Examples of published articles/stories I have written.
My most frightening experience dates back to when I was a very young child, holidaying in Eastbourne. It was a beautiful time, my mother and father were there, together; one of the few times I would see them like this.
Anyway, we were enjoying the blistering weather; the exciting ice cream flavours; the crazy golf and the parks. It was in one of these parks that 'my frightening experience' occurred.
As we walked through the park, I saw a traditional English scene, full of happiness. Young mothers pushing prams; babies laughing and cooing in the sun; children playing football - jumpers for goalposts. But also, there were geese. Lots and lots of geese.
One of the things I remember from my childhood was the ritual of feeding the animals. Just when I thought it was safe and we were leaving the park, I would hear that fateful rustle from Mum’s pocket and out would come the bread or other foodstuff she dutifully brought along.
‘So, who would like to feed the geese today?’ A rhetorical question, well at least I hoped it was. I certainly didn’t, but every time I always ended up feeding whatever scentient being was there, usually immersed with fear. I mean, I was a young boy, probably 7 years old tops. In all honesty, I wasn’t the bravest soul. Possibly, due to the time on Midhurst Hill when I was attacked (barked at) by a feral (quite nice actually) cocker spaniel. But that’s a story for another day.
‘Yes Mum…er…that would be great!’ I tentatively replied. ‘Ok darling, there you go!’
She beamed at me as the breadcrumbs were thrust into my little hands. I gulped.
I moved slowly towards the lake, like a dead man walking, sentenced to public execution. I could see them all quacking, talking goose to one another, plotting my downfall. Here goes, I thought…
Now, the problem with geese is that they lack the decorum and etiquette that us human beings take for granted. As soon as they saw me coming, the mob of hungry birds started to rise and come towards me. They flayed out their wings, they cawed their aggressive song. They pattered and waddled towards my cowering frame. It was as if it was their divine right to eat my bread. So, there I was. , surrounded by geese, feeling like an American gangster at the end of the movie, my demise imminent.
So, I did what any self-respecting cowardly kid would do in this situation. I dropped the bread, then proceeded to cry, wail and bawl until I was heard by the nearest adult.
Now, my Dad had obviously seen the kafuffle and had decided in a very dignified manner to help his son out and allay this crisis. I could see the metaphoric cogs turning in the mind, ‘leave this to me son, Dad’s got it from here…’
He came over to the swarm of winged devils, shooing them away-but what he failed to realise, was the packet of polos he had in his hand at the time.
Unfortunately for him, one of the bigger, ‘daddy’ geese had clearly had enough bread for today and wanted to move onto something far more refreshing. He snapped vigorously at Dad’s packet and dad narrowly escaped a rather overfed and belligerent goose being surgically removed from his arm.
The other geese, could see that there was going to be a problem here and moved away, back into the water, to make this a fair fight. But goose number 1, was not going to let this go. He ran for my Dad, snapping and squawking. My Dad narrowly avoided him bobbing and weaving like a prize fighter in his prime.
Then as the goose was ready to launch his next attack, common sense dawned on my father and he decided to turn around and run as fast as he can in the other direction. Now as a young boy, two things you always think are that your Dad is a) the cleverest and b) the bravest man you know. My descent into the cold hard truths oif adulthood began on this day.
Goose number 1 had no time for such musings though; he was not to be defied. He sprinted after my Dad and the polos, biting and nipping at his wobbling bottom as he ran, quite honestly as fast as I had ever seen him run.
My lasting memory is of my Dad being chased around my Mum by the angry goose and him wailing like a child in protest.
You always think your Dad is ‘the tough guy’, the one who will protect you in crisis. The John Wayne of the Home Counties; the protective arm around your shoulder when you really need it.
Perhaps, but only if there are no geese around.
Beautiful Eggs and Rotten Ones
The Happy One confirmed his thoughts about the Chelsea squad, claiming he had 'beautiful young eggs' he needs to keep 'warm'. An amusing interview, which depicted the reason why English football needs Mourinho back in the Premier League. His demeanour was calm and as a football fan, you could see by his cutting wit, when asked twice about 'the worst start to a Premier League season,' that he is calm and relaxed about the long term future of his team.
But what about the Mighty Irons though? I read a tweet last night that informed me that with all our midfielders fit, we have a 'stunning' selection of players. I would agree we have an impressive array of talent in that area and the coming of age of Ravel, can only add pace and guile to it.
