E23 Sidetracked

The problem with writing when there is so much going on is that it’s easy to get sidetracked.
When I write I do not want there to be any misconceptions so that’s why I try to go into as much detail as possible while at the same time keeping the reader engaged.

It’s not as easy as it sounds and when I proofread it I sometimes have to add more into the story as I have to realise that a lot of the knowledge I have is not common knowledge to those reading this who have never met me.

It’s both a blessing and a curse and ill explain why. It’s a blessing as I have so much more to write about and this opens more doors in my mind which leads to a deeper understanding and also brings up new memories and new subjects that are connected.

It’s a curse because it is very time-consuming and I would like to be releasing a blog twice weekly.
Almost 6 months into this it still seems to be once a week. I’m working on changing that and while you all keep reading I’m happy to keep writing.

So in this blog, I will touch over a few things which I missed out on telling as I was focused on other stories.
Disaster struck 2 months into the school year and I woke up with chickenpox.

This is quite common for children my age but there is nothing more demoralising. There is a link below-explaining chickenpox for anyone who doesn’t know what it is.


I was off school for almost a month and for a child this is a hell of a long time for a kid. This was back in the olden days when there were just 4 channels on TV.
Now children have multiple channels even with the basic package TV deals. There are cartoon network Nickelodeon and many others.

They also have game consoles and the internet to keep them occupied.
Back in these dark ages, this was not the case.
Children’s TV was on BBC1 and ITV and it started at 4 pm. On a Saturday morning, there were more children’s TV programs but apart from that, it was very bleak times for children.

Children’s BBC 1986
Kids TV back in the day

Daytime TV even in the modern day is not known for its good quality but back then it was even worse.
There was a lot of great television but there was so much garbage as well and I saw this first hand when I was sick and had nothing else to do.

I’ll never forget there was a TV show called one man and his dog.
It was the same show every week and it ran for years.
I can understand them making a six-part part series but this ran from 1976 to 2012.

Every week it would show a sheepdog and a farmer and every week the dog would get the sheep into a pen I can’t fathom why people would keep watching this day in and day out.

one man and his dog 1976

One man and his dog

It’s also surprising with so few channels that it didn’t get axed sooner as back then there was a lot more pressure from TV executives to keep people watching TV as there was no other form of entertainment except the pub.

A modern-day equivalent of this would be a show called ice road truckers
Which I discovered under similar circumstances. This was around 2009 though and it was being sick which made me notice the similarities which ill explain below.

Ice Road Truckers
Ice road truckers trailer season 4

I went out on the piss with the lads one day and ended up out drinking all day and night.

The next day I was a broken man with a hangover from hell and an empty wallet. I had a mountain of junk food and later on, I was going to order pizza so that stopped me from throwing myself in the river.

I had my duvet on me and I spent the day either watching movies or shit TV.
So I was watching a channel called E4 and ice road truckers came on.
I had no plans to move and ended up watching 4 episodes back to back.
Then I realised all 4 episodes were the same.

The premise was a load of truckers who work in places like Alaska driving 18 wheel lorries and every week they would almost slip and have a crash.

They would also have to cross a frozen lake in which the ice could break at any time and every episode it was rammed down the viewer’s throat that this could be the last time they would be driving the lorry as it was such a dangerous job.

Granted it was a little more exciting that one man and his dog and it ran for 8 seasons.
It’s not a bad show but you all need to trust me on this. watch three episodes at the very most and save yourself some time.

I promise you even if you’re a moron you will get the gist after three episodes.
So, my poor mum, Carol had to look after me as well as run the house and find time to go to work.
It was safe to say she was spinning a lot of plates.

Luckily a video shop had opened up in Woolton Village so every day she would get me something to watch.
A couple of her friends had those fancy new video machines that you could record off the TV so she was able to borrow some movies as well.

We had a video player but we couldn’t record on our one as we had a cheap one.
This kept me entertained and at the same time stopped me from going insane.
When you are in your 20s, 30, and even 40s a month is nothing.

When your almost 8 and you haven’t been around for long this seems like an eternity.
It should be noted as video players were brand new to buy movies was very expensive. It was roughly a tenner to buy a movie and sometimes more.

Ten pounds had a lot more spending power back then hence everyone frequented the video shops.
You may get a movie you loved for Christmas but unless you were minted people generally didn’t buy movies.

Later on in life when I started making money the first thing I bought was videos and I had a chest full of them. It was the same when they released DVDs the picture was so much better as was the sound and I had shelves full of movies which I was so proud of.

Recently mum did a clear-out of the attic and got rid of boxes and boxes of movies.
There are films I will never get rid of but most of them are now in the charity shop or being sold in car boot sales.

car boot sale

This was when I first discovered my favourite movie as a child which was the karate kid. My mum joked that it would have been cheaper to just buy this as we had it out of the video shop at least ten times. I knew all the words and it’s how I first got interested in martial arts and fighting.

Obviously, as a kid, you watch these films and you believe it without question.
Years later you figure out nobody will ever do a flying spinning back kick in a street fight but they still gave me hours of entertainment.

