Thursday, 29 June 2017

Head versus Heart

Head versus Heart ?

My heart is feeling sad and let down. My head is saying don't worry about it.

My heart has been running a marathon at the speed of an Olympic sprinter as I have been working to have the OurRebekah website up and running so it can be formally launched today.  It is 4.46am, I have just come to the laptop after having a lay in bed today. Yesterday and Wednesday I started work at 2am. The site is on-line and today it will be launched.  If I may say so myself it is looking good, many people have said it looks good,  even my head is saying to my heart That's OK, well done.  

So why is my heart feeling miserable and why is my head saying Don't worry about it ?

An organisation which promised amazing help and support, something upon which the OurRebekah project is based has failed to respond to two letters sent on Wednesday 21st June, that's ten days ago !  Another area upon which I was pinning so much has failed to respond to numerous e-mails - no, not a single reply to anything !  Then yesterday someone who I felt certain would help the project basically said - get stuffed !

My heart is aching, it can not abandon the project so what can it do ?  My head is still thinking things through but is hinting: step back a bit,  if people are letting you down just accept it and change your direction.  You have been running so fast others can not keep up with you. Everything will be alright in the end.

It is also saying: You silly old fool - take some of your own advice. What is it you always say ? LIFE IS A DISCO - SO DANCE !  Don't stop dancing, just play a different record.

Thank you head. My heart thanks you.  Let's see what today and the week-end bring.

While I have been typing this little self indulgence an e-mail popped in. Nick usually e-mails me while he is listening to the dawn chorus. Nick is a cyber buddy I met on Twitter. He has been reading The Bridge House as I write, commenting, making constructive criticism and being a great source of support.

Head to Heart - SEE, take note of that and smile !

Yesterday, for the first time in almost a week I did some writing for The Bridge House.  I typed up 824 words to begin Chapter Three.  Today, no matter what happens or does not
happen I will scribble a minimum of another 1,500 words.

This diary page is chapter 40 in The Diary Of A Silly Old Man.  I want to publish the diary on Amazon but the first entry was only made on Wednesday 12th April, that's not even three months ago. So much has happened in those three months, so much in my own life and in the life of my country.  How long before I could put the diary into an e-book and ask people to buy it ?

Head to Heart - You need to wait a year, until 12th April 2018 and publish THE DIARY OF A SILLY OLD MAN - THE FIRST YEAR.

Sound advice.

Heart to Head - Do not wait that long, publish THE DIARY OF A SILLY OLD MAN - THE FIRST FIFTY PAGES.

That sounds possible.  I could publish as soon as Tuesday 11th July.

Heart to Head - what do you think about that ?
Head to Heart - I'll think about it and let you know tomorrow.


As they say - WATCH THIS SPACE

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Life is a Happy Meal - SO TUCK IN

Life is a Disco - SO DANCE !

How many times have I said that over the years  ?

It's the maxim by which I try to live my life. Part of my YouTube Channel is given over to some disco songs I particularly like.

I have also been known to say that Life is a ballet - SO POINT YOUR TOES.

Another bit of philosophy from the Silly Old Man is - LIFE IS A TYPO - THE MORE YOU MAKE THE BETTER YOU ARE LIVING IT !

I wonder, when it is time for me to shuffle off this mortal coil if my words of wisdom will live on or be forgotten.

Let me give you another thought. LIFE IS A HAPPY MEAL SO TUCK IN.

Mr McDonald - Ronald - has been filling my life over recent weeks. Yesterday I got out of bed at 2am and started working on the OurRebekah website. OK, I did take a few breaks during the day but did not finish the work until five in the afternoon. It is now 2.52am on Thursday morning and here I am, back at the laptop and rattling the keys to work on the plan to launch the website tomorrow.

I have never had a McDonald's HAPPY MEAL, my grandson will tuck into one even though I say he is getting too old for one. Truth is he likes the little toys in the box.  On one page of the OurRebekah website I put forward the suggestion that ALL meals sold within the Golden Arches are Happy Meals -they can be if you let them.

Life is a Happy Meal, of course it is but you have got to eat it in order to enjoy it.  There is little point in standing and looking at life, you have got to get in there and enjoy it.  Just like dancing or pointing your toes you have got to tuck in.

I once suggested to a group of my students that if life were perfect, if life were Utopia, it would be Hell.  If things in life did not go wrong now and then, if problems and challenges did not frustrate what you want to do then what is the point of that life ?

I also said to some students, I think I stood up one day in an assembly and lectured on the subject - Life can be a bitch !  When it is, clench your fist and punch it in the face !  I was speaking metaphorically, of course I was not advocating violence. You know what I mean.

Allow me to introduce you to my granddaughter Katherine, she likes to be called Katie but she will always be Katherine to me.  Aged five she is far too sophisticated to eat a Happy Meal. I took her to McDonald's and asked what she wanted to eat. She would have the same as Granddad - a cheeseburger without all the muck in it - PLAIN, just the burger, the bun and the cheese.

