Just Me..

I imagine the few of you that still read my blog are the ones that haven't clicked "block" or "hide" or "mute" or whatever else on my social media profiles of late. And believe me, I know exactly how I sound a lot of the time... When it's not random stuff, it's me, moaning and fed up about, well, me.

And this post is not much different.

Once again, I'm struggling to sleep very much. And this is with medication to help me sleep. I've been put back onto Amytriptyline which I hate, as past experience has proven it makes me exhausted and spacey. Well, not this time. I took a tablet at 10pm,and another at half past midnight. It's now a quarter to two in the morning and I'm still awake.

This time I suspect it's due to a hardcore 24-hour migraine that hit me Monday lunch time. I flaked on the sofa, thinking a nap would make it bugger off, but no... At half five that evening I went to bed, and woke up again at 3am. Then 10am. Then midday. And 2pm...

I got out of bed at seven this evening, had something to eat, and went back to bed at ten. I feel shit even now... Still have a headache, and now I feel bunged up...

On top of this (seriously, I know...) I've got a bloody tooth ache. Thanks to a dentist visit which was filled with needles and drilling to prepare a tooth for a crown, as the filling in it was too big apparently... My tooth wasn't hurting BEFORE, but it is now.

I'm so sick of this. All this. Me feeling crap all the time and not sleeping. Me feeling crap physically and mentally. My body hurting or being exhausted, my brain being filled with crap and worries...

I ended up being discharged from care under the Pain Management Service, thanks to my piece of shit brain. I had an appointment, which I remembered wrong, checked the appointment letter which I read wrong, and ended up going to the wrong place at the wrong time on the wrong day. So as I classed as a "No show" they discharged me. Back to square one, waiting for a re-referral. My brain sucks, I hate that it is so unreliable.

I CAN count on it to be paranoid. To over-think everything. To imagine the worst in every situation. To wind me up, stress me out and drag me down. I wish I had a period of quiet time, to chill out, recharge, run at my own pace and do my own thing. Every day just seems to be filled with STUFF and I struggle to keep up with it, so the next day has more STUFF, so I struggle more...

And on and on and over and over.

I'm tired, I don't feel well, and generally am sick of feeling and even looking the way I do. I'm sick of people telling me that "positive thinking" will cure me. I'm sick of people asking how am I as a way for them to tell me what's wrong with them without even acknowledging my reply. I usually just say "I'm OK" now, as people don't want to hear me detailing how my body feels trampled. I'm fed up being the one that has to message first to start a conversation, let alone writing long messages to people that only get an "ok" reply three hours later, or even better, no reply at all.

I probably sound like a whiny, moping brat to some of you, and that's fine... This being my blog and all. I just wish people understood how I feel 95% of the time. You don't even have to care that I feel like crap - just understand that I do.

I'm sure I could go on and on, but I won't. I'm just fed up of trying to make people get that I feel like complete crap most of the time. If you still don't get it or care, then I'm pretty sure you never will. And that's fine too - just don't roll your eyes and sigh when I moan about it here or anywhere else.

A Letter

Dear Baby,

You don't know me. Not to see, anyway. You've definitely heard me, and I am one of the fools that puts my hand over you while your mummy sleeps at night, but you've not seen me. Not yet.

I've seen you, though. I saw you before you were really anything, and I've seen you when you were ever so tiny. And just a few times, I have felt you nudge against my hand while you wiggle around inside mummy.

And tomorrow, I will see you again. But this time, I am going to be very nervous. Tomorrow, we are going to see a special doctor. Part of my brain - the logical part - keeps telling me that there is no real reason to see this special doctor. That I am just worrying over nothing. That it's going to be a waste of time. But the other part of my brain - the bigger, over-powering, illogical part that makes all my decisions and sets out my thoughts...

That's the part that's winning.

You see, ten years ago, your big sister Bethany left. You will hear all about her as you grow, I promise. But because of what was wrong with her, the illogical part of my brain is now screaming and kicking and banging against its bars. And tomorrow, we are going into London for the special doctor to make sure your heart and tummy is OK.

And that, my beautiful little Tadpole, is why I will be a nervous wreck for the next 24 hours. I've never touched you, you've never seen me, and I've never heard you make a sound, but I am filled with so much love and worry for you, I am close to bursting. And that we are going to see a Fetal Cardiologist is killing me on the inside, because I am so scared of the What If that my brain is doing. It doesn't mean I will love you any less, it just means I will have to be bigger and braver than ever, and hold your hand, and your mummys hand, and know that with these special doctors, you will be in the best possible care ever.

That doesn't mean I won't be worried. Or scared. Or angry. But I will be there for you every single step of the way. And I will love you as much as it is possible to love someone, if not more.

Logically, I know that you are going to be fine. Logically, I know that the doctor will check you from head to toe tomorrow - and aside from being able to see your beautiful face on the screen, I know tomorrow will tell us nothing more than you are growing into a big strong little person.

But for the next 24 hours, please excuse your daddy, and his crazy, strange, neurotic behaviour. I might sit holding you more than normal, or drifting off to places in my head. But logically, I know that this time tomorrow, I will be laughing at how silly I am, and how I got so worked up over nothing.

Night night baby, with love,


'Aving A Baby!

If you're on my Facebook, you would have already seen the announcement, but for anyone that hasn't seen it, or wanted to know a little more, yes it's true, Kellie and I are expecting our first baby together!

If we're honest, we've known for a few weeks - since she was only three weeks in fact - but have kept it quiet, waiting for that magic "Twelve Weeks" to roll around before announcing it to everyone. We were about to keep it between us for a couple of weeks before we had to tell nosey children and mothers, but other than that, it's been all very hush-hush.

Which is quite impressive, as someone has been sick as a dog.

Yes, after many years of going on about how wonderful pregnancy is, how amazing it is, what an incredible feeling it is, Kellie is eating those words. Well, I say eating... Hurling those words would be more accurate.

Clearly, she never anticipated how awkward things would be carrying Dan-Spawn. Everything has been making her sick, from the smell of the oven, the kitchen, the bathroom (the NEW bathroom I might add!), to the smell of... water... And it's not just morning sickness. Afternoon sickness. Evening sickness. Night time sickness. Sometimes she throws up, sometimes it's just bile, sometimes, she just sits in front for the toilet retching for a while.

