F**k me, were all F****d October 27, 2017

I am a great lover of the English language. I love reading and I love writing. I’d love to be able to write a book, in fact it’s on my list of things to do before I die*. (*Please note my list of … ‘things to do before I die’… has recently had a quick review and an escalation of the time scales involved).

I know my diction and punctuation isn’t brilliant, and I know that I use …full stops far too often – and – dashes and ! are also used way too much. I do feel though that overall I have a sense of style in the way I write – it’s like the way I talk – direct and to the point.

Whilst accepting that I’m not perfect with my use of language, I have major concerns as to how the average person around me seems to have lost the ability to spell? I’m not talking about complex words or technical terms …it’s just the bog standard stuff that everyone seems to have forgotten.

Things like – to and too, there and their, of and off – along with pretty basic stuff like…. ‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’ …

I’m sorry but if I get an e-mail from someone that doesn’t know how to spell, then you’ve already lost my attention.

So you think I’m pretty touchy about spelling, don’t get me started on swearing.

It used to be that swearing was the pastime of the working classes. My mother convinced me as a child that swearing only meant that the user did not have the vocabulary to properly describe an emotion – so they resorted to gutter language simply because they knew no other way to get across their feelings of anger or frustration.

In a slightly more unusual tactic she also convinced me that use of the word ‘F**K’ would result in the death of a fairy. This caused me much physical pain at the onset of senior school when on telling this story to my peers, many of the older ‘street wise’ lads decided that it was in fact me that was the fairy….and that it should be me that was about to die.

As I have grown older my language has become a little more aggressive and those that know me will know that I do occasionally use the odd profanity. I generally do this to make a point or to emphasise a particular opinion. In normal conversation though I would not swear – one because I think it’s rude ….and 2. because I’m aware of the fairy population issues.

I have again noticed that there has been an erosion of standards in society. Watching my favorite TV program ‘first dates’ I noticed young men using the ‘f’ word in casual conversation with their dinner dates. Whaaaaat…???? One should never swear in front of a lady – let alone one to whom you have only just been introduced.

Continuing with the TV shows that erode our standards – watching Goggle-box nearly every family was saying ‘f**k this, f**k that, f**k me, f**k you’ ….just casually thrown in when talking about Coronation Street or the latest episode of Dr Foster. The problem that I have is that when one uses such profanity in everyday situations – where does one go with ones language when something extreme needs to be emphasised….?

The moral compass of the whole country is screwed. Children are being exposed to more and more extreme language, popular music is sexualised and porn is available 24/7 ….what a chance have we for a ‘normal’ society when this is the way we behave.

We need to back up a bit. Let’s remember where we are, and look at whose listening or watching our behavior. Let’s have some role models that we can get our younger children to aspire to rather than trying to be the one with the biggest bum or the largest fake breasts. Let’s talk properly and spell words as they are meant to be spelt, let’s turn off ‘spellchecker’ because we should know how to spell…and let’s stop f*****g swearing.

Damn it ….another fairy just hit the dust.

Mike C

I’d kill for a pork pie…. October 18, 2017

I have been re-born, I am a new man.

I used to just shovel food down my neck ….breakfast then lunch then an evening meal followed up with a decent bottle of wine and the compulsory glass of single malt before bed. The weight crept on, the exercise stopped, the interests and activities became more lethargic and the heart attack just became a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘what if ?’….

Looking back – I did kind of know what was happening. When the heart attack happened I knew what it was – it wasn’t a massive shock – I think I’d been expecting it for a while but had been fooling myself into thinking it wouldn’t happen to me…

I have now woken up, it’s like pulling yourself out of a thick gloopy swamp and beginning to move freely again.

I’ve taken my diary and filled it with days made out to – exercise / writing day / bike ride / cottage / walking – the idea being that when things come up that take you away from your chosen goal – you focus and you stick with your diarised activity.

I’ve realised that my old life was built around work.

I slept badly because I was always thinking about work. I used to fall asleep at will during the day with what I fooled myself into thinking were ‘power naps’ …they weren’t bloody… ‘power naps’ ….they were a desperate man trying to get some goddamn sleep.

I woke up thinking about work, I spent all day thinking about work then ended up half asleep on the settee thinking about work.

Holidays basically never happened. If I was busy I couldn’t have a holiday. If things were quiet at work…. obviously you can’t have a holiday.

If money was tight you can’t have a holiday …so the only time that you can ever actually enjoy a holiday is when ……not tooo busy…..not tooo quiet ….and all the outstanding money owed has come in early ….so basically never happens.

Family time – don’t even talk to me about family time. I have two daughters who until the age of six thought I was an old friend of their mums who just popped in when passing. I remember having to introduce myself into bedtime stories and explain to the girls what a ‘daddy’ was – as neither of them had any experience of spending quality time with me…

So the new me has been making the changes required. I have a whole new fascination with what I’m actually eating, I now look at what’s in the food packet and check the carbohydrate content. I think about portion control, and I think about not reaching for the salt before I’ve even tasted what I’m eating.

