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March 23, 2021

You Must Stay at Home – Lockdown Life One Year On

Fair to say March 23rd 2020 was a life changing day for everyone in the UK with a full national lockdown imposed, something we are still dealing with and will be for at least another 12/18 months whilst the world catches up with the vaccine programme.

March 23rd 2020 was just 15 days after I returned full-time to the UK after spending the previous 3 years working for Radio 2 in Abu Dhabi. It wasn’t my choice to return home, but having been sacked via email on Boxing Day whilst on holiday in the UK I was left with little choice having tired as best I could to continue my broadcast career in the UAE.

Sorting out your life is a complex and costly process in the UAE with rental contracts to end early, internet accounts to close, a car to sell, arrange shipping for cycles and a few other items I wanted to come home with. In total to leave the UAE properly with no debt and the ability to return for work, holiday or just have the ability to travel via the country at any time cost me over £5,000. This alongside a rather turbulent time in my personal life and fighting an illegal termination case against a semi government owned organisation stress levels were probably best described as extremely high.

The company narrowly avoided a court case calling me into the office 2 days before the case was due to heard and offered to settle for the full amount I would have been awarded by the court. Long story short, you cannot terminate an ex-pat whilst they are out of the country. Something the HR team at Abu Dhabi Media admitted in an email that they copied me in on by mistake! I believe if they had spoken with me and not ignored me totally for 2 months, despite my best efforts we could have resolved things in a much nicer, less stressful and costly way for all involved.

Turns out I had been dismissed to save costs at Radio 2, although the remaining staff had been told something different, but that’s the official reason from some very senior people within the company. So, with a nice amount of money in the bank I finally returned to the UK.

It would be very unfair to not to acknowledge a select few who had my back during an extremely tough time in the UAE. A time when you learn who are true friends and who are just people you once worked with.

Now back in the UK I had a fair amount of ‘chats’ lined up with media companies about opportunities and was confident that something would come along in a few months. I couldn’t have been more wrong, as lockdown was announced all of these ‘chats’ got put on hold and haven’t returned.

What to do now? Only one choice, get a job and quick as I wouldn’t be entitled to any help having been out of the system for 3 years and that’s only right. I jumped online and applied for two jobs one at the Post Office as a driver and one at Morrison’s as part of the new home delivery team at my local store. A very quick chat led to an offer from Morrison’s and within a week I was trained and delivering food to people across Shropshire and Wales.

What a scary time to be knocking on people’s doors, exposing yourself to the virus potentially each and every day. I’m proud of what I’ve done for the last 12 months, it doesn’t pay radio money at £10 an hour, but it has meant I’ve been able to pay all my household bills in full and on time every month. With the money left over I’ve put food on the table, had the odd bottle of red wine and learnt that the life I was living in the UAE was totally unrealistic. Home delivery has also kept me mentally and physically fit.

Being home full-time has also meant I’ve been able to look after Mum and Dad in a way that I never considered before. From buying shopping for them at the start of lockdown, to dropping parcels at the post office after Mum decided she didn’t want that thing from John Lewis, filling the back of my car with birdseed and compost for the garden, grabbing a cheap bunch of flowers for Mum, real basic stuff but massively important to keep them happy and smiling as they’ve spent 12 months not going anywhere because of shielding rules. Well, apart from the odd trip to Hospital and the Doctors – But that’s another story.

Lockdown life has also led me the Harri, a Labrador I found on a Welsh Hill farm delivering food. He was 8 weeks old and on November 1st he arrived at my home in Shropshire. I’d thought about a dog in the UAE but the climate is too harsh in my view, so decided against it. Harri has been so important for me living on your own and not having the ability to meet anyone, he’s also a reason to get up early and get outside before work. I’m sure we’ve plenty of fun adventures ahead as lockdown eases.

Career wise I’ve no idea what will happen next? I’d love to continue with my radio career but suspect that will be almost impossible in the UK. My home delivery job has taught me an awful lot about customer service, teamwork, people, problem solving, selling the company and yourself on every doorstep, getting your head down and getting the job done in some awful conditions across the winter. I didn’t expect the ever have a job where I got soaked to the skin, walked round in wet boots and had cracked bleeding fingers because of the cold weather, that was a million miles away from nice air conditioned radio studios.

