Yesterday a lad ( though no longer ) that was in Cardiff Uni with us, came to visit, with his wife Claire, and son Ben, and daughter Lottie ( both in their teens now )
The last but two times that we met up was at their house in Kent, about 8 years ago.
It’s about 50 miles from Chiswick, and given that I always had to exercise every day without fail, it seemed logical that I would cycle there and Dani would drive, and we’d put my bike on the back of my car to go home.
As I didn’t know where Sevenoaks was, and geography was never my strong point, I taped the primitive first generation Sat Nav ( battery powered ) to my handlebars and set off an hour before Dani and our two very little girls, reckoning I’d get there about the same time as they did.
These days with Sat Nav’s you can put in whether you’re in a car, on foot or pedalling a bike and it’ll route you appropriately. My Sat Nav didn’t have that function.
I was on the M25 for about 4 minutes before I realised my blind faith in the Sony Sat Nav was misplaced.
I weighed up whether cycling like f*** until I got to the next junction was preferable to turning around and pedalling the wrong way up the hard shoulder of the world’s busiest motorway on a Saturday.
As I pondered my choice I realised too late just how glass strewn the hard shoulder of a motorway is, and that in my slight panic I was not avoiding various bits of detritus.
A popping sound ensued and my front tyre went down rapidly.
I happened to hit very slow moving traffic at pretty much the same time, giving hundreds ( if not thousands ) of drivers the chance to watch a bloke mending his puncture on the embankment of the London Orbital – see, I’m not totally stupid, having the sense to not stay on the hard shoulder whilst I repaired my tyre.
Incredibly not a single driver hooted a horn or shouted well deserved abuse, nor did a police car come to take me away ( the motorway being ever so illegal to cycle on, with spy/traffic cameras no doubt trained on me continuously )
My inner tube replaced, I carried on my way, hitting crazy speeds of 35mph plus, the draft of 3/4 lanes of speeding traffic helping me along quite a lot. I can’t deny that that part was fun, and tried to make the best of the situation.
The next obstacle was where the M25 merged with some other motorway and I now had to cross lanes. That was a bit hairy.
I’m not sure how I ever lived to reach the age I did before breaking my back, as looking back I perhaps shouldn’t have. Maybe I simply used up all my lives?
I eventually got to Ed and Clair’s an hour later than planned, but having lost another life.
After I’d been there for a few minutes Ed got a phone call -just a social call from a mate that was stuck in a traffic jam on the M25 to tell Ed that he’d just seen the most unbelievable thing ….
… A bloke cycling along the M25.
Thank you ( in no particular order ) to Carole Windsor-King, to Mike and Theresa Smith, to Cherie always, to Debs and Neal Watson, to Alison Evans, to Adam Jones, to Rick and Brett, to Caroline Bennfors, to Rob Colliver and Clair Mason, to the lovely Jayney C, to of course Dani, to Kim, to Tanya Mann, to Steve and Shelley Elson, to Jo and Andrew Fleet, all for being such positive people.
Thanks massively to Pia and Cliff for last night organising my girls to go ice skating and then for insisting that I go on the rink too?!
I’d have thought that Christmas Elf n Safety would have forbidden wheelchairs on ice rinks ( surely they can’t – that’s just common sense..? ) but actually there’s no ban at all…. and so I got propelled around by Cliff, by Pia, by Amber and by Holly in turn. And good fun it was too, and made me feel far less ‘excluded’ than I otherwise would have.
There’s even some video. It’s not exactly Torville and Dean, but it’s better than ‘owt for sure.
I’m seeing a counsellor at the moment.
According to Google… he’s most well known for having ‘saved’ Gazza ( footballer from the past – turned alcoholic )
Given the recent and widely reported state of Paul Gasgoine, I’m reconsidering my choice of professional.
This is the first Christmas that we haven’t sent lots of cards. Dani and I in the past have been guilty of sending fairly inappropriate cards at this time of year – if you’ve ever had one, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
So this is my / our card this year… Which I blatantly stole from YouTube (via Mike Smith – my very good friend )
Merry Christmas to everyone that reads this diary
We went to a University Christmas drinks reunion last night, meeting up with 20 or so friends from Cardiff days.
Amongst others. Adam and Sally Sharp were there, and it was their wedding anniversary, a wedding that Dani and I attended on the south coast. I’d have been 27 at the time
Adam sent me this text after I’d left last night. Although I can’t actually remember, I’m assured that it’s true, to my eternal shame obviously….
Russ, I meant to say it was 22 years to the day that you snogged and tongued my 90 year old gran at my wedding. She died 3 years later still m****
You legend. xxxx
The message was from Clair, who, along with lots of others, rode a hard class to raise awareness of this sadly common phenomenon.
People commit suicide all the time, for all sorts of reasons – most of those reasons being hard to fathom by those left behind.
Surely life can’t have been that bad?
