I am a lucky man. 

I ended up nodding off on the sofa last night, just went up to bed before 2200, I missed any news last night. I woke up on Sunday morning, went down stairs, made a nice, freshly roasted, freshly ground, Ethiopian coffee, yes, I can be a bit of a coffee snob as well, put on a new CD that I got myself, from a guy called Sean Rowe and put the morning news on. This would be a pretty normal Sunday morning for me, providing I’m not at work. 

But, of course it isn’t a normal Sunday morning. 

Three men, used a white van to run people over, got out and went on a sustained murderous rampage on London Bridge and then on to Borough market, all overlooked by the famous London landmark, the ‘Shard’. They were wielding knives, large blades and they were also wearing ‘fake’ suicide vests. Seven people have been confirmed dead and forty eight injured at this moment in time. All innocent people, killed and injured by radicalised extremists. Luckily for the people that were there, the police had terminated the threat within eight minutes, stopping them in their tracks and not being able to carry on with their attack, with who knows what the outcome could have been. 

It is so sad that again, there are at least fifty five families out there that are worried, not knowing if their loved ones are safe, or, of course, in mourning. Then, there will be the people like me, that were there to help, I’m sure that there will be many, not just the paramedics and police but passers by, doormen, taxi drivers, bus drivers, bar workers, whoever helped anyone in need, with images that shouldn’t be seen, imprinted on their mind! I believe that people inside the bars were throwing chairs and bottles at the attackers to try and get them to cease. 

This is the second attack on our soil in less than two weeks, the third in three months! This is a horrible terror campaign on the streets of our country, affecting people from allover the world, from all race, religions and nationalities. 

The police are already stretched with dealing with the arena attack aftermath, they have drafted in police from allover the country to help, this is just going to add to that stress now, with the memorial concert going ahead today in Manchester and the football as well, 135000 visitors to Manchester that need policing, the extra policing, the election coming up and now this in London… The two officers hat I gave my statement to the other day were both from London. They’re going to be busy, rest days cancelled kind of busy… maybe..? 
Today as I briefly mentioned, is the charity concert in Manchester, at the cricket ground! I hope it goes well, I’ve had messages off a couple of people that are going, that were also at the arena on the 22nd of May, they are the brave ones, I take my hat off to you all! I hope that you enjoy it as much as you can do and put the 22nd behind you, at least for today!
I could go all political and say that with the cuts on policing, in our country, in our little towns and villages all over the country, where these threats could be snubbed out before they even get started could have possibly prevented these attacks. Was eight minutes a quick enough response time..? I’m not having a pop at the cops by the way, I am definitely pro police and always have been. But, if the attackers had firearms, automatic firearms, fifty five people could have been easily multiplied three or four times and that doesn’t bare thinking about, thankfully that wasn’t the case. We need more police, attacks aside, we need more police!

Again, I’m not going to tell you who to vote for, you are a person, you’re your own person, but please, think about how to use your vote! And do USE your vote, don’t think you can’t be arsed, your word means nothing or whatever! You’re wrong, YOU can make a difference to YOUR country. Don’t vote for the person with a nice name, or the one that you know won’t get in, just because you don’t like the others… think about it properly!

These vile terrorists hate our democratic values, hey hate our freedom and ‘western ways’ don’t let them dictate to you and make you feel like a prisoner in your own country. 

Again, this is a political attack, as was the arena attack, they have tried to create panic in the country, they have definitely caused race related crimes go up, even over night, I believe there have been a couple of ‘attacks’ locally to me. 

 I said the other day, This was one man, ONE MAN, brainwashed by a ‘cult faction’ of sorts, that happens to ‘follow’ one religion, it does not mean that everyone ‘genuinely’ following that religion is the same… they are quite the opposite and in the eyes of this ‘cult’ they are also the enemy. This was about the arena attack, Obviously this attack was three men, and it may not be directly linked to the other two attacks but they’re still the same, they’re still part of this extremist cult and it still needs to stop. 

 We are hearing things about people possibly knowing the attackers and the possible accomplices that have been subsequently arrested this morning and that they were normal people, played with the kids, gave them sweets, was an active member in the community and even with his middle eastern looks, had a local London accent… these people walk amongst us, as one of us, which is a scary thought. This is what is going to cause rifts in the country, this is why people are going to be persecuted. On the 4 Jun 1940 we said “We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We will never surrender.” And on the 4 Jun 2017 we are saying, Run, hide, tell. You could say how times changed, but the war has also changed, like I say, these people are amongst us, we need to find out who they are, gather as much intelligence on them as possible and crush them. 