Of course, the downside to finding out so early, is that seems to be taking forever. Today we had our twelve week scan, but it's taken forever to get here. Everything seems to be normal, the sizes are right, and in true Dan-Spawn fashion, the Tadpole is a naughty little thing. S/he would not sit still for the measurements, and was wiggling around on the screen... Arms and legs flailing around...

Like I said, naughty. CLEARLY takes after mummy.

I would be lying if I didn't say I was a little worried or nervous, but the special midwife we saw today put my mind at ease, and has sorted us a referral to Guys & St Thomas' Hospital, London, to see the Fetal Cardiologists at the Evelina Children's Hospital. That scan won't be untill late January, early February though, and then we have the 20/21 week anatomy scan at Basildon.

All in all, we're all very happy, our kidsarre happy, and our parents are happy, and we're all looking forward to late-June when the Tadpole puts in an appearance.

Besides, what's one more kid where there are already four of them knocking around!!

Here are the three pictures we had taken today during the scan. For a change, they are all pretty clear too!

NO idea why this one is upside down... Grr...

While The Cat's Away...

This weekend - until Tuesday, no less - Kellie is away. She and her mum have abandoned me with the kids gone to see James, my brother-in-law, his girlfriend, and their kids.

Which means, not only am I the one left in charge, it also means I am unsupervised. And you all know what happens when men are free of their wives. We cannot be trusted.

And it is here, that I too have to confess. Even I have to admit to what I have done, knowing full well that by doing so, it is going to alter how many of you see me for the rest of my life. Perhaps even whispered at my funeral...

But maybe by coming clean, it will be almost cathartic, freeing, a release of guilt, and of the burden of guilt.

I am so sorry to even utter these words.

But I've started playing MineCraft.

I know, I know... I can almost hear the sharp intake of breath, the shattering of mugs dropped from hands, the splattering of coffee spat over the monitors, the swooning of ladies... But I am weak. I allowed myself to be woo'd, to be seduced, to have my eye drawn from that which I love...

Please, don't judge me.


But I digress. AND I am also going to use the classic "But It's Not My Fault" defence. As, I am sure, many many of my fellow members of the adult world have said before; "It's not me, it's *Insert-Name-Of-Child-That-Plays*"

In this case, it's Tamsyns fault. Yes, the nine year old. She is a MineCrack addict - if she's not playing it, she's watching other people playing it, or listening to tips and tricks from other players, or reading guides about it. And my interest was, if I am honest, originally just a case of getting involved in something The Child enjoys. I've often sat with her while she plays, watching her concentrate on what she wants, building out the things she loves, killing nasties, but that has been the limit of our joint-involvement with it.

The boys and I have a generalised love of gaming. We talk about games together, we play a lot of the same games. Molly and I have a mutual enjoyment of taking the piss out of one another, slagging each other off, or just flopping on the sofa watching crime dramas together. But Tamsyn... She's a flighty little bugger. Every time something has caught her eye, it's been relegated back to the Big Pile O' Relegated Stuff and MineCrack has taken over her life once again.

Now, I've tried in the past to play it - I've mentioned a few times in various posts about how much I can't stand it (Irony, eh?) and how I can't get on with it. But then, I've waded in alone, and tried to figure it out alone. There is only so many times a guy can be Blown Up In The Dark whilst Wielding A Cube Of Wood Trying To Fend Off Whatever-That-Is and simultaneously Trying To Work Out Where The Hell I Am while ALSO-simultaneously Wondering Why That Green Figure Is Hissing & Flashing KABOOM Oh That's Why...

And cue the /ragequit

I considered watching a Video Guide. I considered reading a N00bie Guide. I EVEN considered RTFM'ing... But the first two just made me think I was no better than Tamsyn, and the latter, well... Ha! Hellooo, I'm a man!

So this weekend, I sat with Tam, and made her sell it to me. Getting her to explain it to me in her own words. Granted, it didn't start too well, as when I asked "Explain to me what it is about MineCraft that you love, explain it to me, pretend I've never seen it or heard of it before" she replied "You can mine stuff, and you can craft stuff, and I love it."

She of many words. Thank you Captain Obvious.

But I pressed on, sat on the desk talking away to her for the better part of an hour. And after I managed to get her to open her brain-doors and start explaining it, you could see the real passion in what she was talking about. She was animated, jabbering, her brain was trying to outrun her mouth. Then we sat and she showed me what is what. She played in Creative Mode which apparently gives you everything you need so you don't have to play like I did fight to survive... She started out by building an elaborate house. Adding rooms and furniture, clicking fast and furiously. Then she built a stable, populated it with animals. And like her brain running faster and faster while talking, her clicking went to a new level, and she was trying to show me everything all at once and doing one thing while talking about another...

By this point - talk of Ender Dragons, Portals, Nether-something-or-other - I was getting confused, so she sat with me on the sofa, and I fired up a new game. Yes, the 38-year-old-man was sat with his nine-year-old daughter, and SHE was telling HIM what to do. "Click that. Pick that up. Now make this. Now put that there. No, there. No, There... Now make this. Add that. Add that. Daddy, ADD THAT *furious pointing while I get confused*"

In the end, I got it, I worked it out, and, more importantly, I understood why I kept dying (because I sucked) and I survived my first night. And... Well...

I'm actually enjoying it now.

Don't get me wrong, it's frustrating as hell, I die a lot and find myself trying to remember what my Master taught me, but yes, I admit, I enjoy playing MineCrack. Yes, I suck at it still. Yes, Tamsyn has a much better spatial awareness than I do (but any fool beats me on that front!). But I only started playing at the weekend.

And, side-note, for people with OCD, this game is either a blessing or a curse. I am yet to decide which, but all I know is, I spent over three hours levelling off a mountain top, and another two hours making my lake a perfect cube with a water spring bubbling up in the EXACT centre.


Not that I need to justify my actions, but... I've been thinking about doing this for a while now, as to why I watched and joined in and started playing. But when I was a kid, I would spend days at a time, sat in amongst the worlds supply of Lego, usually with Gemma bumbling around on the periphery, and Mum sat on the sofa, watching us, making suggestions, admiring our handy-work... Generally being involved in what it was we were doing.

