A Bag of Nerves To…

This time last year I was trying to see and spend as much time with family, friends and Manchester. My thoughts were ‘what happens if I hate it, I’ve sold everything to fund this trip and I’ll look a fool if I’m back in two weeks’ as nervous as I felt even with the reassurance from my mate in the back of my mind something was telling me that I’d be home sick and would not enjoy the year.

I had plans, everyone has plans. Those plans however have not turned out. The biggest plan has failed, I know this as in a week I’m returning from NZ to the UK, but unlike a year ago my mind isn’t nervous or scared it’s just, just unenthusiastic about the prospect. Sure I get to
see people but I’m back in the UK.

The truth is while I didn’t work for DOC or live in the hills partly as I allowed Wellington to trap me in its ‘Coolest little capital hub’. The truth is this is home, this is my city, and I think I was also suppose to stay here. Before I left it was on the list of possible place I’d lay down my bag and sleep. I feel that when I return to Manchester I will feel like a stranger, as I walk round my home country I will feel like a traveller.

Someone one said that you change once you travel, and only travellers know this, you have a different look on life, and to be honest the kiwi one rules. I always said, even thou nervous about the adventure that I’d like to live and stay in NZ and as I browse the shops for those gifts and pack my bag I know that I was right.

It’s not that I’m scared of my return, sure I’m worried or refusing to think about my job prospects, living arrangements and money its more the fact I don’t want to go back so I’m not allowing myself to think about it. Don’t get me wrong I’m excited about having that English pint next to a fire in a wood panelled pub in the heart of an English village with my best mate, seeing my nephew and my mum, but I’m not looking forward to reverting back to the British lifestyle, nipping to the corner shop rather than the dairy, ordering a pint rather than a handle, replacing pound for dollar and having to do the conversion the other way, going to a supermarket to buy everything instead of the liquor store for my drink and having to drive to the coast or mountains rather than taking a walk down the road. Wellies not gumboots, flip flops not jandles, mate not bro the list of culture change goes on.

Yes a year ago to day I was nervous as I was going into the unknown, now I’m scared and upset.

If someone at five thirty came on that plane to tell me I could stay then in all honesty I think I’d get off.

It’s funny how a year changes your view.

My Party!

Did I mention I was off to New Zealand later in the year. I didn’t? Are you sure? Something like that I would think it unlikely I’d keep that news to myself. Well in case you hadn’t seen the tweets counting down the days, or the Facebook status’ that express my desire to get on the plane before the end of June then I’m off to New Zealand.

Now to celebrate this fact I need to see people before I go, and due to the nature of the job being friends with people for a considerable amount of time, I have friends dotted all over the country. So with no work till I leave I am using this time to see them all as I know they all won’t and can’t come to what ever I do for my leaving party. The trouble with this is that it seems everyone is free the same weekend and all want a piece of me.

Leaving that matter to one side, this post is about my top leaving party ideas and is in no way a suggestion or hint to friends and family to take up the slack and organise it on my behalf.

Now I don’t want to do a drinking session. It will be fun, but then where’s the difference between a birthday, christmas or a normal night out. I want something I will remember and enjoy and not wake up the next day trying to work out what has happened.

So at Number One it’s a weekend away. Now I know this excludes a lot of people and only the best of the best will be able to come, unless we hire out all the cottages or caravan park. This weekend away fits into several ideas. We could do a canal holiday, something I have always wanted to do and never got round to it, or a camping holiday, a holiday cottage, both in Wales and both involving Snowdon.

The other idea which will be more likely and is more of a possibility is that of a pub crawl, but one that see’s me going to all the bars I have drunk in while in Manchester. This may seem like a lot, but it’s not. It would mean starting in Northenden, then going to West and East Didsbury, before hitting Withington and Fallowfiled and then to Oxford Road, Denasgate, Northern Quarter and the general city. I imagine many have changed hands or even names and I would only include those I spent any real-time in. This would have to be a full on day or weekend affair as the amount of travelling will surly interrupt the very purpose of what we were try to achieve.

Apart that, I have very little ambition to get any of this organised and no doubt Ill be slipping away under the cover of darkness without really saying goodbye to anyone. The leaving doo that will probably take place will include a lot of drinks and hopefully those few people who mean most to me.

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.

Man Walks into a Bar

That man is me. I have walked into many a bar and as I walked the city streets the other night coming back from doing some shopping I passed several bars. Some new that I have never been in, some that I still frequent and many that I sadly no longer visit either because they have gone down hill or the times and fashion have moved on.

