Saturday, 30 November 2013

The End of the Month


I can't quite believe that I have managed to stick this out until the end, especially with how hard I have found it to write in the last week. 30 blogs in 30 days! When I started this almost a month ago, first of all I didn't know what I was going to write. Secondly, I didn't know if anybody was going to read what I had to write. Finally, was the stuff I have wrote going to be any good? I must admit, I was quite scared to take up a challenge like this, It is nothing compared to some of my other fellow bloggers who have took the challenge to write a blog a day and a 50,000 word novel all in the month of November or even those who have wrote a novel this month. Maybe I will save that for next year. I have always enjoyed writing, and know I always will enjoy writing. I have liked the response to some of my blogs, obviously every writer enjoys the praise or to be told somebody likes what you are doing, me included. I appreciate the criticism of some of the things I have wrote and the disagreements about my opinions on certain things. Some days it wasn't easy to sit down and just write about something for this blog, especially the days I had a particularly stressful or busy day at work. Other days I would surprise myself with what I managed to write.

The most surprising blog for me has to be the poem I wrote while suffering a massive hangover a few weeks ago Last Night. It nearly wasn't a poem at all and would have been me just whinging about being hungover if I hadn't fallen back asleep before deciding to write. I really enjoyed writing that poem as well because it is a story within the poem I wrote. I look back and read it and it makes me smile. I like using emotion to write because the process is so much easier for me, the words just flow and I don't have to try particularly hard when I write like that. Although I don't know quite how to react when somebody tells me I have made them cry, I just want to give them a big hug. There have been things I have nearly wrote and moment has slipped away because I have been busy or at work etc. On the other hand, I have wanted to write about things that I know would receive much criticism. But I have dared not dent my ego to that extent, well not yet anyway. I have just flirted a little bit with some of these topics I want to discuss hidden in amongst my other blog posts from this month. People who know me well have noticed and warned me off but recently I saw on a friends facebook the words of Eleanor Roosevelt. "Do what you feel in your heart is right - for you will be criticised anyway. You'll be damned if you do and damned if you don't". With those word echoing in my mind, I will hopefully show the courage to write about things I know I will get criticised for.

I have been surprised by the people who have mentioned that they read my blog to me and I wouldn't have expected it from some of them. I know others just sit silently reading what I post with no mention that they have popped by, but I really am thankful that you have been reading because it has spurred me on to keep writing. When I thought about writing this last blog of the month, I wanted to end with a witty quote or some wise words of wisdom. But nothing seems more adequate than one message of support I received that really made me feel humbled. It is from a friend I had lost touch with and not spoken to for a while.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Turn the other cheek ...

I learned today somebody was scared of me, I knew that this person doesn't like me or possibly hates me but scared of me? Well I tried to protest my innocence, then realised it is probably just a bit of a game to make me look like the bad person. I didn't have time to really dwell on this because I had to go straight out to lunch at the pub and it wasn't really the topic of discussion. That prize went to my mate Colin, yes the guy who has guest blogged for me earlier on in the month. He had decided to go AWOL for a few days and nobody had heard from him. Then just before we sent out a search party/reported him missing he turns up and we have to remind him that he does actually have friends. He just wanted some down time, we thought he might have been kidnapped. That would've been a cooler story apart from we wouldn't pay his ransom. (sorry Colin).

I am not a Christian, but I like to think I got brought up with the best of Christian Morals. (Prepare to cringe). I am sure that in the bible somewhere it says that we must turn the other cheek. So when I think about this person that hates me or anyone that doesn't like me for that matter, I just want to help them through their issues. But I don't think it is just me who feels this about other human beings. I enjoy helping people, but not because it makes me feel good inside. (It does but thats not the point I want to make). Other people in this world will always need a helping hand from somebody in their time of need. It might even be little things: walking home tonight a girls shopping bag split and Colin just without saying a word helped pick up a few items. Her face was instantly lit up with gratitude. I just think sometimes in life we all need a little help picking up our shopping off the floor when the bag splits.

Fantastic Friday - Olympics 2012

So it is the penultimate day of national blog posting month and it feels kinda weird that I am so close to the end, especially with how poor my writing has been as of late. After the one poor attempt at throwback thursday a few weeks ago I thought I would try again but with a twist. Why stick to the conforms of it being on a thursday? Today I want to write about fantastic Friday. You never know it might catch on? Rewind to 2011 and there were riots galore in our nations capital.  From Hackney to Croydon, gangs of teenagers fought running battles with police, making roadblocks from burning cars and ransacking shops. No, it is not that period that was particularly fantastic for the country and the city of London but a mere 12 months later and the summer of 2012. The Olympic Games came to this great country of ours. Much has been written and said about that summer, but why was it fantastic for me? Well truth be told it didn't start so fantastic for me. I had applied for various Olympic tickets but didn't get any. I got over it and enjoyed watching the Games on my television and following online and the radio whenever I wasn't in front of a TV. Then, I was thrown a lifeline. My friend had a spare ticket for the open water swimming event in Hyde Park. There was a little bit of a snag, I had very little money in my pocket or my bank account for that matter. I had to get to London somehow though, I couldn't not. It was my home Games, a once in a lifetime opportunity! Megabus to the rescue, I bought a return ticket for £11 from Preston to London. I've tried to forget the long tedious journey but I haven't forgotten how I felt when I arrived in the city. I was in awe of the huge buildings and the bustling streets all around me. I met Ollie just outside the coach station at Victoria after travelling all day but the first place I wanted to go was Buckingham Palace. I recently went on a tour of the state rooms but I am always in awe of the place, the history of the Palace and everything it represents. 


Me & Ollie being very patriotic 

We went for a bit of a tour around the city, a pint and a chat then headed back to Ollie's house in Benfleet ready for our Olympic adventure the next day. What a day it was, we started bright and early and headed into London. There were Games Makers at the station and were incredibly friendly and very helpful. London was truly splendid, the sun glistened in the sky and shone off everything. There were members of the armed forces everywhere acting as security for the various events happening across the city and they made me feel safe and secure rather than looking scary. People were chatty and friendly and one woman even gave us the best advice on where to watch Olympic events on the big screen if we wanted to drink outside to. Ollie and his parents showed me around London, the ease with which they managed to navigate the underground just astounded me. We went to Hyde Park to watch the swimming in the grandstand, the sun was beaming down on us and the banks of the Serpentine were packed with spectators. Most of them were there to cheer on Keri Anne Payne. Astonishingly she is the same age as me but a double world medalist and an Olympic Silver medalist. It was a fascinating race but unfortunately she finished the race back in 5th place. 

