The greatest day of my life was about to begin. Over the next 17 hours Peta [my wife] put my pain threshold to shame and made me glow with pride. At 10.30pm we finally had our beautiful baby girl: Delilah Grace Cavendish.
Everyone had told me that having a kid changes you and changes your life, but I hadn’t expected the transformation to happen so quickly. Now for every decision I took, from what I ate for breakfast to when I trained and went to bed, how it would affect Delilah would be the first thought that entered my head. It was a lot to take on board. For a few days I oscillated between boundless joy and terrible anxiety that I wasn’t up to the challenges of parenthood. I remember one day a week or so after Delilah’s birth, in particular, when the weight of it all completely overwhelmed me. I was up at Rob Hayles’s place in the Peak District, training on the roads familiar from my gruelling first weeks at the Academy in 2003. The weather was gorgeous, and to Rob who was pacing me on the moped there was nothing obviously wrong as we came to a hill and started climbing. I’d made it a few hundred metres before the tarmac under the wheels started to feel like treacle, I could no longer feel the warmth from Rob’s exhaust, and I pulled over onto the grass verge. My bike fell to the ground as tears started falling from my eyes. When Rob looked over his shoulder to check that I was still there, he saw me not bobbing up the slope but weeping back down the slope on the grass. He turned around, parked the moped, and came to put his arm around me. He didn’t need to ask what was wrong. Over several weeks he’d seen me growing more and more anxious, less and less confident of my ability to deal with fatherhood. They were natural, normal feelings, but at the time it took a lot of advice and support from true friends like Rob to make me realise that.
This period of readjustment – which really was all it was – lasted for a few weeks. As an athlete, you’re used to being – almost encouraged to be – self-absorbed, and Delilah and fatherhood released me from that inward-looking, self-obsessed spiral. In almost every interview I did that spring I was asked whether being a parent wouldn’t make me ride a little more conservatively, maybe to the detriment of my sprinting. I knew that wouldn’t be the case and why that was: a certain fearlessness was in my nature, and having Delilah was an incentive to work even harder and if anything take even more calculated risks to continue winning.
I’m a fearless competitor, but I want you to tell us, for a chance to win a jersey from my cycling team Omega Pharma and a signed copy of At Speed…
Bungee jump, spiders, cycling the Alpe d’Huez? What’s been the greatest fear you’ve overcome?
Ricky Hatton is one of the truly great British Boxers and one of our most beloved sporting heroes. War and Peace is in stores now, we’ve read it and we can confirm it’s a knock-out read! Taking in the whole of Ricky’s illustrious career and his tumultuous life outside the ring, it’s all told with Ricky’s trademark humour and honesty. We met Ricky recently and this is what he had to say…
To celebrate the launch of War and Peace, Ricky has a signed a pair of Boxing Gloves for one Tesco Books Blog reader to win. To be in with a chance of getting your hands on this fabulous prize simply answer this question in the comments section below…
Ricky Hatton was famously nicknamed “The Hitman” in the ring, if you were a professional boxer what would your nickname be and why?
When I was at West Ham, after training, we’d do what any group of workmates did. We’d go to the pub. We started off in the East End, where we all came from but, after a little while, as people moved out, so did the haunts. The Retreat in Chigwell was a favourite. Football teams were boys’ clubs back then. There were not so many nationalities, language barriers and divisions. The West Ham players socialised together all the time, and every team was the same. Bobby Moore even bought a little chauffeur’s hat because he worked out the police never pulled over chauffeur-driven cars. If he was driving when he’d had a few, he would sit us in the back, put on his hat and off we’d go.
It was around then that I met Sandra. The Two Puddings pub in Stratford used to have a dance upstairs on Sunday nights. All the teenagers from the East End went there, and I would go with my mate Colin Mackleworth. There were two girls there that we asked to dance, Susan and Sandra. Colin got Susan; I got Sandra. Colin was better looking than me and I think Sandra thought she’d pulled the bad draw. She was hoping Colin would ask her to dance. I loved Sandra to bits from day one. I’ve been married forty-six years, and I always say she was my best signing. Jamie tells me I won the lottery the day I met her – and I did; I’ve never felt anything less than very, very lucky.
When people hear that Frank Lampard and I ended up marrying sisters, they always think the girls must have gone out hunting for footballers, but it wasn’t like that at all. It was pure coincidence. Pat and Sandra had no interest in football – nobody in their family really liked the game – and neither of them had a clue who we were. We didn’t even meet through each other. A few weeks after I started going out with Sandra, Frank came into Chadwell Heath one morning and said, ‘I took a girl home last night, and you’re seeing her sister.’ He had met Pat by chance at the Ship in Stepney. What are the odds of that?
