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!



84 Days Later (part 8)

Untied Kingdom

You may think that I have made an uncharacteristic typo in my heading but I can assure I have not. I personally believe that we are no longer a United Kingdom in our stance on Coronavirus. Boris Johnson and his Government have loosened England’s laces away from Scotland, Ireland and Wales in how we move forward in protecting a once United Kingdom against this pandemic. I’m not quite sure what the Government’s thinking was in changing from ‘Stay at Home’ to ‘Stay Alert’, it’s almost as if though they are enforcing a cull. How can you possibly ‘Stay Alert’ against a deadly virus? The original ‘Stay at Home’ message is understandable and quite simply telling us as a nation to do exactly that! It’s also very conflicting that the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak announced that furlough would be extended until the end of October 2020? It’s all very conflicting, I suppose only time will tell.


As you all know we’ve been in complete isolation since the 21st March. We are trapped in our house and it’s surroundings. Thankfully the weather and the garden have been our saving grace. The gnawing anxiety associated with being in physical isolation is emotionally draining. I’m not sure how much longer we can cope as these last two weeks have been incredibly tough. Having been totally locked in, myself and Louise are currently like ships that pass in the night. We’re worn out, constantly anxious, overwhelmed and in desperate need of a break, not just from the kids but from each other! There’s literally been no escape. We usually rely on our parents for our respite but three out of four of them fall into the over 70’s category so I’m not quite sure how that will work out once lockdown ends for us! This prompted Louise to contact Alfie’s Consultant at Manchester Children’s Hospital, she has given us permission to go out for short walks around the perimeters of where we live. She knows we’re sensible enough to observe social distancing, we just have to be careful of others who maybe ignore that fact. After all you can be the safest driver on the road but there is always one careless driver who will crash into you. I’ll update you all on our parole status in the next blog.

Home schooling

We’re finding it even more difficult to get Mila-Rose and Alfie motivated to do even the slightest bit of school work. People say it’s ok they’ll catch up but being with Alfie these last 2 months has only highlighted the fact even more how much more support and assistance he requires in regards to his learning and sometimes challenging behaviour. We’re their parents not their teacher, we’re not equipped with the skills or the tools a teacher possesses. I’ll give you an example, Mila-Rose and Alfie’s teacher this week very kindly did a video call with them to catch up and speak with them about their school work. Honestly they sat there like butter wouldn’t melt, like perfect little children! Two minutes after the call ended they were both a complete pain in the arse again! It’s a desperately challenging situation for any parent but even more so for parents in a similar position to ourselves.

There are around 1.1 million children in the UK with a disability. In England, there are nearly 87,000 children and young people with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions. I would say that a high percentage of their parents are on the brink of collapse and that they urgently need support as they are at the point of burnout. I do hope the Government have taken this into consideration once we’re all out of lockdown as a lot of families of disabled children are going to require increased mental health support on the part of both their children and themselves.

BBC Radio Manchester interview

On Tuesday morning I was invited to do a short interview with Becky Want on her BBC Radio Manchester Breakfast Show. Prior to the interview, I had spoken with the Producer of the show in regards to the content of the interview and she said Becky would just want to know about Alfie’s condition, Action4Alfie and about my achievements from the #HappyBirthdayAlfie social media campaign. As it was going out live to listeners across Greater Manchester I was nervous enough already! Take a listen at the link below and you’ll hear that the majority of the interview was about lockdown and shielding! I think I handled it well enough, after all I’ve watched enough politicians swerve questions over the past couple of months!

My Interview with Becky Want on BBC Radio Manchester

Leighnix Nights

This Saturday (16th May 2020) we should have been hosting our joint Leighnix Nights fundraiser with Two Hips, One Knee. Sadly we had to postpone the event due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Our good friend, Rosey McNally has Avascular necrosis (AVN), a life crippling disease. In short AVN is a disease that stops blood flowing to your joints and in turn means that the bone slowly deteriorates and eventually dies. Despite this diagnosis she is incredibly strong, full of life and is one the most positive and kindest people you will ever meet. Earlier this year we came together and planned Leighnix Nights, we completely sold out of tickets to this event within 5 days of them going on sale! We’re all absolutely devastated it couldn’t happen but everyone’s safety has to come first. In the words of the man himself, Brian Potter… We had a dream, people, we had a dream! Bigger, better, faster, stronger, rising from the ashes. Leighnix from the Flames! Watch this space!

Enjoy your weekend!