Was never a big reader

At school the only book I was ‘forced’ to read was ‘Kes’ after that never read much at all until…

I met a girl who was an avid reader…first gift she ever gave me…

Now…I’m from Washington, Tyne & Wear and in those days Holden Caulfield was as far removed from me as President Carter. No idea who he was. What he represented. I just didn’t ‘get it’. But I persevered with it…

Then I got into Ian McEwan..,

Here was something I could understand a little bit better. Just the plot and emotion without the Americanisation.

So…here began my reading journey..,

That’s my ‘library’ now. 😳
I read all sorts now.

My daughter has started sending me books…we try to out read each other 😂😂😂

Amongst the books she had sent, she sent me this…it has a certain vernacular and rhythm much like ‘A Clockwork Orange’ – you have to keep at it…

Just watched ‘A Rebel In The Rye’ it was ok…a lot of the stuff I already knew…

Wild Camping? Give me a break…

Lots of people now posting their ‘Wild Camping’ adventures on Social Media as if it’s a new concept.

Well…the terminology might have changed.

In my day it was called camping..

Circa 1980 was at a loose end one Easter. A friend suggested we go camping in The Lake District.

Now…I lived a conservative life in Washington, Tyne & Wear. Furthest I’d been was Filey one summer holiday with my parents.

Anyway, bought the gear, no idea…Ultimate Peapod Tent, Berghaus rucksack, Trangia stove etc.

And we’re off…

Caught a bus from Washington to Newcastle.

Then a coach from Newcastle to Keswick Bus Station (now Booths)

Then the Mark 1 legs took over…

The initial formula of getting to The Lakes never changed…

I had many many adventures over the years.

I’d walk to a pre-planned camp site or more often, just walked until I was tired…put my tent up. Ate, drank, slept. Decamped then started walking again…

I walked all over The Lakes…and I mean all over…

If social media existed back in the 80’s and 90’s I’d be a <YouTube> <Instagram> sensation 😂

My mate Alex (deceased) on Helvellyn
We’re on top of the world ma!

Legs are a bit weary now. Being late fifties ain’t no fun. Still aim to complete the Birketts though!

Bodybuilding Builds Character

From 0-18 years old I was what my mam called a ‘skinnymalink’ terribly thin. I weighed about 9st 10lbs at age 18.

At about 18 I decided to study karate and after a couple of years was put into ‘combat’ with another student. He was MASSIVE (in my eyes). At the end of the session in the changing room and <ahem> admiring his physique I asked him what the his secret was…

Long story short..,I ordered a Weider Bench and a weights set from my mam’s catalogue

And got to work.

I’d train every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, relentlessly in my home gym..

Home gym

Eventually the home gym became limited (and at the time I was too insecure to join a public gym) however, I decided to start training at a gym in Concorde, Washington, Tyne & Wear.

I started to see a real difference.

I’d never been a big hit with the opposite sex on account of being short, skinny and ugly…

Then…ever so slowly..,things started to change.

As my chest, shoulders and legs started filling out, girls started showing an interest and…

Guys who may have been irreverent or disrespectful in the past (was great bumping into old school colleagues – you could visibly see their eyebrows raise) changed their attitude.

Then…for love and work (long story) I moved to Bolton, near Manchester.

I started training at a gym initially called ‘Physiques’ but after a few ownership changes became known as ‘J.R.’s Fitness Centre.

This was no jacuzzi / yoga / new age fitness centre. This was old school..,

After years and years of consistent training and clean eating (150g Protein every day, minimal junk) my stubborn physique began to change…

I used to go into the gym and immediately play Rocky music on a tape I had created…and eventually after about 2 years of that earned the nickname ‘Rocky’ which is ironic…I couldn’t fight my way out of a wet paper bag…

Anyway I trained and trained and trained for years and my luck with the ladies slowly changed…

The red head was my partner for a while

Anyway…I trained at that gym for years and years. My intensity slowed down after my forties.

The gym closed down early 2020. I’d trained there for over 30 years. Great memories. Great friends. It was a touchstone.

And here I am…

late fifties…reminiscing…wishing I could do it all again.

Oh…and I still love Rocky!

The Smiths

I’m sure it was about 1984. Maybe on the John Peel show, I first heard The Smiths. I rushed to The Eldon Centre and HMV to buy the album the next day.

I was a naive not very well travelled Mackem. Fit meant you could run the 100 metres in less than 11 seconds. Wally Range was an estate that thickos lived.,,

I saw The Smiths twice at Newcastle Mayfair, well, once really, punk hadn’t ‘officially’ finished so spitting was the order of the day…On my second concert someone spat at Morrissey . He said if anyone spits again he’ll leave the stage. 0.002 seconds later. Yep…you’ve guessed it…

I then moved to Bolton and worked in Manchester in 1988. I eventually got my head around the vocabulary – fit had nothing to do with your bench pressing ability.

