Using the “C” word

Paul & Chris KemshellIt is 8:29 pm Friday 8th September. Just got home, busy day! Work, kids, future plans, money, regrets, house sales, a head full of thoughts.


8:30 pm my younger brother calls, he tells me he has cancer, and it has advanced and passed into a secondary area of his body! It seems, for just a moment that the world has stopped spinning. What I considered important 30 seconds earlier suddenly has become totally irrelevant – my poor brother, and what about his wife…his kids? The youngest has just started school this week. What about Mum and Dad? This seems so tough.

 

Then the world starts spinning again; I can not even imagine how hard it must be for people that don’t have faith in something bigger than what we can see.

 

Surprisingly the overwhelming emotion is that of gratitude and thankfulness and a desire to make every moment count.  There is so much in my life that I need to be grateful for, including my brother and his family!

 

8:42 pm wished my brother good night, and we prayed together.

 

People are precious, and with a heavy heart, I think of times I have wronged people, where I was too abrasive or did not see the best in them, even put them down or let them down, or simply did not do what I said I would do. I wish I could turn back the clock and do things differently, but I can’t! We can’t! I think back to the schoolyard rhyme “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.” But bones heal………..

 

In a funny sort of way, this has been a special week. I drove down with my kids for a couple of hours to see my brother, and we just hung out. We have spoken a couple of times each day on the phone just checking in on each other. Normally I could go a few weeks without talking to him. Why does it take a crisis to focus on what is important?

 

In very simple terms cancer is a cell in our body that gets damaged, and that starts to reproduce more and more damaged cells overpowering our healthy cells.

 

It’s so easy to infect ourselves with virtual “cancer” of the heart, by holding on to hurt, unresolved bitterness and pain. We are not beholden to our past, and we are not defined by our mistakes or the people that have hurt us. Life is simply too short, and people are too precious not to live life, loving, with arms opened wide!

 

I am believing my God for a miracle, a miracle that gives me 40 more years walking with my brother. But, if it’s 4 weeks, or 4 months or 4 years I hope to remain grateful for what I have had, rather than what, I might have lost. I guess like me; you are not one of the 1 billion people on this amazing planet of ours that live on less than $1 per day. Let’s not race to the bottom in self-pity, but increase our love for those who have it worse than us.


As part of your life seems to go up in flames, it might just be the smoke signal needed to attract heavens blessings.

Walking into your healing

21 months ago (November 2015) I was in Sydney Australia, that particular Monday morning I woke up to 3 voicemails from my sister Annette:

  1. Mum is not so well, don’t worry but I think you should know.
  2. We are taking Mum to hospital give us a ring as soon as you get this message.
  3. Mum is going into theatre for brain surgery in a few hours, I think you need to get on the next plane home.

It happened that quickly, mum had an innocent ear infection that burnt through her skull and started eating away at her brain!

Are you ready for what might happen tomorrow?

36 hours later I arrived in a hospital waiting room in Leeds.

 

For the next 14 days we watched Mum make no progress, expected milestones were never met, mum would just not wake up. The fact was mum had zero response to any test her doctors performed on her.

Intensive care is a surprisingly calm place, it’s a place of work for 7 highly skilled nurses, 2 orderlies, 1 doctor and numerous different consultants in and out all times of the day and night looking after just 6 patients! It’s a place where 6 lives are held in the balance between life and death and dozens of close family members are forced to put their lives on pause, hold their breath and hope that their loved ones will be one of the lucky ones that pull through!

Everyone that cared for mum on that ward was simply brilliant but it was clear their hope was beginning to fade for mum.

Mum urgently needed a procedure to cut an air and feeding vent in her throat, the problem would be that once this was done mum might be able to stay alive without fully waking up and she could be condemned to being “locked in” or in a permanent vegetative state. Friday morning we sat down with mum’s brain surgeon and the neuro rehab consultant to talk about turning mum’s life support machine off. It was decided Tuesday would be the day.

Faith produces HOPE and HOPE produces PEACE.

The response of our remarkable dad, who having had a discussion about unplugging his world was simply to say ‘let’s keep praying!’

A few hours later mum started to wake up.

Me with my younger brother and sister in 1980 doing the family walk

As a family, we love Swaledale in Yorkshire. Four generations of my family have holidayed there, and other than playing in the stream at Cogden Bridge the highlight is always the walk between Muker and Keld, affectionally known as the “family walk”!

Before mum opened her eyes and started talking again we talked around her hospital bed about doing the “family walk” with mum again – God had not finished with Mum yet, it was not time for her yet!

Mum spent 120 days in hospital, 18 in intensive care, 10 on a high dependency ward, 60 days in Leeds then another 60 in Dewsbury.

This week (August 2017) we had a family holiday in Swaledale, guess what we did……….?

