I am not a massive fan of the term or word “disabled”  I feel if you let your mind think your disabled then you are. But as long as you remain motivated anyone with a disability will still be able to do anything they put there mind too. Over the past few months we have seen many people who have have disabilities living there dreams and being as able any any other able bodied persons. Be it the Olympic or the Dakar Rally. We all have dreams and if we put our minds to it we can do anything. Smirnoff the Vodka makers have the same sort of philosophy and have turned it into part of there marketing campaign. Have a look at the attached video to see what I mean. Minds and teamwork and you can do anything. 

So you can see from the vid above that with a bit of team work and a lot of positive thinking you can indeed do anything if you put your mind too it.

Be sure to check out my blog post about the Race2Recovery team that defied all odds to complete the most amazing and gruelling rally in the world the Dakar Rally.

So if you can think it……

You can do it !

No matter what !

Well if you have been following my blog for a bit you will know I have started to do a bit of running and last weekend (09/06/13) I did my first 10km road run. I have been working up to this race for a few months now and training was going really will up until a week or so before the race………

I suffered a little setback……

I slipped getting out of the shower and just about did the splits and injured my groin quite badly. So a week of limping and no training for me in the hope that I would be back to running form by the 9th. So I was feeling really good at the start of the race. Injury was feeling 99% better. Just a small minor niggle but I thought na if it stays like this all will be fine and this should be a great run. The weather was nice and cool on after a real scorcher of a day before. Gun (horn I think it was) went off at 9am and off went the 4000 odd runners for the Two Castle Run from Warwick Castle to Kenilworth Castle. As we all came out of the starting tunnel out onto the main road to start the 10km run to the finish we were all greeted by amazing sight of well wishers lining the streets of Warwick.

Me at the start of the Two Castle Run ( Race Number 3790 )

Me at the start of the Two Castle Run ( Race Number 3790 )

Just seeing all the people there was enough to drive me forward despite this little niggle in my leg . I felt I could do it! So onwards I pushed at a really great pace that I felt comfortable with and the first 2 or so kilometres were going really well. The support from the people around both running and spectating were pushing me along and I was happy with that until the 3rd kilometer. Then the pain set in. Sharp pain in my groin. So I stopped and walked for a bit. I had no choice in the matter! I was running for my chosen charity, the Terrance Higgins Trust ( please click the link to view more info on this great charity thats very close to my heart )  I had already surpassed my goal of razing £150 for them with an great total of £165! So the support of family, friends and even the Terrance Higgins Trust, who sent me a fab little card wishing me all the best and thanks,  I had to push on.

Average pace -Blue line = running  - Green = little faster than a walk - Red/Brown = Walking

Average pace -Blue line = running – Green = little faster than a walk – Red/Brown = Walking

So I took it as easy as I good so as to complete the course and not pull out. After all the support and motivation of others had got me this far! I was not about to give up now!

So often in life we try and do things on our own. Yes we can achieve great things in life on our own but man its hard work doing so. There is that age old saying ” Many hands make light work” and it is very true. With out the motivation from the support of others, even complete strangers like the good people from THT who sent a lovely card wishing me well, made all the hard work and pain worth it!

My Card from the great team at Terrance Higgins Trust

My Card from the great team at Terrance Higgins Trust

My Card from the great team at Terrance Higgins Trust

My Card from the great team at Terrance Higgins Trust

So I slogged along the 10km route knowing I had all this support behind me and people willing me along I pushed on to the end of the Two Castle Run and completed it! What shocked me more than just finishing it in the amount of pain I was in was the time I did it in! In all my training runs I was doing around a 10km/hr average pace but I had yet to even run the race distance. I had done between 7km and 8km but never the full 10km. It was a bit of an unknown to me but I had been aiming for around a 1hr 10min / 1hr 15min type of time for this race. Well I am please to say despite the pain and injury I did it in 01:09:00 ! So was quite pleased with that !

Finish time and stats

Finish time and stats

With a bit of support you can achieve anything!

With a bit of support you can achieve anything!

