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30th November 2011 - Onwards and Upwards ...

It was so good to see Ross-on-Wye buzzing at the weekend. Hundreds of people turned up to see the Christmas lights being switched on by Wincy Willis, although most of the children seemed to be more interested in meeting Peppa Pig, as well as enjoyng the glow bands and sweets supplied by Ross Town Council. It was a great afternoon with a lot going on, including two brass band performances and, after the switch on a great performance by Splinter. It was good to be out and about, busy with the camera again and I hope you enjoy looking at the photographs. It was also great to meet many people who I've not seen in a long time. I am really looking forward to ART's Christmas Shopping Festival this coming Sunday and the Christmas Carnival, which will take place on Saturday, 17th December.

I went to church on Sunday. I used to attend Henry Street Evangelical Church on a regular basis, but life and work got in the way and I kind of got out of the habit, although I did go occasionally, when time permitted. Why? You may well ask. When I visited my sister in Wales the previous weekend, we went to her church in Cardiff. I enjoyed the service and decided I would go last weekend in Ross. It was good to see the people at Henry Street again. I did not realise how much I had missed them all and I shall be attending again this week.

I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed at the moment for a positive outcome to an interview I have tomorrow. I have been looking for part time work for a while; not just for the money but to give me some form of routine in my life. Many of you will be aware that my life in general has been total chaos over the past six months whilst trying to come to terms with losing Alan and then my Dad. Six sessions of counselling helped a lot but how I miss those 40 minutes per week. Still, hopefully, given that I do get the job, some sense of normality might finally begin to set in.

I have so far completed only the lights switch on and news of the Hairy Bikers show in this issue but more news will be following very shortly.



25th November 2011 - Christmas is coming...

It's that time of year again, isn't it? Most people seem to have just one thing on their minds right now... Christmas! It is simply amazing just how quickly this season appears to come around and I love hearing children getting excited about what Santa is going to bring them. Supermarket Christmas began as usual in September although this year I feel people have tended to leave things to a more appropriate time. Lack of funds could be one reason for this but I would really love to think that people want the Christmas hype to start a little closer to the time, making the run up an exciting couple of weeks of rushing around buying presents and food and making arrangements to meet up with the family.

Alan always felt this way too. He jokingly made himself out to be Scrooge incarnate but he wasn't at all like that. Although, he was particularly delighted when my parents bought him a black and white striped jumper for Christmas. 'A Bah, Humbug jumper!' he shouted with glee. (And I did have a job getting him to change it after wearing it for the first couple of days).

I am not yet sure what my arrangements will be for Christmas this year. Both of my sons will be working for some of the day and I will certainly be going to photograph the annual Lions Christmas Lunch for the elderly. After that, who knows? But, I am looking forward to ARTs Christmas Shopping Day next Sunday, 4th December. There will be lots going on and many lovely Christmas gifts to choose from for friends and family. I am also looking forward to the Christmas Carnival and children knocking on the door to sing carols but more than anything, I am looking forward to putting this horrible year behind me.

I said 'Goodbye' to a friend on Wednesday. Many people knew Clive Maynard. He was mischievous, clever, artistic and could leave you in agony from aching ribs when he made you laugh so much. Rest in peace Clive. I don't think anybody will be forgetting you any time soon.

At the moment, this issue of Wyenot News comprises this blog and two other pages but I shall be uploading news of events I have covered over the next few days. I know, I have said this before then found myself unable to work. My intention to just 'get on with it' failed miserably and I actually felt that I would be unable to continue, then I had a dream. I shall not tell you what that dream was but it gave me hope and motivation.

I celebrated my birthday on 16th November. My first birthday in 15 years without Alan here. My son, Russell, really spoilt me, then later I went out to the Lovely Broome Farm where Tomas Michalik was having a leaving party. The lovely friends up there also turned it into a birthday party for me too! It was an amazing evening and thank you all. On Friday, 18th I celebrated with friends at The Eagle Inn. Andy and Maria arranged for an acoustic line up of local band 'Switch' to play. Thank you so much both. It was a lovely surprise and thanks guys for the playing gig! On Saturday I went to my sister, Sue in Wales to stay for the night and had a lovely time with her, brother-in-law Mark and the 'kids.' I missed Alan dreadfully and shed the odd secret tear but enjoyed the time as a whole, very much.

Everybody seemed to go out of their way to ensure I had a really good birthday, as they knew that Alan always made that day special for me. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

I guess I had better sign now as it's 01:26 but before I go I want to say a big 'Thank you' to Simon Cropper for his help with a task I have been struggling with for a while. Thanks again Simon. You are a star!

Whatever you are doing this weekend, stay safe and have a good one.



