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LOVE & LIFE

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Please read this poem:

Our first Christmas together

I had been so excited to have

him

around

I started tiptoeing

down the stairs

And he had a surprise waiting… he threw me

a party

He knows how to spoil

A simple girl!

He called me

in front of everyone

Then he cut me off

a sprig of mistletoe

We shared a kiss underneath

Our friends cheered as

outside, the snow silently settled

Now read the poem again, but read the last line, then the second to last line and so on.

So you’re reading from bottom to top.

Refuge.

Domestic abuse charity Refuge has a history of using shock in campaigns.

This new Christmas campaign, created by McCann Bristol, continues this trend.

As a young boy I lived with a man cowardly enough and stupid enough to think that there are reasons for a stronger person to bully a weaker person. A woman or a child.

There are none.

Help.

If you sense domestic abuse is happening, take a closer look.

Help them.

If you see domestic abuse is happening, report it to the police.

www.refuge.org.uk

We’ve just had a family weekend break. 

£400 for two nights at a local posh ‘Hall’.

You know the score… Old building with big curtains, great gardens, they call you ‘sir’ and ‘madam’ and charge you £13 for a burger.

Without fries.

Long Days.

We’ve just got back home and we need advice on how to do a holiday.

Because something went wrong with this one…

Lisa and I work quite a lot.

15 hour days each in the week and maybe 10 hours over the weekend.

This is not to complain or show off at how hard working/badly organised/whatever we are.

It’s just stating a fact.

Friday.

We arrived at about 3pm on Friday.

Got to our room.

Excitedly ran around for a bit with a 2 year old Izobel.

Drank.

Ate two burgers.

Drank.

Lay down for a rest at about 7.45pm.

Woke up at 7am on Saturday.

Saturday.

Breakfast at 8am (see photo).

Buzzed to Corbridge.

Shopped.

Drank (1 pint).

Back to the hotel at about 6pm.

Ate in the room.

Lay down for a snooze at about 7.30pm.

Woke up at 7am on Sunday.

Had breakfast.

Went home.

Anywhere. 

We were rubbish.

We should have done a pre-holiday.

We could have been anywhere really because all we needed was sleep.

At home we get to bed (or fall asleep at various points around the house) at 11pm and get up at (anything from) 5am and this had clearly caught up with us.

Our Next Holiday. 

Our next holiday (although I haven’t told Lisa yet) is packing the car, driving around the block, parking back in the drive at home, going back into the house, having a bit of lager and falling asleep at 7pm.

For three days.

I’ve budgeted £30.

David Beckham was recently chastised by ‘the Internet’ for kissing his daughter on the lips.

I peeped at this story out of the corner of my eye and made no comment.

The main reason was because, I think, Piers Morgan was either responsible for or was at least in part the catalyst for the discussion taking place.

And he’s an odious twat.

Naked. 

I still won’t comment on anything to do with him, because just like Katie Hopkins, attention is his oxygen.

And so it follows that if I ignore him he may suffocate and die.

So instead, here is a picture of me kissing my daughter this weekend, on the lips, whilst we are both completely naked, in the shower.

And in anticipation of any negative comments that I might get, here is my pre-emptive response.

Not bothered. Shit off.

Have a wonderful day x

I was out in Newcastle with a modelling agency last week. On their Christmas night out.

Not because I am a model you understand, because I worked alongside their excellent founder for a couple of years to help shape the brand.

Drinks were £7 to £10 each I guess as we bounced around the cool bars.

I was buying for me. And friends. And people I didn’t know.

You know how it is. It’s Christmas.

Merry Christmas.

People bought for me too of course. It was a good night.

I had no idea how much I’d spent on the night in these times where waving your phone at a barista or cocktail maker results in a balance-reducing beep in under a second.

The following day I could estimate. But I wasn’t sure exactly as I did have cash on me a well.

But hey, it’s Christmas.

ASDA

How strange it is then that, at ASDA on the following afternoon, I guarded my trolley (MY trolley) with my life.

Because it had my £1 coin in it.

I’d put my bags in the car and the trolley was about 20 yards away (I’d had to carry bags a little distance for some reason).

But I watched MY trolley with a steely gaze. Constantly.

MY trolley.

MY £1 coin.

I think that if someone had walked towards it I’d have skipped across, puffed my chest out, lowered my voice and said,

‘Ere mate. That’s my trolley.

And I don’t ever call anyone ‘mate’.

But this was serious.

This was MY trolley.

Control.

I thought about this afterwards. And smiled.

It’s amazing how our behaviours and reactions are so miss-matched to situations sometimes.

