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Saturday, 26 January 2013

Chapter 3 - A story about ice and a gas called Mercaptan

It has been a mental week without many actual events if that makes sense? I’ve hurt myself (in more ways than one), I’ve been challenged, I’ve laughed hysterically, I’ve nearly finished writing the final track on my album (and yes – I realise that last week I had also “nearly finished it” – but this time I have – I promise) and I’ve danced on ice (sort of).  But there will be more on some of that to follow…..
I’m going to start this week by answering a few of your questions:

What is your worst habit? (Asked by Keely & Hayley in the office)
I’m sure that Cass could suggest any number of things….. One example would be leaving the toilet seat up – something to which I’d respond to by suggesting that always leaving the toilet seat down is sexist and that a rota system should be discussed…..

But no. My worst habit is probably farting in really inappropriate places (and then giggling like a school child about it). Occasionally (and I’ll openly admit this to you) if the smell borders on vomit inducing I have been known to blame the dog….
Incidentally – Heinz Chilli Beans + Wholemeal Toast + Kiwi & Lime smoothie = A smell that cannot be devoured by any amount of air freshener. You have been warned.

What are you scared of and why? (Asked by Jason over email)
Insects. Definitely Insects. There are thousands upon thousands of different species most of which are very small. And the idea of really small creatures climbing over your body and sneaking up on you is not cool. Especially when some of these creatures are very very poisonous. Small creatures that can sneak up on you and poison you. How is that not scary?

I went to Sri Lanka once with some other friends and one of them woke up with loads of bite marks on his back. We cut the side of his mattress open to discover a mass of red ants inside. Not cool at all. On the same trip I inevitably had “some stomach problems” which resulted in me constantly needing the toilet. At one point I was so desperate that I ran into an outhouse to go to the toilet. I lifted the lid up and out of the toilet bowl crawled the biggest spider I had ever seen in my life. Picture the scene in slow motion. It was like a countdown to an explosion whilst my mind figured out what was happening. 3. 2. 1. And….I screamed like a girl (admittedly not my manliest hour). The giant earth eating spider ran away and still desperate for the toilet I kind of hovered over the toilet bowl (obviously in case some form of hybrid mutant jumping spider emerged…..) and positioned myself just in time for the rapid fire pellet gun in my body to start firing. A feeling of relief came across my body as I finished. Until I realised that I had forgotten to take toilet paper with me……

I should also mention that balloons terrify me (which doesn’t work quite so well when you work in an office which has regular events). I hate the noise they make when they explode. I hate the sound they make when being blown up. And people rubbing balloons against their body seems a bit like Russian roulette to me. Why would you want to risk something making a massive noise and startling you? Why risk something exploding in your hand? Crazy. “I’m going to pull a pin in and out of a hand grenade to see if it explodes. And I’m going to do it for fun”. Makes a lot of sense…..

I’ll try and answer some questions each week – so please feel free to email them to

Anyway. About my week…..

Continuity note……
You might remember that in the last chapter I gave away a hint suggesting that two resolutions were going to come head to head. Well in fact – the current situation has meant that they haven’t ended up doing so (yet) – which is just as well to be honest – because I had no idea how I was going to get around not giving the game away on both of those resolutions. I’m sure that there will be more on those resolutions and an explanation of the situation to come in a later chapter though…

Cast List

Wayne Berry
Throughout the coming weeks and months I’m sure that I will mention some nights that I (along with loads of others – more on them at some point as well) promoted in various venues across Cheltenham and Gloucester called “the Faction”. Well – one of the doormen at my favourite venue (The 2 Pigs) has returned to my life over the last couple of years but in a different role….As the partner of Cass’s oldest friend Apryle. Fun loving, strong, dependable and with a heart of gold – Wayne is great to be around – even if he is a Chel$ki fan.