So the morral is let people help and support you along your life race. Even if its just encouragement from the side lines , draw on this and use is as both motivation and energy to drive you forward to achieve your end goal. It might even surprise you and how easy and how well you can do things with a little bit of support.

Again thanks to everyone who donated to the Terrance Higgins Trust via my Just Giving page and also to my family and friends who have been a massive support to me over the years and helped motivate me to achieve my goals in life. Without you guys I have no idea where I would be today.

I thank you all !

 

Lately I have been working the graveyard shift at work aiding in the support of a project. The hours do not thrill me at all 23:00 – 08:00 as swapping from a day shift to a night shift throws the body clock into a bit of a spin and you don’t really sleep well. On top of this sleeping in hotels where they do cleaning etc during the day does not help.

But we need people to be working at this time. I work for a large logistics company getting your parcels and important documents from point “A” to point “B” in a timely manor. If we didn’t do this at night you would not get your goods the following morning. Simples! But we are not the only industry to have the need to work nights. Local supper markets, they re-stock there supplies for us to buy during daylight hours and the medical staff in A&E are up and doing there bit to ensure we get the best treatment possible during an anti social hour accident.

But what really inspires me about these night owls who work away during the small hours of the night is their can do attitudes. A lot of them don’t get to see there family and loved ones as while they work there families and loved ones are asleep and while they sleep the rest of the world is awake. It cant be easy. Not seeing much sunlight and working the anti social hours. But they hunker down and get the job done. I guess they do get use to it after a while. Wish I could after one night!

So while you walk around during the daylight hours spare a thought for the night owls that have aided in some way to ensure that your parcels have been delivered on time, you local shops have there stock in place and the A&E staff where there for you or someone you know at some ungodly hour of the night or early morning. Without them what would the world be like?

Empty shelves, a lot of waiting for things to be done and peoples lives changing because they could not wait to have there little miss-hap at a sociable hour!

So to the night owls on the graveyard shift – I solute you!

But to the day walkers – please keep the noise down during the day as some people need to sleep while the sun is awake!

Dyslexia – not an easy word to spell

Love the irony of the above word. Why make it so difficult to spell if you have this disability. MMM there is another word I just hate – disability.

I have dyslexia yet here I am blogging with loads and loads of words. Yes it does take me a fair amount of time to string these letters in the right order to ensure that the able minded people who read my dribble can make sense of what I am typing. But it does not make me any less able than the able than the 13 year old that recently won the spelling bee with a Yiddish word “knaidel” Arvind Mahankali just finds it easer to do and he can spell in his head. Me I have to right it down and sometimes I have to do it a few times before I get it correct. And sometimes I have the right sounding word but not quite the write one (yes I know I have spelt right wrong there (or is it their?) I think you get the point)

I have had dyslexia for as long as I can remember.

But I don’t believe it has hindered me in any shape or form.

I am one of millions of people who have this condition. And I am one of millions who don’t let it be a disability or turn us into invalids as a result of it.

Some others who have this great gift are Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin mega mogul and Sir Jackie Stewart, the F1 legion. Both these great icon’s have not let the ability of not being able to spell a few words slow them down to become great men that the world respect and idolise.

Both Sir Richard and Sir Jackie were told they would not amount to much. I don’t think I was every told I would not amount to much at school as my teachers were never that cruel. But they used this negativity in such a way to drive them to be the best they could be at something that didn’t require spelling. Sir Jackie it was shooting and F1, Sir Richard it was to become a successful business man even when the odds were stacked against him.

For me its been that if I want to achieve something I will. Not moan and groan about it but to focus on it and believe in myself that I can do what I set out to do and come out on top.

Last year I did a course in leadership and management. (ILM) As part of this course I enrolled in college and had to be assessed in maths and literacy test. As part of the enrollement

I was asked if I had a learning disability. I said “No” as I don’t feel it is a disability. However the testing proved I did have dyslexia, something I already knew so no shock there! I was asked if I wanted assistance during the course as a result of this disability. I declined it! After all I had got to where I am today without any assistance so why start now? Simple – there is no reason for it! I am pleased to say I passed with flying colours ! Yes I had a little help from family and friends to proof read my assignments but with the aid of tech it made my life a lot easier (got to love spell check !)