But my question and major concern lies with the other areas. The defence has been impressive this season but does it have the legs and do we have the back up to the ever-present Reid and Collins to last a lengthy season? What if, heaven forbid, there is a cup run? Tomkins will play but will he be Premier League fresh to stand in if required? Is Dan Potts ready? Will he get his chance at all? Is Rat good enough? Early suggestions on limited viewings suggest not.
My point is that Big Sam has done a tremendous job of making silk purses out of some hairy ears. Collins is still prone to a howler see Swansea away last year, Southampton on Saturday, but is big strong and reliable. Fair enough. Demel, who looked like a fish out of water has held his own and can produce going forward. The turnaround of Joey O' Brien and George McCartney (when fit) is nothing short of spectacular in my opinion. Finally - Winston Reid. In all honesty, I never thought he would make it in the Premier League, yet Big Sam has turned him into one of the Premier League's most reliable central defenders. Behind these trusty few - what is there though? Not a lot by my reckoning and a majority of the aforementioned are at the peak of their powers at this moment in time.
This leads me nicely onto the strikers. I literally shift in my seat and feel a wave of nausea when this over-egged (excuse the pun) issue comes up. I am sick to death of talking about the whys and wherefores of Andy Carroll's injury. A lot of people in the know, had him pegged as a long term injury problem. Some have mooted that this is a career-ender. West Ham fans will wait with baited breath. Absence certainly makes the heart grow fonder in East London and granted the team need him back. But he is not the second coming. He will not be reintroduced in a hail of lightning and thunder, leaving defenders in his wake and destroying goal mouths with every strike. That's right West Ham fans; he is merely mortal and will take time and games to get anywhere near where he was at the end of last year.
The concern comes from the lack of options and quite frankly the short-sightedness of all involved at our predicament. Yes we do not concede many. In fact the only goal conceded so far was a set piece that quite frankly should not have been awarded. But can someone scream in Big Sam's ear, we may need to score a goal or two this year?
It's OK though, Sam has a backup plan. Trusty Carlton Cole. Oh, actually not him, he is not fit enough to return to Premier League action. Plan B? Phew, good work Big Sam. Mladen Petric. Petric, you say? He did OK at Fulham didn't he? Excellent, get him straight in and up top! Oh, one small problem he too, is FIVE WEEKS away from fitness. What is going on?
So we are left up top with rotten eggs and ugly ducklings for now. There will certainly be no shopping in Waitrose for us. The Beautiful Young Eggs behind, will have to do their best and hopefully keep us afloat until January, the transfer window or the Second Coming arrives in East London.
Movember - A charity worth getting involved in
It’s been two years since I’ve been a full on ‘mo bro’ as we are termed, by the Movember Foundation. However, I started November 2016 (or should I say, Movember), completely clean shaven. By the end of the month I will sport some form of out-dated and somewhat ridiculous upper-lip growth. Why? Because the Movember Foundation is an organisation that has my full support and backing.
Last year, I started a new job and worked with an ex-army fire fighter. I was a little bit in awe, ‘what a cool job!’ I thought to myself. But the more I unravelled the perceived mystique of such a manly and butch profession, I found the reality to be somewhat different.
The colleague in question, began to confide in me, about him suffering PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and the horrors that he suffered mentally. He couldn’t go out, wouldn’t speak to anyone and most importantly, suffered from suicidal thoughts. This, I thought was a far cry from the hose-wielding, perma-tanned action man I had conjured in my head.
I delved deeper and stumbled across The Movember Foundation’s hard-hitting release about Male suicide.
Link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDYAgurah8g
It seems that men are suffering alone, the stigma attached to bearing your feelings and sharing your suffering is often too much for men and too many young men are suffering and dying alone. So Movember this year aims to tackle this problem and vows to decrease male suicide rates by 25% by 2030.
Gender stereotypes ensure that men often suffer in silence. It’s not cool to talk about your emotions over a few pints watching the football. It’s not macho to breakdown in front of your wife and children. As a society we have stigmatised male health issues ad Movember is the only worldwide charity that is aiming to break down this taboo.
I was challenged by a female work colleague, ‘this isn’t very inclusive for ladies is it?’ On the contrary, ‘Mo Sistas’ are highly regarded and extremely well respected, so I urge all of the caring women out there to show your support too in whatever you can.
So when you are walking through town, noticing some peculiar facial hair, hopefully you will know why. Please support the Movember foundation.