So, Scrooge, you hate Christmas!

‘Tis the season to be jolly – at least that is what the song tells us. Why is it, then, that Christmas is such a stressful, soul-crushing time of year, stuck right in the deepest heart of never-ending winter? Does anyone really enjoy listening to carol singers? How many people open the door, just for the opportunity to slam it right back in their faces a few seconds later? The truth is that, ever since it started as a ‘thing’, there have been plenty of people hating on Christmas. And that’s something that doesn’t look like changing any time soon.

Christmas is supposed to be a day. 24 hours. That’s why it’s called Christmas Day. So it’s especially galling to those of us who aren’t in love with it, to set foot in the grocery store in October, only to have our senses assailed by the jingle of Christmassy songs and the sight of tinsel and Santa grimacing at us, from behind his beard on some marketing display: “Only 10 weeks to go!”

Then the cards start appearing. You’ve tried to be especially nasty to everyone you know this year, in the hope that they won’t bother you with a card. They’ve noticed, too. The thing is, though, that they just don’t have the heart to send everyone else in the office a card and leave you out. It would look petty. But your card gets one less kiss at the bottom than everyone else’s – that should let you know unequivocally how much you are held in contempt. And now, of course, you have to send a card to them. With the ridiculous price of Christmas cards what it is, you can kiss goodbye to that bottle of Benedictine you’d been promising yourself.

Gift-giving is a complete waste, too. We all go out, clogging up the roads and pumping the air full of carbon monoxide, fight our way through the crowds to buy overpriced junk that nobody wants. Wrap it up in plastic, which will instantly be torn away and eventually added to the continent of waste plastic floating in the ocean and choking the dolphins.

You give someone a gift and they’re on edge. No matter what it is, they have to pretend to be surprised, impressed and thankful at the same time. It’s a cause of great anxiety. Perhaps the only gift that would be greeted with a genuinely joyful reaction would be a box of Valium. But that’s not appropriate. Instead it’s a calendar with pictures of sports cars. A coffee mug with some semi-raunchy pun. In China, it’s taboo to give a clock as a gift. It’s seen as a subtle way of saying something like “the clock is ticking down for you”. In the West, you’ll get the same reaction if you present someone with a shovel. Far from suggesting that they dig their own grave, however, a shovel would actually be a welcome gift at Christmas. You can give it to the kids and get them to clear the snow off of the drive while you drink your morning coffee. Seeing as shovels are out, visiting http://snowshifts.com/ and ordering a snowblower might be the way to go about it.

Then you have those awful Christmas parties. The free mulled wine gets guzzled within the first 20 minutes and then you have to listen to Mariah Carey and watch as the young, attractive employees all drift off together in the same direction, leaving you with your boss and the other awkward people. The sight of mistletoe annoys you, as you know that someone else is bound to use it as an excuse to make out with, and cop a feel of that one you always look out for when you enter the office.

Add to all that the awful driving conditions, coupled with drunk drivers, killing themselves along with innocent strangers in the revelry. Add all the drunken, obnoxious frat boys fighting in bars over giggling girls wearing reindeer antlers. Add the feuding families and the elderly who can’t afford adequate heating in their lonely apartments. How can we really feel that it’s a season to be jolly at all, until it’s over?

How to ease migraine pain

Migraines are a combination of symptoms, with various causes, that are experienced only by certain individuals. They are typically characterized by acutely painful headaches, often accompanied by painful light sensitivity, nausea and vomiting. The first time someone experiences a migraine can be extremely frightening as the pain can be unrelenting. Even those who have suffered from regular migraines over decades, feel afraid when they feel the onset of another migraine.

In the vast majority of cases, migraines are very debilitating. Sufferers usually have to lie still in a darkened, quiet room, for up to three days in order to avoid provoking further pain. As a result of this, migraines can have a profound effect on a person’s life, relationships and work.

Two people with migraines may not be experiencing the same symptoms, and they may not due to the same causes. Some migraines are classified as aura migraines, which can cause symptoms such as double vision, sudden loss of consciousness, dizziness, temporary paralysis loss of balance. It is thought that our susceptibility to migraines is determined by our genes, and that episodes can be triggered by various factors, including hormone changes (especially approaching and during menstruation), alcohol, stress and poor sleep.

