Manchestaaaaaaar!

Just a little update to bore you with my new life – it’s bloody brilliant! So here I am, once again employed, but fortunately for only a few hours a week, and in the magnificent haven of The Coach and Horses pub. I’m absolutely loving it! I’d forgotten what a nice life it is to just deal with happy people who aren’t punching you, stabbing you, spitting at you, and generally just being the scum of the earth!  The 20 second walk to work is somewhat better than my previous 45-60 minute commute, and Charlotte loves seeing me come home smiling and happy! Yes, I’m pretty skint, but that is far outweighed by my happiness, and once I can convince my landlord that I can pay the rent in happiness then all will be well! Actually, the realisation that my pension is already sorted, and I can treat the next few years as my own, is pretty good. Next week I’ve  been put on the rota for 20hrs, which is probably far more hours than I actually want to work, so I’ll be having words……

This week I’ve been in Manchester all week on my sports massage course, and again, thoroughly enjoying it. I’m learning a huge amount, and have been blown away today by the wonders of myo fascial release. It’s not only fascinating, but genuinely amazing treatment. So I’ve had a week of giving, and receiving, all types of treatment, and feel bloody great! I’ve run 10k each night along the canal, and am feeling on top of the world! Lovely people on the course, and I’ve found a good friend in another ex bobby who has been running with me. Of course, I’m not trying to self-publicise, but the benefits of regular deep tissue massage have really paid off for me – I’m generally a slow runner, sort of 9.30 min per mile rate over any distance from 10-50k, yet today I’ve just very pleasantly run 8.30 min for 10k. My normal right calf problem has been sorted in just 10 minutes by my fellow student, and considering that only 3 weeks ago I was in so much pain I could hardly walk, this is quite a feat.

My daily run has been along the Manchester-Rochdale canal, which just happens to be  the starting point of my 50k ultra marathon next month. So this seems as good a time as any to remind you chaps out there that you can/absolutely should, sponsor me as I’m raising money for Martin House Children’s Hospice in Wetherby. It’s an enormously worthy cause, and I implore you to back me, not for my sake, but to donate towards this incredible charity. I’ve set a target of £500, so please help me. I know we’re besieged by these requests daily, but honestly, when you see the work they do there, you’ll understand how important it is. Anyway, the place to go is justgiving.com/Paul-Rock-Canalathon. And if any of you have businesses that need to get rid of some of your money at the end of the tax year,then this is the way to do it…….

Another bonus of being in Manchester this week has been seeing Josh every day. When he’s not being a student (and let’s face it, his £9000 annual fee only requires him to attend Uni 9 hrs a week!!!!) he works at Byron Burger, and has been able to give me a 50% discount on my food all week! Top work Josh! Although it’s cost me at least ten times that amount taking him to the pub every night…..

I’m going to pop into Beaker’s leaving do in Leeds tomorrow night on my way home , so may see some of you there, and I’ll leave you with a couple of views of the Rochdale canal! (These were taken at the 5k turn around point, having skilfully avoided the knobheads on the stolen motor bikes trying to to kill me!)

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Disaster!!!!!!!!

Four weeks today since I became officially unemployed! And what a lovely four weeks it’s been! Should have done this years ago! Don’t think I’ve ever felt so happy and calm, and fitter and healthier! However, it’s all gone to pot today, when in a moment of madness I’ve had a complete and utter disaster – I’ve only gone and got a bloody job!!! Not to worry though, it’s very much part time, and will be on a bit of an ad hoc basis, and involves a daily commute of approximately 100 yards. Yes, I’m going to be a part time barman at the finest pub in England, The Coach and Horses!! I think Dan the manager has taken pity on me, and safe in the knowledge that any money I earn will be going straight back into The Coach’s coffers, he’s agreed to give me the odd shift here and there. I mean, he may as well get some use out of me rather than just having me sitting around making the pub look untidy. What a nice man! Anyway, it’s brilliant for me, and couldn’t better fit my only career remit of being able to walk to work. To be fair, I could probably hop to work there, or maybe even dig a tunnel from ours to their cellars…..
This past week saw me starting my Sports Massage Course, and it couldn’t have been better. After just a few days I just knew that I’d made the right decision, and am incredibly excited about it. What a lovely group of people on the course, including a couple of retired bobbies, both of whom were envious of my decision to jack the job in early! There’s a huge amount of work ahead in the next few months – the actual art of massage isn’t a problem, but the in depth knowledge of anatomy and physiology required is quite daunting. Still, that’s why I packed in work, to give me time to throw everything into it, and I’m thoroughly enjoying the learning. I’ve just finished three hours studying the rotator cuff, so am going to reward myself with an irresponsibly large gin and tonic 😀😀😀🍸🍸🍸🍸
My most amusing moment this week was the response from a private surveillance company I’d applied to – they told me that seeing as how I didn’t have a BTEC in surveillance they couldn’t take me on! Forget 12 years doing it! A bloody BTEC! Equivalent to an O level!!!! Haha! How brilliant that company must be!!!!
Charlotte’s been quite poorly the last few days. Turns out she’s had swine flu!!!! Of course, it would have been very unsympathetic of me to make oinking noises around her, and refer to her as a poorly piggy, but then, you know me……
Got both the boys coming to stay a couple of days tomorrow, and then Sam’s moving back to New York for a while, which while of course is very sad, it gives us a good excuse to go over and visit him!!
Cheers Chaps!!! 😀😀😀😀

