Category: <span>Blogvember</span>

I blame my Dad.

He was a P.E. teacher so I guess it’s understandable, and natural, that his job seeped into his home life and gave me a love of sport. Correction, a love of watching sport.

My earliest memories are rugby, likely the Five Nations, with cricket and Formula 1 a close second (the latter two are, to be fair, more attributable to my mother), and of course the grandeur of the Olympics and all those weird and wonderful sports you never got in P.E. class! Watching world class athletes perform at their peak of their powers is never anything but thrilling, and thanks to Dad, always informative.

It’s an approach I’ve retained, don’t just watch but learn, as I’ve taken to watching new sports. Figuring out why that person can run faster than that one, or how that team out manoeuvred the other to win the game is all part of my enjoyment and appreciation of pretty much all sports. Aside from horse racing and darts, I’ll watch pretty much anything and quite happily get engrossed and while away several hours watching Kabbadi or Ten Pin Bowling.

I’ve lucked out on a couple of occasions too; when Channel Four started showing some NFL highlights, their first show included a 15 minute segment on the basics of the how the game is played, what a down is, how play progresses, and what the key positions are. Since then I’ve watched NFL on and off, and you now see even better analysis on the BBC with two ex-players showing how a play came about, the different runs/routes taken by the offence and the tactics of the defense to try and stop them.

It’s always this side of sport that I’m drawn to, the tactics and machinations, and where better than F1 to see that mix of ultra-high tech, teamwork, and natural talent all meshed together. I’ve been lucky enough to attend a couple of races (both in Singapore) and it’s safe to say that the cameras really don’t capture the speed these cars travel at, nor the skill it must take to flick a car through a chicane at upwards of 100mph, breathtaking.

Again, the BBC offered a good TV package when they had the rights, including a wonderful spot that highlighted some of the engineering feats, and how a tiny little carbon fibre fin could influence how the air flows over one side of the car and alter it’s handling and speed dramatically. Geek heaven.

I’ve played a few sports as well of course, with the usual spins of 5-a-side football, badminton, and basketball from time to time, and it’s the latter that remains one of my favourites. As I got towards the end of high school I shot up and so as one of the taller boys, basketball became MY sport, the one I best at and was most confident with. It wasn’t the most popular sport, football was by a country mile (we didn’t play much rugby at my school but I think I would’ve enjoyed that if we had), but it was the sport at which I excelled.

I never took it particularly far, something I mildly regret, but I did play, and win, in our school house competition. In later years I’d revisit it with work colleagues and over time rediscovered some of the skills that had lain dormant for a couple of decades, the joy of threading a bounce pass between unsuspecting opponents, or setting a simple yet effective pick and roll, soon had me eagerly looking forward to our weekly games. A couple of other guys were very good players and it helped raise my game as well.

Unfortunately we don’t get much coverage in the UK, unless you have Sky Sports which I don’t, but I still follow along with my chosen team, the gold and purple of the LA Lakers. This is the first NBA team I saw footage of, on a fuzzy old video a cousin had, and I was in jaw-dropping awe watching a man called Magic run, pass, and play at a level that seemed much higher than those around him, he’d no-look pass to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who took a sideways step as he turned his body, flicking the ball up and out in what became his trademark shot. Swish. Another skyhook lands.

I didn’t realise then that I was watching two players, and a time, that would become Hall of Fame appointees and who still feature in debates of ‘who was the best player ever’. I followed the Lakers as best I could, through the doldrums and the emergence of Kobe and Shaq, another ‘best ever’ duo, and after the utter debacle of the last few years I now watch on in hope as a player who has genuine aspiration to be the best ever lifts the Lakers back into playoff contention.

A few years ago I was asked what my bucket list items were, and to this day I struggle to narrow things down. In fact there is still only one item on that list, so I guess I’d really better start figuring out a way to make it happen.

Lakers vs Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

Blogvember Sport

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I wrote on love the other day and I guess I’ve been lucky that my life has been filled with people who love me as much as I love them.

Of course it wasn’t always so and there were some very angsty teenage years where I confused the emotions when I had a crush on someone with feelings of love, really I was feeling lust but that word wasn’t quite in my vocabulary back then.

One woman springs to mind.

We worked together for a few years and immediately got on well, there was definitely a connection of some sort, a feeling of ease around each other and a little flirting too. Outside of work we hung out from time to time, got closer, and it was then I realised she had, and lived with, a partner. It was confusing and I can remember a few drunken nights of hope that never led anywhere. She was a few years older than me and I wonder now if it was just a little distraction for her, and I say that with no malice, we are all humans and being paid attention by anyone is always flattering, we all have egos.

