I can…


I can visualise his face, I can remember how he looked as he laughed, I can remember a thousand little facets of his character and outlook, but I can no longer remember his voice.

I can remember every minute of that day; the call late at night, the flashing blue lights, the ambulance getting lost, the tears, the horrible hot chocolate, my throat so tight I couldn’t talk, and seeing the body that was both him and not him.  However I can no longer put a voice to a thousand different conversations still remembered.

I’m told I sound like him on the phone, but that is something that I can never hear.

I can remember sitting on my sofa at home feeling drained, and I can still remember my two sons coming wordlessly in and sitting either side of me to put their heads on my shoulders; and that still brings tears to my eyes even now.

I haven’t written anything on this blog since that day, not through the usual laziness but I knew it would be a roller-coaster of emotions to try and get this post out.  I can feel the tears rolling down as this is written.

I can’t remember my dad’s voice, for which I feel both guilty and sad about, but I *CAN* remember the love he showed us, the silly things he did, the way he annoyed his grandchildren and the thousand little things he did for us because he could, and I can feel myself smiling when thinking about him.

…and that feels good enough.

Rest In Peace Dad.

Hard target.. (´・_・`)

Andy getting physical

The problem with Karate is that if, for whatever reason, you miss out a week or two it seems like you go back to square white belt.  Any semblance of co-ordination goes out the window, and the most basic of principals are assigned to the part of the brain that’s also responsible for you microwaving the bowl of sugar and pouring milk into the tin of coffee… I wouldn’t mind half so much but I can’t have coffee any longer anyways!


Life is hard.

Not the most inspirational of openers there, but one worth saying.

It’s all self inflicted I know…

…well some of it, other bits seem to be WAY out of my control and the control of those people working on my behalf.  You can’t help but get a little overwhelmed by it all sometimes.

I did once say that we all live two lives; the ones we show in public, and the one we live in private.  Some people didn’t entirely agree, but I still stand by it.  How many of us have answered “I’m fine” when asked “how are you?”, knowing full well the lie behind the answer?

Challenging routine

strong shower

Not entirely sure why “here” has decided that we’ve been having it all entirely too easy, but the daily showering routine can be summarised as;

1.  Enter ridiculously small shower cubicle.

2.  Confidently twiddle with shower controls. Alternate between “drooling” and something that a Northern Irish policeman would be proud of during marching season.

3.  Accept fate and go with semi-cold dribble.

4.  Utilise shower gel and shampoo that’s been scientifically researched, finely tuned to our special requirements and sensitive nature. Accept that whatever herbal name is printed on the bottle, it will smell of fly spray.

Screaming at the wall


Just a blissfully short post today, as I don’t know where else to post this.  Posting it on facebook seems a little “look at me, me, me” recently and I really don’t want to start wallowing in self  grandstanding, I’m also starting to regret this blog becoming somewhat more public than I had envisioned it would be.

An old ‘friend’ has come back to visit and I just feel like screaming at a wall.  That, or cry in the same direction.

I hate this feeling.  I hate the knot of frustration and anger that ties my stomach up.  I hate.  I hate?  I hate being this tired; tired from keeping this level of anger, frustration and the need to keep it internalised…

…but internalised I will keep it, apart from on here, cos that’s the nice thing to do.  As a friend once put it; I’m FINE (Fucked up, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional).

Seems apt.


Baby vs Water Hose

This week has been too bloody weird for words.

…Well almost too bloody weird for words, if it was “too bloody weird for words” this would be a blissfully short blog post.

I’m not entirely sure if I am just a magnet for weirdos and/or weird conversations, or if it’s that I am just more keenly aware of the ridiculousness around me – which probably says more about me than the situations I witness/get involved in.

The problem comes when trying to verbalise this.  How do you, for example, write about some fellow user of the work’s urinal approaching the toilet and not-so-much peeing into it but having what can only be described as an uncontrolled yellow explosion, without coming over a little…. weird?

He was apologetic, I had wet shoes and a somewhat alarmed look.

..Or coming across a rather attractive young lady, also at work, struggling to pull open a door that was clearly marked “Push”.

I like to think I’m a polite person, but I struggle to know which is the correct expression to put on one’s face when, after informing her that she needs to push the door, she comes back with “Excuse me, but I had to pull it when I came in from the other side earlier!”