Treatment of a migraine can be directed at different stages of the migraine. The first signs of a migraine include tiredness, thirst, a stiff neck and a craving for certain foods. The headache often starts at this stage, often being present on one side of the head only. As tiredness and hunger can be factors in provoking a migraine, now would be a good time to eat and take some rest. It is better to eat bland foods, such as wholegrain rice and bread, remembering to keep your fluids topped up. If the migraine progresses, you may lose fluids through vomiting.

Trying to sleep is important in all stages of the migraine. Even at this initial stage, some people report that taking a nap can actually halt the migraine and prevent the main attack.

In an aura migraine, the impending main phase of the attack is forewarned by the presence of an aura – sensory changes in vision, hearing, touch and speech, partial paralysis and a sense of foreboding. This stage can last up to an hour and is immediately followed by the main attack stage of the migraine. During this time, it is essential to remove yourself from any hazardous situations. Do not attempt to drive, have someone take you home and prepare your bed.

The worst stage of the attack can be unbearably painful. In addition to vomiting, the sufferer may cry. In some people, the act of crying actually helps to alleviate symptoms and can bring about the end of the main attack. Other people report that vomiting can suddenly end the migraine, although for most people this does not happen.

Most migraines are ended by sleep. The sufferer becomes exhausted from the pain and physical exertion that they eventually succumb to sleep. After as little as 20 minutes, the migraine may disappear. The hours and days after a migraine, it is common to feel tired and lethargic. At this point, it is important to ensure that you are getting enough sunlight, fresh air and nutrients. It is a good idea to use a juicer (http://www.juicercruiser.com/citrus-juicer-reviews/) to create your own juices and smoothies which provide you with a good balance of nutrients, without having to perform the chewing motion, which can leave your mouth and head feeling tense.

There are various treatments which can be used to reduce the effects of a migraine and help to prevent their reoccurrence. In women whose migraines are associated with menstruation, for example, it has been found that estrogen patches can alleviate the reduction in that hormone which is thought to precipitate migraines just before a period.

Massage of the lower back of the skull, hands and feet has been shown to alleviate symptoms, as has acupuncture.

Analgesic drugs reduce migraine pain and reduce associated inflammation in the body. These are usually taken in soluble liquids for faster absorption into the blood. Codeine is a popular analgesic which block pain receptors in the brain. It is recommended that sufferers consult with their medical practitioner before attempting to self-medicate.

Protect yourself from seasonal criminality

Thanks to widespread media and social networking coverage, as a population we know quite a bit about what types of crimes are likelier than others to affect us, and how to look out for, and prevent them. Depending on your gender, age group and the areas you frequent, you may be keeping an extra careful eye on your car when you visit places on the wrong side of town, or carrying a military-grade flashlight in your bag as you walk back from lectures at dusk, or perhaps you’ve bought a dog to deter intruders from your home.

This is all extremely helpful and, more to the point, effective in reducing our chances of becoming victims of crime in certain situations. So why limit the factors we take into consideration to merely the personal and geographical ones? It is common knowledge that the most dangerous day in the United States, in terms of your chances of being murdered, is Thanksgiving. You are most likely to die in a traffic accident on Fourth of July. As a pedestrian, you’re most likely to be killed on New Year’s Day.

We can protect ourselves further by looking at the types of crimes which typically happen on a seasonal basis. For example, spring may not be a time of year which many would consider to have elevated dangers. Yet for certain groups, spring is a season of high criminality. This is down to Spring Break. At this time, many youngsters are exposed to alcohol and drugs, often for the first time. The dangers are plenty – intoxication itself can lead to serious medical issues, accidents and vulnerability. For minors engaged in illegal drinking, a conviction of Alcohol Use or Possession by a Minor may be the least of their troubles. DUI manslaughter, assault, sexual battery and rape are all offenses which spike for this age group in spring. The best advice to take is not to break the law, stay with responsible friends and look out for one another.

The words ‘long, hot summer’ have come to be used as a euphemism for the phenomenon of mass violence and civil disobedience that occurs from time to time, especially on hot days. The most destructive riots the country has faced have all taken place in the summer months – from the LA Watts riots of 1965, to the New York Blackout riots that took place in July 197, right through to the shootings of police officers at mass protests in Dallas and Baton Rouge in July 2016 – the summertime isn’t always about waxing down your car and chilling by the pool. If you find yourself caught in a riot and cannot escape, get indoors and barricade all doors and windows. Arm yourself and those with you, with firearms or other weapons, such as an ammonia spray, mace or an improvised flamethrower. Turn out the lights and try to look like nobody is home.

