Sunday, 27 November 2011

And so it ends...

The weekend is over and now it's time to look forward to another busy week at work. No complaints though as it seems busy is just going to be the theme from now till Christmas.

On Thursday last week I had a busy day at work, so much so I was over an hour later than usual leaving which meant I had less time in the evening. That's not usually a problem but on Thursday I had to iron my clothes and pack my bag for my weekend away.

I tried to catch up with a few things before I left but as usual I ran out of time.

On Friday I was up and out early to catch my train, the train journey was around 4.5 hours to Norfolk, about the same length of time as it would take to drive.

When I got to Norwich I was met by my Sister and a friend. We made our way in to the city and went for lunch, it was lovely to sit and catch up as I've not seen either of them since Steve's funeral. We chatted for a while and then ha a wander through some of the shops there. By 5 we were heading for another stop, this time a cup of tea and a muffin. We sat and chatted for what felt like a short time but before we knew it, it was 7pm and the place was closing so we made out way back to the car.

As I was staying with a friend my Sister and brother in law came sound too and we all ate together, it was lovely again to catch up and just enjoy each others company oh and we did manage to sink a few Gin's!

On Saturday we all headed off to a country craft fayre. It was nice and great for getting ideas for the things I like to make. There was of course a few things which make you question, "who buys this stuff?" but, overall it wa good. One in particular was a guy who made jewellery from coins, I saw some with my year of birth and instinctively looked for Steve's too. I guess I have still not quite got out of the habit of shopping with Steve in mind. I wonder if I ever will?

Today, following a hearty breakfast we all headed off to Croma . A brisk and fresh walk along the prom, down the pier and then up the beach with my Sisters dog. Again it was nice to be out and about.

This afternoon it was time to head home so my friends dropped me at the train station to catch the 17.21 bus (a rail replacement service to Peterborough due to works on the line). That was the time printed on the ticket, it was only when I got to Norwich I was told I should be on the 17.21 from Peterborough which means I should have been on the 15.00 bus! A complete balls up!!!

As I had missed the last direct train to Manchester I am now en route to Leeds where I will need to get a train to Manchester oh and the best part, (note the hint of sarcasm) , is that I'll have to pay AGAIN for the journey a it's a different route and I am also having to stand for the trip! Joy!!

All in all though it's not put a dampener on the weekend. I have enjoyed spending it with friends and family. The last time I visited Norfolk was with Steve in February and before that in August 2010 just a week before our brain tumour journey began. I hope nothing happens a week after this trip.

Well thats about it for now, I'll probably tell you tomorrow what time I eventually get home....

Bye for now
M x

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


No matter how well I think I am doing my grief often takes me by surprise. Be that a glimpse of something Steve would love, a slight hint of a fragrance Steve wore or a snippet of a song he sang along to, they are all bitter reminders.

I miss him more with each passing hour and every day I learn of more reasons I miss him. Today I miss his knowledge of Manchester. Although not a Mancunian he knew his way around the city. Today I had a business meeting and had to rely on my trusty iPhone to direct me instead of Steve.

As I stepped off the tram in St Peters Square the Midland Hotel caught my attention. It has been bedecked with Christmas lights. It reminded me immediately of a picture Steve took of the Midland with its lights on. His office was next door to it and for him their lights signalled the start of Christmas. There it was, another stab in the heart. I never thought I'd get emotional over some white lights on a hotel.

I know some people are growing tired of my grief, I am too. I don't plan these reminders, those I can prepare for, browsing a photo album or opening letters addressed to Steve are easy to deal with. It's the ones that creep up on you and take you by surprise that are hardest to deal with.

I want to be happy, I want to laugh and for the most part I manage that, at least on the outside. I don't mean I want to forget, I never will, the hole Steve left in my heart when he died cannot be filled but I know things will get easier. Eventually.

After this afternoons event I spent some time chatting with a friend. It was great to chat, we do t get to meet up very often but it's always good to chat to her.

I've had a busy evening again tonight though. Some friends called around so, after they left I had a few things to sort and then changed the bed linen as I had hoped to yesterday. It's now almost 11pm and its me time. Again the evening has flown by and I still have so much to do before the weekend.