I didn’t really want to be seeing this, none of us did, this brings all the memories flooding back, I know it is totally different but I can just visualise the scene, bodies lying on the floor…

How can we move forwards from this..? We need to go on, doing what we normally would be doing, just keeping our whits about us. As a country… well, I’d like to see more police, more armed police, the people that have popped up on a suspected to be linked to terrorism list to be arrested, rearrested if necessary to gain the correct intel, this in itself could prevent more attacks and also potentially link back to the previous attacks. It amazes me how Abedi was freely able to travel through so many countries. Counter terrorism needs to be upped and use more. 
Anyway, I decided not to take my daughter swimming this week, I didn’t want to make the instructor feel uncomfortable like I did last week, I didn’t feel it was fair really. So I pottered about at home, watching the news, it was making me get wound up, angry and upset… we had discussed about going somewhere, the three of us, maybe for an icecream, I am a connoisseur of them too. I couldn’t wait to get out of the house in all honesty, I put the CD on in the car so that I didn’t have to listen to the news. We set off, undecided as to where we should go, I naturally gravitated to one place, by the route I had taken from the door. We were on the motorway, unaware, oblivious if you will, then we started to see signs for Castleford, near to where we were aiming for… then I saw Pontefract… the next junction along… also the same place that a couple of ladies I sat with for a long time last Monday were from… I began to think of them, how they were… how their family was, I got a little upset again in all honesty. Finding a parking space sparked the rage off again, I know that parking can be a pain in the arse as it is, but I was feeling that little bit extra angry, it didn’t help. 

It was funny, whilst driving along the road on the way there, my little girl pipes up from the back of the car, ‘daddy, have you got a new tattoo?’ ‘It looks like a bee’. Made me smile a bit. 

We did manage to get an ice cream in the way back, from a small place in Huddersfield, one that I’ve never tried before, I had a flavour called ‘twixxy’ which was exactly like the chocolate bar, Twix if you’re ever near Huddersfield, give Dixons a try! 

The evening was rounded off with the three of us, sat on a rug in the living room having a little bit of a Funtime family picnic dinner, listening to some music and spending quality time together. The music was on random play, I can assure you that random is the correct word to use 😂 but then, ‘I am a lucky man’ by ‘The Verve’ came on… I don’t really need to emphasise that point! I really am a lucky man! 

Embargo my behind!

I didn’t have the best nights sleep last night…. mainly because of the tattoo in all honesty. I put some tattoo goo healing cream stuff on it and to save any earache from manangement, I wrapped it in cling film, it isn’t the most ideal thing to do…. I got up, took it off and put a long sleeve shirt on instead, so that it can still breath! I woke up to glorious blue skies and a phone full of notifications! Yesterday, a good friend of mine shared a post on Facebook and twitter, naming my two colleagues and myself as being part of the first responders on that Monday. As I have said before, I don’t want to be classed as a hero, I’m not a hero, I did what any decent human being would have done and ran to aid those in need! As we have had a bit of a media embargo thing slapped on us, she made this post, the response has been staggering, to say the least but, there are literally thousands of people using the term heroes to describe the three of us…! We don’t want a pat on the back and out pictures splashed everywhere, it took us a long time to decide to contact the Manchester Evening News in the first place and then when they asked for photos, that was another long conversation between the three of us to see if we were all happy and comfortable with it. The whole thing isn’t something that we have taken lightly. I don’t know why we aren’t allowed to talk to the media, but I had a phone call from my regional manager, he’s new to the company (as am I for that matter) and I only met him on hay Tuesday morning, but he seems like a decent bloke by all accounts. He wasn’t aware of the media debacle and is more than happy for us to move forwards and get our story out there… but it isn’t him that is stopping us from doing it, he said he will try and sort it and help us in anyway we need. So we have got support from our company and they’re just giving us our space, which is honourable. 

This was all made worse when we were told that the rest of the lads from the counciling course had all been interview for sky news, were invited to a nice event with prince William and had told their story. Why weren’t we invited? Why, more importantly, were we not allowed to speak to he media..? Is it because we won’t be wearing a uniform with their logo on it..? Are we just expected to take it on the chin and act like we weren’t there..? As I have mentioned ed, there were arena staff as well as parents of children that had been contacted and were safe, all helping out in that foyer, none of them will have got their story out either. It is quite upsetting really. Probably made me a little angry in a way as well. 

I like gin… I think we have already discovered that… for Christmas, my wife surprised me with some ‘Gin festival’ tickets as a gift. We had said that we weren’t going to go anymore as they were a bit samey samey and I knew a lot more than the people giving the talks, so it was a waste really. But this one is local, in a village just up the road, so it has a bit more of an appeal and could be totally different. We will give it a try. Anyway, fast forwards a few months, I get a new job and I am rota’d on for this Saturday, it is highly unlikely that I will get the day off as no one seems to get Saturdays off… ever! So we had come to the conclusion that it wasn’t going to happen, management spoke to a couple of people about going, it fell through at the last minute. I am going to go… I feel guilty about doing so, for a few reasons, enjoying myself, when there are still folks in hospital, some still in a very bad way. I know that it shouldn’t really, but that keeps popping into my head, I feel… responsible in a way for all those people, I can’t explain it really. I’d really like to know how the people in hospital are doing, especially the ones I helped in some way, to put my mind at ease I guess. Plus, it doesn’t help having the hormones of a 14year old girl again, good mood, bad mood, angry mood, emotional mood, all in the space of 2 minutes.

