131 Days Later (part 14)

On Thursday we received a letter from the Department of Health & Social Care advising us that we would be required to shield until 31st July. What started off as 12 weeks in lockdown will in the end turn out be almost 19 weeks. I’d like to know why the general public can go and get their hair done then do a bit of shopping and then go for swift half down the pub afterwards whilst young boys with life-limiting conditions can’t attend overdue hospital appointments for their heart, lungs and bones.

Are these simple everyday things more important than a young child’s health? 

It again raises the question in regards to Disability Rights. During this pandemic, the extremely vulnerable have been left at the bottom of the pile. Any information we have found out has been secondary information. Where is the voice for the vulnerable? We have seen many protests over the last few weeks but none supporting Disability Rights. Everyone in the vulnerable category have stuck by the rules by staying within the confinement of their home. Staring at the same 4 walls every single day. Their mental health suffering daily. It’s a humdrum existence. Only recently have we personally started to go out for walks but we are a long way off from feeling comfortable integrating back into society. Even during our walks people don’t social distance, common sense should prevail when you see a young boy in a wheelchair coming towards you but on most occasions it has been us frantically trying to get out of their way!

Back in 2015, the government responded to Disability Rights UK ‘No Voice Unheard, No Rights Ignored’ campaign. Here is the statement from Rt. Hon. Alistair Burt MP. Minister of State for Community and Social Care.

We want everyone to be treated with dignity and respect. People should be involved in decisions about their care and not have to take what is given to them. We must stop thinking only about the things people cannot do and help them with things they can. People need better care and support in the place they choose to live. They should only go into hospital if it is the only way to get the treatment they need. They have rights and everyone must respect these rights. This needs a big change. Services must work together to find out what people need and help them to be as independent as possible. We want to see real changes between now and 2020. I hope you will check whether national and local organisations do the things we talk about in this paper”.

Unfortunately 5 years on the need for change is still there.

I’m not really sure what our way out of this situation is at the moment and what we’re expected to do once 1st August comes around. Are we just expected to go back into society as if nothing has happened? Do we take a baby step approach? Will there be continued support from the Government? The general public will have had almost a month of ‘being back to some kind of normal’ yet come August we will have to make anxious decisions that usually were just an average everyday task. So when you’re sat in the hairdressers/barbers chair or downing that long awaited cold first pint in the pub spare a thought for the families in our position who are in need of some respite due to 19 weeks of mental and physical exhaustion. I think we’ll just have to plan our own Great Escape but it will be a while until we cross the wire to get our baseball back!

Enjoy your week and stay safe!

Kieron

100 Days Later (part 13)

An ode to the Dad joke!

As it’s Father’s Day today I thought I’d post a few Dad jokes. I’ve not had much time to sit down and write a post as the kids want my attention as it’s been my birthday week and Father’s Day (something Louise constantly reminds me of every year, sometimes they fall on the same day!). I absolutely love Tim Vine and his one liners, so I thought I’d share a few of his with you today and others that I’ve also found on the internet. If you don’t laugh at any of these then please use the nearest exit door right now!

I saw this bloke chatting-up a cheetah and I thought: ‘He’s trying to pull a fast one.

I said to the gym instructor: ‘Can you teach me to do the splits?’ He said: ‘How flexible are you?’ I said: ‘I can’t make Tuesdays.

I was at sea the other day and loads of meat floated past. It was a bit choppy.

I did a gig in a fertility clinic. I got a standing ovulation.

My son asked me to stop singing Oasis songs in public. I said maybe.

My wife is furious that our next-door neighbour has started sunbathing nude in her garden. Personally, I’m on the fence.

When the wife finds out I have replaced our bed with a trampoline… She’s going to hit the roof.

My wife said I never buy her flowers. I didn’t even know she sold flowers.

Uncle Ben has died. No more Mr Rice Guy.

I went for an interview. They said, ‘Can you perform under pressure?’ I said ‘I’m not sure about that but I can have a good crack at Bohemian Rhapsody’.

