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Tuesday, 25 October 2016


Or penwythnos Cymreig.

Ok most people probably guessed my trip this weekend was to WALES. I like to think I'm consistent. Some people may say boring, predictable, I say consistent.

We have friends in Wales who we visited during our last holiday, whilst there they invited us to come stay with them for a few days at half term. I didn't broadcast the plan as I was a little concerned that it might have been one of those 'of the moment' remarks some people make that after a little thought they wish they'd not said. We made sure a few weeks ago that it was still OK for us to visit. They responded enthusiastically so we made the plans.

Friday 10:52 - And so here we are cruising through Snowdonia heading west to the coast. It was an early start (6:25) with heavy traffic through Manchester, Morticia was a little grumpy setting off but was so much better after a sleep.

The views are a beautiful as ever and whilst it's a bit chilly out there, the weather is perfect.
The road through Snowdonia 
Friday 12:43 - We've arrived at New Quay (Cei Newydd), it's all quite surreal really after all it was only a few months ago since we were here last. This time is different of course, we are hear to see friends as well as visit this place.

New Quay is my spiritual home.

Friday 16:02 - Shortly after arriving we made our way to our host's house where we spent the afternoon chatting in their conservatory. Mike, Chris and Sam (together with Sam's daughter Alice) are really the nicest people I've ever met. We have known them for many years but for them to invite us to their home is truly a most kind and generous act. We are staying in a caravan situated on the garden, it's a beautiful van.

Friday 21:35 - We just visited the club on the caravan site next door together with our hosts.
The barman was on the thin side
It's a lovely club, Rags played with and occupied Alice (she's only 4 years old), they tired each other out I think. We're back at the caravan now, it's probably not long until we go to bed. It's been a long and enjoyable day.

Nos da.

Saturday 9:30 - Wow it's cold. It certainly brings back memories of cold mornings of my youth (there was no central heating when I was a kid). Time to turn on the fire and grab a hot cuppa.

Saturday 15:18 - We decided to visit the sea front and perhaps grab some fish and chips. Whilst there we saw Brett who has a gift shop and also runs the SeaMôr boat trips. Whilst chatting he offered us a place on his next trip as his guest, we were more than happy to graciously accept.
The view of New Quay (Cei Newydd) from the boat
The SeaMôr boat trips are a must for any visitor to New Quay. Rather than a pleasure cruise it's an educational experience. As well as learning about the local area you are presented with examples of the area's marine wildlife.
The marine biologist shows off a dog fish / small shark
It was a little more chilly than last time we were on this boat but still as enjoyable. As always Morticia jinxed any chance of dolphin sightings (we've never seen any dolphins from a boat although we've seen loads from the pier over the years).
Morticia never sees dolphins
from the boat
Finally I get my fish and chips and a decent cup of tea.
You can't bear fish and chips by the sea
Saturday 23:53 - We were invited by our hosts to accompany them to an engagement party in the Black Lion. We had a great night meeting local people, some of which we already knew. I had a few pints of Moho, a local beer.

Lechyd da.

I came home with Mike leaving Morticia with Sam and her friend. I've gone to bed, not sure when she will return but glad she'll be having a good time. I'm gonna catch some sleep.

Sunday 8:34 - Morticia rolled in at 1:30 and as such is still in bed. I'm guessing she had a good time.

Sunday 12:52 - We found out that the Dolau Inn is closing it's doors for the last time next week. I'm absolutely horrified that the owners, SA Brains (Brewery), plan to turn the building into accommodation. See the news story here
This historic pub is set for closure - I love this place 
Other than signing the online petition there isn't much I can do so I thought I'd better have one last drink in there. It's pretty run down and needs a refurb but could easily be good again.
My last Rev James in the Dolau Inn
Sunday 23:00 - We treated our hosts to a meal in the Pencnwc Holiday Park as a small appreciation for putting us up. Afterwards we chatted for a while before retiring for our last night.
This burger was a little big for me
Mwynhewch eich bwyd.

Monday 12:57 - A day of relaxing. Rags is playing with Alice and I'm enjoying a cup of tea. I know soon it'll be time to head home, although is it really home when I'd rather be here than there?

