Posted by: crustynomad | June 11, 2014

Recalling the events of a serious road accident

Three years ago yesterday I was involved in a major traffic accident near Oxford. My family and I were returning from a week’s holiday in Weymouth on the south coast of England. A few days later I noticed a feature in the local paper that they had no news on our condition so I decided to write and tell them that we were OK. Here’s what I wrote:


I saw on your website that you had no news on the injuries sustained by those involved in the traffic accidents over the past few days

http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/yourtown/abingdon/9080008.Shocking_scenes_after_head_on_crash/?ref=mr

My family and I were in the people carrier that crashed at around 4:25pm on Friday evening which caused the closure of both carriageways. I am happy to report that my wife and three children are now all at home safely having had a very lucky escape nursing little more than cuts and bruises. 18om02crash

To sum up what happened we basically hit the central reservation barrier on the A43 somewhere between Chilton and Harwell. We bounced across the carriageway and then rolled at least two or three times before coming to a stop. The car landed on the driver’s side with its nose on the hard shoulder and the rest on the embankment pointing slightly back towards where we’d just came from. The boot door had come open and scattered all our belongings over the verge. This fortunately offered some of us an escape route.

After we came to rest I remember the girls saying, “Where’s mum?! Where’s mum?!” but because the car was on its side I’d lost all sense of where we were. For a terrible moment I thought she’d been thrown from the car but I was actually all but standing on her. By now other cars had stopped and I lifted my son up out through the smashed passenger window. The girls were able to get out through the back with some help.

<I tried to help my wife who was obviously upset but she was at least conscious. In an attempt to get her free I undid her seatbelt which ultimately made things more awkward because the angle she was lying at. A passerby got me to come out while others steadied the car because of its precarious position. Panic set in when someone pointed out the considerable amount of petrol that was leaking. The man initially blocked it with his finger and the pipe was subsequently wrapped – the danger these people put themselves for our benefit was unbelievable.

As me and my daughters we were looked after at the top of the embankment I could see the backed up traffic and the emergency service vehicles arrive. I could also see a complete axle including two wheels lying about 10 feet from the car. Our belongings everywhere – CDs were all over the place and guidebooks and leaflets from our holiday in Dorset from which we were returning from were scattered across the road.

My wife took about 30 minutes to be cut free and my son was being comforted by members of the public and medical professionals (some off duty). I remember looking by my feet at a bottle of pickle a good 30 feet from the car which I’d been using all week for our sandwiches. It was very surreal scene – you saw items which you recalled being involved in mundane situations but now in very different circumstances.

Thinking about the crash now I can only remember one second segments. I hear the sounds of the smashing glass, I see the horror on our kids’ faces and the crunch of metal on tarmac. It’s very vivid in my mind but it’s easier for me personally to cope with as we’ve come out relatively unscathed. Obviously if we hadn’t, it would be very, very different. I dread to think what may have happened if that petrol had caught light but fortunately that worst case scenario didn’t come to pass and we live to fight another day.

I have scratches and cuts on my head and left arm and my wife has a badly bruised and grazed shoulder and a blackeye. My son (8) was kept in hospital overnight with a cuts above and below his right eye and a broken nose which should all heal normally. My eldest daughter (12) has a sprained ankle while our youngest daughter (9) has minor cuts to her left arm and leg and to her neck. All in all we’ve been astonishingly lucky.

The police at the hospital and afterwards couldn’t do enough for us and made a difficult situation for us far easier and the medical staff were, of course fantastic too. The number of people who helped us since the incident to today has been amazing. All the emergency services were on the scene in next to no time and the police helicopters made sure that no chances were taken with our safety. As for the members of the public they were so brave to put themselves in danger like that for the sake of strangers – I am agog in admiration. I only wish I could thank everyone personally for all they did for us but if they want to contact us through the paper we’d be delighted to hear from them.

All in all we are so thankful that no other vehicle was involved in the accident and are so very sorry to have disrupted so many people’s journey home that evening. The most positive thing to come from the experience for me is that I have seen first hand that people really DO care and are prepared to do almost anything to help others when called upon. I would encourage people to keep this in mind when they are faced with trying circumstances in the future.

