My silence on Social Media about political issues is slowly coming to an end and I’m cranking up the volume. For some months now I’ve been getting tired of the barrage of topics that people are taking  issue with and then re-posting or adding their un educational response.

I say un educational as I mean a lot of people jump on the headline and don’t bother to read into the story. Take fox-hunting – the bill was to bring the English law in line with the Scottish while I’m not for fox-hunting the act that was to be discussed wasn’t not to start allowing dogs to tear foxes apart as many FB campaigners would have you believe with their cute fox picture. I have many foxes in my back garden and they are anything but cute looking.  Take the constant campaigns  with the NHS and education and other topics. Yes the NHS need saving but at what cost… Should it continue to pay for everything, it never use to and was never designed for that purpose (It was a right to free health care) hence why we now have different trusts offering different care and drugs. I personally see no harm in having GPs like Dentists where we contribute, our society is all about those who can afford should pay well why don’t we.

Anyway those are different debates for different days. The main topic is the BBC. There has been talk about the Government and the BBC. I’m not sure of the In’s and Outs and here I am jumping on the band wagon without all the facts, but if the BBC was to go or have to change to just educate then that would be wrong. What is even worse is the objection by people on the fact they have to pay the BBC £160 a year for services they claim they don’t use. Meanwhile they will pay Virgin or SKY £40 a month for half the content. I don’t mean  what is broadcast I mean the value of the quality.

People know I am a big Radio 4 fan and love the comedy, I also love BBC4 and its educational shows, BBC with the news, and BBC2 with it comedy and social look on life, Radio 2 for Music, Radio 3 for.. whatever Radio 3 does. Now all that for £160 a year, that’s a bargain but wait you can watch it again, listen to it again get a great News website which also acts as a good source to gather information and research and then their twitter pages that keeps you up to date well now this is getting even better value. But wait there is more… You mean they contribute to Chanel 4; but C4 is commercial it funds itself doesn’t it like ITV, but ITV receives money from the BBC and what is that for… Oh for regional news and so does region radio stations. So let’s get this correct. Apart from region BBC stations the BBC also contributes to the cost of commercial region radio station and news programs on TV.

Yes that £160 goes a long way, but in no way does it fund the entire BBC – in fact the BBC does have a commercial arm – So why don’t they use that to run it and not send people to court for failure to pay the licence fee.Well they use that £160 to make shows like Eastenders, Faulty Towers, Dr Who which they then sell and pump the money back in to make the News, Question Time. Lets not forget the BBC is our national Broadcaster. They have a responsibility to broadcast the subjects that the Nation should have a right to view. Like Politics, opening of Parliament, Horse Guard Parade. Which Commercial operation is going to show that – The BBC should own the rights to Nation interests like World Cup, Olympics, The Ashes, Queens Birthday, Remembrance Sunday – and with the many they do but thanks to the money stealing prick of an Australian who out bids the BBC the national Broadcaster looses the rights to broadcast events that as a nation we should have the right to watch.

I will admit. The BBC needs to tighten their belts, I wouldn’t say they need to stop with the glamour shows and leave those to Commercial Telly as after all the founding Father of the Beeb said it was to Educate, Inform and Entertain. Anyone who thinks the BBC is a rip off or should change then I challenge you to not watch it or use the website or Iplayer or not listen to the radio or watch Chanel 4 or even use super fast broadband as the BBC funds that as well, as well as Freeview.

Yes the BBC needs to change but let them decide how. For now the BBC is the best Broadcaster there is and I know when I went to New Zealand I missed it a lot. But thanks to the Internet I was able to catch up with the Radio and the news and most of NZ TV was basically the BBC. The BBC world wide over is known for it quality and the institution it is. How many other Broadcasters have that much weight behind them… Other famous networks are famous for other reason like Fox, CNN.  Yes there should be an argument that people don’t watch it Live so don’t pay but use the catch up services but again different argument. The point remains, the BBC is a national treasure and without it the UK media would be a very different kettle of fish and its a world I don’t want to live in or even contemplate. So next time you complain about the Beeb just take a look at the work it does and where the funding goes and you tell me you could live without or you’d be happy to say goodbye to much of its entertainment.