Maybe one day I will write about how I have relaxed for the whole day and done nothing. Maybe, but I don't see it being any time soon!

Well it's bedtime for me now, goodnight. Sending love to you all and particularly anyone suffering a loss, I know being a Gay Widower is a lonely place.


Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


Yes it's an odd one isn't it.  Lately, I'd say over the past 4 or 5 weeks or so I have been drinking a lot more Tea, (I have been drinking a lot more wine too but that's another story).  Right now though I have a large mug of tea at hand.

I've taken to making myself a cuppa before bed and taking it with me to bed.  by the time I settle it's at just the right temperature.  This may not seem odd for anyone else but it does for me and it brings back memories too.  Happy memories.

As you know Steve and I worked most weekends in addition to our day jobs as cabaret artiste's, Drag Queens to be precise.
Many weekends we'd not return home until after 3am sometimes it would be approaching 6am depending how far away the gig was.  It started as a joke between us when people said, "Oooh I bet you can't wait to finish work so you can go and party too..." we would always say how we were looking forward to finishing, going home and having a nice cup of tea and a slice of toast before bed.

It sort of became a ritual for us.  We'd go to our dressing room and take our costumes / makeup or both off then I'd get in to the shower whilst Steve filled the kettle, fetched our bathrobes and got the cups ready etc.  by the time he had done that, (and fed the cats usually), then I'd be out of the shower.  As I dried myself he'd be undressing and getting in the shower so, by the time I had got in to my robe and finished making the tea and toast Steve would be out of the shower too and ready to sit down with me for a well earned cuppa!

We'd spend a while sitting and chatting and reflecting on the night.  Critiquing our own performances or bitching about whoever or whatever had annoyed us that night or sharing the laughs we'd had through the night.

I miss that.  I miss the performing too but with Steve it was all so easy.  We worked well as a couple on and off stage.  We formed a real partnership and I could always rely on him to be there for me, being supportive, helping and contributing in all ways.  From helping prep food for dinner through to helping change the duvet or even the more mundane things like helping tidy up, choose presents or any other jobs that may need doing at any time.  I have to do those alone now.  I am realising more and more I cannot achieve on my own what Steve and I would achieve together.

Tonight I haven't stopped.  Sitting to write this is the first rest I have had.  I needed to sort through my bureau and sort through another cupboard this evening so, as soon as I got in I started packing up my craft stuff and sorting through a huge pile of paperwork. 

It's both therapeutic and difficult.  Obviously there is still a lot of Steve's stuff in there so I have had to sort that too.  Some stuff to go to his memory box, some stuff to go with all the documents or papers I have generated or needed or had to deal with since his death and of course some things which just needed to be destroyed.

I wanted to do so much more with my evening tonight, I wanted to catch up with a friend and hear all about her new car and also speak to another whose call I missed yesterday plus a whole list of other things too but as usual I didn't get through everything on my list.

I'm tired now and have a long day ahead tomorrow so my bed is calling me, (which reminds me I wanted to put fresh linen on the bed tonight too).  Oh dear...  Perhaps I will do it tomorrow... time permitting.

Till then, goodnight,
Mark x

Monday, 21 November 2011

Significantly different

That’s how things are right now. It’s been quite a week since I wrote last. A long and difficult week. I would say it’s possibly been one of the most difficult weeks of recent months and I don’t understand why. I’ve had a few worries, not much more than usual though.

It hasn’t been a particularly busy week, I have kept busy but under my own initiative in the main not under the direction or request of others. I am starting to become aware though of this building stress within me, I am not sure if keeping busy is helping distract me from the thing that’s bothering me or if it’s adding to it. I appreciate being busy though as I can absorb myself in the task at hand instead of sitting and reflecting, perhaps that’s what’s making the blog difficult, having to reflect, all be it for a short time. I am forcing myself to think about things. I still recognise it’s helpful though to me and to others too and re-reading Stephen’s blog of this time last year reminds me of that.