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Hard at work!!!!

 

It’s A Wonderful Life!

Two weeks into unemployment now, and I’m loving it! The portents of doom predicted by many haven’t yet happened – I’ve not been struck by lightning, the bailiffs haven’t been, and the gin hasn’t run out! Obviously it’s massively helped by the fact that Charlotte goes out every day to work, but to be fair she loves her job! Although she’s finding the commuting bad, and I have full sympathy with her there. She’s now done about 10 years of driving to and from Bradford every day, and it takes its toll. (I can fully understand any person driving FROM Bradford, but TO it????????). Anyway, Charlotte’s been back at work for a week, and very fortunately all seems to be well with the job. And she loves coming home to an immaculately tidy house and a cooked meal! She’s started referring to me as her House Bitch, and as I’ve previously said is giving me £50 a week for house keeping! But we’ve discovered that this is easy enough, despite the fact I still shop at Waitrose and Weetons. Yes, it helps that I have time to cook, and it also helps that I love cooking, but I still can’t understand when you see families on tv who live on takeaways and junk food saying that it’s too expensive to eat healthily. I completely disagree, and would say it’s very easy to eat healthy (some of my ex colleagues may be choking now when they remember my diet of flaky-pastry based savouries!!!).
So following on from the 40 miles on the bike this week, and daily gym sessions, I headed out for a short run on Friday afternoon. It was a very cold but a brilliantly clear cloudless day, and I ended up doing 14 miles. Bloody loved it! I could have gone all day, but it was getting dangerously close to gin o’clock! I’ve been training with an interval running app on the treadmill, and it’s definitely showing huge improvements! The 31 mile run is only 9 weeks away now, so I’ve got to keep getting the mileage up a bit. I’m doing that run to raise money for Martin House Hospice, the children’s hospice in Wetherby. This is the chosen charity of my new local pub, The Coach and Horses, who over the years have raised many tens of thousands of pounds for them, and John the landlord has offered to help me promote my fundraising, so I’m really going to try and get a decent amount of sponsorship in.
Today is the beautiful Charlotte’s birthday! Last year on her birthday I took her up The Sugar Loaf Mountain (not a euphemism!!!!!!). This year is a little more sedate, with her going to work while I cook a nice dinner, and even experiment in a bit of baking……

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Working Hard!!!!

There was a palpable frisson of excitement in the bedroom this morning like a charge of electricity. It had been 15 months since I’d ridden the old girl, but today, more than ever, with the blood coursing afire through my veins, I was more determined than ever to get astride her…… Yes. It was Pinarello time!!!!! 😁😁😁😁
So despite the temperature being close to Absolute Zero, I donned Arctic clothing and headed off for what I thought might be 15-20 miles. But no! So great was it that I did 40 miles. And not any 40 miles, but 40 bloody hilly miles!! All around the beautiful country side outside Harrogate. What a pleasure! And for some bizarre reason, I even chose to cycle up Dacre Bank towards Brimham. This hill, at 33% gradient in places, has always been my nemesis, and generally I only tackle it once each year. But today I managed it fine (very slowly, so slowly in fact that at one stage my GPS told me I’d stopped when I actually hadn’t!) and just shows how much fitter I am now than this time last year. Or any year come to that. I honestly think I’m fitter now than I’ve ever been, although with a 31 mile run fast approaching in March that’s probably just as well.
I was so eager to get out this morning that I forgot to slather my bum with arse cream. Net result – one very tender derrière and related nether regions! However, I’m sure that there’s a very comfortable chair awaiting me in The Coach….
Charlotte tends to leave me with a list of jobs to complete during the day. Topping this list is “Get a job”. But I’m a bit loathe to rush into it, after all, it’s only been 13 months since I last worked, and I don’t want to over do it. Patience, I say, patience….. This work thing? Very over rated!!

