Thursday, 13 June 2013

... the latest news from the team.

........ and they've arrived. 
Well done the team. 

Time to celebrate 

Arrive at Pier Head, Liverpool 
11th June 2013.   

Mark meets the riders - and the sun is shining! 
Keep pedaling!

And They're Off! 
7th June 2013. 
Thought you would like to see this photograph.
Magnificent team setting off from a very wet Land's End.  
The weather couldn't have been worse but the smiles are great!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

What a difference a year makes!!

....this time last year I was full of anticipation as a hectic month in work was finally coming to a close to be capped off nicely with a trip up to the lakes with the lads for some mountain biking, walking and boozing!! ....well one out of three ain't bad! I made the mountain biking part of the trip and to be fair I think at the end of the trail I was already mentally onto the boozing part of the trip! As that would explain why the next thing I remember was coming round face down on the floor not knowing where I was or what had happened to me!

I can't believe it's been a year already!!

I thought the saying was time flies when you're having fun! Well time has certainly flown but I can assure you the last year has been anything but fun, in a search for the most positive way of putting it I think surreal is the word that would best describe the last 12 months, all very very surreal!'s strange really and difficult to put in words, the fact that life does I suppose just go on, yep I can't walk etc... But I'd say 80% of the time, in a way you kind of forget about it as you're just getting on with that days tasks and activities, obviously it's constantly there, I mean sliding my way in and out of the car on a plastic board and sticking a tube in me when I need to pee and not being able to reach anything above about 5ft are along with a million other things clearly not ideal....but your norm and your reality shifts remarkably quickly and those things are now just part of that altered reality in a way, and instead of dwelling on the fact that as I say you're sliding in and out of the car instead of just standing up and getting out, you focus on that new task and you notice as you improve and things slowly but surely get that bit quicker and easier .....Well that's the case most of the time.                   I'm not trying to say its all sweetness and light and who needs legs anyway! More just trying to put across how the mind, well my mind at least seems to deal with it and you carry on one day at a time. Don't get me wrong it is thoroughly shit being in this situation and I would give anything to have my old life back, but miracles aside, it doesn't look too likely so c'est la vie! 

 I honestly think the worst thing you can do is stop and think about it too much as that's when it really hits home!! This 1 year anniversary being a case in point as a couple of weeks back, when I started to think oh it's almost a year since the accident I was starting to dwell on things and think how crap it all is and think about what I've lost etc... And it doesn't get you anywhere apart from down, in a bad mood and pissing off those around you!! But those times are inevitable and all part of it I suppose, I'm just really lucky I'm surrounded by such a wonderful network of friends and family and most importantly Jenna x. You've all been and continue to be truly amazing, so thank you. Anyways, went off on a bit of a monologue there, apologies!

The last month or so has been pretty chocca as ever! I think the last blog finished with talk of 'the Kaplan night of musical excellence' and a trip to Stoke Mandeville! ....Well both have been and gone, the former was a great night some very impressive performances indeed and a fantastic turnout! I feel like I hardly spoke to anyone so apologies if I missed you! And once again a huge thank you to everyone who helped organise and performed on the night and also for those who turned up too! If you were anything like me I'm sure you were pretty fragile the next day!!

The week down at Stoke Mandeville was ace too, got to try loads of different sports and managed to win the table tennis tournament for all new tetraplegics! So I am officially the best person at table tennis who has happened to break their neck in the last twelve months, probably a fairly small field!! But in my defence, in the later rounds I played some decent players, that said the earlier rounds I felt a little cruel at times as there where people much worse off than me who literally could hardly hit the thing!