It’s silly.

I bought a £5 tin of instant coffee yesterday, impressed that it makes 52 cups. A graphic on the packaging told me this.

And I still paid £2.50 for a flat white on the way home.

How odd!

But this is not about money or numbers. It’s about control.

MY supermarket trolley, containing MY £1 coin was MY supermarket trolley.

And the social rules around the exact moment it becomes mine or his or hers are unclear. So it made me feel edgy.

When I bought a £7 cocktail the rules were clear. It’s mine.

Relax.

I think I’ll relax more.

I don’t always have to control everything.

Have my trolley. And I’ll buy you a coffee when I see you. A 10p instant one or a £2.50 flat white.

It is Christmas after all.

Merry Christmas.

As it’s my blog, I can write whatever I like I guess.

So this is about dog shit.

Dog shit.

I have two dogs. Colin and Frank.

I don’t walk them as much as I should and that makes me feel guilty. But that’s another story.

Anyhow, this is a question for all dog owners. And, once you see where this is going, maybe non dog owners too.

Have you ever picked up, willingly and with no fuss or self-aggrandising, another dog’s shit?

I have. More than once and – on and off – for a long time now.

For one reason.

It’s wrong that dog shit should be left around for people to stand in/kids to fall in/toddlers to play with.

That’s it.

Choices. 

I choose not to do any of these things:

  1. Walk on by and call the dog a dirty sod. Under my breath or to my friends or partner.
  2. Walk on by and call the dog owner a dirty sod.  Under my breath or to my friends or partner.
  3. Pick the dog shit up and tell the world, ‘I picked up another dog’s dog shit today’ to make me seem like a good guy. Remember, I’ve done this for years.

The point of this post?

We’re surrounded by other people’s dogshit.

And homelessness.

And bullying.

And older people crossing  a busy road.

And someone being cruel to their dog.

How about you just walk over and step in every now and then?

Either on a micro or macro level. Sandwiches for homeless people or voting for a government that (we hope) gives a shit about homeless people are both pulling in the same direction.

Elbow out of the way those moaning and blaming and pointing and taking selfies, pick up the dog shit, put it in the bin, glare a bit at the idiots if you must – then get on with your day.

I just wanted to say that, whether you agree with the exact sentiment here or not, walking on by is not an option any more. For us or for our kids, actually.

And doing it because it’s good for business will, I hope, soon be seen as just as weak.

Sainsbury’s adding information to their packaging about what food is best for a food bank is not what I mean.

Sainsbury’s invisibly giving and doing something meaningful and permanent for the homeless or underpriviledged with (say) £100,000,000 of their £400,000,000 annual profits – is.

Change.

Stopping and making a change because you know damn well that something is just plain wrong or unkind is where it’s at.

And we should feel privileged as we do it.

We are so exceptionally lucky to have the opportunity to be a part of the change we want to see.

According to a survey that appeared in The Telegraph a few years ago, women grow up before men do.

No surprise there, then.

A study into the differences in maturity between genders revealed both men and women remain ‘immature’ well into their late 30s and early 40s.

The average age at which women mature emerged as 32.

Men?

43.

11 years later.

Self Test.

Here is a list of men’s top 30 maturity failings. See if you’re guilty of any of these things. And are therefore shamefully immature. How many are you, between 0 and 30?

1.Finding their own farts and burps hilarious

2.Eating fast food at 2:00am

3.Playing videogames

4.Driving too fast or ‘racing’ another car at the lights or on the motorway

5.Sniggering a bit at rude words

6.Driving with loud music

7.Playing practical jokes

8.Trying to beat children at games and sport

9.Staying silent during an argument

10.Not being able to cook simple meals

11.Re-telling the same silly jokes and stories when with the lads

12.Don’t like talking about themselves/ having proper conversations

13.Hating books/reading because of short attention span/they’re boring

14.Doing crazy dance moves

15.Mum still doing their washing

16.Having their Mum still make them breakfast/any meal

17.Wearing trainers to night clubs

18.Owning a skateboard or BMX

19.Not eating vegetables

20.Changing jobs regularly

21.Getting too excited over stag do’s

22.Sometimes trying to do wheelies/stunts on their bike

23.Driving a modified car or one with a loud exhaust/boy racer

24.Showing off about how girls are attracted to them

25.Wearing pyjamas, specifically cartoon pyjamas

26.Using dodgy chat-up lines

27.Showing off about protein shakes/weight-lifting/how much they ‘lift’

28.Littering

29.Wearing saggy-crotched jeans

30.Having a cartoon bedspread

Well?

