5 Years in IHDC : My story

5 Years in IHDC : My story

On the 21st of July 2010 I began my on stage journey. Back then I only had thoughts of seeing myself in lights. But after watching that year’s Iver Heath Drama Club production Bugsy Malone I envisioned myself being able to stand alongside some of those performers .

Back then I was different and so was the world. David Cameron and Nick Clegg had recently gone into Downing Street and everybody had blackberries.

There I stood in a village hall about to join a diverse group whom have now changed dramatically over the last half decade. Mostly for the better but there are still some faces who have gone in which I believe still have a place on stage and they will be missed.

From a largely youthful group (it still is in many ways) I instantly realized these younger people all had their own little groups within. Some even rivaled to each other. There was a somewhat negative vibe surrounding certain groups and a lack of long term cohesion. But this is something which has definitely changed for the better over my time there.

“People either see what you’re doing and follow or walk away.”

Today at Iver Heath Drama Club I firmly believe the group is the closest and most hard working ever seen down there, by me at least. Not to take anything away or tread on any toes of the past but I call it as I see it.

Back to year one, three weeks passed and it was audition time for the next show. That being Snow White. Being someone who always bites more than I chew. I went for a main part. On that day, I turned 21 and had also been given my first ever main role. I was cast as the man in the mirror!

 

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silver tights from my first ever role, take it in ladies

“There have been good successful shows and some bad, that’s the art of performance.”

In my first few years in IHDC a miniature revolution took place. A small influx of adult performers paired with our hardworking attitude shifted the gears in terms of standards. Shows got better, the performances got better, the production value increased and audience members spiked. They still improve today and without any arrogance, one thing I would like to say I contributed to is the hard working attitude that this crowd now have. It’s their core value.

“To make it in IHDC you need to have the right team working attributes and attitude for hard work. Fitting in and talent are two things that aren’t a necessity but they help. Overall if you are seen to be putting in a shift, the top parts will come your way. Trust me, I’ve been there.”  

Yes I have had high points, playing hamlet is one of my personal favorites and requires no introduction. Bringing our first ever Shakespeare production to life was challenging, the dialogue is something that present day people are not used to and gave everyone involved a bigger scope. Plus who doesn’t love wearing a shirt like meatloaf.

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Playing Hamlet alongside Richard Gittens as Horatio was one of my finest moments

But being granted the role of Robin Hood in an IHDC pantomine will always be my favorite achievement to date. The various promotional appearances and newspaper articles I made will always be a great memory for me. But it was hard work, being a name that people know carries an expectation, one that I hope did Robin Hood justice. That production in particular convinced me that things have changed for the better in IHDC, there’s a certain work ethic about the place now.

Even though I am kind of tired from Robin Hood I am still more than ready to take on another challenge.

Thank you to everyone who has had some level of involvement to IHDC over the years. It’s been a ride and one that will continue for me.

Next year my writing will come to life on stage when I bring my one act murder mystery farce Hotel Doom to IHDC. Performing with this diverse wonderful group has brought me confidence to write, to blog and to continue in all of my performance rated endeavors.

“The people I have met are my friends for life and what we have at IHDC is a family of ragtag sometimes dysfunctional queens, but they are my queens and we do well together.”

 

Here’s to many more years and below are some of the fond memories…

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Science up close: My experience

I don’t talk much about what I do between the hours of my average weekday, mostly because I am not really into mixing work life with personal. But over the weekend and for the first time in around 15 years my place of work opened its doors for the general public.

Now if you work in retail that isn’t so special but where I work is the very forefront of cutting edge science.

Science up close was an event that took place at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire this past Saturday. This was my first real experience, like many, of dealing with members of the public, who I can say were thankfully enthusiastic and wanted to listen to what I had to say. With anything that is half the battle, whether you are selling a book, or performing on stage, if the audience don’t want to be there, well the struggle is real.

To me this was a first because wherever I have tried to engage large numbers of people to gain their interest, it has been me trying to interest them. But before the doors opened these enthusiastic and somewhat curious group wanted to be there. Curiosity and questions is the very pinnacle of what science is. Finding the answer is sometimes the outcome.