Fall is a welcome time for most law enforcement officers, as crime levels act in accordance with the season’s name – they fall. There have been many studies aimed at discovering the reasons for this, and it is thought that the lower temperatures play a big part in keeping opportunists, criminals and victims off of the streets. As you might expect, the more common types of crime under such circumstances are related to property. Boston police reported a spike in thefts of snow blowers, such as these at Snow Shifts, in the fall of 2015, even before any snow had touched the ground.

Christmas makes houses, apartments, cars and trucks more appealing to thieves, as they know that people tend to stock up on food and goods at that time of year. People are more likely to be carrying large amounts of cash, and their houses will be full of Christmas gifts. It’s also the season of work parties and adults letting their hair down, the consequences of which can turn nasty. Every year, someone will shoot their boss, others will assault each other and some will become the victims of rape, after consuming alcohol and letting loose around people with whom they may have developed problematic relationships. It’s often best not to drink, or just have one and then make your excuses and go home.

How to impress your neighbors

Although it might seem like a very shallow and superficial thing to want to do at first, impressing the neighbors is something that everyone should try to do, for several reasons.

The main thing is to make a good impression and get off to a good start. Impressing the neighbors doesn’t mean showing off, bragging and starting an arms race. Those things will end up annoying your neighbor and causing them to mistrust you. Your neighbor really wants to know that you are trustworthy, clean, reliable and friendly. They may or may not be interested in the fact that you can speak six languages, you could have made the state baseball team had it not been for your bad knee and the fact that you once said hi to Bill O’Reilly. They may love Bill O’Reilly, but first and foremost that’s not what they’re interested in. They want to know that you’re going to be a good neighbor. For this reason, it’s better to be over-clean, and perhaps better dressed than usual the first few times you meet them. After a few years of living next door to each other, they’re not going to bat an eyelid if they see you checking the mail in your nightgown. But if they see that on the first morning, they’re going to assume that you are a family of slobs.

Bring a gift with you when you go to introduce yourself. Nothing fancy or expensive, but something with a personal collection. Things like home-made jam and honey work well, as do items from your home town which may have a story associated with them. Do your research on cultural differences – don’t give Chinese neighbors a clock, for example, as this is taken to represent their imminent demise. Don’t surprise your Jewish or Muslim neighbors with a cured ham. They will, at very least, correctly ascertain that you are an ignoramus.

Invite them over for a coffee and a chat and to introduce your family. Make sure the house is clean even if it’s not organized the way you want it yet. Understandably, in their effort to find out as much about you as possible, they will be looking for clues and hints as to what they can expect from you in future. If someone in your house is playing music too loud or has the TV turned up, this may be taken as a sign of things to come. If your car needs a wash, they might assume that you couldn’t be bothered to make the effort and that you are, indeed a dirty good-for-nothing.

Show off your exquisite taste effortlessly by offering coffee made with a home espresso machine you chose from http://www.espressogusto.com. You don’t have to get out your best porcelain or anything – that might smack of one-upmanship, but you don’t want to serve it out of plastic cups either, unless that is the way you plan to live, in which case you’d better hope that the Joneses drink out of plastic cups at breakfast, too.

Try to find common ground with them and expand on it. For example, if you both happen to like the same sport, you could agree to get together on match days to watch it. If you have both served in the military, exchange a few light-hearted stories and try to figure out if there is any chance they were dishonorably discharged.

The way you decorate your house allows you to make non-verbal impressions on your guests, as do the items placed around your home. Walls punctuated with paintings by local artists, classic novels and bonsai trees make a very different impression from Playboy prints, back copies of Guns & Ammo and a dying houseplant.

More than anything, don’t try to hide anything and be yourself. If you feel nervous, just say that you’re keen to make a good impression on them. They’ll understand and be happy that you’ve been so open with them so early on. They’ll appreciate the fact that you want to make a good impression and take it as a good sign of things to come. They’ll be a little nervous too, and it will help them to relax, too.

