Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Value of Love....

It has just gone 1 am and my brain won't switch off,  I have been thinking about a few things I wanted to write about while I was at work tonight but just kept dismissing them in turn but now I have just decided to write anyway and see where this takes me. If you have read my other posts, you can see by now I don't really have any logical order about the way I discuss things and just say what I am feeling or thinking about. 

 If you are a twitter user like me (@Stewart_Martin1) maybe you follow UberFacts. Well, according to one post I saw recently, love can be valued at $263,158 or £164,000 to those of us who like to keep things nice and British :). Now, I don't really agree that something like love can have a monetary value on it. People are worth lots more than any amount of money, whether it is friends, family or partners. They are all unique to us and part of our life stories in different ways. In the last 16 months or so I have lost 4 people who I loved all in unique ways that have disappeared out of my life story.

We all wonder that inevitable question "What If?" at various points of our lives. What if I had spent more time with someone?... What if I had said yes ... or even no? What if I had uttered I love you or told someone I loved them more?... What if I had shown more compassion... or even anger?  What if I did it all differently? Would this have changed anything? Perhaps, maybe I would feel less guilty about just little things I could've done differently before people died or simply walked out of my life for good. But the thing about the past is that it can not be changed, although I sometimes wish I had a time machine. We are all going to make mistakes in our lives, because that is what makes each of our lives unique, there was nobody like you on this earth before you and never will be again.

 If you are ever wondering What if? and are in a position to do something about it, than do it. Because life is to short for regrets. Say yes more, make contact with your old friends, don't be afraid to say I miss you, If you care about somebody than show them, always try to smile, tell people you love them and spend time with the people you treasure in your life.  I wish that I had lost £656,000 in the last year, that would have been so much easier to take away from me than the value of those people. Love is unique to each and every person which is what makes it so special I guess. No value should ever be given to the importance of love, it is priceless.  

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Burnley, top of the league?

I had always flirted with football at a young age but didn't really support a particular team. I had been to a few Burnley games with family but my dad was a Liverpool fan and Man United were the team of the moment. But it was James Mcdonough who swayed me to be a true claret. Since I have known him he has always been Burnley mad and by year 8 at school we had a season ticket together with some of our other friends and started following Burnley home and away. Stan Ternent was in charge and we finished second in the old division 2 as it was then. We were many people's favourites to come straight back down after that but we finished agonisingly close to the playoffs twice, something even a last minute Paul Gascoigne free kick couldn't help us with. I can't even remember where we finished the seasons that followed but it was somewhere in mid table, still I was sad when Stan Ternent left the club. He was the only manger I had known being in charge of the club and his last game was an emotional one for me. Steve Cotterill followed and quite frankly to be honest we were lucky to stay in the Championship while he was in charge with some of the results including a 19 game winless streak in 2006/2007. By 2008/2009 Owen Coyle was in charge and led us to the promised land of the Premier League, many people argued that our demise back to the Championship was the result of him leaving to our local rivals Bolton.

Since our relegation we have been mediocre to say the least but this season we have had the best start ever to a season in history. Yesterday we won 2 nil at home to the much fancied for promotion QPR with players in their side probably on double or triple the wage of our players. What I was impressed with and have been impressed with this season is the belief and confidence our players have against any team. For towns like Burnley, when the football team does well it lifts the whole town. If you have ever been to Burnley, you would understand the key part the club plays. Take a look around and there is not much there and for many people the only thing they believe in is the club. Pundits always seem to be amazed when our club does well, we are far from financially comfortable and have one of the lowest wage expenditures in the league. Just like the town our club is in, it has one of the lowest average wages in the country and some government advisors in a recent report have even said it should just be forgotten. Well our little football team is making sure that doesn't happen. We have the squad, manager and belief to carry on playing well and keep making our little town happy. Dare we dream of the promised land once more? YES WE DO!!!    

Monday, 21 October 2013

Excusez-moi parlez-vous anglais s'il vous plaît?

Excuse me do you speak English please? Although this is not the first phrase I learnt in French, it is certainly the most useful one I've remembered. One of the issues with British people is we are too lazy to learn over languages because we just expect everybody to understand us. I've just got back from a trade show in Lille ran by British and French suppliers. My French is not even basic, but I understand a little so naturally I was the go to person when my British colleagues wanted something and there was only a French person in sight to ask. I didn't mind trying my French because its not often I speak it at all anymore and anyway when I make I mess or I am really not sure I just utter "parlez-vous anglais s'il vous plaît" if they haven't started speaking back English first by then anyway because the majority of my french colleagues or the conference centre staff spoke some English. The big thing for many of the French people I tried to speak to was just trying and they appreciated it so much. Surely you would prefer it if somebody asked if you spoke their language in English first before just talking gibberish to you, right? 

