The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Sometimes, Bad Luck Never Ends …
January 30, 2015, 6:25 am
Filed under: Comment

So I’ve decided to start blogging again.

Yes, I know I am possibly the last person blogging in the entire universe, but after 2 months of [near] silence – and yes, it really has been 2 months – I have come to the realisation that I sort-of have missed it. Actually that’s not quite true, I’ve sort-of missed the people who used to comment and abuse me.

Does that mean I have battered housewife syndrome?

Anyway, I fully expect everyone that used to come here has come to their senses and disappeared forever, but that doesn’t matter – I’ll just continue to spout my nonsense because at the very least, it helps get all my brain-farts out the way so I don’t end up giving my son bad advice.

That said, in the unlikely event there are still a few of you out there who have no life and are bored out of your mind, I’ll ease you into my rubbish by doing 2 things:

1. I’m writing this on a Friday so you have the weekend to recover.

2. Instead of any planning rubbish, I’ll just leave you with a little video.

On first glance you may find it massively disturbing, however on second and third glance, you’ll realise it’s not nearly as bad as the stuff you’re going to be reading on here from now on.

Anyway, it’s sort-of nice to be back and I look forward to you telling me whether my new role as a father has ‘changed me’.

Oh, last thing.

If the thought of me coming back is all too much for you, you’ll be glad to know the lovely folk at the Chinese Government will enforce a week of peace during Chinese New Year, which means you only have to put up with this nonsense for a couple of weeks before you get a rest.

While I’m on holiday.


See, some things never change.

You Can’t Let A Momentous Day Pass Without Comment …
January 20, 2015, 6:20 am
Filed under: Northern, Queen

Like Halley’s comet, sometimes an event comes round that demands to be recorded and reacted to.

Today is the recording of that event.

Tomorrow may be the reaction to it.

Well, it will be if the person in question bothers to write about the experience on their blog … because this blog is currently closed so I won’t be writing any more, even if this post proves the word ‘closed’ is very ambiguous where I am concerned.

What am I talking about?

Well today, this man …

… is going to be seeing this band …

… tonight in Leeds.

Yes, that really is Northern Planner [sorry, I just can’t get use to the whole shortened, ‘Northern’ moniker] and yes that really is Queen [or half of them, with a bloke from American Idol].

It’s like Chairman Mao meeting George Bush.

Or Margret Thatcher meeting Arthur Scargill.

Or Sonic The Hedgehog meeting Mario.

It’s a potentially explosive combination – or at least a brain raping one – and I am happily the reason it’s all going to happen.

You see a few months ago I mentioned on Twitter that Queen were going to be playing in Leeds when Northern sarcastically said if I got him tickets, he’d go.

So I did.

And he is.

With his wife.


Northern utterly loathes Queen.

He loathes them as much as I despise The Smiths

And while the band he is going to see is not the ‘real Queen’, it’s as close as he’ll ever come to it and I am excited because while he might loathe the band, hate everything they stand for and generally be the most miserable bastard in the place … I have a feeling that being part of a crowd that is loudly enjoying and physically engaging in the spectacle, might overwhelm his cynicism and give him a night he enjoys.

And if not, it will at least give him a night he’ll always remember.

I’ve written about the power of crowds before. Unlike being the only sober person in a room of drunks, this is different. You find you want to join in. You feel swept up in the emotion of the moment. You start smiling and having a good time … even if you never thought that would be possible.

So I’m interested to see what happens tonight with Northern.

I’m not expecting him to suddenly love Queen just like I don’t like the Smiths despite finding Morrissey less of a dick as I always suspected he was, but maybe – just maybe – he will find himself having had a good night out with the missus and if that happens, that will make me happy because not only will I always have that on him, he is a good man and I’m glad I could do something nice for him and his wife.

Even if it was all done with the intent of evil.

We’ll see I suppose … though I must admit the best outcome for me is if he hates himself for having a good night out at a Queen concert.

Even if it’s not really Queen and it’s hard not to have fun at any concert.

Unless it’s something like One Direction.

Jesus, just typing that makes me ill.

Oh, and as I haven’t really written anything for the past 2 months, I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas, New Year, Birthday etc etc. See, the rest has made me nice. Sort-of.

