Tuesday, 16 January 2018


As you can see, I have bought a lot of health foods that I have not actually eaten. Why? Because I, shamefully, like to binge on chocolate a lot more than I like to eat bland flame raisins, peanuts, almonds and dried banana. (Hence the Quality Street.)

I find, though, that if I tell you- though this blog- that I am going to do something, I pretty much do it. If I say I'm going to plank for 5 minutes, I'll do it. If I say I'm going to beat a bench press record, I beat it. Hence, I'm going to tell you at this point that I will not eat any more junk food until I've eaten all of these health foods.

This is likely to take some time.

Or maybe not. Maybe I'll make do with what snack food is available and hammer through them. No more buying chocolate, no more takeaways, no flapjack. In the meantime, I'll keep working at the gym, particularly on dips. (60 is my record.) I'll do a lot of repping out instead of trying to lift really heavy weights, a lot of burpee chin-ups and battle rope, kettlebell swings and get on the punch bag (if they fix it). I'll try to beat my dips PB and I'll try to get under 80kg. I'm currently at 83.6kg.

I'll get back to you on this when I've eaten all the nuts!

Sunday, 14 January 2018

The January deals on restaurants are incredible at the moment

A friend of mine and I decided to try out pan-Asian Manchester restaurant Sakana, as this month- offering 50% off- is pretty much the only time I'd be able to afford it. But, to my credit, only one other friend could afford it this month anyway, so me and C went to check it out.

Minor hiccup on arrival- I'd given my email address to receive the voucher from Sakana, but it hadn't come through. The restaurant had managed to get my (obscure, Scandinavian) surname right, but had misspelled 'Matthew.' A minor issue, but one I have to mention! 50% off was still applicable, so all was good!

The food was delicious and service was impeccable. The 50% off deal remains in place til the end of January. Book in advance ASAP!

A post shared by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

A post shared by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

A post shared by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

We dropped in 2 doors down to Dirty Martini https://twitter.com/Dirtymartiniuk after this, a stunning new addition to Peter St's nightlife scene but one with a few growing pains- after a long wait at the bar I was only charged for one cocktail and even that one was half price. Can't complain! I savoured it though, and highly recommend this one:

In other, unrelated, news, boxer Chris Eubank liked my pedantic tweet correcting his grammar. 

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Andy's Man Club take over the Halifax Parkrun

Credit: Nigel Taylor

Andy's Man Club, men's support group offering a safe place to discuss mental health issues, is going from strength to strength. To raise awareness of the group, which in turn will hopefully lead to more support for those who are struggling, AMC decided to volunteer at a local Parkrun, an international event and a 5km dash though a public park happening across the world.

Last Saturday AMC members from a few different groups met at Shroggs Park in Halifax at 8:30am for their Parkrun. Yes, I got up earlier on a Saturday than I would to go to work. It was all good though, and we cracked on with setting up the course by dropping cones and putting up a gazebo at the start / finish line. (We all soon huddled under this as, shock, it started raining in Yorkshire.)

Some of us ran in AMC t-shirts, some of us- including me- marshalled in branded gear, cheering on the runners and waving them in the right direction around the course.

A great event that was well-received and well-attended. If AMC takes over another Parkrun I'll probably run in it, again branded up. Check out Andy Steer's great Facebook album covering the event. Also see Nigel Taylor's great shots.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

#tbt Beermats: Week 12

If you're following these beermat posts it's fair to presume you've got a bit of interest in this niche. Well, everyone's got their quirks, haven't they? Hence, I thought It might be good to spread the love and give a shout out to some other beermat uploaders sharing some great artwork on Instagram. Check out Dutch Beer Coaster Collector, Thirsty's Beer Mats, AB Beer Coasters, Love Beer Mats, All About Beer Ireland, Beer Coaster Viking, The Beermat Post, and the award for best beermat-related URL goes to Beer Coasters Collector

Awesome awesome content providers. Go follow them!

Here are this week's beermats...

A post shared by Matt Tuckey (@matttuckey) on

Sunday, 7 January 2018

I uploaded 190 blog posts last year.

Can you believe that? That's more than once every 2 days.

The most-hit post was this one, about boxer Amir Khan being surrounded by girls in club History, racking up 599 hits at the time of writing. He's since gone on to star in I'm a Celebrity: Get Me Out of Here, finishing in 5th place.

In other news, Jenna Jameson liked my reply tweet, although she appears to have deleted the original and I can't remember what it was about. So it makes no sense.

Away from Twitter, house music club Venus has closed down.

I really liked the music and was introduced to some great friends in there. But I had problems with the venue. The door policy was weird- good people were frequently turned away, and steroid-abusing blocky-looking douchebags got in, who then walked around with a chip on their shoulder, getting no-where with the stuck-up dolly birds. The statement claims that it's the licensing hours that have caused its demise. It's not. It's the change in musical tastes, and it's the generation of clubbers who would rather listen to RnB instead of house. It's also the costs- Venus wasn't cheap, but then, few places in Manchester are. Manchester overall is becoming very quiet; even new year was shockingly underpopulated. Money is the issue there.

I wouldn't expect much more than book reviews from me for the next month or so. It's to cold and too quiet, and I'm too poor to do a great deal.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

MORE fines due to disability

I have not got a clue what I am doing.

A few weeks ago, I picked up a prescription and explained to the chemist that I didn't know what to write on the form. I'd previously not paid for prescriptions, but although in receipt of Personal Independence Payment I was not in receipt of Working Tax Credits- it turns out that my allocation of PIP was a notification of a change in circumstances, which in turn the WTC team at the Department for Work and Pensions used as an excuse to stop paying me WTC. I'm still in receipt of PIP, so to be on the safe side, I paid for the prescription. I looked online and it appeared that I in fact didn't have to pay, so I went back to the chemist and showed them my award of PIP on letterheaded DWP paper.

