I’ll probably regret this…

After The Euro Referendum where, unexpectedly my Nation voted to leave the European Union, the standards of behaviour of our Political Classes and more disappointingly our electorate has deteriorated into something that is in my view far more sinister than anything I have ever seen in this country before.

I’ll ignore the pre referendum distastefulness as I have commented on that before.

What is happening now goes beyond the bounds of distastefulness and into the realms of something far more darker.

I was brought up in a political household, my parents being members of a political party, but despite their views, which were at times far to one side of their party, not once did they question the democratic process whatever the results. It was hammered into me, one man one vote, this is how we do things here and people have died to get you that right and to protect that right. The winners might not be right, but that is democracy, we live with it and crack on.

Now I understand that some people are upset by the results, I get it, I really do. But since when did we decide that we can ride roughshod over the will of the majority of the people? In our country now, the self appointed “betters” are citing “Intellect”, “Racism”, “Poor information” “Lack of education” “being working class” and “being old” while generally being full of contempt for the majority of the country who did vote to leave.

So much so that they are amazingly calling for a second referendum! Where does it stop? In theory then, if they do get a 2nd go at it and win, can the Leave folk then get another go? And don’t get me started about the areas that voted in or out. Scotland and Northern Ireland voted Remain, England and Wales voted Leave. Some parts of big cities voted Remain, while others parts of those cities voted Leave. I know people in my street voted differently. Where does the demarcation stop? Can Jim’s house down the road petition Brussels to stay in the EU while Sharon over the road leaves? It is totally ridiculous! Can the people under 35 stay in while those over 35 leave? This is just pathetic! I’m astounded, disbelieving, bewildered, a little angry and more than disappointed.

We voted as one Nation. This time even the naysayers cannot say that as a Nation that there was not a clear mandate within those guidelines to leave. There was a clear mandate to leave. To change that now would set a very ugly and dangerous precedent. It would in fact be the start of the end for democracy in this country. Just take a moment to let that sink in. The start of the end of democracy in this country. If the will of the people is overturned, what then?

It doesn’t matter what I voted. These are my opinions and observations regardless and I would be saying them if I had voted leave or remain. I know how to win humbly and more importantly I know how to lose with good grace. In fact it is one of the tenets of the game I love, that of Rugby Union.

It might be a good idea if the Nation looked at the game’s core values.

Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship.

The big 3 in this situation are:

Teamwork. This is where we are, the people have spoken, let’s pull together and make this work.

Respect. The people on the other side of the argument are entitled to their views, they are worth the same as your views, show some respect.

Sportsmanship. Don’t be a bad loser, you congratulate the winner, learn from it and move on and try and improve. Don’t be a bad winner, no-one likes a gloater, show the hand of friendship and fellowship to the beaten side and learn from them as their views will have some merit too.

Like I said before, surely we’re better than this?

You couldn’t make it up…

My hospital appointment to get my knee sorted was today. I booked it online on the 7th of May. This required me using a days holiday from work.

I was there the regulation 5 minutes early at Kidderminster Hospital reception for my 11:10am appointment with the acute knee & hip injury Department.

I showed the lady on reception my printed off online appointment sheet and she promptly told me she had never seen one of them before. You know when you get a sense of foreboding that things are not going to go well for you…

After 10 minutes of key tapping, she says to me quite incredulously “Why are you here? Your appointment was cancelled!”

I resisted the urge to smash the ball into the back of the sarcasm net. I answered quite politely, “Nobody has informed me that my appointment was cancelled.” The word OBVIOUSLY was left unsaid, but I knew that she knew it was hanging in the air.

“Well it was” she said “You booked it on the 7th of May and they cancelled it on the 9th of May.” Please take note of today’s date gentle Reader.

“Can you tell me why and more to the point when can I see the knee consultant?” Said I.

“Hang on, go and sit over there” she said “I’ll speak to the Boss.”

10 minutes later she came back brandishing a phone, “speak to this lady, she’ll be able to help you.”

Without being boring and long winded, it transpired that the knee consultant saw the results of my MRI scan and decided that he couldn’t repair the damage and chucked it to a colleague who apparently could. Quite what type of damage and exactly what he decided he couldn’t do I have absolutely no idea. But I’m thinking it must mean surgery.