Even though none of you really care, the baby is good, the family is good and fatherhood is brilliant … though that is only my opinion and others may see things rather differently. Especially a little boy that experiences more drama when I change his nappy than the feelings he went through when he came into this World.

And with that, sit back and watch this … knowing Northern will be experiencing a slightly diluted – but much louder – version of this in a few hours.

Don’t forget to check his blog in the morning to see what went down.

I’ll be waiting with baited breath because if he loved it or if he hated it, it’s all a win:win for me.

[Cue: Evil Laugh]

And with that, I hope all is well and see you around.


I’m Not Religious But Thank God For The NHS …
January 15, 2015, 9:12 am
Filed under: Comment, NHS

Happy new year, how are you all?

First of all … don’t panic. I’m not going to talk about what’s been going on with me over the past few weeks.

Nor am I going to write about how my wonderful son is doing.

And – you’ll be especially happy to hear – this is not the recommencement of my blog [that’s next week, haha] but I wanted to capture how I was feeling because yesterday I was reminded about the difference between people who only work for the money and those who work for a passion.

So without going into all the details, my Mum is going to be having an operation very soon.

A big operation.

The good news – apart from the high success rate – is the wonderful NHS will be providing her this for free.

Yes, at absolutely no cost to her, she is getting an operation that will literally add life to her life.

I cannot tell you how utterly grateful and in awe I am about this.

However, due to the NHS not having much money, she will be discharged after only 5 days.

This is a major operation and given her age, 5 days may not really be enough … so while I’ll be in England to help her recovery … it became apparent to us that we would love it if she could spend another week or 2 in a hospital to help her properly recuperate as well as give us the peace of mind that if there are any side-effects or complications, there are medical staff who can assist immediately.

Now obviously to do this would cost money and of course, where my Mum is concerned I’m only too happy to pay … so last night I was on the phone calling a number of private hospitals in or around Nottingham.

Frankly I was appalled at the service I received.

Either people didn’t care, made things especially complicated or simply didn’t get back to me.

We’re talking about someone willing to pay many, many, many thousands of pounds but the general attitude was apathy.

Now of course I appreciate discussing medical assistance when you’re thousands of miles away is going to be difficult … but all I wanted to do was get some information on how/if it could be done as well as an indication of the cost.

After countless hours calling and emailing, only one private hospital sort-of gave me information and frankly it was like pulling teeth.

Anyway, as I was searching online, I saw that the NHS hospital my Mum is going to also has a small private practice … where the money they raise, goes back to helping the main NHS hospital.

So I rang the number and this lady called Lynn answered the phone.

I told her my situation and she told me the private service they offered was only for people willing to cover all the costs of the stay – including the operation – because beds were in very short supply and they couldn’t spare them just for people needing to recuperate.

When I asked for an indication of the cost to cover the whole period we were looking at, she said my Mum’s operation was very big and very complicated so with no private UK insurance, the financial implications would be huge.

Then she paused and said, “hang on a second” before disappearing.

A few minutes later she came back and said she had an idea.

The hospital has a hotel on site.

Maybe … just maybe … she could organise it so that we could hire a room there and then pay privately for the nurses and DR’s to visit my Mum at this location instead.

She didn’t know if it could be done and she didn’t know what the cost would be but she wanted to help.

She didn’t need to.

I’m sure she had better things to do.

And yet here she was, going out of her way to help.

Sure, you could say she did it because she wanted the hospital to earn money, but you could say that about all the fully private hospitals I spoke to and they didn’t want to lift a finger to accommodate my enquiries … the fact is, this woman – a member of the NHS – had compassion, empathy and a desire to help someone who was worried about their family member. Basically the traits that shows someone who puts the cause before the pay check.

People are so quick to criticise the national health service.

Sure there are problems … sure there is money wasted on needless red tape … sure they sometimes make mistakes … but it is an amazing, wonderful service that should be treasured, revered and invested in.

I still do not understand how so many American’s can regard free health care as evil. As far as I am concerned, it’s the people who think this that are the evil ones.

I hope to god this works out.

Not just because it means my Mum will be able to be treated by the same people who will do her operation.

Not just because it will give her – and me – massive peace of mind.

But because if I’m spending my money on health care, I’d rather give it to a place that believes – and invests – in humanity as opposed to just views patients as a profit centre … and I know my Mum feels that way too.

Whatever happens Lynn, thank you. You made me proud to be British.