There were 4 Karate kid movies over the years but the 4th movie which replaced the main character Daniel with actress Hilary Swank was awful and killed the franchise.

Karate Kid 1984
Karate kid Tournament

There was an unsuccessful reboot with Jackie Chan years later as well. I enjoyed the reboot but that was probably because I was such a big fan of the original movies.

Karate kid reboot

They then made a TV series set thirty years later called Cobra Kai which focuses on Johnny the villain of the first movie.
This is a fantastic must-see series that tells the story from a completely different perspective.

I knew I would like it but I didn’t realise how much I would enjoy it and many people my age have said the same thing.
I found an interesting video online which paints Daniel as the bully which I’ve posted below as well as the trailer for Cobra Kai.

I would advise watching the first three movies before jumping in as it would give you a much better understanding of the plot and the characters.

Interesting theory about the karate kid franchise
Thirty years later the series continues with Cobra Kai on Netflix

I remember one day being into my third movie feeling pretty miserable and mum came in smiling with a huge envelope.
The kids in my class had made me a get well card. It was me covered in spots and pictures of everyone in the class saying get well soon.

It was the morale boost I needed to get me out of this negative mindset and I vowed to get better, get back to school, and find a karate teacher as soon as I got better.
It’s amazing how your mindset can completely change when you know people care and they miss you and I was determined that I would beat the chickenpox.

A couple of weeks later I was back in school and feeling on top of the world. Many kids myself included are not a fan of school but when you have nothing to do you quickly realise how much better it is than sitting in the house.

A couple of months later it was my 8th birthday and once again my mum had gone all out and she had got me a TV for my room.
This was the best present ever and back then it was a big deal to have a TV in your room.

This also neutralised many arguments with mum she could simply say go and watch your program in your room and I did happily.
It was made clear to me that this was both my birthday and Christmas present as it had cost mum a lot.

I didn’t care and felt like I had invented fire and couldn’t believe our house had two TVs.

The next couple of months before Christmas I was as quiet as a mouse.
Due to the fact I was really quiet and out of sight and out of mind I could frequently stay up watching TV before Carol realised and made me turn it off and go to sleep.

I didn’t think life could get any better and then it was Christmas.
I was under no illusions of getting anything big due to my amazing birthday present and as expected there was a load of little but very thoughtful presents.

It was a happy time and I knew the deal so it was just nice to spend time with mum and have a nice time together. Then out of nowhere mum says to me wait.

Arlo, there’s one more present but it’s in the kitchen so I walk into the kitchen expecting a Lynx Africa set or something along those lines and when I got there it was like I was staring at a UFO.

On the table was a commodore 64 brand new in the box. I couldn’t have played this without a TV and I was blown away to have my very own games console.

Commodore 64

Mum had let me open my presents at midnight for good reason Lucy knight who I mentioned in the last blog her brother Tim was coming over in the morning to show me how to use it.

Even looking at it in the box nearly had me at breaking point and I vowed to stay awake all night.
I went to bed and made a pact to stay awake all night.


I made a promise to myself that I would stay up all night ready for Tim to come over the next day. Within twenty minutes of my head hitting the pillow, I was dead to the world.
The next day exactly on schedule Tim came and showed me how to use it.

By today’s gaming standards it’s garbage but for the day it was the birth of home gaming.
Everyone was blown away that we didn’t have to get the bus into town to play the arcade games and we could play our games at home.

It sounded crazy just like a science fiction movie.
I would invite my friends round to play and we would sit there so excited waiting sometimes thirty minutes for a game to load.
Even in the loading phase, you would be sat talking to your mate smiling saying any minute now.

Below you can see what it looks like when loading as well as in the other video of some of the games of the day.
For years and years, I was into my gaming and had many consoles which I will speak about in detail but right now I had conquered the world.

C64 Loading screen
100 C64 games in ten minutes

So life, in general, was pretty sweet I was ready to move into the second year of juniors and I was talking to dad on the phone and about to start seeing him again.
The second year of school was going to be a complete circus and would shape my hatred for authority and education for years to come.

So many people give sympathy when I tell them some of these stories but there is no need.
It was this misuse of power and ignorance which set me on the path of who I am today. I won’t let anyone bully me or try to make me feel small.

This type of behaviour even goes on in the workplace with modern people today.
Most of these worms who try and instigate it or see what buttons they can press usually melt like ice cream in July when you front them and I’ve fronted many of them.

As fucked up a lesson as it was it needed to be learned and it served me well many years later down the road.

The system is still broken and far from perfect but at least the powers that be are acknowledging that it’s broken when before they tried everything in their power to blame the pupils in question.
I didn’t let it stop me from making my mark and doing my own thing though.

Published by aab01uk

A traveler trying to find his place in the world. Trying my hand at most things and making a new life for myself outside of the UK while enjoying the journey along the way. A very diverse path but always entertaining as the saying goes the truth is stranger than fiction. I've experienced some serious highs and lows and even hit rock bottom multiple times. This is my long diverse journey which will make you laugh and hopefully teach you some life lessons along the way.

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