Tough times ahead

When we got back from honeymoon it was obvious that my dad had been motivated to make it to our wedding and since he got back from it he had deteriorated a lot. 

My mum was absolutely outstanding with the way that she cared for him over the next few months, she managed to keep him comfortable at home in his own bed for much longer than I could have. 

His condition was getting much worse, he was getting weaker and weaker with every passing day. his mind was starting to waver and he was also having hallucinations. watching a once strong and intelligent man decay physically and mentally day by day is the most horrible experience I have ever had, I can’t even begin to imagine what it must have been like for him suffering it, becoming less capable and more dependant every day.

Finally my dad decided it would be best for him to go into a hospice where they could make him more comfortable with better availability of medicine and pain relief. he was taken into Strathcarron hospice on the 13th of September. 

The staff and nurses in Strathcarron were fantastic. they reassessed and sorted out all of his medication which made a difference to him mentally making him much more alert and almost back to his old self. They managed to stabilise his condition and gave him a few weeks of comfort before his condition finally worsened to the point they could do no more for him. the last time I saw my dad conscious and spoke to him was on the 8th of October. He lost consciousness on the 10th of October and finally passed away on the evening of the 13th of October.  almost a year to the day since his diagnosis.

His funeral was on the morning of the 21st of October. 

We got married! 

And the day went perfectly, Angela organised the most fun wedding I have ever been at. my dad also managed to attend which was an added bonus. This is one of the last pictures taken of my dad and one of the last of us together. 

He managed to keep himself going up until the speeches at dinner then had to go back to the apartments as he couldn’t last any longer. after all of the worry about whether or not he would see the wedding it was a relief to have him there and also good for him to see all of the family together one last time. 

This day seems like such a long time ago now. 

Straight after the wedding my new wife and I stayed at the fairmont at St Andrews for 2 nights, turning up in a kilt and a wedding dress was a great idea as we got a cheeky upgrade on the room to a suite which was bigger than some flats I have been in! 

We flew out to Milan for an overnight then travelled onto lake garda for our honeymoon. it was in the back of my mind when we left Scotland if I had seen my dad for the last time. 

The honeymoon was amazing. I have always liked Italian food so to go and experience it in Italy was awesome. Angela had salami pizza just about every night and has sampled every regional variance from Milan to Venice! we took in a bit of culture spending a night in verona and going to the opera in a proper roman amphitheatre. 

Then we had a go in a gondola in Venice.

Unfortunately the two weeks were over far too quickly and we had to come back home and back to reality again. the wedding and honeymoon came at just the right time for me as everything was starting to get on top of me. 

Busy year ahead 

Christmas went well and everyone had a good time. We went to Stonehaven with Angela’s family to see the tar balls at hogmanay. when we got back it was into the busiest, most stressful and emotional period of my life so far. 

I had started my new job and was thrown in at the deep end since my colleague that covered half of the country retired and I was left to cover the whole of Scotland and Northern England on my own. The combination of this and everything that was happening with my dad I found it really difficult to think about my upcoming wedding which I am ashamed to say Angela arranged single handed with very little input from me. 

Dad was told in April that the chemotherapy hadn’t worked and that they wouldn’t be doing any further planned treatment and that the likelihood was that he only had 2 months left. Our wedding was just over 2 months away. this left us all wondering would he still be here for the wedding? if he was then what state of health would he be in? would he able to make the journey to St Andrews to see us get married? 

Angela again demonstrated how selfless and thoughtful she is and suggested that we bring the wedding forward and have a quick registry office wedding as soon as possible to make sure that my dad was there to see us married. Knowing how much getting married in St Andrews meant to her and the massive amount of time, thought and effort she had already put into the day I couldn’t do it. I told her I wanted to take the chance to see if dad lasted and could make it till July. 

In this 7 month period I never gave golf a thought and the only time I had touched my golf clubs was when I was moving house. in the start of April I had managed to get a spare day and decided to go out for a game of golf. Then this happened. 

One broken ankle sustained on the path coming off of the 4th tee. season off to the worst possible start.

Post holiday nightmare 

I was about 400 miles from home, and had no way of getting back home quickly. when I did get home it was obvious that dad was seriously unwell. his skin and eyes had turned yellow and he was very incoherent and had a very short attention span. After finally getting him to a Dr since he was adamant there was nothing wrong with him the Dr called back the day after the blood tests were taken and told my mum to prepare him for being picked up in an ambulance to be taken to hospital.  He was in hospital for a couple of weeks before the diagnosis that nobody wants to hear was made. There was a mass on his pancreas that was blocking it and it was looking like it was cancerous. 

