Here is my review of Guardians of the Universe 2 (Released at Cinema in April 2017) which my family and I saw at the cinema recently.

I was really looking forward to this film and could not wait for it to be released at the cinema.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the much-anticipated sequel to Guardians of the galaxy and takes place a few months after the previous film. The team now find themselves as galactic heroes for hire and Ayesha, leader of the Sovereign race, hires them to protect valuable batteries from an inter-dimensional monster in exchange for Gamora’s estranged sister Nebula, who was caught attempting to steal the batteries.

Afterwards it is revealed that Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) has stolen some of the priceless batteries for himself. They find themselves pursued by the sovereign drones. However, the drones are destroyed by a mysterious figure, and the Guardians are forced to crash-land on a nearby planet. The figure reveals himself as Quill’s father, Ego, who invites Quill, accompanied by Gamora and Drax, to his home, while Rocket and Groot remain behind to repair the ship and guard Nebula.

Meanwhile, Ayesha hires Yondu Udonta and his crew, who have been exiled from the greater Ravager community for child trafficking, to recapture the Guardians.

I won’t reveal much more of the story but the main thrust of the action is the Guardians trying to stay one step ahead of the Soverign and the Ravagers. But the real heart of this movie is Peter Quill meeting his father at long last. But what are his father’s motives?

I thoroughly enjoyed this film and I thought it was just as good as the first one. The best and funniest bit of the film in my opinion is the opening scene where the galactic avengers are fighting a giant octopus-like creature. But instead of keeping the camera on the battle we watch an adorable Baby Groot dancing to Mr. Blue Sky. It is really funny.

I thought the film was action packed and full of good special effects. With a good mix of action and comedy. Chris Pratt is outstanding as Peter Quill. The unifying plot thread throughout the movie is family. While Peter Quill’s lineage is a big focal point, we also learn a lot more about why Nebula has such hatred for Gamora and what went on during their childhood with Thanos, And there’s more insight given into Drax’s relationship with his deceased family. There’s time spent exploring how Rocket’s creation caused him some major trust issues, and it’s even explained where Yondu came from. As the team grapples with the conflicts and personal demons that threaten to tear them apart, their individual stories dominate the movie.

We also learn about some new characters as well. There’s Ayesha and the Sovereign, Taserface and his Ravagers, and another new group of Ravagers (with Sylvester Stalone playing their leader). Pom Klementieff is a standout as Mantis, but then, so is Kurt Russell as well who is great as Star-Lord’s father.

I love Marvel films and I was not let down on this occasion. I left the cinema very satisfied.

So in my humble opinion, Marvel have yet again produced a great film in their marvel universe franchise. By the way, there are 5 (OH YES 5!) post-credit scenes, so don’t leave too early.

 


Here is my review of Doctor Strange (Released at Cinema in October 2016) which my family and I saw at the cinema recently.

To those unfamiliar with Doctor Strange, he is not your typical superhero as he doesn’t have super powers or gadgets, instead Doctor Strange relies on magic, astral planes, time travel and extra dimensions to fight evil. I have read a couple of comics, watched a couple of cartoon versions and so know a bit about him but wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw this film. However, I did expect a lot more than the 1978 TV film version which starred Peter Hooten. Yes I am afraid I was the one person that watched that when it first came out. This TV film was meant to be pilot for a TV series, but it was never picked up as a series. Surprisingly it did not put me off superhero movies.

Anyway Back to the 2016 version. Doctor strange is played by Benedict Cumberbatch and is the 14th film in the Marvel Universe. When we first meet him at the start of the film Doctor strange is a brilliant neurosurgeon (well the very best on Earth in his humble opinion) who is egotistical, arrogant and rude to his colleagues and every one else around him. He is involved in a serious car accident (caused by his own arrogance), which disintegrates the bones in his hands along with his identity. As his ego shrinks, Strange comes to see himself as a “tiny speck in an indifferent universe”. Desperate for a remedy so that he can regain his identity, Doctor Strange travels to Nepal, where he comes in contact with The Ancient One. She is an ageless entity who offers to revive his hands while simultaneously awakening his consciousness to the unseen powers of the multiverse. However, she is actually training him to make him a defender of the planet.

