The long road to freedom.

My original blog covered my amputation, the period immediately after and the subsequent 2nd operation to chop out an infection that was threatening to take what was left of my leg.

In order to speed the healing process up I was fitted with a vacuum dressing which worked via a small pump. The pump drew the slough [pronounced ‘sluff’] out of the wound and left the remaining tissue free to heal. I kept the pump on for two months [day and night] give or take a week, and it was a giant pain in the arse.

The day I got the all clear from the hospital was truly momentous. It meant an end to the thrice-weekly 40 mile round-trip from home to the hospital in Coventry. It meant an end to the huge wait for a parking space once we arrived at the hospital [it’s not uncommon to wait for 40 minutes in a queue for a space] and it meant an end to having to carry the vacuum pump around in a dainty little man-bag everywhere I went. It also meant I could finally start my rehabilitation and start working toward getting a leg.

I rang what I call ‘The Leg Place’ from the car park at the hospital. I’d visited the Leg Place prior to the Infection setting in and met a woman there that I’d taken an instant dislike to. She wanted me to go in every week to mince about doing stretches and shit but I didn’t want to disturb the vacuum pump and set my recovery back even further so refused to do it [which pleased her no end].

I made an appointment to go and see the same woman. It turns out the Leg Place only has one qualified physiotherapist and appointments are like rocking horse shit as a result.

I went in at the appointed hour and fully expected her to magic a leg up there and then, but no, she wanted to do stretches and then she wanted to inspect every square inch of my stump, and my remaining leg. Our initial relationship was frosty to say the least, I didn’t understand what she was messing about at and just wanted to move on. At one point, when she was telling me that 80% of amputees never walk again because it’s too difficult, I decided to tell her that I’d seen small children and old people wandering about with prosthetic limbs so it can’t be as hard as she was making out and could she please hurry up… to her credit she didn’t call me a twat, but a tenner says she was thinking it, and she probably said it during her tea-break or something.

After a couple of weeks of knobbing about it was time to try out for a leg. There are a number of hoops that need to be jumped through before you’re considered suitable and whilst I can’t remember all of them I do know that one of them is standing still for ten minutes, supported by the parallel bars when needed, and another was to stand perfectly still for 1 minute and balance on the remaining leg without touching the bars or anything else. I passed both tests plus whatever else it was at the first attempt and was free to trundle off to see the woman who makes the legs… joy!

It was early July when I went to the other side of the Leg Place. The right side deals with prosthetics, the left side deals with rehabilitation and physiotherapy – and the two sides don’t get along. Mention one side to the other and you’ll get a roll of the eyes, some muttered insult and a lot of finger clicking as a scene from Westside Story cracks off before your very eyes. They hate each other, which is mega when you’re stuck in the middle.

On the day of my appointment I was called in late [as usual] and the woman I met didn’t bother with pleasantries such as “hello” and instead preferred the phrase “are you wearing pants?”…I assumed it was a colloquialism and nodded slowly so as not to scare her. Perhaps, I thought, this is how they do things round here, maybe this woman has a brother/father or a sister/mother, best not to spook her.

I was directed to stand between the parallel bars as is the norm and watched as the woman readied herself. She was perched on a mechanics stool directly in front of me and in another time and place [and perhaps without my missus watching] things could have gotten interesting. Sadly though, the following took place.

Without a word of warning my new best friend plunged her hand between my legs. Ordinarily I’d take this as a good sign but on this occasion It meant danger. I’d like the reader to keep in mind the fact that this was July, in what turned out to be the warmest summer ever and my balls were seriously sweaty. I would also like to alert the reader to the fact that my new best mate had chosen not to wear gloves and had had to move my dingus out of the way as he blocked her route to my nether regions.

The whole time she was rummaging about all I could think of was “did she wash her hands after the last bloke left or is sweaty ball smell the thing that does it for her?”.

We’d been going for ten minutes or so by now and I needed a break, my left leg is pretty rubbish and having to support the rest of me takes it’s toll. I sat down in my chair and she finally explained that she was looking for certain ligaments and bones. She also told me that she could have reached them easier from behind but didn’t want to move on account of it being warm.

Oddly, after I stood up again, she scooted round behind me and started to root about all over again. This time she said she was looking for the ‘bum bone’ and this time I started to imagine that this is what prison must be like. For the record your bum bone is located a gnats chuff away from your bumhole and, let me tell you, any unauthorised activity in that area gives this bloke the heebie geebies!

At some point the invasive probing stopped and I think she might even have measured something, I was past caring by that point though and needed the missus to take me to the nearest toy shop so I could buy a doll and point out to the Police where I’d been touched.

My best mate told us as we were leaving that she was going on holiday the following day and would be away for two weeks. She said she’d leave the information with one of her colleagues and that they would be in touch in due course. I’m delighted to say she washed her hands at that point, I’m hoping she’d done that before I entered the room too, although it’s possible that she didn’t enjoy the rich aroma of my sweaty ball… posh cow.