As we started to eat Katie, I mean Katherine, opened the bun and started picking off the cheese. "What's wrong with it, looks OK to me ?"

"I like my cheeseburger without cheese," she said.

Katherine, you wait until you are grown up, your silly old Granddad will take delight in embarrassing you with that !

But isn't there another life lesson here ?

I never have been able to understand why McDonald's destroy the taste of their food by slopping muck aka relish over it.   Muck on my cheeseburger is a big NO NO !  Some things in life are also a big NO NO and I would never let them anywhere near me.  But some times life will serve you up things you would rather not have, a bit like Katherine and the cheese in her cheeseburger.  You then follow Katherine's example, pick the cheese out of life, roll it up into little balls then put it aside.

Have a great day, take your Happy Meal and TUCK INTO IT.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Please take a selfie for Ronald

Did you think I had emigrated ?  Gone, perhaps, to live on the dark side of the moon ? Even been abducted by aliens ? It has been a few days since my last diary entry so where have I been ?

I've been to McDonald's ! 

There's nothing quite like a McDonald's you know. 

When did you last go to your local branch ?

I want you to go again - SOON.

When you are there enjoying your burger and fries I want you to throw a few coins in Ronald's spinner then send me a selfie.

Will you do that for me ?

Will you do that for the families of sick children in hospital whose hands Ronald McDonald is holding so tightly ?

The picture at the top of the page shows Your Truly, the old guy with the long hair, with Ken a McDonald's Franchisee and Laura his Marketing Manager.  Yesterday we sat talking about Ronald McDonald and the incredible work he does. The reason why I have not written a diary entry for a few days has nothing to do with aliens, the dark side of the moon and no I have not been sitting in McDonalds stuffing my face with my favourite menu item - a plain quarter pounder with cheese, served as a large meal with a diet Coke. I have been working flat out on a website for the OurRebekah project.

You do know what Ronald does for families of sick children in hospital don't you ?  I wonder if you do.  Probably not. The international fast food giant may scream THERE'S NOTHING QUITE LIKE A McDONALD'S or AT McDONALD'S WE'VE GOT TINE FOR YOU but it keeps its charity arm very quiet, modestly working every day to support families with children sick in hospital.

The lad throwing some coins here into Ronald's spinner in his local McDonald's is Adam.  

His favourite is chicken nuggets. If you ask me he is a bit old for a Happy Meal but he likes the toys in the box !   This picture was taken when Adam went to The Golden Arches for a
birthday treat a few weeks ago.  Usually Auntie Rebekah would be there with him and ready to tuck into a chicken meal. On Adam's seventh birthday Beck was too poorly to be there but here she is on Adam's fourth birthday.

Beck that chicken thingy looks good.

When Rebekah was a little girl, for most of her childhood, she was in and out of Guys Hospital in London being treated for chronic renal failure.

The skills and dedication of the medical team was so great, so loving, so skilled.  I am a great fan of the NHS, I never stop shouting my mouth off about it. Last week I wrote to the Prime Minister and made sure she knew how highly I rate our NHS.
When Rebekah was in hospital her family was supported by Ronald McDonald.  Without Ronald holding our hands I can not begin to think how we could possibly have coped.

Look at Ronald's logo.  It is actually NOT a house, it is a home - a home away from home. There is Ronald holding the hand of the family.  Ronald McDonald provides FREE of charge a home
away from home for the families of sick children in hospital.  My family was one of the first to be taken care of by Ronald in his first UK house.  There are now fifteen Ronald McDonald Houses up and down Britain. There are THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-FIVE in forty different countries of the world.  Every minute of every day Ronald is lovingly holding the hands of countless families at a very difficult time.

Speaking to Franchisee Ken yesterday, he said working at McDonald's is like working in a family.  I do not know the exact figure but I think it is somewhere between three and four hundred people Ken employs in his five McDonald's franchises. Those family members, as well as serving the burgers and fries, not to mention the breakfast hash browns and porridge, support Ronald and all he does for his families. Not keen on the porridge myself, that's my wife's dish, but I love McDonald's hash browns - YUMMY.  So does my best friend Jake.

When a child goes into hospital Ronald takes the family's hand and says: "Hey come and join my family."

Rebekah passed away last month.  She and our family have always supported Ronald, every time Adam and his brother go to McDonald's they have coins ready to throw in the spinner.  It was not me but Rebekah's friends who came up with the OurRebekah Project to support Ronald's work in Beck's memory. I am just working to help them.

I am working to support Beck's Friends to support Ronald McDonald as he supports families of sick children in hospital.  Do you follow all that ?

So my absence from the diary pages has been down to my writing the OurRebekah website.  It should be finished today. Just then need to get a few good friends to beta test it and it will be properly published on Friday.  You are welcome to have a look at it as I work - go on see how many TYPO's you can find ! I dare you !

What I want you to do is to go to your local McDonald's, throw a few coins into the spinner and take a selfie. Then send me that selfie to add to the OurRebekah website.

Will you do that for me ?  
Will you do it for Ronald ?  
Will you do it within the next couple of days ? 