We are told that whilst the Avengers fight physical enemies, the ancient one and her defenders are here protect the world against mystic threats. Who Operate from sanctums across the globe. They can leap between realities and dimensions, portal-hopping to present-day London and New York in an instant.

While Doctor Strange learns to tap into these energies and learn about astral projection, parallel dimensions and time travel he still remains desperate to find the key to healing his hands which are still scarred and shaky from surgery. Meantime, he must confront Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), a former pupil to The Ancient One who has stolen pages from her sacred texts pertaining to eternal life and is trying to steal all of the Earth’s time and is planning to turn it over to an evil lord called “Dormammu” of the Dark Dimension.

Can he save the day? you will have to watch it to find out :).

Well, what can I say. To start with, this was not your  typical Marvel film as it deals with mind-bending concepts such as parallel dimensions, time travel and mysticism. Even so, I thought this film was awesome. It was much better than I ever anticipated. It was superb from beginning to end. Although the film was approaching 2 hours long it certainly did not feel like it.   The special effects are just jaw-dropping although this film does have the look of “Inception” but this is much better in my opinion. It is a visual feast as you watch city’s bend and fold when rival sorcerers fight each other, cast spells, alter reality and run through portals into other different realities. The scene where Doctor Strange travels into different astral realms resembles what I imagine an extreme acid trip would look like (I have never taken acid myself so I would not know lol) .

Benedict Cumberbatch was brilliant and played Doctor Strange fantastically in my opinion.  He fits into the movie’s comic-book world with ease. He is witty, funny, arrogant and pulls off being a sorcerer really well. Madds Mikkelson played the “baddie” pretty well although he did feel a bit underused at times. But of course I have to mention the cloak of levitation (a magic cloak with a mind of its own) which stole the show for me.  Even my wife and son thought the film was great too. I have run out of good things to say about it. All I can say is that I left the cinema feeling extremely satisfied and can say this is one of my favourite marvel films so far. So, if you are a fan of Marvel, go and see it.

I cannot wait to see Doctor Strange join up with the Avengers. It opens up all possibilities of what may happen in future films. Will we see parallel universes or even time travel? We shall see :).


Hi there, I am really sorry that I haven’t posted a blog for nearly a year now. This is because it has been a really tough year as I have had a kidney transplant (more on that later) and also my health has not been good and thus I have not felt like writing anything. In addition, because of my ill-health I have also had to stop doing the kidney45challenge (See my kidney45challenge Australian adventure) which is a shame. Although I did manage to complete 35 challenges which is an amazing achievement in itself. I might do something similar in the future, health permitting, I don’t know.

Anyway, as I was saying I had a kidney transplant in January 2016.  I was diagnosed with stage 5 kidney failure in 2013 and placed on the transplant list in December 2014 (See Kidney failure, what it all means and my journey so far).

On the 31st January 2016 I was at home with my wife and we had just finished a Chinese take away when my mobile rang. I looked at it and wondered who on earth could be ringing at 11 o’clock at night. The number was withheld so I ignored it and let it ring off. 10 seconds later my wife’s mobile rang.  At that moment I sort of suspected that it was the transplant unit in Manchester. She answered it and yes it was the call. A kidney had been found and we had to get to Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI) as fast as we possibly can.

I was shocked. I really did not want to go as I was shit scared. But my lovely wife said don’t worry it will be ok so we put project kidney into motion. Well to be honest we didn’t really have a plan. Anyway I packed some overnight stuff. We woke up Oscar and dropped him off at the in-laws and made our way to Manchester. It was so unreal as we drove in the dark towards Manchester. Everything seamed to be in slow motion.

We finally arrived at the Manchester Royal Infirmary hospital at around midnight and I was booked onto ward 9.  As I sat in bed waiting for the nurse to do all the pre-transplant checks I was petrified. Which showed as my blood pressure and heard rate were sky-high. My wife and the nurse kept saying you need to calm down so we can get your heart rate down. Well that’s easily said than done. I had a chest X-ray done and blood test done in preparation for the operation. My lovely wife stayed with me till about 5 in the morning whilst I was waiting to be taken down to theatre. As nothing seamed to be happening I told her to go home so she could get some sleep.