Throughout the laboratory site there were many displays happening, mine in particular consisted of a high voltage electronic area within the central laser facility. This particular area known as the Vulcan Capacitor Bank (yes Vulcan, but there wasn’t a captain Kirk in sight, honest), powered the Vulcan laser. Now this laser is damn powerful and one of a kind. In fact so powerful, it’s unit of measurement is in Petawatts (1015 Watts).

So the capacitor bank works by charging up high levels of electricity and then discharging them through a flash lamp which in effect amplifies the Guinness world record holding laser.

flashlamp

A flash lamp in operation

It’s surprising how much you know that the general public will find interesting. This is an area which I spend my work time, carrying out repairs and thinking of not much else. Whereas the public and even staff set their eyes upon this set up for the first time and looked in awe.

The range of people visiting consisted of young kids who were interested in visual science to older fellows who had worked with electronics or science in their lifetime.

Overall my experience with the public visiting my place of work was a positive one. Early reports are suggesting the whole day went really well and around 15,000 people came to the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

It’s important that we have days like this, to inspire the future scientists who will equip us for this ever changing world.

me at work

Me at work in the Vulcan capacitor bank (blue cases are the caps) this area was open to the public

 

 

 

 

 

The Oxford Editors : A review

From my very few years active as a ‘writer’ looking to get published someday, there have been many things that I quickly and sometimes painfully learned. Now don’t get me wrong, many of those lessons were from my own making and this blog post is a resource for writers much like me who are doing their research.

I will have to begin this story from a few years back, but if you don’t then simply scroll down to the review of the Oxford editors. My naïve journey to publication was in its first six months. Clark Thorn and the Warrior Project also looked very naïve and well pretty much stunk in terms of everything a part from the basic story.

You haven’t need to go very far from the google search bar to find people who call themselves ‘literary agents’ and having exhausted the list of my ‘top picks’ the dregs were becoming my top choice. Hence my first lesson:

I received a reply from a person calling themselves an editor who worked closely with the agent in hand and that I would receive a reply soon. After some months I eventually got a phone call with someone, the whole situation didn’t feel right. The agent didn’t even seem professional or have an ounce of interest, however the editor showed some likeness towards my book. This eventually led to the agent presenting a piece of paper which I should sign (yes alarm bells are ringing). The editor wanted to go ahead and edit my book even suggesting a price. After sometime I backed out and ran for the hills. My lessons on this case study were:

  1. Looking back my book was nowhere near the standard of being put to a publishing house. So these people were clearly taking me for a ride
  2. The whole demeanour of the agent and editor team seemed off to me.
  3. They took no real interest and then began to offer me ‘contracts’ or ‘editing’ for a price
  4. They could see a naïve inexperienced author who could have been starry eyed.

Now the back story has been provided I can go on to my review of the oxford editors.

Sometime later and after using the editor (the one who wanted money for editing) and their free advice my novel began to take shape. But still the literary agents were rejecting left, right and center (they still are, sad face).

Maybe I needed my manuscript looked at, just to see if I was on the right track. Doing this from scratch and without an English degree really put me against the odds of ever finding any level of success as an author.

Eventually I found my way into getting a manuscript assessment. At the time just googling such services I came across the oxford editors. For an undisclosed fee they would look at my book, tell me the good things and bad. They would also provide some kind of book report. Sounds good right.

Ok so contact was made along with payment and the manuscript had been sent. Some time had passed and the person who would be assessing the book also made contact. She happened to be in charge of the oxford editors. Being told it would take 6 weeks I dived into editing my second book

More time passed, and more time passed. After a few months and much contact I eventually told them that making me wait for such time for such money was unacceptable.

Then it looked like this particular oxford editor then pushed the panic button as I was sent some half-done report with actually a good few advising points. By this time I had learned that maybe paying sums of money is only really necessary when you can afford to loose it, and nobody is really in that situation.

