Saturday, 30 July 2011

Day 581 - 582 (30 - 31/07/2011)

Enjoyed Dave Gorman last night at the Brewhouse. It was a preview of the Edinburgh show was only an hour long, but very funny.

Mr Pix has gone to Newquay with his mates for a few days.

Having to catch up with the paper work in my office. It seems that the last time I was working properly was at the end of June. Strange month.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Day 573 - 580 (22 - 29/07/2011)

This has been a devastating week and a bit. We are all still in shock by the loss of Kim, our very close friend.

Leah first met Kim when they both joined the Local Vehicle Registration Office at Colston Street in Bristol in around May 1984. They quickly became friends, spending many a happy lunch time in the pub and then not doing too much work in the afternoon.

I then met Leah in the June and would have first met Kim in the August, when meeting Leah for lunch, which was inevitable spent in the pub. Since those early days we have all remained the closest of friends.

I always ribbed Kim when introducing her to new friends or members of my family by referring to her as Leah’s friend, which usually earned me a slapped arm. It made me laugh every time, as did the times I called her Kimberley. She always got her own back by calling me Welsh, she knew how to be cruel.

Over the last 27years Kim has been a constant in our lives and in the lives of our children, Kelly & Thomas. She was one of the first people to see them on the days they were born. She referred to them as her Niece & Nephew but also called them “Our Children”, meaning the three of us not just Leah and me. She would often take the credit for all their good points while blaming Leah & Me for any of their faults. To them she was always Aunty Kim.

Kim often babysat for us in the early days but it must be said she was not a good babysitter. We would ensure the children were always quiet and in bed before she arrived; However when we came home they were usually running up stairs to get back to bed after, according Kim, they had convinced her that they should come downstairs so she could read stories to them or so they could watch the telly with her. The kids often said that it was Aunty Kim who encouraged them to come downstairs first but which ever it was they have always loved spending time together and things have never changed.

Kim would arrange Easter egg hunts in her garden for the kids, which as they grew older included her legendary quizzes, which we still do but we no longer have to hunt around the garden for the eggs.

When we went out on trips to National Trust properties, or “an old house with a big garden” as Thomas would refer to them, we often went with Kim. We enjoyed looking at the lovely gardens and usually finished the day off with a picnic or cream tea.

When we booked a family meal, we rarely booked a table for four, it was usually for five, as she was part of the family. Indeed the week before she was taken ill we had all gone out on the Friday for a curry for Thomas’s birthday. As always when having a curry Kim always started the evening off by saying “what did I have last time, I liked that” we never could remember what she had but we were slowly working our way through the menu.

On this occasion we had Thomas’s girlfriend Cacey with us and she was sat next to Kim. Every so often someone would say something and Kim would slap Cacey’s arm say “pass it on”. As Cacey was finding out, Kim and us were just a close family, where you could do things like that without taking offence but by laughing and joining in.

We also went out for lunch on that Saturday with my parents and when Kim got to the pub she asked them to do some balloons for Thomas as it was his birthday. Never mind he was 17, taller than us and sat with his girlfriend. That was Aunty Kim and she never did anything wrong. We all had a lovely lunch and then back to ours for a cup of tea. As always, Kim never wanted to overstay her welcome but we refused to take her home until after 10pm. We sat drinking tea, playing on the iPad and chatting. This was our usual evening with Kim.

When we were together I often told her there was to be no talk about politics but within 10 or 15 minutes we would both be arguing about politics. I would slag off all politicians and whilst she was obviously neutral in these matters she would only slag off the Tories and would always praise “Her Ministers” from the previous regime, whom she thought were good people but that was probably only because they did what she told them.

We were all proud of what she achieved in work, both in her previous role in the Government Property Lawyers and in her current role within DEFRA. She had achieved a lot for a girl from Bridgwater, as we reminded her. For her part she reminded us that she lived in the nice part of Taunton whilst we lived on an estate a mile away with Chav’s.

At Christmas she was always invited to Christmas dinner at my Mum & Dads with us but she always refused; However she always spent Boxing Day with us, getting to our house before everyone else, so we could swap presents without her being embarrassed by other people being there.

During the year Kim & Leah would have a few shopping trips and visit the Bath & West, where they would buy gifts for each other. Come Christmas it would not be unusual for them to forget which things they had bought as a gift and which they had already received. They were girls with very similar tastes.

Kelly and me often went with Kim to see comedy shows at the local theatre where Kelly works. If we heard of a comedian appearing at the theatre I would just text Kim the date and ask her if she was free for a show as I was getting tickets. After checking her diary she would say yes and only later ask who we were seeing. She always enjoyed herself. Occasionally with a few of the less obscure comedians my wife would join us, which probably confused the staff at the theatre, trying to work out the relationship between these three strange people and Kelly.

I could carry on & on with stories about us & Kim, there have been many happy memories over the last 27yrs.