What about the turmoil you’ve caused by your ‘selfish action’ ? People say that to guilt the suicidal person into not doing it, ‘ taking the cowardly way out ‘.
I can tell you that it doesn’t feel cowardly, on the contrary it feels brave, having a firm and steadfast belief that you’re about to do the best thing, the right thing for everyone.
When you get past that moment, and see more rationally that yes, you might be doing what’s best for you ( in your opinion ) but it leaves chaos and despair behind that may persist for many years, then the selfishness of the act is apparant.
The trouble is that clarity of thought doesn’t figure high on the menu of person in danger – the voice in your head that tells you it’s the right thing is very calm and convincing, almost without emotion and therefore logical at the time.
I think before my accident I’d be the last person you’d think of that would consider taking my own life. I’ve known only a few people that have, and couldn’t understand why on earth they did it, as on the outside they appeared way too sensible to do it, and had no good reason to either.
I think most people could realise why I’ve thought that way very often. It’s pretty common for victims of paralysis to do it, and absolutely standard to think about it at the very least. On the outside I rarely appear to be depressed, and almost certainly not suicidal, but if it was that obvious to people, then all the suicidee’s ought be stopped in time.
By the same token there are lots of miserable bastards out there that complain about everything, all of the time ( yet wanna stick around for ever )
At the present time I’m ok, and can see a future ahead as a Dad, a husband, a brother, a son, a friend, a colleague ( delete as applicable ) but I certainly don’t always feel that way.
These days I look at people differently, and certainly don’t view the world through rose tinted glasses ( as I used to ) There are a lot of unhappy people out there, and it’s easy for The Happy to dismiss their worries as insignificant.
Sometimes until it’s too late.
As my sky email address has been compromised…. If anyone needs to get in touch, then please text me or wattsapp me…
Or use my iCloud email
Funny Russ story
Since I’ve been cited as a partial instigator of recounting funny stories involving Russ, I feel it’s only right that I submit something about one of my many funny memories.
Russ is funny most of the time and makes me laugh like no one else I know. I love spending time with him for this reason.
It was on my wedding day – 22 years ago – there’s more than one funny story about this day – but for me the funniest moment was when Russ, unbeknown to anyone, switched some of the wedding guests copies of the Hymn sheets, with his own version of the Hymns that Charlie and I had carefully and meaningfully chosen for our wedding service. Imagine my shock horror when it came to belting out the words to Jerusalem to find some really quite disgusting words in place of the puritanical biblical words.
I remember turning back towards the congregation behind me, as I stood at the altar trying hard to look like a demure bride, and my eyes met with the big beaming face of Russ Dawkins looking very chuffed with himself!! I have never tried so hard in my life to suppress my uncontrollable giggles as the tears streamed down my face! The Vicar & Charlie’s family had no idea, luckily, about what was going on as only some of the congregation had the Russ Dawkins version of the Hymn sheets!
I’m wondering if you still have a copy of the Hymn sheet Russ?
Sent from my iPad
This was sent by my Uni housemate ( who shall remain nameless, for the sake of his own reputation in this diary )
All the words in brackets are written by me, and are probably closer to the truth…
Many stories my friend but not so many publishable ones!
But as a starter for 10, how about your summer home alone in Moy Rd? ( I needed money so worked on a building site for 7 weeks rather than spend a summer at home )
In no particular order, except the first one which is clearly the funniest!
1. Beginning of term, Hartley, Jon and I got back to find a bunch of 10 year olds who lived in the road sporting T-shirts with Russ the Muss written on them. And that you’d been doing shoulder presses in the street with a broomstick as the bar and a 10 year old on each end as the weights! It was like that scene from Rocky – they followed u everywhere and kept asking if you wanted to come out to play! ( I’m sure they were older than ten )
2. You and Uba ( Nigerian – public school educated – prince type – not many of those in Cardiff in 1985 ) mowed the lawn with a pair of nail scissors…( what’s wrong with that?! )
3. The bathroom window got smashed and you couldn’t recall doing it cos u were so pissed and blamed it on me. I couldn’t recall it either and actually believed it was me! Took Pat the neighbour to put us right! ( I wasn’t pissed, I was sleep walking, naked. Out the back door, into the garden, where I was seen to pick up a brick, throw it through my own bathroom window, and then walk back in – the old guy next door saw the whole thing as he was hanging out his washing )
4. Bored, you went through all our personal belongings. We returned to find dodgy photos of us all on the wall behind the Woodville pub bar… ( possibly true )
5. You worked all summer on a building site and blew it all on lumberjack shirts and a dodgy white denim jacket! ( cool back then?)
6. And finally there was a note from one of our neighbours (never identified) which said ” I seen you. I seen you shitting on our doorstep!” A charge you always denied but I did always suspect it could have been true! ( I have no idea what really happened – but generally got blamed for everything )
Sent from Samsung tablet.