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Hold Your Breath

Hold your breath

Make a wish

Count to three! 

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Premier Inn: Everything’s premier… but the fries…

I’ve spent the first part of this year touring the country, each night in a different Premier Inn. Not a bizarre New Years resolution, weird hobby or obsession or not due to a fetish of the colour purple but, for work.

I am not a huge fan of Lenny’s home from home. Mainly on account of being spoilt by much more luxurious dwellings, some of which cost less than a Premier Inn. However needs must and I make do.

The Grefriars, Colchester. A personal favourite

The first stopover was in Colchester at the Premier Inn Castle, which let me tell you is not how I imagined it to be (yes I actually thought a castle or that it would at the very least have turrets!). There is nothing wrong with the appearance of the hotel despite its misleading name, it’s relatively new and fresh.

Premier Inn Colchester (Castle)

However, it took over an hour to check in and I didn’t arrive until 10.30pm. After a 5 hour drive on a Sunday evening and work the next day, I just wanted to slip into bed. Instead I spent the hour making the most of the colouring in sheet they provide along with the green crayon, yes only one. I always assumed these were for the children until now.

Now not being able to check in was down to a laptop malfunction, I think one of the keys was missing on the keyboard and it was responsible for the entire kerfuffle. Or at least that was what I was told. I had tried using both of the swanky self serve check in’s, unfortunately they didn’t work either.

The bar maid and chef were busy making calls and tapping the redundant key whilst I got more and more agitated. I asked if I could at least have the key to my room and go up whilst they sort it out. The room was already paid for so it seems daft that I should sit downstairs, I want to settle. I was told that this was not possible because of law (I didn’t delve into this too much as such law could well exist however I imagine it doesn’t).

The lady came over to me and asked if I would like a tea or coffee whilst I wait. I replied “No thank you. I’ll have a gin…double”. Not quite sure how to response she kindly obliged. I sat and sipped my gin…who am I kidding? I sat and gulped my gin and continued colouring my piglet.

I finally got checked in and went to bed. I didn’t stop for breakfast on account of me travelling alone and Premier Inn not offering room service. So once ready I left for work.

I returned to the castle after work for my second night. Feeling quite peckish I went to the bar to order some food to take up with me. I perused the menu, however vegans aren’t particularly well catered for. I settled on a side order of fries. I sat in the bar and waited 50 minutes for the fries and figured they must be worth the wait.

Finally the waitress pops them on the table in front of me and walks off. I was so terribly confused because whilst I had ordered only a side order of fries, I didn’t expect them to be handed over in a thimble! The bowl was tiny, had they have been half the price I paid, then perhaps I wouldn’t quibble. Lenny Henry may as well have flung the fries on the table and asked for my money or my life!

I snatched my thimble of fries and headed back to my purple boudoir. On the way up in the lift I looked down at the pathetic portion and genuinely felt hard done to. Although, perhaps the taste is where the values at.

I entered my room, sat on the bed and started on my evening meal. I selected a frie and graciously began to nibble its length. Until half way in, when the tastebuds got wind of the frie’s filthy flavour. You know, the type of flavour that suggests the oil hasn’t been changed in the fryer for a while. Rank!

Completely wounded, hungry,  tired and my respect for Lenny Henry hanging in the balance, I went to bed.

NB: Either Premier Inn treated Lenny to the bubble bath, or he brought his own. There is is no way that came out the soap/shampoo/conditioner/ shower gel dispenser screwed to the wall.

The next morning I woke, skipped breakfast for the same reason as yesterday morning and packed my bags ready for check out. After vigorously reviewing my room to ensure I hadn’t left anything (even checking drawers I haven’t used – why do we do that?) I headed downstairs to check out.

I was greeted by a beeming smile from the receptionist who began checking me out (of the hotel). She asked the question I was hoping she wouldn’t, “Was everything ok with your stay?”. I thought, keep it brief, you’ve got work, get gone. In response I said “For a Premmier Inn”. I hoped that this would perhaps satisfy her need for asking without disclosing in any way that I was happy.

Only the smiley receptionist wasn’t satisfied with my reply and continued to probe my comment. I reeled off as quickly as possible the issues that I’ve had since being there. The delayed check in, no room service, the fries!

She apologised and I left.

This should be where the story ends right? Wrong!

4 weeks later, I’ve been booked back into the same hotel. Only this time for one night. I was dreading the visit due to the last. What’s more the journey in was even worse because of the weather and the horrific fog that had descended that evening.

I arrived and the self serve check in didn’t work – again. It was like having de ja vu.

