#387 So…What a New Year

Probably one of the best. Certainly that I can remember. Spent amongst family and friends, there was so much merriment, laughter and enjoyment that as I am writing this returning on the train to Paris, I can’t but feel a bit sad to be leaving.

But the sadness is a result of the enormous energy and vitality that our family generates. And this New Year was like a perfect storm. One that was so very enjoyable because all the participants contributed to the max. And I mean everyone. There were no exceptions. It’s like a whirlwind of frenzied spontaneity that is enrobed in gaiety that just knows no bounds. Awesome 👏.

And the majority of the time it was due to the fact that we were about 20 around a festive table, all eager to contribute to making the meals wonderfully entertaining.

As is the tradition in Holland, you are allowed to set off fireworks anytime on 31 December and 1 January as long as you do not endanger yourself and others personal health , and that you clear up your mess the following day. I have never seen such incredible fireworks that just kept on coming. The Wiersum’s did everyone proud. Champagne bottles were opened with a sabre sharp enough to put the fear of god into anyone. Cigars were smoked by the men and some of the women including the youngest adult 👩

Red Right Hand. Mr Peaky Blinder himself
Butter and cigars wouldn’t melt in her mouth
Didn’t Chris deBurgh sing about Ladies in…errr…..blue?
Where’s Lucky?
Big Sis with the Terrible Twins
The baton has been passed to the terrible duo.

There are so many other good photos, but will save those for the family.

We had the youngest members telling jokes that would shock anyone, cameo songs by all the women singing Hotel California by the Eagles, Dave, me and Alain performing an unforgettable rendition of Suspicious Minds by the King and a round of National Anthems from France and Holland amongst others. All washed down with fine French wines and cocktails and an amazing Fondue Chinoise that was even made suitable for myself and Charlotte as we are Pescatarians.

Now that’s what I call Fireworks

And then we all retired to the Sherlock pub. But retire we did not, as the karaoke was in full swing. Led by the youngest generation, they became more and more adamant that they could belt out all songs like “Wake me up before you go-go” as loud as possible. The only possible downside was that as more alcohol was consumed, the more vociferous they became.

Wake me Up

There were a few casualties including me, being pushed backwards by eager people trying to get to the bar. It was another moment where I fell in slow motion. Backwards. Nothing I can do but try and protect my arm and leg. This time, to no avail. I was going down. Caught up in a ball of scarves that had fallen off a chair and were on the floor. I would have smacked my head on the cold wet stone floor if it had not have been for the quick reactions of Christine who managed to break my fall. 🙏🙏

It took 45-60 minutes to walk back to the Airbnb where we were staying. Normally it’s a 10 minute walk but there was a hell of a wind that I was being blown backwards. I literally couldn’t walk for the pain in my leg and arm but we made it.

We made it home for 6am and promptly fell asleep. It was a slow day on January 1, 2023 but following a very enjoyable day and evening and night to celebrate the last day of 2023, I was very happy 😃.

Thank you 🙏 2022. Let’s have a great 2023. I feel it will be a decisive year in many respects. Let’s enjoy it and see where the unbelievable and incredible journey continues to take me.

I can’t wait 😜

#386 So…Carpe Diem

Carpe diem. Seize the moment. We live a life of impermanence. The one certainty in life is that we will die. We don’t know when, we don’t know how. So it is important to live life to the full, live each day as if it is our last. And by that I mean take advantage of what is around us and be grateful for our ability to be grateful.

It could mean getting up earlier, maybe 30 minutes earlier, in order to see the sunrise. Or phoning and speaking to a loved one who hasn’t heard from you for some time. Just being able to enlarge your comfort zone brings forth gratitude. Changing the scenery brings joy.

There is brightness in everything

Yesterday I decided to go swimming again. After packing for my trip to Holland, I set off for the pool. I went to the boulangerie and enjoyed beaming happiness towards the servers, always always asking them how they are. I realised that I was going to be later than I had anticipated. No worries. It is what it is. And when I went through the shower section to go to the pool, I saw a beaming smile from a friend, who is always there doing her exercises. She was honestly happy to see me and that made me smile. Then I saw Edy and she had a beaming smile too. Happiness begets happiness.

She introduced me to her husband, Patrick. A lovely man. They are a lovely couple. Married for 16 or so years. Hats off.

Beauty is what gives you joy. It can be anything. Looking out of the window on the way to Holland, I see greenery. I see ⛅️ clouds and a little bit of sunshine. But what makes me smile is the thought of being with the people that I love. My twin, my sister, my cousins and Charlotte. Beautiful. I look at my kids opposite me on the train and smile a happy contented smile. They are in their own worlds but are also here with me. And that gives me joy.