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Memories of McDonald's

How many times have I gone on record saying 1967 was the greatest year the world has ever seen ?  My photograph, left was taken in 1967.  What a handsome, good-looking and sexy young man I was. Note the image is in black and white, few people could afford the film to take colour pictures. Television was in black and white as well, just two stations and they only operated limited hours each day. No such thing as home computers, smart phones, frozen food, microwave ovens. There was so much more we did not have. Among everything we all take for granted today - WE HAD NO McDONALDS !

School dinners in 1967 were never great, some days they were not nice and some days they were utterly disgusting !      The most disgusting of disgusting school dinners were beef burgers. If anyone was stupid enough you could buy these hideous items in sealed tins in the shops. Inside the tins gristle and onion patties floated in a foul smelling gravy. At school they were served with lumpy mashed potatoes and peas which could have been used to deadly effect in an army machine gun.

On Wednesday 13th November 1974 an American company opened a restaurant in Woolwich, South-East London, selling beefburgers and silly thin cut chips.  To obliterate the taste of these ridiculous attempts at a meal the meat was served in a bread roll, plastered with sauce and all kinds of pickled muck.

It would never catch on, we all knew that. The idea had been imported from America, the land of the eccentric. It was doomed to failure. The company called itself McDonald's.  American food - beefburgers - silly thin chips that you couldn't possibly sink your teeth into. No, it would never catch on. The company couldn't even get its name right - McDonald's, sounded Scottish so perhaps these beefburgers were really haggis in disguise.  That was it, it was a diabolical American plot to take revenge on Britain for becoming the world capitol of pop music.

In 1975 I was a newly qualified teacher. One Saturday I helped a friend run a youth club trip to somewhere in London, I can not remember where but I do remember one boy on the mini-'bus pleading for it to be driven to this McDonald's place so he could eat a beefburger. My friend the youth leader flatly refused, if he had agreed there would have been a riot as none of the sensible boys would ever eat a beefburger !

McDonald's in Woolwich did not fail, it is still, there and I have eaten inside where I viewed its
proud notice announcing it was the first McDonald's in the land. McDonalds came to the town where I lived in 1979. I was married then and had been promoted to be a head of year in a large comprehensive school.  None of the teenagers in my charge were interested in McDonald's although one or two did confess to having been there.

Two people who did go there once a week were husband and wife colleagues.  My own wife said to me that if McDonald's was a good enough place for these respected friends and colleagues to eat perhaps we should try it.  Eventually I summonsed up the courage.  I refused to eat a beefburger, McDonald's called them hamburgers in those days even if here was no ham inside the dreaded food.  I ate chicken and ordered that none of the muck was to be put inside the bread roll, just the chicken and nothing else.

What an experience !  Even if the chicken did taste nice enough you had to eat it with your fingers !  OK you could hold the chicken bun using a paper napkin but you had to eat your chips using your fingers.  Oh, McDonald's did not call them chips but French Fries.  For goodness sake what was French about silly American skinny chips served in England ?  You were not given plates to put your food on but had to eat everything out of cardboard boxes and paper bags. But this was not the biggie !  Everyone was expected to clear their table at the end of eating !  I am surprised the management did not send you out to the kitchen to do the washing up !  Ah there would not be any washing up would there ?  The paper bags and cardboard boxes were thrown in the bin !

One of the teachers at the school's wife worked at McDonald's in Central Milton Keynes, she was the staff manager.  She gave a job to one of my year group, Peter, as a management trainee.  I was convinced he could have done better for himself than work for a beefburger, I mean hamburger, outfit.  I went in there one evening and found Peter yelling orders as he bullied the staff to work harder.  Peter rose through the ranks to become a regional manager before taking on a new career.

This branch of McDonald's could not cope with the demand of customers, very quickly it took over the adjacent shop and doubled its size. It was the only McDonald's for miles around and I do know, for a time at least, it held the company record for the most UK burgers sold in a day.

When my children were born the treat was not to go to McDonald's but to a branch of Little Chef where you ate with a knife and fork at a table where the food was served to you and you did not have to clear the plates away after.  Little Chef ?  Remember them ? 

My daughter, Rebekah wanted to have her birthday party at McDonald's.  Peter organised it for her and the entire class from school came along.

Rebekah was born with chronic renal failure and spent most of her childhood in and out of Guys Hospital London.  Medically Guys is a centre of excellence but food wise, food for patients !  Nobody  ate anything served. When McDonald's opened a branch in the hospital grounds what an answer to prayer that was.

I would go down to McDonald's from Rebekah's ward high up in Guys Tower and join the queue of relatives buying food for patients in the hospital.  You would always see doctors sitting at the tables eating, I assume the staff canteen was as terrible as the patient catering.
It was at this time I decided to try my first beefburger,  Setting aside schoolboy prejudice but not brave enough to eat all the muck they plaster over the meat I ordered one.  To my astonishment I liked it. I graduated to a cheeseburger, minus the muck of course. That is still my favourite today - a quarter pounder with cheese as a large meal with a diet Coke.  I always make my wishes very clear - PLAIN quarter pounder please - just the burger, cheese and the bun please.  I resist saying NO MUCK please.

