At the end of the day (or year)

No, I’m not talking cliches here. It’s very much the end of the year and a lot has happened, personally and globally. The Ukraine situation drags on, and there doesn’t seem to be an end of sight. Domestically we’ve had three prime ministers and four chancellors in a calendar year and none seem to know what they are doing. Anyway enough of that, other people will comment on that until the cow’s come home, personally I’m as qualified as the next man (or woman or mixed gender unknown sex being).

So since the end of my last blog (3rd August) it was Fran’s birthday and she was *0! Teresa flew back to UK again to surprise her mum, having left here to go home to Australia just 5 weeks earlier. She was willing to do it, so it was all arranged. She flew in on Friday 12th August, stayed with her sister and the party was on the Saturday. My eldest daughter and I did all the food shopping beforehand and we had about 35 guests in our back garden on a blistering hot day. Luckily the gazebo was still up and it provided welcome shelter. We hid Teresa in a cardboard box covered with wrapping paper and at the appropriate time she burst out of it to surprise Fran who nearly had a heart attack.

Anyway it was lovely party, although the actual day was on the Monday and we went to Hawk Conservatory near Andover because she loves Owls.

That was a lovely day with the girls, and the day before we saw an Abba tribute band at The Gilbert White House nearby (he was a naturalist and had connections to Lawrence Oates who was with Scott of the Antartic and who was famously meant to have said ‘I’m going out side and I may be some time). They were great and fairly faithful to the originals. We spent the following weekend at Weyfest, a local music festival about 4 miles away which is on every year. This year it headlined with Billy Ocean and 10cc, and loads of other well known groups. We went there every day from home but you can camp if you like. It’s a very friendly festival and seems to be trouble free. Its based on a rural life centre/museum and all the exhibits and the miniature railway are open for the three days of the festival.

The rest of the summer went quietly. Teresa went back to her new home in Byron Bay which we hope to visit sometime. It sounds idyllic and completely different from Melbourne where they moved from. Autumn came and went and suddenly we are in winter and the cold and frost got going. At least we didn’t have much snow (yet!) not like some of the country where it was pretty thick. Christmas approaches fast and we’re helping serve dinners in a local community centre for people who are on their own. Should be fun and something completely different to just sitting there, watching TV and eating non-stop. Haven’t decided about New Year yet but I’m sure we will get in to the spirit or maybe just go to be and watch it all on tele! Anyway have a good one and keep save.

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The long hot summer

There have been many comparisons between the current hot spell and the summer of 1976 when we had 8 weeks of high temperatures.

The trouble is I wasn’t in the country at that time, I was stationed in RAF Germany in 1976 and it was even hotter there. We coped. We had no air con, anywhere, especially not in cars; only the big Mercs and no one could afford one of them babys. I was on a Harrier squadron and three times a year we went into a training area, usually in woods to practice what the Harrier did best; jump up, kill some tanks or other aircraft then land in a clearing, fuel up, load up with weapons and go again. That is a very simplified version of what we did.

The ‘middle’ trip we did was in the middle of July and bloody hell it was hot. So hot that we were trying to figure out a way to cool our beer. We had a free 24 hours in the middle of the deployment, so our boss decided the best way to cool the beer was to use lox (liquid oxygen) which came out of its container at -50°C. Our boss got himself kitted out in all the safety gear when handling lox, we put the cans of beer into a plastic bag with water, then the boss squirted Lox into the bag so when it hit the water it turned it into blocks of ice, making the beer cans ice cold. Other teams looked on in envy as we stroked a finger down the side of the can and they could see the condensation dripping off the can. They were forced to drink warm beer, ours was nice and cold.

The down side was that the lox was kept in 50 litre containers which were highly insulated and mounted on a wheeled trolly. We picked up five lox trollies in turn from the supply area to cool our beer down that weekend and some admin guy afterwards questioned why we had used 5 lox trollies in one weekend. It’s easy to explain said the boss: the lox system in the aircraft were venting due to the excess temperatures of 30° C and we need to keep the lox system topped up in case of a quick launch of the aircraft. The admin guy never compared our team to others in a similar situation, or that their aircraft weren’t venting Lox, at all. Nobody ever asked for any money for the lox which was about £150 per full trolly from memory. So 5 x 150 = £750 was spent in one weekend cooling our beer (at 1976 prices). Hope nobody wants the lox costs paid back after all these years.

