Sunday, 13 September 2020

Become a Pirate and Explore Your Relationship With Alcohol!


Hello everyone,

I now run a FREE Facebook Group called 'Sober Inspired Pirates'

We are based on a fleet of Pirate ships and I am Captain of the main ship, Freedom. 

Many of the crew have given up alcohol, but a large percentage haven't. It's all about exploring your relationship with alcohol and deciding what's best for you. We have some great interactions and lots of fun in a completely non-judgemental environment.

With nearly 5,000 members from a worldwide audience, we're growing fast.

If you'd like to help by becoming a Patron, please find out more at:

Thursday, 2 April 2020

One Year No Beer Pirates - Who are we?

Great doing this interview with Gee Fletcher as the ship grows in numbers; now +4,000 Pirates heading for a better future.
or take a look at our website at
I was having treatment to replace a crown when the dentist closed down because of Covid-19. It adds to the Pirate image somehow but will be nice when the dentist returns. 

Friday, 20 March 2020

One Year No Beer

'One Year No Beer' are currently in dispute with 'One Year No Beer Pirates' over their trademark. Here are some facts to help you understand what's going on.

I formed the Facebook group ‘One Year No Beer Pirates’ in 2016, having already used the name for about 6 months. We are based on a virtual Pirate ship at with a website at
I didn’t choose that name by accident, I was a member of ‘One Year No Beer’ (OYNB) at the time. I, along with about 50 other members decided to leave and form our own Facebook group. We based ourselves on a virtual ship and called ourselves ‘One Year No Beer Pirates’ because we still loved the OYNB concept but had stopped agreeing with how things were evolving. Both CEO’s of OYNB were aware that we had formed this group and one of them, Andy Ramage sent us a message of good wishes at the very beginning. Then for 2 years we sailed happily alongside OYNB, both respecting each other for what we were, the difference being, they charged for a premium service, our offering was much less but FREE.

The first time we had any objections to our name was in June 2019 via a phone call to me from OYNB CEO Ruari Fairbairns. Our members had grown to nearly a 1,000 by then and he made it clear that he wanted some kind of a partnership, affiliation or the likes because he could see we were doing well and appeared curious!

In the following months, various proposals were made by both parties but none seemed to satisfy both. They wanted to take us over but we wanted to stay independent. They offered nothing, just legal threats!

On 14th August 2019 ‘OYNB’ filed for their trademark, the exact wording being ‘One Year No Beer OYNB’ and it was subsequently approved by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). We didn't object, it wasn't the same as our mark.

When I applied for our trademark a few months later, ‘One Year No Beer Pirates’ it was readily accepted as different enough to be acceptable to the IPO.

We have a website at and as we have been in existence now for over 4 years, with +4,000 Pirates, as you can imagine, we are splattered all over the internet on numerous sites, far too many to even begin contemplating an eradication of our name.

In December 2019 our Facebook group was temporarily removed because OYNB had wrongly informed Facebook that we were using their trademark name. Of course, this wasn't true, we were using the name ‘One Year No Beer Pirates,’ our own then registered trademark. Facebook then reactivated our group, apologising for the misinformation they had been given and for not checking it out first.

Crucially, we always had banners on our site and always had recommended OYNB which we saw as somewhat of a parent company. As a result, OYNB offered to make us affiliates so that anyone clicking on those adverts for membership or courses would automatically send a small commission back to us; we were delighted! They never came back to us!

In June 2019, I received a call from OYNB CEO, Ruari Fairbairns as his own members had become increasingly critical of the direction his own company were going in. His members were saying, OYNB had become "very impersonal” “cared only about money and not people” “were drowning members in sales messages,” “admins were deleting people and blocking them” for ridiculous reasons; the list goes on. Most famously, the lady who showed a photo of her pet dog as her primary support in trying to give up drink? Then dozens of others flooded in with their pets and their stories. Incredibly, OYNB Admin took down her post and all the others saying it wasn't relevant! She came over to us with over 250 of their members that week and now runs our Pirate's Pets ship!

We made a major concession to OYNB at the end of last year, removing the name ‘One Year No Beer Pirates’ from all our 30 Facebook Groups until this could be resolved, but they gave nothing in return!

Around October 2019 OYNB agreed to talk again and went away to “think of ways we could work better to benefit both sides.” They said they’d contact me but never did! As our numbers hit 2,000, one of their marketing guys contacted us and asked for talks. We made several exchanges with him, made loads of suggestions; he always took weeks to reply and again, nothing came of it.

Then more recently we’ve received several letters from OYNB’s solicitors, threatening legal action if we didn’t close down our operations and withdraw the application for our trademark. We’ve been told that “we’ll be crushed!"

