Category Archives: Health

2014

Sitting down in our local Tap House me and my fiancée were enjoying The Mills Winter Ale. The background, a buzzing atmosphere as many chatted away. It wasn’t long before we asked each other the standard New Years Eve question.

Now before I go into it, I must add that this was the first time since we’ve been together that neither of us were struck down with a cold and we were away from our house on New Years Eve.

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The question?…. “What are my highlights of 2014”

Immediately I dismissed it as a pretty standard year, 2014 appeared quiet and a lot calmer to that of previous years. It wasn’t until I thought a little harder about the question that it became apparent that 2014 has had its fair share of positives and some sad chapters as well.

In a year that saw a fantastic family wedding, an intimate In The Woods festival, camping trips and glamping in York, a birthday weekend away in Canterbury and many disappointing sporting woes from my beloved Leeds United it was hard to really answer this question with so much going on.

For those of you who have followed my blog since I started it in 2013, I’m hopeful that you’ve started to paint a picture of me and my life. I will always share what I feel comfortable with sharing and it’s because of this I feel that my followers understand how valuable I rate life. I will therefore answer this question honestly.

One of my main highlights of 2014 involved me and my fiancée moving into our first house together in February. I initially moved in with Lisa when I left Stratford and despite having a lovely place together then we made a decision to get a bigger place with our own garden. We have certainly benefitted from this and have spent most of the sunny days out in the garden cooking BBQs, growing plants and encouraging wildlife in to enjoy it with us. We have done many jobs to make this house our own and have just agreed an additional 2 year extension to our contract which is fantastic news.

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The bird feeder was one of my Christmas Pressies and despite the return of our resident scatty Wood Pigeon, it’s clear he isn’t afraid of heights and is giving it a go. Unfortunately he is just a bit too big to use the feeders. The scattered seed on the grass from other birds is his reward.

On a professional level 2014 saw me secure the biggest promotion to date in my working career. I became a Branch Manager in August and have been responsible in ensuring the Branch has finished the year in an excellent position. I work for a Builders Merchants and 2014 has seen the Banbury depot succeed at its highest level in recent history. Five months into my new job and I am fully aware of the numerous challenges that await, however it’s important at times like these to enjoy the successes and ensure I benefit from the welcome festive break. Time to recharge these batteries!

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With my new job I enjoyed my first Managers Christmas party and was very fortunate to be treated to a weekend around Cheltenham Races. It gave me the perfect excuse to get smartened up in a year that saw my fiancée improve my style and construct a far more fashionable wardrobe for me!

It is from this that 2014 sadly saw the passing away of one of my biggest influences in my professional career. In 2000 I started working in the Building Industry for a company called Underground Supplies. I was interviewed by the MD, a gentleman by the name of Andrew Bygate. I recall the meeting I had with the Recruitment Agency prior to this interview as if it only happened yesterday.

The lady at the Recruitment Agency advised me that Andrew was a positive man who admired forward thinking and driven individuals. I arrived with this in mind and following the interview Andrew simply said to me that he would be back in touch via the agency to let me know if I was successful. It was at this point I simply asked Andrew for the job. He looked at me, slightly perplexed by my forward nature before smiling and simply saying “ok then, the job is yours, well done”.

This was the start of nearly a decade working with Andy (Andrew was far too formal, once I started working for him!) Andy was diagnosed with a Brain Tumour in 2006 and undertook the biggest fight and challenge in his personal life. Andy fought hard and carried this on throughout 2014. Unfortunately Andy lost this battle in late 2014 but fought so bravely and inspired many people who crossed paths with him, this included me. Thank you Andy for inspiring me to succeed and play a major part in where I find myself today.

2014 saw one of my biggest personal challenges and one that me and Lisa were able to complete together. We had more than a few personal battles to overcome but on a bright dry day in Wales, we climbed and descended Mount Snowdon. If ever there was a challenge and one that needed team work of the highest order then this was it. Towards the end of the decent my legs packed in and I needed some heat pads and assisted stretches to keep me intact until the end. The important thing is we got through it and loved the breathtaking views and experience we shared together.