So in the vernacular of Crocodile Dundee, ‘call 2022 a hot summer? This (1976) was a hot summer.’ I’ll get me coat.

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What does Vlad want?

Seriously, why is Vladimir Putin is trying to claim Ukraine back into the Russian canon?

In 1992 Ukraine became an independent nation after the fall of the Berlin wall. They were fed up with the oppressive and controlling regime that was present and perpetrated by the Kremlin. Ukraine flourished and became a vibrant free economy without communist interference. There had been conflict in the Donbas region from the early days, then in 2014 Putin annexed The Crimea and bought it back into the Russian empire. Now in 2022, Putin has decided that Ukraine can’t cope on its own and must be bought back under the Russian wing. President Zelensky has proved time and again that his country is not interested in being part of Russia again, and Putin’s nose has been put out of joint because the Ukrainians didn’t just roll over and let him over run the whole country and install a puppet government. So what is Putin’s end game?

Clearly his megalomaniacal ways haven’t ended in total success and most of Ukraine is still in Zelensky’s hands, despite millions of fleeing refugees and devastated cities. Who can blame them for wanting to stay as they are and not be part of Putin’s totalitarian state? So what is his end game? He’s clearly not going to win the country back, but I suppose he wants the natural resources that Ukraine has. Or he is such a dyed-in-the-wool communist that he can’t bear anyone else being better off than him. I just don’t get it, he’s against practically the rest of the world, except of course those like minded, such as North Korea and China, and millions of dollars worth of equipment is pouring into Ukraine and helping their cause. Does Putin think they are all going to just pack up and go home? Will he actually achieve anything at all, besides displacing millions of Ukrainians and destroying the country and cities which will require years of rebuilding and restoration? Probably not, he’s seriously delusional if he thinks he’s going to win back Ukraine, but if he ups his game and starts using tactical nukes, all hell will be let loose and he won’t win that either. Nobody wins, and the upshot could be wideworld destruction, but not total destruction of the world because that would be impossible. I despair because no one knows how this will end, but I fear it will end badly. Someone needs to take Putin out.

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The End

So, after over 15 months of hard work erecting our Men’s Shed, we were told in early February 2022 that the lease on the building we were in was ending at the end of March

We sweated blood and tears and my heart attack in the period September 2020 to December 2021 making two fabulous workshops: one ‘clean’ and one ‘dusty’. Pictures of the workshops are in my previous blogs, but here are a couple:

Our benefactor the Furniture Helpline had lost two contracts so they couldn’t afford the £16000 a year rent for the warehouse where our shed was so they had to give up the lease, which meant we had to go as well. The £3000 local council grant which we secured to build the workshops would all go to waste, as we had to dismantle the whole shooting match. It was a sad day for all the guys who had put such a huge effort in erecting the place, only now to be told we had to tear it down:

We’re storing all the building materials and machinery/tools in a colleagues garden in various sheds and a bought carport, but currently we have nowhere else to go. There was no leeway in staying in the place, so reluctantly we had to dismantle it. Anyone got a spare 14 sq mtr shed/building we could have to start up again? We’ve had help from the district and town councils but none from the Regeneration Company who own the site, profit comes before anything I guess. My chaps are devastated, not least because for a time they will have nowhere else to go twice a week and trade banter and jokes with like minded guys while making wooden projects.

It’s very sad and I’m very upset at the reasons we have basically wasted 2 years and lot of money achieving absolutely nothing. Oh well onwards and upwards as they say.

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And so it carries on…

Well, the Men’s Shed project is doing well and is now finished.

At last we can get going on building our own projects and not building the workshops. The extraction system has been installed and is working well, and the tea bar is fully functional. We have been making Christmas trees out of wooden pallets for the last few weeks for the local community people to sell at their cafe. So far about a dozen have been produced, and we can start the new year on other projects.

The finished ‘clean’ room

The ‘dirty’ room

A typical ‘Christmas Tree’

It’s great that we’ve been able to do this because we have spent a year building our workshops inside a huge old warehouse from scratch. Seeing as we’re all over 70 it’s not been a bad effort. Of course there are ‘comfort’ times as well so we have built a tea bar:

The Tea Bar

So we are now fully functional and able to take on our own projects and community projects as well. I’ve been sort of thrust into the position of ‘leader’, don’t know how that happened, but in any case, I am the spokesman and abitrator of the whole Shed. We are having a Christmas lunch soon with wives and that should wind up the year, ample reward for what we have achieved in 2021. Watch this space for further developments in the Bordon Men’s Shed saga.