I tootled off home in good spirits [okay, I didn’t have the urge to kill everyone for 20 minutes or so] and set about waiting for the telephone call telling me my Gucci leg was ready. I waited, and I waited and then I waited some more. Eventually, after six weeks or so, I got fed up of waiting and called them. I heard the woman on the end of the phone go quiet. She did a bit of tapping and some rustling of papers and then said she’d call me back [she didn’t] I called her again the following time and this time got through to someone in the leg department. The person I spoke to told me that they’d lost the notes and needed me to go in to be measured again – dagnabit!

An appointment was hastily arranged and the whole nasty procedure was completed again. This time my best mate said she’d deal with it herself, right then, this is bound to work. I asked at this stage if i’d have any chance of taking my boys out on Halloween around the village “I don’t see why not”, she said… wahoo!

This time I really did only wait two weeks. The call came and I fairly bounded off to the Leg Place. This was the day I was going to walk again, and I couldn’t flipping wait!

We arrived on time and were kept waiting, again, and then we were wheeled into the same room as before to find something that looked like an upturned Policeman’s helmet secured in some type of contraption. No leg, No knee, No foot, just a massive helmet.

No explanation was offered, apparently I should know the inner workings of a prosthetic clinic, why wouldn’t I? I was told to stand up and put my stump into the helmet, I did. I asked for it to be lowered because I was virtually on my tip-toes but she told me I needed to straighten my leg. I tried to stand tall but was told I wasn’t doing it right, that my posture was crap and that they couldn’t fit this thing if I didn’t stand up… I felt a similar kind of rage that Bruce Banner experiences just before he goes green and fucks shit up but I held on to it and asked if they could let me see in the mirror so I could correct whatever they needed as I just couldn’t understand what she wanted.

A mirror was duly rolled in [I looked good as usual] and I saw the issue. “Ah-Ha”, I said, “My left knee doesn’t get any straighter than this, it’s osteoarthritis and there’s sod all I can do about it”.

I was told that my explanation was rubbish and that of course I could get it straighter, she started banging on about range of movement being poor and before I knew it Bruce was gone and Hulk had turned up. We exchanged more than a few words, she was told to stop talking to me like I was 3yrs old and her parentage might have been questioned too. It’s fair to say that our relationship hit a bit of a road bump that day. Appointment over, I was told to go and see the original woman as there was no way I was ready for a leg and the other lot had stuffed up, the bastards!

Yet another appointment was made, another week delay followed and in I went again, for about 15 minutes. My range was tested [the movement of my hips basically, how far they’ll move given everything on the right hand side hasn’t been used in months and is busy shrinking] once again my range was declared suitable only this time the physio woman [dubbed ‘Mad Lizzie’] called the Leg woman [dubbed ‘That Twat on the other side’] and told her to come and see for herself – she refused – so, guess what, another appointment was made, only this time it would be for a fitting. An absolute cast-iron guarantee this time, my leg was just two short weeks away from being here!

The morning of the next appointment rolled round but, a few minutes before we were due to leave the phone rang… the parts needed to complete my new leg hadn’t been delivered. Not to worry, they’d be in later that day and they’d call me with a new appointment… they didn’t.

I rang the next morning and was told the parts still hadn’t landed, that they were in touch with the couriers and not to worry. A short while later they called again, the couriers had lost the parts and they now needed to be re-ordered… Balls!

No appointment was made as there were no parts and no lead-time. They would be in touch when they landed and until then there was nothing anyone could do. Sorry. I was offered some physiotherapy, which I refused, and told to wait until they called, a couple of weeks passed but no call came so I rang in and was told that they still hadn’t shown up. At this I got the arse and decided an email to head office was the way to go, I was months down the line by now, Halloween had come and gone and my new goal was to be walking by Christmas. I emailed head office but got butkus by way of reply, not a peep.

I absolutely hate using the phone, anyone who knows me knows this. I don’t ring people and very rarely answer if they ring me, but this time I figured I’d ring head office and demand answers.

I called the number advertised and a woman picked up. I thought I’d called the wrong place though as she said it was ‘Opcare’ and I’d called ‘Blatchford’, I explained I’d called the wrong number but just before I hung up she asked who I wanted, I told her and she said “Oh they’ve gone, we’ve taken over and the number has been transferred to us”. Eh?

It turns out that Blatchford had lost the NHS contract to supply prosthetics and related services but rather than actually tell me that they decided simply to make up stories about Couriers. The reality is that Blatchford didn’t want to spend any more money and had pulled all of it’s machinery out of the building so no more legs could be built. All staff but the centre manager were being retained

[which would make it a tad awkward when I next spoke to the woman who
lied to me]

and it would be business as usual in a couple of days. The lady I talked to happened to be one of Opcare’s directors. She happened to be passing reception when the phone rang and figured she’d answer it. She promised to get me squared away ASAP and, amazingly, as soon as they opened the next morning they were on the phone booking an appointment for a leg fitting!

This time all went smoothly. I went in at the allotted time and was kept waiting [nothing changes] but as I entered the room with the bum forager, there was my leg, an actual real-live leg!

I tried my new leg on, Christine took a cheesy thumbs-up photo and that was me done! A couple of weeks practising and I’d be out of there.

“A couple of weeks” turned into another four months. Christmas came and went and then the new target of walking by my Birthday was missed. The root cause was me needing to have another leg made, which involved another set of measurements and, amazingly, another set of measurements because the first ones had been lost, again!