All it means for me is I have to try harder. And I apply that to all I do! Just like Sir Rich and Sir Jackie! We adapt and move forward! Never ever be the victim and play the disability card. If there is a way there is a will. You will find a way round it this obstacle and come out on top. Life is not an easy walk in the park. You have to work and fight hard to achieve what it is you want in life.

If you do the above you will become valid and able and then you can achieve what ever you put your mind too!

Sorry its been a while since my last post.😦 just a busy boy and its hard to find time to sit down and type up a new blog. I have loads of material just not enough time to put it all into words.

One of the things I have been doing is taking up road running. I have always had a keen intrest in running. I have done a few road races in the past. I did the Lady Godiva half marathon back in 2008 and the Two Castle 10km in 2009, so its been a while since I did a road race. But now that I am feeling loads fitter than I have been in, possibly my life, I am ready for another one.

I have been finding it hard to find time to train. If its not the weather it’s other commitments that keep me off the road. I am still getting plenty of exercise in other ways, be it walking, circuit training or loads of swimming. My problem is I would much rather swim than run. So I am swimming fit and not running fit. My friends think this is an odd concept. If your fit your fit and you can do anything. When it comes to physical things this is not true at all. You have to train your body to breath differently and your muscles need to learn to move in a different way. So you might be able to walk 10km without any issues but run it that’s another story.

But mental fitness now there is an exception to the rule I feel. You can put your mind to anything. Be it running 10km or 100km. Yes you need to put in as much mental effort into your physical preparations. But your mental fitness will be just as strong if you can ace one achievement you can do any other. You need to be able to believe in yourself and remain focused on the end goal. I believe these are the two key part of the mental fitness. Your breathing and working the muscle groups of your mental fitness if you would.

I have the mental bit sorted. Hell this week I have swam over 15km (9miles ) and swimming that type of distance (2 miles of there about each day ) takes a fair bit of focus. Yes I know I could have used that time to get some road running in. But I did have the Manchester Aquatic Centre to swim in so how could I not ? Love it, great place. So many focused people training there.

So I know I can do it. No doubt that I can. Mentally I am prepped and ready to go. Physically mmmm well I know I can do 5km without too much fuss in around 30 mins. But I do need to do more running. So next week I am in a different part of the country so it will be a running week for me.

So I have a goal. Be running fit by the 9th of June to run the 10km between Warwick Castle and Kenilworth Castle.

But why ?

People have loads of reason for doing all manor of challenges. Some it’s for the glory, for others it’s the personal achievement of just saying ” I did that!” For me it’s the “I did that!”

But …….

There is always a but here.

Loads and loads of people run for a charity. It’s a great gesture to give back to something you believe in or wish to support. And I am no different on this one. I already donate loads to charity, but this time I am putting me on the line in the hope that others will be inspired to donate to my cause. So I will be running for the Terrance Higgins Trust. (THT)

Supporting THT

Supporting THT

Terrence Higgins Trust is the UK’s leading HIV and sexual health charity, providing a wide range of services to more than 100,000 people a year. The charity also campaigns and lobbies for greater political and public understanding of the personal, social and medical impact of HIV and sexual ill health. You can find out more about this charity here.

Why have I chosen THT ? I don’t have HIV but I have friends who ether have HIV or have loved ones who do in their lives. Back in 2008 I was fortunate to be part of a non profit organisation called North Star Foundation ( now called North Star Alliance ) My function within North Star was to project manage the setting up of road side wellness centres in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia. Other members of the team were setting up centres in East Africa at the time. Now they are all over Africa. These wellness centres provide long haul truck drivers, sexual workers and the community they operate in a free place to go to so that they can get sex education, HIV awareness and basic health care.