Answers on a postcard please.

kokutsu dachi…Or what shade of red is the most appropriate to blush to when, after providing some help to a more mature lady just starting on her karate journey on where to place her hands when dropping into kokutsu dachi (answer as I explained to her; just below your sternum or “on the bra line” as it had been explained to me by a fellow female karate-ka), she comes back with “What if you have droopy tits?”

Not entirely sure to be honest, or what the best tack is to take when asking that of Sensei.

I think the icing on the cake though was the out of the blue message I received from a young lady of my acquaintance, during my usual insomniac late nighters, which read “Did u know Dolphins rape ppl :O“, then closely followed by “Google it!

Now I’m a self professed idiot, but even *I’M* not idiotic enough to go googling that particular phrase.  Also, I prefer my pornographic material to be somewhat more mainstream than that don’t feel that sort of thing is appropriate.

The fact that the person in question went as far as establishing that the aforementioned dolphin’s prefer their victims to be male and had taken the time to find videos of this was also a little bemusing.

…and the only thing that I can think of after all of this?  I don’t have enough bewildered expressions in my repertoire to continue noticing this stuff.


Tingling Spidey-senses!

Muscled Andy

Sometimes, although not as often as one would like, the marketing hype behind a product actually does seems to live up to the claims that it makes.  Although not necessarily in ways that you actually imagined them *TO* work.

What am I wittering on about?  Well, I bought one of those compression tops n’ bottoms that athletes wear, and with them the promise that wearing them would reduce aches n’ pains.  What’s more they’ll help me lose weight!  RESULT!

Wear a rather fetching, albeit eye-poppingly tight, bit of spandex under my Gi and suddenly my weight will begin to drop?!  In which direction do I throw my money?

Blowing sunshine and rainbows


I’m not liking my karate at the moment.

The style and what’s being taught is not the issue, just my unique interpretation of what’s been patiently passed onto me.

My kicks aren’t good enough, flexibility is an issue, stances need a lot of work and after reviewing the awesome books and videos by Iain Abernethy, it’s obvious that I need to go back to square 1 and actually LEARN my kata.  As Sensei Bob McCracken said in a recent seminar; “You shouldn’t move onto the next kata until you’ve learnt the pattern, correct stances and UNDERSTOOD the bunkai and application of that kata”.

Visiting other dojo’s in the region and seeing how karate should be practised, and taught, has only reinforced this personal reflection.

Now this isn’t a “I should quit” posting, I’ve been practising the art WAY too long and have been bitten WAY too hard by the bug to give in.  That, and giving up is no bloody answer at all.  Just wondering if the skills I possess are sufficient enough to aid others on their journey.

Methinks I need to find someone who won’t blow sunshine and rainbows up my arse, faint praise isn’t what I’m looking for, and either kick the aforementioned orifice or confirm my conclusion.  The problem is… I don’t know who that is.


New year, new me


Well 2013 is rapidly approaching and as per usual I have decided that cometh the new year, cometh the new me… or at least a vague set of promises will be made by yours truly to improve my lot and bring unto the world the new, improved, shiny and sexy Andy.

It’s pretty much the same promises that were made in previous years, and will probably end up in the exact same place the last set of resolutions ended up.  But I am a stickler for tradition and, if truth be told, an optimistic dreamer – one day, oh yes, one day the vision WILL be realised!

Rather than the somewhat vague promises of yesteryear, that can be summarised down-to 1) Get fit/slim, and 2) Get better at Karate, I have decided to be somewhat specific!  So ladies and gentlepersons I present to you my New Years Resolutions for 2013;

  • Get my weight down to 85kg (13 and a bit stone).  After the Christmas excess of booze, turkey, sweeties and biscuits my weight has ballooned up-to 94kg (nearly 15 stone) which is WAAAY to porky for yours truly!And, in a mood of being VERY specific, this target weight needs to be lost by July.  I’m not entirely sure what’s a safe amount to lose per month, but this should be somewhat achievable (by someone of stronger will and character than mine!)
  • Do 30 minutes of exercise every morning.  There is an underlying, and somewhat unsaid, attempt to become ripped!  BEEFCAKE BABY, YEAH!
  • Master the sweep.  I will figure out how to sweep like a ninja master, oh yes..

…and there you have it, my three resolutions for 2013.

I shall be taking pics of my travels from porky middle-aged crisis’ee to slim-buff godliness, but you’ll be thankful to hear that I shall place them elsewhere that you are unaware of – can’t be having that kind of horror loose on the young and innocent!