When the leg arrived I got cracking straight away, I had more hoops to jump through such as walking a slalom course of cones, practising going up and down stairs, opening and closing doors, going up and down slopes, picking things up off the floor, picking myself up off the floor should I fall over and, sitting… I got through all of that lot only for my bastard stump to change shape! The stump is prone to change for the first two years post-op and it wasn’t entirely unexpected. At first they increase the number of ‘socks’ you wear [a sock is exactly that, it’s an over-sized sock that goes over the stump to prevent sores and rubbing] the socks come in thick and thin types and I got up to needing 4 thick socks which is the trigger for a new socket. Off I went to see the bum forager again only she was off sick [hooray!] so someone new got to fondle me instead [boo!] the only good thing is that no dudes ever got involved in the bum-foraging. It’s bad enough when a chick does it but a dude would be too much and someone would get whacked, me probably.

I’m loathe to even write it but, for the umpteenth time, my measurements were ‘mislaid’ so they took another set ‘just to be sure’. They then sorted my leg out in double-quick time and off I went to see mad Lizzie again.

Mad Lizzie needs to see patients performing the tasks set twice before she can sign them off so we set about knocking them off sharpish. It only took a couple of weeks to complete the list and she started making sounds about taking the leg home for a test drive. A day here, a day there, that kind of thing. I told her one day that I’d been coming to the Leg Place for 7 Months, and that I’d just read about a guy who lost both hands and both feet to an infection. He was in hospital for 7 weeks and walked out under his own steam… she told me I could take my leg home there and then!

The leg has been christened “Doctor” in homage to Dr Legg from Eastenders [Christine’s idea] and for the first few days I felt guilty that I wasn’t wearing it often enough. I’m meant to be using it in 30 minute bursts 3 times per day, the intention is that you slowly add minutes to each session until the sessions meet up and form one big one. I had two walking sticks on day one but I tossed one of them on day two because my posture was crap and I looked more like Caesar from Planet of the Apes than Andy from Huncote of the Apes.

One day I decided to see what could be done so I kept the thing on all day from 8am until 6pm, it was fine, but I didn’t really go anywhere, just mooched about at home, and then I picked up the Infection and things slowed down again as my left knee has been wrecked for a week or so. Due to the osteoarthritis I have no cartilage in the knee but I suspect the infection I didn’t know I had was keeping the joint filled with fluid and that acted as a shock absorber in the same way a normal knee uses cartilage. Once the infection went, so did my knee.

The past few days has seen me venturing out like a big boy on my own. One day I made it ¾ of the way up the street before being forced to turn back but earlier today [Tuesday 21st May] I made it all the way to the end of the road, across the main road and over to the bench at the end of the next road. I even took a picture! My next goal is to make it as far as the park although I need to be careful not to go too far if I get there as the effort of walking means I’m massively out of breath and, trust me, the children’s play area is not the place to be when you’re a bloke, and you’re panting, and a bit sweaty… I can see the headlines now “Mothers Club Together – suspected kiddy fiddler found with a Hedgehog jammed up his batty”.

Over and out, good people [person] until next time.

Chester Zoo… the return

We took the kids to Chester Zoo today. It was the second time we’d visited, the first being mid-April 2018, a couple of weeks after the amputation. It was our first trip out together last year and was considered so important that the school actually authorised the boys being taken out for the day. There was none of that old pony this time, it’s half-term and we decided to join the squillions of Scouse people who wander around the zoo spitting on everything as they attempt to say any word containing a vowel.

We’d been anxiously watching the weather ever since I’d booked the tickets. I did it blind and hadn’t bothered checking the forecast first [that was an error, Christine said so, a lot] and it was only after I’d booked that we discovered Chester don’t refund tickets, nor do they swap them, nor do they provide a ‘rainy day’ ticket so you can go back when it’s not honking and actually enjoy your day, that’s lovely of them eh?
The first thing I did when I woke up was check the forecast, no rain, wahoo!

We arrived at the Zoo shortly after it opened at 10am – it rained within ten minutes of us getting there – it was only a brief shower so we set off and went to stare at the various critters on offer.

TIP – Turn Right, and Ignore the Monkey House directly in front of you. Most people take a clockwise route in parks and zoos and going anti-clockwise means you have a much easier time with fewer people getting in the way.

Naturally, the rain started to get heavier and it was around that time that we realised we’d left coats and umbrella’s at home. It didn’t really matter for the boys & Chris as the showers were only lasting 10 minutes or so at a time but it’s a big deal to me as I was in my wheelchair and a wet seat is a wet seat. I didn’t fancy sitting with a wet batty for the rest of the day so had to keep hiding in covered areas until, finally, the rain buggered off and we could mooch about in relative dryness [we still had the spitting scousers to contend with] we stopped for lunch, Christine legging it back to the car to grab the world’s biggest pic-a-nic, and then set off for round two.

By 3pm or thereabouts we were ready to call it a day. It’s a big Zoo and we reckon we’d covered at least 5 miles since we arrived [Christine’s step-thingy had recorded 14,000 steps] we got the usual “awwww” from the boys when we announced that it was home-time but they soon perked up when we reminded them that they could go and spend their money at the Zoo shop which is by the exit.

