at the time that was a disaster. Now we have corporate companies, banks, ISP's and even the MoD totally reliant on computer systems that in my experience seem determined to crash! One day humanity will evolve and we'll re-discover pen and paper.

Cheap, reliable, easily accessible and doesnt break when you hit it with a hammer.

And who the hell keeps moving page "HTTP Error 404 - Page not found"? Could you please put it back after using it because I am getting sick of having to change browsers just for the pleasure of reviewing it's contents!!!!!


I feel better now. So back to it,


I always considered myself an independent person. I never really opened up to anyone, I certainly didnt rely on anyone and I never really imagined that meeting one person would be able to change my life in a particularly drastic manor.

Well boy let me tell you was I wrong.

For the first time ever I find myself not just thinking about my plans. But about our plans. Things we want to do and how things will effect us in the future.

I am happier now than I have ever been in my life because Toots is in it and even though my plan of 1500 words a week has not been met. My plans for life are so much bigger now and everyday spent with her they get a little bit closer!

The future is looking bright!

Thats all for this update,

I have recently started to write again so will be posting on the blog with a little more regularity!

Make plans, but don't be afraid to see them change,

Love life, be happy!

Hug a stranger!

Dare to Dream


Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Back to business!

Howdy all, It's been a while!

I know you were probably all wondering what had happened to me (it's been so long since I updated my blog) so to put your mind at rest I decided to give you a wee update.

First off, as those immortal words so clearly state on the front of 'The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy' : DON'T PANIC!

I have not been involved in any near death incidents, I've not been battling with a rare genetic disease that has prevented me from writing. I've not even been suffering from the common cold...

I HAVE however been very busy falling head over heels for someone very special.

Love is a pretty funny thing when it comes down to it. I mean as a writer, I can quite effectively describe every other emotion under the sun. From joy to hate, happiness to sadness...I can paint a picture of a character battling with ambivalence so readers of all ages can comprehend their conumdrum...but love is one of those things that I can't quite define. Lets just say that for years, and years, and YEARS - I only thought that I was happy.

Now that I've found this person I actually am happy, and can't quite fathom how I managed before I met her. She is fab! If you don't believe me, you can read about her here.

But, back to business. You'll all be wanting a little bit about what I've been doing over the last few months so here goes!

On this front there is not much to report other than the gold weight operation (the one where they put a little bit of *bling* in to my left eye lid) did not go well. In fact it went so far south the gold weight ended up coming out. It had started to pierce the eyelid (such was it's desire to be free of it's captivity) and I had to go in for a minor op to have it removed (the weight not the eye).

I have a couple of follow on appointments to get my right pec (boob) sorted but due to the surgically intensive year I had last year that wont happen until 2014 at the earliest.

I have been some what lazy on this front if I'm being honest. I have set my sights on "Just Give Me a Reason" by Pink and Nate Reuss - hopefully get it nailed on the piano over the next couple of weeks.

Now this is the biggie - yet there is absolutely nothing to report!

This - yes, THIS! Is the first creative writing I have done since the end of January. It's as if motivation just totally dissapeared.

I think this is pretty normal for writers. Not so much 'Writer's block' more 'Writer's cannae really be arsed at the moment' and I've been suffering from it for what seems like forever! Just the sight of one of my many notebooks which are bulging with that nine lettered swear word known as 'POTENTIAL' was enough to make me bawk. And then something fabulous happened.

I got rejected.

Aaaaaah! I can see the confusion on your face now. "Rejected? How can rejection possibly be 'fabulous'?!"

Well it is, and I'll tell you why. To writers there are two types of rejections:

REJECTIONS - Do not pass go, do not collect $200 and DEFINITELY do not think of submitting here again.

And then there are the other type:

Rejections - Good, possibly GREAT. We really liked it. But it's just not right for us at the moment. Do you have anything else? Please do consider us in the future as we would love to read some more of your writing.

See the difference?

Well the latter ended up on my doorstep a few weeks ago and It felt like someone had delivered a winning lottery ticket. I sent a total of 7 submission packages, 4 were promptly rejected and 3 asked for the full manuscript. After not hearing anything back last year I had all but given up on getting a response of any kind.

