Sunday, 27 December 2009

How was it?

So how was your Christmas?

If you're like me (and I really hope that you're not,) I'll be glad when it's all over.

Now I don't want to sound like Scrooge or anything like that, I just really hate getting out of routine.

My lower back is aching for sitting around a little too much and I do tend to lose my discipline and put on some extra pounds, which for me is slightly disappointing.

However apart from that I'm truly grateful in having all my friends and family close by and in good health, for that I must be thankful.

Hope you had a good one.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Christmas Eve

Today it's Christmas Eve, yes there's snow on the ground (although it's now beginning to melt away slowly.) I can't remember many 'White' Christmas's in my lifetime, however there was just one that comes to mind when I was a very young boy.

I must have been approximately ten years old on this particular Christmas Eve (1970). I recall my father and myself walking down to our local town centre to pick up two brand new bicycles for my twin sisters.

Just as we were about to leave the house, quite unexpectedly it started to snow. I remember my eyes being transfixed to the dark sky, watching every single white snow flake fall effortlessly to the ground.

The magical event illuminated my emotions so much that I can still vividly see myself, leaning against the front room window of our house, my hot breath misting the cold glass, patiently watching as if I'd never ever seen snow at all before.

I don't know if it was the fact of seeing those large flakes hitting the ground, or just being with my dad trudging through those wintry conditions, fulfilling my duty to bring back those brand new bikes for my sisters. Whatever it was, one things definitely for sure it was one of the best Christmas Eve's I will ever have.

The memory was very simple, very personal, and one that I have to say will stay with me for the rest of my days.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Merry Christmas

The best thing about having a daughter who is a designer, she can produce great looking material such as the e-card above.

Well I hope you like it. - I believe that the e-card not only looks really professional, it's also helping to protect the environment by saving paper etc. and another good thing that its free to send to people all around the globe.

And to you, my very special reader (as you maybe the only reader of this blog) I would sincerely like to wish you - like the card says - a very Merry Christmas and a
Succesful 2010.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Who's That Behind Me!

Today I was just browsing through some of our photo's that were taken on our visit to Paris in October when I noticed this particular creature sitting behind me.

The strange thing is - I never saw the ape before until just today, when I noticed I just fell about laughing - It just cracked me up !

Monday, 16 November 2009

Feeling On Top Of The World

After feeling really miserable last week, I have once again turned to my alkalising diet / exercise regime, which I did last spring/summer.

Again spending a few days of restraint from eating over acidic foods and absolutely no alcohol, I'm once again feeling on top of the world and what a feeling it is. (I'd forgotten how good it feels)

It therefore just goes to show, that by paying a little attention to what we eat and drink what a difference it can have toward our overall mental and physical well-being.

I'm certainly not suggesting that everyone will think this is a miracle cure for the 'blues', but I honestly have to say - it's helped me.

P.S. The 'Juicer' is back!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

An Honest Update On How I'm Doing!

Hi there,

I'm just giving those of you who might be just remotely interested an update on my health & fitness regime.

Well, as I am an honest type of guy, I have to unfortunately admit that at present it's not good news.

Since my last reported weigh-in during the late summer, I've gained 6 - 7 pounds and my overall weight is now standing at 13stone 5lbs.

Although I'm not particularly concerned about my actual weight-gain, I am worried about the way I've been feeling just lately. Yes I'm back to being tired, sluggish and irritable, which I really, really detest.

So what's caused this downturn in my health regime? It's a question that I've recently been pondering over myself?

After returning home from Italy I've been craving 'high' carb food and alcohol, especially white wine and although I believe that one or two classes of wine and few slices of bread might not do an enormous amount of harm, it does stop me from wanting to exercise regularly.

So starting tomorrow I'm hoping to return to a more alkaline eating regime - like I did in the summer - (re-read post on alkalising) and I've also started running on the treadmill again.

Yes - I want to feel good!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Shiatsu Post Graduate Course

Yesterday, I started a post graduate course in Shiatsu & Oriental Medicine, in Norwich Norfolk.

