365/365 The last word

Here we are the last entry for my year of blogging. Did I get there? Is there ever a there to get there to? do you have to understand there to be there? In summary, sort of, probably and definitely not.

I started this project when I was at a particularly low ebb, I had just been released from hospital after a temporary loss of vision, though no reason could be established for the blindness attack I do believe it was stress based. I was feeling extremely depressed and could feel me disappearing inside myself. The blog was created as a diary and as a therapy, something to look back on and to hopefully chart progress through the medium of word. Looking back I don’t think I could have picked a more interesting year, not that I really needed interesting as the Chinese curse concludes, interesting is a double edged sword.

Quite often you see celebrities on chat shows saying that they can’t watch themselves on playback and I always believed they were being drama junkies feigning modesty however I have had to rethink that conclusion as I can’t bring myself to read my blog, it makes me squirm  and get annoyed with myself. Perhaps in years to come I will be able to reflect upon 2012 and be grateful for the record I kept of a year in my life.

The year started out with me being unwell and despite the blindness lasting half an hour or so and the headaches for a few days, I felt wrong for weeks. Almost like I had been seriously ill. The early days of the blog kept my mind working in a positive way and the idle moments spent watching the birds out of the patio doors developed from a desire to know what species were visiting into a full blown and enthralling hobby. I suspect that most people wouldn’t consider it an exciting and interesting pastime but the sheer joy of watching animals in their own environment and the thrill of seeing something completely new is unbridled. Of course it would later transpire that this interest developed not only as a hobby but became the connection into a wider love of the environment culminating in getting involved with Biodiveristy, from there we got back into machinations of committees and organisation by being involved in the formation of the Friends of Park Lime Pits. All this was an aid to regaining a self confidence that I was sure I had lost as well as giving me happy thoughts to drive out the negative ones. Ultimately the return to politics became inevitable caused in part by the need to protect endangered and vital staff within the Countryside services team at Walsall Council.  This probably wouldn’t have occurred had the accident not happened but going blind and becoming a twitcher were certainly catalysts.

I hadn’t been back at work long when the events of March 1st occurred. An enjoyable ride into work in unseasonably pleasant weather turned into a nightmare on the way back. A momentary lapse of concentration by a driver wanting to join a busy dual carriageway left me on the road my elbow shattered. The story is still writing itself as I await further surgery but the twists and turns of the plot would make a great book, unfortunately Brian Glover isn’t around to play my part in the film.

The treatment I received from the Police, the Hospital and the Drivers insurers beggar belief, the blog was the perfect outlet to vent my feelings as I muddled through from day to day, addled on pain killers as angry at the world. I had been a victim of circumstance and policy. Linda started a campaign to seek justice as I fell apart, I couldn’t face my future, I couldn’t handle the pain and lost faith in a system I believed in. The publicity found me attacked by bottom dwelling scum who hide in the murky corners of the internet, their abuse and suggestions of suicide took me to an all time low. Suicide made sense. It would be far easier to go away, end the pain and finish the uncertain future. The publicity also brought action and the action brought change.  The Police admitted that we hadn’t been served as we could have expected and they drilled down into the issue and took the policy apart. The result was that no cyclist or pedestrian should find themselves alone and wanting at the time when they are at their most vulnerable. Getting this wasn’t only a victory, it was vindication and it was reassuring that we made a difference. The Hospital took months to decide I was a liar but that wasn’t a surprise, it is far better to hide the truth than admit change is required. The insurance company are handling the matter as expected, they have admitted full responsibility and are not prepared to act on that. It is now with the courts and in time I might see some money. For now we will struggle on .

My mental health picked up, which was a good job and with a win or two behind us I began feeling more positive and less introspective, the outside world that I had shunned for years had become a hostile place ruled by hideously evil politicians and I had a lot of time on my hands to get angry about how other people were being treated because no matter how beat up I was, there are millions worse off than me. I became increasingly political, the old, long forgotten me came out of hiding, dusted off my red flag and started getting vocal. The memories of the years spent in the Labour Party and as a union official came flooding back to me as did the passion to stand up and be counted. Having been on the edge, the fear of being singled out is no longer there. I might not make much difference but if I can piss a few off on the way then it will be worth it. So whilst there is no political party to represent my views I have become active in the Union and recently gained the position of Area Health and Safety representative and it appears this is just the right moment to become a pain in the arse as we have just learned of the proposed closure of our workplace. I won’t go down without a fight and I hope I don’t stand on my own against it.

As I recovered from my physical injuries and found my new limitations I lost a hobby I have done on and off for 35 years and thought I had lost one I have loved for the last twenty. I expect I could ride a bike, it would hurt and I wouldn’t be in total control, not that I really was to start with but the largest bar is in between my ears. I don’t think I could ride again without invoking a hysterical state every time a car came past. I still love cycling, being off work for all that time allowed me to watch all the classic races and all the track cycling and I loved it but fell to pieces when an accident occurred. I don’t feel the need or the desire to expose myself to that level of stress. The opposite applied to archery, I had every intention of getting back out there as soon as possible if not sooner, the elbow would be an inconvenience at worst. When it became apparent that I physically couldn’t  shoot, I was destroyed. I tried all manner of ways which were met with negativity and aggression by the sport’s ruling body. Ultimately the end of the dream came when the consultant told me I must not shoot if I wanted my elbow to last the ten years he predicted it would. Time went by and it became an obsession almost to find a way to get back out there. This ended up with Merlin Archery kindly lending me a bow to see if I could shoot wrong handed. The exercise wasn’t a total success but it did provide the solution that I could shoot right handed if I used an Olympic recurve. The next day I was on the phone to another archery shop who helped me out by taking my crossbow off me and letting me walk out the shop with everything I needed to resume shooting. It has taken months to develop a consistent, pain free technique but we are now at a point where I am looking to start competing again which is something I am thrilled about, although I am struggling to work out where I will find the time now that saving the planet and rescuing the population from Conservatism and bad employers.

Over the last 365 days I have seen so much change in me and aside from one change every other is positive and it is no exaggeration to say that none of this would have been possible without the my wonderful, beautiful and amazing fiancé, Linda. She has done everything and more to make my life easy and my recovery the best it can be. She has shown support and love, she has provided strength and understanding and asked for nothing in return. I really am so very lucky and so very happy. Thank you my darling.

So all that is left is to consider then next 365. I won’t be writing a daily blog but that doesn’t mean I won’t be regularly pounding the keys and whilst idiots run the country and the poor and infirm are harassed for daring to share the same oxygen as the ruling class, while nature provides wonders to be amazed over, there will always be something to comment on.

For those of you who have read this diatribe on a regular basis, who have taken the time to care and to comment and those of you that have become good friends I thank you for the honour and with that “Getting There” is signing off.



5 thoughts on “365/365 The last word

  1. Hi Aiden
    Please do keep writing, your stuff is always interesting and engaging, and I love reading it.
    From the dark days of the start, to now, I think you’ve been on a remarkable journey, and we’ve been privileged to share it.
    Bust of luck, old chap – may you always have the wind behind you and the sun on your back.


  2. Come on, Fat Controller…Sodor and Walsall need the trains. Keep writing.

  3. Julie Kaine says:

    Only just caught up. Echo the above, but when you feel you can. Always enjoy the wit and witter!

  4. Aiden
    I have followed this blog religiously since the cycling accident It has given me encouragement through some of the darkest of times for myself . I look forward to a continuation of both yours and Linda’s blogs.


  5. Julie says:

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog and I found this entry very touching. I hope you keep writing!

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