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2010 – A Neil Year in Review.

Well 2010 is in the books so it is time for me to write my review of the year. Usually I do this in the standard Meme form but not this year. This year it’ll be more of a blog post. So let’s play darts get on with the blog.

2010 will not go down as a vintage year but one important thing and one interesting thing happened. First of all the important. On July 3 2010 I made a decision that I was quitting caffeine and with particular reference to Coca-Cola. For the past 14 odd years I have drunk Coca-Cola as my standard drink – whether it be straight or of the Cherry variety. I woke up that morning and had heart palpitations and it wasn’t the first time. Enough was enough I thought.

Knowing that I had a serious addiction I knew it was going to be hard so I had a plan. I was to cleanse my system as quickly as possible. I did this by drinking litres of squash for a couple of weeks. I was peeing every 20 minutes and then drinking another glass of squash. It worked. I had no significant headaches in this period and the caffeine had been flushed out of my system.

When you compare that to previous years where I’d have a headache after 24 hours of not having a Coke that says something.

Taking Coca-Cola out of my diet has led to other benefits. I now have a lot less sugar in my diet and this had directly led to both significant weight loss and the stop of night sweats. For years I had woken up drenched in the middle of the night and it was getting worse. In the past three months I haven’t had this once. Weight wise I have lost well over a stone despite doing no more exercise. I feel healthier and I don’t sweat just when eating hot food or just walking to the shop. My health has taken a giant step forward in 2010.

The other interesting thing that happened was at the start of the year I decided to see if I could go the whole of the calendar year without drinking any alcohol. I’m not a huge drinker any way but it was a worthwhile personal challenge. I succeeded and went through the year without alcohol. People have said on more than one occasion just how weird it is. I just feel that it is a sad indictment on society if not drinking alcohol is deemed as strange.

Workwise the year has trundled along with me doing the same work for the same company. I run a very successful World Cup campaign and all in all the department has certainly got stronger as the year has gone on. I could have possibly moved to either Malta or Leeds at various points early in the year but chose not to and to stay working from home.

Speaking of home I moved yet again in 2010. This time I moved into my own apartment in a small place called Thorpe Bay on the outskirts of Southend-on-Sea in Essex. I live within a stone’s throw of a railway station with trains every 15 mins into London if I want. I have local shops a stone’s throw in the other direction and the beach ten minutes walk down The Broadway. It is a quiet place and that in general suits me fine. At times I miss living with people and working from home and living alone leads to plenty of quiet times but overall I deal with that fine.

In my private life there isn’t a lot to tell. In 2010 I did have dates – for the first time since 2006 – however I had zero second dates. What that says about me I do not know but only one of those disappointed me. That story has been written elsewhere and I don’t feel the need to write it again. One cancelled a second date as they had – and I quote – ‘washing up to do’ and never spoke to me again. One didn’t speak to me again anyway and one cancelled a date after reading my blog and reading that I had never had a relationship before and basically said she wanted a man not a boy. Score!

Elsewhere the return to this area brought about my permanent return to Hospital Radio. In 2006-2007 before I moved to Aldershot I anchored the Wednesday Night Request Show at Southend Hospital Radio. When I returned there were several new presenters for the show but slowly they have left and I have slowly slid back into the role. I record the show these days as well for the wider non Hospital audience. It is purely voluntary and the feedback we get makes it well worth it.

Two of my closest friends from my school days got married. I was invited to one but not the other. When I was down there for the wedding it was scary just how much everyone had moved on. I felt completely out-of-place there for the first time. I haven’t lived there since 2004 but every time I had returned previously I didn’t feel like a total outsider. I did this time and the time I went back in April. It showed me quite clearly that I don’t belong there anymore and in a sad way I don’t belong anywhere. It made me sad but life moves on.

Sports wise I am still luke warm on Portsmouth as the crooks still hold the keys to the club. Until an owner steps forward who has the best interests of the club at heart and not about lining their own pockets then I’ll continue to not live and die by football results. Cricket has once again risen to the top of my tree but the NFL and NCAA FB are not far behind. I need to start playing sports again. This might be something I can address in 2011.