He was taken to a different hospital which specialises in this type of cancer and has a stent inserted to get things working again and to take a sample from the mass. This confirmed that it was cancer of the pancreas.  

Whilst this was going on I was still fighting with work, just about to move out of our house and into my parents and searching for a new house and trying to think about a wedding. 

As I was moving out of the old house I got a phonecall from a random number, thinking it may be one of the estate agents I had registered with to try and find us a house I answered and it turned out it was someone from a recruitment agency asking if I was interested in applying for a job they had been sent. Normally I wouldn’t have given them the time of day and surprised myself with how patient I was with him given that I was carrying a mattress down the stairs at the time. I heard him out and told him to submit an application for me then forgot about it until a week later when he called me to tell me I had an interview. 

Que the worst prepared I have ever been for an interview in my life. In between working stupid long hours, trying to sort out stuff for moving and going to the hospital to visit dad I had no time whatsoever to prepare for it. I went in feeling like I had no chance and wasn’t happy with how it went so put it down to experience and got stuck back into house stuff.

We found a new house by total fluke, it was in an area we hadn’t considered beforehand had just been dropped in price to within our budget. A frantic and action packed 5 weeks later with a job interview in the middle of it and we were standing at the front door of our new house waiting on the woman from the house builders coming to give us the keys. 

At least that was one less worry on my mind, until I got a phonecall to tell me I had got the job I had been for the interview for! Now for another big decision to make, move from the company that I had been with for 6 years to one I had never heard of until was told I had an interview. Or stay with the manager that had caused me major problems with the house.

I ended up making the decision to leave and move onto another challenge. by this point dad was out of hospital and stabilised and waiting for treatment and Angela and I were moved into the new house and unpacked after gathering all of our things back from all over the central belt of Scotland. 

Since it was our first Christmas in our new home and highly likely it was going to be my dads last Christmas Angela wanted to have a big family gathering at our house with us hosting Christmas dinner. 3 weeks to go before Christmas and the drains under the house backed up and we ended up with sewage coming up through the living room and dining room floor which totally ruined the carpet and underlay and left a horrific smell. more stress! the house builders got it sorted the weekend before Christmas and dinner was back on. by this point I had handed in my notice at work and finished up just before Christmas to give myself a break before starting the new job. 

Time to blow the cobwebs off this thing and get it up to date  

It’s been a long time since I last wrote anything on here  Angela and I had just got engaged and I was looking forward to our big adventure to Singapore for our first taste of a F1 grand prix. 

Everything was clicking into place for me and we got some good news a few days before we were due to go on holiday, our house sold after only 4 days of being on the market! we had been looking at various areas before deciding if we were selling to see what we could afford and had verbally agreed on a move a little bit East of where we were with my area manager at work. 

I called the manager up just before I finished for holiday to tell him I had sold the house and that I had a viewing booked for a potential new house in Larbert. it was during this phonecall that everything started to unravel. 

He looked on a map and told me that I cannot move there and if I did I would be in breach of contract and that I would be sacked because I was moving away from where my workload was. even though it was only 7 miles along the road and closer to the bulk of my work which was in Perth. Not the best of preparation for a holiday we had been looking forward to for almost a year.

We went to Singapore and had a great time, I loved the place and the grand prix lived up to what I had hoped it would be. 

This was the most enjoyable couple of weeks I have had and was gutted to be coming home, there was so much to see and do I am determined I will be back to Singapore sometime in the future  

Singapore zoo was outstanding, I could have spent a week in there and not got bored. definitely one for anyone’s to see list.  

Once we got back it was the start of one of the worst months I have ever had to deal with. it started with a massive fight with work about the house move in which I was told the verbal agreement with my area manager was worthless. I had sold my house on a managers word and he did not honour that word and suggested I move to areas that were not acceptable for me to move to or that’s wouldn’t be able to up size in and would have a bigger mortgage for a same size of house. I got the union involved and they were useless, after making me think I had a case to fight they backed down right at the last minute and told me not to fight. the joys of the union man being an employee of the company! 

Moving day deadline was fast approaching as the couple buying our house wanted to be in by the end of October. we ended up having to rent a storage unit and moving everything into there, but it wasn’t big enough so things ended up at Angela’s mum and dads, my mum and dads and my brothers to get the house cleared. in the middle of all this we went to a friends wedding in south East England for the weekend which was a welcome distraction for me, until I got a phonecall from my mum which was to bring even more turmoil to my life. My dad who had just retired 4 weeks earlier wasn’t well and had turned yellow.

Long overdue update

Been a busy month, had lots happening but no golf until today unfortunately.