I feel as a nation we are pretty ignorant abroad, everybody is guilty of it in some aspects. The classic line I heard in a French hotel at breakfast was "Well there isn't much English food here is there". Well, no there is not maybe because we aren't in Britain. We have already seen great advances in technology of all kinds meaning we can now trade and buy across the world in an instant and travel to places previously untouched or undiscovered by others before us. Maybe we should just try at least a little bit to all understand the place where we are visiting before we travel somewhere. Embrace the cultures that we visit and experience new and different things, that is the idea of  travelling surely? Or are we all going to carry on complaining about nobody speaks English and there is a lack of English food everywhere we go?  

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

What shall I do now?

I finished university in May and since then I have had plans to start a postgraduate course which fell through and so I find myself here. But where is here exactly? Well throughout my time at university studying I was lucky enough to have a job. For the past 3 years I have worked at my local DIY store, mainly at the weekends until recently. Now I find myself working full time hours there which obviously means more responsibility and more time spent there. I have always tried to do my best at work, especially when it comes to helping the customer. But since I have started full time I have been noticed more in doing a good job at work and appreciated by more colleagues. I have even been chosen along with 6 others to go to a trade show in Lille at the end of this week. But thats for a different blog. 
At the end of the summer in Malia, I did some soul searching and decided that I want to help people. The problem is I don't know where that is going to take me. I have a degree in International Business & Philosophy with an interest in just about everything. The choice that appealed to me the most at first was to be a teacher and help change the lives of young people. But whilst studying my degree I really liked the HR modules I did and helping people progress their career and  development seems also very interesting to me. The dreamer in me wants to change the world, so maybe a job in the Civil Service as a Diplomat is the right step to take? My current job is advertising for an "Aspire" programme to become a trading manager after an intensive 6 month course. I am currently applying for it, because strangely enough I actually enjoy my job. Its different everyday & I get to help people. Most of the people I have worked with over the past few years have made me have more passion for home improvement and our little store. Many graduates I know don't have a job at all so I know I am in a fortunate position to be able to apply for something like this. I am still not changing the world, but I've got the rest of my life to do that, right?  

Family Portrait

As I sit here listening to Prince on Spotify while trying to find the motivation to tidy my room up I glance at an old family photograph. It is from just over 3 years ago on my dad’s 60th Birthday. All 6 of us happy and together enjoying a family occasion, I smile at the picture and then tears begin to roll down my cheeks. I only spoke to my youngest brother this morning yet I miss every single person in the picture & wish we were all living in our little house on Dryden Street all over again before everything fell apart. I focus on my dad wearing his favourite Liverpool shirt and his happy face. Before he died I have never worn a Liverpool shirt in my life, but after we all wore one for his funeral I find myself wearing it more and more often to remind me of my dad. A lot has happened in 3 years and that was truly the last time all my family were happy together.

When my dad died in October last year, I was the only one in the picture not by his bedside. Sometimes I feel glad that I was not there to see the pain on his face in that hospital bed, but then I feel guilty. I was the oldest child and should have been there for my other siblings and my mum. Over the last year I have tried to hold it all together though and be there for my family. Everything else clearly suffered, the friends I pushed away, the friends that ran away, the failed relationships and my degree classification show that. I listened to Churchill’s advice a lot, I was going through hell and the only way to get through it was to keep going. At times mentally I thought I was done for, but some friends have helped, especially the ones that are still around now. My family has drifted so I feel like I failed them as well. Keeping myself away from the reminders of my father everyday was my coping mechanism. Every time I went back to Burnley it hurt an awful lot after my father’s funeral. I do not mean to seem distant from friends there or my family, it just holds memories that upset me.

I haven’t visited all summer, I never took my nephew swimming like I promised or went for dinner with my siblings. I have just engrossed myself with working as much as possible and then got away to Malia at the end of the summer to have a blow out.. Recently I tried to organise some time away with my siblings but I might as well not have bothered. We are all slipping away from each other and that bothers me. It was met with much scepticism when I decided to study at university from lots of people. But 3 years later, I achieved what many people thought I could not see through to the end. I know I am not perfect and I have made lots of mistakes along the way, life is no rehearsal. I just wish I could see my father cry with pride one more time. 

Me, Adam (Youngest Brother), Mum, Dad, Kimberly and Jason