My intention is to keep the trademark ‘One Year No Beer Pirates’ as it is of no threat to ‘One Year No Beer’ and we have held that name, with their knowledge, unobstructed for over 4 years! Our offering is very different, we are not the same! We have built a small business around that name and any forced change to our trademark would damage us!

Win or lose this should be an interesting battle between an individual with little means and a blue-chip multi-national company. Why not join us by visiting our website at and let's show them what real Pirates can do!


Saturday, 7 December 2019

One Year No Beer

One Year No Beer Pirates are sailing high!

To go to 'One Year No Beer Pirates' Facebook Group click on this link:
It's a closed group so you'll have to ask to join but it's FREE and it's a very safe group. We have a great Captain and a strong crew to protect you so you'll never feel alone, wherever you are in the World, we'll be right there with you.

To visit the 'One Year No Beer Pirates' website, click this link:  
This is where we keep a treasure of information, such as:

  • Who we be!
  • Recommended books and workshops by Annie Grace.
  • Links to our other ships of specific interests, bikers, runners, gardeners and 22 others!
  • The Jamaica Inn, our land-based A/F pub!
  • Tons of other useful info., including how you can help us to grow!

Monday, 17 June 2019

One Year No Beer Pirates

Nine years since surgery and my focus has turned away from cancer; it had to, I wanted a new beginning! I still have six-monthly blood tests and so far, nineteen clear results but I won't become complacent, this thing could come back and bite me anytime! Cancer changed my life for the good, and yes, I know I'm one of the lucky ones because some are left with no life at all. For me, it was the opportunity to reinvent myself, turn my world upside down and start again. I went to university, graduated with a BA Hons Media degree, became a teacher/writer and accomplished things that I could have only dreamt of before cancer struck. I married a wonderful, talented lady and right now, yes, we're living the dream! 

I'm happy living in Bankok and have some good friends here. I write for hotels, hospitals, schools and other companies; never a dull moment! However, there's always been a piece of me that wants to help others; my spirit would die without that!  

Two years ago, in the middle of being alcohol-free for the whole of 2017, I started 'One Year No Beer Pirates,' a support group on Facebook for people who weren't comfortable with the amount of alcohol they were drinking and either wanted to severely cut down or even stop! It's a dynamic group, people from a mix of ages and backgrounds who've all bought into the dream of becoming Pirates and supporting each other on this sometimes perilous journey!

Even though I'm a great supporter of One Year No Beer, it was getting too big, I wanted to be in a smaller group, better for getting to know everyone. I decided to Captain a Pirate Ship and collect like-minded crew (Pirates) for that epic journey. In the first year, numbers went up so slow I doubted we could ever crew a rowing boat, never mind a galleon!

Now, we have nearly 3,000 pirates in a support group from around the world. What's more, we've recently found fair breeze and are growing at over 100 Pirates a week!

We also recommend Annie Grace's book 'This Naked Mind' as a key support tool which could change the way you see alcohol; the key to letting it go from your life. You're welcome to join us, we don't turn away anyone, and we are a fun bunch of swashbuckling Buccaneers who'll always be there for you.


Daniel (Captain)

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Prostate gel spacer reduces bowel and bladder damage during radiotherapy

A man with prostate cancer is the first NHS patient in the UK to have a device implanted which can reduce the side effects of radiotherapy by 70%. 
The liquid gel spacer increases the distance between the prostate and rectum to reduce the amount of radiation absorbed during treatment.
It is injected before treatment and stays in place during radiation therapy before being naturally absorbed.
The treatment will now be rolled out to 12 hospitals around the UK.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, with more than 40,000 new cases diagnosed in England each year.
When it is caught early enough, radiotherapy can be highly effective.
High-energy X-rays are targeted at the prostate, killing cancer cells and preventing them from spreading.
However, the radiation is not absorbed by the prostate, meaning that nearby healthy organs can be affected resulting in side effects including rectal bleeding, erectile dysfunction, bowel and bladder damage.
Alan Clarke, from Bristol, first had radiotherapy in 2011 but cancer returned.
He was selected to be the first NHS patient to receive the spacer because he was considered to be more at risk of suffering side effects from a second course of radiotherapy.
Two syringes mix together the gel so that once injected, it sets within seconds. 
Prof Amit Bahl, consultant oncologist at the University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, said: "The space we have created means the rectum will not get the toxicity from the radiotherapy. 
"In radiotherapy terms this small space will make a huge difference to the patient's quality of life in the long term."
Dr Sam Roberts, director of innovation and life sciences for NHS England, said: "In studies, its use has been shown to relatively reduce life-changing side effects, such as rectal pain, bleeding and diarrhoea, by over 70%, meaning significant improvements in quality of life for those battling prostate cancer."