I accepted that perhaps I had been rolled over but used the few points of advice and implemented them to Clark Thorn and the Warrior project.

Right now it wasn’t looking good for the oxford editors and I was ready to get a review out there. But I decided not and waited.

This year rolled around and I received an email from the person who tried to assess my manuscript. Strange, I thought and decided to ignore it. Perhaps the inbox was being cleaned out. At this stage I accepted the assessment would never appear.

Some more months later I receive another email, it contained two attached documents. The body of the email went something along these lines :

“I was just cleaning out a few files on the computer and these appear to have
bounced back and then gone into the junk file, so I am not sure if you ever
got the entire report and on the script, I also marked in red some of the
many typos etc – I enclose a copy as it should be helpful. I have done a bit
to  illustrate where you are going wrong in grammar and punctuation. I would
really advice a good copy edit”

In all honesty I don’t particularly buy the above statement, but low and behold I had received a full manuscript assessment and the whole manuscript had even been highlighted for errors.

It had taken a whole year but I finally received what I paid for.

Right now I am implementing those changes and points to really give myself and Clark Thorn and the Warrior Project a fighting chance to be seen by the world.

The oxford editors were slow, and it took a lot of chasing. Books take time and so do they, parting with sums of money for this service is something you will have to trust your gut instincts with. Overall I am happy with the service although it took a year as opposed to 6 weeks.

Lessons learned

  1. Think long and hard about contacting an editing or assessment agency and if they have a reputation that can be trustworthy. Check them out, look up the people they work with and for on twitter.
  2. Money is something that doesn’t grow on trees, so really really think about parting with the cash before deciding
  3. Things take time, although the oxford editors should say that the assessment would have taken longer than 6 weeks they didn’t, but it will take time.
  4. Use the advice given to you, I know sometimes advice can be critical but make it constructive. Use it to get ahead with writing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jurassic World : Dinosaurs still rule the earth

 

JW1For many movie going folk Star Wars is the biggest deal for them this year, but not for me. This past weekend saw the sequel to a film that captivated generations of people and still does to this day. I remember seeing Jurassic Park multiple times and then spending ages trying to get hold of a forever sold out VHS copy.

Jurassic World did the same for me (apart from the VHS thing). As a proud 90’s kid I felt as if that era was on the line for me here. Our lives were in the hands of a not so known director Colin Trevorrow. His job, to bring back  something that many think couldn’t be bettered.

You know what many people will be right because Jurassic Park revolutionised so much and paved the way for modern film. But Jurassic World in many places bettered the work that Steven Spielberg did. Of course throughout the film there were moments that nodded to the first but this one had it’s own voice and that was achieved by making these dinosaurs the characters.

Instead of this being a ‘monster’ flick, the characters in this film include the dinosaurs. There is a great connection from an audience point of view to these creatures who have their own spotlight. They aren’t just CGI imagery, they mean something more than just monsters. You really feel for these larger than life beings that once ruled our world and that is something this franchise has never succeeded in telling us until now.

The park is open

We were treated to some stunning visual shots and the park really looked like what John Hammond envisaged

Again he concept of humans pushing genetics too far is center stage and they are rightly punished. An old story of human interference with nature resulting in disaster. Nothing new but delivered in a different way. A very much lethal cross bred dinosaur escapes captivity and all hell breaks loose.

For all Jurassic fans it’s right up their alley.

JW2

Bryce Dallas Howard holding a flare, I think we know what will follow

To put things right it is up to the main man Owen who is played by Chris Pratt, a velociraptor handler/trainer (yes there isn’t a manlier job, ever).

From this film he should go on to be the next Indiana Jones no doubt. His presence as the hero was simply brilliant. Joined by the park’s main administrator Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) they struggle to track down this dino-predator and the 20,000 visitors are now the prey. We do see an Indiana Jones style relationship develop here ticking yet another box for me.

Parts of this film were indeed scary and tense, something which delivered better than the original perhaps on a larger scale. I think comparison to the original is what this film was mainly about but to me Jurassic World stood taller. In the end it was up to the dinosaurs who closed the original, defending their honor.