4th November 2011 - Keeping Warm, Fed and Watered

October seems to have been a very, very long month. Since my return from Tunisia, losing Dad, saying 'Goodbye' to him and trying to play catch up ever since, I feel pretty worn out and the month seemed to last forever. I enjoyed a very busy weekend last week, covering some of the Hallowe'en stuff going on but had several problems at home with the gas supply to my house, which, at last seems to have been resolved.

I use a 'pay as you go' meter and in July,when I went to put credit on it the meter would not accept my card. After a telephone call to British Gas I obtained a new card, which the meter would not accept. Another call to British Gas revealed that it was the meter at fault but, as I had £30 of credit on it and a working supply, I was not a priority. Alan and I always kept the meter topped up to build up a store for the winter months so I found this most annoying.

A few weeks ago, the supply to my house stopped working, despite still having a little credit left. I phoned British Gas again, informing them of this. They tried to arrange an appointment for the near future; I tried not to explode when I explained to them that I could not cook, I had no heating or hot water and that they were, therefore obliged to come out within four hours of my call. Four hours and forty five minutes later, a young man called and, as a temporary measure, managed to reboot the supply and all was well for a few days. My meter then began to use the £5 emergency credit, so I called them again. I was simply told that when I had NO SUPPLY AT ALL, they would come out and change the meter, telling me that they didn't actually have many spare meters. 'And...?' I said. 'Okay, so you have a few spare meters, I actually NEED one very badly, so why can't you just come and replace it?' 'Because you still have a supply.' This meant that when I did eventually get a new meter, not only would I have to replace the emergency credit, I also would have to put considerably more credit on the card to maintain the supply.

A few days later, I found myself with no gas supply at all, so telephoned the 'nice man' at British Gas again. He promised me that somebody would be out within four hours. They never arrived so I eventually retired at around 2am, freezing cold and hungry. When I phoned them the next day, the 'nice man' of the previous evening had not even logged my call. Eventually, a very nice engineer came and fitted a new meter, giving me £10 emergency credit and all was well, except for the fact that, in order to get my original £10 back I have to take my new card to the local outlet and top up £1 per day for up to five days so that that piece of vital information can be electronically transferred to my new meter. Fine, except that I had to wait for 48 hours before this latest system became operational!! I shall have to go out in a moment and get said £1 credit but I can now shower, cook and keep warm albeit at considerably more expense than I would normally have. RANT OVER (for now!).

I hope that you all enjoyed the 'Hallowe'en weekend' and that many of you enjoy some of the many fireworks displays going on over this weekend. This evening, I am off to the Chase Hotel to not only take photographs of the Lions fireworks but also to enjoy a happy family occasion as my nephew, Joseph and his bride, Heather are celebrating their wedding there. I can't wait.

Whatever you are doing this weekend, have a good one.



26th October 2011 - The Only Way Forward

I have finally found the solution to my problem. I have spent the past few days, weeks, even months trying to work a way around the difficulties I have been experiencing, to no avail. (Well not much avail, anyway!). Yes, I have very valid reasons for my lack of motivation, my inability to make myself put fingers to keyboard as often as I should and my reluctance to even switch on the PC and I am truly grateful to you all for your patience and kindness. It eventually dawned on me that, the only way forward now is to just GET ON WITH IT and, during the course of the next few weeks, I have an awful lot to be getting on with.

From Friday I shall be out and about, hopefully photographing those celebrating Hallowe'en. The Barrel are giving away prizes for the best carved pumpkins and the Hope & Anchor are hosting a Hallowe'en Karaoke! (And we all know how I hate Karaoke! ;) ). Saturday is probably going to be even busier as there will be spooky fun and games going on at The Eagle Inn party from 7pm, which shall later move on up to Charlie's Bar. There will be prizes for the best dressed up male and female. I had a lot of fun helping Maria to put up the decorations, I must say.

Next Saturday, 5th November of course is Ross Lions' bonfire and fireworks at the Chase Hotel. I will unfortunately be unable to produce the kind of coverage Alan used to but there will be lots of photographs of the Lions' biggest fundraiser of the year. I shall also be in attendance at The Chase for another, very special reason. My nephew, Joe and his bride Heather will be enjoying the evening part of their wedding day there. A joyous meeting for the family, in stark contrast to the mournful gathering of last Friday, when we said 'Goodbye' to Dad.

After all this we are heading big time for Christmas! ART will be holding another Christmas Extravaganza on 4th December and on each of the four weeks leading up to Christmas, they will be holding a draw worth £250. Details of how to be in with a chance of winning will be published in the next issue of Wyenot News. Of course, then we are looking at the Christmas Lights Switch On and the wonderful Christmas Carnival, when Santa will visit the town to give all of the children of Ross-on-Wye who meet him at the Market House a pre Christmas present. Well, that lot should keep me out of mischief for a while.