Farewell Ziggy……

What a very sad day indeed this is, with the passing of Mr Bowie. It’s actually really shocked me, as it was totally unexpected. It’s only a couple of days ago that I remarked how well he looks! I couldn’t quite put my finger on exactly why it’s shaken me so much, until I’ve just spent a couple of hours in the gym listening to his music, and realised that he is the soundtrack to my entire life! From his very first albums (the double album Images 1966-67, remains one of my favourites, especially Maid of Bond Street) right up to his new release this week, each has been a classic, no matter which persona he was currently inhabiting. I’ve just been looking through my music collection on hard drive, and somehow I seem to have collected 108 of his albums/bootlegs/EPs/imports etc!!! Bloody hell!!! Hard to choose a favourite, but I think for me his Ziggy Stardust era is hard to beat. And I don’t think I ever saw him perform live! Although it’s possible that I did, but have forgotten as some of my earlier years seem to be a bit of a blur, so if anyone actually did go to one of his gigs with me, would they let me know!!
Brilliantly, Sam and Josh chose to buy me one of his albums on vinyl for Christmas. Top choice!
(So that one, and his two most recent albums make it 111!).

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The life of the Idle…..

Day four of unemployment, and I’m loving it!! The days generally consist of long lie-ins, a couple of hours in the gym, a couple of hours studying and reading, and much blatant loafing around! I’ve no time to work!! And of course, Gin o’clock can strike at any time!! Yes, I’ll have to find a job at some stage, but let’s not rush into it! And nothing more stressful than a bar job please!
Thank you to the very many of you who have sent me kind comments and wishes for my future. The general consensus seems to be that I have been “brave”! I take it that this is “brave” as in “foolish”!! Blythe has even accused me of being mentally ill! (which coming from him is a little rich to say the least!!!) However, I would have said I’d have been braver to carry on doing a job I don’t really want to do, just waiting to retire, instead of doing something about it! And speaking of retirement, I’d already checked out my pension situation, and it’s surprisingly good! Although I don’t get it until I’m 60 (5 years further than when I would have got it by staying in the job), the projected monthly payment and lump sum is way above what I was expecting!! It made my decision much easier!
Of course, we’re having to be a little bit more careful with our money, but nothing extreme. It’s not stopping us buying vinyl! I was delighted yesterday to pick up Yes ‘Tomato’ and Genesis ‘Duke’ in a second hand record shop, for the princely total of £7. Two of my old favourites!
And of course we still shop at Waitrose! After all, we are from Harrogate!! 😀😀😀
Cheers chaps! Time for some Bombay Sapphire!!

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A rare glimpse of the sun setting from our flat!

Unemployed!!!!! And Happy!!!!

I’ve done it!!!! After months (possibly years!) of deliberation, it took only one very depressing day back at work to realise that I no longer wished to be in the police! So, I’ve resigned! And as of today I am officially unemployed! Obviously there is a certain amount of fear and trepidation, but also a huge amount of excitement!

Without going into detail, the matter of my return to work was exceptionally badly handled, and has made my decision very easy. Even the DCI I’ve just spoken with totally agrees with me. To be fair, even if I’d been offered a job at my previous team, I don’t think that would have helped as they seem to be working away from home a lot, and that’s not on my agenda anymore. Priorities in my life have changed. Yes, of course we need money, but not as much as we need happiness, and I don’t think I was going to find that in the police again. Many people will think I’m mad, but so what? I can’t understand people who moan about their job constantly, but don’t do anything about it. (I may have moaned constantly about my job, but I always moved on to try find something better! And then moaned a bit more……). So, the end of a 22 year era. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some brilliant times with amazing people there (and of course the complete opposite too!) but it’s time for a change. Many will say it’s a terrible decision, and who knows, they may be right. But of course, they may not be!
I had already enrolled in a course and have started studying – to be a Sports Massage Therapist!!! I’m actually loving studying again, and finding it absolutely fascinating!! That’s going to take a year to complete. Coincidentally, sports massage is one of the jobs on the list of approved jobs for emigration to New Zealand……….. but that would be a long time from now if it ever happened. And with Charlotte training to be a yoga teacher, we would have two very portable jobs for finding work here and there around the world! Also, our sailing course in Langkawi that we had to cancel has very kindly been put on hold for us by the company, so we’re able to do that November/December this year. We’d long ago decided to use our time back after the trip to gain other qualifications, with a view to buggering off again one day a few years in the future. I could be a sailing masseuse!!!
I’ve been training hard, and my belly is definitely shrinking. I’ve stopped smoking 5 weeks ago. In March I’m doing a 31 mile running event, and trying to build up to a 24hr event in September in which I’d hope to be able to do 70+ miles. Which is a big run!
All in all, life is good! All I need now is a job! As long as it’s walking distance from home, I don’t mind too much what I do. A little bit of bar work would suit me fine!
Cheers everybody!!!
Paul (civilian!!)