Posted by: crustynomad | June 9, 2014

RIP RIK – Lord Flasheart is no more

ol5qllplr1wrllllIt has been announced that comedian Rik Mayall has died.

Already social media has gone into overdrive with tributes from those in the entertainment industry as well as members of the public taking over these channels of communication. There’s no doubt that this is a huge loss, and a tragically young age too, and this will affect an awful lot of people. Famous people do occasionally die young, it’s nothing new, but there’s something about Rik that will touch a nerve more than most.

When it’s one your peers or someone you grew up with watching on TV, it really does put your own mortality to the forefront. I was at school when The Young Ones started in the early 80s and the character he portrayed, plus that of Kevin Turvey really summed up the era we were living in. OK, he was older than me but not by much – a relatively paltry 11 years.

I got the impression that Lord Flasheart in Blackadder was a role that he took particular pleasure from and in many ways he stole the show despite only a few appearances not unlike the the ‘genial’ Grouty did in Porridge. Rik was loud and brash in pretty much any role he played but that shouldn’t hide the fact that the characters were often poles apart – he was a terrific actor.

Take the Tory MP Alan B’stard and compare with Drop Dead Fred or Richard “Richie” Richard from Bottom for example. He could dip into a suave persona but the shouting Rik would never be far away. That may seem pretty 2 dimensional to carry it off in so many different shows and movies really puts his ability into focus.

I last saw him perform in Man Down last year with Greg Davies who was not unlike Rik in persona himself. It was certainly an understandable casting decision despite the height differential. Man Down was a rather curious show which I enjoyed but with Rik playing the lead’s father highlighted that he wasn’t the spotty student in the Young Ones anymore. As a swansong this was probably not his finest moment but he was still arguably the best thing in it regardless of the totally outlandish scenes he was asked to play.

No matter, it was all part of the man and we will miss him dearly – it’s hard to imagine that we’ll ever see his like again.

RIP RIK – we will miss you.

Posted by: crustynomad | June 6, 2014

Worth the weight?

jezzaAfter a long time of not posting I thought I’d post a few nuggets of what’s been going on over the last few years. This blog has been a bit of a dumping ground for big ideas which have since evaporated. It’s a bit embarrassing to look back if I’m honest but I guess it gives an idea about me as a person.

Since my last update I’ve separated from my wife but I’ve met someone new and life generally is good. Work is going well, money is not as tight as it once was and over the last three months I’ve lost over a stone in weight.

For this first post I will focus on this last aspect – the words are taken from a forum post which announced my initial progress.

14th March

Last Thursday I started a sponsored slim in aid of a care scheme’s social fund for the elderly. This will enable them to go on trips and also have special events arranged at the home itself. Last night was the first weigh-in since I started and over the last 7 days I’ve lost….11 POUNDS!!!

I’ve been asked about how I did it and if I’m honest it was a lot simpler than I thought it would be. It has taken some self control but it hasn’t needed me to run a daily marathon or anything.

Foodwise my breakfast is about 60-70g museli with semi-skimmed milk and lunch is a chunky but tasty ham or chicken sandwich with no mayo on wholemeal bread with salad and possibly a nice low fat dressing. I sometimes have a chilli flavour dressing so even if it may seem fairly bland at first sight it has a bit of a kick.

Morning and afternoon snacks are either fruit or a couple of spicy crackers (no spread) and I’ve cut back on tea and coffee and skipped the sugar. I have a tiny bit in coffee but I drink tea mostly now. All in all I have half the hot drinks a day I used to and have replaced them with water and the occasional fruit juice.

Oh, I’ve probably also been helped by giving up wine and chocolate for Lent though I have had a couple of beers and a vodka and a diet coke. Tend not to drink during the week anyway.

For my evening meal it’s again about being sensible in quantities – think about what you want and take 2-3 forkfulls off to lower your intake. Get plenty of veg, use low fat spray when frying anything and make sure that whatever you have it has flavour – bland is just boring.