Reading Steve’s blog of November 21st Last year I came across the following paragraph:

I have thought about Mark and what he will do when am not here - we often

laugh that it will be me getting phone calls from the police station saying

that they have picked him up in Tesco shoplifting etc wearing a big Floppy

Hay at the age of 70 - that's our plan you see - he goes slightly erratic

and I go sort him out when were older. Obviously this plan has now changed a

little bit, and I'm doing erratic and odd things and he sorts me out.

It got to me. Yes, I used to enjoy being slightly eccentric, adopting a fun a jovial outlook on life and trivialising things to make them more palatable. All of that has gone. I recognise that person but I have not seen him for a long time.

Back to the present. On Friday, after a trip to Liverpool with a friend I called in to The Trafford Centre to have a wander through the shops, More than anything it was just time out, wandering around aimlessly I wandered from one end to the other. I got to John Lewis and as I walked through the homewares department I saw a cushion on a bed in a display. It was very simple, Grey and Red and had a ‘patch’ embroidered on it which said “You & Me”. It was lovely. I approached the display to take a closer look and then it hit me. There is no “You” in my bed, there is just a “Me”. I fought back the tears, just as I am trying to do now.

Such a beautiful gift and nobody to share it with. As I walked the very long walk to where my car was parked I seemed to pass an endless number of couples, Gay couples, Lesbian couples, some clearly mature relationships and some clearly new but seeing each one gave me a punch in the gut, making me remember loud and clear what I have lost. I know our family and friends have lost too but life for them is as normal. I am the one waking up alone every morning and getting in to a cold and empty bed at night, as I know many others do but every morning I wake alone serves to remind me and, every night I slip in to a cold bed does the same.

Friday was difficult

On Saturday I spent the whole day busying myself. I started wrapping Christmas presents. On finishing the first the person for whom the gift was intended sent me a SMS message. As I completed wrapping the second the recipients arrived at the door. It was an odd coincidence and I can’t help but think Steve had some sort of influence there. The third, fourth and so on did not generate any SMS or visits etc, perhaps for the best and I continued to busy myself being creative and wrapping presents.

On Sunday I did the same again, more wrapping and more creativity. Some gifts have been parcelled up to be sent abroad, they will go to the post office this week.

Well today has seen the start of a new week. I have a busy week this week at work but a few things to look forward to throughout the week. Most importantly though I’m looking forward to the weekend. Time is whizzing by lately. Christmas is looming, beyond that there’s New Year. That’s a whole other blog entry so for now..... Goodnight and thank you for being so patient.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Time flies.....

It's been a few days.  Not bad for me eh.  It's just struck me tonight that my Grandfather died 25 years ago.  I can't say I remember him like it was yesterday but I do have clear memories of him.  I miss him too, I remember his funny ways, family members reading will know what I mean.   I got on to that train of thought by thinking about my Nan who had to deal with Christmas just 6 weeks after her husband died, I have it looming just 6 months after Steve died and it is daunting to say the least.  Part of me is excited about Christmas  but part of me is dreading it.  I want to be busy cooking on Christmas day but also want to be able to stay in bed hiding from the world all day if I want to.  I don't know how I will manage with it yet. Today has been an ok sort of day.  Work was horrible, after a team meeting this morning my manager commented how quiet I was about the newest announcement.  I explained it by stating how my priorities in life have changed. Some things are not important to me any more and after over two years of trying to get my point across I have given up I guess.  That I guess is because of the new life lessons I learned after Steve died. I did receive a call at work today though from an agent who used to book Steve and I on a regular basis.  Steve would talk to him a few times a week about bookings even after his diagnosis Steve used to book acts for him.  Basically he was asking if I would be going back on stage.  He said a lot of complimentary things which was nice and to hear his refer to Steve and I in such pleasant terms was nice, not least because in a way it is nice to know Steve is still missed and that the "show is circle" is feeling our loss too.  Maybe it's wrong of me but it is comforting to know my loss is shared with others too outside of the family circle. Not a lot of other news to share.  I called to visit friends tonight, as usual one half of the couple was at work.  All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.  Steve and I learned that lesson the hard way.  You're a long time dead and do you want to be remembered for all the missed opportunities and lonely nights waiting for work to end or for the way in which, despite a demanding job, you managed to make time for friends' family and loved ones? I'm a fine one to talk, I saw some friends on Sunday I have not seen for a very long time.  I have been bad at staying in touch with friends for a long while but, I keep referring back to the saying:- Friends are like stars, you don't have to see them to know they are there. With that in mind I am going to bed, take a look / have a listen, this is the song for where I am "at" right now. Nite nite readers,  xxxMxxx

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Sew busy...