My wife told me to take the spider out instead of killing him. Went out. Had a few drinks. Nice guy. He’s a web designer.

Conjunctivitis.com – that’s a site for sore eyes.

Do you ever get that when you’re half way through eating a horse and you think to yourself, ‘I’m not as hungry as I thought I was?

I told my wife she should embrace her mistakes… She gave me a hug.

Today, my son asked, ‘Can I have a bookmark?’ and I burst into tears. 6 years old and he still doesn’t know my name is Kieron.

Been out washing the car with my son. He said ‘Dad, why don’t you use a sponge like the other dads?’

My next door neighbour worships exhaust pipes. He’s a catholic converter.

I was reading a book – ‘The History of Glue’ – I couldn’t put it down.

This bloke said to me: ‘I’m going to attack you with the neck of a guitar.’ I said: ‘Is that a fret?

I went to a Pretenders concert. It was a tribute act.

I’m here all week!! Thank you and goodnight!

Have a great day and enjoy the week ahead.

Kieron

#duchDad

100 Days Later (part 12)

This coming Wednesday I’ll be 45 (Forty five) years old. I’ve spelt it out as they used to do that on the vidiprinter on Grandstand when a team scored a high amount of goals against the other team! I think it’s official confirmation that I’m middle aged, well that’s if I’m lucky enough to live until the grand old age of 90! I’m at the age where I have more hairs growing out of my ears and my nose than on my head!

As of yet I’ve not really had a midlife crisis, maybe writing the blog is the beginning of it! I’m just FIVE years away from being 50! It’s also FIFTEEN years ago since my 30th! I remember when I was 18 and first started going to the pub with my mates, we never went out that often on a Saturday night as it was the ‘oldies’ night, the average age of the people out that night probably would’ve only been 30, if that! We all have this perception of age, ‘Life begins at 40′, ’50 is the new 30’ etc. Probably for the people in these age groups the answer is yes it does but it would be interesting to know what age this generation of young adults perceive to be middle aged.

Once Mila-Rose and Alfie hit ‘Sweet Sixteen’, myself and Louise will be closer to our sixties than our fifties! They’ll probably bring their boyfriends and girlfriends home to meet us and upon leaving the new love of their life will probably ask “Why do you live with your Grandparents???”. I’m only joking and to be honest in my head I still feel as if I’m in my thirties. I remember looking at ‘older’ people when I was younger and they all dressed like Ena Sharples! They were probably only in their mid 50s but looked about 80 years old!

My Mum (she is wearing a bikini!!) and myself at Fistral Beach, Newquay

I don’t actually think I’d change too much in my life and I’m really happy where I’m at now. I remember during adolescence and in particular my late teens that I really lacked confidence in myself and how I looked, I’ve always had quite a skinny frame so I would always buying clothes about three sizes too big and wore layer upon layer to bulk myself up! When I look back at some the pictures I look like the guy in the waiting room in Beetlejuice!

First lads holiday, again in Newquay!

One thing I always remember about those times would be only having one telephone in our family home and bear in mind that mobile phones didn’t exist so if a new girl was on the scene I used to dread either having to ring them up to arrange a date or them ringing me up as the phone was in the living room! I was quite shy around girls and it was hard enough finding the courage to speak to them in the first place but having the whole conversation listened to by your Mum, Dad and Sister was even more excruciating! So I would like to issue an apology to any ex-girlfriends who I spoke to on the phone in the nineties, I wasn’t being rude or sharp it was just awkward!

21 today!!

I think by my early twenties I was starting find a bit more confidence in myself. I had worked in retail since the age of 16 and when the Trafford Centre opened in 1998, I started to work at the Levi’s store. Here I was amidst a lot of cool and confident 16-25 year olds who really brought me out of my shell. It was a real confidence booster. To this very day I’d say it’s the best job I’ve had, mainly due to the fact that it wasn’t like going to work but more like going on a night out!

