A dad's journey into health

Not On My Watch Sonny Jim

So I am literally writing this sat on the landing having to police my three unruly children, that, despite the fact they are 7 and 3 (twins) are determined to stay up and play schools till the wee small hours.  Well ‘not on my watch sonny Jim’, I tells ya.

This is so hard as I try to be a kind and fair father, but when it gets to this time and they are being cheeky (nice way of saying little sh**s) all I want to do is scream at the top of my lungs and tear out my eyes. Is that normal?………………….  yea probs.

How does this work, I thought that when they got to this age I would be able to talk and negotiate with them,  little did I know that the little sods would have the audacity to say NO.

Well they won’t get the better of me, I’m a survivor and the king of my own Kingdom, I won’t be told what to do by the smaller people (although it does seem to have gone quiet so I am typing very slowly in case I wake said smaller folk).

I hope that this phase passes by soon, I really do.  All that keeps swimming round in my head is the U2 Mantra, “It’s just a moment , this time will pass”, wish it would get a bloody move on though.

Oh well, any other sympathetic dads out there that want to advise me or just fell my pain please do, love to hear from you.

Dads supporting dads.

Dad on Dad action……. wait err no, ignore that and please don’t google it (chuckling to myself like Daddy Pig)

See you soon folk and don’t let the Bastards grind you down.


Getting lost & finding something new

So I am well down the ‘mews of change’, embarking on a new career.
Although I didn’t want to leave my last career, it was definitely the right
thing to do.  Change is a strange path to walk but, refreshing and
exhilarating in equal measure.

I loved being a youth worker, it gave me a sense of belonging and (I felt)
kudos amongst other professionals as I was the person that could talk to
and advocate for young people.  I was defending the future.  Yep that’s how
I saw it I was the Don Quixote of the youth work world and I was on my

The truth however is much different.  After I was made redundant I was very
angry for it happening and worried for the young people I had supported.
After being out of the profession for a week or so a huge amount of
pressure was lifted from my shoulders and I felt great, light as a feather.
Looking back now I know that was because the job I once loved, wasn’t there anymore.  It had been kicked and beaten into a shape that I didn’t
recognise, just covered over with a youth work shaped plaster.  I hadn’t
realised, being in the midst of it, what was going on.  I hadn’t been a
real youth worker for years,  as I just accepted little change after little
change.  I know right – two legs good, four legs bad n’all that.

There is still a little guilt there, like I have abandoned the career I
loved, like I’m selling out.  But I had five months with no work and to be
honest there were no jobs there, I was unwanted just like the profession.
It’s being systematically destroyed around the country and my family and I
didn’t have time to wait for it to come back into fashion.

I guess this post is my youth work swan song.  Me, finally accepting I’m no
longer officially a youth worker (despite being about to qualify at uni).
I will always hold the principles with me and apply them wherever I go.
This blog didn’t turn out the way I thought it would but it has been
cathartic, and I think it has given me closure.


So I carry on with my journey.  Proud of what I’ve achieved and excited
about I could in the future.

No matter how hard change may seem, you owe it to yourself and your loved
ones to be happy and have self worth.

Love you……….. Bye

The New Guy at a New Job

We’ve all been there, the new guy (or gal) in the office, being introduced to the team with absolutely no hope of remembering  any of their names, having to learn new, alien ways of working and trolling through reams and reams of policy, induction gubbins.

Well this week it was my turn, yea new-guy-me.  It has been so good to get back to the world of work after so long in the redundancy wilderness.  Not just get back to work, but a work that is very interesting and for a supportive organisation.  Things for me have definitely taken a turn for the better.

Unfortunately I started too late in the month to get paid at the end of March so we have a barren and fraught April to endure first.  But and end is in sight at least.

It was so easy to get out of work mode and truth be told I do miss a lot of aspects about being off, like having time to clean the house, spending more time with the kids and Xbox time (cheeky wink).  I will not miss, however, the stress, the rows and the lack of being able to afford anything.  I would like to take this time to say thanks to the government (I know, right……Whaaaaaat).  Honestly, the amount of money you get for being a job seeker is low but it also allows you to work 16hrs without impacting on that amount, so working a few days and getting the allowance really helped us to keep our heads above water, till more work came our way.