North Star Alliance

North Star Alliance

However while I was on assignment in Africa with North Star I could not help notice how much awareness and education there was for HIV and sexual transmitted infections. Quite often I felt I was in the wrong country and that I should be in the UK aiding the awareness of infections. The UK has no where near the amount of awareness that I have seen in Africa. We very seldom hear or see anything STI’s in the media here in the UK. Its quite a worry really and its for this reason I feel quite strongly that charities like THT should be supported so they can have the funding to be as affective as they possibly can be.

So please click on the Supporting Terrance Higgins Trust image to take you to my Just Giving page so you can donate towards this great charity and support me on my 10km run for them. Or you can just click here

You can also read about my African Adventure blog that I did while I was with North Star in southern Africa by clicking here. 

So people and events can inspire us but what about companies ?

I think they can and I have a very good point in case here.

Air travel is now as common place as catching any other form of public transport. Be it a train or a bus. In some cases here in the UK its cheeper to catch a plane from Birmingham to say Glasgow than it is to do the same trip on a train! Madness I know! The UK and Europe is full of low cost airlines that cart thousands of people to0 and from there destinations daily. But these trips have only become a mundane affair of airport security, customs, immigration and air line rules and regulations. Its all dull and hardly the excitement of the big thrill of flying any more. Hardly inspiring at all. They are all the same! Robots to the system! Lemmings to rules and regulations. Yes I know these rules and regulations keep us all safe and sound. But none of these air lines stand out above the rest as they are all so normal and so similar. Granted some offer slightly higher levels of professionalism and service, but at a price so you do expect it.

But are they really all the same ? NO !

South Africa in recent years have have a few of these low cost airlines but one of them will not be put in the same box as the other airlines. They want their own identity and to be known to be the airline that has broken the mould and that you can still comply with the strict aviation regulations and ensure a top class service without being too stuck up.

Kulula Airways in South Africa is breaking the mould in all manor of shapes and sizes.  From there really bizarre  and humours safety briefing to their humous livery on their plane’s ( examples of both bellow ) they make one hell of a statement.

I really love this airline, they are unique in the way they go about their business. They are not scared to show their true colours ( a very bright green so you can’t miss them ! ) and fly proudly being their good humours self. They go to show that you don’t need to conform or shy away from being yourself. You can be bold and a bit brash and still be noticed and respected.

So the lesson here is ……….

Be yourself ! Dont’ take life too serous, ever ! Laugh and people will laugh with you! And enjoy life and things will just keep getting better and better! You two can fly high above the clouds !

Photos and text were emailed to me so I can not vouch for the owner of them. The YouTube clips are credited by their respective publishers.

You have to love the livery on the planes

image001 image002 image003 image004 image005 image006 image007 image008 image009 image010

Kulula is an Airline with head office situated in Johannesburg. Kulula airline attendants make an effort to make the in-flight “safety lecture” and announcements a bit more entertaining.

Here is one of many YouTube clips about Kulula Airways – just search Kulula Safety Video’s for many more :  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMwy0hm8YGs
Here are some real examples that have been heard or reported:

On a Kulula flight, (there is no assigned seating, you just sit where you want) passengers were apparently having a hard time choosing, when a flight attendant announced,
“People, people we’re not picking out furniture here, find a seat and get in it!”

—o0o—

On another flight with a very “senior” flight attendant crew, the pilot said,
“Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve reached cruising altitude and will be turning down the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants.”

—-o0o—

On landing, the stewardess said,
“Please be sure to take all of your belongings.. If you’re going to leave anything, please make sure it’s something we’d like to have.”

—-o0o—

“There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane.”

—o0o—

“Thank you for flying Kulula. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride.”

—o0o—

As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Durban Airport , a lone voice came over the loudspeaker:
“Whoa, big fella. WHOA!”

—o0o–

After a particularly rough landing during thunderstorms in the Karoo, a flight attendant on a flight announced,
“Please take care when opening the overhead compartments because, after a landing like that, sure as hell everything has shifted.”

—o0o—

From a Kulula employee:
“Welcome aboard Kulula 271 to Port Elizabeth. To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seat belt; and, if you don’t know how to operate one, you probably shouldn’t be out in public unsupervised.”

—o0o—

“In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child travelling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are travelling with more than one small child, pick your favorite.”

