“Remember, Remember the 5th of November, Treason, Gunpowder plot”

Well it’s the 5th of November and once again the annual event known as Bonfire night has arrived, many will already know the history of Guy Fawkes and how he came to be embroiled in one of the most deadly attacks that the United Kingdom has faced, but for those that don’t let me try and elucidate. Guy Fawkes was born in April of 1570 in the town of York where he was educated at St Peter’s School. His father passed away when he was only Eight years old and left his estate to his son. When he turned 21, Guy Fawkes went to fight for the Catholic Spain; there he adopted the name of Guido Fawkes,

He was drawn into the plot, orchestrated by Robert Catesby, to blow up the Houses of Parliament and in the process assassinate King James I on the 5th of November 1605. Why, because of the suppression for many years of the Roman Catholic faith dating back the rule of Henry VIII who broke away from the Roman Catholic church because of the Popes refusal to grant him a divorce.

Many had assumed that after the death of Henry the VIII’s daughter Queen Elizabeth I on the 23rd March 1603 that her successor King James I would be more lenient towards the Catholic faith, but that wasn’t to be the case. Fearing there was no other way Robert Catesby, who was an English Catholic, conspired to commit treason and blow up the Houses of Parliament while King James and the Prince of Wales were in attendance.  After the discovery of the plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament

Catesby fled to Staffordshire where he eventually died on the 8th November 1605 after the house in which he was hiding was surrounded and a gun battle commenced, it is believed that Catesby died clutching a picture of the Virgin Mary in his arms.

Anyway, as a child I used to love bonfire night, collection wood with my friends to burn on the night, building the Guy out of old clothes. As I got older though bonfire night lost its appeal and now the only reasons I still like bonfire night is that it’s the one night of the year that one can legally burn all the rubbish that we have gathered throughout the year without getting a huge fine.

We see all the young children laughing and so excited when bonfire night comes around as they sit and watch the fire burn with a toffee apples in their hands while watching the fireworks going off, the adults are  excited  too, but that’s mainly because they managed to get rid of that old sofa that has been stuck in the garden for the last six months.

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London Trip

Sunday the 15th of October

On Sunday Victoria, Angela and I went to the National History Museum, it is a really nice place to visit and very educational, although I would say that anyone wishing to attend plan in advance as there are long queues to get in and it took us a while to get to the front, it was a bit dark for me with my sight and I struggled at times to push the chair in the right direction.

When I am pushing the chair I use the same techniques that I used in work when pushing the cages around the warehouse, if I can see the feet of the person in front of me, then I know that I have safe distance to stop and turn, but it was so dark in the museum that I couldn’t see the person in front let alone anyone’s feet.

Victoria had to take over for that part of the visit and push the chair. Angela was amazed at the exhibits, it felt a little awkward when she wanted to go see the exhibit that showed how the human body functions such as the muscles and the nerves as that is what MND affects.

Hanging from the roof were skeletons of different dinosaurs which were nice to see, its a good job we didn’t take the dog though or they would be missing a bone or two. Angela got to hold the skull of a Dolphin and a Pygmy Hippo which she was amazed by.

I saw a life size horse in a glass cage, I am sure I have seen that horse before though, I think I backed it in the Grand National Two years ago, always wondered where the losers ended up. In all it was a nice day, but I’ll admit I was happy to leave there, not because of boredom, but because it was not light enough for me to navigate my way around…

Monday, 16th of October 2017

The day got off to a scary start because we thought we had lost Angela, she tried to eat something that she is not meant to eat and it got stuck in her throat. She was gasping for air and it was frightening to see that. I was banging her on the back and Victoria was ready to call an ambulance, but thankfully the blockage cleared and the air was getting through again.

We had planned to go to Madame Tussaud’s, but you have to give two days’ notice. It’s beyond belief that you have to give notice to go and see a bunch of dummies and pay £30 each for the privilege of doing so, we could just stand outside the Houses of Parliament for free and see the same thing.

Instead Victoria, Angela and I went to London Zoo   which was far more entertaining than seeing a load of wax dummies, it was a bit of a hike though to get there because the Zoo is in Regent’s Park and we were on foot with the wheelchair.

The zoo was really entertaining, even though some of the animals were down for an afternoon nap. The Kangaroo was on its side fast asleep, all I could see were two legs sticking out of the bushes. We went into the monkey habitat where a tiny monkey came over to us and jumped on Angela’s foot, I wanted to pick it up, but I didn’t get the chance as the poor little thing ran off after Angela kicked it.