This got me thinking. When I leave I will probably have a leaving do. What would be better than having it themed around all the bars and pubs I have drank in while in Manchester? Now it’s not going to be that bigger of a pub crawl but it will be an interesting look at my drinking habits from being a student to now. Starting in the clubs, and then the trendy bars before moving to the bars and pubs that only serve real ale for real men.

Here’s to 2013 – My kind of Resolution

Well my glass is half full.

As I watch ‘Come Dine With Me’ in the dark looking out over North Manchester being lit by the dim glow of the moon wrapped in cloud I drink to 2012 and think this will be my last drink, this will be my last midnight feast of Pizza. Yes as off 1st January the sweet taste of cider, wine and ale will not pass my mouth nor will the pile of cheese or bread that I force down. this is not a New Years pact with myself but just a way of training. My running training has always needed improvement and the fuel I decide to power my running is one of the major factors of improvement.

So as the clock strikes I will end my drinking binge and say goodbye to one my vices. Along with waving or controlling my twitter antics, 2013 will see me having a clear lack of presence on the social media scene as Facebook has already had the boot.

Training hard is the key, eating healthy and cross training to make me a mean, clean running machine will be my goal. That and trying to get to New Zealand.

Happy New Year.

My Two Vices

Yes I have two and so what! At least I can admit that I have vices. No guesses for what they might be but thinking about it one of them rarely gets mentioned in this blog so we may be here for some time if you all start to guess. We will definitely be here for a long time if you all start to guess by leaving your said guesses in the comments box and need to wait for me to read your guesses and then write a reply or another post to say you have guessed correctly or incorrectly depending on what your guess may have been. So after all that I might as well just say.

Running and Drink. They are my two vices both can be good for you but equally they can also be self destructive. Running because too much can cause injury and other prolong issues to the body and Drink…Well we all remember our science books don’t we. Now the trouble with these two vices is they can not be done together which is good, but one can certainly be done after the other, but then not followed by the first.

It’s while I was thinking about this and thinking that one will have to go that I met a friend and on the way back from her house purchased myself a bottle of wine. So after a good 9 mile run today I have turned to my other vice ruling out any chance of any descent running or training tomorrow which will make me sad that I have not fulfilled my drug addiction of running so that will result in go to the drink.

Why does drink have to taste so good.

Getting Back into It!

So I did the Marathon, I rested for 13 days then ran a 10K rested and a week later did another 10K, then another then rested for a week and then ran another 1oK  and then a ten miler. Within all this I was seeing my physio to work on my biomechanics and core strength and stability (another blog) and my legs were so tired and tight after each race, partly because I was going for it like the clappers, were talking below 7 minute miles and for me that is quick. So it was after the Llandudno 10 mile that I decided that enough was enough and I would hang up my trainers.

This was a good idea for two reasons. The first my legs did not want to move and the second I was working in Birmingham and then in the Lakes so did not really have time to run. So I rested for two weeks, and they say that your fitness does not disappear that quickly but I would like to disagree.

Now maybe your fitness does not drop just after two weeks of no action, and maybe it doesn’t but it certainly does if you spend those two weeks putting on almost a stone through drink and eating crap which is what I did. So when I returned to running on Monday as lets face it I have another marathon to train for so really need to start. The short run of 5k was tough, very tough and it wasn’t even a fast run. The one tonight of 6 miles was a little easier once I got back into my stride, but it took the first 2 miles to run through the niggles and loosen up the legs.

So for the next couple of weeks before I start my training I need to get back into tho running lark, training myself to run and run through the pain (unless it’s an injury). The hardest part of both runs was to control my speed, as I could not run at marathon pace or even half marathon pace my body and legs are so use to running a fast 10K that is still what they want.

So here we go, two weeks of some practice runs to get back into it, and then some long hard training runs for the hardest marathon in the Britain. The Snowdonia Marathon.

Why We Should Get Rid of Christmas

Now to be fair I should have written this at the time. That time being a couple of weeks ago. Now first I need to give you some background, and it’s really about my drinking, as I like to drink I love the taste. Now I am no means downing the sherbert in the morning before work and am not in the need of the AA, partly because my car is in full working order… What? Oh that AA, yes well I am a drinker and can and have done for many weeks and months drank 2 – 3 bottles of wine a night.

The trouble is I am addicted to drink, once I start I find it hard to stop. Well not that hard when my head has fallen into the pool of drool on my pillow. It’s true, I will meet mates for a drink and after a beer or two we part and go our separate ways. My way happens to be to a supermarket to stock up on more drink for the rest of the evening plus a pizza for a midnight snack. And this is how the rest of the week or month pans out, until I get the drinking under control and stop buying it.