Then this beeming smile appeared from across the way. “Are you wanting to check in sir?”. “Yes please” I replied. “Will you be eating with us tonight sir? Only the kitchen closes soon so you could order whilst I check you in”. Already bewildered by the receptionists efficiency I declined on account of my fussy eating. It was then she said “I remember, you stayed here before and wasn’t entirely happy”. I admitted that this was true. “I will personally see this time is better”. A bold statement considering how much I dislike Premier Inn after living in one for the month.

I went to the bar and ordered a drink. She introduced me to a new menu with a veggie burger on. I ordered the burger and before having the chance to ask for it without cheese or sauce, she did it for me, even stating I was vegan. I went up to my room with my drink to wait for them to call to collect my food. Only instead I got a knock at the door. It was my food – room service in a Premier Inn! Plus a free drink and a pudding.

Needless to say, her generous actions and impeccable customer service certainly did challenge my opinion of her work place. Which I’m pretty certain was her intention. She was adamant that I would have a better stay second time round and I did. Bravo!!

I wish that I had gotten her name to thank her for restoring some of my faith in the supposedly ‘most loved hotel brand’. Premier Inn she is a credit to you and I hope she is well rewarded for her outstanding performance. In fact because of her I would actually stay there again, if the Greyfriars is fully booked.

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Who will find me?

Who will find me?

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to die. No, that isn’t strictly true. I have always wanted to live life. I have adventurous dreams of things I would love to see, hear, taste, smell, feel and do. Vivid dreams that would carry me off to far away places and bring home memories to last my lifetime. My brain on the other hand, well my brain wants to die

My dreams remain dreams and I become oppressed by a thick fog. Choking on its sick and fatal fantasies. My lust for life and love dissipated and drenched with tears and self loathing. For as long as I can remember. 

Without warning the possession takes hold and I’m thrown into dark depths of despair. Peddling hard to survive its grip but etching closer and closer to its domination. I’m in pain, my head is throbbing with pain. My body is numb, numb of all feeling and emotion, dead

It talks to me. It calls out to me and tortures me. It riddles me with guilt. It forces me to stare back at myself in the mirror. I look into its eyes and I can see its selfish, ugly soul. I can see the hatred people feel towards him. I recognise these people. Members of my own family. They look sad. They’re tired. He did this to them. He drained their lives, their energy, their emotion. They loved him and now they are being punished

“Free them” He whispers into my mind. It’s me he wants. “Let go and set them free” he claims. 

He continues to torture me with his sick poison. I can’t run, can’t escape. All I can do is listen. He’s a manipulator, a liar, a fraud. He takes control of every fibre of your being to get what he wants. The torture can be a few hours, days, weeks, months even. You can’t shut it out. 

I battle, I fight back. It’s never easy, it’s always exhausting. There’s just one thought that I cling on to, a question I asked myself as a child when first faced with this evil entity. 

Who will find me?

Asking this question has given me strength after strength over the years. It’s thanks to this little question that I’am able to share this story. 

Losing someone to suicide is difficult enough, for me the thought of putting someone I love through the heartache of finding me is all the prevention I need. 
But I’m not sharing this for the patient. Chances are, like me, they have experienced this possession before and already dealing with it the best they can. The longer the battle, the more they will lose themselves amidst the smog that is depression. Turning into someone unrecognisable as the son, daughter, brother, sister, parent, grandparent or friend that you know and love. 

It’s so very important, that whilst they temporarily fade before you. Let them know you are there. Stand beside them. For if it is you that fades, then they are left with only one voice for company and no answer to the question that’s been blocking out that voice for years. 

Chances are when a person least deserves love, it’s in fact time time they need it most. 

Please share this message, you may just save a life. 

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Ryanair: Gone bust! (Latest update)

Ryanair: Gone bust! (Latest update)

Blues For Breakfast

Ryanair: Gone bust…

On a recent flight with Ryanair (yesterday) I couldn’t help but make a few observations that could suggest the Irish budget airline giant are on their way out, either that or the ‘simple’ offering is getting even leaner in a bid to increase profits by greedy bosses.

The flight prices were fine, in fact so was everything leading up to the flight itself.
We board and whilst it would seem that the seats have got smaller and closer, I think the reality is my waist line has expanded since last flying with the ‘cram em in’ airline.

Despite the flight being cramped and quite possibly the most uncomfortable I’ve experienced (when I say cramped I mean have to stand up to get money out my pocket kind of cramped) . I did make a few observations that would draw concern for me over the airline.

Now standard…

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Ryanair: Gone bust! (Latest update)

Ryanair: Gone bust…

On a recent flight with Ryanair (yesterday) I couldn’t help but make a few observations that could suggest the Irish budget airline giant are on their way out, either that or the ‘simple’ offering is getting even leaner in a bid to increase profits by greedy bosses. 

