A blog to record the events in my day to day life

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  • Goodbye to my childhood home

    Since 14th July this year, when my Dad sadly passed away, I have been sorting out his and my Mam’s stuff at their house. I always thought it was my Dad that was the hoarder, but it turns out my Mam was worse. Its been a long, hard slog to get the house empty so that I could give the keys back to the council. It’s cost us a small fortune. Even though my Dad was the tenant and he was no longer with us, I still had to pay full rent every single week. Theres a few things I get really annoyed with the council about. Having to pay full rent is one of them. If theres a way to screw people over and get money, they will do it. The council have also refused point blank to move on their decision to allow me to take the house over, even though my family have lived there for 39 years, and I grew up there. They are sticking to the rules 100% where thats concerned. We all know local councils stick to the rules unless it suits them. I tried everything including speaking to the local councillors and enquiring about buying the property, but no, they stuck to their guns and refused. All the neighbours want me to move in, partly because they know me and I would be a good neighbour, and partly because they are all worried about who will be moved in if I didn’t get it. Its all by the by now, I can’t move in. In some ways, I am relieved its over as its been expensive and has taken so long to sort it out and it’s been like a weight on my shoulders and very stressful and upsetting at times. On the other hand, It’s very sad having to hand back my childhood home that holds so many memories for me.

  • The start of a new me. A quick review of the Fitbit One.

    Prior to the start of our newest, most recent diet which we all start as a family on Monday coming, I have decided to treat myself to something I have wanted for about a year or so now. A fitbit, or to be more precise, a Fitbit One.
    The Fitbit One is a small wireless activity and sleep tracker. Its about the size of a small pen / flash drive. About 2 inches long approx.
    Fitbit One

    This little gem, once set up correctly, can automatically sync with your Fitbit account and upload your activity for that day. Everything from steps taken, calories taken in and burned, (although where this is concerned, all the foods you enter onto your account, at the moment are American so UK users may have to guess and click on the nearest, or manually input foods, including calories, sodium, carbs etc. This can be a pain, until Fitbit include English foods and brands). sleep, and awake times which I find really useful for monitoring how much or little you sleep and seeing where you wake up or are restless.
    Fitbit One sleep pattern
    I was quite shocked by how little sleep I had that night and explained why I woke up feeling shattered.

    Another thing it monitors is stairs climbed. This to me is a little misleading as it does not necessarily mean stairs. It apparently works using the inbuilt altimeter which monitors atmospheric pressure changes, so walking along a road that goes up a hill has the same effect. Apparently its set to 1 set of stairs = 10 feet rise.
    It also measures distance travelled.
    On your Fitbit account you can set targets or goals to reach each day, which encourages you to do more walking etc. Also, you can add friends on there and have a bit of friendly competition and support each other.
    You get all the sync and charge cables required for connecting it to your pc or Mac, and setting it up. You also get a rubber belt / bra clip which has a really secure strong clip.

    And to complete the package you get a soft velcro wrist strap to wear while asleep. I’ve worn this strap three times now and unlike wearing a watch for bed, you don’t really notice this. On the subject of using it in bed, there is also a silent alarm feature that gently vibrates on your wrist without waking your partner.

    After using the Fitbit One for 3 days, I have found myself being more aware of how much, or how little walking I do and I have been trying, when possible to get those few extra steps in. For example, walking round to the shop instead of doing the lazy thing and driving, or taking a different street in town to get to my destination, just because its a slightly longer route, or goes up a bit of a hill.

    So far I’ve not really logged my food intake for the calories, partly because its all american brands, and I’m finding I am having to log lots of stuff manually and update the data for it, like calories, carbs, sodium etc, but also we are not starting our diet until Monday coming. I suppose I should get into the habit of doing it now and just pick what I think is the closest brand, which could be quite a way off on the calories, or create a new item with the data from the packet. At least I might get a rough idea of how many calories I’m intaking. As for calories burned, I’m not sure how thats calculated. It might go off your current weight and height that you input when you set your account up, compared to calorie intake and exercise you do.