Get a job!

While no one has said that to me apart from a friend, I am still surprised that my parents are not chanting those very words outside my door at 8am. It has now been well over a six months and while I know I want out of the theatre industry and have almost completed that move by turning down work and people getting the hint not to phone any more the true fact remains that I do not have a career or a role to jump into.

I have a dream of working for Air Traffic Control. Almost succeeded apart from the final online test. The Rails, Airside, Teaching, The Outdoors.

Now I am trying, I’ve sent out my C.V and have applied for several positions but the way I see it is simple, why get a filler job. A job like bar work or supermarket work when it’s not what I want to do. I don’t after all want to be stuck there as that’s not my career and at the moment I am living on ‘Mum and Dad’. If I wanted to work as a check out person or store manager then sure that would be the answer. But the other fact is why start a job when I might have to write a letter to the manager to say I’m leaving as I need to start training for a new job.

I should also make clear that unlike my sister who is paying or contributing has not left home and is quite a bit older than I. Also my brother returned from Uni and lived in the house for a good number of months if not years. I went to uni and found my independence and only returned after the plane touched down back in Manchester, so as a spoilt younger child I am now using my unspent time at the nest up now.

Those jobs I speak off have a very long recruitment process. Some have been going on for four weeks now and I have completed the online tests and am waiting to hear if they want me to interview, all I can do is keep applying for other roles and other jobs in the area I want to work every one of them with this prolonged recruitment process. So while I sit at home, bored, being fed and watered I’m stuck in Limbo. Do I go out a get a part-time role only to give it up after a week, or maybe get promoted after a month to full-time hours and slowly stop applying for these other roles as I get stuck in a dead-end job (dead-end for me).

So as I write this I have just received two emails to say I am through to the next round and they’ll  be in touch shortly, Shortly was how long they would be in contact last time and that happened to be four weeks ago.

Oh well could be worse. I could be stuck in purgatory

To a promising 2015

The clock struck 12 and strangers embraced as the first dong echoed over the city and the sky was illuminated with colourful gunpowder. The New Year had begun no sooner had the last set of fireworks faded into the night sky along with the remaining  voices singing something resembling Auld Lang Syne, people turned to one another, complete strangers, friends and family and wished them a ‘Happy New Year’

Happy! Happy? how do they know, this is the start of yet another miserable life on earth , surly we should be saying Happy 2014 lets hope 2015 is just as good. Of course it could be and while I know some where in this complex organ we call ‘The Brain’ that wishing people ‘Happy New Year’ is in fact a way of saying hope it’s a good one, this after all is the first day so think of it has a new leaf or turning a page of a book. 2015 can be a new chapter and you’re the author so you can make sure it’s a good one.

That’s what it’s all about isn’t it, the idea that this year will be better than the last, and for me that could be possible. Come Monday I could have a visa for NZ again by the end of the month I might have a job, this could be the year that injury stays away so I reach my target of becoming slim Jim and with that echoes a new day. Whatever I decide to do today may shape the rest of the year, start as you mean to go on and all that. The fact is my leg is still feeling sorry for itself and I don’t want to risk agitating the injury even after 4 weeks of rest, but at the same time I want to get back to my running and cycling (Who wouldn’t?)

So will 2015 be a happy year, will it bring you all your dreams. Only you can write the chapter, sure other people will help. They will be your inspiration, but you’re the one with the pen, don’t let your friends or family become the ghost writers of your story. 1st January is the first page of 365 page book, so make it a good one.

So here’s to a promising  2015.

We’re getting reports… (A parody of rolling news)

Yes, For those who have just joined us we are getting some reports in that their may be some news. I’m joined by Michael Woods an expert in these matters who has kindly joined us in the studio from Glasgow.

Michael, Thank you for coming. Now what do you make of these reports about the fact that news maybe happening.

Well, first of all I would just like to say that these are unconfirmed reports.