Exercise-wise I’ve been walking more by getting off at earlier bus stops and and taking some long routes to places if I need to go anywhere. Advance planning comes into that so you have make the time to do it – it’s nice to get a bit of fresh air too. I was stunned by the amount I lost but it’s clear to me that you don’t have to go bonkers to make a difference.

Keys for me were to drink more water and less caffeine or fizzy drinks, replace snacks with something flavoursome or fruity, cut back on the alcohol a bit and walk a bit more. The final key is to choose a goal and have a reason to keep to it – mine is linked to a good cause and it has an end date so it will keep me focused.

Posted by: crustynomad | May 24, 2012

Weigh-in #3 (420 days to go)

After another eight days I finally get hold of another 50p piece so I could do a weigh-in…

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To my immense surprise I’m down to 15 stone 10lbs! I found this quite remarkable as I’ve probably done less exercise, relented with a couple of evening snacks and positively gorged at a two day conference in London earlier this week.

Lots of Mexican food clearly loaded with fat and big Sunday lunch too. If this week proves anything it’s that if your sensible about snacking on crisps, chocolate and biscuits you can still lose the pounds. As I keep repeating, long term I need more than that change to get me down to 12 stone or thereabouts.

This is where the British 10K comes in because as of today I’ve officially entered and my Just Giving page for Young Epilepsy is live – no turning back now!

To help with the training I’ve signed up to a smartphone app called RunKeeper which I tested with a walk around time at lunchtime. Looks pretty useful.

I’ve updated the ticker device and here’s the Countdown Clock too.

Posted by: crustynomad | May 16, 2012

Weigh-in #2 (428 days to go)

Just a quick post to give another update on my weight…

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So there you have it – another pound lost! Hurrah!

I have to admit I was a bit worried this week because there was a couple of pretty substantial meals in there and then the pizza/chocolate nibbles thing on Monday. It’s a small drop but I’m still 4lb up on my target so it’s going well.

Yesterday I all but confirmed that I would take part in the British 10K in London in July. That will kickstart my exercise and will certainly help with the plan over the next 6-7 weeks.

I’ve updated the ticker device and here’s the Countdown Clock too.

Posted by: crustynomad | May 14, 2012

Weign-in #2 approaching – nerves a-janglin’

So here we are on Monday lunchtime with approximately 43 hours until the next weigh-in. Overall I’m still performing better than before the plan began but I’ve not not done as good as I might’ve done this past week. I really need to get some proper exercise and the threatened announcement that will form part of that is no nearer to happening. I need to pull my finger out.

I have so many little jobs that I could cross off my list that I just need to get on and do them. This involves some paperwork from an accident claim from our car crash last year and various other admin tasks not to mention the prep for a meeting tomorrow. It could be embarrassing if I don’t get that done.

The reason for the update now is that just delivered to the office are several pizzas along with some rather sumptious snacks including flapjacks and various chocolate coated yummies. Coincidentally I have very little money on me today so the pizza does help save the pounds but I shall have to be far more restrained than normal. Usually when we get these deliveries I have been known to have anything up to eight slices and take the leftovers home afterwards – no such luxuries today with that weigh-in looming.

…Must…resist…

Posted by: crustynomad | May 11, 2012

Carbs a go-go

Another two days has passed since the weigh in and nothing particularly remarkable has changed except that I’ve noticed myself wanting to nosh at silly times again. Fortunately I have so far resisted.

On Wednesday it was the 14th anniversary of me and my (now) wife getting engaged.We’re not really in a ‘slap up meal’ territory at the moment for financial reasons but we had left it a bit late to organise a babysitter anyway. For that reason we head off to the Paul Pry for lunch. I had a jacket potato with sour cream and salad plus a tasty tomato and basil soup. Very tasty and very reasonably priced.

Yesterday was unusual in that I rather ODd on pitta bread. I finished off the last three at work because I’d have had to throw them out otherwise but when I got home pittas were on offer again as a twist on a steak sandwich. I whacked a chunk of the meat in two and stuffed with lettuce and cherry tomatoes. There was also a bit of gammon and a few mushrooms available so I nibbled on those too.