But today - in the digital age - the kids prefer doing things on something with a screen... A phone, a tablet, a laptop, a computer, a console... And unless you're playing an MMO (Like World of Warcraft, for example, which Jaysen has been playing for years, Dom has also now been playing for a few years, and quite often, we play together. Or we talk tactics. Builds. Funny anecdotes - that sort of thing) joining in with what they are doing is difficult. Not every child wants to sit and play Lego. Or draw. Or do arty-crafty things. And if you MAKE them turn off the Thing-With-A-Screen and sit to do what YOU want them to do, all you're going to end up doing is making them NOT enjoy whatever it is you want them to do in the first place.

So, my interest in MineCraft (originally) was to connect with Tamsyn with something she does, that she enjoys, and really, is not THAT much different to playing with Lego together.

Less messy too.

And there you have it. My name is Dan, and I am a MineCraft player.

Again, I apologise.

Musical Monday #161 - Stay With Me

Huzzah! The first Musical Monday post from Chez English!

Anyway - today I have chosen a song that I have heard on and off recently, and think it is incredible. The guy has a pretty amazing voice, and the song is really nice...

As usual, I've heard it in shops or on the radio, but at no point have I known the name of the singer - or even the song for that matter. This came to a head the other night, however, when we were watching a nature documentary of all things...

There I was, watching penguins freeze their nards off in the deep Antarctic weather, and in the background, I could hear this instrumental bit of music. I rewound the TV, and listened again, and while I could "hear" parts of the words, I couldn't place it exactly.

Lucky for me, Dom was within slapping distance. He listened once, and despite Chris Packham chattering about penguins freezing their nards, he identified it on his first go.

The song is lovely. Well worth a listen.

Sam Smith - Stay With Me

Guess it's true,
I'm not good at a one night stand
But I still need love 'cause I'm just a man
These nights never seem to go to plan
I don't want you to leave,
Will you hold my hand

Oh, won't you stay with me
'Cause you're all I need
This ain't love, it's clear to see
But darling, stay with me

Why am I so emotional?
No it's not a good look, gain some self control
Deep down I know this never works.
But you could lay with me,
So it doesn't hurt

Oh, won't you stay with me
'Cause you're all I need
This ain't love, it's clear to see
But darling, stay with me

Oooh oh ooh oooh ooooh oh
Oooh oh ooh oooh ooooh oh

Oh, won't you stay with me
'Cause you're all I need
This ain't love, it's clear to see
But darling, stay with me

Oh, wont you stay with me
Cause you're all I need
This ain't love its clear to see
But darling
Stay with me

Gamer Gaming

As I occasionally do, I like to stop what I am doing and take a minute to talk about my gaming habits. And, for a change, the list is quite different to normal. For a start, I'm not playing World of Warcraft, and haven't been online in ages.

Why? I got bored. It's all well and good discovering new areas, finding the cool nooks and crannies, running the interesting, intricate quest lines, and seeing stories unfold in different places... But Blizzard have dumbed the game down so much now, it's hardly worth bothering. There's only so many times you can run the same quests through the same places to get the same outcome.

You don't even need to read the quest dialog any more. Glance over the summary, run to the marked point on the map, got through the motions, run back. No more searching or hunting. No more figuring stuff out for yourself...

Dungeons & Raids never really held much interest for me, except when I were in a guild of like-minded crazies. THAT was fun. Now it's go to a dungeon with a group, and either steamroll through everything in 30 minutes, or die repeatedly and deal with others screaming and ranting at one another. Raids are even worse as they are bigger, take longer, and no one works out the tactics any more... Read an article, learn the moves, rinse and repeat.

And PvP holds no interest for me at all.

So it's either level a character, do the same stuff repeatedly and start again, or not play.

Which means I can't be bothered to play. Even the upcoming expansion doesn't make me go all giggly and think "wantwantwantwantwant" like it used to. I've not even seen the cinematic for it yet. Not interested.

I'm not playing Diablo 3 at the moment either, but that isn't a game I like to play in dribs and drabs. I don't like playing for half an hour then doing something else, and at the moment, I don't have the time to sit and play for a decent amount of time.

Games that HAVE sucked me in, however, are a strange mix.

Despite mocking Tamsyn and her love of all things Minecraft, I've somehow gotten hooked on Terraria. It's practically the same thing, but 2D and not 3D. I can't even explain what I love about it. Exploration? Crafting? Digging?! Whatever it is, I own it on both my PC and my Tablet. Both games are different - with randomly generated world's when you create a new game, it's ALWAYS different... Being able to play with others is sort of a plus, but the only person I played with was Jaysen. Who doesn't play often. And he sucked at it ;-)

Considering how much Minecraft doesn't hold my attention, I can't work out why Terraria does. Maybe I'm just fussy...

Next on the list of games that have sucked me in is The Elder Scrolls 5 - Skyrim. And I mean this game has all its claws in me and has dragged me in. I loved Oblivion and Morrowind (Elder Scrolls 4 & 3 respectively) but Skyrim has me even more so. I'm doing all the main quests at my own pace. I'm picking up all the miscellaneous quests I can find. I'm exploring every nook, every cranny, every cave, ruin, tower, dungeon, crypt, mountain pass, and whatever else there is. I'm making my gear better and better. I've adopted kids. I've become a werewolf (even though I forget I can shape-shift). I've saved vampires and murdered honest merchants. I've accumulated more wealth than I know what to do with. I've bought houses and built mansions...

And still I'm hooked.

I honestly think it's the open-world aspect of the game. I can go and do what I want, when I want, how I want. The play-style I use determines how my character develops his skills... I can sneak in and pick off the baddies from afar with my bow. I can go in blazing with magic in all directions. I can charge forth and let my axe splatter faces... I can be given a quest to go do something-or-other, and wander off in the opposite direction to go collect stuff so I can make some potions. Or go explore a cave. Or steal a horse. Or burgle a house.

Hey, don't judge me, I'm mostly good, but a locked chest MUST be locked for a reason, right? I can't NOT look...

In the world of Online Gaming, I am currently in love with Wildstar, a sort of futuristic sci-fi Western set on another planet. It's a very pretty game, and has a lot of undertones of how WoW used to be.

Think Star Wars meets Titan AE meets Firefly meets Warcraft.