As I grew older those same crushes would come and go although I now recognised them for what they were, fleeting excitements not to be dwelled on and, perhaps, some flirting; a topic I wrote about back in the early days of this blog when I was still married (I am not any more) and which I now re-read with no small amount of wonder at the person I was back then, let’s just say it doesn’t paint me in the greatest light but that’s who I was back then, 19 years ago.

Just as I have evolved, so too life has continued and I’ve had my own experiences of being rebuffed and regardless how deep and wide the emotions at the time – be it a crush, the early stirrings of love, or the end of a relationship – it’s never easy for either party. All the more when the realisation is that your feelings are unrequited and thoughts turn inward. Am I not good enough? Not funny enough? Not right in some way?

But no, partnerships are not built on such thoughts and if the other person has any thought of them then as, once again, life moves forward, so should we. On to better things, we hope, and to a place where those emotions so freely given out are returned manyfold.

And for those still searching? There are new avenues to be explored even here, with the growing awareness and acceptance of open relationships, polyamory, and all other forms of relationship structures that allow for differing depths and commitments and, while they should not be entered into lightly, they do have advantages for many both in practical and emotional terms.

It’s never easy, making yourself vulnerable, opening up to another in the hope that their feelings (amongst so many other things) match yours, but if you are lucky, very very lucky, you may find someone who feels the same way.



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I can remember the jeering, the cajoling and the pushing, a cacophony of noise and blurs as we got pushed together in the long grass. I can’t see the faces but I know I recognised most of them, I was first to get to the agreed place and then all of a sudden more faces and my opponent is before me and it’s all happening so quickly and I don’t really know what to do. I can remember the stomach clenching fear and nerves that made my skin jitter, and fighting the desire to vomit. Senses heightened, adrenalin coursing, fight or flight instincts pinging loudly around my brain. I did not want to be there but knew I couldn’t be anywhere else.

The challenge had been laid down that morning. I had reacted to yet another incident and snapped. The deed was done, the time and place named. My first fight.

I was all of 8 or 9 years old, standing in the patch of long grass just outside the school gates. Looking back now I wonder if it was parents that rushed over to split it up as I don’t remember much about how it ended.

All I can remember is standing there waiting, then he was there, and then it started and the sudden pain as I doubled up and struggled to breathe, one punch to the stomach was all it took. I fell to the ground to protect myself, a few kicks maybe landed whilst I was there but then somehow I was getting up and running away.

I’ve not been in a fight since.

I sometimes wonder how I would react now. Back then, as a weedy little kid, I wasn’t confident at all, being more of a book worm than an athlete. I still am, but I’m also a large man, just over 6′ tall, heavy built, and part of me hopes that’s enough to put off any random altercations because, frankly, if someone did throw a punch at me, I have no idea what I’d do.

In my mind I’d react with speed and precision, I’d block or duck out of the way, throw a counter-punch whilst simultaneously moving my weight to make sure my next movement would put my opponent on the ground with a simple trip. I’ve watched UFC, I know the theory of how this would work, yet I get the feeling that the reality would be very different.

In reality I’m unlikely to have the cat like reflexes that I imagine, so I’ll get hit, my body will freeze in shock and denial as the adrenalin floods my system at which point I’ll either turn and run or try and tackle the person to the ground so they can’t punch me again. Hopefully there my, er, superior weight will be in my favour.

But really, I just hope I never find out.


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It is rightly hard to put into words.

It can be raw, deep, and fleeting, all at the same time.

It can bring comfort, joy, security, and a sense of quiet peace to your life.

It doesn’t matter where it comes from, and I’ve found it best not to question it too strongly.

And no, I can’t explain it to you, not properly.

And as cliched as it is, once you’ve found it you’ll know and you’ll realise how much it means to you.

Once you have it, you’ll find the world changing around you in the best of ways.

There are many forms of love, mostly when we think of love we think of partners and the emotional connection they share, or perhaps the love of a caring family is the first thought in your mind, or yet still the trusted love of kinship with your closest friends.

A few years ago I made a point of telling all the people in my life that I truly care about, that I love them. It sounds easy but it really isn’t, which is awful to realise, awful to hit that moment and find yourself a little bit tongue tied and unsure if you should say it and what will the other person think and so you stutter and fumble your way throughout.

But like most things, with practice it gets a lot easier.

And that’s the thing, the more you say it, the easier it gets, and the more you put it out there, the more you get back. It’s a wonderful circle, and given how much hatred we see on TV these days, all over the news, in the media, on social media, I think we all need to put out MORE love to try and get things back in balance.

And you, dear reader, in my own way I love you too, I love you for taking the time to visit this little corner of the internet and reading these words.


