So near and yet so Faro (A Holiday Chronicle – Day 3)

This is where we spent Day 3 of our holiday. Praia Da Oura beach is 5 minutes walk from the hotel, down some back streets and a wooden staircase down a hill.

Just wonderful. The sand, the sea, people enjoying themselves, endless yet comfortable heat, the sellers displaying their wares but showing great politeness on being refused attention.

Laying there, on a sunbed, drinking an ice cold Coca Cola, reading a book, I felt very different to the previous nine months. The strains, the stresses and the anguish seemed to ebb out of my being, down the golden sands into the wide expanses of the Atlantic a few yards from me. I felt so relaxed, so calm that I didn’t believe it at first. It was like letting air out of a balloon or the steam out of a pressure cooker. Calmness and serenity, and 1,091 miles away from the mad place of home.

I thought “This cannot be real!”. An unforgettable day really. We were at the beach from 10 am to 5 pm, with a suntan developing quite rapidly now. The seaside is my sanctuary, whether at home or abroad. Images to store in the memory bank, ready for the onset of the short days and the darkness of winter. I shall reference the photos I took to remind me that good times do happen…..


A.S.D Brooks

A strange dream…..

I had a very strange dream last night. I dreamt that I was umpiring a high level game of cricket and I had a fellow colleague watching and commenting on me from the sidelines.

The dream was quite vivid actually. I didn’t start off too well (the dream was quite true to life then!) and then I got markedly better and was enjoying the atmosphere and making the correct decisions. Even my colleague was impressed! It’s strange how something I have been involved in for some time crops up in dreams. I only wish I had the desire or skill to move up the scale once more. It nearly happened around the turn of the millennium, but I suppose nearly isn’t good enough.

Why aim higher when I’m enjoying what I’m doing this year, mixing the scoring and umpiring duties each week? It’s happened more by accident than design but it’s working out well and if you enjoy something, why change it?

I’m not going to, despite what my dream says. In the dream, when I initially got something wrong, the player said to his team mates “He’s rubbish!” I proved him and his mates wrong, and I’ll continue to prove the doubting Thomases wrong in years to come, by sticking to my guns and principles. I’m happy with cricket, and that’s helping me feel better outside of that circle.

Odd dream though!

A.S.D Brooks

Wired for sound…..

Hi. Visit to the hospital yesterday. I had to collect a myriad of wires and monitors to keep a track of possible sleep apnoea. The hospital think that polythycemia and sleep apnoea may be connected, hence this check.

My sleep for the last seven or eight days has been fitful at best, causing low mood, tiredness and certainly has contributed to me not feeling anywhere near my best. This is what I had to attach to my body last night before I went to sleep:-

One hand held monitor for checking oxygen levels and heart rate, strapped around my upper chest,

An adapter with a couple of wires, strapped around my abdomen,

A heart rate monitor, courtesy of putting a finger on an electrode,

A tube for my nose so that they could check the breathing and oxygen,

And three electrodes, one on either side of my collarbone, and one near my armpit.

So trying to sleep with all that attached wasn’t a good experience. I managed around four hours sleep because I couldn’t get comfortable and with wires protruding everywhere, I looked like Frankenstein’s monster. So another crap night’s sleep to continue on from the last week.

And I had to be up with the lark this morning to take the stuff back to the hospital. The only saving grace was that the day is superb, with clear blue skies and warm sunshine. But I still feel in need of more sleep, and I want to go out again later to enjoy this fine weather.

Still, we shall see what the computer has gleaned from that four hours sleep. I must confess to finding it difficult to breathe with that tube stuck up my nose, so I hope that has been registered and we can see whether polythycemia and sleep apnoea are connected. I hope I don’t have to do that again. A very uncomfortable night in all honesty.

A.S.D Brooks

Sleep monitoring…..

I received this from my local hospital today. It’s not until the end of May, but as I alluded to in a previous post, the hospital are checking to see whether I have sleep apnea, which can cause secondary polythycemia.