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Blocking a specific protein, may be a promising strategy to prevent the spread of castration-resistant prostate cancer

Promising research, but can it come through soon enough?
Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have discovered that blocking a specific protein, may be a promising strategy to prevent the spread of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC).
Under the direction of BUSM's Gerald V. Denis PhD, researchers have long studied a family of three closely related proteins, called BET bromodomain proteins, composed of BRD2, BRD3 and BRD4, which regulate gene expression. BUSM researchers were the first (in the 1990s) to show how these proteins function in human cancer.
These researchers now have discovered that inhibition of the protein BRD4, but not BRD2 or BRD3, consistently regulated prostate cancer cell migration and invasion.
CRPC is a highly aggressive form of prostate cancer that often leads to the development of lethal metastases. Standard of care treatment for patients with CRPC typically includes a means to disrupt androgen receptor (AR) signalling, and while effective for an average of two-three years, treatment inevitably fails to impede progression due to acquired resistance mechanisms to the AR.
"Our findings are significant because current therapeutic options for CRPC are limited and focus primarily on suppressing prostate tumour cells that rely on AR signalling," explained first author Jordan Shafran, a PhD candidate in the department of molecular and translational medicine at BUSM.
CRPC is a complex, heterogeneous disease, with varying AR states and expression patterns across individual tumour cells. As the disease progresses, prostate tumour cells can become less reliant on AR signalling and use alternative signalling mechanisms to sustain growth and dissemination. "Therefore, it is imperative to identify 'druggable' targets that regulate prostate cancer cell migration and invasion in cells that are either reliant on, or independent of, androgen receptor signalling," he added.
Story Source:
Materials provided by Boston University School of Medicine.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Is there a link between prostate cancer and genetic testing?

More than 164,000 cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year, according to the American Cancer Society. Four out of five cases are localized to the prostate, and the five-year survival rate for those patients is 100%. The survival rate is equally high when cancer spreads to nearby areas of the body. But when the disease metastasizes to lymph nodes, bone or distant organs, the five-year survival rate drops to approximately 29%.
Almost everyone is aware of the BRCA1/2 gene mutation and its linkage with increased risk for breast and ovarian cancer. But we now understand the BRCA mutations also can be linked with aggressive prostate cancer. Men who have these mutations in their DNA are known as germline mutations. Men who have BRCA1 mutation have up to four times greater risk of developing prostate cancer and those with BRCA2 have up to nine-fold higher risk. BRCA2 mutations have been associated with the more aggressive forms of the disease and an earlier diagnosis -- meaning diagnosed at age 55 or younger.
The current standard of care for metastatic prostate cancer is the same for all men, regardless of BRCA status. The first step is to figure out whether cancer responds to treatments which reduce the levels of testosterone in the body (castration sensitive) or whether it is resistant to this treatment (castration-resistant).
Men with castration-sensitive prostate cancer are treated with testosterone suppression known as androgen deprivation therapy. The tumours will respond for many years, but will at some point, become castration-resistant. The patients will then experience a rise in PSA, scans may show new areas of metastasis or patients may develop new cancer symptoms. Other treatments may be added, such as chemotherapy and/or radiation. Surgical removal of the prostate is also a treatment option for men with castration-sensitive or resistant cancer that has not yet spread.
A growing number of oncology clinics are genomic testing to guide treatment in men whose cancer has been castration-resistant. Previously, genetic testing was offered to prostate cancer patients of Ashkenazi Jewish descent for a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, but now consideration should be given to test all castration-resistant patients for therapeutic benefit, along with considerations for family members.
There is a treatment called PARP inhibitor that has been used successfully to treat ovarian and breast cancer patients with BRCA2 mutations because it blocks an enzyme which cells need to repair their DNA. The presence of a BRCA gene mutation, plus a PARP inhibitor, creates “synthetic lethality” and causes the cells to die.
Genetic testing is still rare in the treatment of prostate cancer.
Healthy men from families with histories of breast and ovarian cancer could benefit from knowing their BRCA status, which will help their physician design a surveillance plan to detect prostate cancer early. PAA testing has been controversial because it sometimes detects tumours that don’t need to be treated, and this may lead to unnecessary medical intervention. But because BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations have been associated with the most aggressive, fastest-moving forms of prostate cancer, an abnormal PSA result in a man with one of those mutations might be taken more seriously.
Men who carry BRCA mutations might also face a higher risk of other cancers, including breast cancer, pancreatic cancer and melanoma. Patients can talk to their doctors as to how to screen for these cancers.
By Dr Monica Rocco