I started Angela off laughing as we passed the Zebra enclosure, we saw the Zebra’s walking around and I said to Angela “you know what that is don’t you, that’s a Zebra crossing”. The only downside to London Zoo for me was that there were no Elephants; even with my sight I think I could have seen one of those coming.

After a few hours wandering around, we set off back home. That was another trial, we got stuck in rush hour and I was struggling with people pushing past and stepping over the front of the chair. I am struggling with my emotions since Angela was diagnosed and I was starting to get a little angry at such rude people, manners cost nothing and you don’t push past someone who is pushing a wheelchair nor the person in the wheelchair.

Eventually though we made it back to Sidcup, we then got changed and headed off to dinner at James parents’ home where we had a lovely meal, a perfect end to a near perfect day…

Tuesday the 17th of October

Tuesday was the day of the parliamentary reception in aid of the MNDA, both Angela and Victoria attended that event and to find out what happened inside you will have to read their blogs. It was in the centre of London so we set of early to get there in time, we arrived a little early and had time for a bit if sightseeing.

Angela and Victoria left me and headed into the reception and I went off to do some more sightseeing on my own, well more like sight feeling as I used the wall as a guide. Ancient Mariners used the stars in the night sky to navigate, I use potholes and building signs to navigate my way around. I made my way down White Hall and stopped to take photos of Downing Street, I saw a Black van come out of the gates, but they could have just been delivering the Prime Ministers the dry cleaning for all I know.

I made my way back to the reception for half past one, where I was greeted by security staff, I backed into a bush in the lobby, I didn’t know it was made of glass, not until it hit the floor anyway. I told them I am registered partly sighted and they said don’t worry about it and let me through to the canteen to sit down, mainly before I break anything else, good job they did as I needed to charge my phone.

After the reception, Angela Victoria and I went off to do some more sightseeing, we went to the portrait gallery, I liked it, but Angela wasn’t too entertained stating that Henry the VIII needed a shave and King George the III didn’t look like he was round the twist in his portrait. We next visited Buckingham Palace where Angela spotted a window open and wondered if the Queen was watching…

Wednesday the 18th of October

We left Victoria’s flat at 8am and we had a little breakfast in Sidcup before going for the train home. It was a good job we left early too, the train to London Bridge was delayed, when we came to get off the door was stuck and a passenger pulled the door release and held the door open so we could get off. When we got to the underground the barriers was up so we had to walk to the next entrance.

In all our trip to London was what we both needed, Angela’s state of emotion on a morning was getting to me; I felt the emotional levels rising and the grip of depression starting to take hold. I love Angela and I will always be here for her no matter what, but it is not easy at times and it can be somewhat stressful.

At some point the caresses also need a little care, more funding is needed to not only fund research so as to find a cure for MND, but also to provide more help for the carers of MND suffers, as the MND changes so does the level of care that is needed and new ways of doing things have to be found.

In conclusion though, the trip to London may have given us both a break, but it also gave Angela something more, it gave Angela the opportunity to see the life that Victoria has built for herself in London. All any mother wants is to know that her children are happy and well, Angela got the chance to see that her daughter has a lovely home with her partner James and that she is surrounded by people who care about her…

Scarborough

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Me and the wife yesterday in  Scarborough, September 2017

Sometimes when we get up on a morning Angela is a bit emotional, so yesterday morning we decided to go out for the day, we made our way to the train station in Leeds and boarded a train to Scarborough. We have done this many time’s and we have just gone off somewhere on the spur of the moment.

We have been to Scarborough before, but this is the first time since Angela’s diagnosis and the first time using the wheelchair. It was fine going from the train station down the hill to the sea front, but it was the return trip back up the hill to the train station that took it out of me, and it was playing havoc with my asthma. In hindsight it would have been far better had we taken the bus or the Cliff Railway  back up the hill, but we didn’t, so a word of advice. If you are pushing a wheelchair in Scarborough, take the bus or the train.

In all it was a nice day and we managed to put the MND out of our minds for a few hours. We found out two things from our visit to the coast, Angela can eat fresh seafood without any incidents of choking, and I found good workout routine by walking back up that hill.

When one is faced of this kind of illness it is far better to find something to occupy one’s mind because, if you don’t have something else to think about that is when you start to think about the MND and the future. And at that point the depression starts to set in, and that is one place I don’t wish to revisit again. All you can do is make the most of a really bad situation, go out and have plenty of fun with the family and make many memories in the process that everyone can look back on for years to come with no regrets…

London Visit

Well we have just started making plans for our journey to London next month; we booked the train tickets this afternoon and everything else is falling into place nicely. All we have to do now is book somewhere for the little and large, also known as Sam and Oscar, (three guesses which one Oscar is).  Once that is done we are on the train and away we go for a few days touring around London.