Despite all, the future is bloody good!

Saturday 12th December
Oh crikey indeed! It’s been many days since I’ve written anything, and I’m sure that anyone who had the slightest bit of interest in foreign tales has completely forgotten me now, But. It’s half past midnight, and I’m feeling like writing a little, so…..
I’m very busy building an Ark at the moment. It’s been raining for the past 324 years here in Yorkshire. Cumbria and the Lake District (God’s Own Country) have already very sadly succumbed to it, and the people there are suffering badly. I’m taking no chances, and filling my Ark with two of every beer that has ever been brewed in the hope that, come the Apocalypse, they will breed. Fortunately, they are non-religious beers and therefore have a good chance of survival.
At risk of massive criticism, what the hell is going on in this world of ours???? We’ve had a lovely year of blissful ignorance, only to come home to find that our Government is hell bent on destroying us with war! WTF! I just don’t understand that a (small) majority of parliament can send us in this direction? What ever happened to listening to the people? Bloody hell, we’ve been in communist countries this year that listened to their people more! I despair!!!!!
Yes, life back in so-called “reality” isn’t exactly what we see as being “good”. And having preached that we don’t actually have to put up with it, we’ve got a plan! And it’s a good plan! And England doesn’t feature in it!(Ok, so it does, for the next 18 months or so, but…) The realisation that this isn’t the only option in life is very freeing! However, when I think about the consistent rainy/grey/miserable days maybe we’re making a mistake in leaving England??? Haha! I think not!
So, only two weeks until I start work. Obviously I can’t wait….. WYP still haven’t had the decency to let me know where I’m going or what I’m doing. But, after all, I only gave them 3 months notice of my return, so maybe I shouldn’t rush them into a decision. The meetings I’ve had with them so far have been, shall we say, disappointing? I know that once I’m eventually back with them, if I procrastinate as much as they have done, I’d lose my job. Actually, that might be a good thing????!!! For me!
But. Life is very good at the moment. Mum is in a very nice nursing home in Guiseley, Dad is doing well, I’m running many miles a week, and I haven’t had a cigarette for two weeks!!! And I get to spend all day with my very beautiful wife Charlotte!
I’m very happy!

Mayhem at The Coach!!

 