I met a photographer for the first time today.

‘Nice chap. He’s 55.

We chatted about age because he’d been poorly recently and we contextualised it with how old we both were.

Playing out.

Anyhow, my new friend referenced an old friend. He chatted about how nice a recent reacquaintance had been.

The two guys had known each other all their lives.

So long in fact that, when they were very young – they used to ‘play out’ together.

Warm.

I like that phrase… ‘playing out’.

It made me feel warm.

(I bet you smile, inside or outside when you say it silently to yourself. Go on. ‘Playing out.’)

I used to play out in the seventies and very early eighties.

Then, in about 1982 when I was 14, ‘playing out’ turned into something else.

Up until then playing really was playing. After 14 there were new agenda.

Girls. Fighting. Muscles. Pubes. Haircuts. Money. Bullying. Cliques. Clothes. Oh, and girls. Did I mention girls?

These Days.

These days, I crave the warmth of ‘playing out’ that had been so spontaneous and wondrous and free-flowing back then.

And, you know what, at 50 I feel more able than ever to get that warmth back.

All I have to do is to think less.

To go out and to be in that moment.

To not worry about what other people think.

To relax.

To forget.

So, if anyone fancies playing out – let me know.

I get my spends at the end of the month.

I’ll buy you a Wagon Wheel.

So here we are on 50odd.co.uk 123 posts in. That’s one story per day for 17 weeks and 4 days.

Resource.

I’ve decided what 50odd is now. For a while at least. It’s:

A resource for guys that are in, that are about to be in, or who left (and maybe even miss) their 50’s.

Learning.

About 200 people engage with www.50odd.co.uk daily (I’d like it to be more so please spread the word). I am learning that there is no such thing as a typical 50(ish) year old. Or indeed any age.

I am however finding that:

  1. 40-ODDS.  Most 40-odds are dreading becoming 50-odds because when they were 20-odds they thought most 50-odds would be dead or may as well be dead.
  2. EARLY 50-ODDS.  Most early 50-odds don’t like being 50-odd. It feels old. They talk about (or think about) how old they are a lot. They don’t want to be here.
  3. LATE 50-ODDS.  Most later 50-odds realise that being 50-odd is just another decade. And that it’s fine. It can, in many ways, be like being 30-odd or 40-odd. If you want it to be. All you have to do is dump the stereotype and live the life you want as opposed to what any other bugger wants you to live. It’s not hard. You just do it. Today if you like.
  4. 60-ODDS. Most 60-odds wish they’d stopped fucking moaning about being 50-odd when they were 50-odd. Because, in many ways, it’s better than being 60-odd.

Sections.

So here are the sections you will find on www.50odd.co.uk for now, and what you are likely to find there. For now.

Some will be written with guys 40+ in mind. But many won’t as so many important subjects are what they are independent from age.

BUSINESS. I’ve run businesses for 30 years. I’m not the best, but I’m not the worst either. I love adventurous, generous and meaningful businesses with a purpose. They matter more and last longer. So I’ll talk about them and what they are and do.

CREATIVITY. I’ll talk about sparkly, clever, adventurous, daring thinking and behaviours. Particularly if it is making the world a better place. But sometimes I love creativity just for the sake of creativity. It’s good for us. All of us.

FOOD & DRINK. Great things to drink and eat. Or great places to drink and eat.

MUSIC. Things I love to listen to – and why.

STYLE.  I lead luxury menswear clothing brand Always Wear Red with an increasingly impressive team around me. I don’t talk about or ‘do’ style like anything I see out there. Style to me is not throwaway stuff that you liked for a moment then changed your mind about. It’s also not waiting for GQ to tell you what you like. And nor is it tweed jackets and shiny shoes that, stereotypically, older guys are supposed to wear.

It’s about self-expression, feeling, timelessly classic, quality, thoughtfulness and depth, my story, their story, nostalgia, dressing for me, fun, mixing things up, why-not-ness, standing out a bit and adventuring.

WELLBEING.  Physical and Mental wellness. And how to stay alive longer (in theory at least).

The footnote to all of this is that, honestly, no matter how old you are, you are NOT too late for anything and you are not too late to start anything. You can address any and all of these areas of your life at any time and in any way – at all.

The only person stopping you is you.

Thank you for sticking with www.50odd.co.uk so far. Keep talking to me, ideally in the comments section of the www.50odd.co.uk website because some conversations I have with you are interesting to, and may benefit, other people as well.

And if there are things we should be addressing here that we currently are not – please let me know.