Kerri Anne looking stunning
  
 One of the unique things about hosting the Olympics is that each nation has a particular house in that city showcasing upcoming world events. So we visited Brasil house to see a taste of what we are to expect in Rio in next summer's World cup and the next Olympic games. A place what really impressed me though was Qatar house. They are planning to build not just new stadiums when they host the World cup but whole new cities!

one of the new cities

London in an Olympic year was truly something else and it made me fall in love with our capital. Hopefully I will catch the next one in Rio and see how that compares, because after that summers experience I am well and truly hooked! 












Thursday, 28 November 2013

Am I getting ill or am I just exhausted?

Today is the start of my 4 day weekend so naturally I have lots going on and plans to go out with friends and even a night away in Liverpool for a friends birthday. I have been looking forward to finishing time today all week, so when it came around I was so relieved. The first thing I did was to fall asleep still in my work stuff on my bed, I didn't even want a nap it just happened because I was so exhausted. I have had quite a busy day, well a busy week at work and it seems like it is all catching up with me. I have just woke up and still feel groggy and just mentally really tired, it is a struggle to even write my blog posts lately. I think the problem is that in my new role at work it is just more mentally challenging than stuff I have been used to there. It is nothing compared to writing some of my assignments at uni, but I always got to have a nap in the middle of the day then anyway.
 Now and again just little things about the previous day at work or what I have got to do tomorrow will creep into my thoughts and I won't be able to switch off properly. I suppose that is what happens when I take the transition from part time to full time and everyone gets that, right? One of my colleagues even tried to ring me while I was having a nap to ask a bit more about a customers order. I spoke to him just before I left this evening, but completely forget about an important detail. I am being overloaded with far too much information all in a short space of time, my memory seems to be failing me when it comes to really important things. 

I am hoping that a nice long relaxing bath and a good nights sleep will solve my problems and make me feel better. I haven't been ill for ages, it would be a cruel twist of fate if I am getting ill. 


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Lancashire

When people ask me where I am from the answer is easy, I am from Burnley of course in Lancashire. On today of all days it is a day to celebrate all of the good things that Lancashire has to offer. Starting in the east, we have the formidable sight of Pendle hill. Tall and proud it stands, casting a shadow on the villages that surround it. The likes of Barley, Blacko and Sabden too. Fence and Newchurch if I was to name another few. The mill town of Burnley on one side & the old market town of Clitheroe on the other side. Locals would argue that it should be mount Pendle but a mere 50 meters stand in the way of that being the case.
Pendle is best known for its Witches and the trail of 1612 where if you ask anyone in the surrounding towns they know of someone related to one of the 12 witches that went on trial that particular autumn. 


North of the hill is the Forest of Bowland which stretches all the way up to the North of the county and Lancaster, our original capital.  Much of the land here is owned by the Queen and it is not hard to tell why. It is a designated area of outstanding natural beauty and its lush green trees and spectacular valleys speak for themselves. 


In the far West of the county, we have Blackpool. Or the Las Vegas of the North. A great family fun town with lots of seaside entertainment and most famous for its illuminations of course. The place of choice for many of the county's hen parties and stag do's. A mini Eiffel tower and an historic ballroom along with one of the countries best theme parks, the little town of Blackpool really has everything. 

The rest of the county, has plenty to keep anyone busy with ancient castles to explore and shopping trips to be had. Lancashire really is the place to be!
  
  

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Carvery

Tonight I went to the carvery with friends after having not been since the beginning of the summer. I used to love going out for Sunday lunch every week with either family or friends but with having a job in retail it is very hard to find the time to do that anymore. So I jumped at the chance to go and have a carvery, it saved me cooking any tea after work too. The aroma of all the different meats, gravy and vegetables hit my nostrils as I walked into the pub and made my mouth water. I could not wait to eat, I ordered an extra large carvery which meant I got more meat and all importantly an extra large yorkshire pudding. 

I enjoyed the company of the people I was with, especially because I got judged for having too little on my plate. everyone elses was piled high with food because their eyes were bigger than their belly. I just about managed to finish all my food and even just had room for some pudding. It is safe to say I am now stuffed and don't feel like eating for a week. I will definitely be trying to make more time to visit the carvery from now on tho.  


Monday, 25 November 2013

Monday at work

I haven't thought about what I wanted to write about for todays blog at all if I am honest, the time is 22:30 and I am only just getting round to writing something. I am on day 25 now and the end is in sight, but have I overdone it on the amount of things I have wrote about this month. With how much of a struggle it is to write something lately, I would say so. I had a lie in this morning, well I say lie in but I mean I didn't have to start work till 11 today. But from the moment I walked in, I was bombarded with tasks and problems to sort out. Just another day on my new department then. It not not faze me too much and I think the key is to dealing with most of lifes problems at work and at home is just to relax and not get too stressed out.

The last customer walked out the door at 8:15, we had shut at 8 but I had to help him try to sort out his order. There were many ups and downs throughout the day and by this point I might have been letting the stress get to me a little bit. I stayed on till 9 to get some bits done that need preparing for stock take next week. In hardly any other year I have not really cared about the stores performance on stocktake night. But this time I actually care and this time I want my store to do well and be one of the best in the region. We blew out by a lot of money last year so hopefully this year we will do better! 


Sunday, 24 November 2013

Hibernate

Today has been a good day, well it was always going to be if I was in the pub before 12 right? My excuse for drinking that early was because I didn't go out last night even with the day off work today. (Yes I know, I am worried too!). Our plan was to feed ourselves and go and see the coca cola truck in town. So we wandered into town to check out the famous truck in the flesh and I must say I was a little disappointed in it. I made the comparison at the time to my friend, but it was like meeting somebody who is your hero in the pub and realising they are a bit of  dickhead.

After that initial disappointment, we decided on an impromptu trip to Manchester Christmas markets. I love the smell of all the food at the markets and the mulled wine. It just makes me feel all christmassy and want to buy all the food I smell. There was loads of cute little stalls selling everything from jewelry to sweets and chocolates. But the best find of the day had to be a cosy and beautiful pop up bar called Hibernate at Spinningfields by the outdoor ice rink. I would highly recommend the Duvel beer a taste while visiting at 8.5% it might be wise just to have the one pint though. Or if you prefer cocktails, they do a lovely hot chocolate one of those. Something to surely warm you up on a cold winters day. But don't take my word for it go and try it out yourself!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Winter is here. .