I hope that you enjoy this small issue of Wyenot News and that you all have a fantastic weekend, whatever you decide to do.



18th October 2011 - One day at a time . . . . . .

Hello friends. Long time no see. I have decided not to begin with an apology and a promise that things will get back to normal soon this time, with the view that, if I make no such promise, maybe things WILL get back to normal soon.

My family and I are still reeling from the shock of losing my lovely Dad, Robin Collett on 2nd October. We never doubted that he would return home from Tunisia once he had recovered from his operation so when the news came that Dad had passed away on the evening of our return, our whole world came crashing down. I have been unable to spend much time with my heartbroken Mum but have visited her twice, the second time being after my good friend Andy Gooding had taken me to Bromsgrove so that I could see Dad one last time. Thank you Andy and Maria.

I know that Mum feels pretty much as I do right now. Like she's lost half of herself; the half that keeps you going, encourages and supports you and gives you somebody who you love more than anybody else in the world, including yourself; a half that was unique and which can never be replaced. We have to say 'Goodbye' to Dad this coming Friday, 21st October.

I have tried many times during this awful period to switch on the PC and get on with some work but my heart wasn't in it and I don't know where my head went, so found myself unable to proceed. On the rare occasion I did actually manage to switch on, I took one look at the massive amount of work I have to catch up with and let my grief get the better of me, switching off again and resolving to 'carry on tomorrow.' Sometimes, however, 'Tomorrow' is a long time coming.

I do feel a little better having seen my Dad. I talked to him and promised I would try to help look after Mum and that I would look after myself a little better too. I woke this morning and resisted the strong urge to call a friend to meet for coffee, forbidding myself to go anywhere until I had done some actual work and have put together this blog, one other page and linked up the new ad for Hilltop Bop Birds of Prey Centre from the relevent pages.

Dare I say this? (Draws deep breath, praying no other heartache will come our way anytime soon). . . . I hope to be uploading a Wyenot News update on a daily basis, with the exception of Friday, until such time as I have well and truly caught up with everything. I hope that you enjoy reading today's small effort and I look forward to giving you more news, including the weather stats tomorrow.

Thank you to all of my friends and supporters who have been so good to me through this very difficult time.



5th October 2011 - Words Almost Failed Me, Then . . . .

Earlier this evening I was very unsure how to begin this blog. I have sat and thought about it for hours and I'm afraid I almost didn't bother. I then thought of the many loyal readers and friends who have been kind and patient enough to understand the reason for the at times, long periods between issues of Wyenot News since Alan passed away.(As many of you know, I have found working on the news very difficult at times but recently felt I was beginning to get back on track), so have finally put fingers to keyboard and hope that you will understand. Again.

Last week, I had prepared lots of pages to upload and these will be online within the next couple of days. I was working late on the news, as usual, trying to get it finished before my Mum came to pick me up as she and Dad were taking me to Tunisia for a week, thinking the break would do me good. At around 7:15am on the morning of Saturday, 24th September, I could no longer keep my eyes open and caught an hour and a half of sleep before she arrived.

I did have mixed feelings about being away that week as it meant I would be in Tunisia on Alan and Sarah's birthday but Sarah was very happy for me and I knew that Alan would be too. He had always wanted me to fly. He had looked into taking me on a relatively short flight to Ireland but we couldn't afford it then, so he said we would go another time.

My parents and I flew to Tunisia on the Sunday, arriving in time to enjoy dinner and watch the live entertainment provided by the animation team. On Monday, we walked to the shops and the Medina in Yasmine Hammamet, Mum and I both looking back at Dad for him to approve the final price for our purchases. Then we took a walk to the beach where we enjoyed a drink in the sunshine before heading back to our hotel, the lovely Iberostar Belisaire. It was going to be a great week!

Somehow on Monday night Dad fell in his bathroom, knocking himself unconscious. He was taken to the Polyklinik where, after x-rays it was discovered he had chipped one of his vertebrae at the top of his neck and it had fused with the adjacent one. Dad was operated on a few days later and was recovering well. However, he developed a chest infection, and his blood pressure dropped dramatically due to his heart condition and sadly, Dad passed away at around 9pm on Sunday evening with my brother Kevin at his side.

Needless to say my entire family are totally devastated at this time. Mum, like me has lost the love of her life so I know exactly how she is feeling. I only hope and pray that I can find the strength to help her through this, along with the rest of my family.

Once again, I have to ask you all for your understanding at this very difficult time. I apologise also to the people I met in Tunisia who were looking forward to reading all about it! Normal service WILL be resumed as soon as possible.