    For all us smart phone users out there, there is an app to help you track your daily activity. Once installed and connected to your account, it sync’s with your Fitbit One to give you a mobile, more concise version of what you would get via the full website. It supports a lot of the more modern phones, and has just started supporting the Samsung Galaxy S4 as well which I’m pleased about as thats what I use. Please note, it does require a network connection.

    This is not a paid review.
    Fitbit’s website can be found here

  • My first ever Ghost hunt. 35 Stonegate, York. 3rd Aug 2013

    My review of the ghost hunt at 35 Stonegate, York plus ghost walk beforehand organised by GCUK. ( http://www.gcukparanormalevents.com/# )

    It was originally planned for me to attend this, my first ever ghost hunt, with a friend, but due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’, he was unable to attend so I was left to do it by myself. I was really looking forward to it but nervous at the same time, as I had never met anyone who would be there before. I had nothing to worry about. Everyone, from GCUK staff to the other guests, were lovely. I felt welcome straight away.
    Before the main ghost hunt, some of us met up for a ghost walk of York led by Simon Entwistle ( http://www.tophattours.co.uk ). Simon took us to places that I have been to before and know a little bit about them already due to researching but Simon gave loads more detail. Whichever place he took us to, he made it really interesting.There was non of this cheesy stuff the normal touristy ghost trails do. No cheesy costumes, hammed up acting or people jumping out etc. I’m really glad, as I hate all that. Simon told it seriously. The story I think touched everyone the most was when we visited Bedern and heard about the children that died there. The whole place, even though its outdoors had an imposing feel about it. Such a sad story. I even took my better half and daughter there the next day to tell them about it.
    Simon is a true gent and made a point of chatting to everyone. Thank you Simon.

    Ghost hunt:
    All the guests were made to feel part of the group and were fully protected from the very beginning. We were involved in everything and offered the chance to take part in experiments. I tried the Ouija board with 3 other guys. Unfortunately our spirit who we suspect was messing around earlier and pretending to be someone he wasn’t didn’t want to communicate at that time, even though he came through strong on the human pendulum earlier in the night. I also was given the chance to use the laser thermometer and I even had a go of Mike Blackers thermal imager. Being a bloke, I found this really cool.
    Some people had to be removed from rooms due to being effected by spirit or other reasons. There was even one or two people scratched. The GCUK staff were fantastic on these occasions, making sure the affected person was totally ok.
    Personally, I attended expecting a repeat of my April visit where I felt some very strong stuff. For some reason this time I didn’t. The place felt a lot different. At times, it felt sort of ‘flat’ to me. Saying that, there were some knocking and footsteps heard, and shadows seen. One of the highlights for myself was being in the attic with Mike Blacker . I sat on a chair in the corner and I started getting a strange feeling on my right calf. It was if someone had a gentle hold on it. At the same time as this, I felt a cold spot beside me At the same time as this Mike picked up the cold spot on his Flir thermal imager. We both picked this up before the other had a chance to say anything about it. I could feel the edges of this cold spot which was approx. 3 foot tall. Mike checked the area and could not find any signs of drafts from anywhere. Mike then left me alone in the attic to check something happening on the stairs. I sat there feeling totally relaxed with this ‘cold spot’. I felt as if this was a child, but could not tell if it was male or female, but I remember at the time I kept getting mental images of a boy. I even chatted to it and thanked it for being so well behaved. According to what Mike has mentioned since then, our cold spot, dissipated at the same time, as the spirit of a child disappeared in the lantern room that the girls were communicating with. It was a bit strange how one moment the cold shape was there and the next moment it was gone.
    There was one funny occasion when Jenny Bryant ran across the dining room screaming because ‘something’ touched her leg. It turns out the guy she was standing beside moved the curtain to check behind it and it touched against Jenny’s leg. That was very funny.
    All in all, I had a totally amazing night and will definitely want to do it again.
    The GCUK staff are brilliant. Nothing was a bother for them. Any question anyone had was answered. They always made sure everyone was safe and well.
    Its right what they say about 35 Stonegate. It certainly gets under your skin. In total, I’ve been there 5 times now. 4 normal visits and 1 ghost hunt. Everytime I go to York, its one place I make a beeline for.