The ‘skinny jeans’ era

My thirties started with a bang with a memorable trip to Dublin to celebrate! Skinny Jeans were all the rage and looking back at all those years of buying larger clothes to cover my skinny frame everything was now as tight as possible! I didn’t really worry about how I looked as I had not only grown in age but also in confidence. I would say that I really knew who I was, what I wanted from life and that lead me to getting married to my beautiful wife and having the two most adorable children.

My beautiful family!

I’ll finish with this story and I remember this really, really hot girl when I was 18/19 who used to go out in my home town of Leigh and I really fancied her. We nicknamed her Catwoman as she used to wear this catsuit on occasions, myself and my mates would purr like Austin Powers when she walked past! I used to think she was way out of my league and for years, due to the fear of rejection, I never asked her out. Almost 18 years after we first set eyes on each other, she became my Wife! It turned out she had always fancied me and always wanted me to ask her out!

The moral of that story is to not hold back as only YOU can make things happen!

People may perceive ‘older’ adulthood to be a negative experience and probably want to avoid it as it’s painful to think yourself as being old but you can still enrich your life when you’re older. Who knows us oldies may even be happier than some of the younger generation, after all we didn’t have the pressure of social media when we were young!

Have a great week,

Kieron

100 Days Later (part 11)

Hello! I hope you’ve all had an enjoyable week. I’ve decided this week to lighten the mood a little in regards to my isolation blog. As the weather has taken a turn for the worse, I thought as I’d have a bit more thinking time! As I mentioned in my last blog, I’ve been partaking in Zoom calls with my mates on a weekly basis and the last couple of weeks we’d used football as the topic of our discussion. We all choose our favourite moments from the beautiful game and discuss in great detail. We discussed overrated and underrated players of any era, George Best and Gazza fell into the overrated category for two of my mates (Feel free to discuss in the comments). My long time friend from High School, who also goes by the name of Kieron (what a great name!) sent over a WhatsApp message this week with the list of all lists that just couldn’t be ignored! So here goes…

I believe the children are our future…

Who is your favourite cartoon character and why?

It has to be He-Man and the Masters of the Universe! “By the power of Grayskull – I have the power!” was the immortal line uttered by Prince Adam as he transformed into He-Man every time he held the Power Sword. Together with his close allies, Battle Cat (or cowardly pet tiger, Cringer) and Orko. He-Man used his powers to defend Eternia from the evil forces of Skeletor! Easily the most powerful man in the universe!

Millennium Falcon spaceship

What was your favourite game/toy and why?

Star Wars without doubt. I remember going to Woolies (Woolworths) with my family when I was a kid on Saturday mornings and looking at all the Star Wars figures that I wished were in my collection. I think back then they retailed about £1.99! What a bargain! Then either Christmas 1983 or 1984, I got the Millennium Falcon spaceship, I was literally over the moon. It came with several of the elements associated with the vehicle in the film: a gaming table, gunner’s chair, training ball, even the smuggling compartment inside of which our heroes hide from the Imperials on the Death Star. It also featured a battery-operated “battle alert” sound!

Who was your first famous crush and why were they so special?

Kylie Minogue. I think she hit the UK screens in the soap opera Neighbours in 1986. I would’ve been 11 years old at the time and by the time her character, Charlene had developed away from a being tomboy so had my affection for her. I wasn’t much into her music but I certainly made sure I watched her pop videos! In my opinion, she’s still one of the most beautiful women in the world today.

What’s your favourite kids TV show and why?

Jonny Briggs. A few mentions for Grange Hill, Murphy’s Mob, Seaview, Jossy’s Giants but my favourite was Jonny Briggs. It was a BBC kitchen sink drama that revolved around the exploits of a young boy, his pet dog, Razzle, and his eccentric family members: Mam and Dad, older sister ‘Our’ Rita and older brothers Albert and Humph. It was a real Northern working class programme. I think it was filmed in Bradford. The theme tune was brilliant as well!

