Breath Of Life

The life and times of Mr Mark Allen....

Friday, July 29, 2005

Great-grandfather Was A Cricket Star!


....Oh how that picture never fails to amuse me!

So we had a tornado in Birmingham only think of those things happening to Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz...not Our Dot from Small Heath.

Perhaps it is not coincidence I had a conversation with E.S yesterday about Toto - the band, and the dog. Spooky eh?

Why do people say 'good weather for ducks?' Has anyone ever asked one? Quackers expression...

How are my raindrenched Blogfans today then?

It was visitor central yesterday. H and I came across on their way down South. H was Dad's first girlfriend and I is her man.

Then BB and JB came across and we took them to New Life (cheap clothes place) and Phoenix {cheap oddments place) - not that we are cheap people or anything! lol

We were looking at family photos on the way back...It is weird that I have NO close relations on Dad's side left. How bizarre.

On his dad's side most of them lived to be really really old too. Its just a strange thing. I am the only-son or an only-son of an only-son...what are the chances.

Do I get 7th son of a 7th son-esque powers?

I found out my great-grandfather played England standard cricket for the MCC and was asked to go an an England amateur tour of Australia in the 1920s.

They wanted him to play for Middlesex...But he wouldn't because of the travel involved would have meant leaving his wife for long periods.

He also played for Wealdstone and Tufnell Park football and London Amateurs.

Why didn't any of their skill and expertise get passed down to me?

On a cricket note...I wrote a piece on the Ashes Party which went in The Mercury this week...if you want to look out for it!

Yesterday I wasn't too well. I am always a bit ropey the day after the hospital. I put it down to all the nasty bugs at Heartlands (did you see that documentary?)

But today I was feeling a little better so we went to Lichfield..Gilesport and H&B smiley people weren't there but I did run into Mrs S (as in James, Phil and Claire)

She saw me getting my breath outside Marks and Spencers and presumed I had been shopping there...'When I win the Lottery' I replied....and bought a ticket!

Jo + 5! AND just ONE DAY left until my remix of Erasure's Here I Go Impossible Again appears on the band's official website (July 30th) and I need you ALL to vote for it (Sparky Mix)!

Click here to e-mail me

Click here to see my photos

(FYI: Beauty salons across Britain are reporting a
drop in profits... now that the Metropolitan Police
are doing Brazilians for nothing...)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Munchkins and Medicine

Hi Bloggettes, How is it going this fair morrow? What do you mean it's raining?

Yesterday I had the Cannock experience....uneventful apart from the millions of munchkins celebrating the first week of their school holidays...

Kroptops (named after a German) are fine on people without rolls of fat..girls! And the girl with the ridiculously tight trousers....People were visibly wincing...

We bumped into C.S (my Godmother's daughter) and found her brother's step-daughter-to-be is KW....who apparently knows half of Cannock now you know.

Hospital today was as nightmarish as usual. I was up at 7am and the car had to be poacked with overnight things in case we got 'the call' and several hours of oxygen.

My consultant was away and another one saw me (Miss R) and despite my lung capacity rising ever-so-slightly (yet again!) she wanted to change my antibiotics (yet again!)

But this would have meant FIVE sessions of nebulisers a day (4 X 2 drugs which I do at the moment is bad enough)...So after a chat with the physio we reversed!

I wouldn't have time to leave the house! and the exercise I get during the day is probably keeping me well and infection levels stable - could well be saving my life.

The urine test (hope your not having your tea!) I did last time wasn't tested for what they wanted it to be tested for at the lab so I have to repeat that next time.
I also had to have a blood test...(Never a pleasure!)

IF I am still not in Newcastle this time next month my IV antibiotics start again (three times a day)...

They have suggested a 'long line' (which is exactly what it says on the side of the tin) so it lasts for the whole two week course rather than me having to keep getting a venflon put in at local hospitals a la last time!

The down side is the long line is bloomin' long! *shivers and shudders

Well...It is Jo + 3! (You know what I mean...)

AND just three days left until my remix of Erasure's Here I Go Impossible Again appears on the band's official website (July 30th) and I need you ALL to vote for it (Sparky Mix)!

Click here to e-mail me

Click here to see my photos

Book : Finally finished Charlie Connelly's Attention All Shipping The Shipping Forecast book!)
Music: Raveonettes (My newest favourite band!)

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Jo + O!

Blogketeers! Good morrow to you all and welcome to more tales in the key of life.

A bleary-eyed Sunday morning site saw Mr D pick him up as the only two survivors of the usual Sunday lunchtimers to make it for pre-dinner drinkies.