But... My computer is old, and my laptop is, well, a laptop... There is only so much they can handle, and reeeally annoyingly, Wildstar is that one step too far. I can play it to a point, with all the details turned waaaay down to almost minimum, but it destroys the point. I like pretty games, I like games that look nice. And I like games that don't struggle when you have more than a few monsters surrounding you.

So now in order to play it, I have to save up for a decent computer, or really really decent laptop.

But I digress.

As for mobile games... Well, I've already mentioned Terraria. For some reason, I am also playing TWO farming types games, Township and Hay Day. Again, I have no idea why. Grow crops, produce goods, fill orders, build stuff, help friends... Strange, but addicting.

I'm also playing Dungeon Keeper, but that's more a five minutes here and there game at the moment. The developers have taken the idea of the original Dungeon Keeper game, and changed it to a game of "Micro" transactions. Doing anything takes ages. Unless you use gems. Which you find now and then, but you'll need more. So you have to buy them. Over and over. Same goes for the big powerful dudes, they cost gems. Which you can find. But you need more. So you buy them.

I refuse to spend money on it. So I am slogging away, taking my time...

I also have both The Tribez, and the sequel Tribez & Castlez. Honestly I prefer the first one, but it's a "build a town" game, and again, they push you to spend money... One of the "special" offers is a single building for more than £20! I'll pass.

I am getting bored of both those games... But I struggle with mobile games, trying to find something that holds my interest, doesn't cost money to progress, doesn't feel like actual work, and doesn't have a learning curve like a cliff-face.

My time has been all over the place this last month thanks to the house move, and that has definitely cut into my gaming time. But more than that has been how I feel...

Because of my useless brain and pointless body, I struggle with games, especially new ones. I really struggle to take in ANY new instructions, and learning a new game can take a while. Then I forget what I am doing completely which either results in a restart, or just me having a hissy fit at how thick I am, and just deleting the game.

If I am in pain, gaming sometimes distracts me away from it, and I can enjoy doing something. However, sometimes the pain wins out, and - the same if I am tired - I lose the plot, forget what I am doing, and make stupid mistakes that results in a Game Over or a Reload Y/N screen. Making stupid mistakes on top of stupid mistakes is the worst.

Running face to face with a handful of powerful critters is a stupid mistake that ends in death. That, coupled with the biggest stupid mistake of forgetting to Quick Save, well... That usually means an hour of slow creeping and assassinating is wasted.

And I just quit.

I think that was the only reason I stuck with WoW for so long. I was so used to playing it, knew what I was doing, even if I made silly mistakes, I could get over them. I almost played on auto-pilot a lot of the time.

But I digress..

The only game I am actually looking forward to comes out in just over a week... A revamp of the original Gauntlet game. I've been watching the videos posted to Steam, and reading about the features and what not, and really can't wait for it to come out. The 20-something of this month. And assuming it'll run on my computer (which I am sure it will) I will be getting it!

I also intend to get both Oblivion and Morrowind again too, and replay those, to see if I get as sucked in as I have been with Skyrim. No promises on holding back on murder and burglary mind you ;-)

Lastly, apologies for any typos/wrong words or formatting weirdness... I am very tired, in pain, in bed, and posting from my tablet.

0ddness II - A New Beginning

For those of you living under a rock, or more specifically, that aren't on my Facebook (OR have me muted... I know who you are...) you will be aware that August has been, well, mentally manic at Chez 0ddness.

With it being Summer Holidays and all the kids being home, with Kellie working, it was decided that - what the hell - we'd sodding well move house too. Because why not?

We've been wanting to move for ages. Chez 0ddness is was beyond cramped. Granted, it was a three bedroom town house (ground floor, middle floor, top floor) BUT it was narrow. For a regular sized family, it was a little tight, but for the tribe...

Put it this way - our bedroom was in the dining room.

Finally, we found a house that we loved, and thus started the long process of acquiring said-house. It was lovely - big, open, spacious, big kitchen, big lounge, lovely garden, big living room... And finally, mid-August, we were given the green light.

And thus began one of the most stressful self-induced hellish fortnights of my life. I won't go into too much detail. It wasn't the move per sé, and it wasn't leaving Chez 0ddness exactly... It was the mess. The chaos. The disorganisation. The "Shit There Is So Much To Do But We Seem To Be Getting No Where" feeling...

My brain isn't wired for this sort of thing. I don't know what it is. I don't know if it's the loss of control, the upheaval, even the change... But I was a wreck. In agony and pushing through by day, sobbing in the dark by night.

People kept saying to me "It'll be worth it in the end" and "Think of how wonderful it'll be" and similar phrases. But they didn't help.

Being told those things, while literally surrounded by boxes, rubbish sacks, mess, dust and a list as long as my arm...

Quite how I didn't just run and hide I don't know.

Surprisingly, we were pretty much ready *cough*though not really*cough* in record time. The weekend of the 30th/31st August become Official 0ddness Moving Weekend, and all troops were mobilised. The kids were "helping", Kerry and James were slaving away, Mick from work helped, the 0dd Mother and the 0dd Mother-in-Law helped, Callum & Kathleen were beavering away with Dom & Molly...

Again, hell, chaos, nightmare, mess, disorganisation...

BUT by late Saturday evening, the new front door was closed, everyone had a bed, and all was quiet. We sat and ate takeaway on the living room floor. We could breathe.

We were in.

And thus begins a new chapter in our lives. Chez 0ddness is no more. Chez English is the in thing now. WE have a home. Kellie doesn't "live with me" any more. We live together.

Yes, we are still working our way through boxes. Yes, there is still plenty to do. Yes, I still want to run and hide and scream and cry. BUT there are no more deadlines. No more time limits. I cleared through a few boxes in the living room yesterday. Today, I might not do anything.

I want to thank everyone that helped out once more... Because without everyone helping, we'd never have managed it. Kerry & James were absolute troopers - Kerry had to drive the truck (I know, a woman driving a truck! AND there were ZERO deaths as a direct result of her driving!), and James was DIY Man (because I am still not allowed to use power tools). Callum & Kathleen (Kerry & James' two eldest) helped the kids sort their rooms. Our mums were amazing help - the 0dd Mother-in-Law was driving backwards and forwards, carting things around, buying food, and helping with the packing & clearing up, while the 0dd Mother sorted all the houseplants, made up big garden pots of flowers, and has been helping out with other bits as well. Mick from Work helped James with some of the DIY, and was brilliant at shifting and straightening heavy furniture. The kids were all great, helping out, carrying, lifting, clearing, tidying...