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The saga continues

Following on from my last brush with the medical services, it’s now gone one stage further.

Having been here for a day they decided that I needed an angiogram to see what is happening around the ticker. After a false start (someone else had higher priority) I was bumped out until today, when I had the procedure and after about half an hour they finished and the doctor told me I needed triple or even quad bypass surgery. Pretty scary, but it can’t be done in my current hospital; I’ve got to be transferred to a specialist heart hospital in London. My case will be discussed but I’m here for the duration until I can get a slot with the surgeons probably in a day or so.

To say it come as a shock would be an understatement, I was expecting a couple of stents to be put in and Robert’s your mother’s brother. Still, looking on the bright side the episode I had on Monday was definitely a warning shot across the bows, and I’m lucky: 2 out of 3 don’t walk out their front door like I did – ever again. The cause? Age, smoking even though I gave up 40 years ago, drink, diet and weight. All factors except age can be avoided. I’m getting the best care in this hospital, Covid doesn’t seem to affect it now, don’t know what it was like at the height of it. Anyway I’ll be out of action for quite a while and there ain’t nothing I can do about it. Further reports to follow.

So, further tests to be done: chest x-ray: all clear, echo cardiogram, a sort of posh ultrasound, like they use on expectant mothers! This, as explained by my radiographer, is the plumbing in the heart and the ECG looks at the electrics. Quite fascinating seeing the heart valves actually working; opening and closing. I have, and have had for a long time an enlarged atrium, on the right side and that showed up to good effect on the screen. Just think at 70 those valves have opened and closed 2,275,440,000 times! No wonder they can go wrong. Luckily mine aren’t causing a problem, but the enlarged atrium causes the heart to beat more because its got to push a larger volume of blood around the body. Now I saw the blocked arteries I’ve got and they were explained thus: ‘This is your M1, that’s nice and fat and allows the blood to flow easily. The one across the top is your M6 and it looks pinched in places. That’s one of the worse offenders. There are also others smaller roads, the A606 or whatever that are blocked at one end and the is another problem. There’s a conference tomorrow 1st July when they will discuss my case and see the best place to send me.’

I spoke to Noel, 86, this afternoon who had a triple bypass and is being discharged today, but he picked up a UTI infection of the urinary tract so is being treated for that. The regime in the ward is quite rigid as it has to be, except for mask wearing; Covid doesn’t seem to have affected life here. I’ve no idea what it was like at the height of the pandemic but it must have been chaotic. Meal times are strictly at 8.00am, 1.00pm and 6.00pm, luckily you get choice sheets for the next two days and the food is very good. It’s easy to pick healthy options so I go for that generally although it’s far too late to reverse the damage to the old ticker now. Not that I was a massive bad food eater, I know I’ve got to cut down on certain things and it’s something like this that brings your choice of diet into sharp focus. Jim my friend from the men’s shed visited on Wednesday evening and left a box of shortbread, yum. Earlier my wife and daughter visited in shifts because you’re only allowed one visitor at a time. Lovely to see them, cheered me up no end. Technology makes it much easier to talk or message them these day: don’t know how we managed before. Got chatting to a hospital volunteer called Clive! Ex Artillery man. Waited for my sword of Damacles decision on where my op is taking place: St Georges Tooting or Southampton.

So, Thursday came and the consultant Dr Aachan came to see me individually and gave me the news: No bypass you’re having stents instead! Quite a turnaround. To be honest I wasn’t looking forward to having my chest cracked open and my innards being mucked about with, so the stent alternative was excellent news. Soon after I was rushed down to the ‘Cath Lab’, as they call the operating theatre where at 12.00 and waited, and waited, and waited… well you get the picture. Then they told me an emergency was coming in from Royal Surry and I was being bumped. They offered me a sandwich which I gratefully accepted and then waited some more. 3 1/2 hours later the consultant came in and told me I was going in. I had a pee before I went in, but I was going to have a problem with that later. The Cath Lab is quite a place, sort of cross between and operating theatre and an x-ray suite with the largest TV screen I’ve ever seen. The lady doctor gave me an anaesthetic in the wrist and proceeded to try to get the ‘sheath’ into the which all the catheters go through. Because it was nearly the same place as the cardiogram the previous day she had a lot of trouble. So they made another hole and tried again, still no success. They decided to switch to the left wrist on which the huge screen was on the same side and after an injection had success. The sheath was inserted and the consultant started. He calls out pressures and the other doctor responds with the same which blows the balloon up at the end of the catheter and the stent at the same place expands (it’s a wire mesh tube) and pushes on the inside of the vein as a sort of scaffold for the vein to keep it open. He did two or three times successfully but had trouble with the fourth one, and worried that I may have to come back for that one. But he got it in eventually, so I’m now the proud owner of four stents! During the process however, the doctor doing the stents now had to lean across my body to get at the left wrist, and I had been dying for a pee for half an hour. I was so glad when he had finished and had to use a cardboard container right there in the Cath Lab. I was taken back to the ward to recover and I was done.