Apryle Newbery
Cass’s oldest (Not age wise. Just clearing that up) friend and someone that whenever I see her is smiling (Something which amazes me as she has 4 children and after spending an afternoon with all 4 last week – I was exhausted – so I’ve got no idea how she does it. I’ve got so much respect for her for it though!) Lovely personality and fond of a bit of a party…Annoyingly though is completely immune to hangovers…..

I should probably start my journal from this week by mentioning that thanks to this “small cock up” I haven’t really done that much besides working, sleeping, perfecting a new art of sleeping in the shower (cleverly combining getting ready for work and napping) and increasing my dislike for France. So I’m just going to mention one day from the week

Friday 18th January saw me wake up to snow (and quite a lot of it for this country). It’s fair to say that I love snow. It looks amazing and unlike other people – I will try my hardest to be out in it.  I’m like a big kid. Walking through untouched snow is such a great feeling – and I like it so much that I walked to the cinema to watch Django (incidentally – great film – but poorly edited).
In the evening – Wifey and I took a trip to see our friends Apryle and Wayne. After mocking Cass for deciding to wear wellington boots on the walk over (it’s fair to say that at this point the snow had turned into an ice rink) I promptly slipped over and broke a bottle of wine in the process. Cass was amazingly concerned for me and my wellbeing – perhaps unsurprisingly I was more concerned about the rest of the bottles in the bag. Luckily – the rest were intact. The rest of the journey was uneventful (ish) and then the chaos began…..

I LOVE spending time with friends. I love it even more when there is wine and beer and games and Apryle’s AMAZING lasagne involved. Unfortunately my memory of the evening is somewhat blurred (and in later points blotted out completely) as wine and beer evolved into wine and beer and shots and gin. It shouldn’t surprise you to discover that I got slightly (understatement of the year so far) merry. After falling into a lamp and (by all accounts) ruining a number a card tricks we left to go home. I got out of the door and walked to the road. My legs slipped and I landed with a smack on the floor. I led there and refused to get up. In fact I led there and refused to get up whilst giggling to myself hysterically. At this point I remember no more until waking up the next day….I know that Wayne walked us home (I now know that it took us an hour and a half to travel what should be a 20 minute journey – how he had the patience to do that is beyond me – so words cant describe how grateful I am) and I also had a late night phone “conversation” with another dear friend – but you’ll find out more about that conversation and the friend as chapters progress I’d imagine……
Needless to say that I woke up the next day with a few injuries (both physically and to my pride)……my elbow for instance still hurts slightly when I put weight on it (as well as having a small gap where I’m sure some bone should be). I also woke up completely ashamed that I’d got myself into that state and that for the first time in a long time I’d needed to be looked after. I’d also woken up with questions burning from my conversation with my mystery friend – but again – more on that at a later date.
The inevitable question that you may ask though is that if writing this part of the chapter caused me pain – why include it? It’s a question I admittedly asked myself. But as I said back in Chapter 1 – I want to be able to learn from mistakes as I read back over these stories. I can’t do that if I filter out my mistakes into what I want you to know about me – for by doing that I could always choose to simply show you the best side of me. Perhaps writing these stories for you can show you more of me - A guy who makes mistakes and (hopefully) learns from them.
I love to have fun and it’s so important to do so – but this time I went too far. I’m lucky and eternally thankful that I had some friends and a wife to look after me when I needed it most. They all set an amazing example of what friendship should be that night by being there for someone (me) in good times and bad. I wonder how often I forget the second part of that in my relationships with people - and how often I must have been forgiven in the past because of it. If you’re reading this and I have at some point let you down – then please accept my apologies and thank you for showing me such grace. I’ve learnt my lesson.

Driving To Safety…..
On my way back from the cinema last Friday I saw a curious thing. In Gloucester we have a shop called Go Outdoors. You might have seen them advertised across the nation. They basically sell every form of outdoors thing ever. Things like tents and skiing equipment and gadget style things that turn urine into fine wine. They were also advertising their offers on winter safe driving equipment (presumably taking advantage of the weather) at the front of the shop, in the local paper and (as I later discovered) on the internet. As I walked past a massive queue of people DRIVING into the car park on the iciest and snowiest day of the year to pick up this safe driving equipment I couldn’t help but wonder if the whole thing was slightly self defeating….