It's cold outside and Winter is here,
Sometimes it's the season I most fear,
It is dark and It's cold, 
I can't imagine what it's like for the old, 

Wrap up warm is the general advice, 
But still our heating bills double in price, 
Energy companies make more and more profit,
Through all the talk they will not stop it,

But it is a time of joy and festive cheer, 
To all relax and drink lots of beer, 
We all get together and sing Auld Lang Syne, 
With being drunk, it is always out of time, 

Before we know it here comes Spring, 
The season of daffodils and lambing, 
By now winter has gone, there is nothing to fear, 
Well, at least for another year!  



Thursday, 21 November 2013

Tomorrow is a new day

It started as I woke up, thinking of things I thought I had forgot, things I didn't want to be reminded of, things that are better left in the darkest recess of my mind. I didn't need this today, I didn't need my mind to lose a battle of wills with itself before I even got out of bed. I didn't choose to be depressed today, the fog of depression chose to descend on me out of nowhere. That war I am fighting inside my own head, well today I lost a battle with it. I drifted through the day and tried to shift my focus onto something else, first of all a careers fair. I can do this right, I am good at talking business with just about anyone. Well I was there in body only it seems, I saw one stand that caught my eye when I looked beyond the attractive recruiters that had been sent to represent their companies. 

Mcdonald's for lunch would surely do the trick to cheer me up a bit, If only I was so lucky. I knew I should've bought that coat I like even at that ridiculous price. So I didn't buy the coat, probably just as well with how expensive my phone bill is this month. I came home and tried to distract myself by playing on GTA V. It worked, I started to feel better just in time to realise I had 3 psychometric tests that needed completing by the end of the day. Being quite an avid reader helped with the verbal reasoning test and I was on a high after finishing it. Next was logic, I felt I did ok, maybe about average. Last of all was numerical reasoning, well there is nothing like messing a test up to make you feel like utter crap. I got a 1st in my accounting module at uni, but I just cracked under pressure with this assessment! 

Now I am sat here preparing to do it all over again at a management assessment day  for work. Throw in a couple of group exercises, an individual exercise and an interview in front of a panel and that completes the rest of the day. But hey, tomorrow is a new day and tomorrow I am going to have a good day.      

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Computer Games..

I must confess I got my inspiration for this blog from another blogger who blogs about IOS gaming on her site. Check her out here: The ramblings and rants of a strange girl. Now I wouldn't really describe myself as a massive gamer but I am not going to lie there is no better feeling than completing a certain game, even if it did mean going a few days with no sleep and limited food and bathroom breaks. I haven't done that for a while though with any game. In the past few years, I have spent hours on games like Skyrim, Assassin's Creed, Call of Duty and Football Manager. At one point I was even obsessed with an NFL game, I still don't get American football properly. Although my housemate is doing her best to change that by making me watch it every time it is on. More recently it has been GTA V that has grabbed my attention and got me into the mindset that I am 3 master criminals but only one player. But for me there is something missing from all these games that I have been playing and that is real face to face human contact. Yes, I know you can play online GTA and Call of Duty is only any good when you actually play it online in my opinion. But this is with friends or strangers who are not actually with you, yes it is a good thing that we can share our experiences with people from all over the world. Maybe not so good when 13 year old American boys beat you on COD, that happens to everyone right?

 For me, there is nothing more appealing than sitting in a room with a group of other like minded people and playing FIFA. Now my friends will vouch for me, I really am not the best at this game. I'm not as bad as my friend Ollie who has to play with World IX all the time and me Burnley but still, we both love it nonetheless. It feels great to score a last minute goal against your opponent, especially when he is sat across from you so you can celebrate like England have just won the world cup. Or if you are losing badly/know you are going to just getting as many of your players sent off as possible so the game gets abandoned. Everyone else does that right?  


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

What is wrong with the England National Team?

The good thing about being English is that as a nation we are always optimistic right? Now I am not naive enough to think that we put one of the best sides ever out against Chile last week, although I would start Jay Rodriguez every time & why hasn't Danny Ings got a call up yet to the senior squad? Also while I am on the subject, how can you leave somebody with the fire and passion that Joey Barton shows out of our national team? Most men would love Roy Hodgson's job as the England manager and we would all probably make lots of changes to the side that is starting tonight against what can just about be described as a German reserve side. The last time we played a full strength German side we lost 4-1 so maybe I am a little bit glad of that. 

I saw a stat before tonights game that showed 48% of German players play in the Bundesliga compared to 26% of English players playing in the Premier League. Now I know straight away people will say, "but the Premier League is the best league in the world". No, it is not. What the Premier league is, is everything that is wrong in this world. It is full of players who came to play in England for the highest bidder of their "talent". Once they are here, they either move around to the club who offers them the most money or pretend they want to move so their current club gives them more money. We only have to cast our minds back to this summer and the exploits of Rooney, Suarez and Tevez to name a few to see this is the case. For a start to stop this being the case, we need to introduce wage caps into the game across at least all the European teams. This needs to be put in place sooner rather than later. I totally think that quotas on the amount of foreign players in squads in the EPL should be put in place. This will force clubs to develop our own national talent at grassroots level. This used to be the case, before the Bosman ruling many leagues across Europe placed quotas on the amount of foreign players allowed in a team. In fact in the Champions league and UEFA cup, UEFA had a rule that prohibited teams from naming more than 3 foreign players in these competitions!. 

Until all this happens England have little chance within the next few decades of dominating world football. Who am I though to say what must and mustn't happen for the England national side to be successful. I am too young to remember Euro 96 in our own country. The first memories of me watching England are France 98 with the likes of Scholes, Beckham, Owen and Shearer playing. In the second round we came up against Argentina, Owen scored THAT goal, Beckham got sent off and we lost on penalties, I cried. Admittedly I was only 11, but still thats how much it meant for me to see the the national team do well. That is how much it will always mean to me. That is how much it should mean to each and every player, every coach, and every manager every time they go and and represent our country friendly or not. Everyone saw the heart and passion Greece played with in Euro 2004, maybe just maybe if England can recreate that, we might have a glimmer of hope next year in Brazil.   


      

Monday, 18 November 2013

Last words.