Another little thing that I have noticed, not using certain words, orally or verbally. Yesterday, I so wanted to say something, instead of over the moon, something that would normally be in my vocabulary, yet I avoided it, some things just don’t seem right, if you get what I mean..?
We got a taxi to the place, we were early, so we walked around a little, chatting, in all honesty, this was probably the first time where I have had a proper chat with my wife, just about random things, it felt good. When the hall opened, we were there straight away, when we went upstairs, to where the festival was being held, there were already a lot of people up there, straight away I felt a little anxious, small place, lots of people… We had a walk round, up and down, through the people, definitely made me a little more relaxed, especially seeing as though we had seen a few familiar faces. The festival was t all that bad, basically tried a couple of gins that I’d never had before and just chatted with my wife, which like I say, was a good thing in itself. 

It was a nice day. 

It’s Ink’in Friday!

I had a reasonably good nights sleep last night but I am so tired, absolutely shattered really! We got up, came down stairs and I made breakfast for me and my daughter…I think I dozed off on the sofa… again! No idea what’s going on there 😂.
Today is tattoo day! Getting a tattoo is no issue at all, hopefully I’ll fall asleep like I normally do and get a bit of a nap in.
Finding s pair of jeans that I wanted to wear after the ones I was wearing yesterday ripped…there was a bit more of a task… so much so, I gave up and put shorts on instead! Didn’t seem that much of a bad idea until I came to walk up to the tattoo shop in he rain, you know, that fine rain that soaks you through 😂
Getting tattooed isn’t an issue, I was expecting to be on the bed… but wasn’t… so no afternoon nap for me. Instead, I got to chew the fat with a mate, about bikes, music, ladies….kids… the usual stuff I guess, that in itself was good! After 4 hours in the chair, he has done me proud, exactly what I wanted, nothing ordinary and totally unique, a bee, with a Lancashire rose and 2 different mandalas that form the wings. I’ll include a little shot of half way through at the end.

I walked home, in that fine rain again but got in at around 1900, I had literally just missed the UPS guy…. there was a massive box waiting for me…! I was surprised, shocked even, when I opened it up! It was a large hamper off a group of 9 friends that form a ‘group’ that I am part of called the edccooperative I am over the moon to say the least! Anyway, I am off to clean my tattoo and grab a beer and try to enjoy the night.

I have been reminded today, not that I had forgot, that I really do have some amazing friends around me! Thank you!

Stuff it, time for a beer!

The 1st of June, it’s a new, fresh, month, blue sky’s with the odd fluffy white cloud dotted about, I want today to be a good day!
Today, I am meeting up with my two colleagues that I have become more friendly with over the past week. I only started at this new place a few weeks back so I’m still the new guy. We are meeting up with a photographer to have our picture taken for a newspaper article. One of the lads spoke to a journalist over the phone yesterday, putting our side of the story across, which is slightly different than everyone else’s due to the people we helped and the time in which we got to the scene. We discussed it as a team of three, whether we all wanted to do it or not. It wasn’t an easy decision really. We have been dead against it, but after seeing so many people giving their version of events and some of them, we felt, we’re not necessarily accurate, so, the only thing for it is to tell a little bit of our story. I know my story will be different to my two colleagues as we all saw and did different things, but to have one account out there that is similar to the other two’s, is only a good thing.
The amount of people that I ‘know’ that were at the arena and/or were injured keeps going up. One of my mother and fathers neighbours, the mother, the father and a daughter were all injured, quite seriously by all accounts, the father will be released from hospital today, the daughter at some point this week and the mother is still not well enough to be released. They were in he foyer, and as I have no real idea as to what they look like, could have been someone that I saw, potentially helped, who knows. I’m just glad that they’re ‘ok’. I like hearing of people that were in the foyer and are doing ok, there were so many people that were in a critical condition, the 22, could have easily risen.
The positive mood was sort of working, a few cups of coffee and a chat with another visitor went well, getting ready to leave for having a photo taken and I get a phone call from the National Crime Agency, that pretty much changed the mood instantly.
I toddled off to meet the other two lads and the photographer, I was early. So I sat thinking about the statement, I began to realise how hard that it would be. I got out of the car and walked down to where I could see my mates. The photographer wasn’t long after, we introduced ourselves and walked up into the station to speak to the station supervisor and see if we were ok getting a photo. We weren’t, I guess the 3 of us should have probably known that anyway. The photographer ended up chatting with a press officer over the phone and basically got a bit of a telling off. So that was a wasted bit of time. I can understand why but it is a little frustrating. It took a lot for my colleague to write his story down and email it over to some guy, he got it off his chest, in the same way that this blog has got a few bits off my chest and made me feel a bit better. I know that the other lads were upset that we have been told that we cannot speak to the press at all, I get that in a way, but in another way, I don’t… how well, I have to get home, I’ve bigger things to be thinking about.
As I pulled up at home, I scanned the street to see if there were any vehicles there that I didn’t recognise, to see if the Police had come early. As I put my key in the door, my hands were shaking, I had what I can only describe as ‘butterflies’ in my stomach. I was extremely nervous about doing the statement, but I was greeted to a nice little hug off my little girl which put a smile on my face. When they arrived, they were two nice chaps, reassuring, went through a bit of information for me, and asked me to tell them what I’d seen, from the start to a point… I was relieved that they didn’t necessarily want to know everything from the inside of the foyer, just a generalisation of that part, but the time leading up to it was more of interest to them. Which was a massive relief to me really. Still Yeah brought it all flooding back, not that it has left my mind since but, as the whole story and not individual parts of it.
Anyway, after they had gone, my wife said something, nothing really, I can’t even remember what it was now, that rage came back, luckily at the same sort of time my daughter said she wanted to go out… so I decided to take her far a walk, we didn’t go far, but it was nice to be with her as she was running, playing happily and chatting to me, got me upset a little when I thought about… well, you know.
On the way back, I found a ladies purse on the side of the road, it had a driving licence and bank cards in it, the address is a local one, but nowhere near to where it was. I posted on a local page on Facebook and someone got back to me, I managed to message the owner and she came to collect it but had already cancelled her bank cards, at least she doesn’t have to get a new driving licence or work cards etc, good deed for the day done!
This is another good thing about Facebook… but… I am thinking about ditching it again…🤔
But… the jeans I am wearing, my favourite jeans… I seem to have managed to rip them… then I shave my head with my cut throat and slice a chunk out of it…. stuff it… it is definitely time for a beer!