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So as we head into 2015 another book starts, one thing which is pretty certain is that we will be asking ourselves this same question again on future New Years Eves.

All I can say is I hope my readers and followers can take a moment to reflect and look back on 2014. It’s always nice when you can recall some stand out memories. Have a great 2015 and I look forward to sharing some more moments with you as I head into a big year!

Mark

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A time to reflect on the positives

Firstly as I write this blog I’m Suffering from the latest cold that is going around. It’s been a few days now but the positive thing is that I’m still alive but not so kicking, however as I sit up in bed trying to rid myself of the suffering it certainly gives you time to reflect.

Somebody once told me that we spend only a short amount of time on planet earth as it is. Because of this, it’s equally important to remember that when you are not feeling your best, that you must still be grateful to be here on earth. It’s so very very true, as I grab another man sized balm tissue and drink my umpteenth Lemsip all I’m thinking about are the positives.

It’s been just over a week since I last wrote on here. Most of my last posts had been Leeds United related, this time around I’d like to bring it back round to me and what has been going on in my life.

After a month of upheaval which included painting, decorating, tipping, diying, car transporting, selling furniture and using a carpet cleaner for the first time we’ve finally moved house. We made the decision a couple of months ago which now allows us to lead a more grown up lifestyle. We now have a garage and our own garden which is pretty freaking awesome. It has been certainly worth it as we now find ourselves unpacking the last few boxes.

I may not be the most naturally DIY skilled person but my efforts in putting up our wooden blinds have given me a sense of pride. Despite my requirement of taking good care when opening and closing them, they are still very much in place……. still!

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It’s easy to let the negatives take over your life. In a week which has seen my car require some bodywork repairs to breaking down halfway off the drive, you must try and draw those crumbs of comforts from the places they hide. My car problems have helped me bond more with our new neighbors (who helped me jump start it) in the rain, as well as allowed me to have one of the best conversations I’ve had with my fiancées Dad.

The blessings are when you realise it could have been so much worse. The indications suggested a leaky Power Steering hose and faulty Pump which would’ve cost over £800 to repair. The diagnosis discovered it was a faulty Alternator which is far less, life can be good like that.

Finally as I sign off from this blog I’d like to mention the Winter Olympics. They have been truly fascinating to watch. It’s evident to see that Team GB have continued on from where London 2012 signed off. Already assured of equalling our highest medal tally of 4 is an amazingly proud achievement. Let’s hope our Curlers and Speed Skaters get what they truly deserve this week. Life is certainly full of positives….. (as I grab yet another tissue)

DarcyB

Salt Room Sessions

Tonight we visited our local salt rooms for the first time. Salt Room Treatments have been featured recently on the news in both the UK and the USA. It involves spending time in a room which is covered in salt. It is hard to describe it in too much detail, but this process has been proven to improve the conditions of people who suffer from Asthma, Respiratory Problems as well as Sinusitis and Coughing.

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My fiancé discovered a local business in Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire that offered this treatment. “The Salt Cave” is a very smart, clean and professional business that made us feel extremely welcome. Our appointment was booked for 7pm and after filling in our forms we were given a brief introduction before entering the Salt Room.

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The room itself is spacious with the floors covered in loose salt which is a bit like walking in snow. The walls are covered in crystallized salt and the room has modern wooden reclined seats with foot stools. Just as our session started the lights dimmed and you could hear calming instruments over the sounds of waves. There were plenty of magazines to read to help incase you couldn’t sleep.

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We got to wear some trainer covers and a hair cover to prevent our hair from malting onto the salt. We were warned of initial reactions to the salt room but I found it quite easy to adjust to the dry air being filtered into the room. The salt air really helped my breathing and I found it easier to take deep breaths through my nose without coughing. The hour went very quickly and it was a shock when the lights came back on to full brightness at the end of our session.