Monday, 1 April 2019

Prostate cancer cells change the behaviour of other cells

Prostate cancer cells change the behaviour of other cells around them, including normal cells, by 'spitting out' a protein from their nucleus, new research has found.
The tiny pieces of protein are taken up by the other cells, provoking changes that promote tumour growth and -- the researchers believe -- help the cancer hide from the body's immune system.
The process has been captured for the first time on video ( by researchers at the University of Bradford and University of Surrey. The research is published today [26 March] in Scientific Reports.
Lead researcher, Professor Richard Morgan from the University of Bradford, said: "For tumours to survive, grow bigger and spread they need to control the behaviour of cancer cells and the normal cells around them and we've found a means by which they do this. Blocking this process could be a potential target for future cancer therapy."
The research focused on a protein called EN2 that has a role in early development of the brain but has also been found at high levels in many types of cancer cells.
The team highlighted the protein using a green florescent tag. The researchers then studied its activity in human prostate cancer cells, normal prostate cells and in bladder cancer, melanoma and leukemia cells. They found that both cancer and normal cells took up the protein from other cells.
They also did time lapse photography of prostate cancer cells, taking pictures every five minutes for 24 hours. The resulting video shows the cells eject small parts of themselves containing the green florescent protein that are then taken up by otherwise dormant cancer cells, causing them to reactivate, changing shape or fusing together.
Professor Morgan explains: "We think this is significant because cell fusion in cancer is relatively unusual and is associated with very aggressive disease. It can lead to new and unpredictable hybrid cells that are frequently better at spreading to different sites and surviving chemotherapy and radiotherapy."
Molecular analysis of the normal prostate cells showed that take up of EN2 caused them to express a gene called MX2 that generates an anti-viral response.
"We believe the cancer is trying to minimise the chances of the cells around it being infected by a virus, to avoid scrutiny by the immune system," says Professor Morgan.
"This could undermine the effectiveness of immunotherapy treatments, which try to use viruses to kill cancer by stimulating the immune system to attack it."
The researchers were also surprised to find the EN2 protein in the cell membrane as well as in the nucleus -- which is very unusual for this type of protein. This provides an opportunity to block its action, and the team were able to identify that part of the protein that was accessible at the cell surface to be a potential target for treatment.
Hardev Pandha, Professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Surrey, says: "This work follows on from earlier studies at Surrey where detection of EN2 in urine, after secretion from prostate cancer cells, was shown to be a robust diagnostic biomarker of prostate cancer. The more we learn about prostate cancer the more that can be done to identify and treat this devastating disease."
Source: University of Bradford, UK (March 2019)