Word of the day: goofball. 

You know when you watch a scary film and you have to move with the light on, turning one on in the next room, before turning he one off in the current room, you’re a bit jumpy… no, is that just this goofball then..? Well, as I’ve been going up to bed, I’ve been using a flashlight for ‘guidance’ (an olight baton s20 if anyone is interested, it’s a good light 🍻) with some sort of odd backwards shimmy type affair up the stairs, no idea why, I’m guessing it has something to do with someone creeping up behind me, but I’ve already locked up the doors and re-checked them… I guess my mind is just trying to play ricks on me. I did do the old, I’m staying up late so I don’t have to go to sleep routine again last night, that needs to stop. 

I had been thinking about taking my daughter camping, just the two of us, just one night and only somewhere local. I was thinking this before last Monday, today would have been one of my rest days anyway. But I’m not sure how I feel about it now in all honesty, being out in the middle of nowhere, effectively, on our own, I don’t know how to describe I feel about it. I know I am happy sat in my house, maybe somewhere small with a few people? I know that big places that are full make me feel a bit funny! But an empty, unfamiliar place with no one around… used to sound like bliss to me, now I’m not so sure..? 
Anyway, I woke up a couple of times, I only remember two, so that’s a bit better, when I woke up, I switched my phone on and did the old checking on what’s happened over night and just laid in bed, my little girl was up and she sneaked in and came to lay on the bed next to me, we chatted to see what she wanted to do for the day. Looks like we are going for a walk. We did go for a walk, my daughter with her scooter, it was nothing special, but it was special. 

The rest of the day has just been… meh… good old meh!

Media Schmedia….

I went to bed pretty early last night, I was shattered, as soon as I put my head on the pillow and closed my eyes, I was running up those stairs agains, the sites, smells and sounds were all there. I must have eventually dropped off… but not for long, I awoke sweating and had been dreaming again, another sea related one, don’t know if that is a coincidence… I do like the see though 😉. The sea was rising around me and I was just climbing higher up the hill/rock face type affair. Before I went to bed, my parents popped round, they had a card for me, a card from a complete stranger, well to me anyway, a person that I have never met, wanted to wish me well and send thanks, it upset me as I was reading it. Then I got to sit with my little girl on my knee, snuggling up, just before she went to bed, luckily she had her back to me really and couldn’t see the tears rolling down my face, me, being so lucky was just going through my mind. 

When I got up in the morning, I went to my daughters bedroom and opened the door, she was sat up reading, with a DVD on in the back ground, her big eyes and wayward hair made me smile. 

Nothing like quick browse on the tinterweb and Facebook to wind me up. To see that all the first responders were invited to the station for the opening this morning, was a little upsetting, I didn’t get an invite, is that because I’m not a civil servant and just a whopper..? Then I find myself wanting to comment on people’s posts but bite my tongue…thumbs, or whatever… posts that say that Abedi won’t be buried in greater Manchester, well, having seen him, I know that there isn’t actually that much that could be buried. Another really annoying newspaper story that say that a girl staggered out and fell into the arms of a paramedic… bollocks, absolute bollocks! The girl in question was inside the foyer and the paramedics were not allowed in by the police for quite some time in fear of a second device, my colleague kneeled with her, helped and comforted her until the paramedics could get in and then she was carried out. The media and the facts, the people taking ‘credit’ for things is so frustrating. We got a ‘mention’ of sorts, being part of the railway staff that were first on scene, but we were THE first on scenes, with the BTP officers, it goes on to say that there were walking wounded… no, no there wasn’t, nobody was moving when we got there, it was dark, smokey, quiet! I definitely don’t feel part of it, I feel like we’ve been left out to dry really. May I add, I don’t want a pat on the back, just the truth, why make shit up and fill in the blanks with whatever story..? 

You may well have guessed I’m a bit bitter today. I’ve not really had a good day, don’t know why, just been down, my daughter has made me smile so many times whilst she’s been at home with me, but… I just can’t place it, felt down pretty much all day. Even a surprise bottle of beer that my wife bought for me, although it was nice and greatly appreciated, didn’t lift my spirits. 

I am hoping that I can snap out of it tomorrow, I would like to do something with my daughter, just the two of us, something fun, something that we will both remember and something that will make us both smile, for different reasons. 

Inside the cordon.