Admittedly, yesterday's blog ("You will soon meet the person you admire") was not really meant to take the direction it did. I had planned to write about famous people I admire when I started but it took a completely different turn. But thats what I enjoy about the way I am blogging, I just sit down and start writing. I was thinking about my dad after watching an episode of How I Met Your Mother and I suppose thats why last night I wrote the blog the way I did. Really though I wanted to talk about that episode today because I know it is subject matter that is quite emotional and raw for me. The episode was entitled "Last words" and basically the gang travel to Minnesota for the funeral of Marshall's father, and they each try to ease the situation as much as possible. Lily supports Marshall's mum but ends up aggravating her, and Marshall is upset when he remembers that, in their last conversation, his dad encouraged him to watch Crocodile Dundee III. There is a bit of a twist in the plot, but I'll save that in case any of you have never seen that particular episode.

I'm sat here in bed on my day off wearing my Liverpool shirt (It was his favourite team) and thinking of all the times I enjoyed and spent with my father. I try to think of the last words he said to me, or even the memory of the last time I actually saw him. It was a few days after my sisters 21'st birthday party and I went round to see him before coming back to Preston. We had a brew, with cream milk of course and were just talking in general about life. He was asking me about university and we were talking about the upcoming Olympics in London and I remember him saying "you know, if you had kept up with your running you would be there at your home games Stewart." I really was never ever even close to being at that level, but just remembering that he said that really made me smile because of how much my dad believed in me.
Just before throwing up after a race that summer. 

My dad gave me a lift back over to Preston with my nephew Harrison in tow and that was the last time I saw him alive. My dad knew he was ill and so did I, so every time I saw him I would always make a point of telling him I loved him and giving him a big hug. He told me he loved me and to take care and that was the last time I spoke to him ever in person. Not long after he was taken into hospital and although I went to see him once, he wasn't awake or in a state to talk to me. He came out again and was back at home so I thought he would be fine, only to be rushed back in again a day or so later. I thought he would be ok, or maybe I was in denial that he wasn't going to be ok. I felt like if I didn't acknowledge he was that ill than he wouldn't die. I had spoke to my mum and sister that day and they both told me I couldn't ring him because he was a bit groggy etc so I sent him a text.    

My mum gave me the bad news several hours after I sent this and I really didn't believe her on the phone. I was just in a state of shock. I had to text and ring my brothers and sister just to make sure I wasn't dreaming or it wasn't a nightmare. Looking back, it makes me happy that our last exchange of words with each other are happy ones. My mum confirmed he managed to read my text and that makes me feel warm and happy that he did. I try to keep strong in the knowledge that I am carrying on my father's legacy and making a difference in this world no matter what I do.

We are all so busy sometimes in the modern world that we forget about what is really important to us. If the worst happened and somebody who you cared about right now died, what would be the last words you exchanged with them? Or how long ago would it have been since you spoke to them? Often we all take for granted the things or people that mean the most to us in our lives, but we would do well just to stop and acknowledge just how great these people are to us.



   
        

Sunday, 17 November 2013

You will soon meet the person you admire

Tonight me and my housemate ordered Chinese, which we tend to do far more than we actually should. But one thing we don't normally do is order a fortune cookie each as well. I have had fortune cookies before (who hasn't?) and I normally like the quotes you get inside. Tonight I don't really know what I was expecting but was a little taken aback by "You will soon meet the person you admire". Talk about being vague ancient chinese wisdom! However, I did let my mind ponder this notion that I would indeed meet the person I admire. But there is just a bit of a problem, I didn't instantly think of anyone. This is because I have already met lots of people in my life who I admire for different reasons. Especially my family, I admire my mum for having to put up with me for the past 26 years. I haven't really lived at home for the last 10 of those but I can't deal with myself most of the times so for her to deal with me deserves respect. Her and my Dad managed to bring four of us up to be pretty decent so I admire her for that. I admire my sister for all her hard work in her career and finally getting a job as a specialist mortgage advisor. I admire my youngest brother for following in my footsteps and joining the army. I admire my other brother Jason for giving me the cutest and sweetest niece and nephew anybody could wish for. Finally I had huge admiration for my dad, he took me on has his own and did his best with my mum to provide for us all as a family. I admire the way he battled through cancer the first time he got it and constantly kept getting back up everytime he was down. I admire the way he kept on fighting right until the end. I've already met the person I admire the most, it was my dad.




Saturday, 16 November 2013

To go out or not to go out? That is the question

Officially half way through the month of National Blogging Month and I am still here, blogging away looking for things to write about. Admittedly I did join the party a little bit late but I am not far behind the number of blogs I need to be at so far. Tonight my youngest brother (I must stop saying little) is over in Preston with his friends for a birthday party. I had always planned to meet them but I have been so busy lately that I completely forgot. So the question was to go out or not to go out? I have work in the morning and besides the designer I am the only one on my department. The correct thing to do is be responsible right? Well that got me thinking, you only live once. I rarely see my youngest brother and nights out with him are even rarer, I think the last one was over two year ago. 

Anyway I didn't have to convince myself too much that staying in is overrated. I am sat with him and his friends in a hotel room pre drinking, playing ring of fire. Tomorrow at work should be fun...  



 

Friday, 15 November 2013

Hangover - conversation with myself...

I awake with that dreaded headache again. Oh no, it is the hangover reminding me of all my poor life choices last night. Why did you drink so much? Because it was cheap of course, but why did you do shots and drink jager bombs as well. I don't know leave me alone. Well guess what Stewart, you have got to go to work today and deal with yourself. But can I not just lie here and wallow in my self pity all day eating crap food and watching funny clips of cats on youtube? No, no you most certainly can not. Well maybe for a little while but only because you start at 12 today. Oh thats good, I will feel better by then. Yes of  course you will, just drink that pepsi on the side from last night. Oh wait it tastes of wine, eh that is not right! I wasn't drinking wine last night, was I? No I don't think you were, but now you are going to have to get your sorry arse out of bed and brush your teeth before you are sick. But I don't want to get up. Tough if you don't I'll make you sick all over these nice clean bedsheets. Ok, ok I'll go to the bathroom. Right, shower now because you need to freshen up. Oh shit, you didn't wash the work trousers that fit you properly so now you are going to have to wear them really tight ones just for being such a shit bag with your personal admin. Oh Stewart, wasn't there something you were meant to do this morning before work. Oh no, brain why didn't you remember that sooner I really hate you at times. Well that is your own fault for slowly killing little bits of me with alcohol. Ok, well I promise I won't drink as much next time as long as you remember more important things rather than that stupid song that is stuck in my head. Stewart, why are you not dressed yet? Look at the time, you can't wallow today so get up and stop watching them stupid videos. Ok, ok I am going but I need to eat. There is a butty van at work don't worry. But I wanna be healthy today. Pfft, who are you trying to kid. Ok, I get it, I am a fat slob. Well yes you are now get to work!!.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Children in Need walk ..

