One day international…

I knew I’d make it one day. Yes, Allen Brooks was on the international cricket umpiring stage today….but only for the day!

A local club was hosting an Australian touring side, Karrinyup CC from the delightful city of Perth. It was a lovely game to umpire, with good natured banter and good humour between the two sides. In fact, from a personal perspective, it was a very easy game to officiate, only having to make two decisions all match.

Then the two sides got down to some serious drinking post match. Cricket played in the old style, with new friendships formed and plenty of beer being sent down parched throats at regular intervals.

Again, I’m very glad that I’m out of the intense higher levels of umpiring that I used to do. This year has been very relaxed, I’ve been treated extremely well by all the players I’ve umpired, and I’ve not (as yet) have had to admonish any of the players for poor behaviour. I only wish I did this years ago. I’m having a great time so far this 2017 cricket season.

All good fun. And it continues on Saturday and Sunday. My sanctuary, relaxed and calm and enjoying the environment in which I operate. Yes, I was an international umpire for one day. But no TV cameras or endless scrutiny from commentators. Blissful. Delightful. Perfect.

Allen Brooks xx


Slow to get started….

Strange day. Volunteering in the hospital cafe today, so an early start. Woke up, went and had a breakfast at the local cafe. I must confess to feeling rather sluggish, and to be honest, not greatly interested in what the day had in store for me.

The journey to the cafe was much the same, same level of disinterest. Walked into the cafe where my colleague was and I was still sluggish in thought and deed. After a can of Red Bull, I managed to wake up a little and it seemed like I was an old car on a cold morning, taking ages to splutter into life. 

The volunteering was good, didn’t make any mistakes with the takings and the session ended well. Couldn’t work out what happened earlier…one of those things. 

Then I was busy sorting out my cricket umpiring arrangements for the weekend. Journey home, I seemed to be ok. As I said the other day, always guard against complacency. Just hope it’s just a temporary fault and not a longer lasting one. 

That’s me…..the occasional blip…

Allen Brooks xx

Alzheimer’s – The Silent Killer…

This is former BBC Children’s TV presenter, John Noakes, who passed away today at the age of 83. John had Alzheimer’s for the last few years of his life, and what that was like for him and those who cared for him, one can only imagine.

I term Alzheimer’s or dementia, the silent killer. The brain cells are dying off, rendering the sufferer to an everyday existence of loneliness and frustration. I have friends and relatives whose members of their own families have Alzheimer’s or dementia. It’s a wearying life for the carers, seeing their loved ones disintegrate and the person they once knew, gone forever. 

As in all cases, we will remember those who have passed on as they once were, lively and popular. Those adjectives can best describe John Noakes. His family will want to remember the great days when he was a daredevil, outdoorsy presenter with no fear at all. 

His suffering and pain is now over, and that, harsh as it sounds, is a blessing for the sufferer and the carers. No one should live their life without knowing what is going on around them. I hope that doesn’t happen to yours truly. I can assure you that I would want my pain and suffering to end, even though I wouldn’t realise it. Alzheimer’s and dementia – the silent killer…

Allen Brooks xx

Seven years on, Part Two. The packet of paracetamol….

Contains some upsetting material 

I sat there…..thoughts dashing this way and that. I just had an argument with my now ex-wife, and I was shaking with fear. Fear of my next step. 

I went to the kitchen. I found a packet of paracetamol. Still shaking, I brought them into the living room. I still sat there, contemplating the worst. I started to push one of the tablets from the packet….and then I stopped. The racing thoughts had slowed down. I started to think of the consequences that my possible actions might have. 

The world seemed a dark, unforgiving place. There was no hope for me. I exhausted myself in the failed marriage, was left with no money, and my mother was on her death bed. The abyss was getting deeper. Could I be about to end it all? 

I put the tablets down. Crying uncontrollably, I rang my sister to discuss what has just happened, and my next move. Taking my own life was not the answer. But this was only the beginning. The beginning of a journey that continued to drive me to the edge, on several occasions. A month later, I was in the doctor’s surgery, penniless, helpless and clueless. That is another blog post altogether. 

Here I am, seven years later, writing this post about those dark times. Eventually, I would be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, so that explains those traumatic life events of 2010. It wasn’t a summer that I remember fondly. It could have ended and well….Allen Brooks wouldn’t be writing this.

Rationality intervened and those suicidal ideations are no longer a feature. I do get anxiety and some down days, but ingesting a heap of tablets is not the answer. I realise that now. I didn’t know much about mental illness then. Time is a healer, and I can talk about it now. Talk about it to others and stop them from pursuing unacceptable avenues of escape. I owed it to my family not to disappear from the mortal coil….and I think I made the right decision. 

Allen Brooks xx

Seven years on…..Part One

I remember the day very clearly as if it were only yesterday. June 2010. It was a hot summer’s day. My mother was in hospital, with her life about to end. It was expected, but that doesn’t stop the grief. 

I went to watch cricket, somewhere locally. I had my phone on constant watch, waiting for news. I tried to shut out the inevitable, but without success. Then, sometime around 7 or 8 in the evening, my sister rang me to inform me that Mum was no more. Dazed, I got in the car and drove to the local hospital.

I made my way to the private room. I took one look at my mother, and left the room immediately. I couldn’t look any more. Her life was at an end. I wept, as anyone would do. Her pain and suffering was at an end. My pain and suffering was continuing, unabated.

I spoke to both my sister and brother-in-law, then I left to go home. I then phoned the relatives to let them know. It didn’t sink in, despite the grief. I know that sounds weird, but it took a while for the enormity of events to sink in properly. Everything else seemed to be crashing in on me, at a tremendous velocity. This only added to it. 

Time is a great healer. I still miss my parents, of course, but at times like the present, my brain has tried to shut things out. There are times when my thoughts turn to why they went so quickly, why is cancer a horrible disease that claims so many, why, why? They won’t come back, but some days when I wake up, alone, looking at the four walls, I wonder how I reached this point in time.

But the world still turns, still spins on it’s axis. Life moves on, and this year is turning out to be pretty good, thus far. But events such as seven years ago still remind me of those dark times, stuck down that deep abyss. I’m sure as this week progresses, I’ll be busy so that I don’t think about seven years ago. Doing well to shut it out, but it isn’t easy at times.

Allen Brooks xx

Blank Holiday Monday….

No cricket today. Heavy rain during the night and the prospect of more this afternoon has put paid to any sporting action today. Oh well. It can’t be helped, it wouldn’t be an English summer without a dose of rain.

So what am I doing? Sitting in a local coffee shop, watching the world go by. It isn’t that busy, as most of the shops are shut. To be honest, though it’s disappointing that the weather has intervened, I’m not too sorry to be inactive today. 

The last seven days has seen a load of things going on, with scarcely a break, so a little rest today has probably come at a good time. Chance to put the feet up and do a few bits around the flat, though I’m enjoying this iced latte, and fancy sitting here a while longer! 

Peace and quiet. Though it’s a blank holiday Monday, it will be uneventful. That’s how I like things to be….

Allen Brooks xx

Cooked and washed away….

Well it was another game of cricket today. We started the match in very hot and sultry conditions, very uncomfortable and oppressive. The sun shining made it feel like an oven being switched to full heat.

Nice game, no problems, and then the rain arrived to condemn the game to a premature close. That’s the first abandonment of all the matches I’ve done so far, so not bad going at all. Can’t be hot and sunny every day, this is England remember! 

Don’t feel as tired today, having an early night and catching up on sleep certainly helps me feel ok the following day. 2017 is all good, but I always guard against complacency. You never know what is round that corner……

Allen Brooks xx