You’re History, no good to me…..

If you could have witnessed any event of any era, what would it be and why?

Bobby Moore with the Jules Rimet trophy

England v West Germany 1966 World Cup Final. Yes I know you’re going to think WHY have you a football match over other major historical events but I’m a massive football fan and one day I wish to see my home nation win a major trophy. Unfortunately so far in my lifetime we’ve only got to the semi-finals but can you just imagine what it must’ve felt like being a part of the euphoria of the whole country uniting on that day in July to see England lift the most prestigious trophy in world football. Imagine the celebrations afterwards too in the swinging sixties!

What do you wish you’d have invented and why?

Instant Gene Editing Technology. An instant technology that would facilitate gene editing from birth. Our son Alfie and all the families affected by Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy would have all the pain and heartache taken away from them. I don’t really need to say anymore.

Which historical figure is the greatest and why?

John Winston Lennon. I’m not saying he’s THE greatest in history. We could really do with a leader like Sir Winston Churchill at this very moment in time. During my research for this I discovered that in a poll of 100 Great Britons in 2002, TV, film and theatre actor, Michael Crawford came 17th on the list! He has to be one of the most famous, successful, influential, covered and admired pop artists of all time. It’s my personal choice as I love music, art and have a new found love for writing so he ticks all the boxes for me! To think that his life was so tragically ended when he was just 40 years old.

That’s Entertainment…

Partners in crime, Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield

Favourite film and why?

Pulp Fiction It was made in 1994, I was 19 and for me it was a groundbreaking in every way. A film like this had never ever been seen before. A brilliantly written and incomprehensibly cool film that has to be the most quotable crime movie of all time. The performances from Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta were just amazing. The soundtrack was also brilliant. What more could you ask for?

Favourite TV Theme?

Dennis Waterman – I Could Be So Good For You The theme tune to 1980’s TV show Minder, a British comedy-drama series about the London criminal underworld. It starred the late great George Cole as less-than-honest businessman, Arthur Daley and Dennis Waterman as his bodyguard, former boxer Terry McCann. I remember it used to air on Monday night’s at 9pm and we were allowed to stay up and watch it!

Favourite Comedian and why?

Frank Skinner. Mainly for his quick wit and dry sense of humour. He remind’s me a bit of myself! I read his autobiography in 2002 whilst on holiday. He was expelled from school at 16 and had a serious drink problem from the age of 14, but managed to go teetotal in 1987. He really turned his life around and went onto create Fantasy Football League in the 90s. His comedy back then was a groundbreaking mix of laddish and philosophical humour. The Frank Skinner Show also brought a famous moment of him dancing in dodgy white Y-Fronts to Venga Boys which still makes me laugh to this day!

A film of your life is made, who plays you and why?

Christian Slater. The reason being is that back in my younger days, I used to get told all the time that I looked like him. I think it was the eyes more than anything, I never saw the resemblance myself so for that reason he’s taking the lead role! I also used to get Tony Mortimer from East 17 a lot too! Alright, Alright, everything’s gonna be alright!

If you could go to a concert and stand at the side of the stage of any artist, who is it and why?

The Beatles at Empire Theatre, Liverpool, December 7th, 1963 Aside from standing at the side of the stage at the likes of a Robbie Williams, Craig David, James Blunt gig and telling them not to bother, I think it would have to be The Beatles. Ideally it would be at The Cavern but I don’t think there would be room at the side of the stage! I’d have loved to have experienced the height of Beatlemania and just the 60’s in general. The music and the fashion suit me down to the ground. I think the Swinging Sixties were very similar to the Nineties in some respects. I’m very gracious that I was around during the 90s Britpop era and saw Oasis countless times in the process including at Maine Road and Knebworth in 1996. The latter event almost two and a half million applied for tickets!

Most famous person you have shook hands with and how did it come about?