I tried to sleep myself but it was useless. I just sat in bed wondering and worrying about the day ahead. I was not even allowed any food or drink because of the upcoming operation. Eventually after hours of waiting, at around 9am, I was taken down to surgery on the trolley. I remember speaking to the transplant surgeon about something, And then talking to the anaesthetist who told me to count back from 10. I started counting and then I remember nothing. The next thing I remember is being woken up by one of the surgeons and the transplant had been done. I was in a lot of pain and very groggy from the operation. I was taken back to ward 9 and I asked the nurses to contact my wife to let her know I was ok. I don’t really remember much else except being in a lot of pain.

I was in hospital for about 3 weeks. I don’t really remember much in hospital, its all a bit of a daze. Unfortunately the transplant did not work as expected. The new kidney did not wake up. I was told by various doctors it may take up to 3 months to wake up. I hated being in hospital. It was so depressing. Plus it was very hard on my family who had to travel an hour each way to see me. We live in Crewe and the hospital is in Manchester. They tried to see me every day at first but it was too much for them, so in the end they reluctantly reduced it to 2 or 3 times a week. I was so looking forward to going home and getting away from hospital food.  Even though I had stabilised from the operation the new kidney still had not woken up, but the doctors agreed that I could be let out :). I was so happy when I was told I could finally go home.

But after leaving the hospital I still had to go back 2 or 3 times a week for regular blood tests for the first couple of months. I was pretty ill when I got first home as, on top of the new kidney not working properly, I was in a lot of pain from the operation and unwell because of the side effects from all the drugs I was taking. The doctors kept saying the new kidney will wake up eventually.  The doctors tried even me on steroids and different doses of anti-rejection drug but they did not work.  I have had loads of blood tests and scans done and there were no indications of infection or rejection.  But then they did eventually find out what was wrong when they did a biopsy of the kidney. The biopsy showed that new kidney had vascular disease. So the reason why the transplant hadn’t worked was that the donor kidney was diseased. This was very upsetting and frustrating news for me. I could not believe I had received a diseased kidney.

kidney-op-pic

Picture of me after operation

kidney-scar

My Kidney Scar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I left hospital I was on so many different drugs I lost count. Here is a picture of some of the drugs I was on.

img_20161014_100856

My Selection of Drugs


 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately around 3% of transplanted kidneys from deceased donors just do not work for one reason or another. I guess it’s just the luck of draw me receiving a diseased kidney from a donor. Which is why there is a much better chance of the kidney working from a live donor, as the donor has to have numerous tests themselves. So any problems with a potential donor kidney will be picked up.  

Although I have more or less recovered from the operation I now have contend with the continued side effects of the concoction of anti rejection drugs I am taking. Mood swings, depression, extreme nausea and tremors being the worse of them (which I wouldn’t have minded if the new kidney actually worked). And on top of that I have now have anemia, magnesium deficiency, potassium deficiency and am on the verge of being diabetic. Fortunately I was pre-dialysis before the transplant as my kidney function ranged from 12 to 15%, and now it is the same. The transplant made no difference to my kidney function at all, except that I feel worse now than I did before the transplant.

The doctors have more or resigned to the fact that the transplant hasn’t worked and now gradually reducing my anti-rejection medication with a view to putting me back on the transplant list.  They will probably leave the new kidney in unless it becomes medically necessary to remove it.  Some people have 2 or 3 transplants before they find one that works.

I have now been transferred from the MRI to North Staffordshire hospital to be cared under them. I have a check up every couple of weeks now. And they are in the process of reactivating me onto the transplant list. I must admit the care and organisation at North Staffordshire is a lot better than it was in Manchester. The nurses and doctors at North Staffordshire Transplant Unit have been brilliant. I have to say I was very disappointed with the after care at the MRI.