Well that's my blog summed up in two words.

Yesterday, well apart from a busy day at work I spent the evening, (or a large part of it) on the phone to a few friends and knitting.... I have got a little further but LOADS to do.

This morning I got up at around 9am and sorted a little washing etc.  I received a call from someone re Steve's estate, that sort of put me on a back foot this morning as I didn't expect to have to explain (again) to someone why Steve is not responding to email etc.  The blunt, "He's Dead" approach seems to get the point across quite succinctly.  It hurts.  I miss him.  I more than miss him but I don't know what word describes how much I miss him...

Anyway, after that I got dressed and then started sorting my stuff out for a day of crafty shizzle.  I started around 10.30 this morning and didn't stop meddling until around 10.30 this evening!  I got quite a bit done but I can't post a pic as they are mainly gifts...  =( but, hopefully there will be a few happy people when Christmas arrives in 42 days time!!!

I am not sure what I will do tomorrow, I had planned, (in my mind), to go and see some friends today but I didn't get to as I got absorbed with stitching.  I am quite eager to do some more stitching tomorrow but it will depend on what time I get up and I would still like to see friends but I really need to get the Chrimbo shizzle sorted..... hmmm lets wait and see what the morning brings.

Well it's bedtime here so I will catch y'all soon.

xxx M xxx

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Me Me Me, Busy Busy Busy and Chrimbo is coming...

Phew, I can't believe it's been a week but at the same time I have done SOOO much i can't believe it is only a week.

Firstly and most importantly, I have re-read Steve's blog from this week last year, it's made me smile, just hearing his voice in his blog really is comforting.  It wasn't a great time for him but theres no self pity.  Amazing really.  Despite his terminal diagnosis he never whinged.  Thats something the "friend" who has been trying to cause me stress this week would do well to remember. A few people know to whom I am referring and those that don't really don't need to worry.  Just join me in smiling when you think of how Stephen never stopped smiling and never lost his sense of humour.

Since last week I have been SO busy.  It's good I guess.  On Friday a friend came to visit, it was great to see him.  He seems quite well although I was a little concerned for him healthwise but I'm sure he is adult enough to take care of himself.  We didn't get to chat for long but hopefully we can meet up for dinner or coffee soon.  We have never been "high maintenance" friends, we just catch up as and when we can and it's great.  He was also my "wingman" after Steve died whilst I arranged the funeral etc, in part my level head.  Something Steve had always been.  I will always be grateful for that.

On Saturday I was up early, I went for a walk along the canal for a few hours with the camera and really enjoyed the fresh air,the photos and seeing how different life is on the canal on a Saturday morning, SO much different to being in the city centre.  It was real ME time and I enjoyed it.

Afterwards I did some shopping then ended up in for the evening with friends andthe X Factor.  Whilst watching, chatting and drinking wine I also spent time being creative and making bracelets
On Sunday I spent the morning busy online then late morning and early afternoon busy cooking.  I made some beautiful carrot soup with roast peppers and onions, it was lovely.  I also busied myself making a roast dinner too.  All very nice even if I do say so myself.  In the afternoon I popped in to Manchester to collect another friend from the train station who was staying for a few days, strangely i managed to get lost near the train station.... I was avoiding parking charges by driving around the block but took a few wrong turnings.   It turned out OK in the end though.

On Monday T and I had to go to Liverpool and that turned out good too.  We also called in to lay flowers at the grave of another member of our Brain Tumour community.  It was sad. I felt Steve with us a lot on Monday, on the way to Liverpool the John Miles song, "Music was my first love" came on the radio.  It was a song played at Steves funeral.  On the way to the cemetary the Take That song "eight letters" came on the radio, the song mentions, eight letters, three words, one meaning..... Steve and I always used to say 831 and the response was always 8312.... think about it, eight letters, three words one meaning.... I LOVE YOU.  The first time I heard the song it took me by surprise and made me tearful, not so much now but it does make me mindful of him.  Our 831 came long before the Take That song.

