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21 July 2024

I have several nicknames, and I can usually tell where I know people from by what they call me. If you know me from England, you would likely call me Gooner. If you had met me after I moved to Spain, it is more likely that you would call me Sharky.

Why am I called Gooner?

I am a big supporter of Arsenal Football Club. Arsenal’s nickname is the Gunners and their supporters are called Gooners. Many years ago, a friend I was talking with called me Gooner and was overheard by other people who started to call me Gooner. This continued to the point where everyone called me Gooner, and people who didn’t know my name used this nickname. People in the UK generally use this nickname.

Random Gooner photos.

These are just a few photos of me travelling the world in my beloved Arsenal colours.

Why am I called Sharky?

In 2014, whilst having a break in Spain, I was taken ill, and because of my illness, I had a large part of my right leg removed. The resulting scar looks like a giant shark has attacked me. A few friends in Spain told people that a shark had attacked me, and the nickname has again stuck. People in Spain generally use this nickname.

A little history.

In brief, I was born in Walthamstow in London and moved to Fareham in Hampshire at the age of four. I grew up in Fareham, I went to school in Fareham, had my first girlfriend in Fareham and had my first job in Fareham. I have also lived in Orlando, Florida, USA and Los Alcázares, Murcia, Spain. I love getting out, meeting new people and trying new things.

In September 1990, I had a life-changing car accident, which left me in intensive care for three months and visiting the hospital rehab unit for a year. I still have some problems related to the accident now. The loss of sight in one eye and poor memory due to brain damage are a couple of them. Since then, I have been trying to do some of the many things on my Bucket List. My big passion is travelling, and now I have discovered escorted coach tours and the joy of cruising. I spend lots of my time planning new trips and how to spend my money when I eventually win the lottery.

After my mum became ill in 2007, I became her full-time carer. While taking a break from looking after my mum in 2014, I went to Spain for a week’s holiday. Unfortunately, I became very ill, contracting Necrotizing Fasciitis and Sepsis. While I was in intensive care in Madrid, my mum passed away in the UK. I am still recovering from the effects of both illnesses and have now left England.

I now live in Los Alcázares in Murcia and am a permanent resident of Spain. My doctor in England agreed it would be the best thing I could do for my health. The warmer weather makes it easier for my breathing, and the fact that the boardwalk along the beachfront is very flat and has plenty of rest stops means I can get some light exercise. Most days between the end of April and the start of November, I go for a morning swim in the Mar Menor.

Unfortunately, in 2018, I spent 12 days in a hospital in Murcia being treated for Deep Vein Thrombosis, which has meant I find it challenging to exercise. I swim when I can, and I get about over longer distances, mainly on a disabled scooter, rather than walking.

In 2021, I went under the knife again, having a hernia operation in the hospital. Unfortunately, after being released from the hospital too early, I had to go back to the hospital for a further 11 days to clear an infection.

Work experience.

I have had many jobs since I was a teenager. At fourteen, I was doing a paper round, working part-time in the local paper shop cleaning the shop and stocking shelves, and doing a football pools round. At fifteen, I stopped working in the shop and doing the pools round and began working weekends in a local garden centre. At first, I worked in the yard as a yard boy, helping customers find what they wanted and carrying goods to people’s cars for them. After being there for a while I began working inside on the tills as a cashier. I left the garden centre the week I finished school. When I left school, I got a 3-year apprenticeship with British Gas. After completing my apprenticeship, I became a Gas Service Engineer until I had a severe car accident in 1990. After this, I worked for British Gas and Transco in the offices as a clerk.

After taking redundancy from Transco, I moved to and lived in Orlando, Florida and worked cleaning swimming pools and as a taxi driver. On returning to the UK, I worked as a website designer for some big companies, including The Dixon Group, Wandsworth Borough Council and several smaller clients. I worked for British Telecom trying to break their website and notifying developers how I did it. I also worked at Alton Sixth Form College as a Senior IT Technician. Between these more extensive jobs, I have worked in Asda as a customer service assistant, at Travelex as a Travel Money Advisor, and at various pubs working behind the bar. I also gave computer lessons in the local library.

What am I doing now?

It’s 2024 and I am in my 9th year living in Los Alcázares, Murcia, Spain. 2023 was the year I was able to start travelling a lot more, albeit with help from people I met on my travels and a lot of planning. I went on three cruises and crossed a few things off my bucket list. On one of my cruises, I had to go to the hospital on board the ship after an escorted trip wasn’t as easy as it was supposed to be. I had to get help to get back to the coach because the guides were no help. Onboard ship, I had a drip put in me to replace fluids I had lost on the trip and told not to drink anything but water and eat only very plain food for the remainder of the cruise.

On my trips, I have met lovely people who have looked after me and helped me when needed. I did a long repositioning cruise from Spain to Brazil and the time I spent on the ship was very restful. The people I met were great, helping me get around when I needed help or just keeping an eye on me to ensure I didn’t get left behind.

I have been on a cruise to Hawaii and Alaska and went to stay in Marrakech in Morocco with my friend Lisa in June. I have booked an escorted tour of Japan later in the year and will see any entertainment near where I live if I can. I have started swimming in the Mar Menor every morning again. If you see me swimming or out and about on my disability scooter, say hello; maybe we can get a coffee or a beer sometime.