And for you that could see I was a mess, and keeping me sane via messaging, thank you... From convincing me not to kill anyone, for telling me murder is bad, and for keeping me as sane (yes yes, I know...) as humanly possible...

Thank you everyone.

I am aware that there is a distinct lack of pictures of the house so far... And I will remedy this as soon as possible. I was hoping to take pictures without boxes in frame, but suspect that might be a while away. So I WILL do pictures soon. Suffice to say, the house is like us. A bit strange, a bit 0dd, a bit weird, and the outside doesn't tell you anything about what's going on on the inside.

Welcome to Chez English.


OK folks, fair warning - this post has been simmering in my brain for a few weeks now, and I've had to write it in stages because, frankly, the subject matter pisses me off.

A little while ago, I was asked a question that I really struggled to answer. Usually, any question thrown in my general direction is answered pretty quickly - either with the direct answer, a non-committal answer, or a grunt of manly acknowledgement.

This one, however, had me stumped.

"What subject do you care truly passionate about?"

Now, I take passionate to mean something that really gets you going, gets you up onto your soap box ranting and raving, that causes emotion to truly flare.

But I couldn't think of anything. Like, nothing would come to my mind.

I care about gaming, and I get pissed off when news reports directly or indirectly blame gaming/games/gamers as the cause for violence in the world.

I care about the welfare of my kids, and I get pissed off when I feel they are being treated badly by someone.

I care about my friends, and I get pissed off when my friends need help with something, but I am not in a position to assist them..

And so I went with the "I will think about it" answer - a cop-out, yes I know - and after twenty seconds, I promptly forgot about it.

A few days after that, a series of events unfolded in three different, completely separate ways. Two different, unrelated, non-communicative friends were having issues at home and talking to me about it. The third was a stranger and his partner/girlfriend/wife walking past me in the street.

The "man" was screaming at the woman. Properly full-on screaming at her, effing and blinding and calling her all sorts of harsh names. All because she had left some papers at home that he needed to copy.

The names he was throwing at he, the venomous bile-filled words pissed me off. Coupled with friends struggling in their own relationships - no actual physical violence (not yet) - it hit me with a flash what it is that I feel passionate about...


Yes, I used the word hate. And I am sticking with that word.

Now, some of you already know this much, and some of you probably guessed or suspected (because I can be an arse), but most of my school life was filled with bullies. One boy made my life especially miserable, and even today I still remember the things he did to me, the things he had others say to me...

Adults in my life too were bullies, mostly of a mental variety, but some... not so much. Even as I've grown and become an adult, I've seen people abuse others both physically and mentally, and every time, it makes me properly angry.

Now, my friends that are going through this at the moment - and I stress, there is no physical violence, just psychological abuse and mind games - will not be named or given pseudonyms or anything like that.

What is it that drives people to become such bastards? I cannot understand it. you and I, dear reader, are normal, average people.. We deal with things differently, we argue or lose our tempers or whatever, then the mood blows over, and that is that. Other people seem to take pleasure in tormenting and controlling the people in their lives.

What gives anyone the right to tell someone that they are fat, or ugly, or need to change their appearance in some way... What sort of person controls the money in a relationship to the point you have to ask for it? What sort of person uses sex and intimacy as a weapon or means of control in a spiteful manner - I am NOT talking about 50 Shades or people that are into various kinks. Whatever works between two consenting & understanding adults of the right age is cool in my book! What sort of other half installs cameras in the house - not for security purposes, but openly admits to watch the person when she is at home to ensure she is doing her jobs and not entertaining someone. What sort of person cuts off all your ties with your friends and denies you the right to see or speak with them, all for no good reason? What sort of person is full of charm, politeness and light when out in public - playing Happy Families - and then, behind closed doors, revert back to their abusive, controlling asshat-self. What sort of person installs tracking & logging software on the phones or tablets so they know where they are, the speeds they are moving at, what messages or mails or comments are being sent and received.

A COWARD, that's who.

ANY man that treats his wife like an object, that makes her walk behind him, that watches her conversations with others, that talks to her like she is a pile of crap - you sir, are a coward and pathetic waste of air.

You partner should be loved and cherished. It is as simple as that. Regardless of her new haircut, you tell her she looks gorgeous no matter what. Regardless of you not buying her that new dress because you don't like it, you buy it because it makes her happy. If your other half has the only vice of playing online games on her laptop, don't disable the internet so she can't go onlne - buy her limited currency in the game.

It is not often that I get properly angry. I don't do anger very often - mainly, for all the reasons above but in regards to physical violence - but when I do, I get angry. I am not a physical-confrontational type of person, but there are a few people around the world that I would love to pay a visit, and stomp hard on your balls, one at a time. You don't deserve to be considered a man if you think she's a whore because she bought new underwear - because she needed new underwear...

Honestly, this post is taking me days to write, as I have to keep stopping.

I wish to the highest heavens that those affected by such things can find and get help to get themselves and their children away from an abusive, toxic relationship. You might think "I'm OK, I can handle it" but if this is your life, you shouldn't HAVE to handle with it.

Look at it this way - if your child, married and living with her husband - came home to you one day and told you this was their life, what would you do? Would you tolerate such a life for her? Would you accept the mental abuse because she says she can handle it?

Of course you wouldn't.

If this is you, then get help. Ask help from friends, call your local police, ask them for help or guidance or assistance. There are various womens refuge or help charities help you get out from such an awful life...

And please please remember, just because you might think "It's OK that I am treated this way, at least he hasn't hit me" bear in mind that people like this can escalate. What starts as a new law being laid down in the house can become an argument, then a fight, then an injury. Any man... ANY MAN... that thinks striking a woman is a macho, cool thing to do, think again.

It makes them the biggest pussy there is. Big man, starting fights with your already-terrified wife..

It seems to be getting more and more commonplace too... So often I will see a man accusing his other half of being a waste of space or similar. Too often I will be talking to friends online, and find out over time what their home life is really like. More and more people seem to think that as there is no physical violence involved, that it's acceptable.

It isn't. Not even a little bit. If you are making your partner feel unloved, unwanted, unattractive, undesired, scared to do anything or go anywhere, use or withhold sex as a weapon, think you can treat them like a piece of sh!t, you are very much mistaken.