I have been trying to understand my thoughts and feelings over the last couple of days. There has been a lot of anxiety. Anxiety surrounding the organisation of my trip to Holland, packing, the clothes I plan to wear on New Year’s Eve, cooking for the kids etc. Maybe this is just normality to others but in my bubble, on my journey, these are things that keep me awake at night. And yet as the day progresses or rather as time advances, these monumental challenges dissolve into smaller bite size issues and finally either get resolved or just disappear as they are no longer an issue.

This is a very special set of circumstances that I find myself in. I do suffer from anxiety. Unnecessarily. But have the strength of character to continue. I do a lot of breath work, meditation but I still find myself falling into the abyss. For example this morning, I could not find the tickets for the train to Holland. I didn’t remember to check this yesterday. It just didn’t occur to me. So 5 mins before the train is due to leave, I am searching on my phone for these tickets. And I couldn’t find them. I started to panic. Take a long deep breath and I thought about everything is figureoutable. And I thought that I could ask the guard at the entrance to the train. Good solution until Orlando told me that there was no guard and without tickets I would not be able to get on. Plunged back into the abyss and panic reaching a new level. I then just made the decision to go and find a controller. It’s helpful to be action oriented. I had no way of knowing if I had bought the tickets or not. Worst case scenario. This is something I do a lot at the moment. Think about the worst case scenario and it never is as bad as it seems. And move on from that. So the worst case is that I buy 3 tickets on a train with seats that goes to Rotterdam. So we get there today. Be positive. Cool. It’s like playing baseball and being thrown a curve ball but managing to watch it all the way and finally strike it into the outfield. Not necessarily a home run but hitting the ball all the same. The watching of the ball is represented by the anxious moments. Elements that I am not totally in control of. It takes all my internal resources to keep on track and not be sidelined by these concerns. But it’s working.

Living in the present works both ways. There is the here and now and it is what it is. But there is a feeling that the future, the planning of future events, is on its way and I would like to control it. But I can’t. Because I don’t have the foresight to remain calm and matter of fact. This is the memory issue again. But I do embrace it. I lean into the abyss and the issue. And give it space. And life carries on. And it’s ok. Maybe not perfect but then life is never perfect. Believe and Carry on. Carpe Diem.

It is getting better and stronger. Slowly. Very slowly. But there is progress. The difficulty is that time does not stand still. It marches on. And I am desperately trying to catch it up and be in sync with it. It’s so tiring.

But then I find myself in another place and the moment or period has somehow passed. And l am still alive and looking around me I am on a train and as David Byrne so eloquently sung, “So how did I get here?”

Once in a lifetime by Talking Heads

It is a question that I ask myself all the time. Every day. But life continues. And I am still a part of it.

#385 So…Looking Forward not Back

You cannot change the past so you just need to accept it as it is. Live with it. Like it. Love it for what it is. For where it has brought you. Even if there is pain and sadness. You cannot change the past. But you can live in the present and it can and will shape your future.

I saw the green parrot today. Flying so freely and with such determination. It fills me with such confidence every time I see it or them. Hope and determination wash over me in abundance. Even when I’m in the midst of despair, which happens pretty much every day, many times during the same day. But I’m able to look for the symbols or the signs that pick me up and keep me going. The green macaw parrot is exactly that. It picks me up and it keeps me going.

Fabulous sky in Sceaux

And at this time , I was getting ready to go swimming. And for some reason, I started to recite my affirmations. And in particular this one: “I am willing to release the pattern in my consciousness that is creating resistance to my good. I deserve to ski, I deserve to publish my book. And I accept it now.”

Now I am back from skiing and so I don’t need to concentrate or focus on skiing, so I put all the emphasis into the idea of becoming a writer. “I deserve to publish my book and I accept it now.”

I finally arrived at the pool a little bit later than usual. I noticed that it was very empty. There was practically nobody there. So I went about my swimming exercises and it was while I was doing my exercises with my aqua dumbbells, as I do at the end of every length, that I was approached by a woman inquiring about the dumbbells I was using. She was interested for her husband.

My dumbbells

And that’s where it started. There was something about her that drew me to her. I wanted to speak to her more.

I have found out she was a twin, American and had a knack of bringing different people together. Her twin, like her, was writing (or has written) a book, this time about her life with cancer and how it had affected her.