Rest in peace Daddy. I think you know just how much we are all missing you. I have asked my Alan to look out for and look after you.



ps I would like to thank Andy and Maria Gooding for taking care of me and Michael when I got the awful news of Dad's passing; Bernice and Sarah Wood for sitting with me for hours afterwards; Simon Cropper, Caz and Doc, Chris Kiss and everybody for their kind messages at this very sad time.

14th September 2011 - Just a Little Update

I hope that readers have enjoyed the news I uploaded on Wednesday evening. To be honest I was extremely tired by the time it went online, however, things should be a lot easier now I have a working PC. I have been busy catching up with a few outstanding tasks over the past couple of days and am beginning to feel more as if I am waving now, instead of drowning.

As I wrote in my previous blog, beginning work on the news is difficult without Alan here but once I get started it seems to come together. After reading through the news the following day, I realized that, in my endeavour to get the previous four weeks' worth of news online I had forgotten a couple of items. I sincerely apologize to the people concerned and I am hoping to make amends during the course of this weekend.

My very good friend, Nick Stephens of Rose Cottage has created and launched a fantastic web site about Symonds Yat East. The site, is full of the interesting history surround the village, the research of which took many hours of work and includes information on; the birth of tourism to the area, the history of the buildings and industry; flooding etc. and shows how Symonds Yat East is today, promoting the businesses there.

Nick created as a tribute to Alan, who would feel honoured and be extremely proud of our friend. Well done Nick! Thank you. You've done an amazing job.

Another thing I am really pleased about is the fact that I managed to lift the kettle from its stand with my left hand this morning. (It was a cold one this time and yes, it was empty, but I couldn't do that a couple of days ago.)

I hope that you are all enjoying your weekend and II shall look forward to uploading more news early next week.



14th September 2011 - At Long Last!

Welcome to this week's issue of Wyenot News. You may have noticed from the index page that there is rather a lot included in this issue. This is due to the fact that I had been unable to produce any news for some weeks now for various reasons, not least the fact that Alan's computer broke down irretrievably. I was given a replacement to try out but unfortunately it was not fast enough to cope with the kind of work required but now have a better model which, now Matthew has reinstalled most of the software is almost there. Thanks too for sorting out the press releases for me Matt!

Fortunately, although the processor burnt out as well as the motherboard, the hard drive was safe so I still have all the data. I was extremely worried at first as due to being busy trying to get to grips with all things Wyenot, I hadn't actually got around to backing up all the data. Phew! Because of this, as you can imagine I have been very busy trying to play catch up. I have still been going out and covering events but have been unable to do anything with the coverage until now. I hope that you will forgive me and that you enjoy this issue of Wyenot News.

Working on Wyenot News without Alan here is so difficult and I don't mean in the technical sense. To feel a complete lack of his warm, funny, kind, cynical, loving presence is heartbreaking and I am finding it harder to deal with as time goes on. In the beginning, you kind of cope by doing the things that have to be done and I threw myself into work but now, one minute I can feel okay-ish then the next I am in tears because everything suddenly feels so empty. Every now and then though, when I feel like giving up, I get that faint scent of Sandalwood and a feeling of reassurance. This probably sounds totally nuts to you but Alan and I were (well, I still am) firm believers in the after life.

My hand is slowly improving now. The chest x-ray I had revealed that my lung wasn't responsible for the nerve paralysis. It also revealed a curvature in my spine, (not front to back but to the side) and slightly over inflated lungs. I have been having physio for a couple of weeks now and have a little more movement but still can't lift anything and it does what it wants sometimes. Because it doesn't hurt, I sometimes forget about it and whilst introducing myself to Inspector Gebbie, I put my cup and saucer into my left hand to shake hands with him. Suddenly there was coffee everywhere. I narrowly missed the Inspector with it but he somehow, mysteriously moved on.

I would like to thank all of my friends and family for their kindness and support during this horrible time. I could not do this without the knowledge that you are there for me and everything, small or large counts. From lovely meals and offers of lifts or just a listening ear, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

I need to make another apology here to the wonderful people at Broome Farm. I have not yet been able to process all the coverage of your fantastic Cider Festival but am hoping to rectify that tomorrow. The event was wonderful but was also a bit of an emotional roller coaster as Alan and I always enjoyed the festival and camping in the orchard together. The music was brilliant, the food and cider were great and it was fantastic to spend some time with old friends.. and some new ones. If you've never been to the Cider Festival, you don't know what a wonderful weekend you are missing out on.

I am going to sign for now and let you see what I've been doing for the past four weeks. I hope you enjoy it and will keep reading. Have a great week, whatever you're doing.