Overall I wouldn’t say I’m happier but I am certainly much more content with life. 2009 had been an up and down year and saw me call three addresses home and a change of job. 2010 was a lot more straightforward. financially I am doing better than I was and as I’ve already mentioned – my health is in a much much better position than it has been for years. When I used to work at Fubra I would have crashes in the afternoon after lunch and would at times struggle to stay awake. These days I have no problems with this whatsoever.

Lastly of course there is politics. I have become more interested and involved with this as the year has gone on. I’m still not a member of any political party despite my heavy Liberal leanings and Liberal Democrat sympathies. I keep umming and erring about joining and at some point I probably will. I find it interesting but also want to get more involved in other loves including space and the search for ET and UFOs this year. I love being a geek deep down.

So there we are. That was my 2010. I wouldn’t say any one day stands out as it really has been a quiet year. We’ll see what 2011 brings but things are ok. If my boiler gets fixed soon then I’ll be happy. I may write a blog about my hopes and dreams for 2011 but I might not. We shall see.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Would I date Kerry Katona?

Now that is a title of a blog post I never thought I’d write.

I think it is fair to say that it is a question that I’ll never have to answer except for this hypothetical blog post. A few weeks back I saw her in the Daily Mail (yes I read the DM online – as I do The Sun, Guardian and the Indy – I used to read the Times as well but the pay wall annoys me). I think reading all the papers (the online Star, Mirror and Express are rubbish) gives me a greater grasp of everything going on in the World and it also makes me chuckle reading the same story written by four different writers with four different sets of bias.

Anyway as per usual. I digress.

Being the whizz I am with the interwebs I have managed to find the article Linky and thought her new image wasn’t half bad. not half bad at all. Anyway today whilst perusing The Sun online I saw another Kerry article – Linky and thought to be blunt that she was dang hot.

I was also caught unawares that she is only 30 years of age. I thought she was much older. So on just looks I’d date Kerry Katona in a heartbeat but as we all know – even those will very little interest in the media – that she’s not had an easy time of late and mentally her stable-ness has I think it is fair to say been in question.

Now when your future husband has a sexual act performed on him on his stag do and doesn’t see a problem with it then I can see why you are a bit screwed up. Really that was not cool. I’d say that is seriously uncool and it was no surprise that the relationship with Bryan McFadden (aka the fat one out of Westlife who thought he could leave and be the next Robbie Williams) didn’t exactly thrive. There is no way that trust could ever be regained no matter how hard she tried to move on. (I’m defending Kerry Katona – is that the twilight zone?).

Now then she got with a real scumbag by the sounds of it. Obviously I can only go from what we read in the media and maybe the media have not reported in accurately (but all those papers mentioned have called him a scumbag and they never agree on anything – except that Heather Mills is the devils play mate) so maybe he is a real scumbag after all. Her self-worth seemed to be through the floor and when you saw her performance on This Morning a year or so back you just shook your head in despair.

That was rock bottom. She’s finally away from the evil ex so what does she do next? She goes on a dating website but doesn’t put a picture of her on there and she gets a date. So this guy is waiting to meet this person (whom he doesn’t know is Kerry Katona) and suddenly in she walks with a TV crew. Seriously? Seriously? Now I know you have a reality TV show to record and want to make it as interesting as possible but does anyone in their right mind think that someone would be happy to have a first date recorded under the glare of the TV cameras and then a watching audience? Unsurprisingly there was no second date with this gentleman.

I think the key terminology in the previous paragraph was ‘anyone in their right mind’ she clearly was not and I have no idea if she is now. However I do think she’s be interesting conversation although I suspect she’s not the brightest light in the room when it comes to intellectual stimulation.

So to summarise and answer the question at the top of the blog. Yes. Yes I think I would. First of all it would be an experience. Secondly it would be very interesting to spend an evening with someone with such a back story and thirdly well – she is fit. All of this though would be on strict condition of TV cameras.