This building with the bit sticking out is Guys Tower where Rebekah's ward was located. In the shadow of the tower McDonald's built the first Ronald McDonald House in Britain. It was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and provided twenty bedrooms for families with sick children in the hospital.  We were one of the first families to be supported by Ronald in the first British Ronald McDonald House in England.

At the time I was writing newspaper and magazine articles to make a few extra pounds for the family while Rebekah was in hospital. I decided I would write something about McDonald's and the way it had supported my family, I called the article HOW FAST IS FAST FOOD.  I interviewed a chip shop owner who said McDonald's had done a great service to the take away food industry by raising standards of hygiene in production.  McDonald's head office
was in Finchley, North London.  I spent time there with the then company secretary who was also in charge of Ronald McDonald House.  It was a great visit and I was able to look round the McDonald's Hamburger University.  I never did find out why they insist on putting all that muck inside the burgers.

At the time my local newspaper feature was published there was only one branch of McDonald's in town. A reader from an adjacent town wrote to the editor complaining that Leighton Buzzard did not have its own McDonald's.

McDonald's may be excellent at making burgers, providing they are served without all that muck on them, but it's website is a navigational nightmare !  I tried to find out how many McDonald's branches there are in Milton Keynes today and have no idea, no idea at all.

At the same time as I wrote the local newspaper article I did some writing for Landrover Owner Magazine and an NGO working in a former European communist state.  I was there shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall. My interpreter told me that a McDonald's had opened in the country's capital city.  I challenged him and said that was not right. He insisted there was a McDonald's and took me to see it.  It was not McDonald's but a family run cafe.  I explained whereupon he said to me "But they sell McDonald's !"  In the heart of Europe's most totalitarian state McDonalds did not mean the company but the food it sold.

You can not buy a burger in a supermarket that tastes anywhere near as good as a McDonald's burger. Those you buy frozen have the same diabolical taste as the hideous stomach churning tinned burgers we had served to us at school all those years ago.  I would never touch it but my wife enjoys a pot of porridge, she will tell you nobody makes porridge as good as McDonald's.  My breakfast favourite is McDonald's hashbrowns. Why is it the hasbrowns you buy in a supermarket taste of nothing but onion ?  Perhaps all frozen food manufacturers should take a course at McDonald's Hamburger University.

My best friend, Jake - a Patterdale Terrier, loves McDonald's hash browns.  He understands English, you have only to say the world McDonald's and he goes crazy in anticipation of something to eat. If we drive past a branch and he sees the golden arches he becomes most distressed if we do not pull in.

Jake's favourite branch of McDonald's is near our home at Westcroft, Milton Keynes.  Jake has a special friend there, McDonald's employee Gianis. We made this silly film when Jake went one morning to see Gianis at McDonald's.  I tell you if I was a businessman I would nick Gianis from McDonald's, his customer service skills are amazing.  It's worth going to the drive through just to chat with him.

Where is your favourite McDonald's ?  Where in the world have you eaten in a branch of McDonald's ? I  have had my quarter pounder with cheese - minus the muck - in Amsterdam, Holland and Los Angeles, California.  Los Angeles will always be a bit special to me. 

Most schools take trips to Alton Towers or if they are very ambitions to somewhere like France. As head of year I used to organise trips to Disneyland - CALIFORNIA.  I did it five times.  We would fly from Heathrow to Los Angeles where I would collect a hired mini'bus then drive right across Los Angeles to Anaheim, I would rive in the height of the afternoon rush hour. As soon as we had checked into our hotel I would take the group to McDonald's to chill out after our long journey. 1500 South Harbour Boulevard, Anaheim, California.  I can still remember the address !  Eating my burger there - minus the muck - just the burger, cheese and the bun, meant we were in America.

Looks a bit different doesn't it ?  1500 South Harbour Boulevard ?   It's still McDonald's with the golden arches and the red and yellow. Did you know there are two places in England where McDonald's is strictly forbidden to use the golden arches and those bright red and yellow colours ? 

Stratford Upon Avon and Windsor, there a far more sedate identify is in use.
I took Rebekah one one of my trips to Disneyland California, I had to get special permission from her doctors but she had a great time and, yes she ate in that branch of McDonald's.

When we returned home from California the company secretary of McDonald's UK wanted Rebekah to be Europe's child ambassador to some global McDonald's event being held at its world headquarters in Chicago.  That was lovely but we had only just got back from the US. It happened that a child from France was chosen to represent Europe, McDonald's England was not please at all but it was good for the little girl from France.

Americans like their apple pie don't they ?  Have you heard the expression, As American as Apple Pie ?    If you have not eaten a McDonald's apple pie you have not lived ! They do not put any burger style muck on their apple pies - just piping hot apple in an amazing pastry.  There is only one pie better than a McDonald's apple pie and that is a McDonald's Festive Pie at Christmas.  I do not understand for the life of me why some years these are not available. Christmas is not Christmas without a McDonald's Festive Pie.  Hey you bosses in Finchley, London, and Chicago you had better make sure festive pies are on the menu this coming December !