The flight prices were fine, in fact so was everything leading up to the flight itself. 
We board and whilst it would seem that the seats have got smaller and closer, I think the reality is my waist line has expanded since last flying with the ‘cram em in’ airline.

Despite the flight being cramped and quite possibly the most uncomfortable I’ve experienced (when I say cramped I mean have to stand up to get money out my pocket kind of cramped) . I did make a few observations that would draw concern for me over the airline. 

Now standard routine when boarding a plane is: find the row that we are sat on, loose the hand luggage in the over head compartment, ask the stranger in the aisle seat to move so we can sit down (everytime), sit, grab the magazine/menu on the back of the seat in front and decide what alcoholic beverage I shall be enjoying during the flight…only on this flight there are no magazines or menus. How bizarre? My only conclusion thus far is that, this way they can charge what they want, when they want and don’t have to pay for printing of magazines. 

The trolley did come along and before it reached us, the row behind were being served. They wanted cider, there was no cider. The closest they could get to cider was Heineken (??). Rather disappointed, the cider drinkers behind challenged the air hostess. The air hostess responded that it’s getting more and more like this. They are always running low on stock and on her last flight to Lanzarote, there were no trolleys at all. No refreshments on a 4 1/2hr flight. Imagine! It is this that would perhaps suggest that things aren’t going well for the love to hate, horn blowing aviators. Could it be their suppliers are not being paid? 

Refreshments aside, there was also something else I noticed during take off. No sick bags? Another cost saving? Whilst I didn’t need one myself, I did have huge concerns about people who may not think they need one – but suddenly do. See like most travel related sickness (for me it’s in the back of cars or on buses) there usually isn’t a great deal of warning before the vom fountain springs a leak. So the thought of having to press a call button and then wait to purchase one off the trolley is a little hard to comprehend. 

Right, we’ve done refreshments, we’ve done puke, what’s next? 

It can only leave one thing – safety!

The most shambolic, borderline comical safety announcement on board a plane that I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. Quite frankly it was like a lost monty python sketch. I half expected John Cleese to burst out from the cockpit flinging his arms about to demonstrate where the exits are located. The reality was three flight attendants each at a different stage of the process, one with a life jacket, the other with an oxygen mask and the last putting her tabard on with her back to us. There was no sound or tannoy conducting the announcement or accompanying the sporadic actions of the depleted crew. If I hadn’t flown before I would probably of bobbed my pants in fear of not knowing what to do in the event of an airborne emergency. The reality is I have flown many times, I enjoy flying, I have flown Ryanair previously so already know to have my credit card handy in the event of an emergency to purchase my life jacket. 
However if new to travelling with Ryanair you would not know this. 

Time to go home…

Our return journey was not to dissimilar to our outbound. Packed in like sardines with no hope of getting any refreshments you actually want off of the trolley. 

Unlike the outbound flight, they hadn’t bothered cleaning the plane before we boarded. The seats and floor were littered with empty plastic cups and cans, sweet wrappers, crisp packets etc. The floor and seats in desperate need of a good hoover. I did find it quite astonishing that there had clearly been no attempt to freshen the plane up before we board. We didn’t pay much for the flights, lets face it that’s why you pick an airline like Ryanair. However, even with the little that we did pay I still felt cheated. If you do wish to fly Ryanair I recommend that it is for flights to Ireland only, were 40 minutes is manageable. 

Our mini bus didn’t arrive and we got a lift home in a Range Rover. As there were five of us I had to get into the boot with the luggage. Let me tell you, it was pure luxury in comparison to a Ryanair flight!

Look all in all, a cheap flight that got us to where we needed to go and back. If you have low expectations on service and standards then ignore what I have to say, this is the airline for you. If you like a premium standard of service and offering or even just basic, then you’d be best to avoid. 

Luckily for us Tenerife does not disappoint and the sun makes up for the cattle herding of Ryanair. 

My apologies

I’m writing this because I haven’t written for you all in a while. It would seem in my current mood that all enthusiasm for writing has dispersed and I am suffering with writers block. 

The last few weeks have been somewhat exhausting with so much going on. My energy sapped and my head pounding.

Whilst I focus on day to day activities I ask for your patience. I have many stories still to share, some already in draft form. I am on holiday this week with the intention of soaking up some rays (well as much as a ginger can). I’m sure that this will give me the head space I need to get back on form and share with you all once again. 

Bloody Bipolar eh? Who’d have it?!

Best wishes,

Liam x

There was a time in the early 1900’s, before that infamous ship set out on its one and only voyage, that the world unquestioningly believed that it was unsinkable. No practical person thought twice about stepping onto that deck. Today, the Titanic has become a symbol of great disaster. Thats a far cry from its initial grandosity and pompus claims. Don’t be ashamed to ask questions. 