And Finally….

In a potential heads up on next week’s cast list I can finally reveal (I’ve been sitting on this for ages) that Dan and Christine Flynn are due to have their first child in July. How do they fit into my life? I’ll explain next week but I am very excited……..
Last week I also mentioned that a couple of people had finally got engaged…..congratulations then to Adam Legge and Hannah Cooke who I’m sure will be in my cast list very soon……

Oh – and I’d also like to give a shout out to everyone in my office. It’s been a mentally busy week (mainly thanks to the French) and I’d just like to thank you all for making me chuckle along the way.

I’ll leave you with this story….it should make you smile – oh and this one should remind you of the dangers of texting whilst walking....

Have a great week – and follow me on the twitter: @andifoster

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Chapter 2 - A story about cereal, Run DMC and HMV

It’s safe to say that I’ve been blown away by your feedback from the last chapter. As an update – the twins are doing well (Charis is now 4lb10 and Joey is 3lb1). Obviously we’d all really appreciate your thoughts and prayers to hope that their health continues to improve……

Ok – so what have I been up to in the last week?  What has been going on? Well – as I take you through a selection of some of my more interesting moments from the last week - hopefully you will begin to get an idea about my 10 resolutions…and what they could be……

The Journal Selection

Cast List:
Cass Foster (Wifey) – My amazing wife. Pretty much sums her up!

Andy (Captain) Varley – One of the first people from the farmer lands that I met and without question a true friend. Is very fond of action films and he has his own personal ranking for films based on the theory of something being so bad – it’s great. (Example = Expendables films)

Matt Mortlock – Producer, friend, companion and legend. He’s behind some of the greatest moments on my EP (and quickly approaching album) – as well as some of the funniest that haven’t made it (which I’m sure he’s saving to hit me with later). I’m blessed to be able to spend so much time with him and that he took me on as a project!

Simon Padley – I’m utterly convinced that Padley created the phrase “blag it” – but Padley is very clever. Because although he comes across as disorganised – he actually has a very good idea of direction......He is amazingly humble (apart from about his hockey skills) and great to be around. He also has a slightly unnerving ability to be able to speak truth into your life no matter what the situation. A great leader, a great father (to his rapidly expanding family) and a great friend.