We have had a wonderful break spent with some wonderful people. It's sad that we are going home but happy at the memories we've made. I hope we can do this again soon, I feel a little closer today to this place - the place I love more than anywhere in the world.

Hwyl fawr.

Thursday, 20 October 2016


We have been planning a short break for the half term holiday for some time. I've kept tight lipped about it because there has always been a chance that it wouldn't happen but now it's all looking likely. I'm not going to reveal where I'm going just yet since I'm still not wanting to jinx it all.

All will be revealed next week when I'll post all about it. Of course if you can't wait until then my social media feeds will reveal everything 'as it happens'.

It's an early start in the morning so I'm hoping for an early night.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016


We live in a small house. It's got 3 bedrooms but they are small. It's fine for us. So when Morticia's father turned up on our doorstep last week having been kicked out by his partner we struggled to figure out where to accommodate him. I know our eldest daughter doesn't live with us but her room (which is the smallest room) is still her room and she is storing loads of her things in there (so much so that the room is unusable). So at the moment he's on our settee which is inconvenient to say the least and probably uncomfortable for him.

It's looking like he might be here for the long term which it already making our lives difficult. Not sure how this is going to pan out but it's a bit of a squeeze.

Saturday, 15 October 2016


On Thursday we lost my Great Auntie Doreen, she was 86 years old.

Friday, 14 October 2016


It seems the world is going mad. My country is falling apart yet still committing itself to building a railway line nobody wants. The US is on the brink of electing a megalomaniac dictator that would give any James Bond villain a run for their money.

Then what do we get? Bloody CLOWNS! Not just any clowns, evil clowns! Now I don't like clowns. They give me the heebie jeebies.  There has been an epidemic of sighting of these scary clowns (all clowns are scary to me though) all over South Yorkshire and the rest of the country. Some have even been reported to have been carrying knives.

South Yorkshire Police issued this statement:
Between 21 September and today (12 October), concerns have been raised by 61 members of the public relating to incidents involving people dressed as clowns in South Yorkshire. 
The incidents include people being dressed as clowns knocking on windows and doors, and children and adults being frightened. There have also been two reports of clowns with knives, which are being investigated by police.

An incident last night (11 October) is also under investigation after a 17-year-old boy was assaulted by a man dressed as a clown.
Superintendent Colin McFarlane said: “There is a clear distinction to be drawn between young people who might be dressing up as we move into the Guy Fawkes and Halloween period and those that are dressing as clowns in order to commit public order offences or harassment.

"Clearly those that are crossing the threshold of criminality and especially if they are carrying weapons will be dealt with accordingly. I need people to understand that consequences of their actions and to take responsibility for them - South Yorkshire Police will not tolerate criminal behaviour.
“I urge anyone who feels frightened or threatened to report it to police.”

This happened about 3 years ago and quickly fizzled out. I hope this goes away a quickly as it arrived. I haven't had the misfortune of coming across one of these costumed monstrosities. Not yet anyway.

Did I mention that I hate clowns? 

Tuesday, 11 October 2016


I am honoured that Susan Leighton of Woman on a Ledge has nominated me for a Liebster Award. Susan blogs about life and does so in an honest way which makes for refreshing reading. It soon feels like you're chatting away to an old friend. I am happy to accept this token of appreciation.

The Liebster is a way for bloggers to acknowledge other bloggers whom they feel have a unique, entertaining, informative or educational voice.  It is also a terrific way to promote and spotlight hidden gems in the blogging community. For more information and the official rules, please visit the Global Aussie website.

One of the requirements for all nominees is to write a short essay on their favorite blog.  Well I'm going to write about a guy named Stu. Stu writes a blog about his life as an Englishman living in Holland and how his life has adapted to the customs and culture there. Why have I picked him? Because he's an excellent cartoonist too and it was him that inspired me it start drawing cartoons again and use them in my blog. Sadly his blog posts are a little sporadic these days as he juggles family and professional life with a bit of live improv. He's still an entertaining read and I love his (cartoon) work. You can find his blog at

Then I have to nominate my own choice for an award. This is a difficult choice since all the blogs I read and/or comment on are excellent for their own reasons. I'm supposed to choose blogs with less than 200 followers but I'm not going to go about asking for that information, I've taken a guess based on what I've observed on their pages.