The poetry of Morrissey sings to me. I know it’s not for everyone.

I’ll never stop admiring and liking him…


A Few Quotes I like

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread.

John Muir

Ada McGrath: What a death! What a chance! What a surprise! My will has chosen life! Still it has had me spooked and many others besides!

The Piano

Christopher McCandless: Some people feel like they don’t deserve love. They walk away quietly into empty spaces, trying to close the gaps of the past.

Into The Wild

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality, nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit.” – Christopher McCandless

Into The Wild

“The more you live in the present moment the more the fear of death disappears”

Sam Harris

2020 Reading List

George Orwell – 1984

Andrew Chaiken – A Man On The Moon – The Voyages Of The Apollo Astronauts

Ant Middleton – The Fear Bubble

Douglas Murray – The Strange Death Of Europe

Douglas Murray – The Madness Of Crowds

Charles Bukowski – Ham On Rye

Charles Bukowski – Factotum

Charles Bukowski – Post Office

Charles Bukowski – Women

Viktor E. Frankl – Man’s Search For Meaning

Eckhart Tolle – A New Earth

Napoleon Hill – Think And Grow Rich

Richard Carlson – Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer – The Power Of Intention

Eckhart Tolle – The Power Of Now

Esther and Jerry Hicks – Ask And It Is Given

Some surprising things you probably don’t know about me…

Here’s a surprising bit about me you probably don’t know.
My background is in I.T. 
If you ever shopped in Makro in the late 80’s or early 90’s – I wrote the code that managed to identify the item number of defaced labels.
If you’ve ever bought cereal from Kelloggs, I wrote code to facilitate secure access for I.T. Staff. 

I also wrote the code to enable the Wrexham site to Auto Recover from a system failure.
If you were ever a member of the RAC, I reconfigured their computer network to ensure that calls for assistance were dealt with in the most efficient manner. 
If you ever bought anything from DABS 2000-2005 I managed that back end system.
So…there you go…

Raising funds for the North West Air Ambulance

The company I work for (CDL) have chosen the North West Air Ambulance as their new chosen charity.

Every day of the year the North West Air Ambulance Charity operates two helicopters that fly to people with life-threatening injuries or illnesses and to places that normal ambulances cannot reach. They receive almost no mainstream funding and costs over £4.2 million a year to keep flying and saving lives. That means they need our help.


CDL’s first fund raising event will be entering a team into the BUPA Great Manchester Run on 18th May. It’s Europe’s biggest 10k.

Rather foolishly, I’ve said I’ll get involved, and I’m no runner! I did do the Great North Run back in 1984, don’t think I’ve ran since!

Anyway, I’m up for the challenge, so will need to start training….hard….

So…it would be great if we could keep this chap happy…


I’m raising funds through Just Giving…

The link is here to our team page…


I’d really appreciate any donations…and I’ll keep you all informed of my training progress!

UPDATE 1st March 2014:
Went out for a quick little shuffle along the beach when I was staying in Seahouses last week and an old injury of 20 years has resurfaced. Back in the 90’s I used to work for The Kellogg Company Of Great Britain. They had their own little gym. I went on the running machine once and strained my Achilles Tendon on my left ankle, very painful. I’ve had physio etc. however it’s come and gone over the years. Usually only lasting a few days. It’s now been niggling me for about a week, and is impeding my training progress. Watch this space!

Thank you.

Sergeant Blackman

I posted this on FB.

Before I start I must proclaim that as far as I’m aware no Afghan ever hurt me.

I’m going to sound very naive. Is there a way of getting a message of support to Sergeant Blackman?
Which prison?
How do you contact him etc?
I’m usually quiet on matters such as these – my posts are usually drivel or feeble attempts at humour.
I’d like to be able to express my feelings to him, which may be in line with thousands of others.
It just seems so unfair to serve your country for 15 years in one of the most professional and formidable units in the UK then to be treated like this.
If we don’t want our hero soldiers, airman and sailors killing anyone then stop sending then needlessly to ‘warzones’ and having to fight with one arm behind their backs fighting under silly one sided rules.
If the boot was on the other foot the Afghan guy would be getting a medal.
My stance is this: we need to stop interfering in other countries. Get out. We have no business being there. If you do ‘Cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war’, don’t bitch and moan when it all goes wrong, and certainly don’t persecute those who have done your dirty work.