The next day on doctors rounds, the consultant cardiologist said I could leave hospital that afternoon. I had all the meds to get and be discharged with all the paperwork all of which took an age, but eventually having been picked up by my wife I arrived home in the early evening. It had been quite an experience and had lasted 5 days, but I was more or less fixed expect a return visit to see the specialist in 6-8 weeks and a whole chemist worth of meds to take. These included: anti coagulants, heart rate reducer, beta blockers x 2, blood thinner (aspirin), platelet reducer, statins, and stomach acid reducer. Quite a list but luckily they are all one a day expect one which is twice a day, and some have to be taken with food. Told I couldn’t drive or lift weights for 7 days (enforced by my wife!) and to take it easy, a difficult thing for me to do (see my other blog about the Men’s Shed). I have felt a bit tired for the first three days but get stronger all the time. The only after effects beside tiredness is bruises on the wrists. I’m so glad I was ably to get away with stents rather than bypass, because that would have taken me out for three months. I’m already feeling the benefits of enlarged heart veins, less breathlessness and more energy, which had got to be used sparingly for a while.

A big thanks to all the staff at Frimley Park Hospital and a special thanks and love to all my family especially Fran, my wife, and my daughters Charlotte and Teresa. I hope this blog can be picked up and read by many people to give assurance that all is well with the NHS, they might be vilified by certain sections of the media but ultimately when it counts they are there for you and cannot be faulted

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So it happens to me…

A normal morning, not hurrying, leisurely breakfast (I am retired!) and started pottering in the garage and around the house, when a slight, and I mean slight pain started in the solar plexis area of my chest, accompanied shortly afterwards by profuse sweating all over and my wife saying ‘you look pale’.

Now that’s quite a thing to say of me because ordinarily I’m quite, how shall I put this; swarthy. My dad was as well, I pick up the sun very easily and tan quickly using factor 20 of course. So for me to be pale was unusual to say the least. I sat down for a minute or two then suddenly I was feeling very poorly and rushed to the loo, where I vomitted profusely. Another first, I haven’t done that since my early twenties when I drank too much whisky. I felt absolutely awful, and the pain was still there. My wife suggested that I lay down, so I went upstairs and immediately started feeling sick again, which I duely did. My wife dialled 999 and an ambulance was there within 10 minutes. They did cardio tests on me in the house then invited me to the ambulance where they connected me to heart monitor and I started trying to vomit again but only spit came up. They took me to the hospital of my choice and I was taken into the ED. More tests, blood and cardio, moved to another room where I spent the next 3 hours.

They then moved me to ward G9 where my dinner order turned up. Various doctors spoke to me and indicated I might have had a mild heart attack because a blood component showed slight damage to the heart. The cardiologist will be seeing me and I may be given an angiogram/heart monitor or possibly a stent. But the upshot is I’m in overnight at the very least. I haven’t been in hospital since 2004 and that was for a parathyroidarectomy, removal of two enlarged parathyroids which control calcium levels. Then, I was in for 10 days, it was awful. Hopefully I won’t be in that long this time. More updates later.

Anyway several things happened today. I had another ‘turn’ but nowhere near as bad as the first one. I had 5 doctors and nurses around me sorting me out with IV drips and injections and tablets… Recovered from that and booked my wife and daughter in for a visit at 2.00pm. They had only been here 15 minutes, and the staff rushed in and said they were taking me down for an angiogram NOW! So I was rushed down to the cardiac lab area on my bed, and lay for an hour and a half, looking at the wall and eventually the nurse came and said sorry an A&E patient has taken priority so I was bumped out. Oh well there’s always tomorrow. Hospital isn’t bad it’s the staff that make it and some of the less noisy patients. There’s a bloke 4 beds down who hasn’t stopped talking since I got on the ward 36 hours ago. The trouble is the old boy in the next bed is answering him occasionally but mostly it’s this bloke beating his gums about not much really.