Although our number were amply bolstered by The Mozza....who counts as three anyway. (Bless his lil pink cotton stockings....Ooops I know too much!)

Hair of the dog is a good thing....but I reckon that mut is bald by now!

I had a pleasant surprise Jo T was there (a lovely personage I knew from my Radio Cracker days)...She is now a teacher..Why weren't my teachers that good looking?

Anyway...She saw me on the TV and we promised to keep in touch. Good thing. As she may be reading this I will do a counter for when I next hear from is Jo+0.

When I am recovering from my big op I will have plenty of energy for coffee sessions. In fact pre big op I am loving the coffee sessions with friends. They really do keep me sane! They do keep me going! (Gossip is a good thing too!)

Mum and I popped over to the The Stimpsons (there are so many Mr, Mrs and Miss S people I am going to use their name!) It was Mrs S's b'day. (Keener readers will note I said Stimpsons and not Simpsons...Uncle Dickie DOES look a little Homer-esque though!)

Her oldest son J was there....I haven't seen him for about 8 years. This is what happens when I do silly things like going travelling for three years!

His step-daughter to be knows the S family who hosted the Ashes BBQ...small world.

Remember folks just SIX DAYS left until you can vote for my mix of Erasure's 'Here I Go Impossible Again' on the band's offical website! I will put a link up near the end of the week...mwah!

Above pic....How we used to look in the 'old days'....(Our 1999 squad!)

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Ashes to Ashes


Spent enjoyable Saturday at the S family's Ashes Party ....(An excuse to drink lots of alcohol, bet on stupid things and raise money for CWCC!) AND the neighbouring house was where Aussie fast bowler Glenn McGrath's wife's family lived!

As the England wickets fell the empty can mountain grew and the BBQ cackled...all within spitting distance of my abode...(if I was one of those prune spitters who can spit a prune for half a mile or so anyway!)

It was good to get away from the mundane normal Saturday routine. And when I have a few ciders inside me and am watching a random member of the G family do random could just be like old times.....well almost.

My Photo (I need the blonde hair again for it to really be like old times!) Of course I haven't got glasses and rarely have my halo on...but apart from that! Ok, ok I just liked the picture and wanted to get it in somewhere ok!

It was good to see the ever-so-lovely LJS again too! But for some reason I am always ever-so-slightly surprised to see her with black hair. It just hasn't sunk in yet...

I am ever-so-slightly (read highly!) jealous of her London lifestyle. She is on speaking terms with more bands than me....We can't have that can we? You wait until I am ever-so-well girl! lol (The nail thing is in hand by the way)

It was a 'four cylinder' event for me. Which means I took two oxygen cylinders with me. Nipped home for medication (that sounds odd!), nebulisers and the like, and re-filled another two. By the end I was zonked due to the happy rigours of the day!

Me thinks a rigour is a good thing which must be encouraged because I had very bizarre dreams Tim Burton would have loved to bottle and film...

Friday, July 22, 2005

One Year On....Feta Cheese and Vines

Bloggettes! Hiya chucks (and chuckettes)....Its been a strange day's dream...('till tomorrow)

Ashes series...17 wickets taken on the first day! Whoever wins this one its gonna be great entertainment (unless you've bought tickets for Sunday and Monday!)

Ashes Party Tomorrow at ES's place! Bacon butties at dawn..

Back in the real world. The washine machine went kapput and we went to Curry's and ordered a new one. It was a make made by Hotpoint for Curry's so wasn't any cheaper on the net.

Since Dad died I don't think there is ONE mechanical/electrical thing in the house that hasn't malfunctions....(I haven't worked out if I am mechanical or electrical!)

I went to the F family's Burntwood mansion yesterday to partake of fine cuisine and lots of chat. (I went to school with KF and NF - the twins)

It is always good to catch up.

Friday we went to see The Vine Man in Lichfield Market...There is a great recipe for feta cheese in vine leaves I must try....

I was so wrapped up in thoughts of culinary pleasures I almost forgot to pop into Gilesport! The smiley girl was occupied and I didn't buy anything.

BBC C and J came by this afternoon to give us the lastest on the editing of 'Life On The List' The latest is we may not make the final edit.

But they have a complete 12 minute section of the stuff they filmed with us and they may try and farm it out to Midlands TV if it doesn't go in... Hope so!

It was good to chat to them and I am sure we will all be useful for each other in the future..(so to speak!)

They did tell me some of the heartbreaking and fantastic stories that have come out of the filming....It will be a tremendous documentary series...with or without me.

They need a quota of ethnic minorities in the seried to try and encourage them to donate and go on the register....

