Friday, 30 July 2010
Wednesday, 28 July 2010
Just to let you know that we are going to be away for a while. We will be back on 6th August for a few nights but then away again until 17th August. We've decided to go and get married!!! See you when we are Mr and Mrs!!!"
So to, the soon to be, Mr & Mrs Lovely Neighbours congratulations. I hope that you have a long and happy marriage.
PS. And best of all when the lovely lady comes round to visit tomorrow night we don't have to worry about being quiet! (See, told you I was romantic!).
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
"It's the worst part that could have gone wrong. It's an expensive part and very difficult to get at."
If I'm honest I would have preferred the truth, something more along the lines of,
"Despite your best efforts, it was clear, to us all, that your knowledge of the inner workings of an engine were non-existant. When we explained the clutch had melted the blank expression on your face told a story. We could, just as easily, have informed you that the gazelle powering the engine had broken free from it's leash, made a break for freedom and we needed to import a new one from Africa. Thus, you have had to pay, what we in the trade call, the mugs premium."
At least that way I could have respected his honesty and perceptive nature. But, I never complained. I paid the money and walked off towards my car muttering expletives under my breath. However, when I turned the key in the ignition something magical happened. The CD, that I had put in the stereo, just before the car had died, started to play and my mood lifted instantly.
I love music it has been with through the rough and the smooth, it helps me when I'm low and makes me buzz when I'm high. Without music I wouldn't be the man I am today.
Oh, and the song that touched me today was this:
The Divine Comedy - Woman of the World
Monday, 26 July 2010
I've shared an office with a colleague for the past 12 months and during that period our relationship has moved from one of work colleagues to friends. We have similar interests and share the same dry sense of humour. Our office has been a fun place to be and I have looked forward to going into work in the morning. However, for the past week or so I have seen a change in the character of my friend. The sarcastic comments have gone and the conversation has dried up. I understood that he was busy, and took some of his workload away, but I didn't realise that he was becoming overwhelmed and just how much it was affecting him. It is clear that he is now at a point where he cannot see the wood for the trees and, I believe, that he has slipped into depression.
Today he looked despondent and had a grey tone to his skin which reminded me of the colour my grandad had during the final hours of his battle against cancer. He told me that he felt 6" tall, that even the simplest of tasks seemed unachievable and that he was sinking fast. I tried to help. I suggested that, rather then focus on the tasks he hadn't finished, he give himself some perspective and look at the multitude of tasks he had completed. I also suggested that he look at the positives of the situation. Whilst he might be slipping everyone was in his corner willing him on to fight this episode and that showed the high esteem with which he was held. But it was apparent that his mind was so pre-occupied that he wasn't listening and anything I said was, at best, background noise and at worst adding to the muddle in his mind. I took him to the pub at lunchtime but even there he wasn't able to focus. I suggested that, "we get pissed" but that was also of no interest.
Not knowing what else to do I begged him to take control of this situation, as he would any other illness, and book an appointment with his doctor as he needed expert help to get through this period. It being my hope that in doing so he would be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and lift himself from this low. He nodded, but replied, "I'm scared what they'll tell me." I didn't know the right answer to this comment, but I replied with, "You have hit a low, a depression, you're not schizophrenic. Your illness is like the flu, it is treatable. They won't tell you anything. People hit lows all the time." He said that he would think about it and maybe go and make an appointment tomorrow but I doubt that he will.
I'm so worried about my mate and I'm not quite sure what to do.
Sunday, 25 July 2010
Thursday, 22 July 2010
There was a time when I used to do a lot of cooking. In fact I did contemplate becoming a chef when I was at school but my careers officer advised me that there was no money in it. (Yes, thanks for that Ms. Perkins! Jamie Oliver now has a double hernia from the weight of his wallet, whereas mine is so light it gentle drifts alongside me like a helium filled balloon!!).