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The Bordon Men’s Shed

About 4 years ago I saw a flyer advertising the local Men’s Shed, which to those who have never heard of them are places where men (and women) can meet for comradeship and friendship under the guise of working on wooden projects, either your own or for the community. As I was retired and new to the area I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to meet new people and get involved with community projects. As the National Association of Men’s Sheds says:

Why are they needed?

For a long time research has shown the negative impact of loneliness and isolation on a person’s health and wellbeing, especially during the current pandemic. Recently we have seen more evidence come to light that shows loneliness and isolation can be as hazardous to our health as obesity and excessive smoking. Surveys from mental health charities are finding that millions of people report feeling lonely on a daily basis.

Men typically find it more difficult to build social connections than women, and unlike women of a similar age, less older men have networks of friends and rarely share personal concerns about health and personal worries. It is not the case for all men, but for some, when retirement comes, it can feel like personal identity and purpose is lost. Men’s Sheds can change all of that. As a by-product of all of that they reduce isolation and feelings of loneliness, they allow men to deal with mental health challenges more easily and remain independent, they rebuild communities and in many cases, they save men’s lives. The Men’s Shed is part of a Nationwide, indeed worldwide movement whose main aim: Men’s Sheds (or Sheds) are similar to garden sheds – a place to pursue practical interests at leisure, to practice skills and enjoy making and mending. The difference is that garden sheds and their activities are often solitary in nature while Men’s Sheds are the opposite. They’re about social connections and friendship building, sharing skills and knowledge, and of course a lot of laughter.

The Bordon Men’s Shed was located in the old Military Police HQ in the military town, since vacated by the army a couple of years before.

It was a useable building of which we only occupied a small part. It was successful in refurbishing furniture and creating the members own projects. We exhibited at the Men’s Shed stall at a craft fair at the Wield and Downland Museum (where the Repair Shop is filmed) and were able to see some of our creations and show them off.

Wield and Downland Men’s Shed Craft Fair 2018

All was going well, until last year when the building we were in (Hampshire House) was to be torn down to build houses on the site. We are co-located with the Furniture Helpline (FHL) who are our governing body and bank. They collect and distribute furniture and white goods to needy families and is very successful. The managed to secure a building on what was Prince Philip Park in the town, now to be called Bordon Enterprise Park. They were allocated a large hangar type building (64) which we were given a small part of:

As a blank canvas was presented and we wanted the Mens Shed to carry on, we needed to build our own workshops internally. These were to be of wooden construction. I requested the opportunity to apply for a grant from Whitehill and Bordon Town town council and went on a Zoom call to put forward my pitch for a grant of £3000, the maximum I could apply for. The committee were unanimous and we were granted the money. We started spending it straight away on materials for the build. About the same time we were given the opportunity for a huge amount of hoarding put up by a building company around a new estate in the town who were getting rid of it. It included long lengths of 6×2 and 4×4 posts which would come in very useful:

Some of the posts we rescued

Also included was many 8×4 sheets of OSB (oriented strand board), which we were going to use as walls on the new structure but instead decided with the grant to buy new sheets of 8×4 ply for that purpose and use the OSB as flooring over the existing concrete floor. We have got on fairly well with building partitions and walls of our new workshops, considering all the build party are over 70 (one of us is over 80) and not being in the first flush of youth makes everything take much longer. Luckily the hangar had metal stanchions which form part of the structure and which we were able to fix our walls to. So we started the build in January, all of our equipment and tools were moved from Hampshire House first by us and with some help from the FHL staff. The whole place looks a bit of a mess at the moment, but a lot of the stuff that FHL have bought in is to be moved to the dump. This is the area we are working in before the partitions were erected with a lot of our stuff.

We started by building an end wall out of 6×2 posts which were 20 feet long and we loads of them so cut them down to make frameworks. Then we attached ply sheets to create walls:

Finally the walls were erected and secured to the hangar walls with rawl plugs and battens and in some cases metal plates and nuts and bolts.

and so on until we have created two workshops, a ‘clean’ one and a ‘dirty’ one. The clean one will be for quiet assembly and non machinery work and the dirty will be for lathes, sliding saw, drilling and the like. When we get some more materials the ceiling will be compressed hardboard called Tentest and this provides insulation and keeps the dust in. We will have to put in multiple sockets on trailing leads as the landlords won’t let us put in anything permanent. There is a plan to completely revamp the whole of the Bordon Enterprise Park which has many other businesses on it, in about 4 years time and our building will be one of the ones got rid of, so we may have to find another home again.