I am exercising daily and getting breathless* whilst out walking (*NB. this is what I’m challenged to do by the doctors …not because I’m just knackered and unfit)….

I’ve cut out carbs and I’ve managed to lose a stone without feeling too much like my life is over. I’m still having the odd glass of red wine …but I’m not then piling into the next bottle and then hitting the whisky….

I’m back on the mountain bike and pushing that little bit harder on the pedals…going the extra mile so to speak.

I’m now seeing work as something to ‘work on, not in…’ – I have the team to do all the daily grind ….they just need my steerage to make sure that we stay on track. I see it as a guiding role, I am a teacher …rather than working at the rock face so to speak.

So all is going well.

However if ever you are eating a pork pie and see me approaching.

Take heed ….I really would kill for a bite of a Melton Mowbray….

Mike C

Lost October 11, 2017

If somebody said to you that you can stop working tomorrow and do whatever you want …

you would think that most people would think ‘brilliant’….I’ll have some of that.

I have always thought that I would leap at the opportunity – fishing, biking, walking, reading ….maybe a bit of writing. I’d imagined myself starting the day with reading the papers, fresh coffee brewing on the stove. I’d walk the dog along the nearby river spotting the fish that I would catch later in the day. I’d maybe pop back home to add a few pages to my latest novel and perhaps book a table at a local restaurant or theatre…

Each day would be bliss.

However the reality of the situation that I’m in …..has left me a little ….lost.

I’m thinking that this is because it’s been forced on me rather than it being my choice…It could also be that because I’ve been working for so much of my life for so long – that I don’t actually know how to do anything else.

I’m having to actually physically force myself not to work. I find myself going to make a phone call or send an e-mail… then I go – ‘no …stop ….if you do that you’re right back in the thick of it again’.

Not taking my phone everywhere is like ripping my arm off and leaving it on the kitchen table.

I’m also left with a nagging feeling that I’m letting everyone down? My wife, my kids, my work colleagues…even my mother.

Everyone that relied on me suddenly has to fend for themselves.

The really stupid thing is that none of the people mentioned would even stop to think that I was letting them down – it’s all in my head…


Mike Clough the man with all the answers,

Mike Clough the tough, dependable, business mastermind….

…is actually a bit of a lost cause at the moment….mind in neutral.

Bear with me everyone …the arrogant bastard will be back – he’s just on forced sick leave at the moment.

Mike C

Rehab October 4, 2017

‘They tried to make me go to rehab,

But I said no, no, no….’

Actually, I said yes…but then I’m not Amy Winehouse.

I’m currently sat writing my blog with the news of another celebrity death as Tom Petty succumbs to a heart attack aged 66 – so sad. It does seem that unless one experiences a heart attack first hand – then one just doesn’t see the risks that our lifestyles bring.

To think that a man as wealthy as Tom Petty was presumably unaware that he was at risk of a heart attack is ridiculous, surely, he should have had medical advice or lifestyle advice from his management team??

I for one thought it would never happen to me. I exercise, I’m not a couch potato, I drink ….(but not excessively) …yet apparently I could have died at any moment. Note, for all the stories of people like me who have lived to tell their tale, there are just as many stories with unhappy endings as many people unfortunately don’t survive a heart attack due to not recognising symptoms and not getting help quickly enough.

My rehab group all talk the same story – one of ignorance as to the health issues that they had, and how they ignored the warning signs that their bodies were showing. One guy had chest pains over a period of several days but it took until he passed out in his office car park before he got medical advice.

Maybe just go get yourself checked out, get some sort of body MOT test …??

Note – the longer you leave these symptoms ….the worse your prognosis will be.

This blog is aimed by the way at those readers in that 40 to 60 age group that have grown up in a similar way to me ….long hours at work followed by poor exercise routine and a tendency to eat and drink a little too well.

Please …get your blood pressure checked, hassle the doctor …find out what those tablets they have put you on are actually doing ….???

I had been diagnosed with high blood pressure and was given medication to reduce the high levels that I was exhibiting…but nobody asked why I had high blood pressure…?? There does seem to be a lack of joined up thinking in the medical profession ….but then we are told that each doctor has a set time to diagnose and medicate whatever problem we describe to them. This doesn’t give much allowance for a patient not really understanding what symptoms are important??

I had been having periods of tiredness and repeated indigestion …but…had put these down to being over busy, tired and rushing my food – yet all these are pre warning symptoms of heart disease.

How many of you reading this get over-tired? How many of you fall asleep on the settee watching a movie….?

Poor sleep patterns are another advert of the fact that things are not as they should be. I’ve been an insomniac for months …but never connected it to blocked arteries in my heart.

More education is needed folks …. maybe one person reading this will click that they may have problems ahead.

If so …my job here is done…..

Mike C