JW3

Conclusion  9/10

This wasn’t just a film about monsters, in fact these creatures didn’t feel like monsters at all. They were characters in their own tale of how no matter what interference they have, life will find a way. The best film of the 90’s and it’s reputation was fantastically defended, Jurassic World did what the original didn’t and that’s tell us that dinosaur’s weren’t monsters at all.

No doubt I will be seeing it again in the cinema. A reported 204 million dollars taken for its first weekend, the T-Rex can still roar, and it’s louder than anything else this year so far.

 

 

 

 

Tomorrowland : A world Beyond, telling us we should all look in the mirror and have happy thoughts every now and then…..

There I was on Friday with my better half in a somewhat deserted cinema at the beginning of a payday weekend.

Tomorrowland our choice, having seen the trailer intrigue got the better of me and opposed my thoughts of watching Dwayne Johnson escape an earthquake.

tommorowland2

As the film opens we are faced with a ruggedly handsome George Clooney talking to us the audience. He speaks of how ‘this’ all began and every so often is interrupted by a girl (Britt Robertson) we also see some kind of countdown clock thingy. Off we go back to the sixties to when this all began….

There were two main stories in this film’s plot, one of Clooney’s character and the other of Robertson’s character who is based in the present day. It’s the usual set up for Disney, a plainish type girl living with a single parent and younger kid brother. She has a passion for science and seeing the stars. Who doesn’t these days?

Clooney’s story is one of discovery as a young kid and he pitches the idea of a jetpack to an invention panel at the world’s fair.  After only attracting the attention of a girl (Raffey Cassidy) similar age to him she hands the boy a pin with ‘T’ embossed in it.

This pin allows entry to via some kind of teleportation to a futuristic city known as Tomorowland. A place where all the best and brightest live.

There were some cool visuals as this boy discovered the city. Mostly CGI but on the big screen it looked convincing. Throughout this rather long winded introduction I was left thinking where is this going and what is it about? Those answers were coming but not yet.

Flash forward to the girl and within her seeing the stars passion fueled ‘Cinderella’ type story we are fed an interesting and thought provoking quote:

There are two wolves who are always fighting. One is darkness and despair. The other is light and hope. The question is… which wolf wins?”

“The one you feed.”

Cutting a long story short becasuse I do recommend this film, Tomorrowland (the place) has fallen to sh** in recent times. Clooney’s character has left and come back to normal land. This girl  receives a pin and using it she see’s a ‘version’ of that place.

Desperatley wanting to know more she finds Clooney and after some convincing they make their way to Tommorowland

Imediatley they are apprehended by Hugh Laurie’s character, a somewhat leader of Tomorrowland. This is near two thirds into the film and we finally find out what this they are trying to tell us.

The countdown we are shown at the beginning is from a device, that Clooney invented and predicts when the modern day world will end. Even though Hugh Laurie played a smaller part in this film he brought a top level performance of a man who had accepted humanity’s fate. He delivered this via a very powerful self reflecting speech,

“You’ve got simultaneous epidemics of obesity and starvation, explain that one. Bees butterflies start to disappear, the glaciers melt, the algae blooms. All around you the coal mine canaries are dropping dead and you won’t take the hint! In every moment there’s a possibility of a better future, but you people won’t believe it. And because you won’t believe it you won’t do what is necessary to make it a reality.”

 Powerful and deep stuff right? As expected from Disney because they love an undertone or two.

tommorowland3

The main cast, a decent mix of known and lesser known faces

So the world is going to end in a matter of months and that’s it?

Wrong. The girl realises this world ending predicting device only shows what could happen and not what will happen. Back to our feeding the wolves quote, she theorised that if you be positive and live positively the world won’t end.

Yes this stuff is quite deep for Disney, I was surprised and intrigued at the same time. After an altercation they destroy the device which seems to have a death grip over everybodies negative thoughts and the world is saved.

So my question to you is which wolf do you feed?