Today I did a charity walk from the B&Q chorley store to my store in Preston, via Bamber Bridge as part of B&Q's 1 million pound pledge to Children in Need. There was 13 of us in total, including Pudsey (AKA Paul Ainsworth) himself. The day started with everyone in good nature and looking forward to the challenge of walking almost 13 miles through the heart of Lancashire. For some more than others it really was a challenge and that became evident as the day progressed. Every time I do an event for charity, I always feel very humbled to be asked to take part and this was no exception. The weather did its bit for us and the dreaded rain that was forecast stayed away. It was a bright and breezy day, with a chill in the air but once we were on our way it soon warmed up, especially for Pudsey.

We got lots of support along the way and a lot of drivers and people we walked past stopped to donate and give Pudsey a big hug of course. We saw mothers and fathers walking with children and seeing their little faces light up when they saw Pudsey and gave him a big hug made us all smile so much and gave us the morale booster we needed to carry on walking to help other children who need our help. One of the best moments of the day was when we walked past a Primary school and all the children were on their break, when they saw Pudsey they could not contain their excitement and all went a little bit crazy. Good luck to whoever had to teach them this afternoon.

We didn't quite get a huge welcome party at Bamber Bridge when we got there, but alas it was time for a quick pit stop and chat to to some of our colleagues who worked there. We then had a bit of a lunch break at Morrisons where unfortunately Pudsey had a bit of an accident and walked straight into a ballard, Clumsey Pudsey :P. But like a true professional he carried on waving to his adoring crowd and we all collected a bit of money from the shoppers there. I don't think the Dogs Trust were too happy, but hey you can't compete with Pudsey.


The final stretch and 2 miles from home, well my store anyway and a nice woman pulls up and donates £40 and wishes us good luck on the rest of our journey. Some people were clearly struggling at this point but they carried on and that womans generosity gave each and every one of us the determination to get to the end.
After a long walk up London road, we were almost there and rang ahead to let our colleagues who were working know. I don't think anybody has ever been so happy to see a B&Q as much as us before and outside we had a big welcome party with champagne to congratulate us on our efforts of the day. I just want to say from everyone who walked if you were one of the people just giving us a pip on the road or waving at us and donated on the walk thank you very much you kept us all going today. Thank you to everyone else who has kindly offered to sponsor us and if you haven't yet, it is never too late :P

         

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

(Good) Customer Service

Yesterday, I let Colin talk of his experiences with bad customer service and if you haven't read his blog yet, you can do so here (Lack of) Customer Service. So I thought today I would chat about good customer service. Which is something I am very passionate about. Before I start, I just want to say that I agree with everything he is saying in his blog about how large companies often forget the very basics. It is no secret that I work for a large multi national company with the biggest DIY market share in the UK and much of Europe. Now people will argue that we have forgot the little guy and customer service is not important. In fact a quick look at the B&Q twitter feed will tell you that all we seem to do is dealing with problems or giving bad service across our stores. As consumers, we expect good service all of the time and rightly so. But I often feel that we don't shout enough about good service as individuals enough. If somebody is really nice to us in a shop or a store, we might tell one or 2 of our friends but rarely write a letter or take to twitter to tell the company.

I have recently started on the showrooms department in my store and this is an area that as a customer you would expect the best kind of service, especially if you are spending 5 or 6 thousand pound on a kitchen. I don't work in a  massive store so naturally we don't have all the stock of everything we sell and a lot of items have to come from our suppliers or from our large fulfilment centre. So my job often involves negotiating earlier delivery times for bits of customers kitchens. Naturally at this time of year they want it before Christmas, but with a few things we haven't had enough stock etc. In one case, my colleague drove around the whole of the region picking up bits of stock for various customers so we could get it to them in time because the supplier or fulfilment centre had not got them to our store on time for delivery. There is another colleague who works tirelessly in her office all day often correcting everyone elses mistakes so nothing does go wrong with a customer's order then she will coach that person on what to do right next time. Her job role tells her to escalate it to a manager, but then it wouldn't get done in time anyway and there would be far more issues. Me, well it has just gone 6 o'clock and I "finished" work an hour ago after not even getting chance to have a lunch break properly because I was that busy. Also, I have just got off my mobile phone to a customer and a colleague in store so they could arrange another delivery for the customers order.

I think what frustrates me personally is that from the outside it seems very easy to criticise big companies but from the other side I know there are individuals like myself and many other of my colleagues who do their utmost every single day to give the best customer service every day. I am not saying there are not people who could not care a less because there are people like that in every organisation unfortunately. Or even that  we don't get things wrong because we are only human at the end of the day. But to me and many people in similar roles such as mine the little guy is still important because that little guy is me, its you, its our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers. it is all of us.

   

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

(Lack of) Customer Service

Today, the blog is from my happy go lucky friend, Colin...

My blog for Stewart today is formed all around customer service, namely from two pretty large companies in the UK - one of them is EE (the people who employ Kevin Bacon to do ridiculous adverts), and Santander (who employ wealthy athletes such as Jessica Hill-Ennis and Lewis Hamilton to sell their already huge product).

I understand that large companies are primarily there to make money in order to keep their shareholders, yet I am disappointed and disheartened at how low these companies appear to value customer service. We'll start with EE.

EE boast to be the largest mobile phone company in the UK, this I believe is true after T-Mobile and Orange merged their UK operations. They are also the first company to bring 4G into the UK. With access to smartphones and our desire to Facebook / Tweet / Surf the internet, speed is everything. Imagine my surprise when I was unable to get 4G access, and struggled with 3G access in both Coventry and Birmingham - both 4G cities (Birmingham being one of the cities that first got 4G). I tweet and surf the internet a fair bit and this was a little frustrating. For the avoidance of any doubt, this was not a momentary glitch, but lasted for several hours! Couple in the fact that I pay around £46 a month for the privilege of such service I was / am understandably a bit disgruntled.

Social Media (particularly Twitter) is a very powerful tool in terms of communication. It allows individuals to communicate with large national and multi-national companies, and pretty much anyone can see a Tweet, thanks to the power of re-tweeting, quoting and (if you really want to get your message across), by "Promoting" the tweet. With this in mind, you'd think that large companies would do all they can to minimise any negative PR showing up on Social Networks. Some companies (such as Northern Rail, PaddyPower, and London Midland) are very good at this - they have a large customer base and work hard to diffuse any complaint - occassionally with humour, but always with information and handy advice.

