Looking ahead

The calm before the storm as they say, a busy week in the 56notout camp with some planning and chasing things up for some of the challenges ahead , but also time take time to reflect.

I do like to stop occasionally ( my wife would disagree with me ! ) and just be with those close to me and ponder life and it meanings, and also plan ahead for the nicer things in life, I do realise that not everyone can look that far ahead. For many the future can be as far away as the next meal or a place to sleep for the night and with the colder weather on its way, I would not want to be outside. However, I always said at the outset, one of my challenges would be to get outside and spend the night and see what it’s like to sleep without a roof over my head. I have my sleeping bag and cardboard ready and next Friday is the night, as I join Helping Hands for their annual sleep out in the centre of Leamington, to get what can only be a taste, of what it is really like to spend a night on the streets. I avoided the word sleep there, as I do not expect to get much of that next Friday but I do have the luxury of coming home afterwards to a shower and a hot meal. for that I am grateful. I will let you know how I get on next week…

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A new day

Midsummer day, the longest day of 2020 although it feels like the longest year!

I guess many would agree with me on that one. From tomorrow the days start to getting shorter but that’s just how it goes.

The 2021 project with no name is starting to gain momentum albeit slowly and I have a couple of challenges on the list. Learning from 56notout, I need to make some clear and specific requests. As we slowly exit from lockdown, I am hoping this process will be easier.

If you have any ideas that you want to throw at the team, feel free to get in touch.

Watch this space and please keep the support going.

#new ideas


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Life is a roller coaster…

… just got to ride it

I has been a strange few weeks in the Atherton household and the words of Ronan Keaton just about sums it up, but with the weekend it looks like I might be able to get a break from the ride for a bit.

I am still looking for some inspiration for a name for the 2021 project if anyone has any ideas.

I have started making a list of some challenges and maybe I might be able to bring home some that didn’t quite make the 56notout year.

Any ideas or better still some challenges that you might be able to make happen, then please get in touch.

One personal challenge that I will be repeating is to run, walk or cycle with at least 60 people and maybe get chance to do a mile or two with Daniel Craig. If you fancy doing something with me, let me know but please – no roller coasters. 😀

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Feeling positive

So another year older and good to look back, three years since the 56notout challenge started, three years! What a year that was but feeling positive and looking forward to doing something excited next year.

2021 is a big year in our family, significant birthdays and at least one wedding so we plan to do something in mass.

The team are working on a name, any ideas?

The plan is to share the challenges between us all and help spread the love so watch this space.

I plan to take a less active role this time fitting of my advancing years but I will be in the thick of the action, that you can count on.

Interested in how all this started? The 56notout book is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook.

I have some copies too.




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Thinking out loud

As the end of May comes into view, I have been thinking about what was going through my mind around this time three years ago as I prepared to take on the 56notout challenge.

Back in 2017, as I was counting down the days to my 56th birthday and the beginning of what was one of the most amazing years of my life, I could not have imagined where the journey would take me.

Nearly three years on and we are still going. The book is still being bought and read and I am still keeping the concept alive. Not as easy in these different times but with the tiny shoots of normality starting to show, I have hope.

As a friend correctly pointed out, the world cannot survive if everyone stays at home. People need people and the interaction that goes with it.

As my 59th birthday is days away, I am planning what I am going to do next so watch this space.

Fancy reading the book?

Check out Amazon or I still have copies as do Warwick Books.




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As the long weekend for most of us has nearly ran its course and we look a head to a new week and await what Boris has to say later, I am kinda getting used to the new normal. This very different way of life is certainly something that we could have never have predicted at the start of the year.

Although some of the things that we hear about are sad and worrying to listen to with uncertainty and concerns, I am lifted by the positive things that are happening too.

The air is with out question, cleaner and goes without saying, the world is generally quieter but I like some ideas that are coming out.

I love the idea of the post lockdown jar with all this things we are missing and want to do when “normality” returns. What is in your jar ?