So to sum up, I either drink and continue until I fall asleep and for some one who finds the past time of sleep a hard one then any kind of substance to help is greatly received. However drinking and eating makes you fat and for many years I have tried to control the drink and the spare tyre I seem to insist on carrying around. Finally after finding running I was deflating the tyre and keeping it deflated. Result.

So now we are up to date, the only other thing to add is I love chocolate and food and that mixed with drink makes you fat, no matter how much running you do. While I spend all year getting down to a good weight and losing the belly along comes my Birthday in October, which brings drink, which also as we know results in me continuing to drink. I finally get it under control but then we have Christmas, and it’s not just the 25th I need to look out for, but the whole of December as you meet for Christmas Drinks, and company meals etc.

As if f all that wasn’t bad enough then comes the 27th December I see that Mini Eggs and Cream Eggs were being stocked. Now if I can’t say ‘No’ to red wine then I definitely can’t say ‘No’ to these tasty treats from Cadburys.

So with my Birthday all the way till Easter, the months are filled with my vices plus the fact that they don’t contain decent whether to run off all those goodies you have inhaled. Therefore by getting rid of Christmas, it will give my body a break from the booze and chocolate until we reach Easter and hopefully allowing my body to keep some of the weight off.

I think it is a good idea.

So Here’s to a New Year

Well it has begun and we are on the second day already. I did run in the last day of the year and on the 1st day of a new year and 2012 which I have targeted as my Marathon year was getting off to a good start, that was until this morning.

I am still under the covers as I write this and it is already midday, my left calve is aching and I’m trying to get the strength to go and face the gym but fear like last year it will be filled with resolution junkies taking up all the equipment. I will have to go down there at some point as I need to keep my fitness up and have now begun my training and judging by my leg I don’t think it will be wise to go running.

In other news, I had a wonderful New Year Eve, I think for first time since I was a kid I wasn’t awake to witness our pound shop of a firework display over London. In fact I was tucked up and fast asleep by 10.30, and as for the big day it self we cooked a lovely meal for our friends off which none drank. It seems strange as you grow with age, you feel less inclined to drink booze. While I have not made any resolutions partly because unlike the new gym going crowd I know that all resolutions will fail. I have however vowed to live my life in a certain way.

I am setting out to run two marathons one in my home city of Manchester in the UK and the other in my favourite place in the world, the wonderful National Park of Snowdonia in Wales with the Snowdon Marathon. Part of this will include cutting back on drinking and finally reaching my desired weight. Running has already shredded several pounds so it’s clear as I step up the miles the weight is bound to drop quicker. Well that’s what I hope will happen. The other big news apart from controlling my drink and eating addictions is to put a cap on my social media affair. I tweet far too much, in fact since I opened my twitter account back in 2009 I have tweeted over 12,000 times. So far I have not tweeted in 2012 and I have also closed my Facebook account. Now I’m not saying I will leave the social sphere of the web for ever but a holiday away to discover life again and the fact I can ask my friends what there up too, rather than being a very lazy spy by logging on to their FB page will hopefully do me the world of good.

So that’s my 2012, as well as try to break into my career or find a sharp exit which ever comes quicker, I do not have much planned. 2011 was only good for one thing and that was the fact I found the joy of running. What started as a training schedule for the 10K at the start, ended with an addiction and I don’t care who knows it. God I would even stand up and say “I’m Tom and I’m addicted to running” to sit down with mutterings of “Welcome Tom” and clapping. I hope 2012 will see me carry on running while continue to enjoy it. I just wish I had friends who enjoyed it as much as me. Therefore my last promise to myself is to join a running club, and hopefully within  these like-minded people finally find a mate of the opposite sex as while having brushes nothing has ever really stuck for some time, and even dating agencies don’t want to know.

I was bored a couple of nights ago and thought I would try e-harmony after finishing the long questionnaire I was simple told I was incompatible with anyone. Good job I’m not suicidal over being alone. As anyone tried this method of meeting people, I do have a mate from high school who is now happily together with some one he met from Match.com. For many years my career, or trying to kick start my career has been my goal, but now as I’m in my 30’s I want to settle, I want a house, I want to talk to some one when I wake up and before I close my eyes. I’m fed up of being the guy who makes the seating plans at weddings a nightmare because I’m an odd number. I’m fed up of having to pay twice the amount for hotel rooms because I can’t split the cost, or just being billy on a night out. My best mate often tells me I think I want this as all my friends are settling down and doing it and maybe there is truth to it, but what he doesn’t see is how lonely being single is when all your close friends are in long term relationships and planning wedding and families. Suddenly the ‘Two’s company and three’s a crowd” echoes around your head. Anyway this is turning into another blog post and is starting to get a little depressing. I wish I could tell my mates how this business makes me feel, and maybe they may start reading my blog again and will find out, but for now I’m going to make another promise to the list of ‘Go out there and stop self loathing’ the trouble is when you have no single friends to help you, you become that pervert in the bar. Right going to stop this now, before I spend the second day of the year with a bottle of whiskey and box of chocolates listening to Eric Carmen ‘All by Myself’ on a loop. I need to get out of bed and go and hit the gym and keep my promises. Sorry if I have bought of you down with me on this strange blog post. Normally I do structure them, but this one I have just allowed myself to write what was in my head. Right time to keep these promises. After all this is what the blog post was wet out to be, a little paragraph about what I want to do in 2012.