11th August 2011 - Swallowing my Pride

'What on earth is going on?' I can imagine you saying. 'First there is a fortnightly issue of Wyenot News, now we have had two updates in one week!' The answer to that is, I'm afraid insomnia. I just cannot go to sleep at normal times. I begin to think I might retire, then carry on a little longer in order to get something finished. By the time the task is complete I am wide awake again. (Some of you may have noted that the last issue of Wyenot News was uploaded at 7:30am on Monday morning.)

The last issue of Wyenot News was a rather large one. Matthew took care of the Herefordshire Council press releases etc. for me whilst I plodded on with the rest single-handedly, literally! My left hand is still not fully operational so I paid another visit to the doctor who sent me to have a chest x-ray. The thought behind this is that as I fell asleep sitting up in my chair, it could be that my lung is trapping the nerve and causing this temporary paralysis. We shall see, when I get the results back next week. The burn I acquired after picking up the kettle with the wrong hand is still sore but healing nicely now.

Matthew helped me again this week with the PRs (thank you Matt) and the news is pretty much up to date now other than for the photographs of Ross Town Carnival which took place last weekend. It was a fabulous event and I took lots of photographs but had a technical problem with the camera. (I didn't know how to work it properly!) I shall be uploading the Carnival coverage in the next day or so. Many thanks to Simon Cropper for coming to my rescue on the day and resetting the camera to where it was before I tried but failed at taking some time lapse photography at the recent Broome Farm Ceilidh. I am much more familiar with Alan's wonderful piece of photographic equipment now but still have much to learn.

Another good friend, Mike Arnison has written and emailed me a couple of helpful tutorials in time lapse and I will hopefully, left hand permitting, be putting this into practice at the forthcoming Broome Farm Cider Festival, an event which Alan and I always thoroughly enjoyed together and to which I am very much looking forward. Apparently there are still some tickets available, so if you would like to attend this fabulous event, get your tickets now. Details are on the What's On? page of

Yesterday evening I got together with the Ross Rocks team to discuss our plans for the 2012 event. The event in June was a huge success and turned out to be a wonderful tribute to Alan. Keep reading Wyenot News for further information.

To be perfectly honest, life without Alan is not getting any easier. It is 10 weeks ago today since Alan went to sleep and I am just so lost without him. I know that it is still too soon to have even begun to come to terms with the loss of my soul mate, but there are still many things I need to learn to be able to keep going as I promised him I would. So, instead of allowing myself a reasonable period of mourning, I have tried to throw myself into the work and now.... there is no going back.

I have been a little stubborn in not taking up offers of help from my many wonderful friends, rather foolishly thinking that I could figure it all out for myself. Well, I have learned to swallow a little of that pride recently as I realised that Alan didn't learn all of that wonderful skill and knowledge overnight. He learned it from years of experience. I now realise too that Rome wasn't built in a day. I have only been in control of Wyenot since May and therefore cannot expect to know everything just yet. So! My wonderful friends. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your offers of help with various issues. I am still stubborn, (I get it from my father, apparently) but will not let pride get in the way of giving you a call.

I do hope that readers will enjoy this issue of Wyenot News and I look forward to seeing you when out and about, covering local events. Have a good week.



7th August 2011 - A Few Days R and R

They do say that things happen in threes and last week for me that proved so true. After my gas meter wouldn't read my card and receving a returned passport application, last Friday evening, instead of going to bed when I was tired, I fell asleep in the office chair. I woke on the Saturday morning with a totally useless left hand. I could not open my fingers without forcing them with my right hand and my face felt tingly. I was worried to say the least. However, after a few minutes I could operate my hand in the palm up position but after an hour or so I was still unable to operate it fully. I decided it might be sensible to visit Ross Hospital, to be on the safe side and was informed that I had temporary nerve paralysis which could right itself any time. I was however advised to see the doctor if there was no improvement in a day or so.

That evening I went along to cover the Broome Farm Ceilidh, hoping to try some time-lapse photography. After needing help to set the camera onto the tripod,I set the camera off for the first dance. It wasn't quite right so I attempted to adjust the camera settings, which wasn't easy with my hand being as it was. That set didn't go according to plan either so after taking lots of other photographs, which I hope you will like, I then got help to disassemble the equipment. Matthew had loaned me his pop up tent and I camped in the old orchard, which brought back lots of beautiful memories.

Cutting a long story short, (and it is a long one), I went to see the doctor on Monday who told me I should start to get some movement back within ten days. If not then some physio would probably be in order. Because my hand wasn't hurting, I kind of forgot about the problem and whilst making a cup of coffee, I picked up the boiling kettle with my left hand, which turned instantly inwards, pushing the hot kettle against my arm. I then had two choices: drop the kettle and scald the rest of myself or try to push it away from my burning arm with my other hand. I went for the latter! .