Of course while all this rebuild has been going on, the Men’s shed as was has been unable to meet, which we used to do on Tuesday and Fridays because we haven’t got a workshop. When it’s all finished and we can meet again, we hope to recruit more (younger) members to be able to enjoy the marvellous facilities we will have. There is also a plan to involve improvers who have finished their apprenticeship but haven’t got anywhere to practice their skills, and our workshops might be the ideal place. Watch this space though and we hope to have all singing all dancing wood workshop open sometime this year.

Huge thanks to all who have been involved so far, including David G, Peter, John, Jim, Ted, Miles and Fran. Onwards and upwards!

April 2021

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April, come she will…

It has come to my attention that spring was supposed to have arrived by now, what’s all this cold stuff falling out of the sky? On March 16th we had temperatures of 23°, yesterday we had -2! Just shows the fickle nature of British weather.

So, the lunatics have been let out of the asylum? Yesterday restrictions were lifted in England for visiting the pub and going to the fitness centre, and non-essential shops. Were people so desperate to have a drink that they wanted to potentially spread Covid around even more by hooting and roaring and getting drunk in freezing temperatures? Have they never heard of buying cans and bottles and staying home to stop the spread? Or did they think it’s all over now and no restrictions were required any more? I despair. There will be another wave sooner or later and I for one won’t be one of those infected, and that’s not because I’ve had the jab and due the other one soon, it’s because I’m not going out and drinking outside a pub with loads of people I don’t know and don’t want to be near.

It’s all looking good thought with 2nd jabs being given and the age range coming down. I’m no scientist but I believe they know what they’re talking about when they say that vaccinations are the key to reducing the incidence of Covid-19. I’m not in a hurry to go on holiday either, although we have one booked for later in the year, in the UK of course. Anyway it’s getting boring now, the restrictions, the lockdowns and the tiers, so can’t wait for the all clear to be given.

Work is gathering pace on the workshops myself and my friends are building inside a hangar in the middle of Bordon for the Men’s Shed of Bordon. We were evicted from our old premises because they want to build houses on the site. We are now in an enterprise park and occupy a third of building. These are some of the progress pictures:

Why are they needed?

For a long time research has shown the negative impact of loneliness and isolation on a person’s health and wellbeing, especially during the current pandemic. Recently we have seen more evidence come to light that shows loneliness and isolation can be as hazardous to our health as obesity and excessive smoking. Surveys from mental health charities are finding that millions of people report feeling lonely on a daily basis.

Men typically find it more difficult to build social connections than women, and unlike women of a similar age, less older men have networks of friends and rarely share personal concerns about health and personal worries. It is not the case for all men, but for some, when retirement comes, it can feel like personal identity and purpose is lost. Men’s Sheds can change all of that. As a by-product of all of that they reduce isolation and feelings of loneliness, they allow men to deal with mental health challenges more easily and remain independent, they rebuild communities and in many cases, they save men’s lives. We are hoping to recruit more members later when we’ve finished building the workshops. We’re all over 70 so it takes a bit of effort! This is keeping us going; we’re all in a bubble and had our jabs so we’re safe: we’ve been working together all this year.

A year ago I signed for a cricket umpires course of which I did the basic Part 1. The lockdown kicked in and the rest of the course was cancelled. I’m going to do my first match on the 24th under the supervision of an experienced umpire. I’m looking forward to it, it’s not something I’ve done before, so it’ll be quite exciting. I’ll report on it later.

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My Birthday

Yes, it’s today. I’m 70 (my birthday was in March but hey)! I’ll get rid of all the old clichés right now, didn’t expect that; wow 70 already; where does the time go, etc etc.

It’s all the more surprising to me because I didn’t think I’d get to this age, but I’m still quite fit and although I have a few issues with health, they’re not life-threatening and I’m in pretty good shape for a big lump like me. But enough of that, what is happening in the world today? Well, besides Harry and Meghan, Covid, Brexit, Europe and China, not a lot or so the MSM (main stream media) would have you believe. These main topics seem to occupy the whole of their time and effort. All very worthy of course and they are dominant in that one way or another they affect all our lives, but is that all there there is, really? Personally I can’t wait for the restrictions to lift so I can do normal things every day without having to think about them, lockdown has interrupted everyone’s lives I know.

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