I don't think blackening my face with boot polish would go down well?

On a more sobering note it's now been a year since my last false alarm call. :( I was rushed up to Newcaslte-upon-Tyne twice in a week. Ho hum...scary.

I am so scared I may have to wait another year. It is very upsetting...

Click here to e-mail me

Click here to see my photos

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Brownhills and Hard Drives.


Today I got a call from my transplant team in Newcastle...(Deep breathe in) but not to offer me new lungs....

I had written to them about some of the media stuff I am doing and it was just a social call....(You can exhale now)

At least it keeps me in their mind... :) (Good thing!)

Tuesday saw my regular jaunt to the freakshow some call Brownhills Market...(ah the joy - smell the sarcasm, or is that just cheap mobile van market coffee?)

I was meant to go to Mrs S's for dinner but she cancelled so I toggled along with mum to TG Max(X?) in Stafford. It is spanking new and next to a PC World...

They are strange bedfellows those two places. The former contained trendy people looking for bargains, the latter the terminal(ly) untrendy looking to increase the size of their hard drives...(ooer missus!)

I bounced between the two (like that spacehopper that I am still to use)....That just about sums me up really! :) lol

Today I saw Vickie P (also of a 'Tale Of Two Vickies' keen observers of this blog will note) and Baby G...

We ambled down to the PG for coffee and saw several people for a chat....The PG is just about the right distance away to give me exercise without exhausting me too much...

It is also nice to bump into village folk. We watched some horses jumping (with people on them) and saw lots of people walking/pushing babies...

I have concluded babies are like kittens...only not as cute or clever....
Gardening buffs will no doubt be thrilled we will be eating potatoes grown in our back garden tonight (Don't all leap around in ecstasy at once ok!)

JB seemed to have had a good birthay by the way and actually seemed kind of sober when I rang up in the evening.

*LJS.....I enjoyed our little textathon this morning!

*If anyone of you caring, sharing people knows why I can get my animations and fancy graphics to work on the college computers (which use XL and Microsoft Frontpage) but most of you can't see it on the site, just empty white boxes with small red crosses in) please let me know...grrrrr

Also I did a survey to gauge people's opinion of this site and copies and pasted the HTML code over and the blogsite didn't seem to recignise it....ho hum...

Music: Q Magazine's Summer Compilation (includes Magic Numbers and such jollies)

Monday, July 18, 2005

Sleepy Sunday and Smiley Lichfield Girl


Sorry for everyone I didn't e-mail about my apprearance on BBC's Midlands Today... It was broadcast on July 4th....No I don't know if archive broadcasts are on the net...IF anyone knows please send me a link!

So what has been happening? Well I am not enjoying all the nebulisers, antibiotics etc I have to take and physio to be done before I leave the house.

After so many months I never thought I would still be waiting. Later this week is a YEAR since my last false alaerm (when I was up in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, washed, shaved and ready for the op before it was cancelled.)

That came three days after another false alarm - another five hour trip to Newcastle, all very exciting, but non-productive.

Anyway...I met the S family in the PG on Sunday for a good chinwag and drinks. Then I met the EW, AW and DW (formerly DM) for more drinks and food.

By the time the afternoon was not too old I was home on the settee asleep.

My nebulisers and antibiotics were taken rather late that evening!(Ssssh don't tell the doctors!) I found they don't take so long to administrate when I am 'with' alcohol! (hmmm)

Today I went to Lichfield to photocopy the Express & Star article to send to the BBC people and the Newcastle team and bought a t-shirt from Gilesport.

(I have a theory that the more I am in contact with them (Newcastle) the more my name will come up in their heads when a new set of lungs lands in their lap!)

I was served by a lovely, smiley girl with a happy face. Doesn't that make one's day?! Anyway...she promised to read the blog so I am sending her a hug for making my day!

Talking of things female...I wish I had the energy to have some sort of love life on the go...

Web design evening class tonight (that really sounds more technical than it is!) so I really need to get my brain working!

At least my PC is behaving today. Yesterday I was trying to send my Village News piece to the Mercury all evening...(I deserve good Karma....honest I do after the effort to get this sent off every Sunday!)

I was SO tempted to give it a 'technicians' tap' (ie a thump! but decided to laugh at its error messages, unplug it (he he - that will teach it!) and lay down to listen to the Kaiser Chiefs album....(I am easily pleased!)