But, the most incredible thing, is that both women are using or have been working with an editor to help edit, and publish their stories on Amazon. And Edy, for that was her name, said that she would love to meet me again, and spend some time getting to know me as well as introducing me to this American editor, who specialises in bringing to stories to life. Stories that capture the public’s attention. Inspirational stories of men and women who in the face of adversity have managed to find a way through the darkness and come out the other side successfully. Edy is a truly inspirational and remarkable woman.

So now I am waiting for the call and I am hoping beyond all hope that she does call.

Even if she does not, it has lit up something inside of me, that is like lighting a fire. I have a purpose.

Let’s see what happens!

#384 So…The End of the Beginning

So what a wonderful last day! Sun shining, skies super blue, there’s even a fresh breeze blowing. It’s about as close to paradise as you can get it. And I’m here living it all with Charlotte and the 3 adolescents, Héloïse Orlando and Winton. Wonderful memories!

We all had such a wonderful fondue and raclette meal last night in Auron. The restaurant was homely and warm, with a very friendly owner. Charlotte and I had a four cheese fondue while the adolescents matter how you look nohad a rattle it with a full on meat accompaniment. Everybody ate everything.

We have had a restful afternoon after skiing in the rain and snow of the morning. And the afternoon comprised of most people napping and Winton and Orlando discussing the benefits of protein and how to increase muscle capacity.

Even I am astounded in the amount of progress that I have made when I look back at what I was doing on the ski slope on Sunday and what I was doing today, Thursday. Chalk and cheese, rain and snow, the difference is incredible, even if I say so, myself. It’s very gratifying to have such a wonderful, compassionate and motivational teacher, and Jean-Baptiste is one of those amazingly generous and inspirational people that are so rare in life. He is now a member of this blog community so he will have updates from me. Quite simply he has been inspirational in my getting on skis and progressing. As he would say, “That was top Mike, really top!” I mean, I even went on a tier fesse which in English is a drag lift. The last time I did that was on a snowboard over 5 years ago and I fell off all the time, so it is yet another example of conquering a fear. And it was not a problem, I didn’t fall and now have a resurgence in confidence. Thank you JB!

So it’s been a real eye-opening experience for me. This week. To be amongst my friends and family, people who I care about a lot, and not to feel jealous and upset that they are able to do their thing. I’m so happy that they had such a wonderful time. I really am.

To be able to be amongst them and sharing in their enjoyment and happiness, even though I’m not a part of it is actually very rewarding for me. I mean I don’t need to have the famous FOMO. Fear of missing out. I am ok with what I am doing and also in the fun and enjoyment being experienced by the others. Now that’s progress!!

And we have shared in each other’s wonderful moments of ecstasy, and thrills. And that’s so important. To be able to 100% share in each other’s experience.

Everyone appears to be knocked out having spent a very rewarding and engaging day and week together.

And I haven’t stopped smiling all week. Onwards and upwards together with smiles everywhere!

#383 So…Still Alive Just

The fourth day of the skiing extravaganza, and it was yet another beautiful day with wonderful skies and great snow skiing. I have progressed enormously and I am really enjoying the experience.

However, the experience does come with its pitfalls. A couple of times I was very close to falling or just being almost totally out of control!

But it did happen. It was always going to. It was how I reacted to it that was important. For me.

Scary thing was the big fall that I had right at the end of my lesson. It was such a good day and I made huge amounts of progress. My confidence was soaring very high. That is the most dangerous time. You relax and you try things that you wouldn’t normally do. And that’s exactly what happened to me.

I thought that I could go faster and do tighter turns. But this wasn’t the case, and I found myself speeding out of control flying down the mountain. I attempted a turn to break my speed, and immediately one of my legs buckled underneath me and I ended up in a crumpled heap.

In a bit of pain to say the least, Jean-Baptiste rushed to free my leg from the ski 🎿 so I could at least park my leg. And breathe. My issue was that it was my not so good leg. Ouch!

But in true English fashion, and with Jean Baptiste helping me, I got back onto my skis and finished the slope, and then collapsed into a heap in the sofa of the nearest bar.

A smiling heap

Okay, I was able to survive that, but the rest of the day got a little bit worse as the cramps and pain were exacerbated due to the cold and sitting still. And so to warm myself up, Charlotte and Elena joined me in a vin chaud which was the beginning of the end! Well not exactly! But I have not had an alcoholic drink for a very long time and although it had zero effect, it caused no end of problems for my leg. It cramped up intolerably. We went to Elena’s to eat, and fortunately Elena is a really good physio and she, with the help of Charlotte tried to ease the pain.

We took the car home and after having been given some acupuncture and some cranial therapy by Charlotte. I finally managed to get some sleep and felt better in the morning. Much better!