  • Not what we were expecting


    Arrived at the home and immediately saw the doctor. She said that Dad had shown signs of improvement so they have decided to reapply his intravenous fluids for the time being. I asked about his catheter which had been removed and if that would be reapplied as well. She said it will be.
    She agreed with me that this is more than likely a short term remission. She also said that if he shouts out for Nursey and then drops off to sleep again that’s fine as he may not know he is even doing it, but if he shouts and doesn’t go back to sleep and starts getting agitated then we should tell the nurse so they can give him sedatives.
    This is exactly what he did. There was no settling him. He was shouting for Nursey, even when the nurse was there. He had is eyes virtually fully close but as if he was asleep but still getting agitated.
    We decided to wait till he settled down quite a bit then went to make a coffee. When we came back, he was asleep again, which was good. He stayed this way pretty much all afternoon and evening even though the home had a children’s fair on in the grounds, some of which went outside his window.


    D and myself came back from the Royal Quays to find Dad still asleep, until that is about quarter of an hour later when he started asking for Nursey.

    It took ages to calm Dad down. He had to be given 2 different injections to settle him. The first had no effect, which is unusual.
    Anyway once the medication has set in, after what seemed an age, Dad settled down and went to sleep. Its absolutely awful seeing a loved one so agitated. The nurse said that a lot of the time, he won’t be aware he is shouting out. Doesn’t make it any easier to watch though.

  • Waiting

    Saturday 13th July 2013

    As I sit here typing this post, I am in the day room of the nursing home where my Dad is currently a resident.  I am so nervous. You see, yesterday my Uncle Tappy and myself came in to see the doctor to get an update on my Dad’s condition. We were informed that I is now only a matter of a few days at the most, possibly even that day. I took Tappy home after that then went home myself. A few hours later I was back again, but this time with D. I couldn’t help myself. I just sat a watched my Dad breathing. Every time his breathing changed or paused, my heart skipped a beat. After a couple of hours we went home. I didn’t want to leave, but I needed food and rest and to get changed and showered. Also Denise has work today so she needed rest as well.
    So this morning I have come straight to see Dad. They currently have my Dad sedated as he was getting very distressed for the last few days. They have also removed his drip for his fluids.  Dad looks very peaceful.  More peaceful than I’ve seen him in a while. Still, as I watch him sleep, I am so nervous something will happen while I am by myself but at the same time, I do hope he passes in his sleep without any distress.
    Dad woke up and ate a full bowl of ice cream and had a few slurps of coke. As Dad does not appear to recognise me, I thought it best to talk to him as if I was nearly of the carers so he felt more settled knowing someone was keeping an eye on him. Anything to try and keep him calm.

    Joe my Son turned up. He’s not seen Dad for a while. He seemed to be ok, and said he was but he was suprised at how much weight Dad had lost since the last time he saw him. He also commented on the yellow colour of Dad’s skin. I explained dome of the things that happen, have happened already and will happen. Harsh I know, but he needs to understand what’s happening.

    Dad has just had more medication to sedate him. The reason for this is because I walked into his room and his breathing has got quite rapid. I got a bit of a fright and told the carer who got the nurse. I thought ‘it’ was happening. That shows how hard I am finding this time accept, by calling it ‘it’. I’m struggling to say the words. You all know what I mean.

    I noticed again that my Dad’s breathing has changed. His chest is moving up and down normally but his stomach is moving a lot faster. As I quietly entered the room, he woke up and instantly started shouting for Nursey. This is what he has been calling the nurses since he started getting confused. I got the nurse and explained about his chest and stomach and his shouting. She asked me to give them a minute to check him over. After checking him, she came to me and explained that his heart rate is now irregular and as well as the obvious all over change in skin colour to yellow meaning his kidneys are starting to fail, the backs of his legs are now turning blue, meaning his circulation is starting to fail. She also explained that they had just given him some more sedative so it will settle him down again.
    I cannot explain how I am starting to feel about things at the moment. Its like I feel numb.
    I left to come home and get something to eat get my head together and wait for Denise to get home from work.