A word to my former students and now friends on Facebook.  Do you remember the week-end trips to Shropshire ?  I did not initiate this but do you remember the Big Mac eating competitions you used to hold in McDonald's Shrewsbury ?  The years may have faded my memory but I think John Chapman held the record at four.  Four Big Macs, eaten one after another and all served with the muck on them !

It is fifty years since I ate my last school dinner. It is thirty-eight years since I made my very first visit to McDonald's.  It is three days since I last ate at McDonalds.  THREE DAYS, I will be getting withdrawal symptoms !

Ronald McDonald has always been a special friend of my family's, we can never thank him enough for Ronald McDonald House when Rebekah was a little girl.Ronald has been an important friend of my family for thirty years, ever since the time Rebekah was in Guys Hospital.

Rebekah died on Friday 19th May 2017, aged 34 years. It is hard to believe I am now living in a world without my darling daughter.  On a recent birthday she said to her friends not to send her cards but to go to McDonald's and pop a few coins in Ronald's box.

In her will she asked that there be no flowers at the funeral but for people to make donations instead to Ronald McDonald. Her friends set up a project OUR REBEKAH and have so far raised eight hundred and twelve pounds. I have spoken with Ronald and shared some ideas where we can make thirty four thousand pounds, one thousand for every year of Rebekah's life, then to do this every year until the end of my own life. If I can live to support Ronald for another thirty years that comes to one million pounds.

This picture shows two of Beck's friends who initiated the Our Rebekah project. On Tuesday I am meeting with McDonald Franchise Owner, Ken and his Marketing Manager Laura to talk about ideas Rebekah's friends and I have to help Ronald.  How appropriate that we are meeting in the branch of McDonald's where I ate my first McDonald's meal - a chicken in a bun with no muck on it.

As Project Rebekah gets under way I will be sharing so many things with you here on this diary page.  Rebakah may have passed away but she will be with us all as we make her project a success.

There will be many different people I need to meet with as different activities are introduced, planned and brought on line.  ALL of these meetings I intend holding in branches of McDonald's up and down the country. 

Did you read yesterday's diary entry ? The letter to The Prime Minister's Principal Private Secretary has been sent by recorded delivery.  My local member of parliament has had his arm twisted to speak to the Prime Minister.  I am asking for just a fifteen minute meeting where I can praise the work of our NHS and thank her for all it did for Rebekah.  That is a personal meeting and time to show my family's gratitude, it is not part of the Our Rebekah Project and does not involve Ronald.  However, at the meeting it is my intention to invite Theresa and Philip May to come to McDonald's and have a burger with me.  I will assure them they do not have to have any muck on the burger and can eat it nice and plain just as I do !

Friday, 23 June 2017

I am not sure what to call this diary entry. Read it and see what I have to say.

There have been a couple of recent diary entries where I have been pessimistic as to our country's future.  Pessimistic, I feel, with just cause but let me balance things a little today. NO balance them A LOT.

Yesterday marked five weeks since my daughter died. Five hard and difficult weeks but five weeks in which so much love has been shown to my family, love from so many people and so great that I can never, ever say a big enough THANK YOU to everyone.

The recent spell of hot weather has taken a toll on my garden, I was out there yesterday with the hosepipe offering first aid to the flowers, to the strawberry plants and to the wilting tomatoes.  I heard the phone ringing inside the house so raced up the path and snatched the handset before the caller hung up.

It was Toni Fisher, the practice manager from my GP's surgery calling to ask how I and my wife Maureen were. How were we coping with our loss ?  Was there anything we needed ?

Can you believe that ?  A large and busy doctors surgery serving many thousands of families yet the person in charge of its administration and co-ordination took time out to personally call me.  Love does not come much better than that. Incredible as it was, it is just one expression of the immeasurable love my family has received across the past five weeks.

Doctor Philip Mason, Renal Consultant at Oxford's Churchill Hospital, said to me the day after Rebekah died, "My job is not to treat patients but to care for them."

Let me put a face to the man - here he is, Lovely Doctor Philip Mason.  Rebekah thought the world of him and so do I. "My job is not to treat patients but to care for them."

The phone rang one evening, two or three days after we lost Beck. It was Maureen and my GP Doctor Hilmy. Before she moved to Northampton Doctor Hilmy had also been Rebekah's GP.  Gary, Rebekah's husband, calls him Doctor Heal-me. Let me introduce you to this incredible man.

Doctor Hilmy was calling to say how sorry he was and to express his love
for my family.  He said during that telephone conversation, "You may be my patient but you are also my friend."  I could write so much about lovely Doctor Hilmy but back to that call yesterday from Toni Fisher. She said that Doctor Labrum had asked if he could have my telephone number as he would like to speak to me.