List of 2016 Nominees:

Military Wife and Pug Life - 'MiliWifey' is pug loving, Marvel maniac and (obviously) military wife who loves to recap really bad movies.

Life From a Seated Perspective - Mark Rankin is a fellow Yorkshireman and writes about the challenges of his life being wheelchair bound.

Cat Hair and Glitter - Holly writes about her life in Kentucky (not the chicken shop) as a mother and potential cat lady (she has 6 cats and 2 dogs!).

Not Meatloaf Again - I first came across 'Chocolat Lover' when I used to follow her husband James' blog. She writes about their lives with young daughter Evie.

Yet Another Coffee to Go - Retired life in North Wales with Eileen. She writes about life with her husband and her dogs.
Liebster nominees must do is provide 10 random facts about themselves set by the nominator. Bring it on...

10 Questions about me:

Q: If travel was something everyone did as a rite of passage growing up where would you recommend they go and why? (one country only)
A: Lake Ullswater in the Lake District. I did an outward bound course there when I was 16 and it had a profound effect on my life.

Q: What is the last show you binge watched?
A: Mr Robot - blog post coming soon!

Q: What is your favorite food?
A: Obviously Yorkshire Puddings!

Q: Give a tip for other bloggers or potential blog starters. 
A: Be yourself, that's all it takes.

Q: If you had to choose between living with TV or music, which one would you choose?
A: I'd choose TV over music anyway. Music isn't a massive part of my life.

Q: Who has been the most influential person in your life?
A: It has to be my wife, Morticia. She pushes me through my doubt and encourages me to be the best version of me.

Q: If you could travel back in time, what year would you visit and why?
A: I'd love to be a time traveler and be an observer of history. I'd love to see my home city back at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century.

Q: The gun or the cannoli?
A: Don't really understand the question. Don't like guns, we don't really have them in the UK. Cannoli? Had to Google it and it's got cheese in it. Yuk! Is this some sort of American question?

Q: Who is your favorite author?
A: My favourite author is probably Peter David, the best Star Trek novel writer out there (in my opinion).

Q: What is the last movie you saw?
A: I assume this is referring to the cinema? The last film I saw at the cinema was Star Trek Beyond.

To the people that I nominated, if you choose to accept, please read the rules from the original post (link is at the top of this post).

Here are my 10 questions for my nominees... 

Why did you start blogging? 

If you were a time traveler, would you go forwards or backwards? 

What is your idea of a great evening? 

Who would you like to be stuck in a lift with? 

What scares you, I mean really scares you? 

If you were a cartoon character which one would you be? 

If you won the lottery (or came into a large sum of money) what would you go out and buy first? 

When you're in the car alone (if you don't drive then think of a similar circumstance where you're alone with a radio) what would you turn the radio on to? 

Star Wars or Star Trek?

Gravy or no gravy?

There it is, anyone else want to answer these questions please put your responses in the comments. 

Monday, 10 October 2016


We were on a mission this weekend. We have been working on friends' wedding photos (which Morticia had taken) and we planned to drop them off. These friends live close to Morticia's mother so the plan was to combine the two things together.
The drive is just over 2 hours and is quite dull. The A1 South is just a duel carriageway that feels like it goes on forever. We headed down Friday night with the idea of presenting the wedding photos over a late lunch the next day.

We'd booked a table at a local 'Brewer's Fayre pub (a typical chain establishment). I'd not visited a Brewer's Fayre for many years and in the past found them a little generic. The menu was indeed very standard but I was pleased with the fact that you could get free refills on soft drinks (and hot drinks too), a rarity for such an establishment. The photos were handed over to our newlywedded friends who were very pleased with their boxed memories. At the end of the afternoon just before we left the pub I noticed they had Rev James on draught at the bar, such a shame since I wasn't drinking, I'd never seen it this far out of Wales before (except in bottles).
They even had the classic pump clip.
The whole weekend was just the relaxing break I needed. As many know my head hasn't been in the right place recently and this trip gave me the opportunity to (to use old computer parlance) defrag my mind.