I had muesli for breakfast today and another jacket potato which was very nice but I’ve not been very adventurous with the menu this week. I’ve had lots of carbs and not necessarily the right types but as I’ve said, I’m heading in the right direction and have certainly improved. When you’ve been eating the way I have for as long as I have any change is better than no change.

On the exercise front I will shortly be making an announcement where I will be forcing this on myself but it will be for a good cause. Over the last couple of days the only ‘additional’ exercise was running half a mile to catch a bus so that I didn’t have to wait another 20 minutes for another. Deck shoes, jeans and a fully laden laptop bag may helped me lose a few ounces but it didn’t do my stress levels any good.

For the record, I caught the bus. 🙂

Posted by: crustynomad | May 9, 2012

Weigh in #1 (435 days to go)

For the lack of a 50p piece I didn’t have my 444 day / 4 stone 4lb Challenge weigh in yesterday lunchtime but I’ve  had one this morning. They do say that if you’re going to weigh yourself you should do it at the same time of day and I shall try to keep to that. As it happens, first thing Wednesday is probably a more practical day for me so we’ll stick with that for the time being.

Right, now to the results from the Swedish jury…

Last week I tipped the scales at 16 stone 5lb – today I weighed 15 stone 13 (and a bit) 🙂

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That’s far better than I expected but I have made some pretty significant changes to the way I eat and purely by cutting back and being sensible over 5lb has gone. I shan’t be resting on my laurels (whatever that means) but it does at least mean that I’m off to a solid start and have something to build on.

Ah, that’s put me in a good mood for the day. It also means I can update my little ticker device and while I’m at it here’s the Countdown Clock too.

Posted by: crustynomad | May 7, 2012

Buffet the diet slayer!

So this was my first weekend of the 444 day / lose 4 stone 4lbs project and a bank holiday weekend at that. On working days I do at least feel a little more in control because I’m not balancing convenience and choosy kids when preparing meals but overall it hasn’t been too bad. I’ll admit I’ve slipped a little in the evenings but no where to the extreme levels I was at prior to last week so as long as I’m aware of it now I can get back on track on Tuesday.

I did get some decent exercise on Saturday morning by shifting a load of bricks from the front of the house to the back. I was carrying four or five at a time and must’ve made 10 trips of about 25m so that was pretty hard work. Today I did about a mile and half walking to Tesco and back so that’s again a useful habit to get into…not that the non-existent bus service gave me any choice!

On Saturday evening I had my radio show on Peterborough FM (Pleasuredome Pick’n’Mix – 8-10pm). It was my intention to announce my new healthy eating project but it completely went out of my head mainly because one of the artists I featured had a load fans that were listening in and posting comments on the show’s Facebook page. No matter, I have plenty of time to put that right. Ha!

Project Countdown Clock

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Posted by: crustynomad | May 5, 2012

Dieting using cheesy nachos and community radio

So here we are on day three of the big 444 day plan and I have to say we’re ticking over quite nicely actually. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to be dumb enough to claim that I have this cracked but what has been apparent is that some of my bad habits have been born out of boredom and doing stuff for the sake of it.

The late night eating ended up being something I did as part of a much bigger and badder late night ritual of TV, Internet surfing and general idling when I could be using my time far more constructively…with more sleep for a kick-off! As it stands all I need to do is remind myself that the eating part is part of the old me and that I don’t need it to be part of my life now. Anything I have had has been no more than a grape or two or a sip of water. Maybe that’s still not the right thing to be doing but hey, it has to be better than cheesy nachos and multiple cups of coffee.

So what happened today..?

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Posted by: crustynomad | May 3, 2012

Sleep, where art thou?

Another day another update…

First of all I’m not promising daily updates for all 444 days but let’s see how things go. I won’t go into the finer details of what I ate and my exercise this time because it was not dissimilar to yesterday so today I will be focusing on sleep and making sure I get enough of it.

