The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

Here goes on my new venture, my blogging journey. This site will chronicle my day to day routine, life struggles and anything else in between.

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Bypassing summer straight to Autumn

As you would guess by the title of this blog post, the weather is grabbing the headlines as it usually does in the UK. After a week of showers and cooler temperatures, the weekend served up pretty much the same. Then joy of joys, the long term weather forecast shows well below average temperatures and plenty of the wet stuff.

I don`t normally mind what the weather does when I am in work, but recently we seem to have hit a real low in terms of summer. It seems an age since I rode my bike. At the weekend I did see some hardy souls out cycling and I do wish I had their determination, then maybe I would lose more weight but the thought of riding for a couple of hours in non stop rain really does not appeal to me. Not to mention the safety aspect.

There was a large music festival nearby at Heaton Park in Bury called Parklife. 80,000 people all aged between 17-20 years danced in mud to various artists over the wet weekend. Maybe I am getting middle aged but again the thought of standing there in the cold and wet really no longer appeals to me. Get me my cocoa and slippers will you!

There is an amber weather warning in place for parts of the south of England with several inches of rain expected in the next 24 hours. The more I write this post, the more depressed I am getting.

So Summer seems reluctant to make an appearance this year. Yet last year saw the UK have the hottest and driest Summer since the heatwave of 1976. So much for global warming as we have reverted back to normality this year.

Getting away from the weather for now, I have got myself into a routine of disappearing to the office in the top bedroom and writing these posts. I don`t usually like taking myself away, I prefer to be downstairs with the rest of the family but I have found it easier to write.

My phone stays downstairs reducing the chances of being disrupted or messing on social media. The peace allows me to think and concentrate on what words I wish to write. In fact on Sunday, by the time I had cooked dinner and washed up all the pots I was looking forward to disappearing into my own blogging world and found it relaxing writing a post. Once the post was published I was ready to return downstairs and watch some television with my wife. I quite like my own peace and space away from the noise of family life.

So all in all today was a bit of a nothing day, but what else do you expect on Monday? Now I have got the drab weather off my chest, I think I`ll spend a little bit longer to myself before re-surfacing downstairs.

Good drink, food and company

One of the positives of your children growing up is the ability to have some time to yourselves as a couple. As our youngest is almost 13 now, he enjoys his independence and having the house to himself for a short period of time.

On Saturday, we had planned to meet a couple of friends at our local pub at around 4pm. The pub is walking distance away so we are not far from home should the need rise. Our friends son was going to our house so the pair of them had the house to themselves.

They loved the idea of the two of them playing on the xbox together, I would order them a couple of pizzas and they would enjoy their time minus parents and have their independence. We therefore had a few hours out with adult company and everyone was a winner.

The pub was surprisingly busy when we walked in with families, children and a few dogs filling up the cosy establishment. It is a pub that is usually busier in the afternoon and early evening but then empties for the last couple of hours. It is probably due to stopping serving food at 9pm and then the trade tails off somewhat. Either way, the staff were busy and doing a very good job of serving everyone as quickly as possible so we retired into a snug corner of the pub and enjoyed our drinks.

We had planned to eat with our friends but we had not settled on what food or where we would eat. By the time we started to feel hungry the decision was made to walk up the road to a very good Indian restaurant. Just before we left for food, we got chatting to a pair of sisters who had been sat near us all the time we had been in.

It transpired they meet up regularly and what was nice was when they said that they had never heard a group of friends laugh so much as we did whilst they were sat near. It was not something I was aware of but it shows how much of a good time and good laughs we do have when we meet up with friends. This is why I feel it is important to have that adult time away from the children from time to time. We have known each other through the school playground over 8 years ago and over that time we have spent a lot of time as a group with the children. Now both our boys are entering their teenage years, it is nice that we as adults get to spend some time together and not just doing stuff with the kids.

The Indian meal was superb and we all sloped off walking home around 10.30pm before falling into bed by 11pm. The boys had a much later night as their sleepover went on for a while. I think in the end, they only managed a few hours sleep as they were up again by 8am.