Now was the problem of actually getting to see the new bloke. The NHS bureaucracy is renowned for moving slower than one of the Earth’s continental plates.

To prevent terminal boredom, and suffice it to say after much contact with various people/administrators/receptionists/secretaries and general phone answering types I believe I have finally secured yet another appointment to see my new consultant on July the 18th. That is to be confirmed in writing though and the time has yet to be decided. It is this year I think, I’d better check…

The way things are going, I’ll be having the treatment for my knee on the first anniversary of the injury which is next February!

Breaking the habit of a lifetime…

I don’t usually do this, but in the absence of any pedaling news I am going against the very sensible advice of my Dad who told me “Never discuss religion and politics with friends” I’m going to talk about the EU referendum.

For my friends across the pond who may be unaware, this is an open vote next Thursday for the Nation to decide if the UK stays in the European Union. It’s currently dominating the news and all of my social media feeds with various people both famous/infamous/unknown all chucking their ten pennorth worth in as to whether we should stay in or come out.

There are a few problems in this for me.

  1. Nobody of either side really knows what will happen if we stay or leave.
  2. The people telling me what they think I should do, are mainly politicians.
  3. News media

Onto the first issue, both sides are coming out with various “facts” or predictions of what will happen in either case. The other side then comes out with counter “facts” or predictions to disprove the other sides case.

The second problem is the one I have with Politicians of every hue. They are all, self-serving, lying, cheating, criminally corrupt, power seeking ego maniacs, who pander to the highest bidder, or opportunity to stay in Westminster regardless of the consequences.

Then we have the news media of all types, most of who are owned by large corporations with vested interests in one side or the other.

Who to believe, what to do?

I am genuinely torn, I always attend the polling stations and exercise my democratic right at every election, but because I feel such despair at the choices in front of me, disgust at the people standing and a loathing and contempt for system in general, that for the longest time I have written pretty much what I wrote above about Politicians on my ballot paper.

My friends who I do discuss such things with all tell me the same. “You’re wasting your vote Clive, I agree with you mate, they’re all idiots, so that’s why I vote for the least worse!”

Vote for the least worse. Think about that for a moment, you’re not choosing an MP you actually want, you’re choosing the lesser of 2 evils. Is that what our glorious democracy has come to, yes we have to have someone, so we’ll go for this incompetent corrupt twat instead of that slightly more incompetent corrupt twat. Good choice…

My answer to that is this. If more people actually feel like I do and have no faith in the people standing or the actual system now, then why don’t they vote actually how they would like to? Why not be true to yourself. I can safely say with my hand on my heart, I haven’t voted for any of the idiots in power since probably 25 years ago. None of this bollocks is my fault!

Just think of the constitutional crisis that would ensue if the winner by a huge margin at every election was spoiled votes. Especially scrawled with similar comments to mine! The idiots at Westminster would really understand how we feel and realise they have no mandate to do the stuff they want to do. Plus the media feeding frenzy would be something to behold! Career politician, what the hell is a career politician? Someone who is straight from University, has no life experience and wants a large expense account for very little work is what a career politician is!

Anyway, back to the Euro Referendum, what to do, where do I put my X or shall I do what I usually do? In the absence of believable data from either side I can see people tossing a coin!

I have these 2 conflicting feelings, one is to stay, my reason is that looking back on our bloody history, especially European history, we have the start, however wobbly of the first knockings of World Government, which if we are to survive and thrive as a global species, then this must happen eventually. I take Gene Roddenberry’s view of a future world as a model. World Peace for the future based on the small start of the European Union!

My other feeling obviously is to leave, mainly because I guess of my age and weirdly knowledge of our history, who in their right mind would trust the Germans? Or even worse the French for F***s sake! The other thing that is telling me to leave is the lack of democratic process in the decision making/policy department in Brussels. None of the big wigs are elected, they’re all appointed Mandarins on a huge wage! Where is the accountability?

But, as with all of my views about modern politics and the vultures that inhabit the corridors of power, I really believe none of it will matter in the long run.

But I’ll leave you with this, which sums up my feelings about everything “democratic”, Mark Twain famously said “If voting really made a difference, do you really think they’d let us do it?” He was a very astute Gentleman…

I’m still here!

