Update and the future

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To say it has been a busy and emotional couple of months would be underestimating it. It was five to one in the morning when I started writing this. I was tired and in pain and my brain wouldn’t shut up about all the great ideas I have in my head.

Writing:
Unsurprisingly, the majority of my ideas in my head are about writing. I’ve been very lapse recently on the writing front. Actually, that’s a bit unfair. I’ve been writing plenty, but none of it is to do with my novels (yes, plural). On the upside, it has all been to do with my freelancing business which, although I’m not getting paid for any of it (I guess you could say I’ve been putting the free into freelancing too literally), is giving me great experience which is almost as good as money. When I come to tout my services out there and bidding for jobs, I’ll not only have the last year’s experience behind me, but the massive catalogue of samples to refer people to, not to mention some previous employers only too happy to give a reference. I was very lucky to be chosen to report on the games of the British Baseball Federation’s Single – A league. Single-A is the lowest grade of league for adult baseball. It combines my passion for baseball with my passion for writing. My second freelance job is writing reviews for the PocketDroid website. We have been upping our game a bit recently, being sent items to review.
My creative writing hasn’t been totally laying to rest, however. Thanks to the ever helpful and relentlessly supportive people at the Basildon Writers Group, I have managed to pen a couple of good short stories, which have now been entered into a competition for the Fiction Desk’s ghost story competition. I should hear in the next couple of months how I got on with that.

Work:
In my last post, I said I was a week away from returning to work. That has gone well, but it has been far from easy. Previously, when I’ve returned to work, I always felt that the recuperation shifts (several weeks of working shorter hours and slowly building them up) were a waste of time. This time,  I have found it much more difficult to keep up. Even working part-time hours of one day on, one day off has been challenging. It is clearly getting to the point where going to work won’t be a possibility, and that is something I’m not sure I could handle. Being the stubborn chap that I am, I won’t give up so quietly, but I have partially accepted there will be a time when I will have to consider myself retired.
I recently saw the Force Medical Officer (a Doctor who works for my employer) who suggested outright that if I don’t work from home, there will be a time when my employer will have no choice but to let me go. I am very grateful that it hasn’t happened already, and couldn’t ask for a more understanding employer, But I also accept that they have a business to run, and need people they can rely on, not ghosts on their staff sheets. As a result, the FMO says that if he can’t get work to give me a home job (which would be monotonous beyond belief) then he would have little option left than to medically retire me on grounds of disability. He says at least that way, I will have less problems with benefits (if I’ve been medically retired from a job, they’ll find it harder to MAKE me get a new one. I’m sure they’ll try, but it would be harder for them).

Disability/CRPS:

My CRPS hasn’t been pulling any punches recently, which is mainly why I was off work for so long. After the disaster that was my Disability Living Allowance tribunal last year, we re-applied on a brand new case. We made it clear that I was vulnerable to falls, dizzy spells, tiring quickly, extreme pain and needed help just to get up from the toilet most of the time. Yet they still wanted more evidence, so they wrote off to my doctors and consultants. If that wasn’t enough, they sent an independent Dr round to assess me.
For our first meeting, I was meant to see him. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the appointment letter till a week after the appointment was due. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I got a phone call from a foreign man saying he needed to speak to me. I very nearly put the phone down thinking it was a spam call, but it was the independent Dr who said he was due to come see me today. Advanced warning would have been nice! I was having a bad pain day and had the beginnings of a migraine coming on, so figured I would look like crap and told him to come along. It turns out they had been sending all the letters to a flat upstairs which has been empty for several months. Still, the assessment went as well as it could, I think, and now have to play the waiting game to see what the final ‘decision Maker’, a person who reads all the documents, doctors reports and application forms, has no medical training what so ever and is told to stamp the letter with approved or denied. It will be interesting to see what they decide…

Writing plan

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So, last night I decided to try and compete in NaNoWriMo. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a Writing competition ran online in November. How do you win? Write 50,000 words in November. I think it’s better described as a writing marathon. As long as you reach the end, you win. There are no ‘physical’ prizes (although some companies offer prizes), just the satisfaction of knowing you finished.
Now obviously, there are months till November, so I’m going to try a dry run, maybe in July.
One thin NaNo does is getting writers together to chat, support and advise each other. I was absolutely delighted to find that there is a NaNo chapter in Essex. I look forward to chatting with some new friends and maybe meeting some at local events.
Now I just need to think of a subject to write on…

To a very special lady…

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I’ve know her for ten years this week, but it feels like numerous lifetimes. We’ve has highs and lows, lefts and rights and many arguments, but I still love her as much as I did the first time I met her. I am of course talking about my wife Lorna.
I asked her out 10 years ago this week (roughly) after watching an England-Holland football game in the 2002 euros. I had been invited out for the weekend by a friend and we had the house to ourselves, so naturally, we stocked up on the beer.
After watching England win and consuming an unknown amount of alcohol, I finally plucked up the courage to ask her if she’d be my girlfriend. All other girls I’d asked had been “through a friend” as I was so nervous I couldn’t ask them. But with Lorna, it was different. I felt strangely calm and confident (granted, the Dutch courage may have helped, but not that much). After a long phone call, where I melted at the sound of her voice (and still do), I took a deep breath, blushed like crazy and asked her out. After a second that lasted a millennia, she said yes, and I collapsed to the floor with nerves, gratitude and disbelief.
After I finished school, I was living at my parents address in London and went to visit Lorna for a weekend. I never left. Not only did she make me feel welcome and wanted, but her family accepted me with open arms (or at least they never pushed me out the door). We were soon engaged and married a year later.
We now have two wonderful boys who love us both in different ways and still teach us new things and make us laugh (and sometimes cry) on a daily basis.
Since becoming sick and disabled with CRPS, she has been my main carer, supporter, shoulder to cry on and enforcer of rest. She has done all this selflessly, rarely asking to be thought off, often when she was going through her own health issues. She has taken on three roles in one and amazes me every day with the new strength she managers to find to deal with daily challenges of looking after and putting up with me.
For this, and for so much more, I want to publicly thank and praise my wife and ask that you do the same today, her birthday.

I love you Lorna, with all my broken heart.