How to travel light

If you’re one of those people who over packs, you’ll know just how daunting it can make taking a vacation.  It might seem bearable when you’re loading up the car on the way to the airport – the car is heavier but you managed to squeeze the trunk shut. When you get to the airport, you search around as best you can to find a couple airport trolleys to pile your bags on before you try to locate your check-in desk. Once in the line for check-in, you begin to notice how the other passengers roll their eyes when they look your way.They don’t seem to have packed much at all – some of them only have one suitcase and one carry-on bag. Perhaps they’re just going to stay with relatives for the weekend, you think to yourself, as you try to peer over your mountain of bags to see if they line has gone down at all.

Once you get to the check-in desk, you’re told about all the extra charges you’ve brought upon yourself by bringing so much baggage. Half of them are too heavy, too. You are tempted to open them up to redistribute the weight, but there just isn’t enough room. You pay up and make your way toward the departure gate.

At the gate you’re relieved of those cartons of juice you’d prepared especially for the journey, your expensive eau de toilette, toothpaste, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer and insect repellant that you had made the effort to out and buy especially for this trip. There’s no arguing or pleading with airport security as they only employ people who take themselves very seriously and can be trained to view even a child’s stuffed toy as a potential terrorist threat.

Once you’ve arrived, you are the last to collect your luggage from the carousel as there was just so much of it. You want to take a minibus to your hotel but they can’t fit all your luggage on board, so you end up paying more for a taxi, stuffed with your bags. The driver is not sure whether or not you’re emigrating but is happy enough to drive you the extra-long ‘scenic’ route to your hotel. As you enter the hotel lobby, the porter rushes over, admiring all that baggage which will fetch him at least half a usual day’s worth in tips.

You spend the next 24 hours unpacking and then decide it’s time to start enjoying your vacation. You meet people in the hotel who tell you they’ve just arrived from one place and they’re only staying a couple of nights before the jet off somewhere else. That sounds great, you think – a multi-stop vacation – but then you remember the size of the caravan you have in tow and realize that you just can’t face packing those bags and traveling anywhere with them against just yet.

So, how do people do it? What’s the secret of traveling light? How is it some people can spend months away, yet they only carry a light backpack with them?

The fact is that you don’t need 99% of the stuff you’ve packed. A smartphone, your passport and your wallet with currency, cards etc. is enough. You don’t even need a bag at all. The reason for this is that airports and ports have shops. Even remote towns and villages have stores you can buy clothes, toothbrushes etc. in. As long as you can pay for it there, you don’t need to pack it. Anything you do pack can be considered a luxury.

Such luxuries might include some of your own clothes – a couple of spare pairs of underwear, for example, that you can wash as you go along. If you’re not staying in a hotel, a towel can be a good idea. Don’t bother with books, CDs etc. as you have access to all this on your phone. You might want to pack headphones so you can listen to your music quietly. On the other hand, you might want to throw a bit of a party, in which case you can connect one of these speakers from Speaker Digital to your phone.

UK vs The USA

The world is such a big and scary place that the number of differences from one place to the next can be absolutely overwhelming. In some of the more developed countries healthy living is the main aim in life, whereas in the countries that are still developing the main aim is to simply stay alive. Even in a time as advanced as 2016 we still face these kind of dilemmas on a daily basis. The distribution of wealth around the world is not fair but there is not a great deal the average person can do about it. There are also whole bunches of smaller difference dotted all around the world, and these are the things that would be right at home in one country but look incredibly out of place in another. Some good examples of this are the many differences between the United Kingdom and the United States of America. These are two countries that should in theory be very similar as one was the basis for the modern version of the other. When the British began to colonise the Americas back in the 1600’s we left the cornerstone for what would become the American way of life, even if they did edit it a little….

The difference in words 

Us English gave the Americans a beautiful gift. We have one of the most complete and amazing languages in the entire world and they have taken it and created something completely different (and let’s be honest, worse.) Why so many words became different I will never know, but lets take a look at some of the more obvious ones. What we call a biscuit they call a cookie. We have lifts, but the American have elevators. The years in our schooling system actually make sense. We have years 1 through to 9 and they have high school and God knows what else. What I am trying to get at here is that some of the additions the Americans have made to the British language are confusing and vague and we should never have stood for this nonsense in the first place.