The Zoo was knackering! It’s a bit hilly and in order to get from one side of the place to the other you have to cross a massive bridge. The first time we went, I needed a helping hand from Chris every five minutes, my arms and shoulders just didn’t have the power to get me from A-to-B, today, I didn’t need help from anyone, although it tired me out no end. It’s a mark of progress I think.
To cap a wonderful day, we drove smack-bang into a load of congestion on the motorway on the way home and a 2hr drive quickly turned into a 4-and-a-half hour drive, which was nice.

Chester is a cracking day out and is well worth the drive. They could be less shitty about tickets [they even encourage you to sign up in advance by offering a “discount” on tickets – which actually means they just put their prices up by 20% for walk-ins] but all of the staff we encountered were good and friendly. The Zoo is clean, the animals look happy and I recommend the place for a visit. Just don’t engage the locals in conversation, because they’ll spit on you.

Negative, Ghost Rider, the pattern is full…

I’ve had a busy day. I’ve started a couple of new projects that will remain secret squirrels for the time being. I’ve also been up and about on my new leg [I decided to call the leg, “The Doctor”, after Doctor Legg in EastEnders [that was Christine’s idea, blame her] and was able to get round to see our friends the ‘Tards yesterday. I last got to their spiffy new house at Christmas, but it was shit because they didn’t bother making their new house wheelchair-friendly and I had to leave after an hour because I needed a pee.

The ‘Tards house still isn’t wheelchair friendly [Nazi’s] but now I have the Doctor I don’t care. I was able to use their steps, I was able to walk outside, I was able to sit on their wall [which pissed one of them off no end] and I was able to drink their coffee, even though I was given the “Stupid Twat” mug… told you they were Nazi’s.

Today has been a workshop day. I can’t discuss the main project as it’s a secret for the time being, but the other stuff is out there, only I’m not going to discuss that either because I have a Facebook page set up for work, head on over to the Winklewood page and you can see what I’ve been up to, if you want, and if you don’t want, screw you.

We’re off to Chester Zoo on Thursday. We last went this time last year, it was our first trip after I left Hospital and it was essentially a gift from my pal Fatbloke, a gift I’ve not forgotten. Lots of people helped us in our hour of need last year and it made me feel all cosy and fuzzy inside, a bit like indigestion, but nicer, and with less poo.
I’m hoping the weather is good on Thursday or I won’t be able to go. It’s far too soon for Doctor Legg, I can’t use him for more than a few minutes at a time which means it’s the wheelchair for me. That becomes a major drama if it rains because I get to sit in a wet seat all day. Everyone else can put their hood or Umbrella up and whilst I can do the same, the rain would definitely get onto the chair cushion and that would suck balls. My Mum is lined up to Bob-sit if we all go, and if I stay then she’ll take my place with Chris and the boys and Bob and I will spend the day being blokes.

I have only one more thing to add today – TOP GUN SCREENING – that’s right. The good people at Wicksteed Park in Kettering are putting on a screening in August. I’ll add a link soon. I’ve emailed them to see if they run the carer scheme for film screenings, hopefully they will because I plan on using the saved money to buy cardboard and sellotape… one F-16 wheelchair coming up! Seriously, I’ll update with a link and will let you know about the ticket thingy once they reply. I like Wicksteed, I used to go a lot when I was a nipper but that was about 200yrs ago and I expect a few things have changed since then… do they still have the Pirate Ship?

Later, groovers.

I am man, hear me roar!

Originally Published 9th February 2018

I was looking at Pintrest earlier, it’s the first time I’ve been on the site in ages, and it immediately lead me to Amazon, and then to Screwfix, as I pondered whether to spend £100 on a new self-centring chuck for my wood lathe – that’s the reason I’ve not been on Pintrest for a while. Whenever I do I get an urge to make something but the thing I’d like to make now (a new Router Table) would take me longer than the time I have remaining before my operation, and even if I pushed it i’d only just get in done in time.

I love working with wood and wish I’d discovered it sooner. I spent a few years installing decking either on my own or with my chaps and whilst I enjoyed doing that, I never really ‘enjoyed‘ it. Prior to being self-employed I did some other things, some of those things resulted in injuries and a fear of balloons [don’t ask] and other things, didn’t, but none of the things included anything with wood, which is a massive shame.

I have my own workshop now. It’s fully kitted out with every imaginable machine and gadget. I’ve even got a coffee machine in there, because I like coffee and dislike walking. I literally spent thousands on the tools in there and reinvested the money from my Landscaping tools that I was forced to sell. My Cement Mixer became a Pillar Drill, my Concrete Breaker became a Bandsaw, that kind of thing… I’ve spent many happy hours wandering about making stuff, cutting digits off, and generally being a bloke. I’m worried though, what happens after my leg has fallen off, will I still be able to do what I like to do or is that me buggered?

I have a couple of stools in my workshop and Chris encourages me by saying that I can ‘perch’ on a stool whilst doing what I do, but it’s not that easy. I wouldn’t want to sit whilst using my lathe, as that would put my face directly in line with the lump of wood that i’m attacking with a sharp blade, at 1750rpm… I also wouldn’t want to be sat whilst trying to cut something intricate out on my scroll saw, and I managed to mangle a hand whilst using what I now call “scary saw” so I’ll be damned if I’m going to put my face in the line of fire and get closer to the dangerous bits! No, I need to be able to stand up in order to use my tools correctly, and therein lies my problem because I don’t know if I’ll be able to stand, at least not to begin with.