Unconfirmed but still reports are coming in that there may be in deed some news.

Well we have known for some time that news could happen, and while we are getting separate stories we can’t pin down any one news item as you see…

Sorry Michael I’m going to have to interrupt, as we can now confirm that there is actually no news story happening, Lorna Kelly is on the scene now.

Yes, I’m here where there is no news happening, a couple of minutes ago, several cars had stopped for a red light but now that very traffic light which bought the morning rush hour to a stand still has since changed it mind and gone green allowing these commuters for now to go about their business. 

Well Mr Woods what do you think of that?

Well I think we can see that is a perfect example…

Sorry Mr Woods but we need to go back to Lorna. Lorna you seem to have some developments.

Yes, just as we thought it was fine the traffic once again was ordered to stop as the lights changed. Some people managed to scrape through on amber but only just. 

Well incredible scenes down there at the Flower Pot cross roads, we are hearing similar cases over the UK, but we need to add that they have as of yet not been confirmed. Andy Wilson is on the phone at one of these places somewhere outside Manchester. Andy what can you tell us.

Well as many people want to go about their daily business they… Hang on, its happening, yes I can clearly see that the crowds of people waiting on the pavement have now started to cross, causing the traffic to queue behind the red light… 

Andy how far does it go back?

At least 10 cars, its hard to say as the 142 is taking up at least two normal car spaces.

Andy, Thank you. stay on the line and keep us informed.

If you’re just joining us then you’re watching ‘Getting Reports’ where were getting reports of no news, while these reports are speculation we are seeing some hard evidence of no news in the studio. With me to talk discuss this is Michael Woods from Glasgow and we are now kindly joined by professor of media studies at Crewe college. First of all I would like to come to you David.

Well this is something we see again and again, the repeated camera angles and coverage from your reporters in the field is blocking any truth coming through. 

How can you say that David… The scenes in Manchester are terrible. Every couple of minutes it seems like the traffic is being forced to stop to allow pavement walkers to cross in front. 

These pavement walkers Andrew as you call them seem to be constantly portrayed as some kind of…

Sorry gentleman we need to break you off as the headlines this Monday Morning. Thousands of motorists are left stranded as traffic lights turn red, we’re getting some reports that in some cases, green men are being illuminated to allow ‘pavement walkers to cross’ Up and down the country people may be as up to 2 minutes late for work. I’m now joined in the studio by our economics and finance editor Martin Hulme. Martin, people being delayed as up to two minutes surly this is not something the British tax payer can afford.

Quite right Mary, we are barely out of recession and now this. Those two minutes could mean a net loss of four pounds to our economy and whats more many mean people loose their parking space. 

So what can be done?

One idea is to have a constant green light, or maybe not have any lights at all. It seems to work on country roads and motorways, this would enable people to turn up on time, and could in fact increase share prices and equal the exchange rate while having the interest rates stabilise. 

Martin surely this is something that the PM would like to see, so what is holding him back. To investigate this we have a report from our European political reporter Jane Brooks with the advent of the traffic lights and downfall of business.

Cut to Report

So its now 10:06 and you’re watching ‘Getting Reports’ The top story today. Millions are not moving as traffic lights turn to red, early reports suggest that £23,000,000,000 could be wiped of the UK economy causing a 4th recession. David Cameron as called M.Ps back to Parliament to discuss the escalating issue. In the studio I’m joined by Sally our traffic reporter but before that we have this report from Ben in Scotland.

Like a giant snake that is dead, the roads of Scotland are like frozen rivers, and then just as quick as spring the ice melts and the traffic moves, but like our wintery systems the rivers soon freeze as the lights once again change to red. This is Ben Harp in Scotland, Back to you Mary.

We are now joined by Ben on the phone. Ben their seem to be stories that the traffic is clearing up.

Yes Mary that does seem to be the case. The worse of this traffic did seem to be around 08:30 Glasgow Time, but by around 09:33 the line of cars were slightly smaller, but still enough of a number to see. 