It is true to say mum is not yet strong enough yet to do the whole of the walk but the first mile or so is nice and flat out of Muker.  It was a remarkable day to see her there. As a family, we are incredibly grateful, to God and the medics for the progress that has been made!

It is also true to say, Mum has lost a significant portion of her brain, she has lost a great deal of strength down one side, her balance is not what it once was and her dress sense of gone to pot! But -there is so much she has not lost, and I believe God has not finished with her yet either!

Within 12 months we could make it all the way to Keld.

Mum, please, keep moving, keep pushing yourself, keep believing, all things are possible for our God!

Chasing Happiness………….

I had everything I ever wanted, drove dream cars, travelled the world, people around me told me I was successful, but really, I was not very happy at all. I did what I guess a lot of people do these days in our consumer mad western society, I went out or probably more accurately went online and bought yet more stuff – I was spending money quicker than I was making it all in an attempt to buy my way to happiness, which had to be just around the corner – maybe it will come with the iPhone 8! 

 

I was living for ‘stuff’, I wonder how much living I missed out on in the pursuit of buying more stuff?

 

I had exchanged purpose for possessions, and a life without purpose is no life at all!

 

It is almost a year ago that I resigned from my amazing job as CEO of the business I co-founded and still love. It has been a slow journey towards my new growing self-awareness. I am now sure my future will be far more about serving the needs of others rather than serving myself – But that is probably for another blog as this one is about sunglasses!

 

IMG_1452

 

About 5 years ago I had laser eye surgery. One of the consequences of this was that I had no use for the 2 pairs of prescription sunglasses I owned, one “fashion” pair and one for cycling.

 

On my ongoing hunt for happiness one of the things I started to buy was sunglasses. I never bought cheap glasses and could always justify buying another pair!

 

IMG_1446Oakley Fast Jacket XL – Great pair of cycling glasses, I bought these in Leeds not long after I had the surgery done.

Ebay Link

 

 

IMG_1451Oakley Racing jackets – This really is where that madness begins – My first pair of cycling glasses are perfect, do the job, look great etc – however after crashing in stage 16 of the 2015 Tour de France, Geraint Thomas lost his old Oakley Racing Jackets. “They don’t even make them anymore”, Thomas told Velo News at the end of the race. So in the pursuit of happiness I jumped on eBay and bought a pair second hand, and paid more than when they were new!

 

IMG_1445Ray Ban aviators – Went on a trip to New Zealand where I bought myself this pair – Everybody should have a pair of aviators I thought – What a prick! Ebay Link

 

 

IMG_1449Ray Ban Clubmaster – On a trip to London I thought it a good idea to own a smart pair of glasses to wear with a suit! Ebay Link

 

IMG_1450Ray Ban Andy – Because everyone needs a Men in Black pair – These were bought in Sydney so probably cost 50% too much!

 

 

IMG_1444Ray Ban ??? – Well these are temporally misplaced! But these are to be worn with denim!!!

 

IMG_1448Oakley limited edition signed Shaun White (whoever he is) Holbrook glasses – I bought these in Manly in Sydney from the Oakley shop, I found the most attractive female member of staff and asked her to help me choose the most outrageous pair of glasses she thought I could get away with! – Double prick! Ebay Link

 

I can probably justify owning 2 pairs of sunglasses – So most of my sunglasses collection is now on eBay, 100% of the sales price will be given to Cica UK and that money will go to support people in Africa that materially have almost nothing but maybe are already closer to that elusive happiness.

 

I am on a journey towards deburdening my life of anything, stuff, thoughts, relationships that don’t bring joy to me or maybe more importantly other people around me!

 

Feel free to subscribe to my blog or Facebook page to join me on this journey as I document my self-discovery – as I stop chasing happiness and start relentlessly pursuing God’s intended purpose for my life. 

Scissett Triathlon

me.jpgToday I completed my favourite triathlon for the 3rd time, Scissett Triathlon organised by West Yorkshire Police Triathlon is a cool little event that just happens to be on my doorstep, well almost!

Like all British Triathlon events it is governed by the standard rules but its super relaxed and very friendly which I guess it’s why it attracts so many first-time triathletes.

Starting with a 412 meter pool swim then straight into the 18k bike leg which climbs up to the Emley Moor mast and then back to Scissett baths with 236m of climbing it’s a little hilly but good fun. Then into a 4.5k run half off-road on a good track then the second half on the road – Perfect!

This year I was 3 minutes slower on the bike leg which is a bit rubbish but it probably did not help having a 100k hilly bike ride yesterday. The run this year was a touch faster but not by much – At least I did not come last which is always my first aim when I enter a triathlon!

 It’s great to be part of the Wakefield Tri Club – the support is always fantastic, a bunch of great members just turned up to cheer people on. Thanks guys you are epic!

