A dad's journey into health


June 2017

The Lonely Swings

At the park yesterday with my brood, a feeling of melancholy came over me…………When do we grow out of playing?

They looked so happy and carefree, challenging themselves to climb higher, run faster and jump further.  When did it all end with me?  Did it end or is it just not acceptable to be seen playing now?

The closest I get now (approaching 40) is riding my road bike, I still get to exercise not only my body, but also my childish sense of adventure.  I love seeing a road that I have never noticed before and just shooting down it to see where it goes.  I use things to fill the loss of play in my life, like:  Xbox, drones and, I guess my phone.  These take up my time, but none of them come close to that carefree abandon I had as a child.

Is that where it all ends?  With cares and responsibilities, do we see play as a luxury that we no longer need to prioritise when other things come along.   It’s so sad to think that people get older without fun, adventure and play.  Or is it the desire to get older to grow up and be more mature.  We all crave and rush towards it when we are younger, but when we get there and are comfortable with ourselves, do we ever rush back.  I think I’m ready to (my inner cynic giggling behind it’s hand and coughing the words…Midlife crisis.  Cheeky bugger).  But I can’t help wanting back play.

I would totally love for someone to open up an adult play ground near me.  To climb and swing, without the need for alcohol to lower my inhibitions enough to let go and start having fun.

As it stands though I thank God for the kids, they keep me young and plugged into that world.  Seeing them play and have fun is how kids are supposed to be, and I think adults are too.  So I’m off to the park with the kids again and this time I’m going to play too.


See you next time folks and don’t grow up.   (Cheeky wink)


Anniversaries on a shoestring

So we have recently had our ten-year anniversary, yay us, unfortunately for a number of reasons we have yet to properly celebrate (child-care, work commitments and university all getting in the way).

But a recent conversation with a friend reminded me of some of our anniversaries gone by, when, as new parents money was almost none existent.  I though I would take this opportunity to share these nuggets of relationship gold with you lucky folk today.

It’s very unusual that my wife and I manage to have the day off together without the kids, let alone on our anniversary, but on rare occasions and when the planets aligned perfectly (and the good grace of our long suffering parents) it has happened.   When the kids where younger and money was tighter than my trousers at a buffet we did mange to spend some time celebrating our anniversary together.

A few years ago we got such an opportunity, but with nothing planned and little cash we were struggling.  We live near Lytham a lovely seaside town in Lancashire with views of Southport.  On the main road there are lots of quaint tea-rooms bars and the like, but there are also lots of good quality charity shops (thrift stores for our American brethren).  I planned the day, that we would get £15 each and have to buy something for each other.  We were only allowed to use charity shops.  Then after two hours we met up and presented each other with the gifts over tea and cake, it was lovely.  That’s the first, feel free to nick, pinch, take,steal, lift, swipe or half-inch it.


I think this could also be expanded on with a little more money.  Rather than buying each other something, instead shop together and put what you buy into an auction and try to make a little money whist having a great experience, the Dickinson Real Deal Anniversary Day Out ha ha.

The second is similar to the first but indulges both of our love for books.  Again on an anniversary we had nothing planned but a bit more money (not for the day but for a more swanky meal).  We drove to Southport for the day.  They have an amazing bookshop called Broadhursts Bookshop.  It is a four floor book shop combining new, second-hand and collectible books.  Heaven for book lovers, but also I think you could find something for everyone.  We were challenged to pick three books each for the other person.  We were up and down the stairs passing each other hiding what you have already decided on whilst trying to sneak a peak at what had been chosen for you.  This was lots of fun and took ages.  Then over dinner we presented each other with our pickings one book at a time and a reason for our choices.

The beauty of days like these, is that having little money takes out the materialism of the anniversary and you spend a large chunk of the day thinking about your partner and ways of making them happy.  They are much more memorable days, so much so in fact that I struggle to remember other anniversaries as they were probably just a meal out (please don’t kill me if I have forgotten something big).

So there you go a few little anniversary ideas, a gift from me to you.

Always remember that necessity is the mother of invention and you don’t have to spend a lot to get massive rewards.

Stay creative people

Crossing the Finish Line

“The line it is drawn the curse it is cast….” Bob Dylan.

That’s it, another ending.  Today was my last day at University, an end of year exam and a few celebratory drinks, then it was done.

It’s been a great four years and I have met some amazing people.  So much has changed in that time, we’ve had the twins I have been made redundant, found a new career path and we lost our little dog Gus (all well documented in other posts; my attempt at hooking you in, did it work?).

Who thought that at my ripe old age I would be finally getting a degree.  I missed out on it when all my friends went, I took a different route but there was always a yearning there to get one.  I always felt like I wasn’t as good as others, that I had something to prove, and I did.  However now I know that it was something I needed to prove to myself, without realising it I had set getting a degree as a personal goal and today, touch wood, I did it.

To be honest I also wanted to do it for my mum, as I will be the first one in our family to do it and I want her to see one of her sons in a cap and gown.

What better day to do it, than my ten year wedding anniversary to my lovely wife.  It was nice celebrating both occasions with all the family (well obviously going away together for a few nights without the kids, cheeky wink, but that will have to wait a few weeks for our diaries to align).

So guys if you have anything that you want to achieve in life, go for it, no matter how long it takes, you will feel a real sense of accomplishment when you do.

Now I can sit back and look forward to taking my wife, mum and eldest daughter to see me graduate. Good times.

I would like to take the opportunity to say thanks to my tutor Jeff and my degree companion Nathan who kept me going through the tough times.

Stay lucky people.

“because the times they are’a changing” Bob Dylan

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