Sandra’s dad, Bill Harris, was a foreman down Albert Dock. He was a huge bloke with arms bigger than my legs. You didn’t want to mess with Bill. Sandra and Pat were hairdressers, and the whole family lived in Barking, in a house with a proper little garden, which I thought was very upmarket, coming from a block of flats on the Burdett Estate. I used to take Sandra back to her house after going out, and if I was there longer than ten minutes the old man used to bang on the floor from the bedroom upstairs. He was fantastic, Bill, an absolutely lovely man, but not the sort you wanted to cross. Frank was scared stiff of him as well – and Sandra and Pat’s brother, Brian, was every bit as big. They were a wonderful family, though, and it wasn’t long before we were making plans to be married.
Sandra was Harry’s best signing, but we want you to tell us for a chance to win the ultimate football fans prize bundle…
We’re just a few daysaway from publication of Alex Ferguson’s autobiography, and the excitement among the Tesco team is reaching fever pitch – not least because we are hosting the one and only signing event for the book. It’s happening this Thursday (24th October) at our Stretford Tesco Extra store in Manchester, with Sir Alex signing from 11am-noon and again from 2pm-3pm. We advise getting there early to beat the crowds!
And speaking of signed copies, we’ve also got a cracking competition prize up for grabs: a signed special edition copy of ALEX FERGUSON: MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY, worth £250. It’s got leather binding, gold foil, gold gilt page edges, and comes in a stunning leather box. In short, you want this on your bookshelf!
To be in with a chance of winning, simply answer this question in the comments below…
What is your favourite moment of Alex Ferguson’s career?
There’s not long to wait now until you can get your hands on a copy of Sir Alex Ferguson’s official autobiography, in stores on the 24th October. Widely considered to be the greatest manager in the history of British football, Sir Alex has been reflecting on and jotting down the highlights of his quite extraordinary career for the last four years. ALEX FERGUSON: MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY promises to reveal, entertain and inspire – and we can’t wait to read it! In the meantime, we’re thrilled that Sir Alex has recorded this exclusive video just for the Tesco Books blog readers…
I’ve been counting my blessings, which might seem an odd thing to do, considering I have cancer that can’t be cured. But I wouldn’t be Bernie if I couldn’t find that glimmer of light in the dark.
There’s no question that writing this book has made me confront the cold reality of my current situation, but it’s also made me realise what a full and wonderful life I’ve had, and how much I still have to be grateful for. My glass has always been half full and I’m passionate about life. So I made the decision right from the start that I’d rather live with hope. My positivity has been crucial in helping me to live with cancer and win many little battles along the way. I would be lying if I said I never had dark moments when I felt scared and desperate and sad, but I never once thought of myself as ‘dying of cancer’ – my attitude has always been that I’m living with it.
I also believe that my childhood and teenage years armed me with many of the qualities I needed to take on this disease: a fighting spirit and a bloody good sense of humour. Being born into a family of eight kids – with five competitive sisters – meant I always had to shout louder than the rest to get myself heard. And being part of a sweet and innocent girl band also gave me plenty to rebel against! Not bad preparation for summoning up the sheer determination you need when you’re trying to beat the odds of a pretty grim cancer diagnosis and get your doctors to listen to you.
It never entered my head that I was writing a memoir because I was going to die – quite the opposite. I want my book to be a celebration of my life, which has been full, happy, exciting and filled with wonderful people and experiences. Cancer is a relatively new thing for me and, yes, it has changed me – how could it not? But I don’t want the disease to define me. Cancer has become part of my journey, but it’s not the whole story. There’s so much more to me than that. I’m a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and auntie – those are the roles I want to define me.
My life has always been blessed by music. I’ve been singing professionally for fifty years and now my voice has been taken away, I feel so glad I got the chance to make my solo album. If anyone wants to play something of mine when I’m gone, that’s what to play. I’m grateful my daughter Erin will have it to keep her company, too. And it has the beautiful song Steve wrote for Kate, the daughter we were blessed with first, who sadly didn’t get to see any of this life. In the album sleeve I wrote: ‘Whenever I’ve been happy, music has helped me celebrate. When I’ve been sad, it’s been a friend. Music has never let me down.’ And, over past three years, those words have never had more poignancy.
Anyway, thank you so much for reading this and I really hope you enjoy my book.
Get your copy of Now & Forever by Bernie Nolan in store now!