    D, Tappy and myself arrived at the home. Dad is still asleep. So not to disturb Dad, we went and sat in the day room. After 10 minutes or so, D nipped along to check on Dad. She came back and said he was shouting for Nursey again. I went along and pressed the call button for the nurse. They came and we left them alone while they made Dad comfortable. After doing that, the nurse explained to us that they have had to remove his catheter as it wasn’t working any more, and after that, he was able to pee freely so was obviously in a bit discomfort due to this.

    A little later on, the nurse explained that they have increased his medication from 10mg to 15mg as the 10mg was no longer keeping Dad settled and comfortable.


    D drove Tappy home while I stayed at the home with a coffee. I checked in on Dad every so often and then sat in the garden area to relax.
    This is more than likely going to sound awful but while I was outside, a couple of funeral directors turned up to collect someone. I recognised one of them straight away. It was Alan, who was the director who dealt with my mother’s funeral back in January of this year. I said hi to him and we got on chatting. I explained about Dad. He was very sorry and suprised to hear the news. As Alan did such a great job arranging my mother’s funeral, and my Dad got on really well with him I asked if he would have any problems being the director for my Dad’s funeral once he has gone. He said there would be no problem at all apart from he will be off work next week if that’s when it would be. I think my Dad would be pleased it was the same lovely man arranging his funeral as sorted his wife’s.
    Again I didn’t feel right leaving to come home but we were shattered and needed food.

  • Cycling, fun? Not at the moment!

    This morning I decided to put G’s mountain bike in the boot of my car and take it to the local Halford’s to get the brakes repaired on it, after my failed attempt last night. I say failed, but it wasn’t a complete failure. I managed to replace the inner tube on the rear wheel and get it pumped up. I was chuffed with that, as I have not done that sort of thing for about 30 years. The failure part came when I couldn’t figure out how to get the chain back on the cogs etc and also the brake was all to hell. So off I went today to Halford’s. I spent ages there while the young lad ( Adam was his name ) totally fixed the bike. What a trooper he was. And it didn’t cost that much. G will be chuffed when she gets to go on it. This is where part two of the problems started. I got my bike out. Pumped up the tyres, changed the seat bracket for a quick release one, fitted an under seat wedge bag and also a new hand tyre pump. I was well happy. So happy that I wasn’t even to bothered about how much of a dork I looked in the cycle helmet.
    Me in my spanking new cycle helmet.

    Away I went on my bike. Its the first time Ive riden this bike since I bought it cheap at a second hand store a couple of weeks ago. I got half a mile along the road and started hearing a weird noise. When I got off and checked, the tyre was rubbing on the frame, but only at a certain part of the wheel. Bother. I cycled home, although tentatively, put this bike in my boot and went yet again to Halford’s. As I suspected, the wheel was buckled. The guys there actually straightened it up for me and put it back on the bike, and pumped my tyres up a bit more, all for free. The service there is great.
    Once I got home, I thought I’ll go out for half an hour on it, before its time to go to the home to visit dad, The bike was running much better now, BUT, the god damn gears won’t change properly, so when I got to a slight hill, it nearly killed me. I had to stop at the top to let my lungs relax a bit, before the downhill ride home.
    I survived the ride, which is good as I have not been on a bike for about 20+ years and have only recently given up smoking. Mind you, when I say I survived, my backside was aching a bit from the seat, even though my new seat is very padded.
    I must get some shut eye. It’s 01.50 and I need to be up in the morning to go and do more work at my Dad’s house. See what other antiquities turn up this time. I’m gonna blog sometime about some of the stuff I’ve found in the house. Really old unusual stuff.
    Thats for another time though.

  • Haunted’, 35, Stonegate, York. My experience and review.