The chemist took this as acceptable proof that I didn't actually have to pay for prescriptions, so they refunded me that money.

Yesterday I got ANOTHER fine, to add to the dentist's fine of a few weeks ago (which is still under review- I forgot that it still needed paying despite this, so it doubled in price). This chemist's fine, to the tune of £51.60, also needs paying. It turns out, having rang the NHS charges helpline, that the chemist misinformed me. I should have paid, and was not eligible. WTC means free prescriptions, PIP does not.

As well as forgetting things due to memory difficulties- the reason I claim PIP in the first place- I frequently misinterpret information and make decisions based on what I think to be the case, but isn't. So the condition that causes me to be poor, which makes me eligible for some benefits, is the same condition that causes me to make mistakes which result in the fines.

I'm pretty sure I've made these mistakes before, (but of course, I wouldn't know for sure.) So presumably, I may get further fines, resulting in the loss of hundreds more pounds. I asked the NHS charges helpline about this- the chemists have apparently misinformed me and I have to pay for prescriptions. WTC was what made me eligible to get this for free, not DLA (Disability Living Allowance, which was stopped a year ago) or PIP (which I've been in receipt of for a few months). Fines are issued by a 'scanner,' by 'spot checks,' so at random the computer will check if people claiming free prescriptions are eligible, and if they aren't a fine will be issued.

A question: Why did the chemist let me claim for free if I'm not applicable? Surely working in a chemist, you'd have to know who is eligible for free prescriptions and who isn't, based on the benefits they say they receive?

The DWP will send me an HC1 form, or an HC2. I don't know which I'll receive, but these relate to health costs. Apparently, once filled and returned, this will give me free prescriptions for 12 months. If I get WTC, it won't be relevant, but if I don't it will 'act as a backup.' They say I should get a decision on WTC soon, after which I should work through the above. There's a 28 day hold on this fine in the meantime.

What frustrates me about this situation the most is that these benefits are there to promote independence and to assist with living costs. They are there to help, but I can't be the only person who needs these who doesn't actually understand how they work. I'm an intelligent enough bloke for most situations in life, but a system designed to help people on low incomes is more complicated than the job that I do, and harder than the treatment I've been through in the NHS relating to depression and confidence building. If you make an honest mistake it will cost you a good chunk of what the DWP give you.

One promising report comes from the Express: 9 out of 10 appeals for dental fines are successful. The article describes how simply 'ticking the wrong box' can result in a £100 fine.

Fines should be issued for people who purposely try to do over the system. If someone is asking for help with something they don't understand, and they still mess it up, the fines should be waived and the support should be put in place. I'm tired of being treated like a criminal.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

#tbt Beermats: Week 11

It's about time I wrote a small note relating to these beermat posts. I've been collecting beermats since I was about 11- maybe longer- and when I moved out in 2010 I scooped them all out of a drawer and into a box, not exactly keeping any order to them. So some of these are from 1993, some from last month. Who knows which? Some expert out there, probably. Not me. Occasionally people comment on these uploads saying which beers they like. I'm a whisky drinker, and I don't drink beer. I love the beermats, though, and years of brewery-based kleptomania has left me with hundreds of ageing beermats, which I figured beermat and beer enthusiasts- possibly like you- would enjoy. The likes and comments suggest people are enjoying the uploads.

In terms of blog posts, I have enough to last me into late summer.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Reading and Robb

I've blogged a few times about attempting the splits whilst reading books. As you do. It was a series of attempts to increase flexibility and focus on what I genuinely enjoy- reading, which in turn would minimise time spent on social media and help get through a huge backlog of unread books.

I'd do this by sitting with my legs apart in front of me, wearing socks, with my heels against the skirting board. Where my torso is, I'd sit directly under the doorway of my kitchen and use the door frame to grip and pull myself closer in.

The last time I attempted it- July '16- I got to 1 metre 65.

I'm going to attempt this again. I'll do this for another month, but this time I'll be using Robb, an ointment for 'relief from pain.' It smells like Thai tiger balm, if you're familiar. I'll apply it to the legs, particularly the insides, and see if I can beat the PB. In a month, I'll blog to report on how well it worked. I'll also review the books that I read in the month.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Well, it looks like house parties are the in-thing at new year from now on.

Manchester was certifiably dead last night, but catching up with mates in Manchester's new Roc 'n' Rye bar was fun, with good disco music. Shame we made up about half the people there. With free entry, it deserved to be busier.

Remember Arman Van Helden's You Don't Even Know Me from 1998?

Turns out it sampled Carrie Lucas' Dance With You.

The original disco track was one of many underplayed 70's tunes on the night's playlist. The music and d├ęcor were great.

I expect the only busy places would have been the most popular bars and clubs on Deansgate / Peter St / John Dalton St etc.

A quiet January awaits. No meetups planned. The only event in the upcoming week is the Andy's Man Club takeover of Halifax Parkrun. Mental health support group Andy's will be marshalling the weekly run on the 6th in Shroggs Park. I'll be there cheering on the runners and dishing out info with other members at 9am.

One last thing: you might have noticed that I've removed the content warning from my blog. The content may still be adult from time to time, but I skipped the warning because people were having a hard time getting past that page- after clicking 'I understand and I wish to continue' that screen would refresh instead of going to the actual blog page. So be warned, it might get adult here and there, but at least you'll be abe to read it. Any other blogs on Blogger.com had that problem?