Recently, I had the opportunity to expand my journalistic horizons by recording a piece for a local radio station.
I have never done any radio work before, so it completely expanded my horizons and pushed me well out of my comfort zone.
I guess it did not help we went straight to the recording studio right after I had covered a rugby match for the paper, so as if I was not nervous enough doing something I did not have any experience with, I was then worrying about getting my match report written up in time for my deadline, and also fatigue levels after standing through a rugby match in the freezing cold.
All it involved was heading to a place in Gloucestershire called Winchcombe, which I only knew of for the cider festival they hold every summer.
Let me just tell you how the opportunity came about. I have mentioned before how incredibly supportive Headway, the national brain injury charity, have been for me, and Amy. Well Headway were behind this latest adventure.
One of the great things about Headway, without trying to sound too patronising, is it is unlike the "outside" world.
What I mean by this is in my "normal" day-to-day life, I rarely meet another person who has suffered a brain injury; everybody is "normal", for want of a better word.
So as Amy perfectly described in the blog she wrote for me: Headway acts as a "safe haven" for me and gives me the chance to mix with other brain injury survivors and share our experiences, helping each other through this potentially life-changing experience. It offers a place where I can talk openly about things and another person will understand my feelings because they feel or have felt those same feelings too.
Anyway, back to the blog, one of the people who works at Headway, called Fi, who, again, I hope does not mind me mentioning her, has the best job title in the world, which is: "an Enablement Coordinator" I mean, come on, how cool is that job title? Where you actually do a job which helps people "enable" themselves to do more, or live a "better" life, it must be so rewarding.
Anyway, Fi had this plan for me to meet with Graham, who runs the radio show, and then we arranged to come in one Saturday to record the show.
I forgot a lot of the details so Amy thought she was just dropping me off for some work experience, but it turned out we were both on the show! We were both so nervous but pretty soon thanks to Graham we both soon got into the swing of things. It felt so strange in a chair in a little room covered with wires but knowing lots of people were able to listen in.
Graham's show is a sports show so we spoke a lot about the games of the weekend and my career as a sports journalist. One of the toughest things for me was talking about everything and controlling my emotions at the same time, as it is obviously, a sensitive subject for me, as it would be for anyone. I have mentioned in an early blog about the effect my bleed has had on my emotions and how I often struggle to control them, which I manage to hide from the world, through a series of techniques we have learned about either online or by talking to other brain injury survivors at Headway.
I have listened back to the copy of the show which Graham kindly provided for us and although I was nervous about doing it, I just kept talking! I couldn't believe it, at one point Amy even told me off for talking too much, which is typical of my better half; always nagging me! (Only joking!) but it just felt brilliant to do something remotely close to my career as a sports journalist and also, it felt lovely having someone actually interested in me. As I have said before, my confidence has been badly affected by my brain injury, as I feel like I have missed out on a lot of things, so it was nice to have someone wanting to know more!
It also felt good to shine a bit of a spotlight on brain injuries and their consequences because they are often forgotten about by society. So I hope people got to know a bit more about them, and the effect they have on individuals and their families. However, what pleased me most was getting to show, or tell, everyone about how amazing Amy is and everything she has done for me. I really am an incredibly lucky chap to have her in my life; I just hope she knows how much I appreciate and admire her, for everything she has done for me, or everything she is attempting to do in her career.
I definitely think I have caught the bug for radio, I absolutely loved it, so thanks so much to Graham and Radio Winchcombe!