Hopefully those days are over for good but I guess you never know and I will never be so complacent about work again, look after number one.

But back to the positive.  I have a new challenge and feel like a new me, I feel good and have started working out again and it seems to have coincided with the sunny weather of spring, so positive vibes all around.  Now I can focus on fun with the family, completing Uni and for the first time in a very long while, booking a family holiday.

I have another week of new experiences and knowledge to gain and am looking forward to it.  We’ve had to make childcare changes to accommodate my new hours but we are getting there.

I really struggled through redundancy, listening to peoples wisdom.  They would say ‘something will turn up’ and ‘things will be okay’.   I felt it was bollocks and just people wanting to get out of an awkward conversation (and maybe sometimes it was) but this is just something every family goes through (or hardships in general), I guess, it’s all cyclical.  They knew, and now I do too, that things on the whole will be okay and if you have people around that give support and love, you find a way.

Stay lucky guys

Toodles muchly

Happiness in the moment

I have a niggle, something gnawing away at me.  It’s not that important, it won’t change the world.  But it is annoying me.  I have a lovely life on the whole, great family, good friends and what I hope will turn out to be a good job.  I’m a happy, positive person and am always being told how laid back I am.

All that being said I seem unable to ‘enjoy the moment’ to appreciate things as they are happening.  When I need to get something done I am pretty task focused and attack it till the job is finished,  some might say that this is a good quality to have and in some ways it is.  However I seem to miss out on opportunities to connect with people or just to enjoy the thing unfolding in front of me.  I’ll give you an example, many years ago I queued up for a long time to get an autograph (for someone else) from the group ‘James'(oh sit down, oh sit down etc) and when it came to meeting them I was so focused on them writing the message on the damn cd, that I totally missed having chat and banter with them that could have led somewhere, like a great story to tell people.  I came away having completed my task, yay.  But they must have thought, ‘what a dick’, boo.

That’s an extreme example but you get the drift.  I notice it more when in stressful situations like having to ring the bank or  making sure my child doesn’t get left out when meeting Santa.  Get the job done, seems to be my subconscious mantra (Damn’it subconscious, don’t make me come in there).

Am I alone in this???????   I don’t want my kids to grow up adopting this silliness.  I want to be able to embrace things and seize the day, or just being relaxed enough to take part and enjoy.  I know that I’m not worried or scared of these social transactions, could it be a kind of stress or a need to get things done? (don’t want to go to deep here I may open a gate).

This is just the nonsense that niggles me in my more idle moments.

Hope you are all carving out some happiness for yourselves

Love ya

Losing my boy

So this week, we lost one of our family, Gus.  He was amazing in ways I can’t describe here and he has left a huge hole in the family.

It all started just over a month ago, he was a happy and (seemingly) healthy dog.  All of a sudden he developed a cough, we went to the vet and they said that he had a respiratory infection and started him on a course of antibiotics.  16-10-06_1611 This did help at first and he perked up again, soon though it came back and we went back to the vet.  A stronger dose of antibiotics was prescribed and he perked up again but by the end of the week he had slumped.

Walking him was fine for about ten minutes and then he became exhausted, something wasn’t right anymore, I could feel his spine, something I had never been able to do in the past due to his impressively strong and muscular back.  His fur had also lost it’s shine.  He was struggling to take a full breath now.   We went back and asked for an x-ray and the vet agreed.

The day came and we took the big fella in, hoping for the best but fearing the worst.  We were told to ring back at 3pm to see how he was.   No more than an hour later, we got a phone call from the vet.  We had gone out to the supermarket to keep ourselves distracted. The vet sounded very sad and told us at there were multiple tumours  in his lungs and there was only about 21% of tissue left.  By the time he started with a cough (the first sign anything was wrong) it was already too late.

They said that he had only days left and that we had to decide to put him to sleep now (when he is groggy and free of pain) or take him home for one last night.  Gus, doesn’t like the vet and we felt bringing him round and then taking him back again just wouldn’t be fair on him.  We would have loved more time with him but we had to think about what was best for him.

Needless to say we ditched our shopping and headed for home.  We had the conversation through tears and heartache and decided Gus’ fate.   So we called the vet back and said that it would be best to put him to sleep now whilst he was comfortable and we would be there in five minutes.