—o0o—

“Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but we’ll try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank you, and remember, nobody loves you, or your money, more than Kulula Airlines.”

—-o0o—

“Your seats cushions can be used for flotation; and in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments.”

—o0o—
“As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses..”

—o0o—

And from the pilot during his welcome message:
“Kulula Airlines is pleased to announce that we have some of the best flight attendants in the industry. Unfortunately, none of them are on this flight!”

—o0o—

Heard on Kulula 255 just after a very hard landing in Cape Town : The flight attendant came on the intercom and said,
“That was quite a bump and I know what y’all are thinking. I’m here to tell you it wasn’t the airline’s fault, it wasn’t the pilot’s fault, it wasn’t the flight attendant’s fault, it was the asphalt.”

—o0o—

Overheard on a Kulula flight into Cape Town, on a particularly windy and bumpy day: During the final approach, the Captain really had to fight it. After an extremely hard landing, the Flight Attendant said,
“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to The Mother City. Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened while the Captain taxis what’s left of our airplane to the gate!”

—o0o—

Another flight attendant’s comment on a less than perfect landing: “We ask you to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal.”

—o0o—

An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the passengers exited, smile, and give them a “Thanks for flying our airline”. He said that, in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment. Finally everyone had gotten off except for a little old lady walking with a cane. She said,
“Sir, do you mind if I ask you a question?”
“Why, no Ma’am,” said the pilot. “What is it?”
The little old lady said,
“Did we land, or were we shot down?”

—o0o—

After a real crusher of a landing in Johannesburg , the attendant came on with,
“Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Captain Crash and the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt against the gate. And, once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are silenced, we will open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal..”

—o0o—

Part of a flight attendant’s arrival announcement:
“We’d like to thank you folks for flying with us today.. And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you’ll think of Kulula Airways.”

—o0o—

Heard on a Kulula flight:
“Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to smoke, the smoking section on this airplane is on the wing.. If you can light ’em, you can smoke ’em.”

Can a TV show inspire a nation ? Well the Olympic did during the summer of 2012. So why not a TV show that revolves round the Olympic sport of diving.

ITV here in the UK is currently running a show with a mixed of comedians, TV presenters, actors and even sports personalities. When it was first aired a few weeks ago, “Splash” was I guess you could say destined to “drown” in its own tacky way. But its one of them shows that seems to be growing each week with more and more popularity. I for one am a fan! I am not ashamed to admit it ! Yes ! Yes ! Yes there are scantily cladded men and women with not a lot on competing and its hosted by cheeky grinning Tom Daley who mentors these celebrities each week. But its not the eye candy that keeps me watching. No honest its not.

So why am I watching what I can only describe as being a guilty pleasure of TV ?  These celebrities are from all manor of backgrounds and fitness levels and way out of their comfort zones. It’s this being out of their comfort zone that has me watching it. Now I have never dived. I have jumped off the 10m board a few times but never entered the water with any degree of grace. And up until a month or so ago nor had many of these celebrities. Yet here they are week after week for our entertainment pleasure, putting themselves out there.

Sure there are loads of reality TV shows our there with celebrities and normal folks putting themselves out of their comfort zones but  high board diving your putting yourself at extrem peril here. In this show we have seen blood, sweat and tears. Yet these celebrities keep on pushing and talking more and more risks and proving your never too old learn a new trick or two.

Quite often you hear the celebrities talk about how much young Tom Daley have inspired them and how seeing how majestic and almost poetic his diving is and how that is the driving force for them to go the extra mile and push their boundaries just that bit further. For me its watching not just what Tom does each week to show the celebrities how its done but how they themselves face their fears and personal demons to achieve their end goal. That of trying to impress both the judges and the public alike.

So what can we take from shows like this ? We all have demons to overcome, some large, some small that can stand in our way of achieving our goals. At the end of the day no one likes to fail and we are scared of failure. But if we don’t push ourselves sometimes and take the plunge so to speak we will never really know where our limits are or what we can and can’t achieve

So take the plunge – who knows ………….

You might surprise yourself!