Happy 65th Birthday to JB (as in JB and BB) for tomorrow

Click here to e-mail me

Click here to see my photos

Music: Keane, Kaiser Chiefs, Moby

Friday, July 15, 2005

Here I Go Impossible Again


My mix of Erasure's 'Here I Go Impossible Again' will be on the Erasure fan site from July 30th....If enough people vote it as their favourite I win a prize... It is in Entry Pool IV so watch this space..

Feel free to take a look at the ones from entry pool I... but remember July 30th onwards is the time to vote! xxx

Happy 50th Birthday/10th Anniversary to Gary S (and J) and hello to Miss J who I saw in Lichfield today!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Media Whoring (part 18)


Just a quickie (as the actress said to the bishop!) Firstly there was a page-lead piece about me in the Express & Star yesterday. (pg 20)

It was written by my former colleague Duncan Tift. It was definitely in the Cannock edition but I think it was in all the Staffordshire editions....there was a big picture in too...!

I went in to the office this afternoon to see if it has been in....The receptionist told me it hadn't..They soon after getting home H.S (of the 60th birthday fame) came round with a copy of yesterday's paper!

So I went back and had a chat with the reporters, most of whom I knew and they sorted me out a few copies..

DT said he was surprised head office hadn't been in touch yet about my forthcoming column.....big cogs turn very slowly I expect!

Talking of the Express & Star. Another former colleague P.B (who I actually went to school with) has a sister called Ruth who married an American.(MrB)

He is a singer/songwriter over there across the pond and has sent a link to his album he is trying to get publicity for.

It is

I must confess I haven't had time to check it out let me know if it's any good!

Music: The Boo Radleys - Wake Up!
Book: The Shipping Forecast by Charlie Connelly
(I know its been ages!)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Mailbox and Makeovers

Dearest Belogged,

Well if anyone was still awake I was finally interviewed at 9.50am....If you missed it don't worry it was just a more relaxed brief chat about my health and the future.

We got up at 4.45. Mum packed the car with oxygen cylinders and our overnight bags (ready as ever for the call) and I did my morning nebulisers, insulin, antibiotics etc and grabbed some muesli...

We got to BB and JB's about 7.30am and the Mailbox about 8am...It is a fanstastic place....half million dollar apartments, see through TV and radio studios and cafes.

There is even a walkway to the canal system and a water bus to Broad Street....One day...when I am well I would enjoy spending some time there.

After the show I was expecting to be given the Mp3 player back...but plans have changed (I reckon they are scared of losing it as its the last one!) and I wasn't..

When we got back to JB and BB's....JM came with baby Oli....Nell the dog is frightened of Oli but keeps forgetting this fact.

Hence she wagged her tail and got really excited when he arrived....but looked sad and had big doggy eyes when he 'patted' her and tried to ride her like his wooden horse. Poor Nell.

A cat would remember and disappear out of a toddlers reach....Dog-goldfish-memory-link? Awww poor Nel....

We got back and Mr S, Mozza and J.S were well away knocking through walls and stuff upstairs....the upstairs showeroom is having a makeover!

I had a little slep after they left before by web design session in Burntwood. It was quite productive...I may start sprucing up this blog....

I would really like to find a free hoster that I could use and combine all my sites...or at least link them together in a coherant style...

I am experimenting...

Tuesday (about 30c!) saw Mark V Brownhills Market....It was so hot, but people were still tucking into hot dogs and chips!??? :(

S.F and N.F came round for coffee and a chat. It was good to catch up!

Today (Wednesday) I hit Cannock....It is amazing how little clothes the people who can least carry it off wear around the town centre....

I wish they would swap clothes with the ones who could and don't...(if that makes sense)

Time for a sharp exit....(and a lie down with an eye pack)..

Click here to e-mail me

Click here to see my photos

Books: The Shipping Forecast - Charlie Connelly
Music: Brian Eno/Kraftwerk/Foo Fighters

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Social Animals and Radio Ramblings

Adrian Goldberg
The DJ Adrian Goldberg...the man...the shirt!


This will be short and sweet as I will have to be up before 5am tomorrow to be interviewed on the Adrian Goldberg Show on BBC WM... (

Yesterday's table top sale went well. It would have gone even better if there hadn't been a big mediaeval market on in Lichfield. It was hot. But we sold lots of books.

A pre-piece on the table-top sale and a post-piece on my TV stuff has been in the local press this week. I really should work as a PR guru!

In the evening Mrs S came round and we gossiped and generally put the world to right for three hours...

On Sunday it was Mrs H.S's surprise 60th.

They have a huge garden and it was very social, although I was damn happy to be sitting in the shade...(oh I need something to complain about don't I?!)

That's the good thing about a large garden. Something for everyone. AND it was nice to be invited to a collection of the 'beautiful people'!

