So here we are the 8th September 2011 and it’s been three days since I came out of hospital.

Firstly, I would like to thank Dr ERICK MEYER, [seen here in 2009], for all that he has done. Bear in mind that for the past two and a half years I have been in constant pain in my lower back and down my left leg. Weekends, bank holidays, Sundays: I didn’t have a day off in all that time.

Secondly, I would like to thank all the staff at the CHITS hospital in La Seyne-sur-Mer in the Var department of France. The nurses were quite simply fantastic; it’s obvious to see that these people are in a vocation not just in a job.

So, what happened?

In 2005 I had a spinal disc herniation; a slipped disc if you like. I didn’t really treat it as I should have done. The pain went after a few weeks so I thought little more of it. Then in 2007 I had a second herniation that again wasn’t treated properly [by me not by my doctor] and that too waned after a few weeks. Then in 2009 I had a double herniation and that was the start of the daily pain.

Again, I didn’t really do too much. It became more a process of getting used to the pain and adjusting my lifestyle accordingly: I didn’t even take one day off work…and in hindsight I’m not too proud of that.

Then at the beginning of June this year I was in the garden with Liam doing some tidying up. We walked together across the garden towards the shed when I planted my left foot on the ground and my body simply crumbled under my weight. I couldn’t move for three days and spent three weeks laid up. During that time my doctor suggested that I take an x-ray and after that a cat scan of my lower back. At this point it was evident that the herniation had progressed and that I had a crushed disc.

My doctor had already sent one of his patients to see Dr Meyer some years before me and he was kind enough to make an appointment for me. This was programmed for the end of June 2011.

Dr Meyer seemed a good guy. He explained in great detail the operation that he had in mind; to replace the crushed disc with a ceramic one. He warned me that this was not a recognized medical operation in France and as such was not covered by any social security or BUPA type medical insurance. The R&D department of the hospital would cover the cost of the operation itself as well as the hospital stay but the prosthetic disc would be at my expense; 900.00€. It seemed a good deal to me. He asked that I take an MRI scan to be sure that there were no other hidden problems that could prevent the operation. Once this was done he was certain that I could undertake the operation and booked me in for the 1st September 2011. [All very quick in France, isn’t it?]

So last Thursday I was in the block at 08h00. The operation was to take about two-three hours and consisted of attacking the spine from the front. Basically an incision was made just under the belly-button down about 5 inches. Body organs, nerves and veins would be moved aside to get to the spine where the L5-S1 vertebras would be pulled apart and the prosthetic disc would be hammered in place. Once in place the vertebras would be released and would clamp the ceramic disc in place. This would mean that the muscles and nerves would still be ‘stretched’ by about 1cm, the height of the ceramic disc. Dr Meyer told me that this would give me lower back and leg pains for about two months to give time for the body to readjust itself to its new positions.

On Friday night, once the morphine had stopped I crashed down to earth with a bang. The pain was incredible. It was like someone had cut a letterbox out of my stomach, flipped it over and shoved it back in place. If I coughed it bloody hurt. If I hiccough upped it bloody hurt. Thankfully I didn’t sneeze!

The nurses kept asking if I had any wind yet. I didn’t. But, once I did it was quite a strange thing; try as I might I couldn’t fart! The air bubbles just kept circulating in the bowls that simply intensified the pain in the stomach. Finally, on Sunday night I had flatulence and it relieved the pain somewhat.

I came home on Monday this week and since then the pain has subsided. It still hurts a bit but I can finally appreciate the efforts of Dr Meyer: there is no sciatic pain in my leg and no pain in my back.

As I said; Doctor Erick Meyer; a good guy!



So; it’s final. After I don’t know how many years the operation will take place on Wednesday 01 September in the George Sands hospital in Le Seyne sur Mer. I believe that I’ll spend 5 nights hooked up to the ‘drip, drip, drip’ machine and then I’ll pop off home. Then, four weeks off work recovering from the operation and back to work§

More to follow…




This is Cleo, our dog.

She’s a cross between a German Shepherd [mother] and a Griffon [father]: work that one out!

She believes that she is human. She very almost is…

She loves the kids and they love her.


A surprise birthday present for me was a week in the UK after, I think, a six year absense.

Thanks to everyone for taking the time out to meet up with the family, especially Catherine for putting up with the four of us for a week, and Mike, Paul, Guy for their generous hospitality.

The kids loved it. Audrey has been before but is too young to remember it really. Liam is overwhelmed with Paul, his new hero! [God knows why]

Some of the photos are here:

Planning Permission

The local town hall has finally come through.
We can start to renovate this delapidated house.

Every room will have a make over. The garage will become a spare bedroom with en-suite shower room.
We’ll add a study and a utility room.

The outside terrace will be closed off to create a new veranda type dining room.

The kitchen will be completely replaced.

The bathroom will be completely replaced.

All bedroom walls and ceilings will be re-plastered.

All new floor tiles.

New doors and shutters.

Landscape garden and terrace.


Budget of 50.000€…

Pictures to follow.

What’s in a name?

I received an email from a guy in America who is interested in my boxclever.com domain name. He currently has another suffix added to boxclever.

Now, this is the third time that someone has written asking if I am interested in parting with the domain name. It’s not like it’s a magic word. I’ve seen it used in the press, often relating to boxing matches or a particularly fierce football encounter, but other than that I cannot see why it has interested three people on three continents.

And it got me thinking. Would I be prepared to part with it?

I wasn’t the first person to have boxclever.com. I remember when I started my company that it wasn’t available. And then, in 2000 I was in an hotel in Los Angeles one evening idly browsing the web when I saw on register.com that the name was available. I snapped it up on the spot. After all, I had a company called boxclever and was working internationally; it made sense.

Since then I have used the email address everywhere. I’ve been trying to think of what I would have to change if I surrendered the domain and thus the email address that goes with it. From MSN to Amazon, through to the GUA and Total France and back again to my current company. It would take forever and a day to modify everyhting and even then I’d be sure and miss out on a number of places.

Now, I also have a huge problem with boxclever.com. And it’s not my fault.

In 2004 a UK TV rental company changed its name to boxclever. They have the .co.uk suffix. Their IT department told staff at their headquarters that they had the .com address and created emails accordingly. They even printed up letter headed paper, compliment slips, invoices and so forth with the .com address. I don’t know how many people work for boxclever in the UK but it’s probably a few hundred. You can imagine how many emails I was getting each day [that they weren’t getting obviously] from angry customers as well as confidential accouting information.

But, there was this one git in London that must have signed up for every porno site in existence and signed up for the daily pic to be sent to his .com address. He’s probably annoyed that he never actually got anything in his inbox – it all came to me – and bloody well keeps coming, too, albeit rerouted to a generic “not know here” address.

All this adds to the dilemma. If I sell boxclever.com, whomever purchases it will think I’m so kind of sicko with a porno fetish for grannies and men with big willies!


Well that seemed to work!

A painless exercise. Nice touch from the WordPress developers with their jokey little comments during the installation process. So, if you want to go back a step to the older Blogger site the go straight back to www.boxclever.com otherwise stay here and I’ll try and move everything across.

Still wanting to keep in touch but doing a bad job really!