I can't believe that it has been over seventeen years since I started my initial training in Shiatsu, eventually qualifying from the Shiatsu College (Norwich) in 1995.

The strangest thing I noticed after attending yesterdays all-day session, was it actually made me feel like only a month or two had passed since my very last lesson back in 1995, which I have to say was a very weird feeling indeed.

It was really nice because I just slotted back in where I had left off. This was probably due to the fact that my original teachers were still presenting the class in exactly the same format as they did all those years ago - relaxed but very informative.

So what did I learn yesterday? Well that's a good question....amongst a variety of subjects being taught, I specifically learnt how to give a very effective neck treatment, which rather paid off this morning as I've already had the pleasure in helping my wife, who was suffering with a rather stiff neck.

As a regular patient of mine, my wife Ali knows what my usual treatment is like, however after this particular session she commented on how different and somewhat refined my treatment seemed, which made me feel that what I had learnt yesterday was well worth all the time, effort and expense.

More important from my own perspective, I also realised how important it was for me to 'receive' Shiatsu myself. Being on the end of several other peoples 'treatments' yesterday, I had truly forgotten how good it actually feels to be a recipient.

So overall yesterday's training was really rewarding in many ways -and I aim to continue with the Post Graduate Course and can't wait for the next session in January 2010.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

'Paris In Autumn'

Well here it is - my favourite picture that I was talking about during my last post.

Of course it may not be everyones cup-of-tea, however I love it as it captures the essence of 'Paris In Autumn.'

What do you think? - Don't be shy, let me know your thoughts!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Special Occasions

If you're a regular visitor to this blog you'll have noticed that my family like to celebrate our 'special occasions' in style.

Ali and I decided that we wanted to give our son Jason, something memorable to celebrate his 21st birthday, something that he'd never forget.

So last Tuesday (2oth Oct) we travelled from Ebbsfleet International to Paris, through the Channel Tunnel by Eurostar. Two hours after boarding our train we arrived in the French capital and I have to say this was one of the most stress-free ways to reach Europe.

We stayed in a very impressive hotel in the Madeleine district of Paris (not too far from the famous Champs Elysees.) With many bars and restaurants in the vicinity, as well as all the designer shops for the girls.

Of course no trip to Paris would be complete without visiting the many famous sites including The Louvre when it rained and the Eiffel Tower when it was particularly sunny.

Having been to Paris before in the springtime, I must say that visiting Paris in Autumn was a truly magical experience.

Many artist's, poets, musicians and writers have been inspired by the beauty and elegance that Paris holds and I know Jason will hold a fond memory of this most marvellous city, hopefuly for many years to come.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Therapeutic Leaf Raking

Is it just me or do other people find leaf-raking therapeutic?

Most of this afternoon I've spent clearing leaves from my garden. I know it's a meaningless task because tomorrow and the next day after that there will be another load back on the ground again.

While I'm raking away - my thoughts wander off and it's almost like a mind-cleansing exercise, ridding myself of any concerns or worries that maybe hovering around in my head.

Admittedly I also have a leaf blower/sucker to assist me with the job, however much of the job is completed with good-old fashioned rake.

So for now - just in this small period of time, the garden looks well groomed and my mind is feeling rather clear as well.

Job well done!!

Friday, 16 October 2009

I've been thinking!

Where would I like to travel to celebrate my 50th Birthday? That's the big question that I've recently been asking myself.

I've a couple of places in mind already, but if anyone has any further suggestions I would love to hear them.

My two places of choice so far;

1/ To walk along the great wall of China

2/ To take a train ride through the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

I know this all sounds a bit epic - never mind, hopefully there will be other ideas as well.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

'Bangers & Mash'

Alison, Jason and I went out for lunch yesterday to our local pub / retuarant, normally Alison and I order a large salad, which I must say is always well prepared and quite substantial.

However yesterday was different as Alison and I ordered good old fashioned 'Bangers & Mash' - what a delight to have something a little more traditional, just like when we were kid's.

Jason (my son) on the other hand ordered the ham salad - Youngsters today eating salads - whats the world coming too?

Monday, 12 October 2009

How am I doing?