Doctor Labum retired fifteen years ago, he was my family's GP when each of my children were born and the family doctor who oversaw Rebekah's condition when it first became apparent thirty-two years ago.  Of course Doctor Labrum could have my number, I would be proud if he wanted to call.

I returned to the garden and busied myself spraying a jet of water over wilting flowers. Fortunately I had left the door to the patio open so heard the phone ringing again. Linford Christie you would have been proud of my sprint back up to the house.  It was Doctor Labrum calling.  The practice manager must have called him the moment we finished speaking, given him my number and he called me straight away. We spoke for a long, long time on the telephone, a beautiful conversation filled with love.  How wonderfully special that a man who had retired fifteen years ago still wanted to speak about one of his patients !  He remembered Rebekah so well, his words were so beautiful, so loving and so comforting.

I said to Doctor Labrum that I was proud he had been my family's GP. Unfortunately I do not have a photograph of Doctor Labrum, even the mighty Google can not help me.  I do have a photograph of this man.

This is Iain Stewart, our local MP.  Here is a letter Iain wrote to me a few weeks ago.

LOOK - it is on House of Commons letterhead. LOOK - it is hand written.

Iain was thanking me for praising the work of Milton Keynes Hospital. The Nurse Specialist who looked after Rebekah's dialysis even took time out of her duties to come to her funeral.

For thirty-two years, since Rebekah's renal failure was first diagnosed I have had experience of our WONDERFUL NHS.  I shout my mouth off all the time about it.  My wife says I talk too much, I can never talk enough about the likes of Doctor Mason, Doctor Hilmy, Doctor Labrum, Oxford University Hospitals, Milton Keynes Hospital - I can never shout my mouth off loud enough and for long enough in praise our incredible health service.

When I am shouting I now mention Iain's hand written letter and say how special it is that a busy MP could do that.  Iain is a strong supporter of our NHS and himself a lovely man.  When I spoke to Toni Fisher yesterday and speaking the day after Beck's funeral to the deputy CEO of Milton Keynes Hospital they both praised Iain for his support.

I will be seeing Iain in a couple of weeks when he attends an event Maureen, my wife, is running. No doubt I will bend his ear as I praise the National health Service again.
Putting down the telephone yesterday my first reaction was to write again to Iain then I devised a different plan.  I am very good at opening doors.  If I knock and the door is not opened I just kick it in and enter anyway.  YES, I will tell Iain about those two 'phone calls from yesterday but first let me tell his boss.

I doubt anyone reading this diary entry will recognise this man. NO, he is not a doctor. NO, he does not work for the NHS.  He is Peter Hill, Principal Private Secretary to The Prime Minister. 

On Monday morning he will be receiving a recorded delivery letter within which there will be another letter for Iain Stewart's boss.  I am asking him to arrange a fifteen minute meeting for me with Theresa May. The letter will be worded in such a way it will be very difficult for him or Mrs May to refuse.  As Prime Minister Theresa May meets hundreds of people every week, some will just be faces that pass her by and are forgotten within seconds.  I promise you Mrs May you will not forget those fifteen
minutes you spend with me.  You probably will not be able to say much as I will be dominating the conversation throughout as I tell you experience after experience after experience praising our National Health Service.

Mrs May I will meet you anywhere in the country at any time on any day. I want just fifteen minutes of your time. Fifteen minutes to praise our National Health Service. During those fifteen minutes I will give you two thoughts to take away with you.

FIRSTLY it is not the politicians that make a country great, they can do all they like but it is the PEOPLE who make a country great. People like Doctor Mason, people like Doctor Labrum, People like Doctor Heal-me, people like all those who work in our National Health Service.

SECONDLY Mrs May, I will be telling you the National Health Service is NOT undefended.  Yes, of course, it needs more cash, no matter how much money government throws at it
there will never be enough.  Government is in an impossible position and can never find enough. However, when it comes to LOVE our National Health Service is OVER-FUNDED by the incredible people who work within it.

Yesterday two of Rebekah's friends and I met to discuss ideas we have to help Ronald McDonald as he supports families of sick children in hospital. Mrs May I intend to pack a lot into our fifteen minute meeting, I wonder if you and your husband would allow me to take you for a burger at a branch of McDonalds ?  We'll also talk about that in our fifteen minute meeting.

My family would never have coped when Rebekah was a child in hospital if it were not for
Ronald McDonald House.  For thirty years my family has supported Ronald.  Rebekah put in her will a wish that we support Ronald in her memory.

Unlike myself, Ronald does not shout his mouth off. I admire McDonalds, the fast food giant, for the calm and almost secretive way it goes about the work Ronald McDonald Houses do. It could make so much marketing capital out of its work but does not.  I wonder if Prime Minister May knows of Ronald's work. She will once we have met.

On Tuesday I have a meeting with a McDonald's franchise owner and his Marketing Manager.  Following the meeting yesterday with some of Beck's friends, I am busy typing up notes to share and plan tomorrow to write a diary entry which I will call MEMORIES OF McDONALDS.