Wednesday, 21 July 2010
I wrote this post a week or so ago but, for one reason or another, never published it. It now seems like an appropriate time to share, so here it is:
I’ve lived all my life in Middle England. For the first 29 years I lived in the West Midlands and 8 years ago I moved across the border to the
You wouldn’t think that 60 mile distance would make much difference. The culture is the same and I can understand the language spoken. However, I have noticed that there are subtle differences in the use of that language and this has brought with it some difficulties. I’m not talking about the obvious differences such as up here they call a bacon sandwich a cob and back home it’s a batch. No, I’m talking about very subtle differences that can cause me a great deal of confusion.
In the West Midlands you would greet someone with a
In the West Midlands you would greet someone with a,
“Yes, not bad. You?”
I thought that I was over these language barriers until I started to date the lovely lady and those little differences are beginning to creep back in again. For most people these slight differences would not be a big deal, but I’m a worrier (or, as they would call it up here, a whittler) and it can feed some of my natural insecurities.
For example, I asked the lovely lady how she thought we were getting along. I know I shouldn’t ask such questions but I did. If I’d been asked that question I would have answered,
But having taken some time to think about it, and having been reassured by the lovely lady, I know my initial interpretation was incorrect. But I don't use okay in the same context and thus it threw me. However, rather then explain this to the lovely lady I withdrew and threw stones from a distance. This behaviour kind of shocked me, but I do know that, despite my age, I am still growing and I will change to become a better man.
Monday, 19 July 2010
Friday, 16 July 2010
Wednesday, 14 July 2010
I went to the supermarket today to purchase some floor cleaning products. I have a dog and he has started to whiff a little and, therefore, so have the carpets.
Off I went and 30 minutes later I'm back and the photograph shows what I've purchased:
b) A punnet of nectarines,
c) A bag of apples,
d) Vanilla ice-cream.
And there was also a chocolate bar but that disappeared somewhere between the supermarket and home!
Now, I don't mind what I brought. After all, I like fruit and ice-cream is always nice. As for the red wine I brought that with Thursday in mind. On Thursday the lovely lady is coming to visit, I haven't seen her for a while and a glass of fruity red wine helps to, well you know, make things a little fruity!
But where was the carpet cleaner???
I wouldn't mind, but I never learn and I should, I've had reason to.
Item 6 of the ex-wife's divorce petition read:
"Spencer is incapable of shopping on his own. The kids love him for it and it always means that I'm left being the bad mummy. He will go to the shops for washing up liquid and come back with kinder eggs." (That was a lie I detest kinder eggs!).
I just get over awed at the size of these supermarkets. I don't know where anything is and I just wonder around aimlessly picking things up until my mind turns blank and I leave.
As I stand here now, looking at this motley collection of goods, I can remember my thought process from the moment I walked through the door right up until the point left. It went something like this:
"Right, operation floor cleaner. All I want is floor cleaner so let's get in and get out!"
"He he, the ASDA restaurant. No thanks, been there, done that, had the trots to show for it!"
"Now, floor cleaner that must be over here?"
"Wow, nectarines a £1 a punnet. Well, at that price it'd be rude not too!"
"And, apples, well you know what they say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Where are these ones grown? FRANCE! No, you can stick your French apples, I still remember Eurodisney 2008! Ahh, South Africa, that's better"
"Right, floor cleaner. Hmmm, that has got to be over here?"
"Oh, floor cleaner, where are you? Come out, come out, where ever you are!"
"I could ask her? She'd know, she works here!"
"No, don't be silly man, she'll look at you like you're a rapist!"
"No, It must be around here somewhere?"
"Blimey, wine. £5.49 a bottle or 3 for £10. You're coming with me my beauties!! No, Wait! That offers too good to last, I'd best get 6. Why not 12? No, I've only brought a hand basket. Now move on man!"
"Hmm, floor cleaner yes it must be around here somewhere?"
"Ahh, Ben & Jerry's ice-cream. How much? £4.79 for a tiny tub! No wonder those hippies are smiling on the tub, not so much of the free love now is it? You robbing bastards! Carte Dor it is."
"Hmm, yes that seems to be about all I require?"
"No wait, there was something else?"
"Ahh, chocolate. That was it!"
"Right, let's go!!"
Is it just me that has this problem?