Not EE. I've complained to EE via Twitter a few times over the past couple of weeks, and their response has been nothing short of disappointing. All they do is say that they look in my account, and cannot find any issues. Fair enough.
So, why do they not look at #EE on Twitter, to see what other customers think? In my brief searches, I have found people to have the same issues in relation to connecting to the internet via 4G (or 3G if you're not so lucky). However, I do not see EE trying very hard to rectify these issues, and I'm unaware as to whether they're working to upgrade their network. A little less money on Kevin Bacon, and a little more investment in the network would do nicely, because at the moment I, for one, won't be renewing my contract with them.

Now, onto Santander. I affectionately refer to them as the 'Wank Bank'. Primarily due to how awful they are.

I went into a Santander branch in a small Northern City and asked for them to transfer £100 from my account into another. Fairly basic. But the hitch was that I wanted it done the following day. No problem the very nice chap said and he assured me it was done.
Fast forward to today when I receive a text from the intended recipient, stating that the money had not gone into her account (despite the Santander man's assurances it would do!). This means I've got some digging to do, not ideal after coming off nightshift. A quick phonecall to Santander's complaints department, and another very helpful chap informed me that the cashier had not in fact sorted the transfer as requested, but instead set up a one monthly standing order. Not what I asked for.
Understandably, I'm not very happy at this. I appreciate that £100 may not seem like a lot of money, but it is to me. I asked the complaints gentleman if I could put a complaint in against the cashier, mainly due to incompetence. To my utter disbelief, I was told NO! Apparently, I've got to go into the store and make the claim to the branch. (How this can lead to an impartial investigation if necessary is beyond me...). Being tired and feeling slightly grim, I didn't bother arguing the toss about the point of an investigations department that didn't handle any complaints from the customer at the first point of contact. But I digress.

So, again, I took to Twitter to have a bit of a whinge about Santander. Within minutes, I had a reply stating that Santander "are absolute bastards". Good start. The same person also told me that Santander refused to give him Ombudsman details, and failed to follow up his complaint. Again, not great for the PR of what is one of the largest banks in the UK.
Santander, in their defence, have gotten back to me, but I am not expecting a positive outcome to this. Their customer service is appalling, in my view highlighted by incompetent staff and an investigation department which doesn't handle complaints!

All I (and many other's want) is decent customer service. We pay enough into these companies (be it via phone bills or by our wages going into our bank accounts), and the service we get is simply not good enough. Something has to change!

If you want to hear more from Colin, you can follow him on twitter here @C_S1991. He is also growing a poor attempt at a moustache for movember so feel free to sponsor him here http://uk.movember.com/mospace/7904309.



Monday, 11 November 2013

Finding my happy place..

Eminem's new album is on in the background. There are clothes and bits of  rubbish all over my room and me, well I am sat here at my desk writing this blog. Today, yesterday, pretty much any day around this date are always particularly sombre days for me as my previous blog My Remembrance Sunday  and to some extent War, What is it good for?  explain. Anyway today, after wallowing in self pity for a while and trying to distract myself by watching funny things on youtube etc. I decided I need to tidy my room. While in the process I found a book that was a gift from last Christmas. I had already read the book, hence why it was just left lying around my room. I dropped the book and as I picked it up and opened the front cover I discovered it was signed by the author! Somebody had took the time to not only buy me a book by an author I like but got to the trouble to get it signed too. It instantly put me in a better mood, I was so happy! It is from a series of books by Joseph Delaney, called the Wardstone chronicles that follow the adventures of a boy called Tom Ward as he fights evil forces across The County (Lancashire) and beyond. Its much cooler than I am managing to make it sound so checking out his website is probably a better idea Spooks Books

After the 
initial happy reaction, my memory takes me back to a time when I first started reading these books. I was going through a pretty bad time in my life and to be swept up in his world of fantasy and adventure with familiar places from the area I grew up was refreshing. I have read all of his books since and plan to go and watch his first film as soon as it gets released. It just made me reflect and think how very different my life is compared to what it was then. I never thought I would have a degree, at times I didn't think I would be here at all. But everyone has their bad and good days and sometimes when you are feeling down or having a bad day it just helps to escape into another world. Well for the time being at least!

"Someone has to stand against the dark and you are the only one who can"   


At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

My Remembrance Sunday

It was a bright and crisp sunny morning as I walked into town today. Mothers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters, strangers and friends alike. All stood side by side in front and surrounding the cenotaph as I arrived. The service had already started but I mingled and found a spot amongst the crowd. On days like this I am always in a somewhat sombre mood. 

The service continued, I even prayed aloud. 2 minutes silence to remember the fallen, remember the brave. To remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that me and you can continue to live and can speak our views with freedom. The Last Post sounds and a tear rolls down my cheek as I think of strangers fighting on the battlefronts of both World War One and Two, then in all the conflicts since. Of my friends who have served but are no longer here I feel especially sad for them. The national anthem starts and I feel proud to have served my country, I look around & see current members of our armed services and feel immense pride in them. 

I feel that often we take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude. So I hang around after the service to place a cross on the cenotaph as my own personal act of remembrance to the fallen.Today is not about if you think a war is just, or if the government is corrupt. It is about remembering those who died for our freedom so that we may express those types of opinion. 

"At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them" 

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Remembrance Day- Everlasting....

So I have just finished a bit of a hectic day at work, the store wasn't too busy but I seemed quite busy myself. Throughout today I have been thinking about what I could write for day 9 of the National Blogging Month challenge. Yesterday I managed to write a poem and today, well today I have been quite frankly stuck for ideas. Well until about 5 minutes ago so I thought I better write something now before my sudden burst of motivation goes. It sort of carries on from the theme of poetry I started yesterday and as it is Remembrance Sunday tomorrow it is kind of topical. A little background the poem is called Everlasting by Cindy Zhao who was amazingly only 14 when she wrote this and it won the Royal British Legion's War
Poetry Competition. I think you will agree how the style is simple yet effective and just sort of dances along. 

Everlasting...