I paid another visit to the doctor on Tuesday and was told that if I didn't regain full movement by Friday, to go back and he would arrange some tests, then promptly sent me to the hospital to get the burn dressed. By Wednesday, having been going round in ever decreasing circles, I decided to take a break and visit my mother who isn't well. She and Dad were delighted to have me stay for a couple of nights and I got spoiled rotten.

Upon my return home I was offered a lift out to Broome farm for First Friday by Nick Stephens and Bill Griffin and what a lovely evening we had sharing food and music with friends! Feeling much more refreshed after this I am all set to go again and I hope you enjoy the work I have done. I must take this opportunity to thank Matthew for taking care of the HC press releases again for me. His help has been invaluable.

I have to say that whilst I was away I missed Alan more than ever. I feel close to him at home and despite having had a lovely time with my family I was pleased to get back. This feeling will never go away and I guess I shouldn't keep talking about it but Alan was my life; my soul mate for almost 15 years and compared to the pain of losing him, my troubled arm is nothing, nothing at all!

I hope that you enjoy reading this issue of Wyenot News and that you all have a great week.



24th July 2011 - The best laid plans...

In my last blog, I wrote that I would be publishing submitted news items as and when they came in, leaving more time for me to be able to catch up with the many other things I need to get done yesterday!. Almost immediately after the last issue of Wyenot News was uploaded, I began having problems connecting to the internet and ultimately, the modem died. so much for Plan A! I didn't have a Plan B but fortunately, Alan's son Matthew came to the rescue and after waiting in for almost two days for the new modem to arrive, we're back.

Matt very kindly took care of the Herefordshire Council press releases for me whilst I went through the thousand or so (not many by Alan's standards) photographs I had recently taken, selecting the better ones, processing them and building the current news pages, which I hope that readers will enjoy. In the meantime I have still been out trying to cover as many events as possible, which is a little difficult without transport. I give you fair warning, I am going to get myself on the road as soon as I possibly can.

Many people ask me how I am in general and how I am coping with the monster task of keeping Wyenot News going. It isn't easy. Time in which to do it all is hard to find but this will be easier now I have Matthew helping me and Sarah's willingness to film events for me if needed. I also find it difficult to get motivated at times too, for as much as I love working on the news, the fact that I'm here working on it alone makes me dread starting anything. Once I do start, I'm away!!

When Alan was here, we quite often would sit silently, each of us concentrating on the work we were doing. But we were together and, to be truthful, I cannot wait until the time we are together again. Obviously this may take some time to happen but I look forward to it nonetheless. I know this sounds absolutely barmy, but I do feel that Alan is here at times, watching. In times of stress, both Matthew and I and more recently my friend Theresa have caught a scent of Sandalwood, one of Alan's favourite fragrances wafting up in the office. Just briefly, like a fleeting breath which gives a sense of comfort and reassurance that everything will be alright, eventually.

Regarding the time factor, another great friend of ours pointed out to me that unlike Alan, I'm not just working 24/7 on the news. I used to work, cook, make tea, do the washing etc. which enabled Alan to do that and I am still trying to keep up with all those things as well as work 24/7 on the news. Thanks Norman, you made me feel so much better about it all. On the strength of that revelation, I am now setting myself more realistic targets and things should get easier on that side from now on.

I do hope you enjoy reading this issue of Wyenot News and I thank you all for your thoughts, prayers and kindness.

Have a good week.



Managing to get to cover some events is a little difficult at times due to the aforementioned transport problem so please don't think it is because I am not interested. I am and if I cannot attend your event, please send a photo or two with some information and I will be glad to publish your news. I was lucky yesterday in that my friend Theresa very kindly took me to Peterstow Fete on her lovely trike on Saturday. From there I caught the bus to the Hope & Anchor to await the arrival of Shane, Rod and Mark who walked over 180 miles to raise money for St. Michael's Hospice, then I walked to the next job and so it goes on until I can take lessons and pass my driving test.( I'll let you know when I am on the road so you know which times to stay safely indoors.)


10th July 2011 - Getting back on track

It seems like forever since I last uploaded a new issue of Wyenot News and I apologize to regular readers for this. Getting to grips with being at the helm of the Wyenot ship has been a rather arduous task and how on earth Alan found the time to do all he did is beyond me. Before Alan left us, he showed me many things that I needed to know in order to keep Wyenot News up and running. There were a few things however that Alan did not get the time to show me and I have had to do what he always did and figure it out for myself, with a little help from Sarah, Matt and our friend, Mike Arnison. Thank you, all of you.