And today it was very foggy with rain and some bits of snow falling intermittently making conditions for skiing very difficult. For my punishment, I had another ski lesson with John Baptiste and very casually and very sensibly we went through the motions of improving my technique, all the time conscious of the fact that I had crashed the day before and my leg is still sore for skiing. But Kent’s never give up and I actually enjoyed the session and was suitably tired afterwards. But always smiling. Of course!!

Rain and snow are coming

Life can be viewed as a whole series of setbacks, which come at us from all directions. But it’s how you treat them that really makes the difference.

As Jean-Baptiste said, “Falling and crashing, it’s part of skiing.”

I tend to agree!

#382 So…The Happy Place

Third day of skiing. Still alive. Still smiling massively. It’s such a thrill and so enjoyable and so liberating.

Another beautiful day in paradise, and I went skiing again with Jean Baptiste. He is so full of encouragement and fills me with enormous amounts of confidence. And the progress just keeps on progressing. Awesome.

There is a ski instructor called Veronica, who says to me every morning while I’m waiting for Jean Baptiste to give her a kiss on the cheek because that will bring me luck all day.

And so far it is working 😎🙏⛷️

3rd day of learning how to ski

I am doing snowplough and parallel turns on both sides, I am able to slide down a mountain side doing dérapage which is sliding down the mountain in a controlled fashion without falling. I even had a fall which is all part and parcel of the learning experience. And isn’t it just a massive learning experience!

I’m so happy, the kids are enjoying their time together as well, and Charlotte is also enjoying the time with her best friend Elena, as well as Winton as well as filming me from time to time which is an enormous surprise 😦.

Sunset on the mountains
Beauty on the piste
Wonderful memories
Jean Baptiste and me

What’s really good is it we have all found our spaces in which to be ourselves and still make time to meet up with the others and hear about their exploits it’s lovely. Héloïse and Charlotte are skiing together now. Winton has gone off with Orlando to do crazy stuff. Elena is doing her snowboarding stuff with Scarlett while Luke, Elena’s son, is in ski school. I am resting from my exploits from having been on the slopes and a doing more and more skiing. It’s just so exhilarating.

Wonderful memories and wonderful moments ⛷️🤩🙏

#381 So…Little Steps at a Time

Big time! Day two of the snow experience. I’m still alive very much alive. And smiling as I continue to make progress.

I was in total ecstasy yesterday, and following the defeat of France in the World Cup final by Argentina, which I’m very pleased for Messi and his last foray into history books as this is his last World Cup before retiring, and MMbappé was the leading scorer.

Could the second day be anywhere close to the first day? I sincerely doubted it, but as the lessons have been reserved, I went for it.

It was not as cold is it today, but I did have a few aches and pains. But progress was made. Maybe I’m more impatient than I should be and the memory issue does cause a few issues as I am not able really to remember the steps in detail

But progress was made. Jean-Baptiste, my fantastic instructor, is so full of encouragement that it is impossible not to smile and grow in confidence. I even ask him is he being true and he replies that he only tells me how he sees it. And he sees progress all the time ⛷️🥳

I told him he was the most phenomenal instructor ever and so generous with his compliments. He smiled as well. So we were two smiling men going down the slopes.

Now turning by myself

I am even turning by myself and we went up twice on the télésiège. And I didn’t fall once! Am now resting and waiting for Héloïse and Orlando and Charlotte and Winton. Elena and family are coming today so will be fun.

I am so happy to be keeping on progressing!! It’s so motivating and inspires me with more and more confidence.

Nice!! In my own time, I am being sensible for the first time! And I am absolutely ok with that!

Happy 😃

#379 So…Less is More

What are my values? So what are my rocks? If I can have four values, I would choose honesty, integrity, loyalty and courage.

Honesty. As the saying goes, honesty is the best policy. Not trying to impress, not trying to say what I think wants to be said. That was the Michael before. I really try hard to think before I speak. Sometimes it doesn’t work out! It’s like taking the extra two seconds amounts to the equivalent of a deep breath. It gives me space and time to think and then I try and speak. Believe it or not, I think I’m speaking less now because I am thinking more about what I want to say. Trust goes hand-in-hand with honesty and clearly needs to be earned. That is why consistency of honesty is absolutely paramount.

Integrity. I listened to a podcast sometime ago where it was mentioned that it is important to align one’s thoughts and actions: the exterior with the interior. Sounds obvious but we don’t all do it. I didn’t used to do this. The difference between what you do and what you plan to do. It is aligned with honesty and maybe it is the consistency of approach that is prevalent here. Suffice to say, being consistent internally and externally produces a complete and wholesome me. No bullshit. WYSIWYG. What you see is what you get. This is ongoing work for me and I don’t think you can ever be finished because I’m so conscious of nipping these inconsistencies in the bud. We shall see.

