Monthly Archives: February 2016

Usual crap.

Obviously my lil glimmer of relative wellness couldn’t last.

I find myself in bed, fully dressed, under 2 duvets, 2 blankets and with a hot water bottle.

And a hat too.

I’ve stopped shaking at last and my legs aren’t spasming ( actually they just started ).

As it wasn’t fair to ask Dani and Lily to stay in, they’ve gone out to Mark and Sam’s house without me, with my absolute blessing.

There was a time when I didn’t feel the cold. I had these  rules – at 11 degrees C.  I would  wear no shirt when out running or kayaking. Below 6 degrees I’d wear long sleeves and below 3 sometimes a hat in the boat. At this moment it’s probably way over 21 and my teeth occasionally chatter like a cartoon character.

Man of Steel replaced with Sickly Specimen…

I expect nothing less now, so normal is this occurrence.

But look on the bright side – tomorrow, with a bit of luck I’ll just go back to being a regular paraplegic…..

Good to see Ali and meet all the boxers for this year’s Park Club boxing, in aid of the NSPCC.  I did all their visual screening – there are rules about vision standards in the Ring.

Please buy a ticket or ten ( £30 each from the Park Club Acton website ).

Its on March 19th and depending on what happens to me next I’m hypothetically attending.

There’ll be famous names from Boxing ( all surprisingly gentle people ) ring girls who opt to wear virtually nothing, and Sky TV – so you absolutely could be on the telly.

Perhaps see you there?


I’m going to drive the 600 miles to France – it avoids the humiliation of being carried on and off planes.

The Tunnel isn’t far underground and then I’m away. I have a co driver, more someone that can help me really if things go wrong.. And to put diesel in.

I’ve never been into driving long distances; some guys really like it, I know, but not me, or not so far. It’s just possibly the lesser of two evils really.

I’ll have to keep shifting about as best I can so as to avoid getting a pressure sore ( I’d have no idea if I was injuring myself )

My ski kit all seems to have gone a bit mouldy – that s the trouble with not being able to look after kit myself now – that my own rather anal standards can’t be applied – and Dani has enough to do as it is. Hopefully the washing machine will be enough..

6 days of sit skiing may lead to progression – it depends. On recent form I spend 4 days smashing my head and then get better on day 5, by which time I’ve almost thrown the towel in. You should see the state of my helmet – may explain my ongoing mood alterations?!

My Yukon 1000 mile partner, Rob Colliver, is gonna join me, as is Dan and possibly Kev Young, my school mate.

They can’t really do a lot except watch me and wince a lot, but maybe it’ll be better this time? Who knows…



It was my nephew’s 18th birthday on Monday.

There was a big ‘family dinner ‘ to commemorate it, at a nice restaurant near where I live.

I was reflecting on how times have changed, and certainly compared to my own ‘ coming of age’.

For all the talk of kids growing up so fast in this modern world, I don’t think they really have. All around me I see parents helping with kids’ homework, parents being massively involved in the ‘ child’s choice’ of college / university , teenagers being driven/ accompanied in their visits to Uni cities, as well as parents doing an awful lot of worrying when really it’s never been easier for the adolescents to do this stuff for themselves. When the kids find themselves at Uni, all of a sudden and for the first time they have to not only look after themselves but  pass their exams all by themselves too.

When I was 18 the only celebration I was aware of was a party that my older brother helped organise in a club in Newport, culminating in me being face down on the pavement, puking in the gutter. It was the first time I was aware of any concern  for me from Alwyn, and I recall my being surprised that he was looking out for me at all. South Wales wasn’t renowned for encouraging public displays of affection in any way at all.

I can only recall my father helping me with homework once ( I can even remember specifically the topic – atomic structure in molecules ) It had never occurred to me to ask my parents for help, nor I think had it to them – and they were both teachers….

My choice of career was mine, and I chose and visited universities by myself, by train. I’d never been on a train by myself before or been to London, Manchester or Cardiff even alone before, but I never expected them to be involved, and neither did they offer or show any interest. I’m absolutely not being critical – it’s just how it was.

I remember being followed for miles by a bloke that had stood next to me in a public toilet in a London railway station, but I hadn’t the vaguest idea why he would have been following me, just thought it was strange. He even got on the same train as me … hours later. I wasn’t scared in any way – physically I was tough enough to have dealt with any challenge, it was just odd and that’s all. It certainly never occurred to me that his motive might have been sexual, surely there was actually no such thing as men liking other men?

I remember what I did – I saw this really pretty girl in my train carriage and I went and sat next to her, and said hello, then pointed at the guy tailing me, and the bloke got off the train. I kept in touch by letter with that girl for 3 years, though never saw her again.  I didn’t ever tell my parents what had happened – it just wasn’t like that then – well not in our house.

I don’t know how I’ll be with my own girls when it comes to career choice and further education. They definitely  want barely any help with homework and never have ( well, not from Dani or I ) despite us being willing. So far they’ve achieved on merit, and at the risk of sounding old fashioned, I think that’s only right. These days kids live with their parents until they’re about 30 and that’s fine with me, as I love my girls. Things have changed – I spent ONE night at my parents after getting my degree and it was clearly uncomfortable for all parties – I wasn’t a kid anymore – I was 20 – and I was not supposed to be there.

Lily wants a party this month and has asked me to get the vodka

The bloody vodka!!

She’s fifteen… We drank at that age, but it definitely wasn’t a collaboration with our parents… More furtive cheap lager on park benches after dark, with being sick and sobering up before going home the only outcome.

There you go, just my musings again  – easier reading than me talking about suicide, I hope.