The biggest life lesson I’ve learnt in the past 12 months is surround yourself with good people, your people, people you can rely on, people who will support you in ways you never thought you’d need. When the going gets tough, get stuck in, work the problem, don’t crumble or runaway and hide because that’s the easiest route to take.

2021 post lockdown I’m ready for you.

September 22, 2020

Just Another Manic Monday

Yesterday was a long day, a hard day covering a gap created by another driver who was off ill and no cover available. Got to work at 2:30pm, got home at midnight, no breaks, just hard graft. A team of four people stepped up last night to make sure customers got what they had ordered and the company did what it set out to do. Yes the food arrived a little later than planned, but we made it happen. Not always easy in some remote bits of Wales when it’s pitch black, you’re driving a van packed to the roof and using a torch to see house names and numbers!!

Proved to me a united team regardless of income or status can achieve an awful lot. It also highlighted what’s been lacking in some of the organisations I’ve worked with in the past, a group of talented people working together with no common goal other than sharing a payday.

I know which business is more fun to work in.

Monday was also a good day as I got my Key Worker badge as a little thank you from the company 🙂

broadcaster #radiopresenter #deliverydriver #sales #communication #experience #charity #work #change #success #leadership #people #food #business #team #teamwork

September 1, 2020

UK Wide Cycle Ride for Diabetes UK

September 1st and I’m back on the bike for the first time in 3 months, and for a good reason. I’m taking part in the UK Wide Cycle Ride to support people affected by diabetes. I aim to cover 250 miles over the month, be that on the roads of Shropshire and Wales or on the Turbo Trainer if the weather is a bit grim!

I’ll be doing this alongside my lockdown home delivery job for Morrison’s, which in its self is pretty good exercise.

There are 4.8 million people living with diabetes in the UK, the complications of which lead to over 500 premature deaths every week.

All donations welcome via www.rv12.co.uk which links to my just giving page. A massive thank you to those who’ve supported me already.

#charity #cycling @diabetesuk #deliverydriver #broadcaster #radio #radiopresenter Morrisons #ukwidecycleride #keepfit

June 18, 2020

Lock Down Job

Not my traditional line of work delivering food for Morrison’s, yet hugely rewarding helping people during this unique period of time. I know radio opportunities will return but for now I’m doing my bit.

Once again blown away by my lock down job. Delivering for the store community team, to people who are at home because of the situation we all find ourselves in and it’s unwise for them to venture to the supermarket.

A lovely old lady tapped on the window of my van after I dropped to her next door neighbour and asked if I was from Morrison’s (we have plain white vans currently)? I said yes, and she gives me her neatly hand written shopping list to save phoning it in to the store. She adds it’s a big order so no rush just by the weekend please.

Her complete list was for just 21 items which I’m guessing is a weeks food and treats? You know you’re doing something pretty important for people on days like today.

January 2, 2020

Getting Into Radio

This page originally appeared on my website probably 10 years ago and is still as valid today.

Like most industries radio is a tough place at the moment, but the rewards are still good if you’re prepared to make some effort and the odd sacrifice.

My top ten tips on how to get into radio:

10. Be Flexible: That initial break will come when you least expect it

9. Right Place at the Right Time: Not every opening is advertised, start sending emails and calling PC’s (radio station bosses) to find out what’s going on

8. Foot in the Door: I started making tea at Beacon Radio in Wolverhampton

7. Unpaid Work: It is all about getting into the station, be it doing promo work or even cleaning out a store cupboard

6. Travel: If you can travel outside of your home town or city your options are far greater

5. Hospital Radio: Learn the ropes and make mistakes. I started out doing a Friday night show at Sandwell Hospital Radio which proved to be a great training ground

4. Tech Op: I did this at Beacon whilst presenting on Hospital Radio; it gave me a chance to use professional gear and get a real insight into the workings of a proper radio station.

3. Ask Questions: Once you get into a station, ask plenty of questions and listen to the answers; you’ll be surprised what you can learn

2. Listen to the Radio: I was a sales rep before landing a full time gig which gave me the chance to travel the country and listen to many different stations. It is much easier to do this today with the internet

1. Keep Trying: It took me about two years from starting out at Beacon to actually getting my first on-air shift. If you get knocked back, try again and again. You won’t land Radio 1 breakast with 6 months experience but with a few years under your belt you might.

Email any other questions and I wish you the best of luck.