Bad sleep patterns and lack of sleep generally has been my nemesis over recent years. I will explain more in other updates but the root cause is essentially me wanting to spend some time by myself before going to bed.

As someone who always used to do things like holidays alone, the crowded nature of family life vastly reduces (if that’s not an oxymoron I don’t know what is) the amount of ‘me’ time I have. This is why I like travelling by bus because it gives me up to an hour a day (30 minutes each way) where I can read, listen to music or podcasts, think about stuff, plan, prepare or just chill.

For many people that would be enough but I would like that opportunity at home too. It is my castle after all. As a rule I rarely get to choose what’s on TV but that’s not something I’m bitter about, it’s a choice I make to keep the family happy. My wife Jo likes to have some time to herself too and she knows that if I fall asleep before she does she will need the earplugs because apparently I snore. I can’t believe that actually but I’m not going to argue.

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Posted by: crustynomad | May 2, 2012

My goal to lose 4 stone 4 pounds in 444 days

Yesterday I made a public pledge on Facebook to lose weight. Not just any amount of weight but four stone and four pounds, 60lbs in all. I’m giving myself 444 days to do it in by which time I will be 44 and back to a normal weight and the correct body mass index for my height.

To reach this goal I will need to lose approximately 4lbs per month for 15 months which should be quite straightforward for the first month or two because I will be eating more sensibly anyway but there will come a point where I reach a plateau and will then need to make other fundamental life changes to keep up the momentum. I see that as the biggest challenge.

I’ve neglected my fitness for a while now but the longer I leave it the harder it will be to get back to the level I want to be. I’ve run four marathons, several half-marathons and numerous 10Ks so I have it in me. I merely have to reverse the trend and work my way back to a sustainable level taking in to account that I’m no longer in my 20-30s.

Entry for the 2013 London Marathon is open now so I may tie the goal in with breaking 4 hours 45 minutes  (4:44). That would be a personal best – unofficially I’ve run 4:57:29 but that doesn’t take into account the 12 minutes it took me to cross the start line! It would be great to get under five hours officially.

Anyway, that was the basics, what did I actually DO yesterday to move me towards my goal?

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Posted by: crustynomad | April 18, 2012

Crusty’s back!

It’s nearly two years since I last posted and yet this blog still receives a lot of coverage mostly based on my Tony Robbins music blog and Unleash the Power Within review. This past week I’ve been contacted a couple of times asking me to resurrect it and if I’m honest, there’s no real reason why I can’t.

This site was always intended to be a place for me to mind dump a lot of thoughts but over time CN has ended up not knowing what it was supposed to be at all. Is it supposed to be informative, fun, nonsense, educational or….what..? The problem was that the longer I left it the less reason there was to keep it going.

Let’s put that right.

I have a number of articles I’ve written over the last 18 months which I can use to kick start things again and then we can take it from there. Let’s see where it goes…

Posted by: crustynomad | September 17, 2010

Let me take my wife out for an anniversary meal

Earlier this week I was following a forum post on the Steve Pavlina website with the topic Manifestation Secret That Always Works. Basically the original poster said:

Want something?

Just Ask For It.

Not God, necessarily, just ask another person for it. Yes, I know it’s not metaphysical or anything, but it works.

That’s it, that’s all you need to know. Well, there is one other thing, sometimes, if you ask the wrong person, you will get a no. In that case, keep asking until you get what you want.

It was an interesting discussion which I was minded to respond to…

I could do with some more money this weekend as it’s our 11th wedding anniversary and I want to take my wife out for a meal. As it stands it will be little more than a burger as we’re not getting paid until next week…Tuesday, Thursday AND Friday! We need a timeshift calendar as an anniversary gift.

And I thought heck, let’s try it!

I’m asking for…$100 to take my wife out for an anniversary meal. For this I am willing to offer my time as graphic designer, copywriter and marketer.

Do you have a job or task which you want taking off your hands? Has it been sat there for weeks or months just gathering dust? What would you give to just to get it out of the way so you can move forward again.

Take a look at my blog bio – is there anything there that you feel you could tap into that would make life a little easier for you?

