I’ve just had a massive scare – so listen up!

In my youth and early twenties I was always a skinny little thing…

Here’s me about 1984 (22 years old)…

I’m only 5’6″ so you can judge how heavy I was in these photographs.

I started lifting weights and exercising vigorously about this time. After about 6 years of dedicated training and eating correctly I eventually looked like this…

Which was great…

For a while…

Then life starts to interrupt…

Family and work start to take your focus…

After about 1997 my training slackened off. Just a little at first…then not training became more prevalent than training.

I started a love affair…

We’d meet most nights for little liaisons.

And of course there’d be the little midnight feasts that accompanied these liaisons….

I’ve never had a serious illness and always thought myself as ‘robust’…

Tick, tick, tick…

The weight crept up, and up, and up…peaking at 17St! My brain kept telling me I was still in ‘some sort of shape’.

A few weeks ago I noticed I was getting very thirsty and urinating a lot. I went to the docs for a check.


I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes!

Hang on. Things like this don’t happen to me right? Wrong!

When I was told the news I just couldn’t take it in. The shock, anger, fear, trepidation. I was literally paralysed with info and emotional overload.

I trudged to the chemist for my meds. (I didn’t even know where the nearest chemist was, shows you how ill I’ve been in my life) thinking “What now?”.

I started researching on the web…and soon discovered there’s so much conflicting information out there. The one ‘common theme’ is diet and exercise. The need to take in lower calories and understand that carbs and sugars are your enemies.

I’ve taken the week off work. Firstly because one of the initial side effects of the meds is flatulence and diarrhoea, and it’s problematic when you can’t tell one from the other! Also, I’ve had to get my head straight. Understand and plan.

The house is now cleared of most junk food.

(Got to leave some treats for this fella).

I’m now on a diet of Low Gi foods, no added sugars, restricted calories, unrefined foods etc. and no whisky!

In 4 days I’ve lost 2lbs. I know this level of weight loss is not sustainable, however goes to show how many unnecessary calories I was consuming.

I’ve now got a diet and exercise plan. Last night I had the best nights sleep I’ve had for years, didn’t wake up once and woke up refreshed and positive.

This is a lifestyle changer, one that’s stalked up on me when I was ignorantly unaware.

So listen folks, this can happen to you with no symptoms whatsoever, I was fine…although my body probably didn’t think so.

I’ll keep you informed of my progress…


02 October 2015


I’ve stuck religiously to my diet. I’m training harder than I have for years. I’ve lost weight and people are starting to notice…I think I’ve lost at least one chin!



01 November 2015

In January of this year, this is what I looked like (sorry folks!)



And here is a photo I’ve just taken, not quite washboard abs but we’re going in the right direction!


The clean eating and exercise is definitely  starting to work…

Never work with animals and children…

They say never work with animals and children right? Which is fine unless your wife wants a photograph of our son and dog for her birthday…

Harry never ‘plays ball’, he can be quite a stubborn dog.

We took Harry on to the ‘Top Field’ (a field close to where we live). We let him run around to get him a bit tired…then let the photoshoot begin!

So..I got my son used to looking at the camera before we introduced Harry…

Frank and Harry-26

We then ‘caught’ Harry and my son tried to keep his attention…but Harry is too easily distracted by other people, dogs, birds or flies.

Frank and Harry-30

I got my son to lie down to try and get a shot of them both on the grass…

Frank and Harry-41

But no…Harry wasn’t having any of it and just got up and walked away…

Frank and Harry-46


I tried my best…


See Frank’s explanation here…

Summer Break 2015

We usually go away for our summer holidays, however my son has become very interested in gardening since he received a greenhouse for his birthday!

Therefore…he has declared he would rather ‘stay at home’ this year…

He wants to tend to his plants and vegetables…

So…let’s see what this summer break brings…

I also intend to visit my daughter and grandchildren who live in Sunderland!

She’s a bit crazy…

But good looking, just like her dad…

And the grandchildren clearly have my ‘cute’ genes…

A wonderful surprise this morning

I woke up this morning to find this in the kitchen…



It says:

My blond hair is my best feature. Just like my Daddy I have cheeky dimples. On my face there are blue eyes. I like building lego. I have an awesome imagination. Blue eyes run in the family. You could recognise me by my blond hair. When I look in the mirror I see a handsome boy. Daddy loves my cheerful smile.

My son Frank has obviously had to create this as part of some school activity, but as I left for work this morning before he got out of bed I’m  not sure what it was…


I’m such a lucky man to have my son, he’s a warm, intelligent, caring, sensitive little boy…I am blessed…




It doesn’t seem like two minutes ago since he was born…



They grow up quick don’t they?…




Catalogue of incompetencies at Xercise4less

My wife cancelled her membership at Xercise4less in November and received all the appropriate emails / correspondence – there was some issue with the club not informing Harlands (the company that deals with financial matters for Xcercise4less). My wife tried to sort this out by personal visits to the club, emails and telephone calls but was passed between Credit Resolutions and Harlands, each saying that she had to speak with the other. Very frustrating.

My wife then received the following text:

“Your account is in default and is about to be handed over to a third party doorstep debt collections agency. To avoid a home visit please call 01132038602 now.”

She rang the number and was told to go back to the club and speak with the manager Glen Hunt. She tried ringing yesterday, apparently Glen was in a meeting, but would call back. Still waiting.

I tweeted about the issues this morning. About 1000 hrs. or thereabouts.

