Snow forecast? BRING IT ON!

A public footpath runs along the bottom of our garden which leads into fields. We bought our house in 2013, just three months before Sarah’s cancer diagnosis. The whole process of buying the house was slow, with us being part of a five-strong chain of house sales, each depending upon the others to be able to successfully negotiate and organise their finances etc. We would frequently walk along the footpath and into the fields (our garden is the last-but-one before reaching the gate that leads into them), looking longingly into what was hopefully soon to be ours. On one occasion it had snowed heavily. We took our wellies and made plans to go sledging down the nearby slopes should we ever to get to the stage where we were able to move in.

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                              Fields at the bottom of the garden

It all happened on March 15th. About 10pm we crashed out on a mattress on the bedroom floor, exhausted after the move, having earlier been able to look from the inside out onto the fields where we used to walk. We’d made it. More or less exactly a week later, we had another heavy snowfall. It didn’t stay around for too long, as the warmth of spring and the longer hours of daylight melted it all in a day or two.

Sarah started her chemotherapy in September later the same year, after having a lump removed from her left breast and removal of the lymph nodes from under the left arm. She had six doses, one every three weeks over a period of four months. Each time she had a chemo-poisoning session, I would buy her a present. We called them chemo presents. One was a picture that she’d mentioned that she liked. Another was a new pair of wellies for our forthcoming winter walks through the fields. In November, I bought a joint present for us both – two sledges. Soon the snow would return. Even during the chemotherapy, you are likely to get good days – or, at least, days that aren’t so bad. “Bring it on!” we thought. We waited. It never came. All through the winter, with all the ups and downs of chemotherapy, we waited fruitlessly. In the spring of 2014, Sarah was given the all-clear. We celebrated with our Route 66 adventure, across America from Chicago to Los Angeles. Winter returned, and we waited for snow. Spring returned in 2015. Still, no snow. The following winter – again, no snow! We are now in January 2017.

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During chemotherapy, waiting for the snow

Its nearly four years on from leaving the city of Newport to our country idyll a few miles outside of Abergavenny, at the foot of the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons. Nearly four years have passed since our last snowfall. I’ve never known such a long period of time without any snow. Other parts of the country have had some, but it has completely by-passed us on the lowlands of South-East Wales. Our sledges have yet to be used. They are still in our garage. Those who know us say that by buying those sledges we have jinxed the snow. Some say we should get rid of them so it’ll come back. Others beg us to keep them!

It is now Tuesday 9th January, 2017. We have snow forecast for Thursday and Friday. Yeah right! I’ve heard that before. We will be watching the weather forecast every day like a pair of children, willing the snow to fall so we can trudge across the fields to the slopes where the real children (so we’ve been told) play when it snows. We should be able to get there first. It’s a bit of a trek for people who (unlike us) have to fight their way through the overgrown footpath that runs along the bottom of our garden. We both have jobs that enable us to go home early when it snows. That suits us nicely. Bring it on!

I won’t be holding my breath though.

For information about our extraordinary story of survival (my brain haemorrhage and Sarah’s breast cancer), and to purchase my book I’M NEVER ILL (A journey through brain surgery and beyond…), please visit my website http://www.markdpritchard.com

 

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Clunk-Click

This is a song I composed about five years ago while doing a regular commute from Newport to Cheltenham. The journey would take me just over an hour, so I tried to use my time productively. It’s about bad driving habits and the frustrations of the morning commute, although if I’m honest, I love driving and rarely find it frustrating at all. It’s based more on other people and their driving attitudes.

Unfortunately, I have some reservations about the song. People of my generation who are from the UK will understand the meaning of “clunk-click”, the supposed sound of putting your seat belt on before setting out on a journey in your car. The problem with me is the origin of the term. It became a national road safety slogan in the 1970s, with an advert created by (or with) Jimmy Savile. Now, if a young person (for example), asked me what exactly does the title of the song refer to, I have to say that the (later) shamed and notorious Jimmy Savile used to say it on TV. I then feel that I should apologise for even mentioning his name.

However, the song was written with the best of intentions and Savile’s road safety campaign undoubtedly saved many lives, and I DID write it before his crimes were brought to light. With this in mind, I don’t feel that I should keep it hidden away. I have friends who have original paintings by Rolf Harris. They were so proud of them before he, too, was found guilty of similar crimes to Savile. When I was a teenager, Gary Glitter was my hero and his music takes my back to some wonderful times. Should I never listen to his music again now that he has been found guilty of sex offences? It is a very delicate subject and I have respect for opinions on both sides of the argument.