Another, fairly random sort of sport I tried that they seem to think I was ok at was the athletic throwing events so discus and javelin basically so I've had a couple more goes of it up in Southport and I'll just have to see how I progress, it could be my ticket to Rio...fingers crossed!! Sadly again it's not the most active sport in the world I need to find more cardio!! ....aside from the sports it was nice to catch up with a few of the guys I was in hospital with and have a few drinks, although I'd forgotten quite how horrendous one of the blokes snoring was. The accommodation left a lot to be desired as it was just big dormitories with kind of short partition walls so you could hear most of the other dorms too and likewise they could hear us or more specifically Kal (the snorer!) ....all night you'd hear people shouting "shut the F up" and they where three rooms away, I was in the bed next to him and it was honestly the worst sleep I can remember, I could've killed him!

The weekend after Jenna and I where off down to London to watch the marathon as her best mate Jayne was running along with some of her friends, the atmosphere was brilliant, largely helped by the glorious weather, not so good for those running but great for the spectators!! She posted an excellent 4hrs 20mins and all of them were doing very well to be out drinking afterwards, it was 9ish when we left and they were still going strong, so excellent stamina all round there..... it must've been a very painful Monday morning indeed! As ever though London was chocca but we had a good catch up with everyone and it was our first full weekend away post accident and thankfully all went smoothly! (dates these days tend to follow a similar system to BC/AD method but with things described as pre/post accident all the while!

Another fairly random happening this month was a call from Motability, I was worried they wanted the car back at first! Thankfully though it was about their 35th anniversary and they asked me if I wouldn't mind attending a little do back at the dealership where I got my car and they'd take some photos of me being given my keys with the local MP and some other local dignitaries! My first question was does that mean you're going to clean my car for me then?! The answer was yes and I was in their like a flash, I must say they did a great job, full valet inside and out and the new car smell was back too!! was a nice little bash, good buffet too but a very unfortunate picture of me was tweeted by the MP onto her twitter account looking very to say I was thoroughly ripped for that one in the pub that night! well as my discuss and javelin, I'm continuing in earnest with the table tennis, tennis and hand biking and getting down to the gym as often as I can. It's all slow progress but progress none the less! When I dropped my car off to be valeted for this Motability thing I even decided to forgo the taxi they offered and push myself back to my mum and dads from Speke which must be a good 3 or 4 miles which I would never have even contemplated a few months ago! I slept well that night!!

We also went along to a fancy shindig organised by Greenbank the gym I go to and who coincidentally have
some accountancy work done by the firm Jenna works for Mitchell Charlesworth. They very kindly gave Jenna and I seats on their table!! So we got the chance to put our glad rags on again! Our table got a little carried away with auction fever! Jenna and I are now the proud owners of two rather expensive signed netballs, a little random! But we also had some success in the raffle with a night in a posh hotel to look forward to!

...the only other things to report are Jenna and I have stepped up the search to find our own place, so all very exciting there, but frustrating in equal measure!! Ideally a bungalow is what we're after but they certainly attract a premium so a house with a lift is the plan b! ...but with needing to do work such as knocking walls down and widening doorways etc... it somewhat limits the search to places that need work doing to them! And also we need a fair bit of space with all the paraphernalia that comes with being disabled, for instance we got a physio plinth the other day, which I need for doing stretches and exercises on but it's like having an extra double bed to try and fit in somewhere! Don't think my mum and dad where massively impressed when it arrived!! ...this combined with things like handbikes, sports wheelchairs and the like all add up to a lot of clutter!! ....essentially the house search is pretty much a needle in a haystack at the moment!! ....the last place we viewed certainly would not allow for cat swinging! I just about got through the front door, but then couldn't get in the kitchen or bathroom, it was tiny! ....the parents front room may be home for a little longer than anticipated!! (though all massively appreciated if you're reading this mum and dad!!)

.....and finally a group of intrepid cyclists are setting off in a weeks time on an epic ride from Lands End to John O'Groats, led by my friend Tom Jones who has put in a massive amount of work organising the whole trip, also accompanying him is another good friend Neil McCrimmon and my dad is going to be driving one of the support vans too! ....the whole group have very kindly decided to raise funds for both the great North Air Ambulance who came and peeled me off the floor last year, and also for me too! So a massive thanks in advance, good luck and anyone who wishes to donate or wish them well please see the link up to the right!