Regular visitors to this blog may be wondering, how my eating and training regime is currently going?

After taking a week off from any physical activity I must add that I'm feeling in an incredibly good space, although I'm still experiencing some discomfort and stiffness in my lower back.

My eating habits have become, shall we say less intense. For instance although I'm still using my 'juicer' I'm not quite so obsessed with trying to follow a totally alkaline diet.
I still regularly enjoy a class of wine or a beer from time-to-time and recently tried out some incredibly good food while in Italy.

My philosophy has changed slightly, I'll eat what I feel is good for me at the time and then apply moderation to all other things like alcohol and sweet things. In fact I discovered that you can't visit somewhere like Italy without tasting the locally produced wine and and the fantastic ice cream that's on offer on most street corners.

I understand that being in a stressful environment, as well as worrying about what you eat or don't eat can be more damaging to your health than the actual food that you consume - of course moderation is still the key word.

Not only have I taken the time to 'smell the roses', but I've also taken the time to 'taste the wine' as well.

Isn't life good!!

Friday, 9 October 2009

Back Ache Continued

It's been five days now and my lower back pain is slowly improving. I have done little exercise this week and have rested-up.

It's good for me to be reminded of the discomfort and its a sure indication that I've been overdoing things since returning home from my holiday.

I do sympathise for anyone who is also currently suffering with back discomfort, at least I know that the cause of mine is stress related and I also know how to treat myself. -

With rest and relaxation!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009


After a rather busy weekend my body is now telling me to slow down. In fact I'm having too, as I'm experiencing pain in my lower back and the surrounding muscles.

In the past I have treated many people (with Shiatsu) who have suffered with lower back problems and there seems to be a definite connection between the onset of back pain due to extensive physical activity, as well as continuous mental stress.

Well I suppose I really need to address my own situation and take some rest. After looking what I had written in my last post it's not surprising that I'm suffering today.

If I rest and relax a little within a couple of days I know everything will be back to normal.

'Healer - Heal Thy Self''

Friday, 2 October 2009

Back Home

It's been over a week since we've returned home from our holiday in Italy and it's back into the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

I always love coming back home again after a holiday, but my life seems to have returned to a pace of over a hundred miles an hour.

Thankfully my business is going well when so many others are discovering challenging times and my health and mental state are also in a good place.

However I can't just help reflecting back to the Tuscan Hills where I discovered peace and tranquility and literally had time to just stop and think.

Oh well I must much to do.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009


My wife Ali and I have just arrived home from our 25th Wedding Anniversary holiday in Italy and what a time we had.

Great scenery, great romance, great food and wine, great people, great culture, well what more can I say - apart from an exceptionally great experience all round.

Check out some of our favourite Photo's that we took, which we believe encapulates our time spent in Rome, Florence, Seina, Pisa and not to forget our luxury Tuscany Villa set in the Chianti wine region.

Saturday, 29 August 2009


I really love trees - however over the last few weeks we have been faced with a dilemma, whether or not to take down a fir tree in the front of our garden. Although it was a lovely tree it did block out an enormous amount of light from the house and it required a lot of work maintaining it's shape and size.

When my kids were small they used to like me to hang Christmas lights around the tree and although it was a family ritual for several years, I finally gave up to risking my life and limb to climb to the top and hang the lights around it.

After much debate, the final decision was made. It had to go. I'm sure many tree-lovers will be sad about the choice that we made and I have to admit that the family were quite sad as well.
The good news is that we are hoping to replace it with something a little more appropriate from a size perspective.

Monday, 10 August 2009


Once again this weekend was the annual 'Gig-In-The-Park'.

Held at our local town park in the centre of Halesworth Suffolfk, musicians from all over country attended this years event.

The special thing about this particular event is the wealth of abilities that it attracts for such a small town and the abundance of local talent on offer too, including everything from the stage and light-shows, to the huge inflatables that surround the area, which gives it that festival feel.

There are three stages, the Main stage where most of the professional bands play, the Intermediate stage and of course the famous Jungle tent, which attracts a multitude of performers and bands.