The drive home yesterday was uneventful and today I wait for the routine of my life to kick back in. I have the satisfaction of knowing I'll be going with a clear head, at least for now.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

1610.06 NEW FIVER

Last month in the UK a new £5 banknote printed on polymer, a thin flexible plastic film, was issued. The new note bears the image of wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill on the reverse. The new note can apparently last about five years longer than paper notes and features loads of new security features, making the note extra hard to counterfeit. They include a see through window featuring the Queen’s portrait as well as the Elizabeth Tower (commonly mistakenly known as Big Ben) depicted in gold foil on the front of the note and silver on the back. The £5 will be joined shortly by new £10 and £20 notes which also will be printed on polymer.

Since the new notes came into circulation there has been a movement on social media under the hashtags of #firstfiver and #fivergiver to donate the first £5 note you receive to charity.
I got my first one this week and thought it was a great idea to give it away so I donated my first fiver to Action for ME, a life changing condition my wonderful Morticia has struggled with for almost 10 years.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

1610.04 XV

My youngest daughter was born fifteen years ago this day.

Everything changed. Even though I had been a father for 5 years previous to that point I wasn't prepared for the difference Rags would make to my life.
Baby Rags with her big sister
She is wise beyond her years, she has a sense of fun than rivals anyone I know. She has intelligence and wit with a grounding that I envy.
She has grown into a beautiful young woman and I am immensely proud of her. Happy 15th birthday Rags. I love you with all my heart.

Saturday, 1 October 2016


Before I start I'd like to thank everyone for their kind words regarding my last couple of posts. I am feeling much better now, I know I've a long way to go and this isn't the last time I go to that dark place. For now I must get on with life and that's what I intend to do.

A couple of weeks ago Morticia visited a hypnotist with some friends with a view to losing a few pounds. She came away with a recording to play at night. I'm not an expert in such things but I've heard of these subliminal suggestion techniques but never had any experience of such things.

She started playing the recording before sleeping and of course this was the last thing I heard before sleeping. It was a woman telling her (and I guess me) to breath and relax, I'd be asleep before I heard anymore. I've no idea of the exact content of the recording.

On the days that followed I noticed I was snacking less and generally keeping within my calorie intake goals. I'm not actually on any sort of diet, I just like to monitor my food intake. Snacking has always been my biggest problem.

Then I had my 'blip' and Morticia didn't play the recording for a few days. I'm not sure if it's my mental well being or the absence of the recording but I've started to hit the Doritos pretty hard.
My Nemesis
There are too many variables to understand whether the hypnosis recording is having an effect or not but I do think it's worth more study. Morticia resumed playing the recording last night.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

1609.27 THE VOID

Since 2012 I've lived with the darkness. It's always there like an unwanted stalker forever traveling with me. Back in 2012 I had a breakdown, since then I've had this companion who occasionally pushes me into a dark place, a void, a dark corridor full of locked doors. I have to traverse the whole thing to get back out into the light. But what if this time there is no light this time? It's this making sense?

Yesterday I almost deactivated my blog. I thought about deleting my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I came really close. It could still happen. The only reason I think I haven't was the words of my previous therapist who advised me to share my thoughts and that blogging was beneficial to my mental well-being. That's why I'm rambling on like this.

Hopefully I'll see you all on the other side. 

Sunday, 25 September 2016


I get 1 weekend off in every 3 with my current shift pattern. This makes every weekend quite special. This weekend I planned to sort out a friend's wedding photos (a bit of photoshop tidying) and of course go cycling. Apart from that we were just going to relax as a family and spend time together.

My head had other ideas.

Yesterday my head felt like it was in a vice whilst being repeated hit on the forehead with a lump hammer. It was like a hangover without the pleasure of a night out. The unmistakable dark mist had descended over me. I couldn't explain the cause of was just there. I couldn't concentrate on the photos I was supposed to be working on. This morning I planned to go cycling with the club but after a night of nightmares and waking up feeling so much dread I didn't feel like going, so I didn't. Probably the worst decision I could have made, I spent the morning feeling guilt on top of everything else.
A photo posted by CaptainKirt™ (@captainkirt) on

Maybe it's because it's the end of summer? Maybe it's that my life feels like I'm just treading water? I don't always know why the darkness descends over me, I wish I did. This afternoon as I sat looking out of the window and 2 rainbows appeared. I took it as a sign that things are going to get better. It's the first positive thought I've had all weekend.