My journal starts on Tuesday last week. Picture the scene. I’m sat in my front room in my dressing gown at lunchtime with a rather epic bowl of Special K, Sky Sports news on the tellybox and my iPad in front of me with garage band open and ready to rock. I’m seriously procrastinating though as I’ve actually been sat like this for 30 minutes already. I should be writing the music to the final track (called “Breakthrough”) on my album. And whilst Garage band is open – Football Manager is as well –and my Wycombe team is marching up the premiership….. I must doze off at some point though because I wake up with a startle (probably complete with dribble) to a knock on the front door. Getting up quickly (as you do when you have a wife understandably moan at you for regularly missing the postman) I knock my bowl of cereal (complete with milk) all over my groinal region creating a rather large patch of white mess. Not wanting to miss the caller I run to the door and open it. The caller is not the postman or a delivery man – but in actual fact is my next door neighbour. She looks me up and down and sees the cereal accident all around the lower regions of my dressing gown (and by accident – I mean explosion). “Busy are we”? she says. “I was just, err, watching TV”…… She lets rip a wry smile that I don’t really understand (until later) and we have a conversation about something with her giggling throughout. The conversation ends and I turn away shutting the door behind me. As I do so I hear her start laughing hysterically through the door – and I have no idea why until I go upstairs to finally wake up with a shower. I take my dressing gown off and instantly see why she was laughing. Without realising – I’d sat on some mud that Milo the destroyer had brought in on his paws. Not only was my groinal region caked with a quite massive cereal patch – but my arse was brown. What a start.
That evening I took a trip to Hippo House recording studio to see my pal and producer Matt. My album is due for release at some point this year – but because of the Christmas period we’ve had a bit of a break. So this time with Matt acts as a “state of the nation” session – working out exactly what needs to be done to get the album ready – or at least to get the album ready enough to get the live drums done.  We listen to the tracks and take a listen to some of the stuff that Matt has been working on (Incidentally – Matt is awesome). We then re-listen to an early mix of one of my songs which sounds more like an 80’s dance anthem. And by that – I mean it sounds really really bad. We laugh at how bad my voice is on a number of tracks (at this point – Matt also chuckles by turning my voice into Justin Bieber) and we then restart the debate on whether it is inappropriate to include beer-can opening sounds on a Christian song (The debate continues….have your say). The evening finished with some quite fantastic car dancing to Run DMC – and lets face it….that’s a positive way to finish any day…
The next day started in a way that I have come to expect. “Scraaaaaaapppppp Ironnnnnn. Annnnyyyyyyyyy ollllddddddd irrrroooooonnnnn.” You don’t want to know the language that comes out of my mouth at this point……I don’t know about you – but these scrap iron things really annoy me. And the worst thing about them is that they will without fail come the morning after I’ve finished a night shift. And why do they come more than twice a week? We don’t have a secret iron mine underneath our house! I go downstairs and put the dog in the garden to stop his attempts at trying to smash through the window to assassinate the iron people (at least this is what I’d love to think he is thinking – in truth I think he just wants to play with them).
Back to bed. Eyes close. As I start to drift off I hear a jingle in the background. I try to ignore it but fail. A minor rage begins to brew inside me. I hear the dog start to bark in the garden. He has heard the noise as well. WHAT IS AN ICE CREAM VAN DOING IN JANUARY????  The van passes – I finally drift back to sleep.
An hour or so later there is a loud knock at the door. Postman or delivery man – it doesn’t matter – the same rules apply as yesterday. I will be in sooo much trouble if I miss either.  I throw the covers off me in something that must have looked like a military film and in one swift move do some form of backward somersault away from the bed. Or that was the intention. For my backward somersault thing actually completely overshot the bed and I landed on the floor – with one of Wifey’s shoes digging into my back. Despite the pain – I got myself up and ran downstairs. I opened the door to find……
That I had opened the front door to a charity person knocking my neighbour’s door. I quickly shut the door and hid in fear they would come for me next.
That afternoon I went with Captain Varley (real name Andy) to watch Jack Reacher – potentially the most average film released in the last year (incidentally – I’m pretty sure that was my #onelinereview). Don’t take my word for it though – as I was distracted by spending the whole film working out if (and how???) Rosamund Pike looked younger in this film than when she was hooking up with Brosnan in Die another Day 10 years ago……… Afterwards I think we both also let out a secret cheer inside when we saw some mouthy young ragamuffins (a word that isn’t used enough) being told off by the police…..

Thursday afternoon. Saw the Hobbit. Loved the Hobbit. Should have taken a cushion. (If you haven’t seen it yet – take a cushion)

Fast forward to Saturday afternoon and after I’ve spent a morning in the office I come home to spend an afternoon (extending into evening) on the sofa with Cass catching up on the TV shows we have missed in the last week. I have no idea what we actually did watch though – so please don’t ask me!