So as you can imagine it has been a terrible 9 months. with endless trips to one hospital or another. And then the stress and anguish of finding out that I received a diseased kidney.  I have tried to remain positive but it has been very hard for me. And my lovely wife Simone Derbyshire and son have been brilliant in their support of me. And I am sure it has been hard for them as well watching me go through this. There is a small part of me keeping my fingers crossed that the new kidney may heal itself and wake up eventually but I have accepted that it will never work.

I have felt so down and depressed now because the new kidney didn’t work. And even though I am going back on the transplant list soon I am in two minds whether I want another transplant from a deceased donor. I don’t think I want another year like that and I have had enough of being prodded and poked by doctors.

But on a final important note. Even though the transplant hasn’t worked, I am very thankful for the donor and their family. As without donors, and their decision to use their organs after their death, life saving transplants can never take place. More than 10,000 people need an organ transplant in the UK.  So donation is extremely important. And even though I have had problems, most people can have transplants which are very successful and have improved their lives enormously.

http://www.organdonation.nhs.uk

I cannot think of anything else to say at the moment so thanks for reading this, and have a nice day. Hopefully it wont take me another year to write my next blog :).


Sorry this update is a bit late. October and November was a good month of challenges. As you maybe aware  the family and I went on holiday to Western Australia with the mother in law and father in law (who kindly paid for the holiday).  I want to thank them for treating us to the holiday, as we would not have been able to afford it ourselves. Anyway, we arrived in Australia on the 15th October and stayed for about a month. First we stayed in a hotel in Perth for a couple of days and then we shared a villa in a place called Minderie.  Minderie is a small harbour on the coast about 22 miles north of Perth. We had an amazing time and I attempted a few challenges whilst I was away.

They were as follows:-

27. Eat Crocodile and Kangaroo

I did this challenge instead of a bush tucker challenge as I found it difficult find a place that offered bush tucker. So in the end I went to a restaurant that did kangaroo and crocodile instead. I tried kangaroo kebabs, Crocodile kebabs and crocodile ribs. I must admit they were very nice indeed.

28. Climb the leaning tower of Gingin (222 steps high)

We took a trip to a place called the gravity discovery centre near Gingin.  The centre was amazing. It had an interactive science museum, a cosmology gallery which had art from different background depicting science and the stars and the leaning tower of Gingin. Which is tower than leans at 15 degrees and consisted of 222 steps. I climbed the leaning tower  and standing at 45 metres high it was a huge challenge getting to the top. But I did it.

29. Eat jelly fish and century eggs (Chinese delicacy)

One evening we visited a Chinese restaurant in Perth . I had a Chinese delicacy called jelly fish and century eggs, which is basically pickled jelly fish with fermented rotten eggs. It was an acquired taste and I was almost sick. But I ate it and completed the challenge.

30. 10km Bush Walk

We took a trip to the John Forrest national park which is a huge national park near Perth. And I did a 10 km Bush walk around the park. I went along an old railway trail and saw waterfalls and very pretty landscape. It was very very very hard work as it was very hot (above 30C). It was so hard that there was a point that I did not think I would make it back to the car. But I did. I was very exhausted and hot at the end of it.

31. Take a picture of a whale whilst whale watching.

One day we went whale watching from Hillary’s harbour. The boat set off from Hillary’s harbour at about 9 am and we cruised between Rottnest island and Fremantle looking for whales. We were out for about 4 hours and we saw plenty of whales but it was very difficult trying to take a picture of them with my phone.

32. Get a selfie with a Kangaroo

We saw plenty of Kangaroos whilst we were away. We saw a few when we visited Yanchep National Park. It was very difficult getting close to them to get a salfie but I managed a quick picture in the end.

33. Play the didgeridoo

Whilst we were at Yanchep National Park we went to an aboriginal talk experience where we learnt loads about their culture and way of life. And whilst I was there I attempted the didgeridoo. Although it did sound like a damp fart :).

The biggest challenge though was…. 34)  Spending a month with my in-laws. Yes, I spent a month in the same villa with my mother in law and although their was the odd disagreement I survived, just :).