For me personally it's also a great chance to meet up with my old buddies, many who are actually playing in bands themselves. So as well as having a beer or two it's a great chance to catch up and unwind.

Someone said to me yesterday that's the venue is like a mini version of the Latitude festival, however I personally believe because of it's shape size and the amount of local people it attracts, the 'Gig' has a totally unique feel and an occasion that is hard to repeat anywhere else.

Finally, to add the icing on the cake to a brilliant weekend, my son Jason performed his first major gig as a solo artist. In my opinion he gave it 'his all' and as a parent watching from the sidelines - you can't ask for more than that can you.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

25th Wedding Anniversary - Party

Last night we held a party at the local village hall with family and friends to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary.

We had over one hundred guests turn up, which was fantastic. The food and disco were superb and I believe that a great time was had by all,

Ali and I would sincerely like to thank everyone who bought us presents and cards, but truly the best gift was just having some really fantastic people around to help us celebrate the occasion.

The photo above captures us at the end of the evening about to release a handful of silver balloons left over from the evening into the night and making a wish together.
Isn't that romantic......

Monday, 20 July 2009

25th Wedding Anniversary

Today it's our 25th Wedding Anniversary

Like many other people who've been married for this amount of time, we've had our 'ups and downs', but doesn't everyone. On the whole however we've had a pretty fantastic marriage.

This Saturday (25th July) we are having a party with all our family and friends to celebrate this milestone, then in September we are heading off to Italy for a romantic holiday - we can't wait.

As you've probably noticed I've included a nice picture of some Roses. My sister Bev bought us these from Hampton Court Palace. They're actually named the "25th Wedding Anniversary Rose" - How appropriate.

It's the second Rose bush that we've received as a gift, (maybe someones trying to tell me something?) See my post titled 'contemplating'.

Today I'm shopping with my wife in Norwich (why change habits of a lifetime.) I'm looking to buy her a little gift for putting up with me for all those years, so it's got to be something pretty special.

I'll post later what I came up with!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

One Year On !

Today it's my 49th birthday, (thank you for your for the card PSBN Jon - I think you're the only one who actually reads this blog.)

Just to remind anyone else who may be reading, the main reasons for me starting this blog 12 months ago, was because I was feeling very down in the dumps, overweight, tired and very sluggish.

Of course much of the above was down to a string of events that had previously happened to me, such as the passing away of my father, my daughter leaving home and my wife suffering with the 'empty nest syndrome' my whole life had taken a considerable down-turn.

So, one year ago I decided to try to do something about it. So I started writing, exercising and dieting as a kind of therapeutic outlet and I have to say that over the past year it has helped me tremendously.

Thankfully my head has now emerged from those dark clouds and a new 'MD' has emerged. Here's the picture to prove it. (Minus 15lbs in weight)

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Big Daddy !

One year ago I had the above picture taken.

It was a photograph that I wanted no one to see. At the time I was weighing in at 13stone 12lbs.

I recall feeling sluggish, heavy, and mightly depressed. This picture was one of the main reasons in me writing this blog and doing something postive concerning my own health & fitness.

I named myself 'Big Daddy' and then used it as a motivation tool to get myself into shape
Coming soon - One year later!

Watch this space................

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Deep Breathing Exercises

Every morning I awake about 7am and the first thing that I do (after visiting the bathroom) is to perform my breathing exercises.

These are specific breathing patterns that are performed in combination with holding certain positions.

These exercises have derived from the Buddhist aspect of Kuk Sool Won and have been practiced for thousands of years by monks and martial artists.

There are many benefits that arise from making deep breathing a part of your daily routine, most of which are due to the fact that deep, cleansing breaths also give your lymph system a helping hand in clearing out the toxins from your body.

By breathing we can encourage the flow of the energy (ki) throughout the body. Deep breathing does not only stimulate and regulate this flow of energy, but it also has a powerful cleansing effect on the entire body.

Of course it is only after a continued period of practice that the benefits can be recognised, these benefits include increased strength and vitality and an overall feeling of well-being.

Sunday, 28 June 2009


Has anyone been watching Glastonbury on TV. I just caught the last song of Bruce Springsteen last night, what an incredible performance and as for Tom Jones, Kasabian, Neil Young, Florence and the Machine, all magic.

