Meningitis Now staff member Andy Hopkinson

Grumpy Middle Aged Dad is back – and funnier than ever

Andy Hopkinson | 15th December 2022

He’s back – and funnier than ever

Grumpy Middle Aged Dad is back

One of our favourite fundraisers – the Grumpy Middle Aged Dad, also known as Michael Hadley, released from lockdown in the Black Country, has been on his travels again and picked up his pen to record his latest adventures for the third (and possibly final) instalment of his Disney theme park tales.

This time, accompanied by his wife Catherine but no children (who he missed a lot), his adventures kick off in cool California, move to hot Orlando and wind up in chic Paris. In each location he captures the excitement and madness that is a Disney holiday, or as the back cover blurb has it “Grumpy has another bash at turning two mega expensive Disney holidays into a vehicle for tall stories, long anecdotes and jokes about West Bromwich.”

The results are, as always, laugh out loud funny and the book comes highly recommended. Perfect for that last-minute Christmas present but get a copy for yourself too.

Fertile territory

In Grumpy Middle Aged Dad – Intercontinental Adventures Michael, revisits the same fertile territory that served him so well in his first two books.

Or, as he himself puts it:

“Following on from the success of the first two books (over 3,000 sold, more than £20 grand raised for charity… that still blows my mind…) I started this book in California on the first leg of me and Missus H’s holiday back in 2019. The intention was to blog around Disneyland California and then add in the week or so we spent in the Orlando parks – all of the Disneys and a bit of Universal.

“Then an Ozzy Osborne fan in China ate a bat and the world collapsed in on itself.

“Subsequently, life was turned upside down for some time and it just didn't feel right to be writing about past, joyful holidays when most of us were either grieving or worrying that we could get coughed on and die.

“The book was mothballed. In all honesty, I thought it would never see the light of day.

The Orlando itch

“When it was safe to come out and life started to get back to normal, I started looking through some of the Orlando Facebook pages – this inevitably led to the ‘Orlando itch’ (not to be confused with ‘chub rub’, which is a common ailment for marching Disney nerds)

“The ‘itch’ usually precedes booking the next inheritance draining holiday, but travel restrictions put paid to that idea. I also had the nagging feeling that the book was still sitting on my laptop, like that expensive suit or dress you’ve bought but worn once and shoved back in the wardrobe. So, just like a piece of rarely worn clothing, I metaphorically got it out of the wardrobe to see if it still fitted and was still trendy.

“Luckily, it did and after a few read throughs I realised that there was way too much good material in the original draft to ignore, so I dusted off the brain cobwebs and started again. The result is the first part of the book, covering California and Orlando.

Literary masterpiece or Pluto’s dinner 

I realised that memoirs of a past holiday in happier, pre Covid times might not have the same resonance three years later on, so decided I needed to freshen up with a new Disney fix. Canine commitments (more of that later...) meant that any more than six hours out of the house was out of the question. As there isn't a Disneyland Dudley and Drayton Manor Park doesn’t have anything like It’s A Small World, the closest we could get was Disneyland Paris. So, Missus H and I booked a trip to see Monsieur Disney à Paris – this happily coincided with the 30-year celebration of the park and 30 years of us being together.

“So, there you have it. Multiple parks, in two countries on different continents, spread across four years with a worldwide pandemic in between.

“It’s either a literary masterpiece or Pluto’s dinner.” 

We suspect the former but why not judge for yourself. You can buy copies from Grumpy’s website here - – for just £7.50. Add a copy of each of his previous two books to get the trilogy for the bargain price of just £15.

Chosen charity

The best part of the story is that Michael has donated the proceeds from book sales to us towards our lifesaving and life-changing work. 

In his acknowledgments for the new book he writes: “Meningitis Now is my chosen charity – my daughter Lottie contracted meningitis at just four weeks old. Her life was saved by a gang of real-life superhero doctors and nurses, and I will be forever grateful. 

“She’s now a superhero herself, saving lives as a Paramedic – that would never have been possible without the skill, dedication and expertise provided by the incredible people in the NHS, who in turn are supported by thousands of incredible charities all across the country, Meningitis Now is one of the most incredibleist of them all.”

Read more about Lottie’s story and in book two of the trilogy – see

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