Having been too depressed to even write gloomy updates in this blog, I now want to thank people and apologise to others.

Firstly to all those that have tried and not succeeded in their attempts to lift my dark spirits, I’m truly sorry – to my mother firstly, but to lots of others too.

Thank you to Pia and to Clair, and to Cress, Marta, Lizzie T and Kev in particular for their persistence, and of course to Dani most of all for not giving up on me.

As a strategy to further get me out of the hole, I am trying to learn to better sit ski again next week.  I should leave for France on Tuesday and get a few solid days in. I hope by then that my various internal infections and spasms will have further improved, as well as the blimmin chest infection that I seem to have picked up too.

I am pinning my hopes on my run of bad luck halting, with no calamity occurring on the ski slopes next week.

Last night my mood lifted a little perhaps and I slept for 7 hours or so.

When I woke I felt OK.

Two hours later I realised that I’d spent 90 minutes just sitting in my wheelchair in my bathroom doing nothing except ignoring the phone ringing.

I’d like to hear the voices of my children, but one is skiing and the other I don’t know what.

Today hasn’t start well and I have no interest in doing anything at all.

They’ve just left.

The door shut behind them. I’m in so much pain inside. All I wanted after my injury was to be with my girls, and I’ve let them walk out without me to fly thousands of miles away, my choice not to have gone with them. I hate myself so much in every way for doing this, for failing them again.

I wanted to scream out for them to stop, for them to take me with them, but I didn’t,  I let my beautiful family go so I can sink further into my despair.

The doorbell just rang and I wanted so desperately for it  to be them, coming back for me to take me with them. It wasn’t them of course, they are in the car and miles away by now.

How did it come to this.

I knew that Dani was bluffing, and she’d go on holiday. My God, she deserves a holiday from me and everything about  me. These last 3 years have been bad, even worse than the previous 5 plus years where I’m now told that I wasn’t nice either.  I hadn’t realised that

She and Amber leave in less than 2 hours, for fun in the sun.

Lily FaceTime called from her ski trip just now. She was so happy, so beautiful and so healthy. Amber is chasing her cat around our flat and laughing. She too is so happy and is so well  They could not feel more different about the world than I do.  The contrast is so painful – seeing  their joy and remembering how it felt to be that way – so long ago now – a dim memory never to be experienced again .

I know that Dani will look after them and that she can find them another Dad, a better one, who has  bits that all work properly.

I’ve been crying so much these last 2 or 3 days and can’t continue like this

My spasms continue as usual and I resent my legs  increasingly and want to stick sharp objects deep into them to give them something to really spasm about.

Which is what I will do.

It’ll be 2 years tomorrow that I left Stoke Mandeville hospital. I couldn’t wait to leave that place, having missed the outside world.

I don’t know what I expected, but it was ‘ better times’.

The reality has transpired not to be better times.

Being paralysed in the outside world is not better than being paralysed in hospital.

I’ve suffered a never ending sequence of bad luck, infections, injuries and events that have depressed me and tormented me. My non stop spasming continues as I write this.

There has been a change in my thinking. This has not become ‘a mental challenge ‘. It’s an awful physical challenge that my mind has refused to accept as being ok.

That’s because it’s not ok. It doesn’t get better by ‘ having a nice cup of tea ‘ , by ‘ having a nice holiday ‘ , ‘ having a nice hot bath ‘ or any of  the ‘ normal ‘ things that apply.  I’ve declined  to go out this evening to  someone’s house ( date arranged a long time ago ) because I just don’t want to go out.  I’ve declined to catch the already paid for flight to  Portugal on Monday too.  Like I said ‘ a few nice  days away  in the sun ‘ doesn’t make things better – not to me. Dani is angry that I ‘ can’t  just come on a family holiday ‘  Well it’s not a holiday for me.  I obviously want them to go anyway, but they may opt not to  – not my call.

Dani being angry helps me – I deserve the anger and have no defence.

‘It’ hasn’t gotten any better. I can safely assume I think that it won’t.  Why should it?

It’s not a question of what next anymore. It’s a question of when.

‘ Talking to someone’ may well work if you are physically fine but depressed about something or other. That’s a ‘normal world ‘ solution. I don’t live in the normal world though.  My injury can’t be fixed by talking. It’s not a ‘ chemical imbalance in my brain’ – my brain is perfectly rational. My mind is having to deal with my injury, and to accept that it’s ok.

Its not ok, and it’ll never be ok, not for me.

Dani and I are talking to someone tomorrow morning –  to me it’s for her, not for me.  Dani’s ‘ problems ‘ are all emotional and fixable, mine are  not.

People go on to do amazing things post wheelchair, right?   Actually, they’re amazing things done  given  they’re in a wheelchair – to able bodied people they’re usually commonplace achievements.

If I’m regarded as selfish next, then so be it – I was always selfish, you ask Dani.

If I’m cowardly, then so be it. Stick it on my head stone in big letters.

I was all too often an absent Dad, so I’ll just be reverting to type ( though on an extended basis )

I have tried to make a difference, in my return to work,  to various students and colleagues, though the nature of that work is that it’s expected  rather than appreciated,  so I get little in the way of positive recognition or gratitude.

It all adds up to one route.

Lily has gone away on a school trip, full of excitement and smiles, as always. I made her take a picture of her and I before she left, but  spent the hours around her departure close to tears or in tears. I remember the joy of her birth, back when all seemed perfect.

Amber seems not too concerned about not going away, but Dani says she may as well bloody go to work ( logical )

That’ll give me some time alone, so that’s good.