I really would like to take Mr and Mrs May to McDonalds and to show them the Ronald McDonald boxes there.  I will be asking Iain Stewart to come with me to our local branch, share a burger, see what Ronald is up to and for me to tell him how Beck's friends and family want to help Ronald.  When we go I would love it if someone from Whaddon Medical Centre and someone from Milton Keynes Hospital could join us.

My wife says I talk too much, as you can see when I get going I write too much as well.  But there are some things in life you can not say too much about.

Time for me to shut up.  I'll be back tomorrow with my memories of McDonalds. (NO the way I write McDonalds is NOT a typo - I will explain tomorrow.)

Thursday, 22 June 2017


One year ago today our country went to the poll, it was a day where common sense
prevailed and we voted to leave the dictatorship of the failed European Union. One year further on where are we ? Realistically has anything effective happened ? At the end of the day we are still a part of the institution and freedom is in reality no closer than it was a year ago. The European Union has achieved what The Spanish Armada, Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler all failed to do.

Britain voted to leave the European Union but we are still a member. Holland and France failed when common sense was needed in elections within their countries so the politicians who could have rescued the people were never given a chance.

Why are we having all these talks ?  Why all the negotiations ?  What is there to negotiate ? Just walk away. Let the European Union come crawling to us and beg.

What do we need to leave this dictatorship ?  WORLD WAR THREE ?

When I was a kid it was not a case of IF World War Three happened but WHEN.  Sooner or later there was going to be a nuclear holocaust and that would be the end of the world as we knew it. I actually wrote a story in the 1970's - ESCAPE FROM ARMAGEDDON.   Armageddon as we understood it has not come and will not come but World War Three is as big a threat to Planet Earth today as it has even been, it is just coming in a different form.  Oh it will come, that is unless we wake up and open our eyes.

In 2016 1,326 innocent people were murdered by islamists, another 2,620 were injured.  So far in 2017 364 have been murdered and 911 injured.  The liberals continue to tell us islam is a religion of peace.  Have you heard a mosque anywhere near where you live condemn the terrorists ?  I have not. Oh yes World War Three is coming and we are sleepwalking our way to allowing it to happen.

When is The Bullshit Broadcasting Corporation going to stop sensationalising a fire in a London block of flats ?  Has nothing else happened in the world that needs coverage ?

Yesterday the news was proudly reporting there would be no immigration checks carried out on those who were in the fire. WHAT ?  Why are we as a nation allowing crimes to be overlooked ?  Does that mean if there were murderers, rapists, paedophiles or armed robbers living in Grenfell Tower their crimes should be overlooked ?  What about islamic terrorists ?  If there were any of them living there should we overlook them ?


23rd June 2016 was a great day for Britain. How sad that it has been followed by three hundred and sixty five weak and pathetic days. We deserve better. 

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Destroying Britain Not For The Few But For The Many

It's half past one in the morning and too hot to sleep, I am tired but can not sleep, far too uncomfortable so here I am at the laptop writing today's diary entry.

I usually start my social media day by playing a piece of inspirational music from my YouTube Channel. still from that channel but not from my Morning Collection I am now going to play something different..

Typical Englishman talking about the weather, it's our national number one subject of conversation !

It can only be a short period of time before everything explodes with a thunder storm.

I wonder how long it will be before our country explodes !

Britain is in a mess and can not continue the way things are. Sooner or later the mess is going to erupt into something very nasty.

On the subject of nasty, we have the nastiest politician of the modern age doing all he can to create anarchy.

We have a prime minister who scored the most spectacular own goal since 1066.

We have the dictatorship of the European Union seeking to destroy our way of life.

We have islam all but declaring open war while the left wing liberals close their eyes to what is happening and accuse all who stand up for Britain being racist.

We have the Bullshit Broadcasting Corporation misrepresenting the news and showing a bias towards anything and everything British.

I love my country but it is getting harder every day to recognise what it is about Britain I love,

Unless people stat to wake up, look about themselves and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH then the long and proud history of this country will come to an end in a thunderstorm which will make a nuclear explosion look like an ant sneezing !

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Head or Heart - which should control your life ?

A friend asked me yesterday if I thought people should rule their lives with their heads or with their hearts.  I thought for a moment, I reflected back on the many years I have had on the Earth then said:

I think you should lead with your heart and let your head catch up along the way.

Hey all you great philosophers - Plato - Aristotle - Socrates - none of you came up with anything quite so profound as that did you ?

To make this work a person has to have both a HEART and a HEAD -. not all of are blessed with both.  I would say that in my case the heart is stronger than the head or it could be that my heart can run faster than my head. Many, many times in my life I have messed up spectacularly but simply because my head could not keep up with what my heart had been doing.

Next Tuesday I have a meeting with the franchise owner and his head of marketing for five large branches of McDonalds. We are going to discuss my heart.  I am calling out to my head to catch up and help me prepare for this meeting. On Friday this week I have another meeting with some very special people, it is possible my head may not be needed to say anything at that meeting but I must make sure it is also in attendance and holding hands with my heart.