Victoria is putting an itinerary together of places for us to visit; I would like to go and see the Royal Academy of Art. Yes, I know what you are thinking me and art, I am under no illusions, I know there will not be any pictures of Homer Simpson or Peter Griffin hanging on the wall, but a man can dream though. I would also like to go and visit Buckingham Palace; they only show you it from the front on the news. I would like to have a look round the back and see if I can see Prince Philip stuffing the empty pizza boxes and beer cans in the wheelie bin!

Come on, we all know that when the cameras are off them, the Royal Family are just like us, the Queen is down in front of the television watching Coronation Street while eating a chicken curry, Prince Philip is in the Rolls and on his way down to Bargain Booze (other off licences are available!) for a six-pack, because, if he’s anything like me, he would rather watch two snails run the London Marathon than watch the soaps. Camilla has gone down the bingo for a couple of hours while Prince Charles has his weekly poker night.

All joking aside though, I am a supporter of the Royals as they do bring in a lot of revenue for the UK economy, and it is nice to see the Queen after all those years of service still going strong and serving her country well. It has been many years since I was in London and I am looking forward to going now and seeing if they have managed to get all the pigeon muck of Nelson’s hat yet…

“Blackpool, The Golden Mile”

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Blackpool, September 2017, “Soaking up the vitamin D like a solar panel”

 

Saturday, 2nd of September marks the one-week anniversary of me and Angela exchanging our wedding vows, we decided to mark the occasion and spend the day in Blackpool. We picked the perfect day for it as well because the sun was shining all afternoon. It didn’t start off to well as I had a fall immediately after leaving the house. We only just made the train. When we got on the train it was so full that there were prams in the toilet so no one could use them.  The conductor kept asking for people to give up their seat to woman who had babies so I kept moving and I spend a most of the train ride standing.

It was worth it though when we arrived in Blackpool. We walked along the Golden Mile from the North Pier to the Pleasure Beach.  We saw this huge column with people just jumping off the top, no they weren’t committing suicide off the Blackpool Tower, they were para gliders jumping from a crane. Angela said to me “l would do that” of course she would.  Me on the other hand I don’t like heights and I would not put my life in the hands of an oversized handkerchief.  Angela keeps trying to get me to go up the Blackpool Tower and the only way that will ever happen is if I’m bound and gagged and dragged up kicking and screaming
So, we watched a while and then carried on with our walk towards the Pleasure Beach with me pushing the chair swerving in and out of the crowds of people and Angela with her legs sticking out in front to act as a battering ram. We were also a bit cheeky in that we both needed to loo so we nipped in a bar on the front to use the facilities then made a quick exit without buying a drink, we hurried away from there looking like something from an old Benny Hill sketch.

After what seemed like hours of walking, I kept looking back to see the Tower getting smaller and smaller, we eventually arrived at the Pleasure Beach, we didn’t go in because been from Yorkshire we are careful with our money! OK, I am tight and refuse to pay the entrance fee there I said it. We sat and watched from across the road the Pepsi Max rollercoaster. Angela spotted an open air tram and wanted to ride it back to the North Pier, there were plenty of trams that had a perfectly good roof on them, but she wanted to go on that one, even though it meant we had to sit there forty minutes for it to come back round again because they already had a wheelchair on and no room for ours.

I asked Angela if she had any change on her for the tram, she reached in to her purse and pulled a wad of notes out. I knew there was a reason why her handbag is always so heavy and why she bolts it to the wheelchair when we are out, it’s because of the mini printer she has in there to run off a batch of £20 notes when she needs them. Anyway, out came a twenty and we rode the tram back.

So, we had a lovely day in Blackpool, Angela got some much needed vitamin D and we put MND out of our minds for the day and it just felt like old times. Angela is determined not to let it get her down or as Angela put on her Facebook page “screw you MND”. MND is always there and we know that the MND is going to get worse over time.

We are going to have fun while we can, I have noticed that Angela has gotten a little worse with eating and speaking but it’s nothing we can’t get around, we try to make a joke of it and she has said to me “what will you do when I can’t speak at all” to which I reply “watch the television in peace” that raises a chuckle from her. Blackpool we will be back when you switch on the illuminations, I would live to see what their electric bill is for that quarter…