It was late when we went to bed, really late… past 12 kind of late… most days I have consciously made an effort to stay up late so I don’t have to sleep and when I do sleep, it isn’t the best… From 0530, I was wide awake, replied to a few messages I’d received in them few hours I was waiting until the alarm that is set for 0630 went off but, I couldn’t wait, I ended up just going down stairs.
I’d had had a few offers of lifts to manchester, but I didn’t really want to put anyone out and I had to try to do it on my own. I’d still not 100% decided on how to get there, do I go double whammy and get the train in…? As I was getting ready, I could hear the trains in the bottom of the valley where they toot the horn for where the pedestrian crossing is, as it was so silent around, it seemed to be louder than usual, so, I decided to just do it…. I drove to Stalybridge station, really early. I had thought about getting one train but ended up being thee so early, I could catch 3 trains prior to the one I came for as I was so apprehensive. Of course, it was delayed, so sitting in the car, rather than standing on the cold windy platform for 25 minutes or so. I got on to the platform and the train was delayed even longer, sort of dragging out the anxiety for me, making it a bit worse, as daft as it sounds, I could feel my heart pounding as I boarded the train. It was full of football fans, ooooh, the football 😂, minding their own business, a little bit of singing, nothing over the top and then just chatting, a few beers and what not, just enjoying themselves, sort of put me at ease… sort of.
I got of the train and walked through the station, which in itself was a bit of a feat that I have accomplished… even if I was practically running through. As soon as I got through the front doors, I immediately slowed my pace.
As I approached the hotel, I could see my mate sat outside. We chatted a bit, small talk, and then got down to the meat and veg of it all. If was good! We eventually moved inside for a coffee, the rest of the ‘team’ arrived and we had a bit of a laugh. It seemed a bit wrong but it seemed right. We went into another room for a briefing, the mood changed instantly. Taxis picked us up and dropped us off at the back of the printworks, we ensured that everyone had arrived and move on as one group. As we walked down, I looked down a side street and saw the top of the bubble like structure of the station, I immediately snapped my eyes front, I didn’t want to see it just yet. We got to the first cordon and were allowed through it. Within moments, a different police officer called for us to stop, the person who was in charge of us approached him and was with him for a number of visits, the only thing that we heard was the officer say ‘no one is allowed in’, well, pretty much everyone heard that, and the group started to murmur, potentially not a good start. As we were stood there, there were a lot of police officers milling around, a few armed, a few GMP and a few BTP, all in a short space of time. It looked like they were moving cars out of the station carpark to be collected by their owners possibly? Anyway, a couple more minutes passed, a little radio chatter and a phone call and we were allowed to proceed. As we walked over the tram tracks, again, I looked right and could see right into the station, a couple of genie lifts, workmen, the light tinkering of tools, all was good…ish. We got round the corner and there was a police van half blocking the road, another line of police tape and an officer waiting for us to sign in, I showed the officer my driving licence, signed in and moved under the tape like the 2012 limbo world champion I am… not! As we were stood next to the little Marks and Spencer’s waiting for the the whole group to go through the same process, we noticed the bells from Manchester Cathedral were ringing, like they were practicing or something..? It added a little serenity to the moment.
Once we had all signed in, there was another chat, making sure that we were all ready to move on with the visit. As I walked down the front of the station, I couldn’t help but think about the last time I walked down this street, well, second to last, I was pulling a stretcher with 3 paramedics whilst they were working on the already dead person, whilst I was staring at their face. As we went through the entrance to the station, the one that became the triage area, overlooked by the big map mural on the wall, I looked right, in that corner was where I spent most of my time with 2 patients, relatives, but took a bit of a turn for the worse whilst there and I felt helpless, even though I knew that I’d done what I could… I still don’t know where they are or how they’re doing. There were cleaners, joiner building a hoarding, scaffolders putting a scaffold up, we stopped as we all got onto the concourse and again, we had a chat, to see how we were and to explain a few things about the building work and where we were free to roam to. At this point, I looked left and slightly upwards to the doors of the arena and…. a police officer that was trying to be respectful and creeping past behind us, tripped over a wooden plant pot… phew, that brought be back down to earth, made me chuckle a bit, he chuckled, a few of us did. I walked over through the ticket gates to the approximate location as to where I was stood on Monday night, I was transfixed really, just there… vacant, but, it is the 29th of May 2017, it is a little after 1000, and whilst 2231, 22/05/17 is going to be there forever, it may be the same place, but now is now, a different time, that time has passed. The two lads I was working with had gravitated to their positions as well, in their own little moments, I know that relived that exact moment again, just before Abedi was to Detonate that IED, laughing and joking…. then I could smell it, I heard it allover again…my heart rate was already elevated. Fighting back the tears. We walked around a little, placed hands on shoulders to provide a little comfort, split up to be on our own, grouped up… almost an hour had passed and our time slot was over, we were all pretty much ready to leave. Everything that I felt coming in to the station, I felt in reverse. We were asked in the morning if we felt scared going back, I can’t say that I felt scared being there, but then again, I don’t think I did on the night… auto pilot, head down and getting amongst it, doing what I could, there was no time for fear.
As we walked out under the inner cordon, waiting for everyone to sign out, we could still hear the bells for the cathedral, couldn’t really believe that it had been a little under an hour that we had been there, it seemed like 5 minutes.
We had the option to go back to the hotel, but pretty much everyone was happy to call it a day…. well, the majority of us went for a beer before making our way home. I walked through the centre of Manchester, up towards Piccadilly station, it was busy, lost of people about, again, I avoided this sort of thing on Friday, it still feel… anxious I’d guess you’d call it. This wasn’t really made any better that I was stood on the platform and the train was delayed and it was filling up, not dust for my train but for the one before and one after, that got me a little bit uncomfortable, so much so I moved away and went onto the adjacent platform to get away from the crowd. When I got in, there was a parcel notification card behind the door, when I looked at it, it was at the neighbours house that we don’t really get on with, they never take parcels for us, various delivery drivers have told us over the years that they’ve flat out refused, anyway, this time they did, which I guess was a little humbling in its self, they’ve probably got no idea of the situation or whatever, just a nice thing to do. I couldn’t be bothered going to get it, not because I couldn’t be bothered…just couldn’t be bothered… if you get what I mean, when management got home, she went and got it for me, it was a massive box, not something that I was expecting, I opened it up and there was a smaller box… could be something I was expecting, wait, it’s heavy, not what I was expecting, I opened it up and it was a bottle of Gin, definitely not what I was expecting, as I looked through the box there was a gift note, a nicely worded message that brought tears to my eyes, it is heartwarming to realise that I have so many family and friends that actually care about me. I pretty much went full retard when my little girl gave me a shortbread lolly pop with ‘best dad ever’ written on it and a bag of marshmallows to boot!