Tomorrowland slowly built up in a long winded discovery sort of way. It was good to see Disney create a live action original piece and this film wasn’t just a George Clooney film. I give full credit to other mostly younger performers in this film and recommend it just because it has a thought provoking level of intrigue not seen in modern or past Disney productions.

Not many people will get the film or what is trying to say, others will turn it off before watching it all. Applied thinking is needed for this film to be effective. But overall I enjoyed the visuals and action.

If you are looking for a different option to the mega action smash fests we have seen so far this year then check out Tomorowland. If you’re just a George Clooney fan, you will probably be disappointed that he shared screen time with some less known faces.

I liked it. With a month that will be dominated by dinosaurs and running and all the screaming Tomorrowland was a nice change of pace.

tommorowland

A giant leap for world football perhaps?

Hopefully a leap in the right direction because no matter what decade or competition of modern football taking place there has always been some form of controversy shortly following.

This week FIFA (the world governing body of football) was rocked to the very core by corruption allegations and several arrests were made. Now anyone who has taken a following to football will know that FIFA and maybe all football organisations are or can be bent in some way. Many accept it for what it is, what can the average fan do about it?

hand of god

The famous ‘hand of god’ went on to help Argentina beat England in the FIFA world cup, yes the goal counted

I can count with all of my fingers and toes after coming away from a game thinking something else other than athleticism is at play as to why a team won. The poor decisions made by referees intimidated by players, managers in their ear and maybe more. Players themselves even sometimes deliberately doing something they shouldn’t. The money involved in football is stupid, to the point where it can cross over to crime. A world cup will produce a major payday for the host nation. Maybe if they ‘influence’ the deciding board in FIFA they can get their way.

This is one of the many allegations brought forward by the US justice department.

I will go back to the US in a moment but the sport of football is very easy to corrupt in certain favours. Compared to other sports such as tennis and cricket who both use third umpire type technology to make a decision leaves no room for error or ‘control’. Computers can make the decision.

hawkeye

Hawkeye technology used in tennis

 

The sheer way football is refereed at match level is so easily fixed. In rugby if a decision is looking shady the on pitch referee will talk to an off pitch referee over a microphone broadcast to television audiences. Nothing to hide.

Why hasn’t football got this? Because FIFA and the other bodies below them wouldn’t be able to corrupt the game in their favour of a bung or bribe. Money again.

Only recently has goal line technology been introduced (world cup 2014) and is used in the english Premier league but previously Sepp Blatter made no efforts to do this for the wider world.

The truth is, football governing needs to change. It has been needed to for a very long time.

Getting to a point where United States government to get involved means it is serious. Nothing against their agenda here because there is always an agenda or something to gain with them. But something has pissed them off. Maybe the fact that these accusations to FIFA officials of taking bribes, racketeering and wire fraud that used US banks could have something to do with it.

We are still in the wake and sights of a large financial crisis, the US banks have somewhat recovered. But this sort of behaviour towards them doesn’t look good for the 14 people accused.

Today we see the rather unsettled FIFA take a vote on who their leader will be next. The choice is either Sepp Blatter, or Prince Ali bin al Hussein of Jordan. A new face and a change could lead the charge against a corrupt free world of football.

sepp

Sepp or the Prince?

The English Football association and European football governing body UEFA have both indicated a boycott to future world cups. If enough nations get on board then things will have to change, it’s needed. For the sake of the game.

 

 

My book update : Options….

It was around March/February of this year I sent out my manuscript to the various powers that be protecting the gates to publicationville.

Only a few rejections have trickled back to my inbox since then. I did once receive a reply over a year since submitting, guess they are busy rejecting other writers. Not that I am bitter, these literary agents have to make a living somehow and choosing my crap maybe isn’t for them.

Slowly and in an orderly manner I am accepting the ‘standard’ way of publishing my book won’t work for me. The whole pander to an agent by telling them what my book is similar to simply isn’t my style, it never will be. Editing a book can only be done so many times. So in this ever growing world of reliance of internet I have to address my options.