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Our two dogs have a number of chew toys. Occasionally we will buy them something nicer, an antler perhaps, to chew on. Their breed does a lot of chewing and they have powerful jaws so antlers are the choice du jour.

There are two dogs, so we buy two small antler (parts, it’s not a full on antler getting thrown about the living room!), so they each have one. Of course that’s not how it works.

How it works is that, for some reason or another, one of the antlers is deemed the favourite and then they spend hour after hour trying to trick each other into giving it up.

Dave usually gets first shot at it as he is the one who chews the most, which means Sasha then spends her time picking up all the other toys and nudging Dave to get him to play. As soon as Dave drops the antler to start playing with Sasha, she quickly shakes him off, grabs the antler and runs off.

Every time.

And then, despite the fact that Dave is a far bit bigger and stronger than Sasha and could, quite easily if he wanted, get it back from her, he doesn’t. He just stands about a metre away from her and whines. And whines, and whines, and slowly works up to a full bark.

Which, of course means, that we need to intervene, retrieve said antler from Sasha, distract her by getting her up on to the sofa for cuddles, so Dave can be left in peace to chew his favourite antler.

Repeat. At least three or four times a night.

It’s all part of how they play and interact, and this little game, once you learn it, has tactics and strategies and different outcomes depending on what pieces are in play. It can be quite complex for something that is driven by base instinct.

I’m not that into games myself, certainly nothing in depth. I have a Playstation 4 but tend to only play sports games; football (soccer), racing, beat ’em ups, nothing that requires a deep level of knowledge to pick up and start playing as my motivation for play games is never to learn something new, it’s to distract myself and let my brain relax a bit.

I think that’s why I’ve never gotten into games like Call of Duty, and it’s certainly why the more involved board games leave me a bit bored. All those rules!

I don’t think it’s just instant gratification that I seek either, I have a few games on my phone and they mostly get played during my commute on the way home, a way to decompress with some mindless nonsense.

Which I guess is all part of gaming oneself, literally using games to reset my mood and my emotions, to give myself a time to relax a little. It usually works, although sometimes a little too well when a ‘quick game’ turns into a couple of hours but then isn’t that the point, a game should be something that’s fun, something that you enjoy, and if time isn’t flying when you are playing your favourite game then maybe it’s time to find another?


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Tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1999, sang Prince.

Which would mean ditching our smartphones, not playing Crazy in Love, or Uptown Funk, and I’m not even sure I want to contemplate the fashion choices we’d be subjecting ourself to once more.

I bought the single, 1999, when it came out. It wasn’t my first foray into the music of Prince but it was the one that got me hooked and delving back through his previous albums. Years later, when it was 1999, with the millenium looming it re-entered the radio playlists and made me think back to my childhood parties.

There are photos of my first few birthday parties, typically just me and a couple of friends (Alan and Iain) and a homemade cake. A few years on as we hit the final years of primary school, birthday parties were marked by what we called ‘record nights’. A gathering of boys and girls, and you brought your LPs and singles. Food and juice, and the first venturing into games like spin the bottle.

We were so young, and it wasn’t until one specific party where, for whatever reason, that everyone played along. Previously, spin the bottle had led to being shoved into a cupboard with a girl you knew but didn’t like, or knew and liked a lot but you knew she was ‘getting off with’ someone else, so nothing much happened except some embarrassed giggles. God help you if you got shoved in there with your childhood crush which rendered you a blushing mute.

That party though, the one that changed things, meant that my first kiss with a girl happened in the dark. To my shame, my memory won’t let me remember who it was, but like everyone else, as we exited the cupboard to giggling exclamations from our friends, we broke off into our own little boy/girl splits and confirmed that yes, we snogged but no, no it wasn’t a frenchie.

And we all did it, random couple after random couple spun that bottle and entered the cupboard, did the deed, then walked out again and, after that, it all started to change. Soon there was talk of boyfriends and girlfriends, snogging became a past time, that open mouthing of each other for tens of minutes on end until you got the much heralded badge of pride, lock jaw, because you’d been going at it for so long.

Parties like that dwindled away for me through secondary school as my group of friends chopped and changed. There were Christmas dances at school, and other gatherings, but it wasn’t until I went to college that the notion of parties rolled around again.

These were entirely different beasts, for a start alcohol made an appearance, the music was louder and typically it was merely the precursor to heading out at midnight to the Tunnel or Sub Club for further debauchery. But that’s enough about that, my parents read this ya know!

And now as a mature adult (stop laughing at the back) parties are now things held to mark an occasion, not just because it’s the weekend. Engagement parties, Christmas parties and the like. Except, for the most part, we stopped calling them parties.

For example, every December 27th, me and my closest friends gather and spend time together, eating, drinking, laughing, playing games. It’s a party in all aspects except name. And it is the best of times, and certainly my favourite day of the festive season.