I will have to be attached to a monitoring unit to check my sleep pattern. If it’s found that I’m waking up a few times during the night, gasping for air, then the unit will show this. Hopefully that will confirm the line of reasoning the hospital are using.

That may account for the general horrible feeling I had yesterday. Fuzzy head, sicky feeling with nausea, it really was not a good day physically on Sunday. Even popping out for 30 minutes to get some fresh air didn’t seem to work; I just wanted to get back indoors.

Today, not so bad, but I’m lucky if I get two decent night’s sleep a month, where I generally feel reasonable the following morning. Normally, I just feel pretty rubbish physically and that feeling stays for the rest of the day. Hopefully this monitoring unit will reveal all.

I had to laugh at one of the points of note. The one that mentions false nails or nail varnish. I think it’s safe to assume that I won’t be wearing any! Not being able to drink tea will be a right pain, but it’s all for a reason.

So that’s that. We are getting closer to finding out what’s wrong here. It’s taken a while but the waters are less muddied.

A.S.D Brookzzzzzzzz

A day full of incident…..

Afternoon. Yesterday can be put down as one of those days where it was chock full of events, good, bad and ugly.

The morning should have told me something. I felt quite dreadful to be honest. Felt extremely tired and mentally worn down. But I pushed myself out of that door. Went to volunteering at the national mental health charity, SANE, where the staff were pleased to see me after a two week absence.

Managed to get through the day ok. I even wrote a review for use on the company’s website. The moderator was very pleased with the content and the tone of the post. Got some nice praise for this particular blog, full of eloquent writing with a dash of cynicism. Not bad eh?

But there was the odd moment where I didn’t feel good, and wanted to go home. If I knew what was to await me when I got home, then probably I should have stayed in the office…..

Got home around 4.30 and I was witness to a blazing row between the neighbours downstairs. I won’t divulge the gory details, but put simply, it was very unpleasant, very nasty and involved lots of bad language and shouting. And it went on for a few hours. So, being a chap that hates any kind of fight or confrontation, it was very frightening witnessing it.

I sat in my flat, stunned and rather upset. Why do people fight and argue? It’s crazy. I suppose that’s why I’m not in a relationship currently, too much hassle. Not a good way to end the day.

Went to bed early and had an interesting dream before I woke up where my left leg was in terrific pain. And I woke up to find my left leg in terrific pain. Not sure what that was about. The pain went but that was rather puzzling.

So an eventful day yesterday. Today, quiet so far. I don’t think it’ll stay that way though…..

A.S.D Brooks

What a great sleep!

Getting a decent night’s sleep these days is like finding hen’s teeth. Most of the last few weeks has seen hot, uncomfortable nights for sleeping and consequently, my sleep has been disrupted and the following day has seen an element of grumpiness and irritability.

Today is different. It was still hot and uncomfortable but I managed to settle down and sleep wonderfully well. So much so that I do feel very good this morning. I have that rare enthusiasm that is usually missing of a morning.

I even dreamt about holidays, planes and trains. I must be thinking of getting away for a short break and the subconscious mind is thinking of nice places to go. Can’t wait for my trip to Edinburgh in 11 days time.

So I’m making the most of today, because this is a rare moment of excellence after a night’s sleep. As my dear old mum would have said “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthier, wealthier and wise”. Well 0 out of 3 isn’t bad!

A.S.D Brooks

The end for England….

Just like 28 and 22 years ago, the England football team bow out of a major tournament at the semi final stage. A marvellous effort from an unheralded and little fancied side. Few expectations that we would get to the last four, and the draw fell England’s way.Until tonight. We met a side a lot better in quality in Croatia. After Trippier’s fantastic free kick gave England a deserved lead, we bossed the first half and should have been further ahead. The roar that reverberated around the cricket club when the goal went in was deafening. Second half and England lost the plot defensively and offensively, and were lucky not to lose the game in normal time. Into extra time we went, and though the effort was there, the thinking became muddled and we lost our way still further, leading to Croatia’s winner.But no hard luck story. We can’t blame the weather, the opposition, the officials or anything else. England were outplayed by a better side who have decent World Cup pedigree. And I for one who thought we would fade into mediocrity was proved completely and utterly wrong. A tremendous effort and ultimately a step too far. But it’s only a game of football. It’s not life and death. We can all get on with our lives now.A.S.D Brooks