Just a quick in and out as it were to prove I’m still here.

Another month hobbling around like an 80 year old. But my hospital appointment with the specialist has finally been confirmed as next Tuesday the 21st.

This will be the big moment when I finally get to hear exactly what is wrong with my knee following my MRI scan the week before last. More importantly I’m hoping I’ll be given an idea of treatment and when I’ll be fit again!

I may have mentioned before, it is getting a tad boring now!

It hasn’t stopped me doing other stuff though, I had a great day’s fishing last week in Shropshire with my mate Ski and my Son Dan, we all caught fish, some nice fair sized Carp but the fish of the day was Dan’s Perch, the biggest I’ve ever seen. Well done Dan!

Perch

Me and Ski finished the day with an evening at the pub, then had a curry. Simple things done well.

Me and Dan have also been out target shooting with our air rifles over a friend’s piece of land. Anything to get outside!

We have a family weekend away coming up which we’re looking forward to, but more on that after the event!

My daughter Fay landed in Canada on Saturday with her unit, she is on excercise for a good long while at the British Army Training Unit in Suffield. BATUS for short. Living the dream! A proud but jealous Dad! I wish I was 20 again!

To finish, I had some good news over the weekend, I was honoured to be offered a coaching position with The North Midlands Ladies Rugby Squad. That’s a pretty big deal and I really am looking forward to working with the calibre of athlete that The North Midlands County Squad has in its ranks.

I had that good news just after I watched England beat Australia in Australia with the lads at my Rugby Club. It was a good Rugby weekend all told!

 

Catching up and a realisation of what’s important…

A brilliant Bank Holiday weekend.

It’s weird, sometimes you get a smack around the head and realise just what is important.

This weekend did just that. It was a regimental reunion on Saturday night, the first one in a generation. The old and bold turned up in their droves and a fabulous evening was had by all.

It was this that made me realise what is important. Friends. More than that, family, because my Royal Signals mates are family. We do not see each other from one year to the next, but drop us all in the same room and we are back in our 20s and immortal again. It was the best evening I’ve had in years. I really do love them all.

It was made all the more poignant when the Boss proposed a toast to absent friends, we are all in our 40s and 50s now and some of the Senior folk when I was a youngster are now in their 70s, sadly we have lost a few.

MessThe Motley Crew…

But the last 3 weeks have been marvelous/funny/moving/hysterical/pressurized/motivating/inspirational/piss taking (delete as appropriate) as we have had a task that needed our attention.

One of our very good mates was in the middle of rebuilding his 1973 Triumph Spitfire when he fell seriously ill. No need to go into into details, but suffice it to say he was in no condition to complete the build.

This was causing him unnecessary stress, so our old Sergeant Major got on the phone/social media/email and rounded up the lads to get the car complete for him by last Saturday’s reunion, where we hoped he’d be well enough to sit in the thing and go for a little spin around the car park.

The car was a bare shell and in various boxes 3 weeks ago.

This was the car on Saturday after his old Signals mates gave up time/Holidays/family stuff and rearranged work schedules to do this for their old mate. 3 weeks from knacker to a top looking running motor. I have to say, I enjoyed working on this car loads, it was just great to be on a task with the lads again.

s engineEngine Bay

sintInterior

Car

Finished motor.

Spitfire

The team who made it possible.

Special mention must go to the Triumph Sports Six club who supplied the venue and a goodly amount of knowledge. Top blokes to a man, who bought into the Squaddie banter and way of doing things brilliantly!

Unfortunately our mate was too ill to attend the reunion Saturday night, but his wife came down and accepted the keys on her husband’s behalf. Moving wasn’t the word.

Onto my knee injury stuff, MRI was done, it is now a 2 week wait to get the results. The knee is still officially in bits and getting steadily worse. The last physio I had resulted in the physio peeling me off the ceiling and saying “Oh, I think there may be something else going on in the knee!” No shit Sherlock…

A great weekend!

After a bloody brilliant weekend, which was one for the memory banks, it’s Monday. But let’s be positive, it’ll soon be Friday.