On Tuesday I got up at a reasonable time and decided to fit the "shiny bits" I have bought for my car.  Stainless steel grilles for the lower openings in the front bumper, a stainless steel 'rotary accent' for the front of the car, chromed side vents, fender strakes and colour coded repeater lights for the side of the car.  Quite a list really.

It meant I had to remove the front bumper of the car, lots of nuts and bolts etc.  Ihere was much concern from my facebook family. A gay doing mechanical type stuff.  A drag queen getting their hands dirty?  Yep, I really didn't conform to type.
The bumper had to be removed along with fog lights etc

there were quite a few bits to add and remove and lots of screws to remember the location of

but with grilles, and accent added I replaced the bumper

and added chrome vents and coded fender strakes to the wing.

I guess now I should "fess up" that I am actually a time served mechanical engineer.  A four year apprenticeship with the ministry of defence and time spent "in industry" come in handy occasionally.  Not the sort of background you expect for a gay and certainly not for a drag queen.

So, if we add in the other things I have worked on this week..... last night I decided to "trim" the heart decorations I have ready for my christmas tree this year.  You will recall I have stuck toa hearts theme but am adding in some tartan.  this was last nights activity.  I've done about 3 dozen so far and have almost as many more to do.
I am enjoying being creative, both for my own Christmas and for others.  Last year Steve and I decided to make some handmade christmas gifts, some were lucky enough to get them.  Early this year Steve decided he wanted to make gifts again this year, not all gifts but just some and really so that the gifts were truly personal, created and given with that specific person in mind.  I am of course planning on fulfilling his wishes but, with just me on the production line the pressure is on to meet the deadline.  Pah, sleep is for losers anyway!

On top of all that some of you may recall Steve and I visited some friends in Norfolk in February this year.  Whilst there Steve bought some wool he liked.  He had seen some sweaters he liked and, instead of him buying one, his Mum said she'd like to knit one for him, he just needed to provided the wool and pattern.  It's surprising how costly it is to go retro and home made but he liked the idea of having something unique.

Long story short, as you guessed, he didn't get his sweater, (who needs a sweater in the summer?  Remember he passed in June).  Now I am on a mission to make sure the wool he chose is being put to good use.  With my plan to fulfil his dream and go and live aboard a narrowboat I anticipate the evenings can or will be chilly.  The wool will be used to knit a throw for the sofa or bed when I am on the boat.  There's no better time to start than the present so, afteran hour of knitting, tonight I can say I have made a start.
So, if I re-cap on the "crafty projects" I have ongoing at the moment I have, sewing, knitting, jewellery making, photography, customising chrimbo decs, re-upholstering chairs, upcycling my favourite items of Steve's clothing, website creation & development and "pimping my ride" to name but a few which add on to the usual things we do such as working, cooking, eating, shopping, socialising, reading, relaxing oh and occasionally sleeping and visiting family and friends. 

I don't like to think of myself as a "jack of all trades" as I don't like the second line of that saying but I do like to think of myself as living life to the fullest because I really think I would struggle to fit much more in to my life.  I hope Steve is pleased, he inspires me to continue despite any other issues I may have to deal with emotianally, physically or mentally. I now feel I have two lives to live.  His and mine.  I miss him dearly but thinking of him and having those little reminders of him at the most unexpected times really do lift my spirits and make me smile.

Thanks you Steve and thanks to you too for reading xxx

Mark xxx

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Breast and testicles are all over the place

It made me smile, it was a comment in Steve's post on this day last year, click here but he is right and nothing has changed.  The figure equates to less than 1%, if you want more info drop me a line or contact  BT Buddies.

Last night as I said I went to bed early and as usual didn't sleep, I watched a film instead, P.S. I Love You which I had downloaded to my iPad.  Well, I managed to get to 13 minutes before the tears came.  they stayed till the end.  I almost flooded my bed!  I am not best placed to say whether it was a good, bad or indifferent film but it touched me.  that's all I will say.  If you have seen it you will understand,if not then reading the synopsis will probably explain. 

