First match umpiring today since last July, so you could say I’m out of practice, and it showed!

Because of the absence in officiating any kind of cricket, I had a little difficulty picking up the sounds and such like in deciding catches behind or leg before wicket decisions. Everything else was ok. And no, my eyes and ears are in perfect working order. It’s just the lack of match sharpness that saw a couple of iffy decisions from me, shall we say.

Ok, I didn’t worry about it too much as it was only a friendly, and it’s only a game. But I’ve always wanted to be the umpire that makes very few mistakes and build a reputation around that. But we live in an imperfect world and I make errors as much as the next man. Indeed, umpires at the highest level of Test cricket make errors so there you go.

Also, it offends my personal pride if I don’t turn in a good performance. But everybody seemed ok with things and it was a nice, pleasant Sunday afternoon in the sunshine and with no hassle from the players. I don’t want to make a habit of making mistakes in future games as people will then start to talk. I don’t think a decline is very likely, but I have to improve in that decision making process. I hate letting myself down in front of others who expect me to be a good official.

Still, another game on Saturday to put it right!

A.S.D Brooks

An act of escapology….

With it being winter, and with finances being tight, I haven’t been out that much. But today is different.

Though I can never bank on feeling ok for three days in a row (which hasn’t happened this time), I’ve decided to escape for the day. The sun is out, it’s another glorious day, and I’m off on a day out to the coast. I just need to escape; to break free for a while. Sea air and a good walk might give me a chance to relax and take stock. It has been a difficult year.

Today was a bit more of an effort to get out of the door. I must confess to not being in the frame of mind of the last two days. But drawing on that well-being toolkit that I’ve built up over several years, I made myself go out. I don’t want to be cooped up while the sun shines down on a perfect springlike day. I’ve lived in London for the majority of my life and the odd escape or two is always welcome.

Everything looks different when the sun shines. Gone is the gloom and dullness. Vibrancy abounds and a day like this can only be of benefit. So I’m going to enjoy it.

A.S.D Brooks

A mixed bag today….

Not sure why, but it’s a little more effort to push myself out of the door today. Weather not too shabby, if a little on the humid, thundery side. I’m out on my travels again, and the idea of not staying in cooped up and looking at the four walls has given me that incentive. Turn the door handle, put the sunglasses on and off we go. Got to make the most of the good weather and to enjoy the great outdoors. But, there will be times when a superb day is there, but the mood and spirit is unwilling. Very close to it today, but not quite.

Where am I off to? Deal in Kent. A pretty seaside town that will suffice just nicely today. The sun is making an appearance once again as I type so hopefully this will prepare me for three busyish days ahead. That’s of course, if anxieties and low mood don’t resurface.

A.S.D Brooks

The peace….the quiet

The great sanctuary. Shoeburyness Beach, at the very end of Essex. It is so quiet here you wouldn’t believe. The odd feathered friend chirping, the sound of the tide coming in, the occasional chatter of some people. Just pleasant, peaceful. My kind of day. Not too hot either.

I could just stay here…..wake me up before the next presentation tomorrow!

A.S.D Brooks

Robust and Resilient….

A description of me, would you believe. I’ve never believed that description with all of life’s brickbats being lobbed in my direction. Weak and lily livered would be more fitting.

So my CBT counsellor came out with this today during our session. In fact anyone that has to endure mental illness of any form is robust and resilient. It’s a test of one’s moral fibre. To get through an episode is tough enough. To come out and being able to do some activities is another.

On Saturday just gone, I mentioned that I felt a bit low. That I did. Tired and generally unmotivated. Certainly no coincidence that the day, weather wise, was dark, uninspiring and wet. Correlation between mood and weather is another obstacle to overcome if the weather is rubbish.

But, today, that correlation is much better. Pleasantly warm, with light breezes, hazy sun and blue skies. I’ve upped sticks and gone out to enjoy what the best that the English countryside has to offer. I’m in East Sussex and taking in the rolling fields, the quietness, and solitude. Far removed from the chaos and uncertainty of London life.

So back to being robust and resilient. Were it ever thus? It’s what keeps the dark thoughts and life limiting anxiety at bay. Until next time….

A.S.D Brooks

How I don’t like to be beside the sea….the weekend just gone!

Normally, I love the tranquility and peace of the beach. A time to relax with a good book, a cold drink and sunglasses on.

The weekend just gone has seen the hottest May Day Bank Holiday in the UK since this Bank Holiday was introduced in 1978. I haven’t been out at all over the weekend. Two reasons for that. I’m still getting these dizzy spells and despite hanging on the phone for 15 minutes today, I didn’t get to see a doctor. Maybe tomorrow.

