Tuesday, 5 September 2017

It's a LONG, rambling blog today.

It's 1.20am, I've been wide awake since midnight with so many ideas tearing round my head like Lewis Hamilton in overdrive. I decided to get up and write today's blog. Perhaps when I've done that I can go back to bed.

We will see !

The Wave of Love topped one hundred visitors yesterday, 115 in fact.

Isn't that special.  Thank you all.

You will not be surprised when I tell you that yesterday was another amazing day of love. It was not, however, a day without one or two embarrassing moments. Life was a bit of a typo at times.

I spent part of my day yesterday preparing the cards for people to sign on Saturday when I am at Sheffield Wednesday FC. I took some of those cards to a local community centre for a bingo group to sign. Got to go back today and pick them up.

Primarily the cards are for Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham but I want also to send some to Oxford and San Francisco houses so I need more than one hundred in total.

Then the postman came, he's a special guy, knows all about OurRebekah and what we are trying to do. He brought me a letter from this man.

Recognise him ?

As well as being Speaker of The House of Commons he is MP for Buckingham. The National Trust wanted me to invite him to our Doggie Treasure Hunt.  He isn't joining us, he has a prior engagement in his diary but wrote me a lovely personal letter.

Mr Speaker you are on my doings list.   I will be writing to you to thank you for your kindness.

That's the doings list on the left. If I can cross all of those things off the list today it will be good but realistically ticking of twenty or twenty-five percent at most will be an achievement.

OurRebekah has taken over our dining room table. LOOK.

Let me tell you about someone else who got in contact yesterday.

Hello Kermit. THANK YOU Kermit for your donation to our Frog Challenge.  We have now raised £200, our original target was £100. We have doubled that, do you think we could treble it before  30th September ?

On an earlier blog I ran the idea past readers for my next personal challenge.  As well as my phobia of frogs I have a fear of heights. Part of the reason for my being here now with the laptop open, it is 1.38am, is to explore an idea I have for a challenge to face my fear of high places.

Anyway I will leave that aside for a moment. My mind is jumping about - forgive me.

One day someone will invent a printer that does its job properly. Mine whirs, clatters and faffs about doing everything save the job it is supposed to do. By volume printer ink costs more than the most expensive champagne. Did you know that ?  Replacing the cartridge in my Cannon contraption needs the skill of a surgeon.  I was cursing the idiot geeks who designed it when the phone rang.

It was this lady calling from Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham.

Meet Beth who is the fund raiser for the house.  We had a lovely chat, the trials of my stupid printer disappeared while we talked. Beth, you are the reason I am sitting downstairs tapping the keys of my laptop in the middle of the night. When I left the bedroom I hard Jake, my faithful friend, climb up from his doggie bed to take my place. I'll have to kick him out when I go back.

This is Jake.  Yesterday he and I went to McDonald's for breakfast.

David you are rambling, get to the point !

Ah shut up it's 1.47am and my mind is all over the place. I'll get back to Ronald McDonald House Birmingham in a moment.

Jake's fav place on Earth is McDonald's.  

He was actually sitting on the front seat of the car beside me asleep as we pulled in to the Golden Arches yesterday morning. When the car stopped at the drive through he looked up, saw where he was and became excited. VERY EXCITED !

I placed the order then drove to pay. When Jake saw it was Gianis at the window he want crazy.  Gianis is a special guy, he loves Jake and Jake loves him. Between Jake and Gianis conversation I managed to pay for the food, throw some coiuns into the box, then move to the pick up window. Gianis had swopped jobs in the restaurant and was there with our food.  I smiled and told him when he becomes Managing Director of McDonald's UK he should introduce  Doggie Happy Meals.

OK back to where I was. Where was I ?

Oh yes. When I had finished speaking with Beth by spirits were riding high, my surfboard was right at the top of the wave. I returned to that damn printer and took up the challenge of making the wretched thing work again.

No sooner had I done that then the phone rang again. This time it was the diary secretary of a member of parliament. TYPO !  BIG typo.

I had sent an invitation to a member of parliament to attend an OurRebekah event but had sent it to the WRONG MP.

OMG how embarrassing !