Sunday was a busy day. I spent the morning in the office writing a (rather sarcastic) Health and Safety brief and then came home to watch a film called the “Perks of being a wallflower” with Cass. Although the film in itself is far from perfect – it’s a heartfelt tale with some real guts in its story for tackling an issue that is often pushed to the side. What you think is a simple coming of age story is actually much more entirely. And some of the challenges it throws at you are real challenges. It’s certainly a film that made me think.
In the evening I was part of a hosting team for an event that I (co) organised with my friend (Simon) Padley at a church in Cheltenham called Elim. The event was a service called “Seek His Face” which brings together people from different Churches to worship together as one community. Whether you go to Church or not – and no matter what you believe – you will have seen on the news or have some knowledge that Churches in general don’t work together.  And that is one of many reasons why these events are so encouraging and fantastic to be part of. Oh – and that evening I also discovered that two really close friends had finally got engaged.  The party is approaching on April 13th……    But I’m sure that you will hear more about that nearer the time….

This brings us to Monday evening and Les Miserables. And WOW. A story of grace, love, forgiveness, redemption, selflessness and of finding hope in unexpected places. (I hear you singing Rihanna....) I left the cinema feeling emotionally drained and strangely challenged. In so many of the situations how would I have reacted? In some cases I’m ashamed to say that I would have done the opposite to whatever the correct decision may have been (whether consciously or not). The quest to be a better person means that sometimes you need to fight the desire to take the easy option. In truth - In the past I haven’t always done that. But it’s time to make a change. Challenge accepted. (And no I haven’t just given away a resolution)…..    

As a quite serious spoiler alert – in next week’s chapter - two resolutions come head to head..........and hopefully the names of the newly engaged ones will be well as some other rather exciting news.
Oh - and by my count - I've given away hefty clues to 4 of the 10 resolutions in this chapter....

And on HMV......

It’s really easy to gather an opinion on HMV being skint through Facebook or the Twitter – but until you properly look at what is going on yourself it’s hard to see the whole picture. But what is happening to HMV now is not dissimilar to what it did to 1000’s of independent record shops (what goes around comes back around).
A lot of people are mentioning HMV’s failure to adapt to the internet as their main fault – something which I don’t disagree with. But with sites like Play and Amazon starting with the internet they automatically had a head start on HMV. HMV also invested strongly in its video games market at a time when the internet was just taking off – a decision that has never really paid off. It’ll be a sad day with no HMV on the high street (although rumours this morning are that a quite massive company are looking at HMV) and i genuinely feel for all of the staff members - but something is for certain. This time it really will be HMV’s biggest ever sale.

Follow me on the twitter @andifoster

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Chapter 1 - A story about twins (and a clown called Blatter)

The Pitch
In the really annoying piece of time between Christmas and New Year - someone asked me the inevitable question about what my resolutions were going to be for the coming year. At this point I should mention that I have never been a fan of resolutions before – mainly because I struggle to stick to them. And let’s face it – any resolution which involves not eating junk food as a resolution will be broken by the end of New Years day. So my reply to this question was probably laced with some form of thinly veiled sarcasm or a generic answer like “I’m going to try and be a better person”. I’d imagine it was also followed by some form of struggling to smile smiley face. But you get the idea. I couldn’t care less about New Year resolutions – and those of you that know me will agree. Or at least that was the case until I started to think seriously about what my resolutions would be. And my list of potential resolutions was a big list. A very big list. An almost depressingly big list compared to other peoples. Whereas some people had 2 or 3 resolutions – I had 10 (In truth I stopped at 10…the list could easily have gone on and even as I write this now there are some really obvious things that I’ve left off). Was I being really picky with myself and my life? Were other people just more realistic with the number of their resolutions or did they just choose easy things (like “after taking a dump I will use toilet roll instead of sandpaper”) from their lists?