So Kerry – what do you say…?


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The Beach

Sometimes I wish I took my laptop/camera everywhere I go. However this is not exactly feasible.

So this afternoon I made the decision that because the weather was so nice that I would stroll down to the beach a bit earlier than usual. I often go down there for the peace and tranquility but usually wait until the evening. So I strode down there around half five and then was not a hint of wind and it was just a perfect setting for a stroll.

As I got down to the beach I decided that I would go towards Southend instead of towards Shoebury for a change. The tide was well and truly out and the River Thames was as calm as a mill-pond. The sun was setting to the west and was just going down over Southend Pier as I made my way across the stones and along the sand. My iPod was busy playing music whilst I wended my way along the beach and there was hardly a soul in sight. A young couple were walking towards me with the dad holding the infant kid across his midriff. It looked beautiful.

As I passed them I saw a couple of young kids playing along the jetty. It reminded me of those carefree days. I’m told it is half-term this week (I guessed when I went into Southend at lunchtime to get my groceries). When you leave school and don’t live with nor have any kids of your own the school holidays become something that never crosses your mind. I don’t have many memories of just hanging around or discovering the great outdoors as a youngster. In a way I regret this. To my right there was another set of kids running along the sea wall – growing up can suck sometimes.

I got as far as the Ocean Beach Cafe which I decided would be my stopping off point. It was closed but that wasn’t the issue – there was a bench outside it on the beach. So I sat down and contemplated the world around me. The sky was clear except for one puff of heavy black smoke coming from one of the chimneys on Canvey Island. The poignancy of looking at a clear sky and then that one spot where mankind was pumping bad things into the atmosphere. It stuck out like a sore thumb.

The water was so still I could easily see the reflection of the four red lights on that chimney and the chimney itself on the water. It was getting darker and the lights across the river were starting to take effect. The lights were flickering majestically on both the reflection on the water and when looking directly at them.

To my left the darkness was starting to set in and the Pole Star was lighting up the dark sky. To my right the red glint of a sun going past the horizon was sky still kept some semblance of day up. As I looked ahead I saw what I can only describe as something a little bit bizarre. It was like a long bit of smoke – cigar-shaped – that cruised along the Thames maybe 25 foot above the water. I took my iPod out and there was no sound. However smoke wouldn’t travel like that. Very strange indeed.

Slowly the light started to fade and I decided it was time to start making a move. The kids on the jetty were long gone and the street lights were in full effect. As I meandered my way along the beach I saw some writing in the sand that I must have missed before ‘Matteo and Christina’ and then someone had used shells to spell out ‘Maya, Niky, Simca’ and had placed seaweed around the words in the shape of a heart. It warmed the cockles of the heart.

My iPod then decided to be clever and played Chesney Hawkes ‘I am the only and only’ as I made my lonely way along the sand only to follow it with the dulcet tones of Louis Armstrong and ‘What a wonderful world’. The lights of Thorpe Bay Tennis club were like a runway leading me back to home. As I made my way back to the tennis club and got to the steps to take me up from the beach to The Broadway I looked ruefully at the sea and thought to myself that it had been a very enjoyable couple of hours and that it only missed one thing. One day, One day… I thought.

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I am who I am.

People come and go in life. That is just the way it is. I’m one of those people who is very laid back on this issue. Having moved around the country many times I know that distance even in this modern-day world of the interwebs will weaken friendships. My best friend from school got married during the summer and I wasn’t even invited so I know that even the best of friendships can weaken over time. Being a loner though has helped me cope with this and being a big user of the interwebs also I have seen people come and go in my life. Circumstances change, relationships change, jobs change, people change.

Anyway on to the point of this blog.