However, I think I did way too much whilst I was away as I have not been that well since we arrived back in the uk. Which is why its taken me so long to write this blog. And so as a result I will only be attempting 1 challenge in December and that’s to write a poem about my condition 45 words in length. As I have about 10 challenges left I will be continuing my challenges into next year.

As you know I am doing 45 challenges to raise awareness for kidney disease, organ donation  and raise money for the British Kidney Patient Association (BKPA). So far I have raised about £350. So come on every body, please sponsor me,

http://www.justgiving.com/kidney45challenge/

By the way, if you are not on the organ donation register, sign up below. Organ Donation Save Lives

www.organdonation.nhs.uk/


Sorry this challenge update is a bit late, but I have been taking a break from doing challenges.

Anyway in September I am afraid I only completed 1 challenge which was very tiring. I did a 5 mile walk and as a result I was not very well for a couple of days and so I decided to have a break from doing any challenges for a bit. As a result I have not done any challenges since beginning of September.

I am going on holiday to Australia soon with my in-laws who have kindly paid for it.  I hope to attempt some challenges whilst I am away but spending time with my in-laws could be considered a challenge in itself :).

So while I am away I plan to attempt the following challenges:-

27. Write a poem about my condition 45 words in length

28. Bush tucker challenge

29. Have a selfie taken with some kangaroos 

30. Get an upgrade on the flight

As you know I am doing 45 challenges to raise awareness for kidney disease, organ donation  and raise money for the British Kidney Patient Association (BKPA). So far I have raised about £350. So come on every body, please sponsor me,

http://www.justgiving.com/kidney45challenge/

By the way, if you are not on the organ donation register, sign up below. Organ Donation Save Lives

www.organdonation.nhs.uk/


Sorry this challenge update is a bit late, but I have not been all that well for the past couple of days.

Anyway, August was a busy month of challenges.

At the beginning of the month I completed Challenge 20 (Dress up as a clown) and Challenge 21 (Run a tombola stall at a charity event). We were at the Big day out in Nantwich and raised £70 on the tombola for the British Kidney Patient Association.

Then I completed Challenge 22, mow the lawn naked. Here are the pictures which have been censored so as not to offend anyone.

And over the bank holiday weekend I  completed 3 challenges. They were challenge 23 (3 mile walk), Challenge 24 (wear pants on outside of trousers) and Challenge 25 (ice bath challenge).

And here is the video for the ice bath challenge.

For September I have a couple of challenges planned.

They are a 5 mile walk, hold a tarantula and  a snake.  I was wondering if any one knew of any body that has a snake or tarantula that I could use for my challenges. If you do, please let me know.

As you know I am doing 45 challenges to raise awareness for kidney disease, organ donation  and raise money for the British Kidney Patient Association (BKPA). So far I have raised about £300. Some come on every body, please sponsor me,

http://www.justgiving.com/kidney45challenge/

Catch you next time :).

By the way, if you are not on the organ donation register, sign up below. Organ Donation Save Lives

www.organdonation.nhs.uk/


Sorry this challenge update is a bit late, its been a busy couple of days.

Anyway in July I am afraid I only completed 1 challenge due to health reasons and the bad weather. So the other challenges have been postponed to later in the year.

But I have completed challenge 19, wear a badly fitted toupee for 3 days. I looked really silly but my lovely wife Simone Derbyshire really hate it. Here are the pictures :).

In August I plan to attempt the following challenges:-

20. Dress up as a clown

21. Run a tombola stall at a charity event

22. Mow the lawn naked.

23. Malkins Bank Circular Walk (6 miles).

24. Wear Pants on outside of trousers for a day

25. Ice bath challenge

As you know I am doing 45 challenges to raise awareness for kidney disease, organ donation  and raise money for the British Kidney Patient Association (BKPA). So far I have raised about £330. So come on every body, please sponsor me,

http://www.justgiving.com/kidney45challenge/

By the way, if you are not on the organ donation register, sign up below. Organ Donation Save Lives

www.organdonation.nhs.uk/