As you can probably imagine – I didn’t bother over analyzing my thoughts on the matter (much) but as you can probably guess by now – I made 10 resolutions (some of which are more like guidelines). And yes – I am going to tell you all what they are. But not yet. You see – as I mentioned before – I struggle to stick to stuff (incidentally – that would have been resolution number 11) – so how (you might ask) am I going to stick to my resolutions? The simple answer – is you. I will make myself accountable to you. But not by giving you a list and asking you to hound me. No. I’m going to write each week about my life (1 part journal – the type of which starts next week, 1 part story, 1 part question / worldly observation) - and hopefully within the journal parts (especially), stories and potentially ranty observations (spoiler alert) you will be able to work out what my resolutions are. At the end of the year – I’ll reveal the list and hopefully we can look back and see that I’ve stuck to the 10. If not – at least if I write for a year I’ll have crossed off number 11. Glass half full people…half full. I hope you join this journey with me and hopefully you’ll laugh (and maybe cry) along the way. But before we start – I’ve put together a few things you might like to know… (Which I’ll probably add to throughout the year):

  1. I will not rant about Arsenal….there are other places for that.
  2. My faith will be mentioned at times – so deal with it. What I will say though is that it’s not MY secret agenda to preach at you. Just know that He loves you. (If you have any questions about my faith – then please get in touch).
  3. I certainly don’t mean to offend – so if I do I’m sorry. I’ll add it to next year’s resolution list.
  4. This is written just as much for me as for you – A) I want to remember what I learn from the year. You know those moments where you realise something really important but then you forget. Hopefully writing this will mean that I won’t forget and can in future be a fountain of wisdom (Don’t laugh) B) I want to remember the mistakes I make so I can try and not repeat them.
  5. At times these writings will be brutally honest. I make no apologies about this – I’m just giving you a spoiler alert.
  6. Because of last year (and to give myself a fighting chance) – resolutions started on January 2nd this year….not the 1st

The Twins
Cast List:
Andy Howson – Friend, geek & colleague that will happily moan about ANYTHING. Is very fond of Strongbow and Jaegermeister – but has now started the process of giving up drinking (for four months) as a New Years resolution (although he has written some loopholes into the deal). I love having him as part of my life (although a volume button is occasionally needed). Underneath the mouthy exterior though lies a father that would do anything for his daughter and a friend who cares much more about others than he would ever let on.

Naomi Langmead – Friend & colleague that has an uncanny ability to always make you smile. Wants to marry / elope with / kidnap Johnny Depp. She’s one of the most caring people that you could ever meet and within moments of meeting her you could be telling her your life story. Despite being initially shy it’s worth noting that at times she is an utter poser. Oh – and don’t let her anywhere near technology. She will break it.

Naomi and Andy in 2010 (Captions welcome)

Earlier this year – my little sister Naomi (I appreciate this could get confusing as I’ve put another Naomi in the cast list – but rest assured the other one doesn’t appear until later) and my brother in law Sam called me with some exciting news. She was pregnant. I was going to be an uncle for the first (official) time. Cass (my wife) was going to be an auntie. Overjoyed – we started preparing to have an extended family.
A few months later I had another phone call from Naomi. My mouth opened as I listened. I was going to be a double uncle (yes – that is a real thing). Naomi was expecting twins. Excitement didn’t cover my feelings.
A few months passed by…….

In early November I received a message from Naomi after she’d had some hospital appointments. To cut a long story slightly shorter – the scans were not positive. The 2nd twin was much smaller than the 1st. The consultant gave Naomi two likely potential scenarios (to help you imagine the severity of the scenarios – in the 2nd scenario only one twin survived). We were distraught – (and if we were like that I’ve got no idea how Sam and Naomi coped) but they asked us to pray for the twins. We prayed and hoped that the next scans would be more positive.
Slowly – the scans started to bring more encouraging news. The smaller twin was growing and although the situation certainly wasn’t resolved - it was a lot better than we had hoped. The consultant decided that Naomi would have a C section on the 2nd January – over a month before the twins were due – but a safe date. We started to prepare.