The difference in laws 

I am not going to make this section into a very political one but there is a distinct difference in the laws between the two countries. The biggest and most obvious one is with regards to gun control. In the UK we have very strict gun control and you can only really own one in exceptional circumstances. Whereas in America it seems that you can walk up to any street corner and grab one! It is not my place to judge so I am going to leave this hotbed issue here! One of the sillier rules I have encountered in my travels over to the good old U.S of A is the fact that jaywalking is a crime. For anyone that doesn’t know this is basically when you cross the street when the little man on the traffic light hasn’t turned green yet. Over in America this is a crime which is punishable by fines and prison but here in the UK things are a little different. If you try to cross the road when you shouldn’t and then get hit by a car it is your own fault for being stupid!

The biggest difference of them all… 

What I have noticed as the most pronounced difference between our two great countries is our senses of humour. In the UK we love sarcasm and almost everyone over here communicates in it fluently. In the U.S this is anything but the case. I ventured over there on a holiday, went into a few shops and whacked out my best sarcasm. What was this met with? A stony silence of course. This difference really comes to the fore when you watch our television programmes. The British version of the office was dryer than the Sahara Desert with a lot of cringe worthy moments. The American version was still good, but a very different style of comedy. This isn’t to say all American sitcoms are bad though, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is probably my favourite TV programme of all time, so it is all just down to personal tastes! There are a lot of differences between the two, but lets just embrace than rather than argue over them ayy?

You need to get out and about

It was early one morning that I was sitting down and thinking about what I wanted to do with my life. I found myself tucking into a bowl of cereal, as I do every morning, and then for some reason scrolling through the Slow Cookers Heaven website when in reality I know that I don’t even want a slow cooker. Life wasn’t exactly thrilling at this point. This was the exact moment I decided to do something about this level of boring monotony. I sat my spoon down, closed the tab for the slow cooker site and got up everyone’s favourite search engine Google. I had already decided in my head what I would be looking up once the page loaded. I needed more adventure in my life so I searched for two things. The first was a search for any activities around where I live and the second was tips and tricks for wanting to travel for an extended period of time. One was a short term goal and one a longer term one, but both seemed attainable in my head.

When I searched for activities to do in my local area I was met with an abundance of good ideas which would keep me busy for months if I so chose! I could do almost anything my heart desired and it was worrying that it had taken me so long to realise this fact. There are millions of things I have never tried before and here are just some of them to share the inspiration I got with you. I could go: white water rafting, canoeing, rock climbing, go karting, indoor skiing, ice skating, start playing five a side football, take up an art class, volunteer with animals at the zoo, or even go into space (well on a simulator anyway.) Basically, if you looked hard enough there wasn’t one thing I couldn’t do. I needed to strap myself up and venture out to try some new things. I think I am going to start with the rock climbing and indoor skiing!

As for the travelling element I have always had in my mind that one day I want to venture over to the Far East and experience Asia and all it has to offer. There are so many countries that have such a rich history that it would take years to experience each one in enough detail to satisfy my curiosity. Then again, I still have (hopefully) years in front of me so why should I not do it? Getting over there in the first place would be the biggest issue as flights can be slightly expensive but once I bit the bullet and did it there would be a whole other world for me to explore. You have the huge mass of China with thousands of years of history just waiting to be discovered, Japan with its high tech cities and gadgets and then India with its complex and diverse history just waiting to be explored. These are the larger of the countries over in Asia but even without these there is still a lot to explore. You can visit Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma and Singapore without much fuss as they are all immediate neighbours and the internal flights once over there are relatively cheap. As a history buff this side of the world appeals to me greatly because the region as a whole has such a diverse past that I would find something new and exciting around every corner.  From a couple of plane rides and a lot of planning I can get a lifetime of memories, so why would I not want to go?

All it took to get me inspired was a quick google of “what to do.” Those search results won’t take me all the way there but they have set the wheels in motion for a life to include more adventure. I know that there is a lot out there I have yet to see and do and after seeing pictures of others having the time of their lives I want to get out there and do it now. There is absolutely no reason as to why you can’t as well, so hopefully I will see you out there!