Tuesday, 13 July 2010
For the past 13 months I have lived in a house that is, virtually, on the banks of the Grantham Canal. This means that I am privileged to witness many great acts of mother nature. Most mornings, as I take the dog for a walk, I wake the family of swans that sleep just outside my front door. Just a little way further down the path I stand and watch as a heron selects his, or her, breakfast from the banquet on offer.
But possibly, and certainly my children would agree, the greatest event of all is the annual scramble of newly formed frogs and toads, out of the canal and, into the big wide world. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of these little infant amphibians making their way to their new lives.
This moment fills me full of joy and optimism. I love my little house by the canal!
(To give you an idea of scale, the hand you can see is that of my 7 year old daughter).
Monday, 12 July 2010
It appears that the lovely lady I spoke off has competition for my affection. Only today I received the following email:
"Hello my sweet! I am very glad that you to leave to me yours email.
I hope you to remember me) How are you??
I would like find really serious relationship and honest love.
I hope to find man with who i will be able to find sincerity
and real love, happyness. I think that man and woman should
tell to each other all about each other
and to have thoughts together, feelings,
dreams, together. Where is such relationship?
Now I could not find it here in Poland and therefore i desided to use internet.
I will wait your answer! I kiss you! Swetlana"
I had just finished the second paragraph of my response to Swetlana, the one in which I suggested that she catch the first love boat over here and I would meet her at the docks, when a little voice in my head spoke to me,
"Spencer, there is something wrong here!"
I took a moment to ponder and then it struck me. I had to ask Swetlana the following questions:
1) Unless you are the Swetlana from my bank I never gave you my email address?
2) If you are the Swetlana from my bank, I'm very sorry if I led you on in any way. But, when I handed you the application for an overdraft I was looking to make a withdrawal, not a deposit.
3) If you are the Swetlana from my bank, what are you doing in Poland?
4) If you are the Swetlana from my bank why, other then the fact I had no chance of paying it back, did you decline my application for an overdraft?
I'm still awaiting a response from Swetlana but here is my question for you lovely readers:
"Do I stick with the lovely lady currently in my life or do I twist and try and make a go of it with Swetlana?"
I know it might seem crazy talk to throw away a perfectly good relationship, when I hardly know Swetlana, but it's not very often I get offers like this. Plus, I've always been a believer that you need to be in it to win it (possibly quite literally in this case!).
I am all at sea and I need your help. Please respond to my plea for assistance.
Sunday, 11 July 2010
Instead, I have decided to relay my current situation on the dating scene.
I decided to re-enter the dating game about 12 months after my marriage broke down. This was a hard 12 months for me. I'd gone from thinking I was living in a trusting, happy relationship to finding out, in the space of a few days, that not only was my marriage over, but that my ex had introduced her new partner to the kids. My ex, who was obviously in a different place to me, had no hesitation in kicking me when I was down. However, life goes on and I'd managed to pick myself up, dust myself down and it was time to move on.
I was never very experienced at dating the first time around. I'd met my ex at age 19 and my exploits prior to that would not have given me any bragging rights with my friends. However, in the time since my teenage romances on-line dating had been invented. This was a revelation to a man like me who needed to be so fueled by alcohol to ask someone out that, on the off chance they would say yes, I'd forget to ask for their telephone number.
There quickly followed a number of dates. Dates 1 & 2 were not good. Other then the physical attraction that comes from not having slept with someone for 12 months there was no attraction at all. I know that this might seem shallow but it wasn't meant to be and attraction wasn't the only issue. When I'd been communicating with Date 1 she had been funny, articulate and witty but when I met her she wasn't, she was boring (I still wonder if I'd actually been on a date with the person who sent me the messages). Date 2 was, like me, a single parent but, unlike me, she didn't seem to care about her kids. Half way through the date she received a call from her 11 year old daughter, who was struggling to look after her 7 year old son, and the poor kid was just bellowed at. I decided at that point that this was going no where (which was lucky as she also had awful teeth!).
Date 3 was better. In fact, I think Date 3 will make someone very happy one day. She was witty, intelligent and attractive. We had a number of dates but something wasn't quite right and we decided to call it a day.