On the 22nd December I had a call from my mother. Naomi had started having contractions and she had been taken into hospital. There was no further information about the twin’s health or anything. But as the 2nd January was the “safe date” and this was 11 days beforehand you can imagine the situation. To top the phone call off - my Gran had also been rushed into hospital. Shell shocked – I put the phone down and Cass started to ask me 101 questions about what was happening. Like a typical man though – I had no details about the questions she was asking. When she asked if I was ok I said that I was. My mind though was running every single scenario through my head. Not just for Naomi and the twins - but now for my Gran as well. Each question and each moment was already bringing more “What ifs” into my mind and I just needed to be able to shut down…or at least to think. I already had plans that evening to be meeting Naomi and Andy (this is where the other Naomi comes into play so keep up) for a few drinks – so rather than cancel I decided to go.

I went upstairs to get ready and all of a sudden a feeling of anger came over me. Why was this happening to my family? I felt so helpless. I don’t know what your opinion of praying is – or how you pray – but I started to rant – at God. And because I’m useless at opening up – (even to Cass sometimes) – I opened up to God in an angered volley of “if this happens” and “why!” (On reflection – it must have looked funny though). As I got out of the shower a different feeling came over me and I broke down in floods of tears.  I emerged a while later. I didn’t tell Cass what had happened (and in reading this – it will be the first time she has found out)

In the car on the way to Naomi’s house – Andy asked me what was wrong - so I told them both (talk about an evening killing moment). Without planning it though – Andy did the right thing and simply chose to ignore it as he wanted to have a good night (either that or he just knew that I didn’t want to talk about it). I finished texting the vast majority of my phone book asking people to pray for Naomi, Sam, the twins and my Gran. By the time we arrived at Naomi’s house, I’d received over 50 amazing messages back and one from my mum mixed in amongst them. Naomi (sister) had gone into labour.

At Naomi’s house – It’s fair to say that I was a mess (I have to learn that situations like this + booze do not mix). Naomi was being very careful with what questions she asked me. She could tell that the face I was wearing was my bad equivalent of a brave face. Hours passed and I hadn’t heard anything. Naomi got in a strop because “we’d hidden her camera” – only to apologise 20 mins later because she had actually put it on charge. Then my phone rang. I answered it and took in as much information as I could. My eyes started welling up again and I started to shake.
I was now an uncle to two beautiful nieces. And despite being small – both were ok. The best Christmas present ever and their safety and health is something I will forever be thankful for.  

You might ask why I didn’t mention Naomi and Andy much despite them being cast members – and you would have a very valid point. But let me tell you what I learnt in those few hours spent with Andy and Naomi that evening. A good friend knows when you want to talk and when to let you think. A good friend is with you through good times and bad - and a good friend knows when you want to have fun and when you need to have fun – even though you might not know it. The reason Andy and Naomi aren’t mentioned much is simple. They will never be able to remember what they did to help me through that night – but they will forever be remembered as part of my story for the evening. A story that I will certainly never forget.
Despite all of that though – I shouldn’t have left Cass at home alone that night. Knowing how hard I found it (even with others around) made me think about how hard it must have been for her. We are partners in life – at times I forget that. So that’s another lesson learnt.
Oh – and another one…..Fireball whiskey mixed with apple juice (whilst very nice), will leave you constantly on the toilet the next day dumping like a machine gun……. Just a heads up.

 (And a clown called Blatter)
Some of you might have heard about a story this week in which an A C Milan football player walked off the pitch after being racially abused by the fans of another side. Well - a chap called Sepp Blatter has now got involved (the president of FIFA) and whilst praising the player’s courage for walking off the pitch - he has condemned the action of it.
I was asked for my opinion on this earlier in the week – so here we go:
If Mr Blatter and his organisation actually had the balls to do something to teams with racist fans and players rather than fining them the equivalent of a packet of polo mints then players might actually start to believe that Blatter and his posse of clowns actually want to kick Racism out of football. Until then – players should be commended for taking action. 

That’s it for this week - I hope you enjoyed the first chapter! Next week will feature a massive clue as to one of my resolutions so be prepared. Please feel free to send me any questions on anything that you want to ask about (I really don’t mind what you ask) and please share the chapters as we go along with your chums…. – oh and follow me on the twitter: @andifoster