Option 1

Self publish my book – This will involve mostly all costs coming out of my creaking wallet. Editing, cover design and formatting onto amazon are all things I am not a professional at. Therefore they will cost me. I consider this option my last resort, by that I mean when every other idea has been tried several times.

Option B

Keep hitting out to literary agents, maybe I will get lucky – This one is wearing thin right about now, but I will start a new campaign sometime later this year when my self-esteem has re spawned. Although like the lottery you need a ticket to be struck by lightning twice. I like those odds.

Option C

Crowd Funding – Let the ‘people’ decide – This depends on what crowd funding outlet I choose. Some you can just sign up and go where as others such as unbound you have to apply, in which I did yesterday. Thanks to Matt for pointing that one out to me.

Option 4

Give up, become a guy that used to write. Say that in bars in a half drunken slur to a much younger bright eyed version of myself – Although the promise of a constant booze top up sounds nice it isn’t viable for my liver or livelihood. Plus I’m better than that to give up now, I hope.

Option E

Mothball the Clark Thorn series – This is a very viable option, I started all of this as a back story for the Jack Thorn series, now I know that story I could just move on. I do have an idea for a horror story also.

 

Even after glancing at the options I have to keep going. The weekend after completing the first draft of my third book I am back editing the first one. Hey maybe combining the options could work, I may just get lucky and the good people of unbound may see something in my book. But I am definitely mothballing the whole being drunk in a bar thing.

 

 

 

 

 

The Nutrition post: Are you what you eat?

Famously ‘you are what you eat’ was said by somebody sometime and diets are a big thing these days. With the emergence of more diabetics, heart disease patients and obesity; eating right has never been more in the spotlight. Social media, the modern tool of society heightens it further.

If we are so aware of what eating ‘wrong’ can do then why are so many people’s health situations steadily declining?

I ask this from experience because nearly ten years ago I checked myself into hospital with rather severe chest pains. They gave me a gown and hooked me up to several measuring devices. During that time inside I was immensely worried. Anyone else would be. Many questions were asked and the conclusion they came to was digestive related. Acid to be precise. They prescribed me pills and I went away.

Over the last ten years I have suffered from acid reflux related problems and the start of this year particularly has been quite bad. I would like to state that I am not over weight and neither do I eat that ‘badly’. Being on acid stopping pills can only do so much and that is where society comes in because the nature of eating is going wrong.

You can only throw so many treatments and pills at somebody but after all that it still won’t work.

After some extensive research I can say that I am not eating ‘badly’ but neither I am eating the right things that counter acts the over production of acid within the stomach.

Everyone is different so we all have to find our own healthy mediums. But here I am at 25 having to drastically change my diet. Why? Because I was never aware or told what certain foods can do once inside the body.

Many times I have visited the doctor and not once have been really informed what is causing my reflux. Without shaming or blaming my doctor they can only do so much in a few minutes they get to diagnose and send me on my way.

But that is the problem as a whole, people are just not informed by what food really does to you. Top athletes will all say that nutrition is just as important as training and yes they can put percentages on the packaging but that still doesn’t clarify what’s happening on the inside.

I’m using myself as a case study here and it isn’t to give out diet advice and how to loose weight but simply to the lift the lid on this subject of what different foods really do to you.

The internets is a world of resource and to me is the greatest tool of the modern man, for information. Here’s what I already knew: I have an acid problem, it’s painful and uncomfortable. The acid can spread to other areas of the body and can cause weird pains.

From many google searches and from remembering school science I came across something called the PH scale. A measure of how acidic or alkaline something is. This includes food.

food ph

Now we are getting somewhere. But my findings concluded that what I eat on a regular basis doesn’t do enough to balance the stomach’s PH scale. Below is my now defunct usual weekday diet.

