Friday, May 28, 2010

"Dad, I Want a Blog"

That is how my day started. I woke my son up at 7.30 this morning and instead of "Morning, Dad," I got, "Dad I want a blog."

He sees me blogging a lot and has asked me what blogging is all about. Though I don't let him read mine. I won't even share the URLs. He's too young yet and my language can be pretty appalling at times. But he does know that I blog and I show him some child friendly blogs at times.

But is blogging for children? Well... why not? I think I'm gonna let him do it. There will be gruond rules, however:-

- Blog will be set up on my email address so any blog contact or comments will be seen by me before getting through to my son or going live on the site.

- He will not be permitted to post his real life location except to say more than his city and won't be allowed to post his real name. Certainly, there'll be no talk of which school he goes to etc.

Other than that I am quite happy for him to have a free reign over it. Call me a little paranoid perhaps - but I would rather play it safe when it comes to my boy online!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

An Old One....

Speak not the words of wisdom
For true knowledge comes in death.

Speak not the words of romance,
For this heart's true love has left.

Speak not the words of God
For it's the source of too much war.

Speak not the words of anger,
We cannot fight anymore.

Speak instead in humble tones,
Of here, of now, today.

Speak the words of gratitude,
So not to scare away

The finer things you have in life,
Your children, husband, siblings, wife...

Speak as though those very words,
Will be your very last.

That Friday Feelin'.... on Thursday :(

So, I have been full of the joys of spring this morning, enjoying THAT FRIDAY FEELING! I've been planning my tomorrow morning as a nice lazy one with Andrik and Chloe followed by a long walk with the dogs.

One minor problem.

It's Thursday.

I have been completely convinced for the last three hours tha it's Friday, only for my iPhone's calendar to piss all over my spangly parade.


I do now hold Steve Jobs personally responsible for the fact that it is not yet the weekend.

On the plus side, Bank Holiday here this weekend!! Woot-woot! That means a long weekend. So I just have to make it tomorrow afternoon then I can down my work until Tuesday!

Happy Bank holiday Britain!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Second Life Question....

An interesting question posed by Dannah on Real Life 2.0 this week (I have, of course, responded with my answer).

"What was your most magic Second Life moment?"

Get involved and leave a comment with yours!!

Everyone Wants In...

Have you ever noticed that whenever something good happens for you or to you or even about you, everyone wants to take credit. But of course, the same people want nothing to do with it when it's bad.

An example. My friend's daughter is 14. He was only 16 when he got his girlfriend of the time pregnant and had nothing to do with her when she was a tot. Instead he finished school, went to uni and now, years later, wants to play the doting Dad.

His Daughter recently won an accolade in German. Suddenly, "I speak German to her sometimes, you know. I help her out."

However, rewind 6 months when she was in trouble at school and it was, "Bloody hell. It's her Mother that. Nothing to do with me, I've hardly seen the kid."

Exes do it too. They attribute positive changes in your attitude to something about them. But any anxiety they caused that maybe made you angry or aloof for some time, well of course that was 'your issue.' But, by the laws of formers, anything good was absolutely their doing.

People and woodwork. They're superb at crawling out of it for credit when there's something up for grabs!!

Me? I take no credit for any changes that happen to my exes (unless I personally deliver a winning lottery ticket or something) and by the same token expect no blame laid on me for any negative changes post r/ship!

Et voila. Simple.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


She brought out the man in me,
The man who truly wants to be,
A better soul
Rounded, whole.
Committed to another.

She scared off the part of me,
That feared the possibility,
Of losing one
So close to me,
Too much to take another.

She brought out the part of me
Who seeks to love and seeks to be
A Boyfriend or
Husband... maybe.
For life, beside another.

Just You

Bad day, good day,
Happy, sad,
Cheery, chirpy,
Angry, Mad.

I don't care.

Singing, dancing,
Sitting still.
Walking, reading,
Seeking thrills.

I don't care.

Parties, nightclubs,
Stay in nights,
Quiet and shy
Or name in lights.

I don't care.

Wanting you,
Just as you are,
In any mood,
On any day,
I want my you
In any way.

Had I Known Then

Had I known then,
What I know now,
I'd have turned
And walked right out.

I didn't want
To bear the blade
That hacked her
Dreams of love away.

Had I known then
What I know now,
I'd have turned
And walked right out

Before she fell
Into my heart
And I just tore
Her own apart.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Simon Monjack Found Dead

The husband of the late Brittany Murphy (incredibly talented actress who died at a very young age just 5 months ago) has been found dead.

It's tragic. Reports suggest it was a heart attack but would it be fair to suggest that it was "broken heart?"

And here's the question for me. The proverbial 'broken heart,' is something we talk about a lot. But is it more than just a turn of phrase? Is it actually a very real syndrome?

Ok, ok, so I can hear the scientists tutting and reaffirming that a break up can cause psychological stress, which in turn can make you physically ill but I am sure many scientists would argue that broken heartedness is not a physical syndrome.

Me? I disagree. I think it's a very real and definitely physical thing. If you have such a bond and such a connection with someone and you really have dedicated your whole life to being with them - and suddenly they're gone - how could that possibly not cause a physical syndrome of some sort?