And the second reason? Well, with it being a Bank Holiday, the train network virtually grinds to a halt due to engineering work. The reasoning behind such work is that normally it pees it down at such a time of year and people don’t travel much. There’s always an exception to this rule though.

So I would have found it difficult to make it even to a quieter seaside resort for some relaxation. Most of the popular places were jam packed and the trains were dangerously overcrowded (nothing new there) and I wouldn’t have enjoyed the experience. Still, it’s only May and there’s loads of time to relax on a weekday out of season trip to a beach somewhere in the southeast of the UK.

So it’s probably been a blessing in disguise that these dizzy spells have been plaguing me for the weekend. Saved me a traumatic, hot and crowded trip and plenty of anxiety to boot. Everything happens for a reason.

A.S.D Brooks

You spin me right round….

Afternoon. Well I should have been off out today. The weather is glorious and the sun is beating down from a clear sky. There’s always a but though….

I’ve been having the occasional dizzy spell recently, but nothing much to speak of. They only lasted a few seconds and I was ok again. Today however, I feel utterly rancid. I woke up fairly early in the expectation of going out to enjoy this weather. But the room is spinning round and this dizzy spell has a lot more permanence. I’ve been indoors all day and in bed trying to sleep it off, to no avail.

I’m wary of getting up too quickly or bending down to take the washing out of the machine, just in case I make this dizzy spell worse. Bit of sickness with it too. Not a good day to be feeling unwell.

Vertigo? Only round the corner….

A.S.D Brooks

A Testing Monday….

I think Mondays were invented to completely piss people off. The start of a new week, and always that brings plenty of things that can and do go wrong.

Like this particular Monday. The weather, well in a word, filthy. Cold and rainy and we’ve gone from 29 degrees to about 4 degrees in 10 days. Then, just to confuse everyone, it’s about to get warmer again by the Bank Holiday. Go figure.

I decided to venture out and change up some coins that I save up. There’s a machine in the local supermarket that takes them and you exchange the voucher for notes. This was all well and good, until I got to the supermarket and the machine was broken. I see, this is the sort of day it’s going to be.

So, I managed to get to another supermarket, about a mile and a half away, and change up these damn coins. This I had done successfully until the cashier wanted to check something with another member of staff. I thought, I just want to put the notes in the bank and go home, get in the warm out of this dreadful weather. Finally, it was all sorted and the task which should have taken 45 minutes took an hour and a half. Not pleased but Mondays are a total joy!

Autism at work! Best laid plans going awry once again and me getting anxious in trying to cope with the unexpected. A bit like most of my everyday life.

A.S.D Brooks

So what else has been going on??

After that horrible Saturday, things started to improve. On that particular day, it was the Grand National, the world famous horse race. As it was the 13th the previous day, I plumped for number 13, Tiger Roll, with a great trainer, jockey and owner to boot. The Brooks shillings were put on at the local betting shop and the horse won, only just mind you. The spring warmth was noticeable and life started to feel good again.


On the Monday, I popped over to Suffolk seaside resort, Felixstowe, for the day. It was another day of spring warmth, and more importantly, the coast is like my escape from the travails of London life. The relaxing nature of being at the coast appeals greatly to me and the sounds, sights and smells makes you feel great to be alive.


But my life wouldn’t be complete without more anxiety provoking issues. On the Wednesday, seeing as the weather was warming up nicely, I decided to go to Eastbourne in Sussex for the day. I booked the train tickets online as it was cheaper, and I gave myself plenty of time to get to the coast in time for lunch. That was the plan. Unfortunately, the first part of that plan almost went completely down the drain. Trying to get from my home town into London was a mission. There were no trains. I then had to resort to plan B, to get a bus to the first station on the tube and try to make it to Victoria station.


It wasn’t exactly Usain Bolt, but I haven’t moved as quickly as I did that Wednesday morning. I raced across London and made it to Victoria with 8 minutes to spare before the booked train left. If that didn’t come off, I would have been left £20 out of pocket and no recourse to recompense. No train, not our fault! I was relieved when my backside hit the seat on the 11.17 to Eastbourne.


And it was a great day. Bit of lunch, bit of sunbathing, and an open top bus ride around the town, including the spectacular views atop Beachy Head, some 500 metres above the town. Magnificent. Just a day where you think to yourself, what is all the fuss about? To prove that the train services that day were really appalling, there were countless delays on the way back. But great memories of a great day.


Then to complete a good week, I had two meals out, one with cricket umpiring colleagues, one of whom has just recently been widowed, so that was a nice evening with top blokes who I can count as very good friends and colleagues. On the Friday, I was a little tired, but went out with some mates from my former job as a postman. Great laugh and great company once again.


From doom to happiness…..though the weather has reverted back to normal again. Rain, greyness and cold. But what else can we expect?


A.S.D Brooks