Next week sees me beginning the task of closing my workshop for the foreseeable future. I’ve already got rid of all useless scrap wood and rubbish from in and around, and the next job is to clean all small tools, putting them into their respective carry cases and getting them into the house where they’ll be safe and warm. The big items, the stuff that’s not easy to carry, is going to be bolted to the workbenches. I’m going to clean all of the machines and then they’ll get a good squirt of WD40 before being put to bed. Each item will be wrapped in a few layers of plastic wrap in order to keep any damp out. All plugs will be taken out, the power will be switched off, and the Spiders will be allowed to roam free. I don’t know when I’ll see the inside of my shop again, and I don’t know if I’ll ever enjoy the simple pleasure of sitting with a brew, listening to Pop Master on Radio 2 as I take a break from making whatever it is i’m making. I hope it’s not long though, I hope I can do that again one day.

The other thing I’m concerned about is my manliness… we went to B&Q earlier and I needed to grab 4 x 100L bags of Bark Chips. I grabbed a trolley, slung the bags on, pulled it all to the checkouts and then slung it into the car. When we got home I reversed up to the fence, got out and threw the bags over the fence into the area of the garden they’re needed for – is that the last time I do that? I’m a big bloke, my knees are ruined because I spent my formative years, and a lot more besides, running about on a rugby pitch. I also did a job that impacted very heavily on my knees for a few years and when that ended I moved in to landscaping and spent another bunch of years lifting heavy things and laying paving slabs. I’ve always been a big strong bloke and I enjoy being a big strong bloke, I’m not at all sure that I’ll be much use not being a big strong bloke. It’s a real concern.

Update – 24th May 2019

It’s over a year since my operation and I’m pleased to say that my fears were unfounded. I didn’t go anywhere near my workshop once the operation had been completed, because I couldn’t get over the lawn and bark chips to get there and even if I could I had a 12″ step up to negotiate and then wouldn’t have been able to get in there in my wheelchair.
My workshop was replaced with a bigger version when the garden was redesigned in January 2019. I now have a level-access garden which means getting there [to the workshop] is easy and the workshop itself is bigger and has double doors.

Work continues as if nothing has happened, it’s a bit harder to do some things but in many ways it’s easier too. I’m happy though, I get to do what I enjoy most and not many people can say that.

Chocolate!

Originally Published 30th May 2018

Cheerful things full of cheerfulness today. We took the boys for a mooch about at Cadbury World and a fairly funky time was had by all – the tone of the day was set by George who, before we’d even left the street, had screamed CHOCOLATE! at the top of his voice, for no other reason than he was excited. Knob.

Traffic was a bit shit on the motorway but we arrived with a few minutes to spare before the allotted kick off time. Because I’m a mong in a wheelchair we were awarded yellow wristbands, which means we don’t need to wait in queues like other people – “Mong coming through, move please.” I’ve got no idea why I’m awarded prizes wherever I go but it’s cool. “Oh, your leg fell off, here’s a wristband to get you to the front of the queue, that’ll obviously help no end“.

The first part of the tour teaches the history of Cadburys and it’s really quite interesting. The boys couldn’t give a rats ass about the development of Bourneville but I thought it was dead good. I like a bit of history though. It was fascinating to learn about how advanced Cadburys were and how they made a point of looking after their staff. It’s ironic that this is taught in a virtual shell of a factory that was once full of employees. Kraft, the American owners of Cadburys laid off 300 staff and replaced them with machines, they also closed other factory’s and moved production to Poland (naturally) and in so doing, ruined the legacy of Cadburys who actually wanted to treat their staff well at a time when other employers were treating them like shit. The price of progress [and profit] eh, shame.

The tour [not sure why it’s called that, as you’re left to your own devices] includes a few videos but it’s mostly a question of wandering about to look at stuff, it’s great! The boys enjoyed the armfuls of chocolate they were given during the tour [they came away with 16 full bars of chocolate freebies] and they also loved the 4D cinema and the various interactive features.
We spent a good couple of hours in the factory, it would have been double that had it not been honking with rain as we had planned to take a picnic so we could munch while the boys enjoyed the extensive play areas outside, best laid plans and all that…

My yellow wristband was only employed twice, the first was when Chris took the boys onto the train-ride-thing, and the second was at the 4D Cinema. The first occasion caused some bint in the queue to object, she wasn’t happy that the mong family Robinson were pushing in and wanted to know why, “So If I had a wristband could I push in as well then?”, she said in a sarky voice. The staff member in front of her simply said “yep” and carried on. “Oh, okay” she said… she clearly isn’t well versed in the way of the blood feud. Had that been me I’d have tattooed that blokes name onto my heart and would have kept it there until I’d destroyed him.