Hope you all had a good New Year what ever you were up too, now time to get some energy and go to the gym.


No Life

Now, before you stop reading; this is not a ‘feel sorry for me’ post, but some people may have turned away just from the title. I am writing this while I am waiting for Concord to dry. Not that I have just nipped down to Manchester Airport and spray painted the real Concord in the hanger as that would be stupid. No I am off course building a model of Concord that I got for my birthday six weeks ago and have only just got round to constructing the model.

The Time has been given to me due to the wonderful nature of the theatre biz and my refusal to work Christmas shows as I am not the biggest fan of this so called festive time. I really can’t think of anything worse than being pushed to and thro while drinking a thimble of overpriced spices mixed in with like warn red wine on a cold wet dark evening being overlooked by a giant Zippy in a Santa costume and then be confronted by idiots who find it perfectly acceptable to amble their way though the city centre loaded with bags filled with gifts that they can’t afford but some how have managed to find some credit limit on a card, pushing this country and the word into more of a recession has come the new year they will struggle to find the money to pay off there over indulged debt and therefore reduce there house hold spending coursing the economy to shrink as the high street faces yet another load of shops closing like a line of dominoes.


Now I don’t know if what I have said is completely true, but it seemed topical and I am always one for not spending or wasting money. If you are going to buy me a gift then make sure you ask me what I want, or be 110% sure that it is something I need or want otherwise you are not only wasting your money but in the process causing a painful moment when I unwrap the gift and have to fake gratitude on the useless object held in my hand and thanking the giver in a sincere voice while all the time working out where I will store or place and sometimes destroy the said item. Now thats not to say I don’t dislike receive surprises. One of my best 30th Birthday presents was from my best mate who got me a bottle of red wine in a wooden box that was bottled back in 1981 (my date of birth) This kind of present shows thought mixed with something I like. It does mean that he has set a high bar for me to match on his 30th.

The whole hattred of Christmas can be seen in another blog post here and here, and the idea of buying and giving presents if fine, but I don’t like the process of choosing and this all comes down to money. I spend weeks looking at gifts thinking ‘That’ll be good’ but then think ‘will they use it or will it be waste of money’ and I hate the idea of Christmas starting way back in August and everyone saying we will have to meet up for a Christmas drink, or we should meet up being thats it’s Christmas. How about we just meet up despite the month and the season and you may contact in one of the other 11 months of the year.

Anyway back to having no life and living like scrooge. For my 30th my parents got me an Airfix of Concord that I have been longing after for a while. I use to do Aifix, or my dad/brother use to do them as I watched but I can remember having them suspended from my ceiling in flight formation and several months ago when the work well was dry I got back into building these model planes to pass the time. Now once agin all my mates are at work, and I have six weeks to spend on my own so I thought I would open the box and start building this wonderful plane. This is where the title comes from for the blog. I have known for a long time that I love castles and history, but it seems at the moment my life is unfulfilled, all I seem to go on about it running and now I am sat in the cold building a 1:44 model of a plane that no longer graces our sky. But the the funny thing is that I am quite happy and content with this as it means I am inside and away from people having to find money to pay for yet another festive drink as they stuff several more mince pies in their fat faces all in the name of a holiday that in my opinion only seems to aid people in putting on weight and being unbearably jolly and happy at the prospect that 4 weeks time they would have over indulged and unbuttoning there trousers to the tune of “A White Christmas” and saying “we have to do it as it’s tradition” Therefore at the moment I feel that i am a bit of a bore, and I feel that several friends would agree with this statement, but it’s secret that i am a boring miserable sod but at the moment the only subject I like to talk about is my work and running an being that I have no work then running is the only subject. Therefore for the next week or however long it take me to construct this already fiddly model I have no life.

Oh well time to glue another bit of the nose. Should i place it on up or down? Life is filled with so many difficult  choices.