It’s Laila Morse here, a.k.a Big Mo from EastEnders. Hope this finds you all well and enjoying 2013 so far. I’m here to tell you all about my autobiography, Just a Mo, which is out on January 31st. It tells the full story of my topsy-turvy life, from growing up in south London to landing the role of Big Mo on EastEnders when I was fifty-five years old, and everything in between.
Becoming an actress was never something I thought would happen to me. My life was a million miles away from all that glitz and glamour – as you’ll find out in the book. Life’s been tough along the way, but you’ve just got to keep your chin up and keep going…
I found working on the book really interesting. It was great seeing the finished copy after all the hard work. It was a bit strange going back over all the stories from the past, but it wasn’t too terrible. What’s happened happened, after all. Your life is what it is. You’re just got to get on with it.
Here’s a little video to tell you all about the book. Thanks for watching, and I hope you enjoy reading my story.
Buy Just a Mo by Laila Morse in store from 31st January for just £9.00!
Right now, Ashleigh and I are locked in rehearsals for our Royal Variety Performance. I love to dance, and Ashleigh has enjoyed taking me through our new routine every step of the way. We’re both so excited, but frankly it’s a miracle that we’re on the billing at all. Why? Because when the official invitation from Her Majesty flopped through the letterbox at home, I did what comes naturally to a dog. Unaware of the sender, and assuming it was a bill, I pounced on the envelope before it had even hit the ground. I then set about shredding it until Ashleigh wrestled it from my jaws.
Fortunately, Ashleigh and her mum were able to piece the letter back together. As they did so, I couldn’t help noticing the posh-looking seal on the envelope I had destroyed. Closer investigation also revealed the unmistakable aroma of corgi. I’d figured out what this meant moments before Ashleigh read the invitation and gasped. For one thing, I was in big trouble for wrecking the kind of letter that should be framed and hung on the wall. More importantly, it contained confirmation that we’d been asked to perform in front of the Queen! I’d heard rumours that She was keen to see us dance, and this confirmed it. We were overjoyed, but anxious not to lose our heads – which is why we’ve lined up the performance of a lifetime!
Even for a dog who can count on Simon Cowell as his BFF, this really is a big deal. I’ve never seen a Royal Variety Performance on the television, but I’m guessing it must be like Britain’s Got Talent with a lot of red carpet thrown in for good measure. It’s going to be an honour and a thrill. I just hope that Ashleigh and I get through to the end without the Queen pressing her buzzer and lighting up the cross in front of her panel. That’s how it works, right?
Whatever the case, I’m also looking forward to meeting Her Majesty and her four-legged friends backstage. Ashleigh has perfected her curtsey, and I’ve been practising my bow-wow. So long as I don’t put a paw wrong, and nobody mentions the regrettable episode with the invitation, we’re hoping this will be another memorable event in my crazy life. You can read all about the highs, lows, challenges and triumphs of my adventure so far in Pudsey: My Autobidography.
What’s more if your name isn’t on the list for the Royal Variety Performance, you can still see Ashleigh and me on stage. We’re starring in Dick Wittington at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking from 7th December to 6th January!
To win tickets to see Ashleigh and Pudsey make their theatrical debut and meet the duo after their performance all you have to do is answer the question in the comments section below:
On which show did Pudsey and Ashleigh shoot to fame?
Wildly famous comedian, anarchic judge on Britain’s Got Talent, and record-breaking long distance swimmer, David Walliams is a man of many talents.
He was launched to fame with the monumentally successful Little Britain, the characters from which have become embedded in our shared popular culture. ‘I’m a lady’, ‘Computer Says No!’ and ‘Bitty!’ are some of the most famous catchphrases in British comedy.
Yet Walliams is a mystery. Often described as a bundle of contradictions, he is an enigma, playing up his campness one minute and then swimming 130 miles in a filthy river the next.
To read Camp David is to be truly shocked, as well as tickled pink – Walliams bares his soul as never before and reveals a fascinating and complex mind. Containing extracts from his deeply private diaries, this extraordinary memoir unlocks many closely guarded secrets that until now have remained hidden in his past.
Watch an exclusive chat with David below and enter our competition for the chance to win a signed, framed photo of the man himself plus a copy of the book!
To enter the competition, all you need to do is answer the following question in the comments section below:
What was your favourite funny or inspiring moment from David Walliams’ career?
Tesco Books Blog readers, meet Ron Burgundy, the No.1 News Anchor in all of San Diego. This man has penned a must read, grab your copy of Let Me Off At The Top by Ron Burgundy in store from the 19th November 2013!