Technical problems aside though, I have found it extremely difficult to put fingers to keyboard and process all the footage and news from recent events (and there have been a fair few). Before Thursday, 2nd June I had somebody working with me, somebody to ask how to; somebody to read and approve an article I had written; somebody to make tea for; somebody to share everything with and not having Alan around anymore is what makes this so hard.

Yes, I have produced the news all by myself, several times but Alan was always there for me to ask, 'Is this alright?' 'Are the photos okay?' 'What do you think of this?' etc. Now it is as though half of me, the most important half has disappeared and the remaining half has been left adrift. People tell me 'It's early days yet' and I guess that's true. It will be just six weeks on Thursday since Alan lost his brave battle but it feels like a life time ago and it still hurts. A lot! I'm sorry, but I'm not brave like Alan was. I'm finding all of this very scary. BUT . . . .

I have also been told, 'Don't try to run before you can walk' and so, in order to keep on top of things, for the moment I shall probably be uploading the submitted news as and when it comes in while I get my head around the many other things I really need to know all at once. This way I can also give more time to the people who support financially, some of whom have been neglected in recent weeks. They have been very patient and I am grateful for their understanding.

Before I sign from this week's blog I would like to say a big 'Thank you' to Sarah for producing the Ross Rocks Videos. You have done an excellent job Sarah and your Dad would be extremely proud of you, as I am. I have to say that we were all very touched by the way many of the bands dedicated their set to Alan and that on the day, the Bandstand became 'The Alan Wood Stage.' Thank you all so much.

I hope that you all enjoy reading this week's issue of Wyenot News. Things should be getting back to 'normal' next week when I hope to have published the footage I took of Pop-Up opera's production of Don Pasquale and last weekend's Country & Western Festival.

Thanks to all for your continued support and encouragement.



ps I just had to publish the photograph below.xx

It certainly did, love.

29th June 2011 - Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible!

First of all I would like to apologize for there being no updates on Wyenot News since 13th June. Regular readers will be aware of the reasons for this and I would like to thank you all for your patience and understanding. I have found working on Wyenot News very difficult recently but I have been slowly building up these current news pages in between doing the things that had to be done and I hope you enjoy reading all four pages, (six if you count this blog and the weather!)

I would like to give special thanks to Norman Bricknell who, understanding that I may need some help wrote two pieces for me; the recent Georgian Day and his personal account of the sad occasion of Alan's funeral. I cannot thank you enough for this Norman, you have been very kind.

As you can see, the news is a week behind at this moment in time. There are two main reasons for this, the first being that the time needed to produce the news has been very difficult to find. Since Alan passed away there have been so many things to deal with and although I have been out and about covering events, getting around to putting the footage into the news pages has been a slow process. The second reason is that getting back to 'normal' has not been easy. It still isn't and I don't think I shall ever know the real meaning of 'normal' again. However, I think that I have taken as much 'time off' as Alan would allow himself in similar circumstances and I would like to assure our faithful readership that normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

The news which would normally (there goes that word again) have been uploaded this week will be just a few days behind. This is due to the fact that I have been busy compiling this issue of Wyenot News and being actively involved with Ross Rocks! Alan's daughter, Sarah filmed most of the event and has produced a video which will be uploaded with the next issue. I am just waiting on some technical advice, then will be able to upload the next issue.

Sarah has never done anything like this before and has, in between working her shifts spent hours working on the film. Sarah has done a fantastic job and I am sure that you will all enjoy the result. Thank you Sarah, your Dad would be so proud of you.

I apologize if this blog seems waffly. It is now 06:53 and I haven't been to bed yet but will as soon as this issue is safely uploaded. Many thanks again for your patience and understanding.



13th June 2011 - In Loving Memory of Alan Wood 01.10.53 - 02.06.11

I am finding it extremely difficult to put into words just how I am feeling right now. The news of Alan's passing away on Thursday, 2nd June seems to have rocked the whole of Ross-on-Wye, the town he loved so much. If Alan could see all of the emails, letters and cards I have received or all of the comments on both of our Facebook pages, and the wonderful tributes in the local press, in particular the Ross Gazette, he would be truly amazed and touched to say the very least.

The house feels so empty at times, yet at others it feels as if Alan could walk through the door at any moment after having been out to film some beautiful river scene or wild life, which was one of his favourite pastimes. I still cannot face the harsh, unfair reality that I shall probably not see him again until the time comes for me to join him. I say probably, because Alan said that if it is at all possible, he will come and visit me from time to time.