Strava Bike

Strava Run

Fish and Chips
Finishers Reward!

Is a £10 minimum wage a good idea?

Mary Creagh

Dear Mary Creagh

I would like to vote for you on the 8th June, I think you have been a good local MP for Wakefield.

Before I am able to vote for you, can you please clarify one of your party’s policies, in particular that of raising the minimum wage to £10 per hour.

I currently co own a small performance marketing business based in Wakefield, employing nearly 20 people.

We have 2 members of staff on minimum wages as we internally train them. With the exception of finance and tech team members, we have trained all our staff, as we are in a very niche market working internationally with no local competition, so there is no locally trained talent pool to recruit from.

So, if a Labour government is elected in June and during the parliament minimum wage goes up by 25%! Surely then everyone currently on £10 per hour needs to get a 25% pay raise too and everyone currently on £15 per hour will expect the same pay rise also?

Now, I appreciate this is a slight extreme example but lets suppose I offered each member of our team a 25% pay raise because we are fair to our staff. That would cost around £10,000 per month, and unable to pass the cost on to our customer -the only way to finance that would be to make 4 members of staff redundant, which in turn would put the whole business in serious jeopardy.

I love the sentiment of a £10 minimum wage but, is it practical? Is this policy a headline grabber to gain easy votes but will never be brought into law? Or is it the real intention of a future Labour government?

Kind regards

Paul Kemshell

London to Paris in 24 hours on a bike.

What a great experience! In fact this ride was one of the favourite events I have done! Last October I ran the Lincoln Half Marathon, I ran with a friend of mine, supporting them run their first half marathon. What I enjoyed the most was the fact it was purely just for the fun of it. Paris in 24 hours was just the same!

LP24-Trafalgar

The event was organised by a bunch of guys from DBS data, and what a cracking job they did. There were 14 guys and 1 girl. Some of the guys could have jumped on their bikes and ridden straight back. For others among the group this really was the pinnacle of their cycling achievement. I rode with a group of 9, and what a great pleasure it was, a real “one for all” mentality. We amassed 9 punctures between us, I think one of the guys managed to get 4, I am not sure how that is possible but it was!!!

We left London at 4pm on a Friday – Not entirely sure this was the optimal time to do so; I have never seen road rage like it! One guys was held up for about 7 seconds and went hopping mad, unfortunately that same poor guys is likely to die 10 years prematurely because the self inflicted stress and anger he must live with. A bus driver taught me 4 new lewd hand gestures because I robbed 1 meter of road from him! Being a Yorkshire country lane cyclist London rush hour was an experience.

Fortunately it was not too long before we reached the open country. After nearly 5 hours of biking we reached the south coast, rolled onto a ferry and tried to get 2 hours sleep lying on the floor in the public area of the ferry. I picked a spot under the main stairs on the aft deck, closest I have come to feeling homeless curled up in a sleeping bag under a staircase.

We rolled off the boat into Normandy darkness with the goal of reaching Paris by 4pm. Riding a direct route to Paris you don’t end up on the most scenic of roads but as cycling is the French national sport the divers are far more understanding and to be fair it was still a great route.

As the hours and the miles rolled by I became increasingly impressed with the group of people I had the pleasure to ride with, smiling through the pain and enjoying the moment and their achievement. A few of the guys were riding for charity and it turns out more that £11,000 was raised, helmets off to you guys, you are a real inspiration.

The most painful part of the whole experience came at lunchtime, dreaming of fresh French bread, cheese and maybe some meat, unfortunately the consensus of opinion was lunch should be had at McDonalds!!!!! 14 days on I am beginning to feel the disappointment subside!

We made it to Paris. Paris made London feel like a small town, I am not sure if it was fatigue and 170 miles in the legs but Paris just felt mad!

As a die hard pro cycling fan it was fantastic to ride up the Champs-Elysees, a cycling experience I will never forget weaving between the traffic on the cobbles – crazy, crazy, crazy. I think my bike handling skills improved more than my fitness on this trip to Paris.

paris2.jpg

Note to self because my mate Alun had driven over to Paris for a little jolly and to be as great a support as ever, having his range rover at the finish line I was able to dump my bike, get to the hotel and get a quick shower. This meant we made it to the celebration dinner one hour before everyone. 2 pints of beer on an utterly empty stomach felt like 6 or 7! I am not totally sure what I had to eat that night, but I am sure it was great!

paris1

Strava Link UK  –  Strava Link France

Link to pre Paris blog

paris

Save

Vlog

Emily is 12 and 3/4! We are going to start a little business together, making ginger beer and selling it, to help Emily with her GCSE business studies. We are also going to vlog about the journey, its a great excuse for me to spend time with my number one daughter, before I go the way of all dad’s and become totally uncool!

Vlog 2

Vlog 1