I definitely want a go on the swings …

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The start of a new month and the future is far from clear.

The more time goes on, the more I see change around me. I ran early doors yesterday and I noticed so much more that I usually do, my Facebook friends have already noticed I take more photos than I do steps but I like taking pictures, always have. I noticed so much symmetry and so many reflections, I felt inspired. Nature can do that, is there more things to see or I have I got just a little more time to look. I will leave that question with you …

I know times are tough for most of us, change in routine, not seeing family or missing the football. We all have our own issues and concerns but …

When I talk to folks out and about, social distancing of course, and people do talk more don’t they ? I hear some good things coming out of this carnage. We have neighbours who we speak too, you can see couples becoming couples, parents becoming patents and teachers too. Just hope my liver can make it !

I still hope that from this, good will come.




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You don’t do it for the medal

I love London marathon day as a rule, a day when ordinal people become marathon runners. This year is different, no london marathon for one thing so you would think that today would not see the making of heroes and no medals but I am not so sure.

In true British spirit, the show goes on. People are doing their bit wether it be running around the back garden or climbing the stairs to the top of Everest. Target set, challenges agreed which I think it just brilliant.

Life as we knew it might be on hold at the moment but a new normal will appear which might even be better in someways to the old one, we can hope.

I saw this on my run today and made me smile.

It made me think about my next project but for this one I will not be on my own …😀



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How’s your sock drawer?

It’s getting a bit like that isn’t it? Every day pretty much the same as the next and a distinct lack the familiar routines that we took for granted before all this madness started.

For most of us, this monotony is a new thing but think about those folks to whom this way of life is the norm. Days lacking structure or real purpose, with days merging into weeks.

As I stay at home tidying my sock drawer or what ever my next lockdown project is, I follow the great and good of the world helping those in need.

With a little more time in my hands, I look back in my challenge year and all the amazing people we met and now have a better understanding of the amazing work Helping Hands and organisations like them do in our communities.

As well as looking back, I am looking forward to new projects that will help these charities, maybe some ideas from the 56notout book might inspire you to do something in your area maybe.

I have some copies of the book which I can drop in the post £10 each with a couple of quip to post ( in the uk ). I can even sign it or add some words if it’s for a present although the unsigned copies are very rare 🙂

Warwick Books will also be delighted to sell you a copy and help them keep going in these tough times or Amazon in both paperback and kindle with all the profit going to Helping Hands.

If you have read the book or followed the challenge year on social media and have been given some ideas, it would be great to hear about your plans.

Until then, take care.


Stay strong, stay safe



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What’s important …

Do you feel you are in some strange dream or nightmare and just waiting for normality to return?

Interesting what is now becoming important, I would imagine seeing family and those close to us is top of most people’s list, top of mine for sure.

I have good days and bad days, keeping busy helps and finishing those jobs that I have started is good, I like routine too. Interaction with people is someone I am struggling with, technology is certainly helping but make me realise how fortunate I am.

As part of my “looking forward” plan, I have started making a list of what I would like to do when this is all over.

The number of folks stepping up to the plate and helping others gives me hope, helping each other is crucial at this time. Call a mate, text a colleague and show you care.

Keep in real and stay safe x

#helping hands

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What is normal?

What is normal? An interesting question these days and like most people, nothing feels normal. Empty roads, limited choice in the shops, constant data overload on every media format. Fake news, scams, real news stories from around the world and close to home too. Worrying time without question but what is helping me is the humour ( a little dark at times ), the acts of kindness, companies stepping up to the plate to help those who need help more than ever and the messages of hope.

I am clinging on to the fact that when this is all over and it will be, the world might just be a better place, different for sure but maybe what is important will come to the surface. I doubt it will be what it was before …

My heart does out to Helping Hands who continue to do just that and to all the key workers who we never realised how much they are key.

I don’t see now footballers or overrated pop starts on the key workers list do you ?

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