And I hope for the love of everything peaceful, that the shit you do catches up with you. That your actions drive your partner into the arms of another person... A person that will treat them right, with respect, care and devotion... If she wants to go out to a pub or club with her friends, you don't "allow" it or "let" her, you tell her to have a great time and to be safe. No curfew, no rules, no ultimatum. A man that will love every inch of her skin regardless of it being bony or jiggly. That when she says she needs something, you don't give her a set amount of money - you give her your credit card and take her to whatever stores she wants to go into.

No one should deal with this. No one should put up with it. It is wrong.

If you are trapped in such a relationship, please, do everything you can to get out. Don't accept it as the norm - there is a perfect someone out there for you somewhere - don't even put up with it or just take it as life... TALK to someone. TELL them what is going on. ASK for help - no matter how proud you might be, that help might be nothing more than a helpful word or useful advice. Your friends - your real friends - will be the ones that stick by no matter what, won't drop you for whatever self-perceived slight they think has been committed against them. When you are stuck in such a destructive relationship, your words - even mundane stuff talking about the weather - will act like a beacon of hope for the victim.

And you ARE a victim.

If you know or even suspect someone is in this sort of relationship - and PLEASE remember, it can happen to men too - all I ask is that you extend your hand to that person. Be a real, true friend to them. Make them see the world is not like it is behind their closed doors, and that you can be the person they trust to make them feel better and to trust.

If there are children involved - and, invariably, there usually are - then you owe it to THEM to get them free of such a life. One of my friends has a couple of sproglets from a previous marriage, and while the little girl is too young, the little boy IS old enough to see... And for some reason, also becomes a target of the hatred and vile sh!t the arsehole spews forth. Punished for the most minor of reasons. Treated like a little Prince one minute, then like a demon child the next...

If you have children, you need to get away, before the behaviour of one "adult" becomes learnt and considered acceptable by the wee one.

I like to think I am approachable. I like to think I am helpful. If you need help, if you want someone just to talk to, then by all means, consider this my extended hand. I cannot say for sure that I can help you. I cannot say for sure that I can fix anything for you. But I can say I will talk to you, give you advice, and listen to you if that is what you need.

No one on this earth deserves to be treated like an indentured slave. No one on this earth deserves to be treated like an unfaithful dog. No one of this earth deserves to be spoken to like a naughty six year old.

No one. Not ever.

The next time someone asks me what it is I am passionate about, I won't pause nor will I hesitate.

I am passionate about psychological and physical abuse that is used so prevalently in this day and age...

And it has to stop.

(Post-Script: I have sent this to those mentioned in this blog post before I hit the publish button... The fact you are reading it means I have their permission to let the world see it. I don't want people to think I am writing about things confided in me in secret. I have their permission, and their identities are well and truly covered)

When Tiredness Strikes

To say the last few weeks have been absolute f$cking sh!t a bit hectic is putting it mildly...

The details aren't all that gritty - first off, I've been running around like a blue-arsed fly most days just doing "stuff" - housework, kids stuff, cooking, cleaning and so on. On top of all that, I had my second Pain Management appointment where I actually got to see someone trying to help me...

Their plan seems a little arse-about-face if I am honest, but I can see their reasoning. One of my meds, the Pregabalin, is - in my opinion - doing sweet F.A, but in case it IS working, I am not allowed to just stop and change meds.

So to get me in less pain, we're starting by... reducing my meds... Marvellous.

Yes, I get why they can't just stop them (pesky stroke and risk of death and all that) but it isn't any fun for me as I am still in pain 24/7, am still sleeping very very little, and still a moody bastard that everyone hates.

On top of that.

Kellie decided to have one of her Heart-Attacks-That-Isn't-A-Heart-Attack sessions... The day before the Main Event, she was at work and went very wonky. Chest Pains, Left Arm Pain, crushing feeling on the upper body, going a lovely shade of Corpse Grey... Everyone in the office had a flap, plus she got a telling off for not having her GTN spray handy. But, at her insistence, she was fine and that was that, and gradually the pain went away.

Following a bad night, and feeling much much worse the following morning, she did it again. I don't know, maybe as I missed the events at work, she thought she would give me an action reply. Chest pains. Crushing feeling. Left arm pains. Grey ashen colour.

BUT she didn't want a lot of fuss - we've been told many times that it's not a heart attack (despite telling THEM we know it's not a heart attack, on account of her not being dead and all) so instead of dialling 999 and getting an Ambulance out, we opted for the NHS Helpline on 111.

As soon as the woman answered, I explained that we know that despite how it sounds, her symptoms are not her having a heart attack. OK she says. So I go through all of the above, tell her it's happened before, that we know it's not a heart attack, and that we just want a little advice or help or something.

Five minutes later, Mr Solo Paramedic turned up at the door. Oops. You could see neighbours having a nosey through their windows, but I let him in, explaining to him that it's not a heart attack, but here are all the symptoms. He wired her up to the ECG machine and Blood Pressure thingie, clipped on the glowy red finger clip of doom, and sat talking to her.

Funny thing is, she couldn't talk properly as her chest was crushing so she couldn't get her words out and breath very well at the same time. So she sounded like a breathy old lady having a heart attack.

Work with me here love, I'm trying to tell people you're NOT having a heart attack, don't act like you actually ARE.

Her blood pressure was quite high, her ECG was a bit wonky, and her sats were 86-89%.

Mr Paramedic radioed for backup.

Three minutes later, MUCH to my amusement and Kellies annoyance, a biiiig yellow ambulance pulled up behind the flashy-light paramedic car. Out jumped two lady paramedics, AND a trainee fellow, all with lots of kit in tow, and they came into the house under the watchful eye of the neighbours.

The old girl next door popped out, quite worried something bad was happening, so I had to talk to her and calm her down before she needed their help too - she's got a dodgy ticker as well.

With Kellie, three paramedics, me and the two cats wandering around, the downstairs was a weeny bit crowded. Kerry turned up for good measure as well as she was worried too, and Kellie... Well, she wasn't impressed. She felt like shit, and was receiving LOTS of attention.

The four medical people had a conflab, and it was decided that Kellie really really should go to hospital. They had given her GTN and Aspirin (like they do with heart attack and stroke victims) and that eased her symptoms (like it does with heart attack and stroke victims) but told her she really should be checked out.