During my retail days I used to work at the Levi’s store at the Trafford Centre. It was the late 1990s so the selfie didn’t really exist as we were in the days of the then groundbreaking Nokia 3210 mobile phones. I remember Victoria Beckham ringing up the store to say that they’d be visiting the store in the afternoon and could we put aside some jeans for her try on. A few hours later in walked the Beckham’s and their entourage. No handshake but a worthy mention as we did exchange nods! We used to get quite a few celebs in the store, mainly footballers, musicians and soap stars. I have shook hands with Ian Wright, I asked him if he fancied playing for our Levi stores 5-a-side team that evening. He politely declined. I also met Paul Arthurs aka Bonehead from Oasis. He’d not long left the band and I enjoyed a good chat with him whilst trying to find him a decent pair of bootcuts! The one other that springs to mind is when I worked at Schuch in Manchester, Anne Kirkbride who played Deidre Barlow in Coronation Street came in to the store. The staff were mainly students and the girl who was serving her came over to me and said “Can you believe Deidre Barlow is trying on white stilettos!”. Still makes me laugh to this day!

Have you ever been on TV, Radio or Stage and what did you do?

Yes I have been on TV and Radio and they both came during this lockdown period. For those of you who are new to my Duch Dad blog, myself and my family were on our local regional news programme, Granada Reports. As Alfie’s 6th birthday party was cancelled due to us self isolating, I did a social media Duchenne Awareness campaign to get celebrities to wish Alfie a happy birthday. We had the likes of James Corden, Ant & Dec, Jodie Whittaker, Sir Chris Hoy, David Tennant, Catherine Tate and Matthew McNulty to name but a few! A few weeks later I then appeared on BBC Radio Manchester to discuss lockdown and shielding. Check out part 4 and part 5 of my blog to read the whole story!

Two for Tea

1) You are on death row, what’s your last meal and why?

StarterMinestrone Soup. When we were on our honeymoon in Florida in 2012, we went to the Olive Garden Restaurant on International Drive. I had the best bowl of Minestrone Soup I’ve ever tasted. Fresh vegetables, beans and pasta in a light tomato broth.

Main CourseSlow Cooked Lamb Shanks on a bed of Mashed Potato, Green Beans and Red Wine gravy. I think I’m just going for hearty comfort food. You can’t beat slow cooked succulent lamb just falling off the bone. I can’t say anymore as it’s making me hungry thinking about it!

DessertChocolate Sponge with Custard. The ultimate comfort food dessert. I always remember this being a favourite of mine at primary school and still to this day it’s my favourite. As I’m on death row I’m going to ask for unlimited custard!!

Dinner party inviting 3 famous guests (dead or alive), who are they and why?

Nigella Lawson – Not only would she host the ultimate dinner party, she’s also the undisputed queen of the food-based double entendre! It wouldn’t just be the food that was spicy and saucy! The dulcet tone of her voice makes her very engaging.

Frank Skinner – Working class background, quick witted, loves football, plays the ukulele and boy would he lap up Nigella’s double entendres! I imagine he’d ask some great questions too which would lead to some great discussions. He could also host a Dinner Party version of Room 101! (Maybe the theme of my next blog?)

Amy Winehouse – Immediately distinctive, both in terms of music and style, with her winged eyeliner, beehive hair and collection of tattoos and that voice. Imagine her just getting up to sing a few numbers after dinner. “She could bring songs to life like no other,” wrote an English journalist after her death. “But she was unable to live her own life.”

You may also note that all of the above have had addiction issues in the past. That is not my reasoning of choice, it’s purely coincidence! Maybe Frank could shed some light on how to tackle their addiction and help the two damsels in distress? If it’s not working then Nigella and Amy could pop off to the ladies whilst Frank and myself talk footy!!

So that’s it! I’d say that was the most challenging blog I’ve written for a while as I’ve had to delve deep into the my memory bank! Please feel free to devise and share your own selections in the comments. Remember there is no right or wrong answer as they are your own personal choices.

Stay Safe!

