Michael and me !
Chapter 1 - The mirror cracks.
Of late my wife Laraine has been saying that she thinks we must have broken a mirror about six years ago. Until then life for us was good. Both of us were in good jobs. My wife was and still is a solicitor and back then I was managing director of a group of radio stations and doing well in our careers. Money wasn't an issue and we had not long moved into a new home in a village that we loved. Then......the mirror cracked !
On January 6th 2006, two days before her fiftieth birthday my wife was diagnosed as having cancer of her bladder. Shortly thereafter the company that I worked for was sold to another major media company who closed off or sold the stations which I had managed and paid me off. Laraine was in and out of hospital for treatment during the course of 2006. The legal firm that she worked for at that time was taken over by a much lager firm who wanted her to move offices but due to her health she felt that the upheaval to another city would be too stressful so she left them but thankfully returned to a former firm that she had worked for previously who were extremely understanding regarding her health problems. I had by this time joined and old friend in an " innovations" company who sought out new products and inventions and took them to the market place. But money was now tight as both of us had taken a considerable drop in pay.
At the beginning of 2007 it had been decided that Laraine was to undergo major surgery to remove her bladder and create a new one from her bowel. The surgery took place in June 2007. Laraine had a hysterectomy and cystectomy and the creation of a neobladder or as she called it a " Buy one get one free". Trust me it wasn't quite so funny at the time. She was in hospital for months with a major infection which almost completely destroyed one of her kidneys.......but thankfully the surgery was a success and apart from some persistent infections she remains well to this day. However during this time the innovations company was struggling for cash. With Laraine being so I'll at that time I did not want to worry her and so foolishly and without discussing this with her I sunk a considerable sum of money into the company. At around the same time I was approached by another friend who worked for an eyewear company. He convinced me to join with him in setting up a rival company where we would import spectacle frames from China and market them in Europe. Again i sunk not only considerable time and effort but more cash into this company. In both cases my friends dropped out as directors leaving me holding both babies. And a loss of a lot of money
I started looking for a new project to invest in but before long another " friend " with whom I had worked with during my radios days suggested that I buy an other radio station. Now radio is what I know best so I leapt at the opportunity. My " friend " knew of an ailing radio station that was in the throes of closing down. In fact, technically it has closed down but as I was known in the business OFCOM allowed me to take the licence and reopen the station with the local newspapers hailing both my friend and I as heroes for saving the local station and creating employment in the area.
Towards the end of 2010 my business ventures had just about drained us of our savings.
Maybe now you can see why Laraine thinks we broke a mirror and groans whenever I say that someone is a " great guy ". I tell you these things because although the cause of Parkinson's is not known Laraine has theory that extreme stress could be one of the triggers and for the past six years leading up to my diagnosis it had been nothing but pure unrelenting stress. Little did we know that another " great guy " was on his way into our lives and this time he was coming to stay. We call him " Michael " as in " Michael Parkinson ". Get it ?