The Secrets Behind Getting the Shot

Let’s be perfectly honest here, after the “I do’s” have been said, the best man’s toast made, the dancing and laughing have since ended and the happy bride and groom have gone off on their honeymoon, there is one item in particular that has to be absolutely perfect when everything else is but a pleasant memory. The wedding photos. They are the ever-lasting document of the day’s events, a day that these couples will cherish for the rest of their lives. No one will remember if the chicken was too dry at the reception, the cake not sweet enough, or if the wine was lousy; but the photos from the day will live on forever. If the bride and groom aren’t satisfied with those, but instead, reluctant to show them to friends and family because they turned out so horribly, then the pictures are no longer a memento of true love but a testament to your incompetence and lack of skill behind the camera. It’s the quickest way to lose business and, let me tell you, you can build a bad rep just as quickly as a good one. As I said before, people will forget dry chicken, they will always see bad wedding pictures. Over and over again. That is, if they don’t stick them up in the attic to be forgotten forever because they’re just too awful to proudly display in their home or office. Nobody wants that. They don’t and you don’t.

So this is for brides, grooms, and photographers on the big day. I don’t have all the answers but these are some tips to keep in mind for composing those perfect shots that you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

Get Candid

Posed photos are fine, and much needed, but get those little details of the things that other people might not see. Capture the emotion of the day. The happiness, the joy, the tears, find the feeling and sentiment permeating the event. Show us something that will evoke the most dramatic reactions.

Have Style

Anyone can just snap a picture. The real artists have a voice, a style, a distinctive approach to their work. Photographers need to have a vision. The lighting, the angles, something that has your touch. Brides and grooms: don’t hire someone who merely knows how to line up a shot, look at as many portfolios as you can before selecting your shooter. Do their pictures say anything to you? If not, pass.

Don’t be Boring

Shot lists are fine and should be created before-hand. But don’t be afraid to take risks. Get your coverage, of course, but don’t be boring. Do something unique. Try out some new ideas. Consult with the bride and groom on their ideas. People are going to look at this work, make them enjoy it.

Be Flexible

The day has been planned out down to the last minute. Then what happens when it rains? Improvise and ad-lib. I’ve found some of my most successful, most enduring shots were the ones that weren’t thought out ahead of time.

ALWAYS Be Prepared

You know the old saying, if something can go wrong it likely will. That’s why I always carry around extra equipment, in case something breaks. I also make sure I have back up power with me at all times. If a location goes dark for some reason or there’s some electrical interruption that messes with my gear, I keep a portable generator on hand. Something small yet can do the trick at anytime. I found it at www.houseofgenerators.org and, let me tell you, it’s been a life-saver on more than one occasion. That generator has been the difference between getting the shot and losing a unique moment forever. I can’t recommend it enough.

Above All, Have Fun

There’s a difference between a smile for the camera and a smile that comes from the heart. It’s the easiest thing to see in a photograph. Have fun. Enjoy every last part of your wedding day. That joy and elation will shine through in your pictures.

Do It Yourself

DIY is something I would like to think I am good at. I make things, fix things. I love the idea of taking something and turning it into something else or just fixing things.

My house was a project. There was always something that needed fixing or adjusting.

Roof

The first thing that needed fixing that was the roof. It was cold outside, so with the aid of my heater that I bought from http://www.home-improvement.guru/best-infrared-heaters/ I was all set.

I was all wrapped up, scarf, hat, gloves it was 2 degrees outside so this was crucial but I never minded being outside no matter what the weather. Rain, wind, snow, I really didn’t care. I loved being outside and I loved fixing things.

The roof had a hole in it. I googled the issue and knew what I needed. I climbed up my trusty old ladder and started to fix my roof. It took a day to fix but when I finished it was as good as new.

Clock

My daughter asked me if I would make an old fashioned wooden clock for the big old house she had just moved into. My daughter loved old fashioned things and she did say that she could go to an antiques store and pick some things up but she loved when I made things for her, it was way more personal.

I knew how to make the housing for a clock and you could buy the mechanism, so it seemed pretty simple to me. I understood dovetail joints, very old fashioned but also very secure, more secure than any other kind of wood joint and I set to work.

Over the years I had been given various tools. For birthdays and Christmas, I rarely got anything other than tools. I had saws and cutters, looking in my tool shed, it made me quite excited, call it sad or not, I loved tools.

I bought some lumps of oak and started cutting the pieces. This woodwork project had become a labor of love because it was for my daughter and it was also her housewarming present. I hadn’t been to her new house yet so I wanted this to be special.