Biggest piece of news is a big life changer, I asked Angela to marry me and I’m delighted to report she said yes! Now to plan a wedding.

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Most of my time has been taken up sorting out the garden to get it ready for putting the house up for sale, I underestimated the scale of the task ahead of me with this one and instead of the 3 or 4 days I thought I could get it done in it has taken about 3 or 4 weeks and still isn’t finished. It sucks having ocd and being a bloody perfectionist on everything, it makes everything I do take so long. But I am starting to see the benefits of all our hard work and really pleased with the way it is looking and proud of the job we have done all ourselves.

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Have been away to Leeds this weekend to see Europe’s strongest man, Angela bought me tickets to go to it and paid for our train and hotel for my birthday present. My brother and my best mate all went down and I had a ball. Turns out a buffet steakhouse on the eve of the event was an inspired choice for dinner as we got to meet so many of the guys I have been watching compete in world’s strongest man on the telly for years in the restaurant and observe their feeding habits!  First one we noticed was Eddie Hall at the salad bar,  which is a sentence I never thought I’d ever say!  then we seen Darren sadler, Mark felix, luke stoltman, Jerry pritchard, Terry hollands and Bill Kazmire. We waited until they had all finished eating and were hanging around outside before approaching them. Eddie Hall was kind enough to get a picture with a couple of awestruck Scottish guys. Eddie is the one in the middle! And that’s terry hollands in the background.

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Seen Eddie break the world record for deadlift on Saturday with a lift of 463kg and he looked like he could have maybe gone heavier,  outrageously strong.

Back home last night and finally an update about golf! Woohoo! Played for the first time in a month and wasn’t expecting much. Didn’t hit and shots before I played I just went to the practice green and putted for about 45 min to get the pace of the greens. It was doubles we were playing and one of the guys I was playing against would be a dream teammate. He didn’t hit it far off the tee but hit every single fairway and had the best short game I have seen in a long time,  he couldn’t reach some of the par 4’s in 2 and got up and down 6 times from about 40/50 yards for par, it was a joy to watch but frustrating as hell to play against. We lost the first hole and were 3 down 3 times and won 15,16 halved 17 to go from 2 down with 4 to play to all square on the last. I had a really tough chip shot from the back of the green and nearly holed it and was conceded the putt for my 3 and to win the match. The guys we were playing against must have been gutted given that they were at least one hole up from the first till the 16th for us to steal it on the last which was the only time in the game we had the lead.

I’m really happy with the way I got round the course, I didn’t play particularly well and hit a few bad shots and put myself in some really awkward places but I managed to keep my focus on just getting the ball as close to the hole with my next shot as I could and didn’t get annoyed at the bad shots or when we were getting beaten. I’m happy that I managed to grind out a result against a couple of decent golfers one of them who was playing particularly well when I hadn’t played for so long and wasn’t playing anywhere near my best. It was a typical matchplay game for me getting the determined head on and getting a result somehow.

That’s us up to date again. Hoping to play on Friday the got a medal on Saturday so looking forward to that.

Been a busy few weeks, long overdue update. 

Had 2 weeks off work and I’m back to work today for a rest I’ve been that busy. 

First week was taken up with our walk of the west highland way which took a couple of days longer than we had planned. We had planned on doing it in 5 days but a combination of very hot weather and my feet hurting a lot slowed us down a bit so we ended up taking 7 days to do it. 

I’m still recovering from it just over a week later but I’m glad we did it and although it made the going very tough with the heat I’m thankful for the weather we had when doing it as it showed the Scottish countryside in all of its glory and gave us some views of landscapes that are unforgettable. Got a few places on my list to revisit for a weekend as well. 

Anyone thinking about doing it I would recommend it but get a company to carry your bags between stops as it makes things so much easier. And take a pair of trainers to do the flat parts as it is much easier on the feet I had comfortable worn in boots for doing it and even these weren’t soft enough for me. We had to stop in the green welly stop in tyndrum 52 miles in to look for a pair of trainers and ended up with Angela treating me to a pair of very fancy expensive sandals that were a revelation for the rest of the walk. I wore them for about 40 of the last 44 miles and only trick them off because it rained for an hour or so. 

Last week was spent sorting out the garden putting up new fences and doing a bit of landscaping, had hoped to have it done in a couple of days but the theme of this holiday was everything took longer than expected! 6 days later and it still isn’t finished so just going to chip away at it in the mornings when I’m back shift this week. 

So all of that amounts to me not having touched a golf club for 3 weeks now and it’s probably going to be another week before I get anywhere near one next. On the plus side I seem to have lost a little weight over the last week so that’s never a bad thing, trousers seem to be fitting a little looser than they did!