Don’t be ashamed to ask questions…

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Pantomime Dame Vs Poundland

Finally managed to drag myself out the house yesterday on account of Nanny needing a few items before tomorrow’s dress rehearsal. Some red lippy, jewels, tits and a bra. 

I thought let’s go cheap as chips and nip to Poundland. So I did. I managed to pick up all I needed including the bra. The tits caused some trouble but I decided on one of those bean filled travel neck rests. I thought, I know they’re droopy but then I imagine Nanny Nutall’s boobs to look like spaniel tabs anyway. 

I took all items in a basket to the till. The young lad behind the till looked extremely puzzled with every item he grabbed out of the basket. Make- up, a bra, a travel neck rest, a pack of 3 buenos (sod it there only a pound) and costume jewellery. 

All under £20, I gladly tapped my debit card onto the machine and walked off as quickly as I could. Then my worst nightmare when I here, “excuse me”. I turned to discover it had not gone through. I went back and we tried again. DECLINED! I was deeply embarrassed, not only because the card declined but because of what I was actually buying. 

I went over to the local Tesco and attempted to withdraw the cash. Only when I selected the amount computer said no. Sheer shock. I rang the number on the back of the card and sat in the car waiting to speak with someone. A lady answered and said “we’re havin’ system issues, the systems gone down. Can you ring back in an hour?”. No I proclaimed. I need the money now for essential items. She said “well it should be back up and running some time after 6pm”. 

With only £9 in cash I went back to Poundland. I said I’ll take nine items now and then pop back in the morning to get the rest. I settled up and left. 

This morning I headed off back to Poundland and spoke to the lady on the till. I explained the situation and said I’d come to collect my remaining items. She then asked, what were they? Here we go again. I reeled off the peculiar pieces selected a day previous, were they there? Were they chuff! 

Apparently they’d been put back yesterday once the shop closed. Baring in mind, they were closing the shop when I left. Which I imagine means that, as soon as I’d walked out of the door, the daft lad serving me must have grabbed the stuff to put back immediately. 

The whole ordeal was rather stressful both yesterday and today. On the plus side, when I got home last night, Nikki was there with a big bag of make up. I lay down and she went to work on creating a divine look for dame Nanny Nuttall. This being the end result…

So please, if you haven’t yet got your ticket, drop me a message and I’ll get one ordered for you. Don’t be fooled by my bad mouthed antics on here, it’s a family show so bring the kids and I’ll keep it clean. It really is a cracking show and the bigger the audience the better! 

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Last night I fell asleep before taking my evening meds. I know this the moment I wake. My body tells me. It aches, my head hurts, my eyes feel sunken to the back of my skull, I heave, I cough and cough, I heave. Sometimes actually vomiting. My body temperature fluctuates. Hot, cold, hot, cold. I’m constantly clammy. I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. 

My head is hazed, full of fog. I have far too much energy, restless energy. I lay in bed. Another day in bed. Feeling too sensitive to step outside. The temperature, the light, the wind, the noise, people. 

I hate taking Lithium, I hate taking any meds but, I hate the withdrawal more. I’ll be sure to take them tonight and then normality can be resumed tomorrow. 

Today I coast. 

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Coping Strategy: #2 No News Is Good News

Having bipolar or any form of ill mental health may make you more compelled to take on the worlds problems. I know I do, I have struggled to come to terms with some of what I read, watch or hear in the media. A lot of which can be just propaganda. Tragic world news always bothers me: earthquakes, floods, terrorism. When such news breaks I instantly feel that I need to spring into action and do something about it. I quite simply can’t. 

Which then means I have to tackle my passion and emotion, leaving me often quite distressed and exhausted. The hardest for me to cope with are usually instances of abuse, especially against children and animals. 

When it comes to politics, well I really don’t know what to say. It feels as though the world is falling apart at the seems and I worry so much for the generations coming through. I instantly feel aggressive at the thought of the dodgy, Mexican wall building, tangoed, omadon across the pond. 

The only way of truly coping with this is by boycotting news altogether. No news on TV, none on the radio and absolutely no news papers or magazines. Why anyone would want to start and end their day with depressing, hateful news stories I’ll never know. 

I understand that there is an element of keeping abreast on current affairs. However the way it is usually delivered is all to bullish and in a way to scare people, or to mask truth. 

I hear of what goes on, it may be drip fed through the stauses of friends on facebook or twitter. Through conversations with family and colleagues. At least that way I am in control of what I need to know and if I want to understand more I can find it somewhere to read. 

You may call me ignorant, I call it coping. Mental health issues or not, we have such a great deal going on in our lives. Life is tough enough without the medias wooden spoon. That’s why for me, no news is good news.