But with that letter it just made me feel like jumping about the living room shouting "qaaaaaaaaaah! So close!"

And all of a sudden the motivation was back!

So what to do now though? There in lies the question!

After talking to a literary friend whose opinion I value more than anyone elses. I have decided to give 'legitimate' publishing another shot. I feel as if the manuscript is sooooooo close to getting there that this time I will find a suitable agent/publisher.

I am going to focus on this for the next six months. Tightening the material so it is squeaky clean and as finely tuned as possible. And if at the end, I am no further forward than I am now. Then at least I can say "I took a shot" - "I gave it my all"..."Oh well, I'll just self publish and become an e-millionaire ;) "

In other news...
In non writery non musicky news. I am getting my chest waxed to raise money for BANA - my other halfs charity. They have supported her through an awful lot and every day help people suffering with acoustic neuroma's so I am going to take the plunge and get the carpet on my chest trimmed!

Now I'm not asking you for £10, or £5 (though if you want to donate that then it is much appreciated!)

I am asking you for ANYTHING!

Your spare change (yup, YOU, the person reading right now!) can have a serious impact on the quality of life and support that someone receives. It really, REALLY can make a difference!

That pound that's lying in the car, or the fifty pence that has been rattling about your coat pocket for weeks, or even the handful of coppers that have been multiplying in the kitchen drawer...please, donate them here.

And that is it folks!

Consider yourself up to date :D !

Until next time, dare to dream!


Thursday, 24 January 2013

Maybe This'll Be My Year!

Possibly a bit behind the other bloggers but...HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!

Can you believe it? 2013!

To be quite honest I never thought we'd all see it, what with the Mayan calander coming to an end and the world having meant to implode or blow up or something else that I never really paid much attention to yet totally believed.

Yup. Family were mighty dissapointed this year when I gave them each a card that said:

"Sorry I didnt get you a present...the world was meant to end five days ago."

I decided this year I wasn't going to bother with New Year resolutions, I didn't really bother (*cough* stick *cough*) to them last year, or the year before. But what I did do last and what I did stick to was a plan.

Last years plan was pretty straight forward:

1) Go into hospital
2) Have lots of surgery (Pamela Anderson eat your heart out!)
3) Be pampered by lots of nurses
4) Recover (This was a bit*h!)
5) Finish Empire, start screenplay.

All of this I managed succesfully (I was very good at the 'getting pampered' bit ;))

This year however, I didnt really go into the bells with a hard and fast plan. I kind of had this loose idea of where i wanted the year to take me, but no real 'get up and go' or 'DRIVE' to make it happen.

That. Being. Said.

Its now the 24th of January and there have been some pretty big changes.

First and foremost, I am a whole year older! (Apparently that means I am now wiser and more mature...not bloody likely :P)

Secondly I'm moving out. For those who dont know I left my previous 'abode' rather rapidly after a hell of a lot of drama and ended up back in with mother dearest. This actually worked out quite well with all the surgery (and mums home made stew isnt something to be sniffed at!) So I didnt mind too much. I was also very aware however how much I missed my own space.

Randomly. And when I say random I mean random (as in last Tuesday random). I decided.

"Right, let's see what's out there!"

Friday morning I viewed two flats. Friday afternoon I picked one.

This coming Monday I move in.

Its a nice one bedroom in a quiet residential area in my home town. Down near the Clyde and the Castle. And I CANNOT wait!

I've also met someone who is pretty amazing (she is actually cooler than me :D).

I had kind of shyed away from relationships and the idea of meeting someone after the last debaccle and the drama that went with it and really wasnt looking for anything at all. But I can honestly say I havent been this happy for a looooooonnnng time.

Genuinely "Amazed" that I hadn't met her before I did as not only does she live in the same town as me, and went to the same school, but shes also...a nurse!

You know that way when your phone goes and your heart kind of skips a beat? Yeah. that;s me.

I have caught myself thinking about something she's said or done in work and before I know it this huge smile is splitting my face when Im meant to be on the phone giving contractors a hard time. I feel like I've known her for years.

Maybe this'll be my year?

More writing news to follow!

Watch this space folks, its all happening ;) !