Watching Alan's courageous battle against cancer was both awe inspiring and heart breaking. He faced his illness with dignity and calm and expected me to do likewise. In the beginning, I occasionally let my face fall, holding back the tears. When he noticed, he would stroke my face with his hand and simply say, 'Normal. Remember?' From then I learned to be 'normal' realizing that I had to be very strong for him, especially after Alan wrote, 'Seeing and feeling the sorrow of others is much harder to take than my own inevitable future because, no matter how much I might want to make them happy, I cannot change what is destined to be. All I can promise is that I will continue to fight for as long as I am able.' He did just that and I am so proud of him.

Alan's funeral will take place at St. Mary's Church on Friday, 17th June at 1pm. Everybody who wishes to pay their last respects to Alan is more than welcome to attend. After the service, I, along with Bernice, Matthew, Christopher and Sarah hope that you will join us in a drink at the White Lion Inn at Wilton before moving on to Alan's party at Broome Farm. (Alan didn't want a Wake, he wanted a party at one of his favourite places where his guests can enjoy some music and food whilst sharing memories of him with others.)

Alan has left and Wyenot News in my hands now. My photographic skills are coming along nicely according to Alan and there will be more films in the future. I hope that you will continue to enjoy your weekly read as I will continue in Alan's endeavour to attract visitors and business to Ross-on-Wye.



Alan and I at my birthday party in November 2010.

11th May 2011 - A Final Update

This Week
I have not got an awful lot to write this week as my condition has worsened and I struggle to sit at the computer. Tina has finished her work at the White Lion and is now able to stay home and look after me. I became unable to climb the stairs, so I now have a bed downstairs, which is not quite as comfortable but has made life easier.

I have been advised by my doctor not to undergo further chemo as it is not really gaining an advantage and will make me feel even more wretched for no real gain, so I am going to take that advice. I may have to sign from Wyenot totally from now on but Tina is doing a good job of keeping things updated and will continue to do so.

I have received many more letters and emails over the past week. Thank you all for your love, your thoughts and prayers.

Here is to hoping that Wyenot and the short films will be my permanent legacy to Ross and the Wye Valley as I begin to embark upon my new journey. I don't know when this will be but I cannot imagine it will be long.

Love to all of my friends and readers.


Alan xxx

4th May 2011 - A Royal Wedding and the May Hill Sunrise on May Day

A Royal Wedding and General Outline
My disease is beginning to seriously get the better of me now and this has been a dreadful month, during which hardly a day has passed without my being very sick, so getting out and about has been extremely difficult. Tina and I went along to Wilton Court for ten minutes during the Royal Wedding, during which I shot the short clip in this week's 'Week in Moving Pictures'. The event was well organized and looked great, with a friendly atmosphere but I was too weak to stay and enjoy it.

Saturday found me out in the garden enjoying the sun when a sudden need to be sick came on. I stood from my chair to accommodate and lost my balance through lack of strength. My head, luckily, hit the grass, having fallen from the concrete step. Once down, I had not the strength to move. Tina could not pick me up and she had to run for help from our neighbours to get me off the ground. I must admit I was worried I might have fractured my skull and was scared to look but it turned out to be just a nasty bruise and graze. I also have schoolboy type knees. I took some pain killing morphine and the injury did not hurt for long.

May Day Sunfest on May Hill
This has long been one of my favourite events of the year. It marks the start of the summer season for me and I was sad that I can no longer make the climb. My daughter, Sarah and her Mum, Bernice came to the rescue however and after a quick set-up and lesson on the cameras, climbed the hill at 4.30 am for me to film and photograph the event. At least I got to see it whilst editing the film. It looked great and I truly wish I could have been there but as it was, whilst it was taking place, I was kneeling in the bathroom with my head over the toilet pan - again!

Diet Not Recommended
My enforced diet has caused me to lose over 8 stone (104lb) in weight since last December, though the method is not a method I would recommend, even for the morbidly obese. Although I remain positive in my thought, realistically I think the cancer is now beginning to get the better of me. I now see every new day as a bonus and fear that the disease is going to take me out in the not too distant future. Fighting it is the most difficult battle I have fought in my life but if this happens, nobody can accuse me of not trying. The ironic thing is that, sitting in my garden in the sun all day has given me a suntan and I almost look healthy, like I have just returned from a holiday in the sun. I am now growing weary of the fight but I promise to keep battling. I begin chemo again soon, so maybe that will help.

Here's hoping to be back next week. Thank you to everybody for your love and support and thank you to Bernice and Sarah for climing May Hill for me.....

Wyenot Statistics for April 2011
These can be seen below the video and photos.

Alan xxx

Beware of the flowers coz I'm sure they're gonna get you, yeah.

The Forest of Dean Morris side on May Hill.

The Wild Oats Morris.

Lassington Oak Morris.

The sunrise at 5:20am on May Day.

Bernice drinks some mead from a horn.

Visitors to Wyenot during the month of April 2011.

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