Wake UP – No breakfast, Cup of tea

10am Yoghurt, Cup of tea

12 – Lunch – sandwich, tomato soup and (or) tomato pasta and fruit, cup of tea or canned carbonated drink

1400 – Yogurt

1500 – Black coffee

1800- After gym snack – Usually glass of milk

1830 – Cup of tea

1930 – Dinner (large meal)

From the list above there isn’t much that actually acts as an alkaline in the stomach. Some of you will recognise the dairy part of my diet and research suggests that most dairy products remain neutral to the scale. So there I have been eating mostly acidic foods and trying to neutralise my stomach with yoghurt, which at best will only tip the scale back to neutral. That is until I have bread or pasta and then my pre gym coffee the scale goes back to acidic. Another conclusion is too many hot drinks and the larger meal at the end of the day. Right now I am suffering from tea withdrawal but that’s part of the struggle.

It would seem I was on a constant loop but then it gets a little more complicated. My understanding of food and what it does has been completely changed. Because foods can be defined as alkaline or acid forming. An example and this blew my mind:

Lemons although incredibly sour and contain citric acid are actually alkali forming inside the stomach.

Mind blown, I’ve been doing this all wrong.

Mind blown

 

Then my research concluded:

Most dairy is acid forming in the stomach!

These two examples show even a layman like me honestly has no idea about nutrition and what foods do once within.

A healthy stomach is one within the center of the ph scale. Having a one sided acidic diet over time can cause problems. But the outlook is good because most alkali foods are well known vegetables and fruits. They are largely available and normally quite cheap. On my studies I found a rather nifty website with some decent info.

Of course before changing a diet drastically talk to a doctor and remember balance is key.  Your thoughts? Do you have a strict diet or do you eat whatever you like?

 

The Hell Fire Caves : A paranormal (sort of) Adventure

Ghostly stories shrouded in mystery. History of speculative happenings deep below. A place where hauntings are said to be frequent.

 Turn out the lights and read on, but don’t shower alone or go into the woods because there could be tears before bedtime…….

hellfire

I walked through the dark and cramped corridors that lay below a west Wycombe hill. Known as the hell fire caves, just the name can suggest what this place could have once been. The cold damp air puts a chill in the atmosphere suggesting and maybe fueling ones imagination that this place might even be haunted. The dark can have a way with one’s mind, especially when the imagination is thinking what could be there.

Hopefully I have enticed you enough to read on because my experience of the hell fire caves turned out to be better than expected. Some could argue it was something from nothing, but isn’t that how good experiences are born?

So there we were putting our token through a flimsy unattended turnstile and heading into an arched white washed corridor. There were pictures and writing displayed, you can read most of that on Wikipedia, I said and I did some time ago. There was a level of intrigue for me considering the stories surrounding this place.

The man made and cut corridors were narrow or low in places. Most surfaces were damp or cold to the touch, every so often we were shown a caged display of some manikins. If you looked at their eyes they would follow you.

hellfire2

Pretty scary huh?

Of course during this experience there were the usual high jinks of a group of friends. The ample choice of nooks and corners gave us scope to hide and jump out on people. Maybe that was the design. Deeper we walked and to a grand opening. A banquet hall once. The loose stones below my feet crunching.

At this point there wasn’t anything that really appealed to me or to say ‘yeah go the hell fire caves, check it out’. We delved deeper, the floor slanting angular downwards. Low light hid the many corners and coves as we came to the final chamber. Four or five period dressed manikins were set up in party scene, but maybe more than that happened during the times long ago.

Around we turned with ‘is that it?’ in our heads.

Continuing back up to where we came, the banquet hall again approached. Our group headed up the slope of the cavernous corridor and as we did there was something. In the shadows I saw a small girl clutching a teddy bear.

That wasn’t scary

hellloComing out into the larger much better lit banquet hall we all discuss what we just saw. Implications such as we were the only group in the area, this little girl was on her own all the way down here. At least five of us saw her so the ghost idea immediately diminished.

Deciding to go back she was no longer there.

 

She’s probably got back to her group

But did somebody see something else?

Thinking nothing more of it we continued up and past the hall. All the time on our minds was the girl, for me her safety, to others maybe ghostly suggestions. The hell fire caves had got into our heads. This thriller had now become psychological.