For once I didn’t fall out with anyone! The staff were all excellent, really accommodating and not at all patronising and the other people who were there with us were all spot on. Parents reigned their children in, people waited patiently as the mong rolled past them and some even apologised for almost sitting on me. It was good. The only negative was some fat fatty fat fat who saw us coming out of the mong lift and decided that she and her fat kids could use it too because she couldn’t be bothered to use the stairs. Hmm… chocolate factory, can’t be bothered to use her legs, massively fat – she’s the reason the government treat us like knobheads. I know you can die from being fat and idle, and she will, today probably, assuming she got out of the lift okay, the bloater.

So anyway, on a completely unrelated note to the above, as we left the factory we popped into the shop and managed to spend £35 on chocolate and chocolate related products. I bought myself a Fathers Day mug [it says the man, the legend and is very cool] and somehow my gift to myself was usurped and it’s now a gift to me from the boys – what the fuck? I bought it myself! How the bollocking hell is it a gift from the squirts? At least go through the motions of taking them to the shop before buying me something ‘from them’ while they spend whatever money they’ve got on toys and comics. Talk about phoning it in!

We bought loads of stuff and will surely die from being fat very soon, It was fun though, very tasty and totally worth it.

Can anyone smell burning?

Originally Published 20th May 2018

Dramatic scenes at Perriwinkle towers last night as the house across the road decided to catch fire and burn down. We almost missed the drama because we were in the living room [the living room is at the back of the house] and were watching a film called ‘Detroit’, about the race riots in Detroit [surprisingly enough] it had just got to a noisy bit when we heard an odd noise, we assumed it was one of the boys and Chris went to check, returning about 2 seconds later shouting “the fucking house across the road is on fire!”… I’ve never transferred to my wheelchair faster, WOOSH, 2 seconds later we were at the door, mouth hanging open, watching someone’s life go up in flames.

The fire brigade were already on the scene when we opened the door and the noise we heard wasn’t Tom dropping a book but most of the roof falling down [they’re surprisingly similar noises] as we watched the house literally fell apart. The roof tiles nigh on melted inside 5 minutes, then the floors collapsed and the fire dropped to the first floor. All the while Trumpton were wandering about outside looking for all the world like they worked for the council. One bloke was on a hose and he was joined by another bloke. A bloke in a white helmet was mooching about talking into his radio and further up the street was another 20-25 firemen, helmets off, drinking tea – nice! At some point they decided to get the platform down, which is basically a fucking big crane-thing. A dude got onto the platform and shot off into the sky, he then poured water onto the roof from the top while his mate set about smashing the balls out of the rest of the house.

Tom had woken up by now [the platform was hugely noisy and was bang outside his bedroom window] so he was out and about with his mate next door, the pair of them were stood there, in their dressing gowns, looking like a pair of old women. We eventually hauled Tom inside because the boys were starting to get a bit excited and we noticed that the family whose life was burning down were just a few feet from them and we didn’t think it was very fair for them to have to put up with small boys laughing and playing like small boys do.
One or two people came down with their phones and stood there filming the misfortune of others and someone even brought a bag of chips and sat on a driveway enjoying the show. Pretty disgusting really, and I include myself because I was just as guilty. It’s drama, and we all love a bit of drama!

It hit home to us when we saw the kids crying. The family whose house was burning have two children and, naturally, they were distraught. Christine took them drinks and blankets [as did the lovely people next door] and more or less everyone on the street came in to use the toilet [some people even flushed, sadly a few didn’t…]
It all settled down around 1am and the Perriwinkle house caught some ZZZz’s. As I write this there’s a newspaper reporter sniffing about outside, collaring anyone who ventures near him. We refuse to speak to them after the shit they wrote about me but Chris has been told that matey outside has been asking where the bloke with one leg lives, the twat.

There are all sorts of theories as to what happened but the main thing is that everyone got out and nobody was hurt. It’ll all come out in the next few weeks and no doubt somebody somewhere will get blamed, be it the householders, the people who have just completed electrical checks or the developers [these houses are only 5yrs old] so long as no bugger blames me, i’ll cope… oddly, the first text I got this morning, at 0730hrs, was from my mate, Darren, who wanted to know if I’d been out petrol bombing – it’s shit like this that gets a bloke locked up! Keep it on the down-low, people. Repeat after me… Andy doesn’t burn down houses unless he has good reason. Thank you.

Later, people.

Dear Summer, I hate you

Originally Published 25th May 2018

I really don’t like this time of year. I know we’re all meant to be bouncing and happy and jolly because the nasty winter has finally buggered off but i’m not. Spring means the nights get lighter, it means the temperature goes up and it means people start coming outside to do stuff. It also means that the weather has a massive brainfart and does whatever the bloody hell it feels like doing. There’s no rhyme or reason to it, one minute it’s bright sunshine, the next it’s pissing down with rain. As I write this it’s pissing down with rain, but i’m going outside soon and will be wearing a T-Shirt and shorts, plus a rain coat.., it’s stupidness, nobody can honestly say they enjoy this shit, can they?