Odd as it may seem I felt better for having my meltdown.  I still miss Steve so much and sometimes I just want to be able to grieve for him not cover up my feelings to spare those of others. If one of my tears was enough to bring Steve back for just one second then I know last night alone would have seen him back for a hundred years or more. 

Today has been an OK day.  Work was brief this morning as I had a Doctors appointment.  Nothing too sinister, (for now) just problems with my hands, a course of anti inflammatory though should help and if not I am to go back.  On the plus side it seemed to be nothing major which warrants further investigation or tests... yet.

After that it was back to work.  Another tough day, it's difficult to stay upbeat about it.  I got a lot done though and managed to clear a lot of mail from my inbox so I was pleased with that as I am out of the office after tomorrow until Thursday next week.

Tonight I logged on to the PC as soon as I got in, I had a few things to sort but before I knew it I had a few phone calls with friends catching up, emails, text and facebook messages.  All good stuff.  I have a few calls to return though, messages on my phone from a few days ago have not been returned yet, I know I am failing miserably in the "keep in touch" department but I don't seem to have a minute lately but tonight, although busy, has been good and I have enjoyed it.  I realise soon I need to start making a move to get out more and socialise. Soon though, not now.

Watching that film last night has reminded me of the need to get out and see people or just have people around.  I do want that but sometimes I am just not very good company.   I saw this a few days ago and I think it's spot on...
I have no idea why it is on it's side, I have amended it to be the right way up but it clearly didn't work so it's tilt your head time... sorry.

Another I saw which I also thought was spot on is this:
Again, it struck a chord with me.  On a closing note though all I have to say is thanks again to all my friends for being there, your texts, messages, emails and cards etc which are still arriving are very much appreciated and if you are waiting a call or a visit from me please keep being as patient as you have, I have not forgot but I there is only one of me now to do all the keeping in touch we both used to do.  I have not forgotten you and I know you're all out there.

xxx Love to you all xxx

M x

Love to you all

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The benefit of hindsight....

It's great isn't it? Unlike this blogging site as I have written this post once and it's disappeared into the ether without trace.... Doh!

Anyway, on reading Steves blog from this day last year, <a href="">click here</a> I wondered what Steve would do?

This day last year we took our friends to the airport to set off for their holiday in India for 2 weeks. Steve and I were supposed to go on the same flight but we were going for 3 weeks and had worked long hours and had looked forward to three weeks of rest and relaxation. The choice was simple, go on holiday and not receive the necessary treatment or stay, continue with chemo and radiotherapy and hope for the best.

We stayed. I don't regret that but as I said, I wonder what Steve's view would be? Especially since just over 7 months later he died anyway.

Looking at this week last year in the blog has been interesting for me. Happy memories of a Jamaican feast with friends and of the photo shoot Steve wanted to have before he started to 'look' I'll. We had pics done with both sets of parents and together. They are now some of the most cherished pictures I have. After the shoot we took our parents for a nice meal. Steve was brilliant that night, he tired but still stayed smiley as he wanted the olds to have a nice time.

A friend pointed something out to me recently on seeing a picture of Steve and I at my Sisters wedding and a picture of us from the photo shoot. The comment basically reflected that in the wedding pic of a few years ago there is visible and genuine happiness in our faces but the pics from last October whilst smiley do not show happiness. I understand. The October pics show love and compassion but are still of their time and I can see the hidden emotions too.

That's it now though, the melancholy has hit so it is time for bed. I know it is early but I need some me time, I haven't had much lately, in fact none. It's been a tough few days, work is pulling me down too. That and a suicidal "friend" expecting sympathy as they've taken an overdose and is in hospital. Steve didn't get a choice on living or dying and I would have given anything for him to be here, absolutely anything. It pisses me off to hear of someone wanting to throw their life away. I know there are issues but right now I can't help with them, not whilst I am dealing with my own grief. I doubt I will hear from the "friend" again as I shared that opinion in response to the message I had telling me about being in hospital.

I'm off to bed, goodnight xxxx M xxxx

Sent from my iPad