The years churn on and my niece has kickstarted the cycle of parties once more. These days they take place in play centres, safe spaces where the kids can run and jump and dance and eat cake. Which really isn’t all that different to how things used to be. And that’s beauty of a party, it’s not time based, and whilst the activities and musical backdrop may change, and lord knows the fashions have, it’s still a time to be happy in the company of friends and family.

So, here’s to the party, may it always evolve but never change.

After all there’s only one approach that has always, and will always apply, right?

Party on, dude!

Blogvember Life

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I’ve always enjoyed nature documentaries. Admittedly in the UK we are especially spoiled by the wonderful gift that is Sir David Attenborough. For many people my age we grew up with his voice resonating.

Before that there was Animal Magic with Johnny Morris, another advocate who taught us so much whilst making us laugh as well.

And of course like many children I grew up with pets, two little remember tortoise called Jack & Jill, and my still missed best pal Sintra. Countless goldfish and the odd hamster too, of course.

That early fascination with animals has remained with me, and my most typical reply to the question of “if you could do any job in the world?” is always something to do with animals, either working with them in a zoo (the childhood dream), or these days running a sanctuary of some sort.

You may have noticed that I now live with two dogs. This has, oddly, meant that watching any TV featuring animals is not really an option, simply because one of our dogs is the friendliest boy in the world and wants to make friends with ALL the new animal friends on the screen and, if he’s especially excited at the prospect, this includes jumping up at the screen itself. Quite simply, we can’t afford a new TV every time Dave (the dog) spies a potential new friend!

Part of what fascinates me the most is just how little we know about these things that we share the planet with. From insects, to birds, to fish, to mammals, we have still barely scratched the surface of understanding.

And what horrifies me the most is watching species die out due to the influence of humans. Recently I spotted a headline that a rare blue breed of parrot was no officially extinct

How many in my lifetime

Some animals have been saved from such a fate, but the more this happens, presuming we even know about it given how little we really understand about the animal world, the more it scares me.

The planet we live on is so well balanced and inter-connected, and the dominate species is the one wreaking the most havoc and destruction.

Shame on us.


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The title of my blog has been Happily Imperfect for some time now. I’ve written about this before but since then, things have changed.

The name came about because I am, on the whole, happy with who I am, where I am in my life, and where my life is headed. If anything, the past year or so has made me even happier but ‘Happier Imperfect’ doesn’t really scan… and there’s the rub, since I last wrote about this, almost five years ago, I’ve found myself at place that could simply be described as ‘Happy’ but, again, it’s not the best title for a blog…

Yes, I am happy. Happy with my life. Finally. It feels good to have gotten here, after all it’s taken me a long time, but I guess that’s what life is all about, getting through things, learning, growing, and accepting who I am. And I have.

But there is still a part of me that, whilst I can acknowledge how happy I am these days, is always wondering about a tweak here and there. If anything my advancing years are pushing me towards this as well, my health will become increasingly important as I head towards 50 years old (wow that’s so weird to write yet it’s not that far away really) and so I still find myself looking to make small changes and tweaks. I’m also happy that that is also part of who I am.

I’ve always thought this way, I accept that life is what it is, that I’m not perfect and that no-one is, but I don’t ever want to stop trying to make things better for myself as I know that makes things better for my loved ones. A wonderfully virtuous circle, no?

I am happy where I am today, I am at my happiest, my most content, my most comfortable, and it feels like the jigsaw pieces of my life have all neatly slotted into place again. I feel whole and complete.

But life continues to move forward and give us challenges. Yesterday my doctor confirmed that the pain I’ve been experiencing in my lower stomach was a mild Inguinal Hernia, it’s not serious and will heal itself with a little gentle help from me, but it reminds me that my body needs to be taken better care of or such things will become all the more frequent as I head into the next, exciting, decade of my life.

I thought that turning 40 would be the kick in the pants I needed to get my health sorted out and, thinking back, I probably thought the same when I turned 30. Neither happened, and even more recent efforts and dedications at the gym were never fully committed. Looking at this body though, and it’s growing list of aches and pains and I know it’s time to renovate as best I can.

I’m not quite sure what that means just yet, as ever I know the basics but finding the constant commitment is always a balance and it’s here I’m focusing. How can I maintain the effort needed for, say, six months (and why am I starting now, with the decadent indulgence of Christmas ahead of me!)? I don’t know yet but that’s half the fun. Figuring it out.

And it’s much much easier when you are already happy.

So this is not going to be a renovation project of a sad dilapidated body, rather it’s just a few tweaks on what I hope are some good solid foundations.

Fingers crossed.

Blogvember Health Personal Musings

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