The lighter nights don’t mean anything to us as far as the children sleeping is concerned. I know some people struggle with the lighter nights but ours both sleep like logs and when they’re tired, they sleep. They both had a really solid bedtime routine when they were tiny, nothing got in the way of bedtime [if we were out, we came home] and the net result is that, come bedtime, they’re both almost desperate for bed. If we’re out [now they’re older the routine is more flexible] they’re fine, but if we’re at home, on a school night for example, then come 7:30pm and 8:30pm respectively, that’s them done and snoring ensues.
What I don’t like about the light nights are other people. The people who use the Leisure centre we live next to are generally noisier during the Summer, they’re a bit shoutier and because it’s still light[ish] at 10:00pm they seem to assume it’s daytime. Horns get honked, they shout fond farewells because they’re so fucking hilarious and all the time i’m wishing they’d just die.

Other people’s noise is the thing that annoys me most in life. I’m a very quiet person on the whole and don’t enjoy loud noises [George appears to have inherited that trait] so I get annoyed quite easily when the local knobhead turns up in the car park behind us in his 12yr old Vauxhall Nova, revving the balls off of it in a desperate attempt to impress someone, pumping out Bass that makes our windows rattle and generally behaving like a ball bag.
Sadly, wherever there’s a dickhead in a shit car, there’s a herd of bellends to impress. In our case it’s the Huncote massive. A collection of 14/15yr old hard nuts who swagger about as if they own the place. They stride around shouting big boy swear words at anyone who looks at them and sometimes they even threaten to beat up the old folk whose bungalows border the car park, it’s super to listen to on a sunny Sunday afternoon, when the Leisure Centre is closed. The local scrotes gather near the football pitches and spend the afternoon being twats, i’m sure they’re perfectly normal when they’re near mummy and daddy but put them with their mates and they become instant arseholes. They turn up in Winter but at least they’re cold and that makes it all much easier to cope with.

Chuck in barbecues and garden parties and you’ll complete my pain… I love a barbecue, if i’m invited and i’m more than happy to host a garden party [when I say “more than happy” I mean “have hosted one once in 30yrs, and it was okay”] but what I’m not happy with, surprisingly, is other people’s noise.
We once had Polish neighbours who would hold a family barbecue every-single-day of the summer and that’s no exaggeration. One of the in-laws would turn up with his guitar and would treat everyone within an 8-house-radius to a selection of Polish songs as he got slowly wankered on Vodka, they’d then whack the stereo on and would play the latest in Polish music, very loudly, until whatever time the Vodka ran out. They had kids in the same class as Tom and they’d often be bouncing on the trampoline at midnight on a school night and their favourite game was ‘let’s scream our fucking head off’. At bedtime there would be screams akin to a murder scene, we later discovered that Mum & Dad decided to remove the door handles so the kids were locked in their bedroom, 3 children in one room, no toilet and Mum and Dad enjoying a lie-in until Noon [even on school days] when we complained they accused us of being racist… lovely people.

Temperature wise, I don’t like anything above 24 degrees. That’s pretty much my limit. If it’s hotter than that it makes me sweaty and uncomfortable, so I tend to stay inside where it’s cool and only venture out when I absolutely have to.
I’ve been in a desert, I’ve been atop massive sand dunes in 50 degrees, and I’ve been firmly in the shit in some very shit places, but nothing compares to being too hot in my own back garden. Nightmare!

I know lots of people who don’t like Winter but for me, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s cold [sometimes] and we all know where we stand when it’s cold. It rains a lot, which keeps the dickheads inside. There are no barbecues, far fewer footballs belted against fences, nobody is out and about so the old folk don’t get threatened, the local knobhead has nobody to show off to in his Nova and the Huncote massive are at home, playing board games with Mummy and Daddy. What’s not to love? Also – what happens in Winter? Halloween – awesome! Bonfire night – awesome and CHRISTMAS! – double-awesome!

So there we go. Roll on Winter, Perriwinkle for President!

Happy Holidays

Originally published 26th May 2018

It’s the first day of half-term today, which is brilliant. We love having the little blokes around and think this half-term is great because we can both spend time with them for a change. It’s usually just me as Chris has to work but if you spool back a few years the roles were reversed as I’d be out working in gardens while Chris took annual leave.


The weather has naturally decided to take a change for the worse. Gone are the lovely sunny days of the last week or two and we’re now enjoying lovely rainy grey days. We had planned to take the boys to a few places and are busily scrapping those plans, or at least are revising them so we have alternatives in place. A day trip to Skeg-Vegas was on the cards but that looks rather unlikely at the minute and has been switched for a trip to Cadbury World. We also had an idea to take the squirts to Tropical Birdland [they’ve been a few times before and love it, plus it’s cheap – cheep! – Birdland …I’m wasted here]

Monday sees the annual duck race in our village. For those not in the know, us residents have spent the last month trapping wild ducks using a combination of methods. My favourite is an old fashioned drop-trap. You simply position a milk crate over a pile of bread, support the crate with a stick and tie some fishing line to the stick. You scare the ducks away initially but they get brave once they see you leave the area and come to investigate the bread. You all know what happens next, duck pecks bread, I pull on fishing line, stick comes out, crate drops, one duck nicely bagged. We have a couple of duck-wranglers [yes, that’s a real thing] in the village, Fraser and Mitchell, they staple a numbered sheet onto the back of each duck and then attach a small firework.