Then in the evening Mum and I went to our nextdoor neighbours place for a BBQ...Again it was relaxed and social....So much food...

Of course if its sunny things have no calories do they? DO THEY?

Mum is cleaning out the shower room because Mr E.S and Mozza are coming to give it a makeover and make it larger....

By the next blog we may even have a shower which doesn't rely on no other taps in the house being on to work properly!

Oh yes here if you have any comments you don't want the general public to read!

e-mail me!

Huggles and snuggles.....xxxx

Friday, July 08, 2005

Wetherspoons and Coffeespoons

Picture: Johnny, Toadfish and me in Australia 2000


Well what a week eh? London wins the olympic bid and then is bombed..The G8 summit came and fizzled out like a wet fish...another house fire in Eastenders...

As you may or may not know....with everything happening in London my Radio interview on Radio WM (95.6fm)has been postponed until Monday....(I will have to be up at 5am!)

Being on TV opens many doors....

I managed to get into all the local papers this week...and the E&S came to take a picture.....I reckon just so they have one on file if I die...

It has been so funny being recognised in the street...and it seems everyone who knows me saw my on Midlands Today...It was on all four editions in the end...

I even got funny looks from some of the drunks in Wetherspoons when I met JB and BB there on Wednesday....

I have been frantically rewriting parts of my book and preparing bits to send off to publishers....(wish me luck)

I have also been working on remixing the Erasure track Here I Go Impossible Again for a competition...then finding the Mp3 file too big to send....aaaagh

The deadline is wish me luck! :(

I went to Lichfield today and was watching the charity 'muggers' accosting people to try and get them to sign up to donate...

They are very clever...The good looking worker goes for the girls he can flirt with, the alternate chick heads for the students....and so on.

But having done a very similar thing for a phone company in Australia I know the tricks...

Headrush of visitors today (what a collective noun!) bringing books and stuff for our table top sale tomorrow....

Although I did get time to pop into Lichfield and wheeze about the place...perking myself up by going to see Miss J at H & B... :)

Well I will love you and leave you...I have a wet fish to grill...

Music: The Eels

Monday, July 04, 2005

Mark's Media-ndering


Hello there. What a whistlestop few days! If you missed the Midlands Today TV broadcast where I am interviewed you can view it at

Click on 'watch the latest programme' (you may have to fast forward past the headlines)

It was the headline at 1.30pm....longer versions appeared on the 6.30pm and 10.30pm slots too! But I think it only stays on the site for a day so get clicking! (Does pink suit me?)

Another update. I am being interviewed on Radio WM on Friday (9th July) at 8.50am

I was also interviewed for the Express and Star...(Tuesday) This is ironic as they vae avoided doing anything on my probs until it was on TV, despite me always sending stuff to them first as I used to work for them!

But if they do give me this column I can redress the balance!

All this will hopefully encourage everyone to get on that donor register. Did you know in the UK for are more likely to need an organ than donate one!? Food for thought.

Anyway the BBC TV folks who came round were very professional...The correspondent was Michele Paduano. The cameraman actually lives in my village....How bizarre!

So apart from all that (!!!) What has been happening? Well its been almost a year now since my last false alarm (shaved and ready for the operation in Newcastle)..

I am thinking therefore that this may be a busy time of the keep watching this space..If these updates stop know where I am!

I am now in contact with an inspiring CF man who has a double lung transplant in 2003 and has entered the London Triathlon...He does 12km runs for fun!

Before the op he was in a wheelchair and unable to do much for himself. Stories like this are always a morale boost for people on the list like myself.

Oh yes....the 'Life On The List' documentary is now at the editing stage (3rd week in August, Monday to Friday 7pm BBC1) and I get regular updates by text.

I am still doing a video diary for them and sending off tapes...

Big hugs to everyone who texted me after seeing the piece on the luncthime bulletin by the way....I love your support...and will wear it always. lol

Good luck for members of my Daily Telegraph fantasy cricket team who do battle tonight! (I got the grand total of one point yesterday :( as only one man played and didn't bat or make any catches...:(

Oh yes (2)....My photo site is at

Things not to say at Live8 "The spread backstage was good." As one luvvie said: "Make Poverty Histioric!"

Music: Kraftwerk - Der Mix
Book: Shipping Forecast by Charlie Connelly

Friday, July 01, 2005

BBC Midlands Today

BBC Midlands today (TV) is coming to interview me on Monday morning with a view to airing something at lunchtime and possibly that evening.....Turn on, tune in, but don't drop out until you have seen it!