We headed in and he was there on the table with a big blanket keeping him warm.  He was awake and saw that we were with him, he then closed his eyes (for the last time) and went back to sleep (he was still quite sedated).  We held him and loved him whilst the vet did what was needed.  We had been told previously that the hearing was the last thing to go, so we stayed with him for a while longer.  Leaving him there was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATelling the children that night was tough, and I’m still not sure they have come to terms with whats happened.

I have come to terms with it but it’s the little things that affect you the most. No-one greeting you at the door, no more Labrador shadow following me round where-ever I go, no more barking at the busses and no more cuddles.

That’s the story of the end of Gus’ life, but he was so much more than his final month.  He gave us over ten years of faithful unconditional love.  He made us laugh, ate our food (and furniture), made us cry and he always knew when you were upset – saddling up next to you and dumping his head on your lap to comfort you.

We’ve had so many adventures together and I was lucky enough to walk with him twice a day over the last ten years.  Walking by his side literally thousands of times.  He has brightened our lives and we were lucky to have such a happy, loud, affectionate and sometimes grumpy brute in our lives.

Gus was my dog, and my friend and I miss him every day.

Good night…………………my boy 

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.  (Dr. Seuss)

Reluctantly Redundant No More

Okay, so my last post was about how hard it was being in this spiralling mess of redundancy and the  massive emotional impact it has on you.  My heart really does go out to everyone going through it .

Then, just like that, the very day after my last post up pops a job offer.  I couldn’t believe it, I honestly couldn’t.  Life is so peculiar that way.  I have been waiting till now to find out where I’ll be based and yesterday  I got the news I was waiting for.  Fortunately I will be based near home, things are turning out well.

So with an end in sight, what have I learnt.  I think it’s a bit early to tell (sure it will be a valuable life lesson though) but for now the overriding feeling is relief, relief an exhaustion.  I feel like I can breath and relax again in the knowledge that thinks will be okay.  At least that’s the plan, and thing always go to plan.  Right?

The job itself was the most difficult recruitment process I’ve been involved in.  Firstly there was a large application form, then an online test, lots of vetting documents and then an assessment centre  for the final crescendo.  This was a round robin of interviews, written activities and case-studies.   It was a hell of ride.  But in some ways (no many ways) I prefer this, it gives employers an idea of what you would be like at the job as opposed to what you are like at answering ten questions under pressure.

I can already feel myself becoming calmer and happier, I had no idea how much I needed the validation and social aspects of work.  But from here on in I know that I can get through things, I have great people around me and I value them more than ever as a result of this time.


I truly hope that you are riding atop a peak of life, and if you find that you are in one of life’s troughs know that you will soon be on the up again.

Love ya.

Reluctantly Redundant

I never asked or wanted to be made redundant, who does?  But when it comes, it’s a huge shock to the system, I never realised how much I took work for granted, it was always a constant in my life and I assumed it would stay that way.  That being said I always thought I would be fine, as I am quite emotionally strong and resilient.  I’ve been through tough times before, why would this be any different?

The fact of the matter is though, it is different.  It is rejection on a massive scale.  It has the ability to make you feel worthless and unwanted.  It’s been an up and down journey so far since my last day in October (hence the lack of bloggage).


And I’m not out of the woods yet, it’s still difficult and there are good days and bad, although most of the bad days are now money related.   Iv’e mentioned it before but the biggest impact on me has been the loss of the social element of work.  Having nice people around you that know you, your history and things that are going on in your life.  That’s been really tough to come to terms with.  There have been days where I have dropped the wife off at the train station, got the kids to nursery and school all before 9am and the next time I speak to another person is 3.30pm when I pick the kids up.  It can be really lonely and isolating.

Iv’e heard all the advice about exercise, keeping busy , getting involved, putting yourself out there etc.  But the reality is there aren’t that many opportunities to do them (i could just be looking in totally the wrong place though).  It’s probably the old fashioned geezer in me but I also feel a terrible pressure to provide for the family, I guess this is part and parcel of being a parent though.