Yes Ben, we are getting news that this seems to be the case all over the UK, were you able to count the traffic?

Mary all we could count was at least 10 maybe as low as 8, but as they stopped more joined. 

Ben in Scotland, Thank you. This is something we are seeing all over the country is it not Sally?

It is yes, I have been on this news story as it has unfolded and if you remember a similar thing happened on Friday and Thursday last week. Again around 08:20-08:45 Ramsbottom time seemed to be the worse, but by 09:23 to around 09:44 Barrow-in-furness local time the traffic was calming down. Now there is talk by some people that this is just a run of the mill traffic jam, the PM yet to make a statement of course until he knows all the facts, but the high periods could be linked to the school run with the calming being the effect of people starting work. Mary. 

Well as you say that our cameras are outside number 10 as we have speculation he is about to come out, we will try and stay with our camera there at number 10. For those joining us you are watching the door of number 10 as we wait for the PM to make a statement about the chaos that as seen many car driver forced to stop at red lights, we have seen scenes… and in fact we can bring you some of these shocking images now of people on the pavement who have been allowed to cross the road being signalled by early reports of a green man. Since we bought you this footage we can now confirm that in deed they were being signalled by a green man, but in new news when the traffic was  allowed to move, a red man stopped the pavement walker. Causing more speculation that another five pounds could be wiped of the stock market by tea time. We are gong to stay with this story all morning but now its time to go over to Ken with todays other news. Ken.

Thank you Mary. The palace has reported that at 05:32 the Queen died. 

Just a little sketch, after the rolling news of the virgin plane that I felt the BBC wanted to make into a story. Even when it did a test book landing and not the fireball of death they were hoping for they still carried on trying to report a non event.

Getting Back

Well, being back in England is jolly nice, no job or home and a strong desire to get back to New Zealand. Even all those friends that ignored me for a year and then suddenly emailed to say we should meet up as they’d love to hear about my adventures have once again disappeared off the radar. 

Now I don’t want to sound like a moaning miserable bitter old man but there are just somethings that a trip abroad will not change. So what is this all about? Well, in truth I don’t really know. Its… I suppose a little metaphor of my life at the moment. Being in New Zealand allowed me to think and examine my life and where I want to go. We all know, if you’ve been following the blog that I want out of theatre that much is clear, what is a little hazy is what I want to replace it with. 

Today I applied for an outdoor shop job, and a trainee Air Traffic control, both fit in to what I wish to do. One work outdoors and be an activity leader and the other have a well paid job with future prospects. 

The other side of me is trying to work back up to running a marathon, except my legs and hips seem to have differing thoughts on this as every run is growing harder along with what seems like a little injury in my hips. Maybe a tight hip flexor or something else. But what ever it is, running more than 5 miles is proving to be a pain. 

Either way I am not really committing to anything, running, job hunting or re-contacting my old connections in theatre. I’m also not really making a concerted effort to contact old friends I did without them for a year so a little longer isn’t going to hurt. I would like to point out here that I am contacting some, ones who remained connected and didn’t have a spell of radio silence while I was away. Yes I know how to hold a grudge. But if one more says they’d love to hear my adventures I might just say ‘You could have skyped or IM’d or Facebooked and got it in real time’ Like its not like I was in the Borneo rainforest with no modern methods of communication. But I can count the amount of people on my right hand who emailed, or FB a couple of times. 

So yes, back to civilian street, no more walking down to the beach with a mountain as a backdrop and clear blue skys watching ships and relaxing in the coolest littlest capital in the world. Oh no,  its getting back to my old life which for reasons known to me I’m trying to avoid. After all why go away for a life changing experience only to return and resume with your old life. 

So getting back to it, is something I think I will carry on avoiding. 

Being Rooted

A while ago I did a play where the over all theme was how young people deal with a death of a friend. One of the characters had moved on after a year where the others were still coming to terms with the loss. The director gave the note that the character was grounded. He was rooted like an oak tree. He knew who he was and the direction of his life.