However, she wasn't allowed to walk out to the ambulance. No, she had to be strapped into one of the special chairs for patients.

And wheeled out on display for all the neighbours to see. Kerry watched too.

Once in the ambulance, we had to sit for a little while so they could be sure she was safe to transport, that her symptoms were a little better, that her ECG wasn't wonky, and her Blood Pressure and Sats were improved.

All were a little better - sats were back into the low 90s, ECG was clear and BP was more normal. And off to A&E they took us. Checking her the whole way, monitoring her so she didn't die and so on.

Once in A&E it was the usual... Sit and wait for a doctor. Go get an Xray. Have a blood test. They also put a cannula in the back of her hand juuuust in case they needed to get quick access for drugs.

Yes, just like people having a heart attack/stroke.

We were in there for hours while she was checked, questioned, prodded, poked and bombarded with Xrays.

The only superpower she developed, however, was "pissed off with being checked, questioned, prodded, poked and bombarded with Xrays" And at no point when she was hooked up to everything and needing a wee, did I turn on the tap and leave the room.

After ALL that, she was given the verdict of "Well, we're happy to say it wasn't a heart attack..."

Er, yes, thank you for that Dr Obvious. "All we can suggest you do is just advise your consultant what's happened, keep your appointments for your Stress Test and Pulmonary Function Test, and go from there"

So once again, no answers, no help, nothing... No, I know, it's not their fault, they can only go by the symptoms - but it would be nice if they could be some help and try working out why this shit has been going on for five years now.

If any of you armchair doctors - no, NOT Dr Google - can explain to me why she gets all the symptoms of a Cardiac Arrest, without the actual Cardiac Arrest, the please let me know so I can go to the doctor, specialist, consultant or whatever and say "What about THIS" instead of feeling like they just throw random diagnosis out and then a few months later, they say "LOL, no, not that"

Anyway... Kellie ended up having the rest of the week off work (They didn't want her there!) and chilling over the weekend.

Which was lucky really as by the time Monday came back around, it was Dom's turn for stuff - even though this was pre-planned shenanigans.

Last year, Dom - being a spaz - hurt his leg playing football. I say hurt, it was a knee dislocation. Lots of pain and crutches and so on. He was checked, told to rest it. A few weeks after that, he did it again because, you know... Spaz.

This went on for a year or so with random dislocations of the left knee, an MRI was done, but nothing mentioned about it, doctors passed it on from GP to fracture to Xray to MRI to Orthopaedics... Eventually - almost a year to the day of its original dislocation - we got to see a knee specialist.

We were in there for a little while, and the only real option was knee surgery to reconstruct the broken ligament... Er.. Broken Ligament?

The MRI from eight months previous showed that Dom had managed to sever - not tear, but completely sever - the ligament that holds the knee cap in place, and also that prevents the joint dislocating at random intervals.

So surgery was booked in - but for AFTER all his exams.

Monday was the pre-op, and with that being all clear, the surgery was done on Tuesday morning. Now, I am not going to go into me vs. hospitals here. Dom, however, held up like a champ, only getting properly nervous when he was being wheeled into the theatre.

Kellie went in with him and was looking after him while he was knocked out, and after that, we had to go somewhere to do something to pass the time - so opted for the restaurant, drank coffee and ate cake, had a wander around, watched the world fall apart via the news on TV...

He was down in theatre for almost two hours - the surgery took just over an hour - and he was wheeled back in from recovery very whoozy and away with the fairies thanks to copious amounts of drugs. Apparently he was in a lot of pain when he came out of the anaesthetic, so they popped him with some morphine for good measure.

The rest of the day he was spent sitting at his bedside, chatting with him when he was awake, chatting to the nurses when he was asleep, reading, playing on the DS or Tablet... Just passing the time - which is a completely different time inside a hospital. Hospital Time is a strange phenomenon, and some of you will understand exactly what I mean!

Because Molly came up from school and sat with us for a while, we decided I'd take her home to get her fed, watered and into bed, while Kellie stayed at the hospital to spend time with Dom.

Within half an hour of me leaving, things took a bastardly but thankfully brief turn for the worst - all the drugs, the anaesthetic, the antibiotics, the three kinds of pain killers - decided to combine into a concoction that made Doms heart rate go through the roof, and to feel as though his lips, mouth and throat were swelling. Luckily, there was no swelling, but physiologically, he was affected, and his ECG, Blood Pressure, Sats and everything else went completely screwy for an hour. Luckily, Doms surgeon was on the ward, arrived and took control very quickly in a manner that kept Kellie somewhat calm...

After all that, Dom went to sleep and was fine for the rest of the night. Kellie got home and was a nervous wreck, and I feel shitty that I wasn't there when things went pear-shaped... BUT he was - and still is - fine. So no harm done.

The following day, Dom was hurting, tired but otherwise OK, and by lunchtime, the wheels were in motion for discharge. He met his physiotherapists, and started doing his various exercises - painful but necessary. His leg has some bolts of some kind in it, holding his new synthetic ligaments in place. The road is going to be a long one, apparently, with lots of physio and rehab for his leg - even now, it's taken him a week post-surgery just to lift his leg.

The wound itself is pretty... Disappointing... He has two, actually, both covered with a dressing the size of a large-ish plaster.

These two pictures show the site of the surgery. The arrow on his shin was done PRE surgery so they remember which leg to poke holes in, and what leg to NOT cut off. The blue lines are anatomical, showing the kneecap, femur, tibia/fibula (spell check update - the bones are Tibia and Fibula. There is no such thing as a Fibia. Apparently, it's an amalgamation of Fibular/Tibia, and MAY refer to the lower-half of the leg, but it not a recognised word. Thank you Spell Check & Google), and where there are and should be ligaments. Probably showing the team what needed to be done...

The next picture is when Diane - the 0dd Mother in Law - came to visit the other night. Dom, who is living on the sofa at the moment, is playing through the new Tomb Raider game. Nanny wanted a go... So Nanny sat trying to control Lara through bad-guy-infested areas involving cliff edges, gravity, rocks and dying. A lot.

I snapped this picture just after she fell to her death again, and Dom is giggling like a school girl... The look on the old girls face is one she shoots me a lot... Sort of.. Dragonish...