We had been texting Kim on Tuesday as she had taken the day off to see the Murdoch’s at the select committee. She was loving the political infighting and fact that senior people were being shown to be so corrupt. I was in Edinburgh and we were texting each other guessing at the next person who would resign whilst having done nothing wrong.

The next day Leah & Me were just making breakfast, it was a bit late as we were on holiday and were going to book a hotel in Brighton for a few days away, with instructions from Kim to visit Chocywokydoda her favourite cake shop. My wife then took a call that turned things upside down for us. Kim had collapsed and it was not good. We all thought it would be her Asthma and rushed to the BRI to be with her.

To be told it was her heart and that it was so very serious was a big shock for us all. It was clear that had it not been for the outstanding work of the first aiders at her work and then the paramedics, she would not have even got to hospital.

The following week was spent at her bed side, meeting family and friends from work who visited her. It was nice to meet her friends to put faces to the stories we had heard over the years and to hear how respected Kim was.

Kim would have been very proud but dismayed as she was a very private person who kept family, friend's and work in separate boxes.

We talked to her continually & played her favourite music to her (Madness, The Specials and Andrea Bocelli).

But in the earlier hours of Wednesday the 27th she passed away peacefully with us four & her brother Michael sat with her, talking to her and holding on to her. She had never regained consciousness, had never felt anything or been aware of anything, since first collapsing at work.

She would have been proud of Kelly & Thomas for their strength and love.

Kim died on my 44th birthday, on a day she was due to take us out to China China, our favourite Chinese restaurant in Taunton. It seems wrong to celebrate my birthday at the moment, that can wait. But every year it will be a joint day, my birthday and a celebration of her life.

We are going to see Dave Gorman tonight but it seems wrong for anyone to sit in Kim’s seat, she will be with us in spirit.

It has been devastating for us all.

It will seem wrong going out for a meal without Kim. It will seem wrong going to a comedy event without Kim. It will seem wrong having Christmas without Kim. It will seem wrong not being able to text Kim about dodgy politicians.

Life goes on but a part of our family will always be missing.

Much love, Leah, Neil, Kelly & Thomas

Friday, 22 July 2011

Day 572 (21/07/2011)

Same as yesterday. Sometimes its hard to be an adult, you appear harsh when really you are in pieces.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Day 571 (21/07/2011)

Same as yesterday, sometimes life is shit & complicated.

Day 570 (20/07/2011)

Belated entry for yesterday, shit day, thoughts with Kim for a good recovery.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Day 569 (19/07/2011)

Update - 12:45 - Well that was a nightmare getting up at 3:30 and then driving in the rain to the Bristol Airport.

Edinburgh is nice & the sun is out.

The offiocers are massive & really posh, so I was I had added a zero onto my already outragous fee.

Day 568 (18/07/2011)

Today I have to prepare for a talk I am giving tomorrow, in Edinburgh.

To be there by 9.30am I have to be at Bristol Airport at 5am. Which idiot arranged this; Oh me. Yes I thought it was a good idea to travel up & back in the same day for a 6hr presentation. What a fool I am. At least its to an investment bank so I am charging them quite a few quid for the pleasure. today I am thinking I would rather have a lie-in tomorrow but it might actually be easier not to go to bed at all.

Update - 20:30 - Must finish soon and go to bed, will I be at 4am in time to get to the airport?I hope so, can't afford to loose any more money.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Day 566 & 567 (16 & 17/07/2011)

Well last night we went out for a curry, for an early celebration of Mr Pix 17th.

Today we are going out for lunch, the Mr Pix is out tonight with his mates.

Thinking of having a few days away next week. Well when my wife booked he holiday she thought we might go away for a week or two on holiday but unfortunately me and Kelly have commitments so we can only go away for 4 days.

Thinking we might go to Brighton, bit of shops, restaurants and sea air.

Update - Sun 10:00 - Eight of us had a nice Birthday lunch out yesterday at The Worlds End.

Blame Kim & Kelly for the balloons.

Once again my wife went made with the candles on the cake, I will try and load a video later.

I started my new tablets today as my leg has not fully recovered yet. The Doctor had said that rather than taking two 250mg tablets he would give me 500mg tablets so I would only have to take one at a time. You could choke a horse with these tablets, I wish I had the 250mg tablets.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Day 565 (15/07/2011)

Much the same as yesterday.

I remember when first going out with my wife, when she was just my girlfriend, of only a few weeks going into few months, the great difficulty in splitting your time between your family and your friends / girlfriend. Christmas was such a rushed time, travelling between families so know one felt left out.

In fact here is a picture taken on the day of my 17th Birthday.

I am wearing my new watch that my then girlfriend (now my wife) had bought me.

The day started at the training school, which we were all just leaving after a year. I got home about lunch time and then that night me & my family went out for dinner at The Wishbone restaurant in Saltford, where we had Hawaiian Sunrises for afters (yes they were that memorable).

I didn't see my girlfriend that day but saw her the next day, when we went out with some friends clubbing.

It seems like only yesterday but was actually 27yrs ago.