Kieron

#duchDad

100 Days Later (part 10)

You may notice that the blog title has changed! 84 Days Later has now become 100 Days Later due to the Government extending shielding until 30th June. A lot of mixed messages again from Boris and co this past week and I feel a lot of the announcements have been to deflect the attention from Dominic Cummings. Let’s give the public something back and put them even more at risk! As of yesterday (1st June) most of the general public returned to a sense of normality after their ‘lockdown’ period. You can now have up to 6 visitors in your garden but if you’re a family of 4 does that mean you can only have 2 visitors? They never really quite explain it in detail do they? The lack of clarity strikes again! What’s also increasingly frustrating is the amount of people that continue to flout the rules, the announcement was made on Thursday 27th May and due to the sunny weather we could hear groups of people happily gathering in other peoples gardens! Hey, I’m all for people having a good time but when you’ve been confined in your own home for 10 weeks you can’t help but feel a bit pissed off! You only had to wait a few days!!!!

Haircut One Hundred

Locks Down Barber Shop

A few ‘firsts’ have happened in the house this past week. Alfie has very thick hair and like mine as a child it doesn’t grow long as such, it just grows thicker and thicker. My nickname for it as a child was ‘Microphone Head’. It was time to call in the Barber. The Barber being me! A quick call to my Dad to borrow his hair clippers and then it was time for action. The Mop Top was about to become a Cropped Top. It took a while to get through the mound of hair on Alfie’s head but as you can see in the pictures above I think I did an alright job! Obviously once Alfie was all neat and tidy he immediately moved onto me having it done! Now I’ve shaved my head twice in the past, the first time was 20 years ago when David Beckham made it look cool (I had a number 1 all over!) and the second time was when I thought having blonde highlights in my hair would really suit me. They didn’t and I subsequently went back to the hairdresser the same day and had it all shaved off! (Thanks to my sister, Janine for reminding me of that one!) Anyway, I had a number 4 all over which then went to a Number 3 the next day as it didn’t look quite right! Now when I was was shaving it, I envisaged mine to look like Alfie’s. A perfect hairline and golden brown hair, unfortunately I had to make do with more grey hair with a slightly receded hairline. More George Clooney these days than David Beckham!

Hi-de-Hi!

Hello Campers!

Well as we won’t be going on holiday this year, we decided to bring it to our back garden. We had a video chat last week with fellow Duchenne parents, Bernie and Rachel and we got onto the discussion of holidays. They mentioned they had a tent which they hadn’t used for a good few years and we were welcome to borrow it so we could have an adventure. Bernie very kindly drove over on Sunday morning from Blackburn and dropped it off (at a very safe distance). By Sunday afternoon, our tent was all set up and our camping adventure commenced! After the Burgers, Fries, Chicken Kebabs and snacks came lots of bedtime stories followed by going to sleep on the first night with Alfie waking up at 4am saying he was cold! Back inside to the comfort of our own beds! The following evening was much more successful and we managed to sleep through as extra layers and duvets were provided by the camp site!!

Zoom calls

I have found the Zoom calls to be a great stress release and every Wednesday I meet up with my mates and usually we partake in a weekly Facebook quiz. We then have a good catch up and a moan about the previous week! Just to break it up, we decided to follow the lead of Lineker, Shearer and Wright with their Match of the Day Top Ten’s and host a football debate. I compiled a list of ‘Favourite Football Moments’ for them to choose from. We all donned our retro footy shirts and each selected (and discussed) our selections of favourites ie player, goal, match, kit etc. It was so successful that we’ve decided to carry it on this week. The first weeks list was as follows so please feel free to join in by leaving your comments on the blog page or in the comments on the social media page. I know football isn’t everyone’s topic of discussion but you could choose your Top Ten’s in Music, Films, Books etc.

Choose your favourites

Well that’s about it for me this week. Enjoy the rest of your week.

Stay wherever and be whatever you want to be!!!!

Kieron

#duchDad