Turn the focus to me and a number of text messages between my best mate and myself with the subject New Zealand and I slowly reveal why New Zealand is on the cards. You all know I have a strong dislike for my job which is getting stronger by the week. But after so many years I still feel lost. My life is not what I want it to be. I have not found myself. Sure I know I like running, hills and Wales. I know what I would like to do… But as all my friends are settling down and buying houses or getting married I still find myself alone and spinning in circles.

New Zealand is an extension to the running. Running has helped me to keep far enough away from the black dog biting and taking hold, it has helped me become happier and more confident but yet my life is still missing pieces to make it whole.

So New Zealand is in some ways a way to escape, and rediscover who I am and what I want to be. Spending time away to think about me. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but NZ is hopefully going to be a life changing event. Maybe if I come back I will know who I am and may even begin to settle down. Maybe move to Wales and walk the hills. Maybe I will be just like the character out of the play. Some one who is strong and knows who they are.

Several people have commented and made similar statements to the one below that was made by a work colleague and friend.

“No offence… But you’re not happy in here, NZ will do you good. It’s good to get away from people and places that don’t make you happy”

Three Weeks Tomorrow.

Tomorrow will be Sunday and in three weeks, I will be racing the Manchester Marathon and I am shitting it.

Training has not been good. But next week I will be doing a nice temp run in Langdale with some good hill walking before I begin to taper and spend those extra hours where I would have been running to concentrate on core and do some cross training.

I need to squeeze one long run in again and maybe doing a 15 miler at speed just to convince myself that I am ready.

Oh well off to what has been distracting me and preventing me training the way I wanted to. Thats right Work.

Leaving Party

I have already touched on this briefly, but as I look at pictures on Pinterest I find myself thinking that I need to go to Wales again.

We all know I love the place. But how cool would a weekend away in a cottage with just the couple of best mates that I have. Drinking, walking and talking. Exploring all the North West Castles for one last time.

At the moment it is a dream and will stay as such as they will all have excuses as to why they couldn’t possibly attend. Some with good reason others because they can’t take time out.

While I’m missing people now (not seen some for months)… I think it is good practice for when I do leave. After all I won’t be seeing these people for a year and who knows I might not even chat or talk to them again. For me this trip is a big deal… bigger than getting married, having a child. I want my friends to be there for me. This is only going to happen the once and while I am doing this for myself, I still need the comfort of my mates.

But it would be nice to have one last good bye…just in case I didn’t see them again. But maybe that’s just me… Maybe I know I won’t be seeing these people again. They may well be under the impression that in a years time we will be drinking again in the local (not that we have local). However anything can happen in a year.

It would be good to do a proper leaving party… and maybe my friends have it under control but I do fear that I may end up exiting quietly only to log on to Facebook in NZ to find messages of ‘Have you gone? We didn’t get to say goodbye’

The real question is should I bother to organise my own party. I suggested this to a friend, who said ‘You can’t do that!’ a couple of weeks later he sent a text asking what I wanted to do? To me that was as good as organising it…

If I am honest, then I don’t want a fuss. I want those who are close to me, and spend as much time as possible with them… Doing the things we have done together like drinking, walking, camping, cycling all just for one last time. If we really get to it, then there is only a handful of people I would like to attend, and I can count them off on one hand.

Off course I wouldn’t object to a big piss up as well, in a bar with everyone who I know.

No Excuses.

Well I don’t have any left…. I can’t have any left… I have the tickets and the camper booked and come June I will be out of here to the surprise of many and those are some of my closest friends who for one reason or another I fail to see as much as I should in the time I have left.

It has taken several long years to get to this point and as expected I am now having second thoughts. The seeds of doubt are being planted. I’m not sure why and lets face it I’m not about to give up the chance and say ‘You know what I won’t bother’ especially when I have just spent near to £2000 on the trip and begun selling all my gear.

So whats the post about? Just another reminder to you all that I’m swanning off to New Zealand and leaving the rat race. Well, in a sense ‘Yes’ but the really point is that I could have been jetting off at the end of this month and if truth is to be known I could be writing a completely different blog sat on a beach or up the side of a mountain in a hut describing my latest NZ adventures. The reasons why I’m not are simple. The simple answer is that I had an excuse after excuse not to buy the tickets, not to set a date.