So, all in all, the last two weeks have been shitty. I've not really had anyone I can talk to, so been sitting and dwelling and worrying and thinking and OVER thinking and so on... Hence the blog post - I needed to get it all out and deflate. It's helped a bit, but... I don't know.

No, I am not going to go into me or my issues (pain clinic notwithstanding) and am just trying to get on with everything.

Kellie is better - still getting chest twinges - and she's trying to get hold of her consultants secretary to bring her next appointment forward... Dom is slowly on the mend - still on the sofa, still making funny groany noises when he moves, still getting lots and lots of care and sympathy from me... *ahem*...

Other than that, there have been Parent/Teacher meetings for Jaysen & Molly (both very bright, both very smart, both prone to chatter, both could push themselves harder, etc etc). Tam is doing very well too, reading at a higher-than-normal average, but still trying to play the whiny little girl card when she doesn't get her way...

Life is ticking over with what feels like extremely regular speed bumps, but I'm doing my best to push through it and just carry on... I think I need a break from everything to stop it getting on top of me.

Oh, snail...

I feel like I've been doing this post all day - thanks to Dom (aka, Spaz) needing guiding in Tomb Raider... Anyway, this morning while watering the house-plants, it became obvious to Dom and Myself that I am waaaay over-tired, and waaaay in need of getting out more.

The watering can - which was kept in the garden - had a snail on it. A fact I only realised while halfway through the watering. He was sliding around the outside of the can, drawing little trails as he meandered in circles.

And I was talking to him. Chatting away, apparently. Asking him questions... Dom thought I was definitely strange at this point. By the time I was done and put him back in the garden, "the snail" and become Mr Escargot. Yes, I named the snail. And made sure he was released somewhere cool, damp and shaded.

When I came back upstairs, I was talking with Dom... Considering how weird a snail looks - with his eyes on sodding great stalks, those two strange feeler-stalks, bloody great shell on his back, sliming everywhere - what must WE look like to them?

And then I went on to mime a snail, doing a human impression. Dom laughed till he nearly pissed his pants. Me, a human, pretending to be a snail, pretending to be a human.

I'm either very tired, something has snapped in my head, or I need medical attention.


Stalky Stalky

The last few days have been pretty crappy, and for the most part, I've been keeping to myself, sulking in my corner, virtually trying to wish the pain away.

Of course, it didn't work.

When I'm in my own little world, I come up with all these different blog post ideas. However, where I don't want to do anything except hack off the offending body parts, blog post ideas either disappear into that great grey expanse that is my forgetful mind, or, on reflection, I decide that if I post about this subject or if I go on about that issue then I am likely to just piss people off.

I kid yea not.

So instead, I opted to answer a question that has strangely popped up three times over the weekend. Usually in the form of "Blimey, how many messaging apps do you use?!" or something similar.

The trouble is, I like to chat to people, especially when tired, insomnic (not a word, but you get the idea), bored or just generally natter away. But yes, I still hate actually talking on the phone. And because I talk to different people, different people use different apps. Or one of the kids say "Oh this is good app to use!" or I get invited into a beta and kind of just stay with it...

In order to put the subject at rest, I figured I would just list them all out here for all to see. If you use one (or more!) of these apps, then feel free to add, invite, share - whatever. I have them installed on my mobile and my tablet, so usually reply pretty much where ever I am at the time.

Especially when I am bored.

So, here is the list - and because I am EXTRA nice and helpful (stop laughing) I've added a link for these apps for you to download - obviously, if you're on an Android device, use Google Play. If you're on an Eye-something, then App Store is for you. If you're not sure, then I've added the apps direct website. Because I am so extra nice and helpful.

Facebook Messenger
I have the Messenger app installed, and it would appear you don't even need to be on my friends list in order to message me, so that's nifty. You just need to know me through Facebook - which can be found by clicking This Link.
(Google Play / App Store / Webpage)

I've used WhatsApp for aaaages - it's a proper nifty app for messaging, and I would argue that it's the best chatty-talky-messenger-type-app. Download, install, and it sees which of your contacts uses it and adds them - which means you will need my mobile number stored in your phone. Just ask and I will share it - alternatively, it's on my Facebook About Me page.
(Google Play / App Store / Webpage)

I have no idea why I have a Google+ page, I never think of it, and check in on it only very occasionally, but it's there ready for when Facebook goes all... MySpace-esque. OK, I know, wishful thinking.. I've never used Hangouts, but still, it's there, linked to my Google+, Mobile Number and Email Address; 0ddness.bl0g@gmail.com(Google Play / App Store / Webpage)

Another app I only use very rarely, but I DO have it and it's on... I only ever used it to speak to one person, but never got around to uninstalling it. Still, I have it - if you want to add me, my BBM Pin is 7B75E2FE
(Google Play / App Store / Webpage)

Now, I used to use MSN a LOT... My contacts list was silly sometimes, and I would have multiple windows open with multiple contacts. From what I gather, Microsoft bought Skype, and merged Messenger with it. So now I have Skype. I think. So, if you want to add me, my Skype name is oddness.blog and my MSN account dan.english@live.co.uk
(Google Play / App Store / Webpage)

Another one I use very rarely - mainly to see what my very small friend list shares when they are equally bored. I think there's a chat function on there now too, but regardless, I have it and load it when I remember to check! My username on there is essexdan101
(Google Play / App Store / Webpage)

OK, technically NOT chat software, but it does have the chat function - plus I USE this one when bored and taking pictures. Feel free to add me on there, which is the username 0dd1 (zero-Dee-Dee-one)
(Google Play / App Store / Webpage)

I use Twitter on and off, but mainly off as I don't know that many people that I chat to. I lose the plot, lose track and forget to reply. But again, it is a chat-type-app, even if you are limited to 140 characters, so on there my username is - like Instagram - 0dd1 (zero-Dee-Dee-one)
(Google Play / App Store / Webpage)

Now, I am fully aware that there are many other chat programs out there - Viber, Yahoo, WeChat and so on - but these ones listed are the ones I have installed, and use. If half a dozen of you turn around and say "We're on this app" then maybe I will give it a whirl.

So there you have it - a complete list of ways to get my attention and alleviate my boredom. Or yours. And remember - if I don't reply, I am probably asleep!

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