    Has anyone experienced anything like I did when I did the tour of the house on 5th April this year. This is the 4th time Ive done the tour, so now I just blank the audio out altogether. On this occasion I was with my partner and 3 other friends. Entering the shop, all was fine, paid the money and went through to the waiting area. The instant I crossed the threshold from the waiting room into the first room, I got a strong, horrible feeling like someone was very ( and I mean VERY ) close. It was like a very imposing,threatening feeling. It was making me feel weak and light headed a bit. This continued all through the house apart from the mirror room and the dining room. In the Seance Room I saw a dull grey shape appear in front of the fire place. It was about 25 inches ( ish ) in height, about 3 ft off the ground. It fade away then came back in same place but smaller about 12 – 15 inches the disappeared. On photos I took there, an orb shows in exactly the same place at the same time, but I just put this down to dust as the room was dusty at the time. Then in the cellar, the close, imposing, threatening feeling was back. I even took an arms length photo of myself just in case something showed , but nothing appeared on the photo. All of a sudden my mouth tasted and felt as if it filled up with blood. It tasted awful. So bad I put my torch on and stuck my fingers in my mouth to check. Nothing was there, my mouth was not bleeding. It was a horrible, bloody / coppery taste.
    Even after leaving the tour and being back in the shop I felt weak and light headed and still had the horrible taste in my mouth. This taste stayed with me all night, even after scrubbing my mouth with toothpaste back at the hotel and having drinks at the pubs etc. It was with me till I fell asleep that night but was gone in the morning.
    Whats peoples thoughts on this, and have any of you experienced anything like this while at the house? Out of the 4 times Ive been there, this time was the worst. Still wont stop me going back though.

    To me, this place is the most active place I have ever been. For anyone who is ‘sensitive’, this place is a must to visit, and if possible, do one of the organised night time ghost hunts.

    Update: fingers crossed, and all being well in my personal life, I shall be going back to the house for a proper ghost hunt at the beginning of August with GCUK ( http://www.gcukparanormalevents.com ). I wonder what sort of unearthly experiences I shall have on that occasion.

  • Sorry, I’m still here

    Hi everyone, just a quick post to let everyone know I’m still around. I feel a bit bad about not posting anything in ages. I know it would more than likely do me good to do a blog, but to be honest, I have had no time, and have been absolutely shattered. There is so much going on at present in my life. Non of it good unfortunately. When I have a chance I will update you all on whats been happening. Take care and speak soon. Steve

  • A Lovely time in York

    It’s been a while since I last posted a blog post. I’m sorry for that but the last few weeks have, for want of a better way of saying it, been hell emotionally wise. I have been going through weekly therapy sessions to try an help combat my stress and anxiety. We are now after a few weeks, getting to a point where are setting out goals to aim towards. I’m sick of always having panic attacks at the slightest things and worrying about minor things. I’m normally a very laid back person but recently I fret about the most irrelevant things that I would normally deal with in a calm logical way. Anyone who has suffered from stress, anxiety and depression will know what I mean when I say this. I’m sure over time, I will get better. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

    At the weekend, I went for a few well needed days away to the beautiful city of York with Denise. It was the second visit to meet up with friends who we met in person for the first time last year. This time, the group also included my good friend Marc ( marccorn.co.uk ). I speak to Marc nearly every day on the phone, FaceTime, Google+ or Skype but this was our first time meeting him in person. It was really nice to get to see him in the flesh. It’s strange meeting someone you talk to all the time anyway, as its like already knowing them so the initial ‘getting to know you’ stage is missed out. Carl from ( www.lifeofcarl.co.uk ) was also there. I met him last year. All three of us already know each other from social networking so was great to have us all together. We joke on about being like the three musketeers, but Carl tries to call us the three muskerears. He is so camp sometimes.

    At The Olde Black Swan pub
    At The Olde Black Swan pub

    ( Left to right ) Steve, Jo, Andy, Trev, Becky, Darren, Phil, D, me, Marc, Laura ( Hiding away ), Carl and Dominic.