The reason why I am still at home now and not about to board a plane for a 25 hour trip is that ‘Well I have work scheduled for then’ To which the replies were, book it in April. ‘But the Manchester Marathon is in April and I really want to run in my home city again and smash my PB and get under 4’ But you can do that when you come back. ‘ Yeah but I’ve been offered work for April now which will give me more spends’ Go in May then. ‘Its the 10K and I would really like to beat my PB and break 40 minutes – Besides it was the race that started my addiction, I owe it to myself to make it the last UK race I run for a while’

So there you have it excuse after excuse. Off course I could keep them coming… I have no bag!, or I’ve lost my e-ticket but the bottom line is I will be going and the only regret as the day looms towards me is that I made excuses for not booking it earlier as I am now once again sat alone in the dark with social media as my only company counting down the days until I escape this pitifully lonely isolated life.


MAN 1 : Can you hear that?

MAN 2 : What? Hear what, I can’t hear anything?

MAN 1 : Sounds like the tiniest violin playing for some one


Hello Mr Magpie

Now I can be described as quite shy. I will often not talk to random people. If I go to a party or a new place of work it takes me time to really open up and start talking to people. However when I run, I’m quite outward.

Now I have discussed this before. It comes under the runners code, for when you see another runner a little nod or wave to communicate that you are in this together. That you are part of the fraternity of runners. If you are able to spare any breath then a simple ‘Hi’ would also communicate this. All to often I see ‘Joggers’ and I will call them such as they ignore this simple rule of acknowledgement and after all why should I expect them to know the ‘Runners’ code when they are just simple ‘Joggers’. After all they only come out when the sun has his hat on or there is a rather large ‘Great Run’ event to train for which they have left too late with their 3 year old trainers that have seen better days. Now I’m not being a snob about running, but the correct footwear is a must.

Now don’t get me wrong. I think any one who runs, jogs or walks at a quick pace is better than those who remain with their buttocks firmly attached to the sofa. But it does annoy me when I see fellow runners who ignore me. After all hill walkers have the same code and they even go as far to stop and engage in discourse. ‘Where you come from?’ ‘What route you taking?’ ‘Have you done this before?’ Off course like with running some hill walkers have little respect for their brethren as I have often passed walkers descending a path only to find out that the path has become impassable from the recent weather. Off course many hill walkers will pass that bit of info on and maybe even stop and discuss the next best alternative route to the top.

Runners as I have said are a funny bunch. We are a strong community, a bond. We share the passion and dreams but yet we seem to carry out the mere function of running alone. Even when we run with a pack or a group we tend to be in our zone but a simple hand wave, nod, brief ‘hello’ demonstrates that you are in this together.

So the point of the title… Well its simple. The the other day I was out running and said hello to around seven fellow runners. Five returned the greeting in their own way while two ignored my efforts. The odd thing is, like me one of the ‘ignorers’ seemed to be superstitious as I saw her salute and greet a Magpie. Now I often say ‘Good day Mr Magpie’ I have no idea why, but I can always remember being told to say hello as it was good luck. The peculiar thing is that this runner wouldn’t waste energy on greeting a fellow runner one of her own but instead chose to waste breath on a bird.

Now lets not get into the nitty gritty. But like walkers, runners often inform one another of the perils or dangers ahead. I was once told you should always say hello to a fellow hill walker so they remember you. Because if for some reason you got lost, standard or injured there would be someone on the ground who could remember your last whereabouts. Surly this is the same with runners. I often see the same faces at races and on the paths of Manchester and a simple hello after pounding the pavements is a real energy boost knowing that there is someone else like you who is feeling the same. Lets face it, a bird isn’t going to give a dam about what you are going through let alone even know what a ‘salute’ means.

So if you have time to say hello to a magpie which for me is important and I always do, then say a hello to your fellow runners. You will be surprised how good it makes you feel.