Wednesday 25th November
Only a week until we come home!!! Oh, hang on……..
Anyway, here we are, settling back into England. It’s a very slow process! It’s fair to say that the weather doesn’t help! However, we battle on, and think positive! So I’ll outline the good points!
I’ve got massively back into running, and am out most days, never for less than 6 miles, and pushing ten miles now. I find running the greatest thing for getting the mind back on track and out of the doldrums. I’m thinking I should set up a running club for depressives/smokers/drinkers! If I can do it, anyone can! Honest, when I’m down (90% of the time!) Charlotte sends me out for a run, and I come back smiling and full of life! It should be prescribed by the NHS! Myself and Shelley are entered into a 31 mile run in March, basically Manchester to Sowerby Bridge! Can’t wait! Non of these petty marathon distances for us!
With regards to Mum, we’ve finally got her into a nursing home in Guiseley! This is magnificent news, and is the result of visiting 15 homes – several refusals from homes after assessing mum, and more homes that I wouldn’t even put a badly behaved dog in. But, she’s been there for 30 hrs now, which is 3hrs more than she lasted in her initial home! I lay awake at night waiting for the phone call from the home to tell me they can’t cope……. The home itself, Ghyll Royd, is absolutely superb. It’s cosy, comfortable, and the staff are amazing. Me and Charlotte took her there yesterday, and were really happy to leave her there. I’ve been back this morning, and just love the place. I’ve met all the other residents. Mary (I’ve changed her name on Charlotte’s insistence) has declared her love for me and gave me a big kiss before I left! She treated us all to some very badly sung hymns! As sad as it is, seeing as how this is how many of us will end up, I found the care and loving from the staff genuinely touching. It’s not a job I could do. I really take my hat off to them all. And only £895 a week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A week!!!!!!!! But to have mum safe and happy is priceless and it’s taken an enormous amount of pressure off the family. And to be fair, after much debate and cajoling, the social services have agreed to pay £695 a week! Who would ever have thought that my wonderful mum would be a tax drain!!!! Haha! She deserves it! Very happy😀 Let’s see how long she lasts there!!!
We’ve discovered a brilliant new game! Musical Chairs Mayhem in the Coach and Horses! So, The Coach has become our pub of choice at the moment (it’s about 30 seconds walk from home, although we do actually pass The Muckles Bar to get there!). Never a favourite of ours in the past, it just now seems much more cosier and welcoming for some bizarre reason. And it has 33 types of gin! Anyway, there are lots of regulars there, who each seem to have their own allotted seat. So when we arrive at 4pm, and it’s empty, we choose to sit wherever we like, but knowing we’re taking a “chosen” spot! The entertainment is fantastic! As the locals arrive, there is a domino effect when they have to change their regular seats! It makes them so uncomfortable and paranoid! Today they sat and stared at us as if trying to intimidate us into moving! Charlotte actually said that we should move, but I said no, this is far too entertaining to let go! Great sport!
On Saturday we had a few drinks with Shelley and her parents Ken and Linda. Ken and Linda have taken some stick from me this year as I’ve referred to their size (they are tiny tiny people!) but have taken it very good naturedly! What a lovely afternoon! And another good pub, Major Tom’s, with superb craft beers! Funnily, I mentioned our missing laptop, and the lovely Linda distinctly remembered me leaving it at Shelley’s for safe keeping! Shelley, in true police style, denies any knowledge of this! But fantastically, Shelley has just contacted us to say that although she hasn’t found the laptop, she has found our two missing coats!!!!!! Brilliant! Great news! We can be warm again!
So, off to London tomorrow to see the boy Sam, Loz and Ali! Happy days!!!!

Living with Nigella……

Sunday 15th November
My God. What a depressing day!! Miserable grey drizzle day after day….. Shelley spent ten minutes trying to convince me that going out walking in the rain is just as nice as in the sun. I know it’s each to their own and all that, but frankly Shelley, you’re wrong!!!! It’s bloody horrible! (Mind you, she is from Newcastle….) Anyway, to try and cheer myself up I’ve just been out to run 7.2 miles, and ran as well as I have done for a while. So now it’s time to rely on the anti-depressive qualities of gin and tonic.
We did have a brilliant time on Friday though, when we went to meet my old team for a drink in Leeds, and an extra special surprise to find my old partner Hill waiting there for me! We worked together for a while in Chapeltown as renegade DCs, and were either referred to as highly competent, or Laurel and Hardy depending on who you spoke to. But to see all my old colleagues was absolutely fantastic, and it’s a shame that I’ll probably never get to work with them again.
Ironic really, considering the people I was drinking with, that at that very time all sorts of horrors were unfolding in Paris. Our Sam was working in Paris on a photo shoot, and the first we knew was a text from him saying “Don’t, worry, I’m safe. Trouble in Paris” Well, not knowing what was going on, we just presumed it was women trouble (that’s Sam’s usual problem in Paris!). Laurence got a text saying “Don’t worry about the shooting in Paris, I’m safe” and just took it that it was a reference to his photo shoot! Sam, you have to be much more specific in future!!! Anyway, he wasn’t far from it, but fortunately not involved.
Charlotte has found a new love of cooking, and with the purchase of a new 8 in 1 (?) slow cooker she’s gone into full on cook mode! Today alone she’s baked a chocolate cake (first one ever, and very nice!), sausage and mash for tonight, and chicken casserole for tomorrow. It’s like living with Nigella….. And a bonus about our lovely flat is that the oven seems to cook perfect, hugely-risen Yorkshire puddings. See, it’s all in the temperature.
I knew the gin would do me good! The downside of it is that I’ve just entered a 50km Ultra Marathon in March! The Canalathon, from Manchester to Sowerby Bridge following the canal! Fantastic!! 31 miles of running! So now I’ve got something to aim for! Best get training!

Beers of the day!

Beers of the day!

Sausage, mash and giant puds! Well done Nigella!

Sausage, mash and giant puds! Well done Nigella!