Fortunately the lady I was speaking to was understanding, we joked and chatted. She said she could help with what we are all trying to do and suggested we meet up next week, sit down and chat. So that is going to happen on Wednesday. I have a lot of contacts I can give you, she said.  

But that was not the only TYPO of my day.  I took it into my head that after the Sheffield Wednesday game on Saturday I would not post, as originally planned, the cards to Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham but would get on a train and take them. I opened Virgin Train's website and booked some tickets. Call me a snob if you will but I ONLY travel first class on a train.  I refuse to battle for a seat, possibly end up standing and endure a journey which if you treated an animal that way would bring about a prosecution from the RSCPC !

Yep the train times worked and the price was cool. I waved my Visa Debit card at the laptop and looked forward to the visit. AH !  I opened the e-mail confirmation and found I was not travelling on Virgin Trains but London Midland ! NO WAY. London Midland claims to have first class seating but in reality it has second and third class only within its cattle trucks. WHAT HAD HAPPENED ? Virgin Trains utterly useless website had happened.

I called Virgin Trains and a super guy helped me out. My money was refunded and new tickets issued to travel on a proper train !

Now I come back to why I am up in the middle of the night writing this blog.

Published on Amazon as an e-book this is my teenage autobiography covering two years when I worked as a management trainee in a Birmingham department store. 

For years I have been promising myself I would go to Birmingham, wander round memory lane and return to my youth. 

Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham is right at the centre of where that story is told.  When I go to Birmingham on Tuesday next week I will indeed spend time at Ronald McDonald House but I am also going to explore the streets of my youth.

It is now 2.29am.  I think I will go back to bed for an hour or so.  I'll be back in a bit. You don't mind do you ?

4.38am and, yes, I am back !

If you read any of my stories and books, I write by the way under the pen name of Max Robinson, you will see that Destiny plays a big part in the narrative.  Destiny is a real being, a lady who is very single-minded and determined that the path she has set down is the ONLY one to follow. Yesterday Destiny had her hands firmly on my shoulders and was determined what I was to do. There was not going to be any deviation.

The thing that kept me awake during the night was what more could OurRebekah do for Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham ?

We have the project to republish my story The Wild Adventures Of Di Central Eating, I am just starting to get that project underway.

It is going to take a while to finish the project but when it is complete all royalties from the book sales, I hope there will be many, will go to Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham.

Ten days ago Destiny, bless her, had me meet a fellow Amazon author. She told me that the bigger sales remained with paper copies and not with e-books, the way I work. We had a good chat and I decided I would take one of my books and publish it in the traditional format. Life is so busy now running OurRebekah that was not going to happen.

I use the past tense WAS but now I am going to change that to the present tense of IS.  I am also going to change it from the negative of it was never going to happen to  the positive of it is going to happen.  When I meet with Beth and her colleagues next Tuesday I am going to suggest I publish my teenage autobiography with royalties from sales going to Ronald McDonald House Birmingham. I don't think we will sell a lot of copies but Destiny is telling me to do this as a test, to dip my toe in the water.

We then set up a project within OurRebekah - BOOKS FOR BIRMINGHAM. We have The Wild Adventures of Di Central Eating and we will have The Story of A Teenage Entrepreneur (Failed)  Destiny you are a cunning lady aren't you ?  The third book will be The Bridge House. 

Destiny was determined I should write this book. She frustrated several times with something else I was working on as this was what she wanted me to write.

The Bridge House is the story of the life and times of my grandmother Lily. She was born in 1890 and died in 1984. She had three sons and while she longed for a daughter that was not to be. She then had four grandsons and no granddaughters. I then had two sons and my brother had a son, three great-grandchildren for Lily but no girls.

When Rebekah was born she was the first Ashford girl to be born in one hundred years. Here's a picture of Nan, Lily, holding Beck in her arms.

The Bridge House opens just after Lily's birthday with the death of Queen Victoria. The story will end with the birth of Rebekah.

Writing has been my hobby since I was seventeen years old.  When Rebekah died I felt I could not finish writing The Bridge House. If I stopped I would stop writing altogether and a hobby i have had for fifty years would be at an end.  My wife, Maureen, said I should write the book for Rebekah. This I have been doing and it was going along very well. All the royalties from the book when it is finished, I know it will be my best work yet, are to go to Ronald McDonald House Charities.