    The weekend went really well and was over far to fast. We went to the haunted house on Stonegate on the Friday, which was an experience and a half. Denise and myself have now been there 4 times now. For me, it was the worst visit I had had. I felt ill from the moment I was across the threshold to the time I went to sleep at night. At one point during the tour, I had to check my mouth as it was like it had filled up with blood. If, like me, you are the type of person that like ghosty stuff, its well worth a visit. ( http://www.hauntedhouseyork.co.uk )

    Denise and Marc
    Denise and Marc

    Carl on Ouija
    Carl on the Ouija board

    Stairs to the attic
    Stairs to the attic

    And heres a photo of my two amigo’s Carl and Marc

    At Henry J Bean's in York
    At Henry J Bean’s in York

    It was sad to have to come back home after such a nice weekend with such lovely people. Mind you, some nice caring person in the group gave some of us a loving momento to come home with. A horrible sore throat and runny nose. Thanks to whoever you are. I blame Marc personally but he blames Steve, another friend from our group.

  • A weird week

    This has been a weird week. Nothing out of the normal has happened. I just feel so out of sorts, if you know what I mean. This is why I have not blogged that much this week. It may well be the new anti-depressants I am on. I constantly feel tired, which is to be expected, but also, I cannot seem to focus my mind on anything. I’m still feeling like I am shaking for no reason every now and then. Last night my bottom jaw was trembling as if I was cold, but I wasn’t. I still feel like the slightest thing with set me off. Either bring me close to tears or make me want to lose my temper in a big way. I’m trying to avoid situations where there’s a chance of me getting annoyed.I am still getting the chest pains. They can come about when I am totally relaxed, not just when I start to get wound up. Even as I type this, I am getting chest pains. It’s horrible. It feels like someone is standing on my chest. After being giving their phone number by my doctor, I have just rang Talking Therapies, who offer advice, information and support for people like myself who are struggle with depression, anger, bereavement etc . They have booked me in for Monday for a practitioner to ring me, to talk through everything to see what help and support they can offer me.

    On a happier note, Costa, our kitten ( I still call him that even though he’s about 2 1/2 years old now ) that has been ill and had a night’s stay over at the vet’s has made a full recovery. We have been advised to continue his medication until the end of the week but apart from that he is his normal, mischievous, self, and doesn’t Molly, our other ( older ) cat know it. He’s back to terrorising poor old Molly again. All she wants to do is chill out without being jumped on.

    My Dad had his long awaited visit to the Sir Bobby Robson wing of the Newcastle Freeman Hospital to see about cancer treatment, only to be told they had to do blood tests due to his diabetes and may also need a blood transfusion on his next visit as his white blood cells were a bit too high. He also has to start taking his iron tablets again. He hasn’t said, but I get the impression he was a bit disappointed thats all they did on this visit. He was only in there about 5 minutes.

    Last night, I made a full roast dinner. It’s the first time ever that I have attempted one of these. The meat was a nice pork joint from Aldi, with crackling on it. I know crackling is unhealthy but it tastes so nice.
    Pork loin joint

    With the joint, I did roast potatoes in the oven, and Yorkshire Puddings in the JML halogen oven, and another first, I used our pressure cooker to do the carrots and broccoli. To my surprise, I didn’t blow a hole in the kitchen ceiling with it. The whole meal was a success apart from the broccoli, which turned into a bit of a mush in the pressure cooker. Apart from that mishap, I am well happy at how good the meal turned out. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. Mind you, D has said that I have made a rod for my own back now, and that I can cook more often. Suppose theres a down side to everything.

    Today, G, our 12 year old daughter is doing stuff at school for Red Nose Day. I had to make a journey to the Metrocentre yesterday just to buy a tin of red hair spray. Mind you, it gave me a chance to pop into Starbucks for a coffee or two and abuse their free wifi on Google Hangout that lasted well over an hour, with Marc ( www.marccorn.co.uk ) and Carl ( www.lifeofcarl.co.uk ). It was good fun and passed the time away.