It is said to take around 3-4 sessions before you notice a more permanent difference, however the effects of this session will stay in our lungs for a good few days. We have booked our next session on Monday to top up our first session. For those of you interested it costs £35 per hour session and their are discounts for block purchases. It was a truly unique experience and one I’m keen to try again as I really want to see an improvement.

DarcyB

A Festive Message

Thank you to those who have taken the time to read my Blog this year. Some of you may have seen my constant plugs on Twitter or Facebook. Some of you may have seen my page featured as I tried my hardest to gain visitors. If that still doesn’t include you, then maybe just maybe you stumbled upon it by complete accident. Either way it doesn’t matter one little bit how you found my blog, the important thing to me is that you did.

I’ve been writing on here for just under 5 months and am quite honestly enjoying it beyond my expectations. I’m one of those people who frankly enjoys writing. It gives me a sense of pride and joy to think somebody else is reading something that I’ve written. A blog is quite a personal thing, yet not in the same sense as a diary, I think you all get what I’m saying.

So as we head into the Christmas Break, I’d like to wish all of my followers (49 so far) and readers a very very peaceful and enjoyable festive break. It has become very obvious to me these last few days that it’s imperative to let those around you know how important they are to you. I lost a very good friend of mine last week and I’d like to think he knew exactly how much he meant to me.

Of course it’s a time to eat, drink and be merry whilst keeping warm, however it’s also essential to think about those not so fortunate that are in our lives. This isn’t a generic statement, it’s a fact. To those out there that have touched my life so far who are facing more challenges than most, I’m thinking of you.

So what now? Let’s just stay safe, follow Santa on Google maps and enjoy this wonderful time of the year. I’ll be looking forward to what the last few days of 2013 bring to me and the excitement that next year promises.

Happy Christmas to you all.

DarcyB

Movember 2013

It’s already here, I am one week into Movember. This is my third year of taking part and it is one charity event that means so much to me. For those of you unaware, Movember is a world wide event originating from Australia. It is primarily, when a man will clean shave himself on the 1st of the month and grow and style his mustache throughout the month of November, or Movember as it’s more familiarly named.

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This is all done in the name of Prostate Cancer. Prostate Cancer is the most common form of Men’s Cancer and effects one in three men. It is also one of the most curable forms if detected early which is why it’s important to shift focus onto men’s health each November. We are all guilty of turning a blind eye to sensitive issues which is why it’s so very important.

In 2011 & 2012 I raised just under £300 which I was quite proud of. My fiancé has had to put up with some quite disturbing stages in the month, we joke that days 8-12 are the most concerning! Either way, I will keep doing my bit and this year is no different.

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The rules are simple, only a Mo is allowed, no beards. My effort in 2012 pictured above raised £130 which more than made up for the look. In 2011 pictured below I raised £160. It sounds quite silly but I preferred this effort, I find it a funny thing because I don’t really have the required “growth” to style my Mo differently.

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So here we go again, for my friends and family they will be sick of my constant begging, pleading and hopeful cries out for donations. I would say sorry, but for the worthy cause this is, I feel there is no requirement to do so.

There is one easy way to make a donation and it’s via my official Movember page, the link is below. Here I will post photos of this months progress and also any funny stories that occur along the way.

http://mobro.co/MarkBarrow

For those Mo Sisters out there who wish to take part and wear their Mo then you are in luck. I would like to place my thanks on record to BoltyDoodles for her determination and efforts in helping me raise donations for Prostate Cancer. For a £3.50 donation on my page above, she will make you a Mo Badge in your chosen colour. These felt badges are shaped in the iconic Movember Tash and are a bright statement to show your support. If you’d like to do this, then please make a donation and message me your contact details including colour to me on here. Below are some Movember badges available. You can also check out her other pieces at the below Facebook Page, please check her out and give her a like.

https://www.facebook.com/BoltyDoodles

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Right that’s about it, please help me along with this years efforts and thank you for taking the time to read this, it means so very much to me.