Firstly they replied calling me Richard, which just goes to show their administrative competency.
Their next reply was that Glen would be in touch shortly.
It’s now nearly 1700 hrs. Still nothing.


Love Letter

I hold this letter in my hand
A plea, a petition, a kind of prayer
I hope it does as I have planned
Losing her again is more than I can bear
I kiss the cold, white envelope
I press my lips against her name
Two hundred words. We live in hope
The sky hangs heavy with rain

Love Letter Love Letter
Go get her Go get her
Love Letter Love Letter
Go tell her Go tell her

A wicked wind whips up the hill
A handful of hopeful words
I love her and I always will
The sky is ready to burst
Said something I did not mean to say
Said something I did not mean to say
Said something I did not mean to say
It all came out the wrong way

Love Letter Love letter
Go get her Go get her
Love Letter Love letter
Go tell her Go tell her

Rain your kisses down upon me
Rain your kisses down in storms
And for all who’ll come before me
In your slowly fading forms
I’m going out of my mind
Will leave me standing in
The rain with a letter and a prayer
Whispered on the wind

Come back to me
Come back to me
O baby please come back to me

Nick Cave


A weekend camping in Eskdale…

We recently purchased a  new tent…a Vango Icarus 500 Airbeam.  Having no experience of the Airbeam technology we decided to use the long weekend as a ‘pilot’ camp – to test the ease of erection <ahem> and stability.

We returned to the Camping and Caravanning  camp site at Eskdale on Friday. We had stayed the previous  year in the Camping Pods, my son loved it so much and made some friends who were staying in tents, hence him persuading us to buy ours.



On arrival we were greeted by Martyn Merckel, the Franchisee.  He’s a very friendly chap…and a busy one… Martin showed us to our pitch, a nice quiet area away from the top field where there is a children’s play area, so it can get a bit boisterous with lots of excitable kids playing.

My wife took my son to play in the play area whilst I rolled my sleeves up and prepared the camp.  Putting up the tent was simplicity itself, you simply peg out the corners, inflate the 3 Airbeams with the pump provided, then peg out the rest of the tent and guy ropes.  Easy peasy.  Once the tent was fully erected it appeared very stable indeed, that said, there was no rain or wind to contend with.


When my son returned from playing he could not believe daddy had got the tent up so quickly….


It was also Harry’s first camp (the pooch)…he seemed to enjoy himself…


The camp site is dog friendly, has all the facilities you could wish for, and is immaculate.  A credit to Martin and Sara.

Whilst I was sitting chilling with a beer, I noticed an Army truck dropping people off and picking them up from the camp site entrance.  On investigation I found out it was being used as transportation to The Woolpack Inn about a mile along the undulating and narrow road.

We decided to visit the Inn on the Saturday.

The Woolpack Inn is in the heart of Eskdale in the Lake District National Park and the location is stunning – at the top of one of England’s most dramatic valleys, and the bottom of one of its most exciting roads – Hardknott Pass.

We walked along the road where there were some fantastic views to be had along the way…we soon reached the Inn.


And shortly after our arrival, the Army truck turned up…


Apparently, it’s a Reynolds-Boughton: RB44. You can find out more about it here…

We lazed in the sunshine drinking beer whilst my son played in the play area.  The menu at the Woolpack Inn is fabulous…it had us salivating in no time…


We went back to the camp site in the evening after a fabulous day….after another lazy ‘sit around drinking beer’ episode it was time for bed, have to be up early to strike camp and drive back home.

We can’t wait to return…



Harry is really coming along now!

We’ve had Harry since mid November.  He’s always been a lovely little dog, we’re all starting to get used to each other a little more and understand each others routine.

He’s a cute little chap, that’s him on the left…


My son Frank and I went out for a walk around Tockholes yesterday, it was Harry’s first big ‘Country Walk’…Tockholes is a wonderful place, you can find more information about it here…


Harry enjoyed splashing through the mud and damp leaves…


And Frank was very chuffed as everyone thought Harry was very cute (which he is!).


We’re looking forward to many many more walks together, and we’re starting to plan a Northumberland trip, and a Skye trip for next year…Harry should enjoy those….

Frank can exercise Harry and I can get stuck in to my Landscape Photography!!!


Here’s Harry…

We’d had Jack since 1999. He’d been a great dog, very loyal, friendly and ‘low maintenance’.


He’d been on many walks in the Lake District and Scotland, he just loved running around. Over the past 12 months he started to get mobility issues , in particular, his back legs became very weak making it difficult for him to stand or even get up after lying down.


One day he lay on his favourite rug and just vomited and toileted himself where he lay. Jack was taken to the vets, and we did the hardest, but kindest thing we could do for him.

Julie and I were upset, however my son was particularly distressed and sobbed for hours.
Initially we wanted a break from having a dog, however, seeing my son in the state he was in made us reconsider. I spoke to Frank about the responsibilities of owning a dog and said that any new puppy would be his.
Frank then came up with ‘The Pledge’.


After a series of machinations through Social Media, we were put in touch with someone who had puppies who were almost ready to be taken home. We went to the house to see these…


Frank, and ‘Harry’ fell instantly in love.
We arranged a pick up date two weeks after the initial viewing. That date could not come soon enough…Frank talked about Harry every day.
Anyway, the day finally came and we went to pick up puppy.


At first, as you would expect, puppy was a little cautious, however, within about an hour, he and my son started bonding.

Here are a few short videos of the little chap.



Now they are the best of pals. Harry is a lovely little dog, Frank says its like having a brother.


We’re looking forward to many walks ands family outdoor adventures for years to come!