Infrequent updates on here make it quite easy to gloss over things that might have happened over a matter of months let alone days, such is the lot of the infrequent blogger.
However, 2014 has been a pretty seismic year for me so far – it kicked off (almost) in a clinic undergoing a bone marrow donation and leads to here – and it was picking up a letter from Anthony Nolan last week that prompted the prose really. It was the best letter I’ve ever had, I think – it was short, it was quite impersonal and it was non-specific – but the gist of it was that the young boy who was recipient of my stem cells is still alive.
There’s no more detail than that to report – but it’s amazing news nonetheless and hopefully my chosen inference that he continues to battle and recover from either Leukaemia or Lymphoma is an accurate surmise on my part. Whatever extra time that procedure has granted him is a blessing, but of course I dearly hope for a full recovery. I’m looking forward to hopefully further positive updates which are likely to arrive over probably years rather than months.
Thinking back to January is a bit strange – I was living in a home I part-owned (admittedly Leeds Building Society owned most of it, but still), in a long-term relationship and worked at the same company for getting on for a dozen years. What a difference a few months makes as I now find myself temporarily ensconced with my ever-dependable parents on the verge of selling the house, no longer in a relationship at all and a week and a bit into working for a new company.
Sometimes I have to pinch myself a bit to make me realise quite what a shift in circumstance I’ve undergone – and whilst of course such decisions aren’t made lightly, with particular pleasure or indeed easily I do think the big picture is positive albeit deeply unsettling for someone who generally takes comfort in stability and predictability. Oh, I became tattooed as well, which was also a special moment as I had the honour of being inked by the lead singer of one of my favourite bands (a band who continue to go from strength to strength, having just smashed the twelfth Beautiful Days festival!)
Most seismic of all was that I became an Uncle! Emma gave birth to Arlo who has already packed more into his first few months than many children will in years – including a trip to Ibiza! He’s naturally been to the Parrot Zoo already as well! I’ve never really paid much attention to babies before but it’s definitely different when the baby in question is such a close relative – I’m really looking forward to seeing him grow up – he’s already got a Forest season ticket despite being too young to take advantage of it (or should that be be punished by it?!).
There was profoundly sad news in that time too – in June my (our, really) three birds became two as Phoebe succumbed to suspected kidney failure – despite picking this up quite early unfortunately the vet wasn’t able to do anything for her and she passed away having spent the night with the vet ready for further examination in the morning. I won’t lie, it was pretty devastating not least for Cat who was estranged from her (but mercifully did get to see her shortly before the end) and Frankie who was very much her partner in crime.
So, once the house is sold and sorted and I’ve settled into my new professional life which involves trekking out to the West Midlands (and indeed, oop North quite a bit) I’ll be in a position to make a better call about what to do more permanently about my living situation. I’m reticent to move my personal life away from the comfort of Nottingham but I’m also mindful that I’m already looking at an hour commute (with a fair wind – and the schools are off) here in Hathern, Nottingham would add half an hour or more to that potentially.
Decisions, decisions! But in the meantime I need to get to grips with a new industry – I’ve inherited a great team which I’m really thankful for so the ‘new kid at school’ feeling has been minimised as much as possible, but obviously I need to get up to speed and settled before deciding how to settle other matters – so that’s the plan, get the house sale finished, then take the opportunity to save like buggery to try to make whatever next move I make as easy as possible and preferably with as small a mortgage as possible.
Coupled with that of course there’s a new wave of football optimism with Stuart Pearce taking the helm at Forest. Not unplaced “we’re going to win the league” type optimism (although we might!), more a relief that the club seems to be on more of an even keel on the professionalism stakes – I find myself daring to hope we might enjoy a bit of stability and long-term planning rather than the series of knee-jerk tactical misjudgements we’ve been subjected to over recent years.
Having the chance to witness Psycho’s return to the City Ground against Blackpool was a special moment that I’m sure all Forest fans relished, especially those of us of a certain age who idolised the man as a player for both Forest and England. He’d have to do a lot wrong to lose the backing of the fans, so let’s hope that Fawaz takes our lead and gives him time to build a sustainable and hopefully successful future for the club.
So all in all, a pretty eventful few months in most areas of my life that are important – but apparently change can be good, and I’ve been surprised at how well I’ve been able to adapt to some quite significant differences. If you’d asked the Alan of a year ago of the likelihood of all this happening then he’d have probably laughed a bit then run away to hide in terror – but in truth as with most things I guess the thought of change can be a lot more scary than the act.
I have absolutely no idea why I’ve decided to chronicle all this beyond perhaps hammering home quite how much has happened recently for my own indulgence. So if you’ve read this far, yes, this is a very self-centred post!