His Version

The long, dark sky looms up ahead
As 2000 soldiers are not properly fed.
We fight and we hurt, to save others lives
But we go down like a bullet, there’s evil in knives
Blood pours out quickly across the sand
There’s nobody there to give a helping hand
We moan through the pain and we cry and we cry
And we say our prayers until we die
Trumpets ring true when the leaders arrive
We all stand up straight, we need to survive
My men surround me, all full of hope
But thinking back now, how would we have coped?
We hear news of survivors in our troupe
But it’s just a rumour going round a loop
We dress in black and mourn for the best
Even though it’s the one we all detest
Flashbacks appear when Christmas comes
And everyone is huddled together, we weigh tonnes
Tears drip down men’s cheeks, we weren’t born to cry
But sometimes it just ends up falling out of my eye
We say bye to loved ones as our happiness fades
We realise it was just a charade
And off once again to fight for rights
To fight for life in the starry nights.

Her Version
Huddled by myself, besides the warm fire
Makes my aching heart fill with desire
To see the man I truly love
As sweet as summer, as pure as a dove
His pictures sit on windowsills
Grinning, Laughing, giving me chills
As I can’t bear to think anymore
For he may be lost in the dreadful war
My heart doesn’t stop pounding, never skips a beat
I look out of the window, the bluebirds tweet
They sing their song, so happy inside
But I feel okay, I’m full of pride
Watching the TV screen with wide, open eyes
To see what’s really beyond the bright blue sky
As my best friend fights to save people’s lives
I just hope that he survives
A tear drips slowly from my eye
If he doesn’t come back I’m going to die
A newsflash breaks across the screen
It’s making a huge scene
The reporter says the war has ended
I scream and shout, it is intended
My wish, my dream, my hopes have come true
And someday they will for you…

My Version
She was waiting anxiously for him to arrive
But unfortunately he didn’t survive
The world had ended, their lives apart
But their souls forever connected, joined with their heart.

When I first heard this poem it was recited on Remembrance in Sheffield a few years ago, I haven't really read the poem that much since my second year when I used it for part of an Emotional Intelligence module. I was in a very sad and sombre state when I first heard this poem. Remembering people who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country is one thing but when you are there and it is the faces of some of your friends, their laugh, their voice, their smell that is the worst feeling in the world. It is sadness, guilt, despair all mixed in together. As I heard this poem I could really relate to the man in it, I was taken into the poem and that man was me. Although a feeling of depressiveness often occurs when I read this, the poem also gives me a sense of pride, of joy, of hope that there is something better out there. 

        

Friday, 8 November 2013

Last night


I awake again with a banging headache and feeling sick,
 Oh why oh why did I down that glass of wine?
And did we really both walk in at the same time? 
Drink after drink there is no slowing down,
Soon my head will be spinning around and around. 

Where did that pretty girl go? 
Who cares she had a boyfriend anyway,
Either that or thought I was gay, 
What is that? Vodka you say, 
Just send one my way.

Oh no, now I am on social media, 
I think I am starting a debate,
Oh, but wait..
It is more of a drunken attack, 
Sober me will pay for that. 

Oh I love this song, lets dance! 
Another pint, oh and a vodka to,
Hold that thought, I just might spew,
Sit back down and look around,
No money in my pocket, not even a pound. 

Cash point first, takeaway second, 
I guess now its time to go home,
But I don't wander the streets alone, 
We get a taxi instead,
and then finally I'm back in my bed. 





Thursday, 7 November 2013

Throwback Thursday

Back when I was a Fresher and it was cool to dress up near enough every uni night out. Promo was still in business and actually got people in 53 degrees every week for their club night on a thursday. This is a picture of me and Richard having a great night at such an event. Anybody got a time machine spare?  




Me and Richard Eccles



What if money were no object?

Today I watched this video after a friend shared it on twitter.

A little background info: Alan Watts is a British-born American philosopher best known for bringing Eastern wisdom into the Western world. 

Obviously, as you can see I was inspired to write this blog after watching this video. It also sort of ties in with my previous blog (What shall I do now?) The concept of money not being an issue in life is certainly a strange one to most people. For me, money has always been an issue. I come from a very working class background where money was always short in my house, but we got by on the little money we did have. I got a paper round when I was 13 and suppose I have been in some sort of work ever since. That would make 13 years work experience, wow I feel old! Anyway at school I did well and was offered a place to study A levels at my sixth form but there was just one problem, money...

 I didn't go to sixth form but instead joined the army which I had always been fascinated with and if I'm honest seemed like a much more exciting option than doing my A levels anyway. I was earning more money than I have ever seen in my life and training to be a soldier all at 16!. I talk more about this in another blog (War, What is It good for? ). For me at that point in my life I suppose money wasn't much of an issue. All my accommodation expenses etc came out my wage before I even noticed them, I'd bought a car out right and could easily afford the things I wanted to buy. In terms of other jobs the army wage is quite modest but I was doing something I wanted to do without thinking about the money.    

Since then I have had jobs I have enjoyed, but It has always been about the money and doing the job as a means to survive and get by. That is part of the reason I eventually came to university and got a degree. But now I seem to have come full circle and find myself asking what would I do if money were no object? Well, I was speaking to a friend last night and we were discussing my future career and she assures me I will be running B&Q one day and I love it more than I want to admit. It is true, I do have huge passion for the company I work for and some great ideas on what it should do to grow in an international marketplace, the only problem is I work in my local store not in head office. Kevin, I know you are only just settling in to your new role as CEO but if by some miracle you are reading this please sort me out a transfer onto your new team.  

So for me I suppose the answer to the question is I want to be in a position where I can use my degree and experience to its full potential while helping others. I have a degree in International Business with Philosophy and 13 years work experience in a variety of industries (including my local paper shop!). If anyone reading this knows of any jobs where I could use that potential, then let me know. 

Oh yeh, it must pay good money of course :P ...       
 


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Are you a dictator or a leader?

What have Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein all got in common? They are all famous dictators I hear you say. Well yes, but the point I want to make is that they all led by using fear. If you were different or spoke out against these people you were duly dealt with. Now unfortunately, there are some world leaders still in place across the world with these sort of ideals but I will save my opinion on them for a different day.

What I am struck by is how similar some peoples management style is in various companies to those leadership styles of Hitler, Mussolini and Hussein. I have friends, and work colleagues who have worked in a variety of jobs. the fact that this type of style still happens in workplaces is shocking. I know of one retail company where a manager would "take you outside" if you had a problem and fights were a regular occurrence. Many more where the words "sack that person or you lose your job" are used far too often. They lead by using fear to oppress their workforce into doing a good job but have no respect from their staff. It is still the case that in many organisations that these people in authority have been at a company for years. Their managers previously have been nasty, on a huge power trip and a little bit lazy so they chose to lead like that but are maybe a little nicer. Well that is where the system is flawed, if you want to get the best out of any staff under your control it is about respect and treating them as your equals. That way people will want to come to work every day and do their best for you and in turn your performance as a manager will also improve because you are getting the best out of staff.