I met date 4 in October last year. At this stage I was thinking about giving up on the internet dating scene and going back to a more traditional method. However, when I saw date 4's picture I felt a need to reply - in short she looked lovely. She replied back and we entered into some long correspondence and after a while had our first date.
I left the first of our dates happy. I had met a wonderful woman, I had laughed at her stories because I found them funny, not because it was the right thing to do, and I had found her attractive. When I found out later that she felt the same I was on cloud nine. We then had a number of further dates in which my feelings towards this lovely lady began to grow. I began to feel real emotions again. But, by feeling these emotions it was like I suddenly opened up Pandora's box and a whole host of other emotions came tumbling out. I didn't just feel happiness I also experienced grief, sorrow, anger and guilt.
It then struck me that, in the 12 months since the end of my marriage, I hadn't actually dealt with any of my feelings, I had merely suppressed them deep down. I'd taken up running to clear my head but this wasn't a method of dealing with my emotions it was a way of suppressing them. Since the break up I had often felt hollow and I thought this was because my ex had scooped my insides out. I was beginning to realise that I'd actually just pushed them that far down that they only really existed in my little toe.
But the lovely lady stuck by me and she even listened, and understood, when I explained the difficulties that I had been encountering. I'm now at a stage where my past has been pretty much exercised but I do still have the occasional wobble. The kick my self esteem endured still leaves a scar and I sometimes find myself scared and looking for somewhere to hide. I also find myself questioning the relationship in too much detail but this is partly because I'm scared, not only for me but also, for my kids. I find myself asking questions,
"Does she like me as much as I like her?"
"Does she see this heading in the same direction as me?"
"Is it the right time to introduce her to the kids?"
I have no answers to any of these questions but, it is perhaps, the last question that concerns me the most as the thought of hurting my children hurts me so much. However, I know there are no guarantees in life and I've just got to go with the flow and enjoy the ride.
Saturday, 10 July 2010
1) We are both 37. In fact just checking Google we share a birthday (give or take a month!).
2) We both have lovely hair (damn, I forgot I put a profile picture up!),
3) We both have perfectly toned bodies (can someone please tell me how to edit a profile picture!),
4) We both have two kids (I think? Well, I know I've got two but I'm not sure about him).
5) We both, obviously, adore our kids (hooray, that one I didn't have to fudge!),
6) We both would do anything for our kids (hooray, another one I didn't need to fudge!),
7) We are both loaded (ahem),
8) We both live in mansions (ahem),
9) We both met our ex-wife's in the jungle (okay, I met mine in The Pink Parrot nightclub, Coventry but it was like a jungle).
10) I'll let you decide (make up?) no.10 as I can't think of anymore!
Join me next week for "Becoming a bit like Harry Hill" in which the body and hair similarities will be slightly more realistic!
Friday, 9 July 2010
Years ago when was I was a child we used to make phones out of empty yogurt pots and pieces of string. You could look down any street in the country and you'd be able to see pieces of string being pulled taut, between differing houses, as young children excitedly planned the following days activities.
These days kids don't ask for the latest Muller Light for Christmas. No, they've got the latest mobile phones. In fact, just the other day, when I suggested making a yogurt pot phone with my daughter she called me a dinosaur.
Thankfully, and in an effort to save all these thousands of yogurt pot phones being sent to landfill, someone came up with an ingenious method of recycling them.
Ladies and gentlemen I give you,
"Yogurt pot phone racing - the new latest craze for kids!"
(the photo was supposed to be here, not up there, but my edit skills leave a lot to be desired!!)
Wednesday, 7 July 2010
It was my intention to show you a picture of my daughter at her sports day today but, as I can't work out how to upload more then one picture per post (can it even be done?) I have chosen to go with this one of my little boy winning his first race. Okay, it was a one horse race but, as football managers often say, you can only beat the opposition in front of you. Which in this case happened to be no-one, but us Park's will take all the wins we can get!
Just look at that smile and that enthusiasm - god I love that boy!
Instead I am going to make a post to the future me. I started this blog as a way of opening up my inner soul, but in such a short time it has turned into something else. Generally I'm quite cynical but this blogging lark has started to make me see things a little differently.