Saturday was all about celebrating special times with special people. The morning was a trip over to Cheswick Green to help celebrate my Uncle Doug’s 80th birthday at his son’s Steve’s house. Steve’s brother Adey was there with his son and lady and we had lovely time sitting in the sun and watching our sons play in the stream at the bottom of the garden catching poor unsuspecting frogs. The sight of 3 9 year old lads, fishing nets in hand and Steve’s dog all mucking about in the water was wonderful, kids playing how kids should play. Not a screen or a PC in sight.

The evening was our very good friend Tracey’s 40th birthday bash at our local. The now legendary Park Gate Inn at Dodford.

An 80s themed party was an excuse for me to deploy the loudest of Hawaiian shirts and Raybans and generally reminisce about how great 80s music was. Her hubby Leigh did the DJ bit and I had great fun supplying the tunes to him a few weeks back.

The only problem was choice paralysis. Too many tunes and too little time! Add on lots of food on sticks, great ale and mates and music and alcohol worked its usual magic to ensure a fabulous evening.

Paid for by feeling a tad fragile Sunday morning.

Sunday afternoon , was North Midlands Cup Final day for my old club Birmingham & Solihull against Newport, played at the neutral venue of Dudley Kingswinford Rugby Club, which is handily close to me. In a close fought game, which finished (embarrassingly for the officials who seemed to forget the competition rules) in a win on try count back for my beloved Bees. The final score was 20 – 20, but as Bees had scored 3 tries to Newport’s 2 the game was a Bees win. The ref and touch judges were preparing the 2 sides to go into extra time when they were reminded that there is no extra time in a North Mids final…Ooopsie…

Anyway, I met some fantastic old friends, had a great catch up with the players, who are great lads to a man and enjoyed seeing quite a number of lads who I have coached at age group level turning out in their club’s 1st team in adult rugby. Which is deeply satisfying for me and the reason why I coach.

For Bees after a disastrous start to the season, where to be blunt, the newly appointed Head of Rugby was so far out of his depth it was untrue, the club around Christmas time, parted company with him and appointed a pair of great coaches and more importantly leaders to turn the season around.

With actual coaching, leadership and a bit of old fashioned Rugby spirit, congratulations must go to Willy and Spanner, the performance team and the players for turning the whole season around and finishing on a cup final win. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer group of people.

But it was also an afternoon where due to one incident, that I realised my time at Bees is now over for good. I have other coaching opportunities in the pipeline that I may or may not pursue yet, but I wish all of my friends at Bees nothing but success and good fortune in the future.

A great Rugby club with great Rugby people.

I actually start treatment on my injured knee this week, tomorrow actually, which is getting steadily more painful with every passing week. But as I have alluded to in previous blogs, I do not think that physio alone will sort it out. My MRI scan at the end of the month will decide the course of treatment for certain.

The food discipline must be working as quite a number of folk at the cup final yesterday said they thought I had lost weight, which is always nice to hear.

Crack on eh?

Testing testing 1 2 3…

It’s kind of hard to write a weight loss through cycling blog when you can’t cycle because of a knee injury.

What I would say is that for whatever reason I find it hard to concentrate on food discipline when I am injured and cannot cycle.

That’s not a whinge, just a simple fact. I haven’t stood on the scales in 2 weeks and I know all my good intentions in relation to food are being severely challenged.

Weekends are very tricky and I find myself being constantly tested. Monday to Friday isn’t an issue at all as I’m very busy here at work, but come Saturday, wow, it’s difficult.

Last Monday my knee caved in at work and I fell over in a heap in front of my desk after bouncing off a door. I wasn’t certain if it was a shock of pain or just a complete knee failure that caused it. All I know is I was on my arse quick smart.

I revisited the docs and I saw a different bloke, one I get on quite well with, we both share a love of aircraft geekery and that subject usually comes up a few times every visit!

Anyway, to cut a long story short he didn’t bother with anything other than ordering an MRI scan immediately and mega strong pain killers. Quite why the previous Doc and the knee specialist didn’t is a bit beyond me. But hey ho, small steps, or small limps…

I’m glad he’s done that as I genuinely think there is more going on in there than the specialist thinks. An MRI scan will hopefully show the injury in all of its glory and be able to help with a quicker course of treatment.

It is getting a tad boring now…