Although we do not visit the pub that regularly, it was nice to get out and enjoy the food, drink and company. It can feel such a novelty to be able to do this kind of thing at such short notice, but now the children are getting older, the family dynamics do change with time.

Saturday musings

As the rain batters the window driven on by the gusting winds, I sit at the computer desk in the top bedroom with Trudy my trusted dog at my feet. Whilst sat here generally reading the internet, I have had a burning issue running through my head which refuses to go away ( a bit like the rain outside.)

Whilst I have this blog as my little voice box on the internet, I have become envious of lots of dad blogs that I follow and read. Envious that they have stuck around, put the hard graft in and now sit there with a well populated website, engaging and popular social media accounts and have generally produced a great blog.

When I reflect on my attempts at blogging, I see a fractured five years or so starting blogs then closing them when I have either become bored or frustrated with the whole thing. My biggest problem is lacking inspiration. An example being, last week we all went out for the day to Bolton Abbey to see the old Abbey ruins and enjoy the village. We had a great time, took some great pictures and generally had good family time. Yet I never sat down and wrote about it adding those great pictures to the post. Why?

Probably a lack of motivation but generally a lack of inspiration and this is why although I am envious of other bloggers, I frustrate myself that I could have achieved something similar hence the envy.

I think sometimes I worry too much about what people may think of a post I write or worry no one will read it instead of writing it and being happy with that.

I have given great thought to taking this blog more seriously and making a great go of it, turning it into a professional site in the hope that it grows to one day being something inspirational to others. The problem is time. When I am off work, despite having a long list of house chores to complete, I find the time to write. My main problem is work.

When working my brain has little left at the end of the day to give anymore so the blog suffers. Yes I really should work smarter and write posts then schedule those posts during my work days. I could and really should “work smarter”.

Another issue apart from not feeling inspiration is a lack of quality. Who wants to read general ramblings of my day to day routine? This got me thinking and I really should pick certain subjects and write about those rather than a rambling post detailing what I did, or should have done or wished I had done. You get the idea?

Even if I mastered all of that, my next big concern would be social media. I currently manage several social media accounts from personal ones to ones for my sports blog I own. The thought of opening more and therefore managing them drives me insane. Social media is not just about posting it is about engagement, growing those sites which takes a lot of time and dedication. Something that I am currently already doing. My head would spin off my shoulders if I had more to manage.

Maybe I have a decision to make. Whilst currently having two sports blogs (and social media accounts for them) I would have to let one go to allow the opportunity to grow this blog into something much more. We cannot do everything we want to and I would have to make sacrifices. I am just unsure which ones to make.

Back to the grindstone

Having had the week off, I did think I would have posted more often but things never turn out as you planned do they? Despite not writing on this blog, I have been busy on my sports blogs but every time I come to write on here, I always feel that I have nothing exciting to discuss.

It is funny how when I am off work I seem to have not only the time to write (which is stating the obvious) but I have the head space to write too. What I mean by that is when you are away from work, you have the capability to think more and write more. I often think to myself that if I was retired for arguments sake, I would write daily and multiple posts on different sites such is the capability when not juggling work and home life.

Today sees us return to work which for me is a set of afternoon shifts hence why I am writing at 10:30 am. Although we did not have great weather whilst off, it did not stop us getting out and about for days out nor did it spoil the week as a whole.

We had a mixture of ticking off house jobs, having the front garden re-designed, days out, meeting up with friends and generally switching off from work. The week breaks up the time from our holiday we had at Easter and our next time off in August. The thought of going right through from Easter to late Summer without a break in between makes me shudder.

Yesterday saw us have a nice catch up with friends we had not seen for almost a year. We could not believe how the time had passed without us meeting up earlier but we both have families and before you know it, the time has stopped for no one. We visited a few local pubs having a few afternoon drinks, catching up before we walked home and made a roast dinner.

As I look back on the previous week, we have achieved quite a lot without it feeling like we have worked non stop. Plenty of rest has been ideal, but you just know that within 5 minutes of returning to the office and it will feel like I have never been away.