My son Jason is actually attending the festival himself. I sent him a text last night asking him if he was enjoying himself and his reply was... It's smashing here. Make sure you tape it for me again! J..... All-in-all sounds like he's having a good time.

Maybe next year I'll have to attend? However the only problem is that I don't like the mud or large crowds. So that's me out, but it still looks like fantastic fun.

Snow In June?

Well I know it looks like snow but actually its white fluff off a tree(not sure the name of the tree though.) All I can say is that its making an aweful mess.

If anyone knows what it is or it's purpose please inform me because I haven't a clue myself.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Lost Pounds

One of the by-products, so to speak, of doing the Alkalising course is weight-loss and although many people have said that they didn't think that I needed to lose weight, I knew in myself that I was carrying a few extra pounds. More than a few in fact.

I've just completed week nine of the course and the results of my of Alkalising, apart from myself feeling outstandingly good, it has also allowed me to lose 10lbs in weight. I am now weighing in at under 13 stone, in fact to be precise I'm 12stone 13lbs. (A big round of applause, thank you)

Last Sunday I treated myself into buying a brand new suit for my 25th Wedding Anniversary. I was really pleased to have the option of purchasing a really expensive one that I liked, however the best thing, the suit had also lost some pounds - the price had been dramatically slashed in the sales

Apart from the streamline price, it was also the perfect fit, 34" waist 40" chest, however what makes these measurements quite interesting is this....... they are very similar to the measurements that I had when I bought my suit to get married in almost twenty-five years ago.

Well of course I came away from the shop feeling amazingly pleased with myself and it just goes to show that following a moderate alkalising diet can really help turn back time.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Top Ten Songs With Saxophone Solo's

Last night my son Jason and I were talking about our all time top songs ever produced. He mentioned that I should create my own top ten favourites to put on my blog.........Which got me thinking.

Because I'm learning to play the Saxophone and forgive me if I'm biased but I personally think that the Saxophone is the coolest instrument out there (sorry to all you guitar players.) I thought that I would compile my all-time top ten pop songs which have Saxophone Solo's in them.. so here they are.

Let me know what you think or if you have any other suggestions.

10/ Year Of The Cat - Al Stewart

9/ Spandua Ballet - True

8/ Brown Sugar - The Rolling Stones

7/ Born To Run - Bruce Sprinsteen

6/ One Step Beyond - Madness

5/ Careless Whisper - George Michael

4/ Us And Them - Pink Floyd

3/ Young Americans - David Bowie

2/ You Belong To The City - Glen Frey

1/ Gerry Raffety - Baker Street

Yeah... I know they're all mostly eighties hits - but there you have it my all time favourites.. albeit 'Golden Oldies'

Monday, 1 June 2009

Kuk Sool European Championships & Masters Exhibition

Normally I find our annual Kuk Sool martial art tournament a real chore, but this year I have to say that I enjoyed myself emensely.

Without the added pressure of having too many of my own students competing, I was able to relax a little and enjoy the days events.

On Saturday evening after the competition we held the Masters Demo and I'm pleased to add, I felt that I had renewed energy to give a more vibrant display myself. Something I had been struggling with over the last few years.

Without trying to blow my own trumpet too much, I even managed to pull off a mid-air acrobatic somersault during my particular part of the exhibition, something I haven't dared attempt for well over ten years.

My current eating and exercise regime is certainly paying dividends and I can honestly say that I feel that there is life in the 'old dog' yet. In fact as I've said in previous posts I literally feel ten years younger. (Now the somesault proves it.)

I may not be able to leap around like some of the youngsters who perform in our exhibitions, but I'm certainly proud of the fact that myself and my wife (KJN) Ali still have what it takes to perform well.

I can't wait for the next one in November in Liverpool.

P.S. The picture above shows my daughter Rachel and wife Ali, pictured with Kuk Sool Grandmaster, In Hyuk Suh, directly after the Master Exhibition on Saturday night - Rachel was also promoted to 4th Degree Black Belt the same evening.