Sunday, 24 March 2019

April Fools' Day

Probably the largest non-religious festival celebrated in the western world, yet its origins are as uncertain as whether you’ll fall victim in April this year. The earliest mention of April Fools’ Day or All Fools’ Day came in 1686 England when biographer John Aubrey described April 1st as a “Fools Holy Day.” Way before that, the Roman spring festival of Hilaria, the vernal (spring) equinox paved the way for similar events through the centuries. Held around the 25thMarch in honour of the first day of the year that was longer than the night, it included festivities, games, processions and masquerades, during which disguised commoners could imitate nobility to devious ends. Back to today, you’re gifted an opportunity once a year to get your own back on ‘the boss’ under the protection of “April Fool” but make sure they really do have a sense of humour, or you could end up toast! This is not a practice restricted to individuals but taken up by many large organisations over recent years, perhaps most famously in 1957 when the BBC reported on Italians harvesting spaghetti from special trees. 
This resulted in several hundred asking for information on how to cultivate the ‘spaghetti tree,’ followed by complaints of being humiliated when the truth came out! So, whatever prank you line up, before you cause too much anxiety, make sure you shout, “April Fool!” which will hopefully bring you some forgiveness.
With an Irish background, I grew up drowning in jokes; it was April Fools’ Day every day! My conversations were so peppered with similes, metaphors and sarcasm that foreigners could barely understand me. However, none of those jokes were designed to hurt, just to make others laugh, which encouraged me to learn even more. Irish jokes were something I could live with, in part because I could relate to an element of personal reflection! 
My mother, born and bred in the Republic, used to say things intended as serious, but we would all fall about laughing. “Our Daniel has one of those new ‘sat lav’ things in his car now,” or “I’m too scared to ask Google, they might think I’m stupid." She once saw a rabbit hopping by the side of the road and remarked, “Daniel, do you think that’s a real rabbit?” Stunned, I replied jokingly, “No Mum, it’s one of those new hi-tech ones.” She explained with a straight face how she’d never heard of those things, but what a good idea they were! She would always start a scolding with, “Look at me, this is no joking matter!” We’d all freeze, trying to look petrified, but the slightest twitch from one of us and we’d all crack up, scattering to avoid the far-reaching (low-tech) broom! 
There are the thousands of great jokes that you learn and memorise, stored in a giant ‘Gatling gun’ that you release without warning when the time’s right… Sean and Mick are walking down the road and Sean has a bag of doughnuts in his hand. Sean says to Mick, "If you can guess how many doughnuts are in my bag, you can have them both. "Would that offend you? Maybe if you were Irish? Unlikely though!
Travelling the world, I recognised that in some cultures, jokes don’t exist. When living in Johannesburg, our TV reception was poor, so I informed our friend Freedom that I’d wait for nightfall and go steal the satellite dish from our neighbour’s roof. He was shocked and explained that it was illegal to do such a thing. When I explained that I was joking, he was even more confused. “So, it was a lie?” he said. I replied, “Yes, sometimes a joke can be a lie, but that’s OK because it’s a joke.” The following morning, he came to tell me that he was going into town, and I wished him a safe journey. He said, “No, I’m notgoing to town, it was a joke.” I forced a laugh but failed miserably, then sat with him to try and clarify, and we had endless fun practising. 
So, what is a joke? “A ‘joke’ is a display of humour in which words are used within a specific and well-defined narrative structure to make people laugh and is not meant to be taken seriously.”(Wikipedia)Does that do it for you? Why did the chicken cross the road? In Bangkok? Undoubtedly suicide with a guaranteed outcome! Knock! Knock! Who's there? Cash! Cash who? No thanks, but I'd love some peanuts! Don’t worry, my wife took four takes on that one!
Jewish, Catholic, vegetarian, football, Essex girl, mother-in-law, race, sex, disability, tragedy, any subject now becomes ammo for jokes. After 9/11 the first jokes came out the same day on social media, and I’ve seen it happen with anything that occurs around the world. Why? Maybe that’s the way some of us handle things when they get so bad! “Death smiles at us all, all we can do is smile back.” (Gladiator) 
Then there are the camouflaged jokes; these are the worst kind because they’re always aimed at individuals or minority sections of society. A joke designed to hurt or offend, maybe not intentionally, but under the guise of “It was just a joke,” but often doesn’t feel that way to the receiver! Did you hear about the bulimic stag party? The cake came out of the girl! How do you make a blonde laugh on Saturday? Tell her a joke on Wednesday.Not so good for Bulimic Blondes! My mother-in-law and I were happy for 20 years; then we met each other. Why don`t ducks tell jokes when they fly? Because they would quack up! A bit more general, so less offensive unless you’re a well-read mallard!
Having had a cancer scare recently, I can relate to this one… An old soldier went to a clinic for an MRI and was put into the machine by an attractive, young technician. Sometime later, after snoozing to music, the examination was over, and he was helped from the device by an older guy. The veteran gasped, “Wow! How long was I in there for?” 

Tell your joke, but be aware of your audience. What may seem very funny to some could be offensive to others, and if you’re amongst strangers, you should be doubly careful. Billy Connolly, a master of the profession, said, "I've always been fascinated by the difference between jokes you can tell your friends, but you can't tell to an audience. There's a fine line you must tread, because you don't know who is out there in the auditorium. A lot of people are too easily offended. 
The older you get, the more jokes you’ll have heard, sometimes the same ones coming around incessantly, like Jehovah Witnesses. Still, laugh out loud, it’s good for you! I even laugh at jokes when I don’t get them, it seems fair on the teller! If you’ve got a joke that would make me cry laughing, please send it because I haven’t done that in years! Laughter is a wonderful medicine, it improves your health, and it’s free, fun and easy to do. It triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural ‘feel-good’ chemicals, allowing you a greater sense of well-being. Laughter burns calories, improves circulation, makes you more popular, inspires hope and one day, if you’re lucky, you may even die laughing!

Monday 1st April, beware, it could be you!

A selection of my publications in Expat Life Thailand 2016 – 2019

Dying was easy/coming back was harder

How important is Facebook to you?

Prostate Cancer

Retiring to Thailand

Kensington International School

Cholesterol: Are you at risk?

Al-Saray Review

England’s Teachers Heading Overseas.

Visit to Japan.

The Penrith Show

Happy Christmas Story

The Milk Boy

2017 – A year without alcohol

Dear Daniel: A letter to myself, aged 12

Christmases in the 60s

Medical Emergency Bangkok (co-written with Susan Dustin)

The fires that cleanse the soul
My Ups and Downs on Internet dating