It is a sign of me getting older and my kids growing up that we have these issues, which I fully understand and am cool with (does saying cool make me sound like a hip dad).

I don't think we will be having anymore family holidays, which is actually a good thing as me & my wife can go during term time and get much cheaper flights.

Anyway we will all be going away for a few days next week but haven't decided where yet.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Day 564 (14/07/2011)

Much of the same as yesterday. Going to the Doctors today to get some more antibiotics as its not cleared up completely.

Very sunny out, wish my garden was done then I could relax outside but still waiting to get it done.

Update - 12:55 - The Doctors was OK and he has given me more antibiotics to help clear things up. Nice to know I'm just one of those people that has something that they will never be able to cure completely.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Day 563 (13/07/2011)

Things are continuing in much the same way, not doing as much work as before, sitting with my leg raised all day and taking the tablets.

It's not completely gone, so I might go and get some more tablets.

I can't believe Mr Pix is 17 at the weekend. It seems like only the other day he was a kid & we were having to do everything for him; Oh that's right it was only the other day. He is somewhat spoilt, I don't think he has ever made me a cup of tea (that's a hint Mr Pix make me a cup o f tea).

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Day 562 (12/07/2011)

Really enjoyed last night at The Louisiana last night, with a few new paintings from brother,

and listening to Gareth (of Gareth & Laura fame) playing in his reformed band These Things Take Time.

Mr Pix was taking lots of proper photos.

Still easing myself back into work.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Day 561 (11/07/2011)

Getting back to work, with my leg resting on my new black cube / poffee.

Looking forward to supporting my brother tonight at The Louisiana tonight for the start of his exhibition.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Day 559 & 560 (09 & 10/07/2011)

My leg is getting better albeit very slowly.

My appetite is starting to return, as I had a lovely bit of trifle last night and will have some more tonight. Only small portions though, not finishing it all in one go. My face is looking slimmer but if you hadn't seen me for a few years you would still think I had put on a lot of weight (I have). When I am better I will get on my bike. This is the new me (hopefully).

I have loads to catch up on but am taking it easy, I have decided that my life needed putting into a better work / life balance as I was definitely working too much, and whats the point.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Day 558 (08/07/2011)

Nice being back at home and in my own bed.

I may have over done it yesterday, clearing all the emails, as after having been sat at my desk for 4hrs my leg was not looking as good and was a bit swollen, so now spending long periods lying down with my leg raised.

Hopefully it will carry on getting better.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Day 547 to & 557 (27/06 - 07/07/2011)

Well an unexpected break from my blog, my apologies but I have a fairly reasonable excuse.

Monday I woke with the worlds worst flu, shivering & aching all day in bed. Tuesday was much the same but by Wednesday the flu had just about passed.

Unfortunately by this time the virus that I have in my leg was fully inflamed and the worst it had ever been.

Just to say about 6 yrs ago I was walking thru wet grass in Ilminster, when Kelly was playing football and I felt something bite my right ankle. Since then whenever I am unwell this virus flares up, so I have antibiotics at home to control it.

By Thursday my leg was so inflamed & painful we decided that the the hospital was probably worth a visit. Being unable to walk from the car park my wife had to get a wheelchair to help me get into casualty, where I nearly passed-out when being seen by the triage nurse, so got to lie down on a trolley for the next few hours until being admitted to hospital so that I could have intravenous antibiotics & other tests.

I haven't been to hospital for a few years now. It is fair to say as a family we have been really lucky with our healthy, especially given the state of the people I was sharing my ward with. I felt a bit of a fraud amongst some seriously ill people.

But why do hospitals wake you up at 6am. Fair enough in my case it was the time for my antibiotics but what a time to be woken up to have all your tests done, it seemed a bit cruel, why not start the day at 10am, much more civilised.

Anyway after over a week without my phone or the internet etc I needed to make a few calls for work. Most times it would have just been a slight inconvience to take a few weeks off but this has caused me to cancelled two courses which had been planned for a long time, so might have cost me a fair few quid.

So having my phone I thought I would take a few pictures for the blog. This is my bad leg, which by this stage had improved loads and was no longer painful unless touched (when it really hurt).

Obviously you can only guess how bad it was a few days earlier when it was really inflamed. It was so painful :-(

I had also had a few problems with the needle thing for my intravenous antibiotics, so had to have it changed from one arm to the other.

I also had so many blood tests that both of my arms are still like bruised pin cushions.

I appreciate I am quite lucky as at the end of the day I have a bad leg, so what. My thoughts are with others who actually have really problems.

If nothing else my new diet has started well, having hardly eaten over the last 10days I am a little bit lighter than I was last month. I have lost my appetite and will take this as an opportunity to start a fresh with food and eat less.

I have also decided to cut down on the amount of work that I am undertaking. Whats the point in working yourself into a grave, so time for days off & lunchtimes (when I will go cycling).

This could be a blessing in disguise, though a F**KING painful one.

Anyway time to catch up, 528 e-mails that need reading, well maybe just deleting and a few bemused clients to contact.