It is now more than a month since my daughter died. Her friends decided to set up a project to raise one thousand pounds for Ronald McDonald House Charities in Rebekah's name. Ronald McDonald is very special to Rebekah.

My head then kicked into overdrive and formulated a plan to find a way to make this ten thousand by mid October.  Rebekah's Friends, thirty-three supporters and a little bit from my heart and head have so far found just over eight hundred pounds. Ten thousand is not going to be an issue.

My heart then opened its big mouth again.

When Rebekah died she was thirty-four years old so let's raise one thousand pounds for every year of her life. An ambitious but quite logical target.  Now in a fast sprint my head raced to come up with ideas as to how that could be done. Just as it was about to put it's hand on my heart's shoulder and say I AM HERE my heart said two more things.

1. Let's make that thirty-four thousand pounds thing an annual target. Do it every year. Do it every year for the rest of my life.

2. My family has a history of longevity. My maternal grandmother died just a few weeks short of her one hundredth birthday. Assuming I can live to the same age and within the years to come hit that thirty-four thousand pound target each and every year ONE MILLION POUNDS can be generated.

I have two days before my meeting with Rebekah's friends and six days before I meet with these executives from a MocDonalds Franchise. My head has told my heart to sit down and take a rest while it works out a plan to avoid my looking a fool at both meetings.  My head has a plan to make thirty-four thousand by 19th May 2018, the first anniversary of my daughter's death. I am now very busy typing up that plan.

My diary is a bit diverse in content. In the previous entry I was doing my best to name and
shame a certain organisation. Before that I was talking about my story writing and visiting a radio telescope paid for by an old friend. Hang on and let me scroll down a few pages, see what I have been writing about:

10th June -. there was my seven year old grandson's view on politics.

15th May - I was talking about my holiday in Devon.

10th May - I was banging on about the forthcoming general election.

27th April - I was proposing we reintroduce slavery in the UK and make homelessness illegal. Oh that made you stop didn't it !  Well read what both my head and my heart were saying in perfect harmony on that day and I bet you everything I own that you will agree with what my diary entry says.

But back to today's diary entry, back to the two meetings I have coming up and back to my
heart and head racing one another.

Too many times in my life my heart has been way in front of my head.  Too many times my best intentions have not come to fruition. That can not happen now.


My heart is screaming that as loud as it can. The louder it shouts the more likely it thinks my head will agree.

My head has responded with a POLICY which I am putting on this diary page and will be inviting all who are coming to both meetings to read.  My head says if my heart works through the policy everything should be OK. (Eventually)

I do not believe in god but in do believe in Destiny. Many, many times Destiny - I always spell it with a capital D - appears in my story writing. Destiny I have felt many times tapping me on the shoulder and saying "Hey - this way"  but never more than I am feeling right now. The problem is my heart is always the one to communicate with Destiny, perhaps my head needs to listen as well.

Anyway, here is my head's contribution to OurRebekah. If you have any thoughts my HEAD will listen and make sure my HEART understands.
With that I'll sign off for today.

The programme has been set up in memory of Rebekah Deer, nee Ashford, who passed away on Friday 19th May 2017. The project is co-ordinated by David, Rebekah’s Father.

Rebekah spent much of her childhood in Guys Hospital, London, where Ronald McDonald House provided untold support for her family. Rebekah’s family was one of the first to be supported in England by Ronald McDonald. There are now 15 Ronald McDonald Houses up and down the country and 365 worldwide in 40 different countries.

The aim of the Our Rebekah Project is NOT to raise money itself but to support others who have fund raising projects operating and to help these different projects raise £34,000 extra cash every year, one thousand pounds for each year of Rebekah’s life. David is determined to live long enough to see the yearly totals add up to one million pounds.

At the centre of the support project is the website  It is planned for this to become a forum for fund raising groups and a publicity tool. The website will operate a blog and will put forward different projects and resources which fund raisers for Ronald McDonald can take up.

Initially support will be directed via: 

It is up to Ronald McDonald how any money  is used. However, specific fund raisers may wish to ask Ronald to direct money to specific houses. Working with franchise operator Kaizen Restaurants support there is directed to the Oxford House.

Our Rebekah is not an organisation in its own right but an independent resource supporting Ronald McDonald House Charity specifically and Ronald's fund raisers in general. Our Rebekah will not handle money, everything will go via individual fund raisers or via JustGiving. No expenses will be taken from any money raised for Ronald McDonald, David will cover expenses himself via royalties from his stories written under the pen-name of Max Robinson.  NOTE: All royalties from the books The Wild Adventures of Di Central Eating and The Bridge House will go entirely to Ronald McDonald.

The project will not ask any person, group or corporate body to give money or anything materially without receiving something in return. This could be as simple as an individual having some fun as they attend an event or a corporate body/celebrity receiving publicity. Physical items will be offered for sale or by auction.  It is important that everyone understands Our Rebekah will not ask for anything from anybody without offering something positive in return.