Loyalty. Unwavering, being there when you need them as much as being there when they need you. Nothing is too small. This is a value that I treasure because throughout my life, I have travelled across different countries, continents and met many different people from all walks of life. That is the difference between pre-accident and post accident. Now in my simplified life, people mean so much to me and I give 100% of my time in self to getting to know them deeper and consciously. That gives me richness in conversation with them and makes me smile knowing that I have people either to call on, or who want to call on me, for help, guidance, support, friendship or just to listen. Who would’ve thought that I would say that I am more of a listener now? Funny how times change

Courage. This is something that I think is in my DNA, it’s my primary value. I have never really lacked courage. Even in the apparent face of fear, which I have in abundance, I have an innate ability to just do it. To just get on with it. To just cross the chasm. Even my motto of “Kent’s never give up” speaks to my courage. This is a very useful trait given my current circumstances following the accident. This is sometimes offset with impatience. Many times actually. That’s for another day and another story.

There is an enormous benefit in writing these values because it makes me focused and conscious of where I continue to place a lot of my efforts if not all my efforts.

Onwards and Upwards Together. Believe!

#378 So…Back to Simplicity

Keeping it simple. Focusing on the here and now.

Storms are part of life. Part of the experience of life. One day is never like the next. One hour is never like the next hour. One moment is not like the next moment. Yet we are quick to say that we are having a bad day or that life isn’t going my way. The real truth is that if we are in the present moment it is only that moment. There is no other moment that matters, for this is the only moment that exists, nothing else matters.

I’m feeling really nice and warm after a wonderfully hot and invigorating shower that followed an intense session of biking. Prior to that, I had the irrepressible Sara, she is such a scream and even tried to sell me some knock off perfume which I sagely declined , who cut my hair beautifully. I also went swimming. It was and is a full on day.

Right now, I’m looking forward to eating and going over my blog, the early days, which I started to do yesterday. It filled me with enormous sense of nostalgia, fear and courage. I had tears of joy, tears of sadness, feelings of frustration, belief, and grit. Not all at the same time. Just many different emotions in the space of 1 1/2 hours. It’s so difficult to explain as it was an incredibly emotional period of my life, of my time in l’Adapt. A period of my life that I will never forget hopefully.

Why? Because it is there that I re-started my life. I got a second chance and I took it. It meant starting from scratch, almost with nothing as I couldn’t walk, move my right arm or speak clearly. And I couldn’t remember things that happened 5 seconds ago. I was endeavouring to place one foot in front of the other. Not just placing, but learning how to place. Both figuratively and physically. I am still learning and I am still improving.

I believe that I have tasted the bad apple and now I’m tasting the good apple. And because there might be storms as it is the middle of the winter here in France, I am also making sure that my roots are deep enough to withstand any potential storms that might come my way.


#380 So…I believe I can Ski

Unbelievable, amazing, awesome, Reach for the skies, smiling from ear to ear, so happy. These are just some of the emotions that are surging through me at the moment. It really is such an incredibly illuminating and engaging experience. To be able to ski.


I am no Franz Klammer, nor Ingemar Stenmark, but it is so exhilarating.

The snow is fresh, the air is so clean, people are full of smiles and very friendly. It’s just a wonderful place to be and I am enjoying every minute of it.

I am going at my own pace, having ski lessons. I have been here for one day, and have just spent two hours with instructors who are very adept in working with people like me. And it appears that they relish the fact that I’m giving 110%, if not more. .

So I had a lesson this morning, I managed to put on my boots, and I have one ski slightly longer than the other to accommodate the fact that my right leg is not as strong as my left leg. And I have one ski-pole for my left hand. And off I go.


Today, after putting on the skis and boots and glove and stick, I went on a debutante slope. Where you have an automatic lift that takes ayou up 50 m when you ski down. I progressed from there to do in parallel turns to doing a big lift and skiing down the mountain. John Baptiste is by my side, but not holding onto me and it was the feeling of such incredible liberation.

I am very fortunate to have two instructors, John Baptiste and Julian l, who are very experienced ski instructors working with me this morning. Julian is the guy that I spoke to first of all and has been really instrumental in making it easier and bearable for me and not to live a trauma. And the fact that he was there this morning for 30mins , demonstrates his commitment to his job and the fact that he is so liberal with his praise and his encouragement, you just have to smile. It’s wonderful. It really is. A consummate professional. As is Julian. Brilliant 🤩

And this is just the first day. Onwards and ski wards 😎