Getting closer to the surface we took the decision to turn back and see if we could find this ‘girl’. The heart was pumping and at this point we ordered those with torches on their phones keep them on.

There was no way she could have passed us, we would have seen her.

Our group split and we took a parallel path each and went separate ways. Along the cold dark we went, several feet crunching on the floor. Coming to an opening there was light, of the other half of our group. We met and then split again as the paths did.

Not being a believer of such things (due to lack of experiencing things) I led my team. The people behind cautiously peering around corridors as opposed to my clumsiness. We came to another corner where the path of the others would meet. Me being first I stepped out into better light. I looked down to see the girl standing in the centre, with closed eyes and arms wide. The teddy in one hand.

My heart jumped.

The amount of witnesses quickly extinguished any chances of this being a ghost. She was really there and with other people, but for only a second I was in a horror film.

banquet

The Banqueting Hall

The hell fire caves; was this experience heightened because of the place? Is there something else at work playing on our minds? Either way it made a good afternoon. If you check out the Wikipedia page there is a few stories of the ghostly persuasion. Nobody knows what happened during the hell fire club’s short reign, but we all know something certainly did.

You can see footage of our experience, there is even a mystery mist near the end of the video……

cave encounters

 

 But just remember it’s not the dark you should be afraid of, it’s what is lurking in it………

 

Check out the photo below, is that the arm of a person or someone else in the background? Sleep tight……

hellfire3

 

 

 

The General Election : Britain can certainly moan

From glancing ever so briefly at social media over my weekend it’s safe to say people are rather unhappy with the outcome of the very recent UK General election. In fact I couldn’t name one person I know that is genuinely satisfied with the result.

Did people actually get what they wanted?

Is that the state of modern politics? People are somewhat becoming used to getting something else as opposed to what or who they voted for. Instead of vent and rant with an opinionated spat on the internet, I would rather look at little deeper as to why there’s some grumpiness right now.

The disgruntled are in simple terms reacting which is an effect. Writing 101 states that every cause has an effect so what is that cause?

all parties 1) The SNP Revolt

I sat next to my good (partially drunk on Asti) friend Matt Streuli as the election results came in at the rather wee hours of Friday morning. The theme at that time was SNP taking seats from Labour. Rather quickly a Scottish revolution became apparent. We even saw history right there, the youngest ever MP aged 20 had been voted in.

Now without voting numbers and proportions aside, the Scottish folk are obviously looking for change, with the referendum theme still fresh they looked for this change through Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP. She wanted to get the Tories out and said this more than once during the debates (remember that, it’s important further down). She even offered to collaborate with Labour to do this, but was there any other choice?

2)  No coalition is better than a coalition

Down south most of the voting public were thinking either red or blue. We knew that team yellow proved to be irrelevant to Downing Street this time around. Ed Miliband of labour didn’t spend the last 5 years as prime minister, David Cameron did (elected or not).

 The devil you know?

The exit polls suggested this early on. But voting an all conservative government in is just an effect of the SNP wanting to get the Tories out. How would they do that, by teaming up with the only other party as big as conservative, Labour.

Again we are seeing people use their vote for a different agenda.  Think about it carefully for just a moment. Conservative got in because people didn’t want another coalition of two parties who hadn’t seen Downing street recently. It really is a case of the devil you know but this time there is no conscience of Nick Clegg on Cameron’s shoulder.

The minority of Scotland posed a threat to the majority and led to the election of David Cameron.

Conclusion 

That’s how I see it anyway, and even after looking at the first past the post rules and proportions. UKIP had a good day in terms of votes but were marooned by these rules.

It will be an interesting 5 years, seeing what Scotland will do, of course the deficit and borrowing. Will they put the rubbish of the deficit into just another bin called borrowing? Food banks, an issue that is ever increasing, how many will we see in 5 years?

There are some things that you can’t blame the past 5 years for. Our interest rate is rock bottom, but the world economy is still recovering. For me it will be interesting as in the recent budget they promised more control over the science and research budgets.

I am optimistic for now, but then again nothing ever works out how you expect it to.

 

political map

polls