I know this post doesn't make much sense, I apologise for that but writing it down makes it easier for me to process it all. 

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

1609.21 PLUMGATE

Don't worry, whist this is a blog post about plums, it's not the plums you might be thinking of. These plums are mine but they are ones I purchased in our local Tesco store. 

I bought them the other day whilst shopping because they were £1. When I got home I noticed a discrepancy with the receipt. 

I'd been charged £1.50! Whist I was a little peeved about this it wasn't a massive deal, after all it was only 50p (I know that's a 50% overcharge but it's not a huge amount). I was still annoyed enough to fire off a tweet in Tescos direction. Along with the photo as evidence. 

They were very quick to respond and without quibble or question offered me double the difference (via a money card).

Tescos online customer service team, I have to say, have got it nailed. Fast, polite and not afraid to add a little personality either. Well done them! 

All I was really after was an apology and perhaps fixing the pricing issue so it didn't happen to anyone else. This morning I received my refund+ through the post.

Now what to spend my windfall on? A packet of ham? More plums? 

Monday, 19 September 2016


Last year I did the 65 Roses Holme Moss Classic Sportive because I needed a challenge to help me come back from an injury. This year I just wanted to experience what I did last year.

There were no closed roads at the start for this year's ride so a mass start was out of the question for safety reasons. This meant that the start was a lot more subdued than last year.

My preparation for this ride has been poor and coming up to it I was a little apprehensive. Would I get round the course? Would I get up to the summit?

It seemed like forever riding out to get to to the exposed moors. It's then I first see the transmitter perched on top of Holme Moss. It doesn't look all that bad from here, I knew looks could be deceiving. My legs are already aching from the ride so far. When I arrive in Holmfirth, which some will remember as the location setting for the geriatric TV comedy "Last of the Summer Wine", I know the start of the main attraction isn't far. The hard climb through Holmbridge fools many into thinking that the main climb has started but this is just a prelude to the main event. It's here you first see your adversary in all it's glory. There's a slight rest bite before the main climb kicks in. It's time to give my all. The trick is to just slug away at it gently, keep it moving even when it feels like it's never going to end. There's a car park at the top. Many see it (as did I last year) and think it's the summit. It's not. There's still a bit left although the gradient eases off. I did it. I made it to the top of Holme Moss.
At the summit 
I treated myself to a small cake which I'd picked up at the feed station earlier. My legs were like jelly but I was only just over half way. Next was a massive decent followed by a long slog along Woodhead Pass. The road back wasn't smooth, there were still some climbs left. I picked up the pace on the last leg and it wasn't long before I was in Sheffield. As I hit the last 5k I started to cramp up in my legs, I though I was going to have problems but I managed to ride through.

I arrived back and caught up with my club mates to compare notes.

It was an amazing day, hard work but worth every minute.

Friday, 16 September 2016

1609.16 OVER 40s CHECKUP

I was rudely awoken this morning at 5:20 by a violent thunderstorm. I had to come downstairs to let Angel the cat in, she was grateful and I headed back to bed. The weird thing was that as well as the thunder, lightning and heavy rain there was also traffic outside which was unusually heavy for the time of day. Had the storm awoken these people so they'd decided to go to work early? The storm dissipated and so did the traffic but with an alarm set for 6:10 not much more sleep was available.

So today was the day I went for my "over 40s check up". I've been a little apprehensive about it mainly because of my family history. The males in my paternal line all have cardiovascular health issues. My uncle was only a couple of years older than I am now when he died suddenly of a heart attack.

The check-up was pretty basic, performed by a Healthcare Assistant called Joanne. Height, weight, blood pressure and blood tests. Add the lifestyle questions to which I pretty much passed and it was over pretty quickly. I fell below the threshold to be tested for diabetes but since I have a family history she's going to test for it anyway.
So now I wait to see if the bloods reveal any problems, apparently no news is good news so if I hear nothing I'm clear.

Morticia had the same check up directly after me but hers isn't as straightforward as her chronic illness causes other lifestyle issues.

The weather looks like it's going to dry up before I cycle to work. However with all the surface water it looks like I'm still going to get a bit wet!