Ladies and Gentlemen of the Class of ’91

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1991 was an important year for me, and not just because it was the year I left school. At this point in my life, I had an amazing group of friends, every weekend was party time and music was changing for the better. Guns n’ Roses may have lost much of their raw edge, but we still went to see them at Wembley Stadium and enjoyed every minute of it. Although, if I’m honest, the support acts really stole the show, Nine Inch Nails were excellent and Skid Row were nothing short of awesome. Then in September, Nirvana released their incredible ‘Nevermind’ album!.. 1991 rocked!

It was one of those periods that, if you had stopped and taken a look around for a moment, you would wish your life could stay that way forever. But of course it doesn’t, and from where I am now, I’m glad. Looking back through the years that have past and the things I’ve seen and done, I much prefer who I am now to the 16 year old version of me. I would not give up those following years and experiences for anything, and with friends as good as mine, I don’t need to.

Whether it’s our commitment to each other as friends, or the fact that our generation benefits so greatly from social media like Facebook and Twitter, whatever the reason, we have all stayed in touch. Our group of friends have been spread across the country, at times, almost from Lands End to John O’Groats. But every now and then, we come back together.

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Terry, Jen, Sarah, Steve, Sam, Lucy, Neil, Andy, Giles and Julie. (Rob is missing and I took the picture)

It had been quite a few years since so many of us were together all at once, but thanks to Jen and Facebook (and everyone’s commitment), 9th May 2014 was the best night out in years!

In this age of the ‘selfie’, I made sure to take one with each attendee.

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Some of us, who live locally, see each other regularly. But the next time we ALL get together again, it will be Rob and Dana’s wedding.

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Rob and Dana

Bring it on!

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Thanks to Lucy and Jen for some of these pictures.

Ian Goes Electric

On the first day of 2013 the landlord of my local pub, and one of his regular customers, both stopped smoking and bought electronic cigarettes. The decision to stop smoking is one I have previously made, many times. It doesn’t matter which quitting aid I try, the result is always the same. Even if I get past the worst of the cravings, I really miss the physical act of smoking. It is something I have done for over 20 years and I feel lost without it. I viewed the ‘E-Cig’ option with the same scepticism. If I were to use this currently popular method to wean myself from my Nicotine addiction, I knew that as soon as I felt comfortable enough to put the electronic cigarette away, I would miss smoking again within hours. But that is because I assumed the E-Cig was intended to be a short term replacement for smoking. However, other people have taken a different approach.

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The pub landlord and his customer have remained successfully smoke free for almost a year now. The reason for this is that they have never attempted to quit the Nicotine filled vapour of their E-Cigs. For a while, this was a situation that I criticised. I felt that they were kidding themselves. After all, it’s plain for all to see, their addiction to Nicotine is as strong now as it was when they smoked. But it seems my opinion of the electronic alternative to smoking has been a somewhat narrow view.

If we compare traditional smoking against using E-Cigs, the benefits are plain to see. Obviously, ‘vaping’ is far more healthy than smoking, but it’s the financial aspect that really makes the case clear. Using myself as an example, let’s see exactly why my pub friends are not actually kidding themselves at all, but are in fact getting the last laugh.

I smoke 20 cigarettes per day, at an average cost of £7.00. However you look at it, it’s a lot of money.

  • Daily: £7
  • Weekly: £49
  • Monthly: £213
  • Yearly: £2555

Now, using a rechargeable electronic cigarette from 10 Motives for example, let’s take a look at the cost of ‘vaping’ instead of smoking. If we ignore the one off cost of the rechargeable starter unit (£10.99-£13.99 depending where purchased), a pack of 5 refills usually costs £6.99 and should easily last a week for a 20 a day smoker, like me. So, to make the maths easier, we will call it £7 per week. Hmm, real cigarettes: £7 per day, E-Cigs: £7 per week. You can see where this is going.

  • Daily: £1
  • Weekly: £7
  • Monthly: £30-£31
  • Yearly: £365

It kind of puts things into perspective doesn’t it. There I was, dismissing people’s claims that they had quit smoking, because their addiction was still as strong as ever. But completely ignoring the facts. The pub landlord and his regular customer are healthier than me, richer than me, and still enjoy the act of smoking. Plus they don’t have to keep going out in the cold and rain like I do!

Using this example, set by people I know, I am making a few changes to my own smoking habits. I have no intention of committing myself to a completely smoke free life, I enjoy smoking and will continue to do so. However, by using my new electronic cig in place of many of my usual cigarettes, I might save a few quid, and who knows, maybe I will gradually drift in the less smoky direction.