Oak is tough to cut, so making the clock was quite hard work but eventually the pieces were all cut and ready to fix together. I had ordered the face and mechanism and started to plane and varnish everything. Putting the face and mechanism together was hard but I looked at videos online and eventually with much trial and error it finally worked, even if I do say so myself, it looked amazing. I was ready to give it to my daughter.

Present

I drove over to her house and was greeted by one of my grandchildren, she was so excited to see me, as was everyone else. I got the most brilliant welcome and it brought a tear to my eye, as I hadn’t seen them for a while. I did miss them.

My daughter had a great life, she had a successful husband who treated her like a queen and 3 amazing children, who were such a credit to them, they were polite and well mannered and a lot of fun to be around.

I got the clock out of my truck and took it inside. My daughter cried when I gave it to her. My daughter told me it reminded her of her mom and my wife, whom sadly we lost a few years ago after a short illness.

One of my daughter’s childhood memories was her mom winding up the big grandfather clock in our old house and she also used to hide in it. My daughter wanted it in her house as a reminder of her mom, whom we all missed so much. This was such a touching tribute, it made me a bit tearful.

Tour

My daughter gave me the grand tour. The house was large so it took a while. The house was beautiful and it had been decorated tastefully, simple and elegant.

I was shown the kid’s bedroom and was asked to make some bunk beds if I thought I would be up to it. I agreed that I would love to make the kids bunk beds.

I had my next DIY project, I couldn’t wait to start.

The biggest regrets

People always say that life is not about the regrets you have but the things that you have done. Well, without hesitation I can tell you that those people are stone cold lairs. Life is absolutely full of regrets and everyone knows it, they are just too busy trying to look for the positives to admit it. Regrets can and do come in all forms. They can be absolutely tiny. You could regret your choice of breakfast this morning. Should you have had toast instead of cereal? Regrets can also be huge. You may think later in life “should I have proposed when I had the chance?” or “why did I not change my job when I could have?” Life is absolutely full of regrets and I apologise if I am the bearer of bad news but that’s just the way it is.

For example, my biggest regret in life so far is not learning how to play an instrument. When I was younger I would have absolutely loved to have learnt this skill as I feel that it would have stood me in good stead in later life. However unfortunately now I am at the time in my life where I simply have no time. Every moment of my life is planned out to a tee. I have no time to try anything new as my work and social calendar pretty much takes care of itself.

It is going to sound cliché but my weapon of choice when it came to choosing an instrument I wanted to play was the electric guitar. Everyone all around the world knows that the lead guitarist is probably the most talented member of the band. The lead singer may get all of the plaudits and glory, but more often than not it is the lead guitarist who has written the songs and practised them until their fingers have almost fallen off to ensure that they sound as good as is possible. They are by a country mile the most talented members of the band! And no, I am not only saying that because I can not sing in the slightest…..

Looking around at the best electric guitars is still something I do today, even though I already know that there is not a chance in hell I would ever be able to learn to play one. My best years of learning are behind me now, and I will just have to make do with the scenarios I have created in my imagination. In my head I am the brains behind the worlds biggest rock band. As the person who writes all of our songs I have more money than I know what to do with and I know it. I’ve developed over the years that arrogance that most rock stars tend to have. A slight swagger, safe in the knowledge that I am better than anyone who dares to take me on. My band has played shows all over the world. We sold out shows in all seven continents. Antarctica was not that hard mind you, but the seven Eskimos enjoyed it. The stadiums just got bigger and bigger as we travelled from place to place and it all culminated in a home coming show at Wembley stadium. 90,000 people all shouting our name and signing all of the songs I have written back word for word. My 27 minute guitar solo went down as one of mankind’s greatest achievements. President Obama even compared it to the moon landings it was that good. We closed the show with the song which had been number one in the charts for the last 13 weeks and it brought the roof down. Fans were crying at the thought of the show finishing. We were that good.

And then I woke back up again and crashed back down to earth with a bump. It turns out that when I am asleep I am the world’s greatest rock star, but when I wake back up this dream vanishes back into the thin air from which it originally arose. When I woke up I went back to my boring 9 to 5 job and typed out the same stuff I do every day. I guess I’ll just carry on being a superstar at night for now…..