Thus far I've:
1) received lovely comments from writers with far greater talents than mine,
2) read, and thoroughly enjoyed, other peoples blogs,
3) made contact with people from near and far and, sorry if I'm being a little presumptuous here, hope that I have the basis of some future new friends (if someone had told me a month ago that I would even be in contact with a Nana from Canada I would have laughed at them. So, imagine how I feel today having not only corresponded with with such a person, but that I find myself admiring her!).
But, most of all this blog has become a place where I can record the life of my family, so that in the future I can look back and say, "that was me!"
I have decided, therefore, that if cynicism ever creeps back into my blog I will look upon this post as a reminder of what a great gift it can be.
Thus, to the person who first encouraged me to start a blog I say, "thank you" and I now understand why you love yours.
Well this week has been quite busy in the Spencer household.
Firstly, my little girl was in her first street carnival along with all her friends from the wonderful Razzamatazz Stage School. My daughter loves Razamatazz and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to any child that has an interest in dance, drama or singing. Whilst she has always loved dance she did have a tendency to be a little shy (a trait she gets from her father) and couldn't pluck up the courage to stand up in front of other people and perform. That was until she started at Razamatazz and in there own way, which seems to be a blend of wild excitement, encouragement and enthusiasm, they have managed to turn this around until she is now able to strike a pose with the best of them.(Don't ask me what or who she was meant to be - her mum was in charge of make up and I dare not ask!).
And then she had her first sports day in which she, and her brother, were stars (but more of that in another post).
Monday, 5 July 2010
"You certainly gave them something to think about" after seeing my team trudge deflated off the pitch following a 10-0 thrashing.
That is why I was so surprised when I was willing my boy on to win in a game of outside snakes and ladders yesterday. You see my boy was playing against another youngster who seemed to own the board. Every time he rolled a dice he seemed to find a ladder and every time my boy rolled a dice he seemed to find the same snake. Watching my boy lose, in any game, wouldn't normally worry me, after all I like to think that I teach my children to be magnanimous in defeat and humble in victory. I wasn't even worried that the other boy was gloating on every ladder he climbed and every snake my boy rode. But what did worry me was the way his mother was enjoying every moment of the impeding victory. You could almost sense that she didn't only want her son to win, but that she wanted him to crush my boy and grind his bones into the dirt.
So here we were poised with the other lad on 96 ready to take a turn. If he rolled a 4 he would win, but if he rolled a 3 he would go down a snake. So I said a little prayer,
Please let this boy roll a 3. If you do this one little thing for me I promise that I will attend church every Sunday, I will read the bible and I will do a good turn every day."
(Of course I said this to myself - to speak it out loud would have shown me up for the competitive dad I had turned into!!).
As it happens he did roll a 4 and my lad was magnanimous in defeat, which made me feel so proud - much prouder then if he had won I am sure. So I treated my boy to the biggest ice-cream I could find (and best of all I don't have to go to church every Sunday!!).
Finally, on this the 11th anniversary of my grandfathers death I would like to say,
"I still love you Grandad."
Friday, 2 July 2010
So my children have no idea that our house is also shared, on occasions, by someone else which is why my little boy enquired today,
"Daddy, whose hair is this?" as he fished a long hair out of the sink.
"Ermm....." I thought, "Mine?"
Chuckling to himself the little fellow stated, "But you haven't got any hair!" And, of course he's right,
"Yours?" I suggested,
"But, it's red."
Now, red is probably not how it's described on the bottle that it came out off, no I'm sure that it's described more as "autumnal hue" or such like, but he did have a point it was red and he and his sister are both blond.
"Hmmmm" I thought and then came the moment of dread,
"Have you got a girlfriend?" his sister asked. Now at this point I could have confessed all, and I probably would have felt better for it, but no rather then face the interrogation of a 7 year old I replied,
"No! You see this is what happened. I went to the zoo the other day and I, err, adopted an orangutan. Only, I didn't know, that having adopted an orangutan I would have to let it come for tea on Thursdays. Now, I didn't tell you because I didn't want you to be upset as I know you're at your mums on a Thursday."
Phew - I think I may have got away with that one!