Nonetheless, my song Clunk-Click exists. It’s a bit of fun, and friends of mine sometimes ask me to play it. The term “clunk-click” has become such an ingrained part of my generation that I think people may forget about its actual origins. Whatever your views, I hope you enjoy it.

Please, if you get chance, also visit my website http://www.markdpritchard.com where you will find details of my book I’M NEVER ILL (A journey through brain surgery and beyond…) which tells of how my wife and I survived a breast cancer (my wife) and a brain haemorrhage (me) and have lived to tell the tale and turned our lives around for the better. I promise that my writing skills are better than my singing! The e-book is a real bargain at only £1.99 UK and is available in all major currencies.

An interview with God about creation, miracles and the virgin birth.

Me: Thank you for allowing me to have this exclusive interview with you, God. I know you’re busy answering lots of prayers and stuff so I’ll try not to take too much of your time.

God: It’s no trouble. I’m on my Christmas holidays right now, so I’ve arranged some cover. I’m not always the one who answers prayers, you know.

Me: So tell me, how did all this come about – you being God? And how long have you been doing the job?

God: I guess I’ve just always been God. I don’t ever remember NOT being God. So I suppose it’s been since the beginning of eternity, whenever that was.

Me: Do you enjoy being God?

God: Well, it’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it.

Me: What would you say to those who call you a cruel God?

God: I’d ask them not to judge me. I, too, have my own perspective that no one else would understand. It’s not right to judge anyone else because nobody knows what it’s like to be someone else. I NEVER judge anyone, despite what people say about me. It’s not your fault that I created you the way you are, so you cannot be blamed for anything you do. Likewise, I can’t help being God. It’s all about being understanding.

Me: That’s very interesting. There are many people who say that you judge us all and punish those who don’t believe in you.

God: Why would I do that? If you don’t believe in me, that is because your circumstances have led you to come to that decision. So, again, you CANNOT be blamed.

Me: Do you believe in God?

God: I’m agnostic.

Me: There are many people who say that you know absolutely everything.

God: Well I do know more or less everything. I have certainly SEEN everything from the beginning of time, and I have an excellent memory – I never forget ANYTHING. I also have a great command of all the languages on Earth. So yes, I suppose you COULD say I’m omnivorous.

Me: What about miracles? How do you perform those?

God: There are no such things as miracles. It’s all about cause and effect, statistics and coincidence. What people don’t realise is that, because there are an infinite number of things that happen, there simply HAS to be coincidences. It would be a coincidence of epic proportions if there WERE no coincidences at all. If, for example, someone survived a mangled wreck in a car crash, people often say that it was a miracle. Then they thank ME for saving their life. Well, if you think about it, it’s just as reasonable (or unreasonable) to BLAME me for allowing it to happen in the first place. But I swear it would have had nothing to do with me. It would just be down to bad driving and the luck of the draw. People should just leave me out of it and give me a break.

Me: Did you create the world in seven days?

God: Six days. If you remember I rested on the seventh. It was quite a big job, you know.

Me: Oh yes. I forgot about that. But what about all the mountains and rivers etc? You made all those in just six days?

God: Yes. Not only did I do that, I made them all in such a way that their geological structures suggest that they were formed by erosion over millions and millions of years – just to throw people off the scent. What do you really think? Of course I didn’t make it in six days. I’m just teasing. The problem is that when people believed that the world was flat and had more faith in superstition than they did in science, they were easily fooled by the scriptures and stuff. I had NOTHING to do with those – honest. Some idiots had their own agendas and wrote nonsense that other people chose to believe. Then it all snowballed. The next thing we know, everyone’s fighting over me. I swear I NEVER, EVER wanted that to happen. Neanderthal men never had these negative, belligerent tendencies.

Me: That’s easy for YOU to say.

God: No it’s not. I have a cold.

Me: What do you think is the biggest problem facing humanity these days?

God: Religion.

Me: So what about your son? Do you see much of him these days?

God: Jesus Christ, no! He lives his own life nowadays. He’s a very independent lad. I taught him to walk on water and save people and I’m very proud of him. But no, he doesn’t come to see me much.

Me: And what about Mary? Was she really a virgin when she gave birth? If not, who got her pregnant?

God: Goodness me – look at the time! I need to get back to answering some prayers!

If you like my blogs, please visit my website: http://www.markdpritchard.com where you will find details of my book I’M NEVER ILL (A journey through brain surgery and beyond…). My wife and I have an extraordinary story of survival after suffering a brain haemorrhage (me) and breast cancer (wife). All is good now, thank God (oops!), but I don’t want to give too much away…