In life I think the best managers I have worked for have been those who lead by example. But it seems in some circles this is frowned upon by other managers. Now, what would you prefer? A person who gets stuck in and helps you with your job etc and does their management stuff as well or somebody who just seems to be sat in an office or standing around telling you what to do, when half the time they could've done something themselves quicker. It is a respect thing too, If you see somebody in charge of you etc working their arse off to make a difference than you will respect them a lot more than if it is you and your colleagues running around while they shout out the orders.

I am inherently English and very proud to be so but the best portrayal of leadership I have seen was Mel Gibson playing William Wallace in Braveheart.

 "They may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom!"      

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Remember, remember the 5th of November

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

The British tradition of Bonfire night started in 1606 a year after Guy Fawkes was caught under the houses of parliament with several dozen barrels of gunpowder. Tonight for the first time in years I won’t be going to a bonfire or firework demonstration. Instead I am at work until midnight because I completely forgot about this year’s celebration. If I am honest though the older I am getting the less excited I get about loud bangs, pretty fireworks and warming my hands on a large fire.

If you are one of the brave souls out tonight in the cold and rain than enjoy it while you still can.


National Blog posting month

Admittedly I am a little late to the party but thats the cool thing to do right? If I am being honest I didn't even know this existed until I read about it in a friends blog Textbooks and Cliches. Seriously check her out, shes cool and aiming for a whole novel this month. Although I would love to try and do that one day, for now I am just aiming for a blog a day. I am fairly new to blogging so thought it would be a good way to just get into the habit of writing on a more consistent basis than I have in the past. It is not that I haven't had a fleeting thought for a blog post, a lot of it was just having the motivation to sit down and write something without others thinking it was stupid and pointless. I posted 6 times last month and had lots more ideas to write about so I know this everyday blog will be much more of a challenge. I aim to write the full 30 posts even though I am starting 5 days late. There is lots of tips and helpful hints from the blogging community on the NaBloPoMo website to hopefully see me through to the end. The good thing about blogging is that the topics can be as varied as you want. You only have to check out my other posts to see that :). 

All the best people arrive to the party late so why don't you get involved. You can sign up here NaBloPoMo Blogroll and don't worry if you don't already have a blogging site set up Wordpress  makes things really easy for you or if you already have a gmail account Blogger is useful and easy to use. What are you waiting for? Dive in and get blogging :). 

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Value of Love....

It has just gone 1 am and my brain won't switch off,  I have been thinking about a few things I wanted to write about while I was at work tonight but just kept dismissing them in turn but now I have just decided to write anyway and see where this takes me. If you have read my other posts, you can see by now I don't really have any logical order about the way I discuss things and just say what I am feeling or thinking about. 

 If you are a twitter user like me (@Stewart_Martin1) maybe you follow UberFacts. Well, according to one post I saw recently, love can be valued at $263,158 or £164,000 to those of us who like to keep things nice and British :). Now, I don't really agree that something like love can have a monetary value on it. People are worth lots more than any amount of money, whether it is friends, family or partners. They are all unique to us and part of our life stories in different ways. In the last 16 months or so I have lost 4 people who I loved all in unique ways that have disappeared out of my life story.

We all wonder that inevitable question "What If?" at various points of our lives. What if I had spent more time with someone?... What if I had said yes ... or even no? What if I had uttered I love you or told someone I loved them more?... What if I had shown more compassion... or even anger?  What if I did it all differently? Would this have changed anything? Perhaps, maybe I would feel less guilty about just little things I could've done differently before people died or simply walked out of my life for good. But the thing about the past is that it can not be changed, although I sometimes wish I had a time machine. We are all going to make mistakes in our lives, because that is what makes each of our lives unique, there was nobody like you on this earth before you and never will be again.

 If you are ever wondering What if? and are in a position to do something about it, than do it. Because life is to short for regrets. Say yes more, make contact with your old friends, don't be afraid to say I miss you, If you care about somebody than show them, always try to smile, tell people you love them and spend time with the people you treasure in your life.  I wish that I had lost £656,000 in the last year, that would have been so much easier to take away from me than the value of those people. Love is unique to each and every person which is what makes it so special I guess. No value should ever be given to the importance of love, it is priceless.  



Sunday, 27 October 2013

Burnley, top of the league?

I had always flirted with football at a young age but didn't really support a particular team. I had been to a few Burnley games with family but my dad was a Liverpool fan and Man United were the team of the moment. But it was James Mcdonough who swayed me to be a true claret. Since I have known him he has always been Burnley mad and by year 8 at school we had a season ticket together with some of our other friends and started following Burnley home and away. Stan Ternent was in charge and we finished second in the old division 2 as it was then. We were many people's favourites to come straight back down after that but we finished agonisingly close to the playoffs twice, something even a last minute Paul Gascoigne free kick couldn't help us with. I can't even remember where we finished the seasons that followed but it was somewhere in mid table, still I was sad when Stan Ternent left the club. He was the only manger I had known being in charge of the club and his last game was an emotional one for me. Steve Cotterill followed and quite frankly to be honest we were lucky to stay in the Championship while he was in charge with some of the results including a 19 game winless streak in 2006/2007. By 2008/2009 Owen Coyle was in charge and led us to the promised land of the Premier League, many people argued that our demise back to the Championship was the result of him leaving to our local rivals Bolton.

Since our relegation we have been mediocre to say the least but this season we have had the best start ever to a season in history. Yesterday we won 2 nil at home to the much fancied for promotion QPR with players in their side probably on double or triple the wage of our players. What I was impressed with and have been impressed with this season is the belief and confidence our players have against any team. For towns like Burnley, when the football team does well it lifts the whole town. If you have ever been to Burnley, you would understand the key part the club plays. Take a look around and there is not much there and for many people the only thing they believe in is the club. Pundits always seem to be amazed when our club does well, we are far from financially comfortable and have one of the lowest wage expenditures in the league. Just like the town our club is in, it has one of the lowest average wages in the country and some government advisors in a recent report have even said it should just be forgotten. Well our little football team is making sure that doesn't happen. We have the squad, manager and belief to carry on playing well and keep making our little town happy. Dare we dream of the promised land once more? YES WE DO!!!