Do you need a logo creating or a leaflet designed? What about some advertising or brochure copy? Maybe you need advice on social networking or someone to review your website who will see it with fresh eyes?

If you have such a task in mind please use my Contact Me page on my blog to get in touch – I’ll be happy to help in any way I can.

I may have ended up breaking the forum rules here but if I don’t ask I don’t get. Maybe the powers that be will look at it as some kind of LoA experiment!

Posted by: crustynomad | June 18, 2010

England’s World Cup Villains

Robert Green’s mistake for England against USA continues a long run of World Cup villains for the national side. In every tournament since 1966 there has been someone who has has seemingly conspired to derail England’s chances in the game’s greatest contest.

To be clear not every culprit listed below applied the mortal blow but each in their own way has contributed to make life for the rest of England team extremely difficult whether in qualifying or in the final tournament itself.

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Posted by: crustynomad | June 13, 2010

England draw adds to opening game woes

Well, Robert Green made a terrible mistake to gift the USA a 1-1 draw in Rustenberg last night it’s true but I’m not too disheartened. It wasn’t a brilliant performance by any stretches of the imagination but I do believe they will get better. USA was probably the toughest group match and they did create a few chances so there is cause for optimism.

It’s always better to improve from the start than have a fantastic group stage and then fade away in the later stages as they did in ’82 in Spain. England won their three group matches but then drew 0-0 twice to go out in the second round.

In Euro2008 Holland beat World Champions Italy 3-0 in their first match, France 4-1 in their second and Romania 2-0 in the third but lost 3-1 to Russia in the quarter-finals. Probably the best team of the tournament didn’t even make the semis that year.

I’ve been watching England in major championships for 30 years and they hardly ever start well. In fact 3-1 v France in 1982, 2-0 v Tunisia in 1998 and 1-0 v Paraguay in 2006 are our only victories in 12 opening matches.

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Posted by: crustynomad | June 11, 2010

Is there a curse on the World Cup?

I’m surprised that no-one has mentioned about how many tragic incidents have so far befallen the World Cup in South Africa. I don’t want to be alarmist but I’m beginning to wonder if there is a curse. Here are a few incidents that have occured over the last couple of weeks…

Nelson Mandela‘s great-granddaughter Zenani (13) died last night in a car crash when the car taking her home from a Soweto concert on the eve of the World Cup overturned. The car’s driver has been arrested for drink-driving.

South African tenor Siphiwo Ntshebe (35) died on 26 May after suffering from acute bacterial meningitis. He had been selected to sing ‘Hope’, the official anthem of the World Cup, at the opening ceremony.

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Posted by: crustynomad | May 25, 2010

Mexico’s World Cup Coverage in ’70 and ’86

On one of the World Cup discussion forums someone commented on the poor quality pictures at the Mexico World Cup in 1986. I have to admit they weren’t great but I wouldn’t have had them any other way.

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Posted by: crustynomad | May 21, 2010

Penalty ‘feints’ banned ahead of World Cup

From the BBC Sport website

Penalty-takers will no longer be allowed to halt at the end of their run-ups to try to fool the goalkeeper.

The International Football Association Board has decided it is “unsporting behaviour” and made it a yellow card offence in time for the World Cup.

Personally I think that a player can take a penalty any way he jolly well likes as long as it’s a single kick at goal. The feinting and stutter is actually a fairly tricky skill which is why so few do it. It’s an unnatural way of approaching the ball especially in a pressurised situation.

Because it is a skill and a single kick, it should be allowed. It’s not the takers fault that the goalkeeper commits himself by diving early.

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Posted by: crustynomad | May 20, 2010

Paying the penalty for England’s dire shoot-out record

Feeling a need to depress myself at England’s desperate penalty shoot-out record I thought I’d look back and see how it all stacked up with kicks taken during regular matches also. It makes grim reading…

Since the World Cup quarter-final against Cameroon in Italy in 1990 where Gary Lineker netted twice, England have had 25 penalties in active play and of these 18 were scored and 7 were missed. A 72% success rate.

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