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/detonate/”>Detonate</a>

Swimming in rage…

The messages and comments I have had via Facebook have helped and whilst it was the last one that I am going to post on there, the amount of people that have specifically asked if I can carry on doing them, not just for me but for them has been overwhelming to say the least, so here it is a proper blog, how long I will keep it up for, I’m not sure but it is here, and I am keeping it separate from facebook altogether and it takes out the personal feel that has helped me but it has also had the opposite effect, through no body’s fault, just…well….

It was 2030 when I decided to give in and go to bed, I’d had a bad few hours and was feeling a bit down, I didn’t want to just sit on the sofa, I’d got a bag ready for a hike I’d been invited along on and that was it, I knew I was tired, I wanted sleep…. I can remember waking up in the night. I went for a glass of water at one point, but it was at 0845 when I actually wok, looked at the time and realised that I must have needed that, as well as the fact In should have been about 10-15 miles away 15 minutes ago to set off on my hike.
It was a grey and cloudy morning, looked a little we my outside but not torrential downpour kind of wet though…. am I going to get away with wearing my sunglasses today…? I went downstairs and it was time for countryfile and a coffee…had the feeing again where I don’t really want to eat. Sunday is the day my daughter has swimming lessons, I decided that I wanted to go with her, as I normally would on ‘a day off’, we got ready and as we were walking out of the front door, I noticed management had a couple of bags for life under her arm, I asked the simple question ‘are we going shipping after?’ Mainly because I don’t think I wanted to do that just yet. She barked back at me ‘no they live in the car’, well… I’ve you have seen any of the x-men movies, you may know who the character mystique, when she ‘morphs’ into another person, it’s like it does it a square at a time, it’s like dominoes falling actually, anyway, that is exactly what I felt like with the rage coming over me. I get angry, people that know me knows that it takes a lot to flick that switch… this was with the lightning speed of Barry Allen. A walk down the road brought me back down a little. The initial bang of the oak door with 2 panes of glass in was a bit of a shock as well… that was my fault…dick!
I was walking behind my little girl, she was wearing little jeans, a denim jacket, a lilac t-shirt, her favourite colour is purple, she had little converse style, my little pony trainers on and was carrying her swimming bag, she was chunnering on to her mummy, I got thinking how lucky I was, I got thinking how many other daddies had walked behind their little girls once upon a time, thinking the exact same thoughts as me, and will never get the chance to do it again… the rage was gone… guilt set in.
We got to swimming, I made a brew and everything was going ok, then I just had a bit of a, well… flashback I guess you’d call it, I had tears on my cheeks. A few minutes later, there was a young girl, I’d guess that she was 4 years old, she didn’t want her hair brushing after getting out of the pool, she was facing me, looking up at me…and there we have it, it was the same as the little girl stood next to her dead mummy on the floor, within an instant I was stood in the foyer again. The, I assume grandma of this little girl noticed that the little girl was looking at me, she looked between the two of us and said to the girl, ‘look, this man is looking at you and he’s not crying’… well, I was, which was probably a really odd thing to see…
Moments later, the instructor was in the pool and was crying… unbeknown to me, well, apparently I had been told days before, bet I’ve not really been in, even though the lights have been on, that she had two friends that were in that foyer and never left. She knew that I had been there… so then I got thinking, has my being in that room at that time affected her…again, another reason to be upset.
We went home, I sat on the sofa and was staring into space, I was hungry, the first time that I have consciously been hungry and not been given food to eat. I got up and went into the kitchen, I knew there was a pie in the fridge, it was a nice pie, a proper pie, one from the butchers, a nice pork and chorizo one…. I cut it into half ate one, I went back into the kitchen and the other half had gone, as funny as this is now, I went into full on rage mode, I had to go and sit on the bed to calm down a little.
Management had friends that were in the are, so we went and met them with the kids and what not, I was a little quiet but ended up chatting a little… we ended up at a pub… unfortunately 😉 I had my staple ‘Tiger Rut’ brewed down the road from our home, we sat on a bench in the front garden of the place we were… I got a phone call, it was from the station manager at Victoria, he was in the session on Friday, the station will be released from Police custody this evening and before it opens to the public we can go for our visit in the morning…. the sunglasses came down instantly. I know I need to do it, I agreed to do it the other day…. the same day we drove past the flowers at the arena carpark..!
I finished my pint off with the sunglasses on…. ‘what do I wear’ came into my mind… this made me chuckle to myself and also made me sad. All in all, today has been a bad day for me, I am going to have a couple of beers, listen to some music and compose myself tomorrow morning whilst deciding if I am ready to get the train to Piccadilly or to drive and also… what I should wear.

