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Saturday, June 03, 2006

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How many genuinely nice guys are there out there? On the surface quite a few, but once you get to know them you realise that most of them are merely in disguise. Paul however is one of the genuine nice guys all the way through.

I'm not saying that he is perfect; he shouts at cyclists (though admittedly only he and whoever is travelling with him will ever hear the quite mild grumblings of a slightlyu road raged Paul). He is however on the most part one of the most honest people I know. Thats why this blog means so much , there is no ulterior motive. he wanted to do something positive- so he is. Yes he will benefit from having this project, he may be able to learn more about CHD and share experiences, hopefully even make some friends along the way. He however will not be the only beneficiary.

Obviously GUCH will benefit in a material way, but I feel that all of those of you readers, especially the ones who leave comments will benefit greatly. I would also like at this points to make an extended invitation to everyone passing this pagethat you do not have to have a CHD or a close relative with CHD. Anyone can participate, be it experiences of other medical problems or an interest in one of the items for trade.

I will leave it at that for now, but I will speak to you again in two weeks.


Friday, June 02, 2006

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A little of what is bad for you can often be great,

that's the way the phrase goes, isn't it? Never did I feel this more than after an appointment I had with my cardiologist.

I had often been set limits by the people in the know; "you can swim for your 400 metre swimming badge but not your 800 metre yet." But the following year I knew that I would be allowed to swim the 800 metres that I wanted to do.

One year in particular I remember I was about 12 or 13 and I was told that I would never be able to play squash or run cross-country. This was different, it wasn't that I would be able to play squash next year and that I would have to wait; it hit me hard that there was something that I could not do.

When I got home that day I rang a friend and organised a game of squash for the very next day. I was not a little bit nervous about what may happen to me, I knew about squash, I'd seen it on the TV and watched my Dad play it, you just had to hit this little ball against the wall, no different from when I practised tennis.

We met up at the leisure centre and started warming up. I found that if I hit the ball against the wall as hard as I could it would just fall onto the floor as if I had thrown a brick against the wall. After we had realised that the ball needed to be warm in order for it to bounce we began to play properly and managed at least twice in the hour that we played for to have a short ralley. Nothing like the professionals.

The realisation hit me as I was travelling home from the leisure centre, it wasn't that I was not to play squash, it was that I was not to play squash well. I never played again, because it bored me really.

In later years I would be told other things that I could not do; one that particularly sticks out is that I could never play for Liverpool Football Club and whilst I like to think of myself as the Pele of the new millenium I don't think there was much chance of that happening.

As for cross-country running, I tried that also but realised that it wasn't the running that I shouldn't be doing but the running where there was no-one to help if I got into trouble. I found that it was much easier to take the bus, and a lot more interesting.

Tomorrow my Wife will be picking up the baton and writing a blog of her own, possibly this will make up for my poor time keeping of late (sorry about that) but mainly I would like a fresh take on things that is not my own.

Speak to you soon.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

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It looks as if the second trade may have arrived today;

it was scheduled to arrive today anyway. One Sydney Olympic 2000 official's shirt for 18 pairs of craft scissors. I feel that this will be a great help on my way towards something truly great to auction in 17 months time.

The larger the traded items become the more publicity this blog will generate and hopefully the more publicity GUCH will receive, I'm not saying that they need it but charity can be much more than just money.

I have a good regular readership now which I am overjoyed about that people would come back day after day. I have absolutely no idea where this adventure is going and I guess many people are just as anxious to find out as I am.

Many people reading this will have already realised that they can play an important part in the adventure, the trading is open to anybody that wants to contribute to this charity and become part of something wonderful.

The first trade was inciteful and entertaining, the second trade emphasized the global appeal of the blog and was extremely imaginative. What will the third trade have? That's for you to decide.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

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Hello from Malta,

I have finally got that sun that I have been moaning about for months and what do I go and do with it, burn my toes.

The reason I burnt my toes is that when we arrived here we went for an explore while most of our fellow travellers headed straight for the poolside. Many of them then sought out the local English theme pub where they intend to spend the next seven days and nights with garlic bread being as close as they get to foreign food.

I heard a story yesterday about a family who had been to the same hotel every year for ten years. The hotel was on the beach but they had never left the hotel, not even to go to the beach.

Are these people xenophobes or do they just like the idea of a sunnier place that they can call home. Either way when you spend half of your year saving up for your holiday you can do whatever you like.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

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I am writing this from the comfort of my own home,

I probably shouldn't be as I am due to depart on my holiday in a few hours. Usually I would be frantically running around making sure I had packed everything, rushing to the airport in time to make sure that I get to sit next to my wife on the plane (although she may have different ideas) and standing in a massive queue which doesn't seem to be moving although the ones next to it are moving at lightning pace.

This is the start of my holiday every year, the one chance of a stress-free time and you start off pissed off. However, I have found a different way; today I took my bags to the airport 10 hours early, no queue, no screaming babies and no last minute worries. I checked in - we were the only people there, and the whole thing took only minutes; why have I not known about this before!

Right now I would usually be worrying about what I have forgotten to pack but now it is as useful as crying over spilt milk; the bags have gone, no worrying for me. Two hours before departure we will go down to the airport at leisure and simply get on the plane.

We may live in an age where technological advances have made it so we don't even have to find money for a phone call, work out how to use a VCR or write stuff on paper but I'm amazed that I can finally have a stress-free start to my holiday.

Will be blogging from Malta tomorrow, that can't be a phrase that is used much.

'til then, enjoy life.

Monday, May 29, 2006

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It's a bank holiday today. Many of you from around the world may well ask, "what's a bank holiday?".

Today it is the bank holiday for Whitsun, or more commonly known as Pentecost, although this is not politically correct anymore so it is also called spring bank holiday. A bank holiday is a day of the year which by Royal Proclamation is a holiday, they are not set in stone and have to recieve a Royal Proclamation each year; this is mainly so that they don't fall on weekends or special holidays such as VE day anniversaries.

Before 1834 there were 33 saints' days that were treated as holidays by banks, oh to be living back then. But in 1834 they were reduced to just 4 holidays; this sounds very evil but actually meant that people were able to choose their holiday days instead of having to take them on set days.

In 1871 Sir John Lubbock introduced an act of parliament to allow bank holidays when traditional cricket matches were being played in his home county. He believed that bank employees should be able to participate in these matches. Whitsun monday was one of these such holidays.

In 1971 four more bank holidays were added bringing the total to 8 which we now enjoy. Unfortunately it rains on every single one of them.

I hope you have learned a little about why you are off work today and if you are not British you can now appreciate just fickle our law makers are.

Have a good bank holiday.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

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I am around half-way through renovating a house that I bought with my wife in March. When we moved in the house was very very old and we have had to practically strip everything back to the original features; 70s wallpaper, art-deco fireplaces, 15 layers of paint, 3 layers of carpet. What we are left with is a beautiful victorian semi with many of the original features that it had when it was built.

Well, we will be left with that once we finish the kitchen, modernise the bathroom and sort out the dining room. The strangest thing is that the house was modernised once before, in 1953. Back then they ripped out all of the victorian fireplaces, covered all of the beautiful doors in plywood, covered the floorboards in carpet and generally made the house a dark place to live in. This got me thinking about what will happen in another 30 years time.

Will our modernisation be considered outdated; most probably. Someone will come along and rip out the renovated victorian fireplaces, cover the doors in plywood, carpet our renovated floorboards and put up 70s wallpaper again (maybe not the last one but you don't know). Victorian houses are clearly in fashion right now but they probably won't be in 30 years.

My point? I don't have one today.

Have a good sunday.