One of the most bizarre things is that you lose motivation.  I assumed I would be constantly looking for work, cleaning the house, doing DIY and washing clothes to keep busy, instead I get up do a quick job search watch tv or play games.  Sometimes I can’t even be bothered making lunch, what’s the point.

But there is a point and it’s hard to find.  Luckily I managed to get a bit of work helping out a local community interest organisation doing some youth work.  It’s okay money and I would love to work there full time, but with all these things that would rely on funding, and as local authorities are still cutting services there are a lot more smaller companies being set up and competing for that money (sad face).    I digress though.    The point is this,  doing something, even a little bit lifts your spirit and gives you hope.  This is now where I am living, in hope.   Still plucking away, still applying, still getting rejected ha ha but never giving up.

Hope you guys are okay out there and if you are going through something similar please comment below.  It’s good to talk about it.

Tough times don’t last, tough people do.

See you next time.


What to do? Where to go?

I am finding that being redundant is actually quite difficult.  First of all having your first week off in the middle of half-term is not conducive to job searches, secondly there is the fine line between needing a certain level of income versus the type of work you want to do. Which one do I choose?  I think that the money is a short term fix but may lead to long term job satisfaction issues, whereas getting a job in the field I want may mean working further away (childcare headache) or a lesser income.  It’s a real puzzler.

There is also the very real worry that I actually like being at home through the week.  I can get loads done, home improvements, finally getting on top of the mountains of washing and playing the Xbox (a real job search killer).  But no, I must be strong and remain professional.  I can catch up on all this when I retire ha ha.  But seriously, I think the biggest problem with being at home all day is the lack of social interaction, it’s bloody lonely.  I never realised how important routine and people were to my sanity.

It’s not all doom and gloom.  If I flip these problems on their heads they develop a positive sheen.  It is quite liberating knowing that you can do anything and take any opportunities as they are no longer such risks as I’ve already lost my job.

This week coming up is decision time though I feel.  Kids back at school I need to knuckle down and make some choices about WHAT I ACTUALLY WANT.  It’s a harder decision than you might think.  I still need to do Youth Work in order to complete my degree and I feel it would be a waste of my skills if I didn’t, whether that’s part time or voluntary remains to be seen, but there just aren’t the full time positions out there.

Wish me luck and I will keep you posted.  SI still feel this is a blessing in disguise, only time will tell I guess.

Embrace change and enjoy the journey folks.  Kisses

Biggest Fear Realised

Wow it’s been a long time since my last blog.  A LOT has happened.  My worst fear came to pass this week and I have been made redundant, gone, binned, hung out to dry and so forth.  It was a hugely difficult time for me on the run up to doomsday.  Three of us were going for two jobs and whad’ya know I was the one that missed out.

After that I still had to turn up for two weeks and show my face. all the while cringing inside, desperately worried for what was to come (where the money was coming from and how the hell can I support my family).  On my last day, I turned up went through the motions, handed all my stuff back in and then just slunk off.  I was too miserable to say goodbye to most people and to be honest to ashamed and embarrassed to be the only one without a job.  I did get a leaving gift which I was surprised about, a voucher, that will go nicely towards an Xbox game to cheer myself up.

The rest of the day was weird and a bit miserable too.  But I was shocked to wake up this morning (2 days later), to feel like a huge weight has been lifted off me, and I have lots of new opportunities to pursue.  I hadn’t realised just how much the job had changed over the years, and how far away from youth work people had let the service drift.  So I am updating my CV, looking around for new opportunities and feeling quite positive about the whole experience.  Like I have been set free.


Okay, so there is still an element of worry there, as we only have enough money to last about three months, so I need to find work quick but that’s okay, everything will be okay. I know I have people around me that care (and at the moment constantly send me job advertisements).

Truth-be-told, I think that I had fallen out of love with the job, it was never clearly defined what it should be.  It started off perfect but after a few years and a few changes of management it was battered into a shape it should never had been, and squeezed into space that it didn’t really fit into.

I still love youth work and feel I need to get back to the traditional universal club atmosphere.  To keep my skills up and to complete my degree.  But other than that I have an opportunity to explore what I want, maybe even diversify into a totally different field.  Who knows?

All I know is that the future is looking okay for now and I hope to keep you all up to date with my different goings on over this strange time.


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