It’s the weekend…

Today is Saturday, it’s forecast heavy rain… I’m looking forwards to it, freshen everywhere up a little, hopefully me as well. With that being said, this WAS going to be my last post like this. The writings that I have done over the past few days were a recommendation on how to cope with it all from a very good friend of mine, a man who I have secretly idolised for many years, anyway, I decided to go one step further and share with the people I know and love, to try and help them understand why I am acting in a certain way or whatever. There are a lot of things that when I come to speak about it… my jaw almost locks up… I know my brain is ready for speaking but I physically can’t… I’ve never felt anything like it. So doing it this way, it makes it easier for me to get it out. It has also helped me in the fact that I have had a constant stream of messages from around the world, literally allover, I woke up at 0730 today but didn’t get out of bed until 0840 as I was reading and replaying to all he messages I had received over night…. that is just amazing! I can’t thank you all enough, even if you haven’t sent a message as you don’t know what to say, which is understandable and pretty much what a lot of people have said, the fact that you’re reading this is enough for me, but on the same ruling, I wouldn’t mind if no one read them! I didn’t expect the response that I have got from all of you! As I said in the first post, these are for me, they have fulfilled what I wanted them to do and I don’t want to carry on posting them at the risk of boring a lot of people or making them think that I am only doing this for some form of gratification, reassurance or sympathy. Those that know me, know that I am a quiet and shy person most of the time and these messages are not like me… but you probably also know that I tell good long stories 😂. I feel that I want to try to get back to being me, myself. I am still going to be writing a lot down, privately, I haven’t got through it all yet, there are loads of things I’ve not mentioned here, or anywhere as yet as I am still in the process of unravelling it for myself. There are so many things that I cannot and will not pass on, some people don’t understand the magnitude of what has happened, not in a bad way, just because it is incomprehensible unless you were there and saw it, and even then, it is still not easy to process. I saw a 90 second long clip of the scene, I saw myself, even if you don’t know me, you know that it is me, just crouched down next to someone and I robotically get up and move on to the next, it wasn’t hard for me to watch, I was there and experienced it first hand but it did make me realise how big it was! I dropped into conversation, nonchalantly about having to use T-Shirts for tourniquets as I had used the personal tourniquet I always have strapped to my leg… I cannot remember the person that I used that on… that memory may come back to me at some point, I hope it does. Let’s remember that I was there, I walked away, and got to spend my daughters birthday with her and my wife… I am extremely lucky, whichever way you look at it but, and it is a massive but, 119 people’s families, whole families are living with this a lot closer to home than me, death, serious life changing injuries, their lives and their families lives will never be the same again. I’ve got it easy all things considered.
There are going to be a hard couple of ‘events’ for me in the next few days, things that I was asked if I waned to be a part of and I have agreed to, again, to try and help with the process of getting back to normal, whatever that may be, I am looking forwards to them in the most part but still apprehensive at the same time.
When I got up, the house was empty, home alone, party time….🤔 I knew that it was going to be empty, I heard them going out, opportune moment for a bowl of cocopops me thinks, sat in the middle of the floor, chomping away in silence, felt good, oddly! I started to get myself thinking about things, memories, the flashbacks I had when I woke up in the night.
Got myself sorted out, put my shorts on today, wasn’t very comfy in jeans yesterday, I can tell you 😉 and I toddled off up to see my tattooist friend and get myself booked in. Glorious sunshine walking down there, with a light breeze, by beard blowing in the wind… that is pretty much the only reason I have a beard 😂 Anyway, Before everyone had started on it, I had already thought about getting a tattoo of a moth a few months ago on my right arm, I’d discussed it with work colleagues, I progressed on to it being a colourful bee, but was reminded that it would probably be a bit ‘girly’… so… I may bee getting a tattoo… see what I did there. I am glad to see that this has become a popular thing and that people are donating money in a way that they see is beneficial. Hats off to he people that are donating their time and goods to enable this as well! All my tattoos have a meaning to me, not just because I had £50 or whatever in my pocket and wanted a shit bit of kitchen scratcher ink on my body. They represent times, people and places in my life. So yeah… I think that this just about qualifies. I’m not going to go into great detail as to what it would signify to me, that is for me, people will see the bee and associate it with Manchester and that will be the end of it after all, it is for me, no one else… I’ll be getting the moth as well just so you know.
I walked back home, still warm, but it had clouded over a little and the wind had picked up, my mood hadn’t, in the last few minutes I have had anger… rage anger and guilt. Over the past few days, I have experienced pretty much all the emotions, at once, singly, repeatedly, I expected most of them but not all of them. With the help of a lot of you peeps, I have ‘powered on through’ 😉 I cannot thank you enough!
I went to a kids party, one of my daughters school friends, I was trying to do normal things. Got in the car and did the old forgetting the seatbelt, staring into space thing, the couple of hours before the party were not the best, it seems to come in waves and at no specific reason and no specific time and no apparent ‘trigger’. The party was going well, the first balloon popping unexpectedly was a shock, then the woman messing with the PA system and causing massive reverb or whatever and even though the kids running round and screaming was because they were happy and enjoying theirselves, it got me thinking a little more, after I’d calmed down a little of course, to the point where I had a few tears again. I got to watch my little girl having fun with her friends, dancing with a big plastic hat, oversized spectacles and an inflatable microphone and playing with bubbles being blown out of a bubble machine, all priceless really! Sunglasses have been my friend this whole week, they hide when I have been on another planet they’ve also hidden tears well, to a degree anyway 😂. I was going to try and not have an alcoholic drink today, but, that’s gone out of the window for now, I’ll just be having the one bottle of beer though.
In closing, thank you for everything over the past few days, you’ve all been a massive help! ❤️ 🐝👍🏻👊🏻🍻