A friend of mine was telling me the other night about how she simply can’t deal with being single. She would prefer to be in a crap relationship than be alone. She puts this down to self-confidence issues. Now I sit firmly on the other side of the ledger. Before recent events I hadn’t had genuine interest in anyone for about three years and before that it had been 18 months or so. I like being single and will only change when someone wanders into my life whom I think is special and would enrich my life accordingly, whether this be because I find them physically attractive, down right loveable, whether there is insane chemistry or whether they stimulate me mentally, all have occurred and drawn me to someone in the past.

So for me I don’t need anyone to complete me, I don’t need anyone to need me, if I did then I’d be a wreck considering the state of my personal life. Having been single for over 27 years I think it’s fair to say that I’m comfortable with my lot in life. I am who I am and whilst it did take me a long time to accept that – I did quite a few years back. People try to give to advice all the time about what I should do. ‘I need to just go out and get laid’ say some. Others say I’m too picky (I am picky but I think that is my choice), some say I don’t ‘put myself out there enough’ and that is fair, but maybe I don’t want to. Society seems to drum it into us that we need a partner to be anyone. Being single is looked down upon in some circles.

I was laying in bed last night plotting this blog entry and worked out that I haven’t actually asked anyone out for three years. Boy that is a long time when you think about it. I also worked out that I have asked out a grand total of four people in my life, I think. One of which seriously does not like me anymore due to things that happened at VI Form (of which I was an innocent party but easily blamed), one I’m FB friends with but haven’t seen nor spoken to in about four years, one I’m FB friends with but haven’t seen nor spoken to since I left my last job where we worked together and the other I’m FB friends with and still talk to every so often. This girl was the only one I didn’t know before asking out and she’s the one I still speak to. Bizarre. For the record they all said no. No-one I have ever asked out for a drink or anything has ever said yes. Harsh, harsh…

Still that shows what I am like. I don’t just go with the flow. I see many attractive people around the place but rarely do they have anything that actually interests me enough to go anything about it. When I do I get caught up in it too much but I’m learning to curb that side of me. If things don’t go down the way I’d hoped/expected then I’ll just lick my wounds and life will continue. My own mother believes that I won’t get into a relationship until ‘well into my 30s’ – so I have a while to go then before I can say I’m in any sort of relationship. I look across at my school friends and they are near enough all married or at least engaged. It still shocks me in a way but in others it does not. I remember there was one member of the social group I was in who fancied every single guy in the social group at one point or another except me. Says a lot really.

This isn’t a moping entry about ‘woe is me’ but it is more to show that I’m not an easy person. I’m not an easy person to break the walls down of. I’m not an easy person to like and I’m certainly not an easy person to love. I’m not someone who’ll put everything on the line for something that might never be. I am just me. Some people regard me as shy and quiet, those people are just people who I don’t click with. If I like you and/or respect you then you’ll know. If I don’t then I’ll come across as aloof because I just couldn’t care less what you think.

Some may perceive this as snobbishness but I just see it as the way I am. I see people often very differently to how others see them. I can be civil and nice to near enough anyone but to engage with someone takes a lot more. People whose lives revolve around ‘partying’ and ‘drinking’ and ‘pulling birds’ – yeah. I just can’t find a connection with them. Someone who wants to talk about their plans for world domination or discuss the probabilities of aliens having visited Earth or how great a President Bill Clinton was, now that is interesting. I need intellectual stimulation in friends and potential partners. People who want to better themselves and aren’t just happy to be bottom of the rung dwellers whose sole purpose in life is to have sex, get drunk and just have a good time.

So that is that. This ramble is to show those who don’t really know me, why I am who I am. I’m a difficult person to like or understand if I don’t like you but if I do then you’ll get me pretty quickly. I don’t need anyone to complete me and I like my little life. Being a loner has got a bad reputation. I have been called many things under the sun by people who don’t really know me, some deserved but mostly not. However I have learnt to deal with these comments and let them roll over me seamlessly (unless anyone says I’m a rapist or say I look like a pedophile – then I get mad).

Like it or lump it. I am who I am and I won’t fundamentally change for anyone. If that means I spend the rest of my life alone then so be it. I’ll live.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.