DarcyB

A Night for Jon Brookes

In one of my first posts entitled Telling Stories, I spoke about the sad news of the passing away of Jon Brookes. Jon had collapsed whilst performing on stage in America to be later diagnosed with a Brain Tumour. Jon battled through treatment and was able to rejoin the band and take to the stage again in 2012. We learnt of his death the day after I asked my partner to marry me and the emotions felt that moment were simply numbing. We met Jon before The Charlatans performed in Edinburgh during the Fringe Festival in August 2012 and would describe him as a down to earth, honest, friendly, hard working family man who was clearly enjoying the dream of being part of a successful band. Jon was their drummer and he quite simply blew us away with his performance during the gig that we were fortunate to witness from the front row that August night. Three weeks after that performance Jon’s condition suddenly worsened and he never fully recovered again.

Tim Burgess and Friends hosted an evening last night (Friday 18th October) to celebrate his life. It was also a fitting stage to highlight the devastation that Brain Cancer has on families all across the world. The stage was as grand as could be hoped for with The Royal Albert Hall showcasing this emotional event. The journey time from our front door to arriving on our seats was little more than two hours, which considering it was a Friday night in peak travel time, was delightful. There has been talk of further trips into London now we’ve realized how quick the journey takes.

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This was our first visit to the Royal Albert Hall and from the moment we entered it, I could feel the expectation and history generated from its structure. It just has one of those atmospheres which is hard to explain. The circular corridors were graced by photographs of previous performances including Elton John and Kiki Dee right through to Sir Cliff Richard. Despite it’s age, the building was looking very very grand and all the intricate detail in the architecture was a delight to view.

We went to the Elgar Room where there was a bar area and purchased a couple of reasonably priced ales. In the corner of this open room, there was a striking gloss red piano on a small stage which could only draw your attentions to it. We then made way to our seats in anticipation of the nights offerings and celebration of Jon’s life.

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Adrian Chiles was the MC for the night and his shared love of West Bromwich Albion was the obvious link to Tim Burgess. The opening performance came from Birmingham based band Dumb. Dumb were managed by Jon Brookes and their four song set was clearly full of emotion for the man who had given them a chance to succeed. It’s not every day you get to perform at a venue like this, it’s such a shame and tragedy it’s under these circumstances.

One of the most memorable performances of the night was then to follow as Tim Burgess performed with members of The Vaccines and New Order. Tim who needed the aid of written down song words to sing with both bands performed a breathtaking rendition of New Orders classic “Love Will Tear Us Apart” which brought the near capacity crowd to its feet.

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The Chemical Brothers performed a live DJ set in between acts on the night which kept the energy levels up on a night full of emotion. There was a video presented by the Brain Tumour Charity which showed real life families coming to terms with the effects this terrible disease has or has had on them. It was at this moment I could feel a real lump in my throat as it hit me right then how fortunate I am. This important charity was set up by a family who lost their 16 year old daughter to a Brain Tumour after realising there wasn’t a specific charity set up to research this Cancer. If you wish to donate after reading my blog their site is at:- http://www.thebraintumourcharity.org/donate

James Dean Bradfield then took to the stage to perform an Acoustic set. The Manic Street Preachers front man delivered an almost haunting version of “If you tolerate this” and an equally emotion filled performance of the classic ” A design for life”

Liam Gallagher followed with support from Bonehead and others and delivered two 90’s Oasis classics. “Live Forever” was a fitting choice of song and one of my all time favorite Oasis tracks as well as “Supersonic” Liam certainly delivered and it was great to see them turn out in support of Jon.

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It was only fitting that this amazing night of celebration was brought to a close by the three guys who have really felt the loss of Jon Brookes. The Charlatans performed an hour long set with classics included such as “North Country Boy” and “One to Another” it was another emotion filled set and one that brought the crowd once more back to their feet.

It was a truly amazing night and one that we will never forget. Jon’s wife wrote a piece that Adrian Chiles read out, thanking everyone for being there and the truly devastating effects that the family have felt because of this. All in all this was a fitting tribute to Jon and one that raised the importance that there is still so much work that needs to be done to beat Brain Cancer.

DarcyB