The Anticipation Builds…

Everywhere you look there’s a reference to tonight’s World Cup semi final between England and Croatia. Billboards, announcements at train stations, people wearing England shirts and small talk involving tonight’s game.I shall be watching, this time. After Saturday’s singular lack of excitement and interest in anything, it’s good to get that back before tonight. Can we do it? From 7pm BST we will found out the answer. Disappointment or drama? Today I’ve been in a relaxed vein at the mental health charity, doing a little admin work while chatting away with the staff. The mental and physical tiredness has eased somewhat. I was so away with the fairies that I got off the train at the wrong stop. Fortunately I realised my mistake in time and dived back on the train before the doors closed. It’s a day for a daydream….It’s coming home….is it?A.S.D Brooks

It’s Coming Home…is it?

Consider these stats. 1996 was the last time the England football team made it to the semi finals of a major tournament. 1990 was the last time a semi final was reached in a World Cup, when we lost, amidst Paul Gascoigne’s tears, to our arch nemesis, West Germany (as was).England’s 2-0 win over Sweden yesterday saw a much unheralded team under Gareth Southgate make it to only our third semi final in the 88 years of the competition. Before the tournament started, I was one of those frankly bored by international football and by the usual ineptitude of the England team and it’s collection of average managers over the years. I even thought that Gareth Southgate was an average manager with an average group of players under his wing. Now, incredibly, we are in the semi final of the biggest tournament of all. Most of the big guns have fallen by the wayside and England’s path to the semi final has been made considerably easier, penalty shootout versus Colombia aside.Let me put this achievement into context. I never believed I would see a better summer weather wise then the one we’re experiencing at the moment. I also didn’t think in my lifetime that I would see an England football team on the verge of greatness. Believe me, I’m a cynical old whatsit and seen too many England failures. Can we see Sir Gareth Southgate in 2019. A Sir? Amazing really. There’s still the little matter of Croatia to get through this coming Wednesday, and they are a decent side with a good pedigree, semi finalists in 1998 being an example. If we play as well as we have done already, there’s the mouthwatering prospect of a Moscow final next Sunday, an event that will grip England by the ears. If this lovely weather continues, then next Sunday will be manna from heaven for us English. Could it be coming home, finally, after 52 years? And an England victory would help shut up your correspondent, who didn’t think we would get out of the group stages. Never predict sport, or anything else for that matter. Predictions can make us look foolish. IT’S COMING HOME…is it?A.S.D Brooks

An expensive mistake…

Just had a bizarre dream. I dreamt I had applied for a job with a DIY store. I set off for the building, and the arrows pointed me in the direction of the direct dial telephones where I would ratify my application with a member of staff.

Got to the telephone. Pressed the number and was greeted by a Mr. Davis (don’t ask me why, it’s a dream!). He chatted away fairly amiably and then asked me my name and application number. I gave him both and then there was a pause. A long pause. “We have a problem here, Mr. Brooks”, said Mr. Davis, “It seems as though you’re already an employee with us but haven’t worked a single day…..”

I couldn’t believe it, there must be some mistake. The cheery tone from Mr. Davis turned into a patronising and derogatory tone. “Well, I’m afraid I can’t allow you to work for us, considering you can’t do a simple piece of admin”, before adding crudely “You might as well take this application and shove it up your backside”.

Charming I thought, and replied, after a stony silence “Very crudely put, but apposite”. Mr. Davis again “Im afraid I’m terminating your employment with us and terminating your second go at applying. Thank you and goodbye”. No good luck. I was cast onto the scrapheap. I left the telephone area and wandered around aimlessly outside, wondering whether anyone will take me on. That’s of course, if I can do a simple piece of admin! My own fault.

All a dream though. And the fact I was running for a bus at the end of the dream woke me up. Back to reality. Still hot outside, fan whirring around. Welcome back to life, but don’t get me to do any DIY!

A.S.D Brooks