Going for it big time

I have gone for it big time with blogging and hopefully I will not end up regretting it. Not only do I have this site which is a personal blog, detailing my day to day life and a second website where I run a football site, now I have began a third blog!

Yes I know I am mad. The idea behind the third site is wanting to write an almost daily sports blog which in essence re-hashes articles already online. So I will write daily news and updates on the third football site which will only be between 150-250 words in length. Hopefully this will improve my writing skills and develop me to better use my time. Far too often I procrastinate all day when I could have been writing, posting and sharing an article.

Hopefully I will post regularly on here, detailing my life. These posts only take a short time to produce and usually as I am sat on the sofa watching television so it does not impact on my day and my time.

The main sports website I run will take precedence but I have managed to gain a few pals who will contribute to the site with articles. When the football season kicks off again in August it will be full on with this particular site.

So it maybe madness to start another football site, but again, hopefully this will only take a short time as the posts will be quick to write. If anything I have wanted to work smarter rather than procrastinate so the hope is I will train my brain to work smarter.

Watch this space…….

Laid to rest

Today we went over to Burscough near Southport to attend a funeral at the crematorium there. I didn’t know the man who would be laid to rest but my wife did being good friends with some of his children when growing up.

The crematorium appeared very new. Set in a peaceful and picturesque setting off the road with fields as far as you could see, new tree saplings laid it felt such a beautiful setting.

Whilst funerals are never something great to write about for obvious reasons as people are usually emotional and upset but listening to the vicar give his sermon and the readings from family members, this service was one of remembering life being lived to the fullest.

Whilst there were the inevitable tears, there were great tales of fun, loyalty, holidays, kids growing up all positive messages clearly demonstrating a mans life who loved his family and friends. A sign of this was how full the crematorium was with many people stood at the back during the service.

Afterwards we returned towards home, stopping off for a pub lunch. As my dad looked after our son, we took advantage of some time for the two of us. It is not often that the two of us get the chance to spend some time together without any distractions and it was nice to relax having something to eat before we returned home and back to the various chores that always need doing.

I think overall from the funeral today, I will take away wanting to leave a legacy. I would love people to talk at my funeral about how I helped people and was there for my children when growing up. I hope they have great memories of growing up and of family life like I have. You can be nice, friendly and helpful in your life. You don`t have to be “no more Mr nice guy” just because people let you down or annoy you. You don`t necessarily get walked all over just because you see the good in people. That will be the message I take away from today’s sermon.

Bank Holiday Monday

Today is the first day off on our week away from work and a Bank Holiday in England. After waking around 8.15 this morning and sorting all the pets out, I returned to bed for another hours nap. Still shattered from early shifts at work, I really needed longer in bed.

As the weather took a turn for the worse we had to rethink our plans. No more going for a nice walk outdoors maybe around a local reservoir then a visit to a coffee shop. Knowing our luck, we would end up in the middle of a downpour and end up arguing with each other whilst dripping wet. It has happened before, many times. So a trip down to Salford Quays, to the Lowry shopping centre sounded ideal. At least we could get out of the house, grab lunch and a coffee without getting wet through.

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I did fear the rest of the world would have the same idea as ourselves and descend on the Lowry, but thankfully that was not the case. We headed straight for something to eat at Subway. I tried the steak and cheese wrap, never tried before but it was really tasty, a good choice. Once we were filled up, we walked around the shops, grabbing that coffee and checking out the artisan market that had popped up outside. The short trip out was done and then we picked up my dad before returning home.

Why is it that holiday television is so dull? Whilst reviewing the evenings programming, there was absolutely nothing worth our attention. No good blockbuster film or gripping drama so we ended up buying online the latest Mission Impossible film, Fallout. My wife and son had seen it when it was released in the cinema but that was some time ago so after dinner we settled down to watch 2 hours of Tom Cruise`s action.

Now Cruise has saved the world, again, we have settled down to watch Harrison Ford in Airforce One, a 90`s classic but easy viewing. Overall it has not felt like a bank holiday today but as others get ready to return to work tomorrow, we look forward to the rest of the week off.