Session….not on the beer, but on the beer!

My alarm went off at 0600, I was already awake but struggle to sit up and turn it off, very little actual sleep again last night, the same reasons, as every other night. Quick wash, dressed and sit on the floor in the living room, a little vacant. I’m not sure how today is going to pan out. I am ultimately unsure if I am ‘upto’ walking into Piccadilly train station to meet the colleagues and staff and be taken to the place where this session is. I know that I didn’t want to get the train in, lucky, my brother who is working in Manchester today has said he will give me a lift in.
As I was walking down the street to where my car was parked, I felt like that this was going to be a bad day, I was feeling down and vacant again… I got in the car, stalled it, started it again and pulled out of the carpark, as I got down the road a bit, a red hot chilli peppers song came on, I felt… uplifted straight away and I started singing… well, speaking the words, within a few lines, maybe to the chorus, not too sure, I had tears rolling down my face, I carried on… and then stopped, I couldn’t physically do it… I tried… today is not going to be easy! As I was sat outside my brothers house, I got a message from sarah, saying how hat she was there for me and she always will be and what not, again, tears streaming down my face. This situation is now within my family unit, how many other people are in the same boat… the families of people that died, the families of the people that are injured, the families of those that were on the scene immediately after… then everyone else that is thinking could have been me, could happen again, I work in Manchester, or whatever else that could link them… that’s thousands of people affected or touched by this, not just me. I sat in the car for a good 10 minutes doing the staring at the window thing again.
I got to the Piccadilly station and met up with a colleague, we had to go into the station to meet another colleague. I said that we should walk up the street way, incase we walked past him, It wasn’t because of that at all, I didn’t want to walk the full way through the station! I was relieved that they both came, the first time I have seen them since Tuesday morning. We walked outside to meet up with some other staff, a few familiar faces from Monday night. We waited for a few more to turn up, whilst we were waiting, the building site over the way was working and going about their business, something dropped and made a bang, not an overly big one, but… none the less I had shit myself!
We all walked en mass to the hotel.
I sat in a room with 10 other men, all of whom witnessed the same as me. We all had a bit of a teary moment a number of times, we all had a laugh, it was very strange. I can’t say that I have any answers, but, I know what to expect and a few things to help. We left together and went for a beer in the sun. We are now part of a club, an exclusive club, not a good one to be in, but at least we can all share it. A couple of the big bosses (not from my company) came by to speak to us and to clear a few things up for us, that helped a bit, they asked us for our input on a few things, which was reassuring a massive reassurance actually! I am so glad that we were invited along to this session by another company, grateful really!
The day started like a tough one but has got clearer as it has gone on. One of the things we were asked was if we wanted a ‘private visit’ to Victoria station before it opens, have a look round and get acclimatised, if you like, but in a controlled environment and with the councillors etc, we discussed it and said yes….
Anyway, after leaving the other lads, I walked a mile or so to meet my brother who had offered to give me a lift home. We set off and I wasn’t really paying attention really, we got to a junction and he said, ‘ahh, shit, I didn’t think, are you ok going this way?’ I said yeah, barely lookin hip as to where we were, we were just driving past the arena car park, I wasn’t paying attention, it was all good…. until we got to the traffic lights, I looked to the right and saw quite a few people looking at all the flowers and teddy bears that had been left… I’m not going to lie, I broke down a little…
I will just add, there was a young Muslim boy, stood, brushing tears off his cheeks as he stood looking at the tributes with his dad stood behind him and his hand placed upon his shoulder…..
An unplanned visit off some good friends and a beer or two sorted that right out for now, that’s Friday over and done with! 👊🏻