With all the work I have been doing with OurRebekah projects I have not written for more than a month. I have been worried I would not get back to the story and it would be unfinished. I have been thinking of a way to motivate myself, to make time to continue the writing but still not another word has been written.

Destiny, Dear Old Destiny, you knew what you wanted to happen didn't you ?  That phone call from Beth yesterday gave me the kick up the backside I need. When The Bridge House is published, that could still be a way off yet, all royalties will go to Ronald McDonald House Birmingham.

But wait, there is more. We can set up The Bridge House within our website and invite people to sponsor my writing with the sponsorship going to Ronald McDonald House Birmingham. The more sponsorship we can get the bigger the motivation I have to write.

Thank You Destiny, Thank You Very Much for that.  But that wasn't all you were up to yesterday was it Destiny ?

I did a lot of work yesterday for The Frog Challenge.  I am terrified about the challenge but I will do it.

This is where the life typo came in. Destiny you planned that didn't you ?

I invited the wrong MP to come to the challenge. It was his diary secretary who made that second phone call to me. I've told you that already haven't I.

The really embarrassing thing is the location where The Frog Challenge is taking place is part of the constituency of our good friend Iain.  Here's Iain spinning some coins for Ronald McDonald House. 

I hope Iain does not find out about my life typo ! You won't tell him will you ?

The Diary Secretary of the MP I wrongly invited did not say GO AWAY YOU SILLY OLD MAN, she invited me to meet, sit down and chat. She said she would help me with contacts and explained her background is in support generating.

Destiny you planned all of that didn't you ?

I have a phobia of frogs and I also have a terrible feat of high places. I have been thinking to set up a challenge for when THE FROG CHALLENGE is finished, DAVID'S ACROPHOBIC

CHALLENGE.  I had thought I would simply go to the top of a high building, probably somewhere in London.

That was not what Destiny has in mind.  In the middle of the night I came up with the idea that I should spend an entire day in Birmingham and go to the top of many different high buildings, each ascent would be under the supervision of a specific person from the city. At the top of the building I would take a series of photographs. 

The Frog Challenge had an original target of £100, we have made £200 so far and have upped things to £300 but I am secretly hoping for more. Money from that challenge is going to Ronald McDonald House in Oxford.  Let's set a similar target for this challenge of £100 then smash it !

It's all very well having these ideas but getting the doors open to make them happen is another thing.

AH !  I have a meeting on Wednesday with a MP's diary secretary who wants to help me with contacts.  Destiny what are you up to ?

I the middle of the night I was wide awake and wondering if the Lord Mayor of Birmingham's office may be able to help set this project up.  
I checked to find out who the Lord Mayor of Birmingham is. OMG DESTINY OMG !

The Lord Mayor of Birmingham comes from the exact place where I grew up. Is that a co-incidence or what ?

So when I get off the train at Birmingham New Street on Tuesday I will have two ideas to discuss with friends at Ronald McDonald House:

Books4Birmingham and David's Acrophobic Challenge. 

What about a third ?

Here's a picture of Nan, Lily, at her wedding to William Ashford at Aston Parish Church. The Ashford Family has a strong history in Aston and some of it is told in The Bridge House.

I have just been to look at the church's website. I LOVE IT.  Too many websites are geeky, unfriendly clones. This one is not. It's alive and fun.  Destiny ?

Up the road from Aston Parish Church is, of course, this place.

Villa Park the home of Aston Villa Football Club.

Let's persuade the club that it wants to do something for Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham. Let's ask them to so something similar to Sheffield Wednesday and provide something we can auction within OurRebekah on e-bay.

Hang on, hang on. While I have been prof reading this blog I have another idea. Let's track down some of the stars from when I used to go to Villa Park. Let's get them involved. OH DESTINY, I wondered why you introduced me all those weeks ago to a sports agency.

It is now 5.50am, not it's not - after proof reading the text it is 6.18am. Jake will be up in a bit and wanting his morning walk. I then have to go to Northampton and on my return I will be working through that doings list.

I have now got to add Books4Birmingham, David's Acrophobic Challenge and Aston Villa to the list.

I wonder what The Wave Of Love will wash ashore today.

Destiny I wonder what you are up to !

Have a super day everyone.

Speak again tomorrow.

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