The way it works is this, we all choose a number [paying a pound to do so] and the fireworks are lit, the ducks are released and the one that gets furthest before the firework explodes is declared the winner. The winner of the draw bags 10% of the money raised and gets first dibs on any bits of duck that they can find [excludes feet and mouths] it’s a lovely tradition, and dates as far back as the doomsday book. It’s quite amazing to think that they had chunderbum exploding bangers in the 14th century*, what a world we live in.

*Fact checking courtesy of my friend, Rebecca, who is a real History teacher in a real school.

That’s it, Bye.

Robin Hood made me Moist

Originally published, 22nd May 2018

Greetings, sports fans, I trust you’re all well and happy and all of that good stuff?

We headed over to the hospital in sunny Coventry earlier, it really was sunny as well. We were in and out like a fiddlers elbow today, Just one hour after walking [rolling] in, out we came. Arthur the leg is being a sodding genius now, he’s clearly fed up of having a hole and is healing it faster than Mr T could figure out that his milk was drugged and that he was in fact, getting on that plane, the fool.

We zoomed home in our trusty Picasso, we had to use the Picasso because my new wheelchair, designed for and delivered to me yesterday thank you very much, is too big to go into the other car, which is shit. Now I’ve got to save up and buy a new fucking car on top of whatever else it is I’ve got to save up for, I lose count to be honest. I’m in a permanent state of saving up. When I come back i’m coming back as a rich bloke.

Our afternoon was spent watching Tom in a school play – now that you’ve read that statement just take a pause and think about it. Think about what happened to us this afternoon. Give yourself a good 30 seconds of quiet contemplation before reading on, that way you’ll feel our pain and will be able to relate to what comes next – note – if you were at the performance and enjoyed it because your little ray of sunshine was so amazing, fuck off. You’re not normal and are not wanted here.

Don’t ask me why the school are putting on a school play in May cos I have no idea. In my day we wrapped a T-Towel around our head in December and that was it. As we got older we traded our T-Towel in for a shirt and tie and had to sing songs in church, but that was it, and it was in December, so everyone knew where they stood. It wasn’t in May, that’s just crazy.

The play was something about Robin Hood. I didn’t catch the actual title and didn’t hear 90% of the words spoken due to them being directed at shoes and because of the noisy toddler near us. I saw Tom prancing about though, he was a narrator and he also got to hold up a sign that said “Boo” from time to time, so that was nice [I love a good Boo] Towards the end of the sing-a-thon [Ten songs in a 45 minute show] some kid caught a pie in the face, it wasn’t explained why they pied him, they just did. He’d been one of the best kids up there so maybe the rest were jealous? Anyway, they pied his ass and that was the show over. The doors were opened, the stampede started and that was that, hopefully, until Christmas.

As it was only a few minutes before George was due out we hung about in the playground. George didn’t know I was going to be there so it was nice to get a big cuddle from him. I also got to enjoy the embarrassed looks on the faces of the adults I caught staring at my leg. I don’t care that I have a space where my leg used to be, I actually quite like it in fact and it’s a damn sight better than the bag of shit that used to be there, but I’d rather people just talk to me like a human being rather than trying to catch snide glances when they think I’m not looking.
The normal people, the people I consider to be friends, talked to me. They wandered over, shot the shit for a minute and then wandered off again, no big deal, happy days. The rest of them stood about 20′ away and shuffled nervously. You could tell they wanted to ask, but none could muster a bit of courage and come on over.
Our friend, Heather, informed me that she was a bit damp in her unmentionable area, it was super of her to tell me directly and whilst she claims to have been simply ‘sweating’ [lovely image that, Heather] I think we know the real truth.

The highlight of my day was not a trouble-free visit to the hospital, nor was it watching my first born son mincing about on stage. The thought of Heather going a bit giddy at my unannounced appearance pleased me greatly but the prize, the absolute cheese, was the discovery that the word MOIST sends women into apoplexy! Seriously they, and in particular, Heather, bloody hate the word, MOIST. I’ve no Idea why they hate MOIST so much, but apparently they do. Go figure.

So anyway, that was Tuesday.

Archives

Some of you may remember the posts written on the previous incarnation of this blog; a lot of the posts related to round trips to the hospital and were a total yawn-fest, they were the posts that convinced me to give up the blog in the first place, it was so dull writing about the same stuff day-in-day-out.

A website exists that allows the user to look back in time. It’s called the Wayback Machine (link opens in a new tab) and it takes you to previously stored versions of your favourite website. Not all pages are available but, in this case, I was able to salvage a fair number of posts.

I’ve weeded out the rubbish and the repetitive hospital posts and have plonked the others into the Archive section. If you want to see how utterly naïve I was prior to the amputation, that’s the place to go. For example, in one post I’m talking about what I expect to happen at the hospital, the things I’ll be taking in with me and so on – and it’s all horseshit – I thought I was going to be in for 7-14 days, the reality was 2 days, I thought I’d be starting physio and rehab whilst in hospital, the reality is that it took 4 months before I could even get an appointment, I thought I’d be using crutches whilst in hospital, the reality is that crutches are considered the Devil’s work (although they still gave me a pair and set me loose on them after 2 days in bed, and with zero training) …and so on. It’s quite eye opening.

Read them, don’t read them, it’s up to you, but they’re there anyway.