My Father died when I was 5. Nineteen years on, my Mother died of cancer. She swore it was her broken heart, though:

"You and your sister are old enough to take care of yourself now. Maybe the old broken heart is finally giving up."

I should research the stats really - life expectancy after a spouse dies.

It reaffirms for me the fact that some people are just meant to be together and that upsetting it for whatever reason really can literally break hearts...

I Lay My Weapons

I lay my weapons down now,
My sword is on the ground now
And I’m waving my white flag.

I lay my weapons down now
And reach my hand right out now,
Just in case you do come back.

Because before the war began,
Before the fatal battle,
We were allies.

Before, even, our treaty,
Before we made our pact,
We were allies.

Will You Be Changing Your Tag Line?

A good friend of mine asked me today,

"Now you're not single, will you be changing your blog's tag line?"

The simple answer - yes.

IT WAS: "The dating, ranting, raving and misbehaving of a single Father."

This doesn't fit now. Yes, I'm his only parent and he's with me full time - but "single," isn't the right word anymore... so we had a bit of a change.

So welcome to Real World Ranting - The Ranting, Raving and Misbehaving of Adam: Father. Boyfriend. Businessman.

Imagine that!

That "Whoah," Feeling...

Here you are, at last.
And all that’s passed
Is past.
And all I need is this,

What’s done is done,
The past is gone,
The future’s ours.
This is our time.
I’m yours,
You’re mine.

Let’s dwell no longer
On yesterday.
Tomorrow is for us.

Maybe there's something in the water, maybe it's the good weather or maybe it's something else completely, but damn I'm feeling cheery today!

In fact, I am feeling marginally like a teenager, despite being 28! It's the girl :D


In just over 2 weeks, I will make the first of my 2 summer trips. This one is a business one, however, as I will be attending the SES Convention in Toronto, a SEO conference I've been really looking forward to for quite some time.

I will stay on in Toronto for a few days after the convention too, having managed to make arrangements for my sister to look after my son. It's a habit with me - I can't travel somewhere just for business. I NEED to explore too.

I'm assured by friends who have been that this is an incredible place to go and as such, I plan to explore. I will be bringing along a couple of employees who will be staying just for the duration of the convention. But on top of this, a great buddy, Craig (technically my cousin removed somewhere down the line) decided he's coming with me. A last minute decision for sure but he's never been there either. He won't be attending the convention. Instead he said he will spend the daytimes while I am off doing that stuff sniffing out the best places to go in the evenings. We're looking at catching some theatre, depending upon what's on and exploring some of the bars and clubs around.

I'm assured by my girlfriend, who spent a few weeks there a couple of years ago, that the Steam Whistle Brewery tour is a must do, as is a bicycle tour of Toronto Island. I'm also told Dundas Square is a must see, albeit a "love it or hate it," venue and I've been assured that if I go all that way and don't bring my girlfriend back some pictures of Casa Loma I'll be in trouble!! She would like to have come with us, but her job here in Manchester is proving somewhat demanding and as she only started it recently, it's not really great timing for her taking holidays :(

And the second trip.... in July I will be going to Tenerife in the Canary Islands. I have family there and it's a stunning little volcanic island. You can sit on the rocks at the cost of Santiago there and watch dolphins. It's also home to my favourite place in the world - Masca. Masca is a beautiful little village, only recently connected by road!! It's just like a time warp, going there.

My son will be coming with me to that one and so the itinery will very much have his input! As such, I can only say 'Heaven knows,' what we'll be doing there for 2 weeks!!

Bring on the summer :))

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Different Perspective

Last night, my son was struggling to sleep with the heat. Chloe and I were sitting up with the balcony doors open just watching TV when he scuttled in close to midnight to complain that he was too hot.

"Ok," Chloe remarked, "Then there's only one thing for it. You need to stand out on the balcony and cool down!" So she fetched him a cold water and sat with him on the terrace for half hour.

We live in the centre of Manchester so there's always that incredible city buzz and something happening. We moved here just a couple of months ago from a suburban home and my son simply loves it. After a little bit of people watching I said,

"Let's go out."

"What?" he asked? "Where?"

"Let's go look at the buildings at night time."

He took no persuasion and went and got dressed immediately. I took him to the Central Library and the Town Hall building to see these things at night. Why? Well, he loves the buildings almost as much as I do but he never sees them at night, when they're closed and the bustle of activity around them is gone. So we went out to take some pictures and let him enjoy our favourite city landmarks at midnight. It offered him a whole different perspective.

More importantly, he slept pretty damn well afterwards!!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Word of the Day - Bitterness

Dedicated to those who just can't stand to see happiness....

BITTERNESS: "resentment: a feeling of deep and bitter anger and ill-will."

Let's take a look at some synonyms: resentment, acrimony, sullenness, hostility, anger, animosity.

Anyway, don't you just hate it when people just cannot be happy for you because of their own self-pitying ways, people who once called you their friend, who once pretended to give a shit?

Thankfully, I have plenty more who actually are happy for me.

I measure the quality of person on that, on how happy they are for someone moving on to something great in their lives. I measure how good a friend or how loyal someone is based on how they respond to good news you share with them - not just based on what they say, but based on what they do too.

Actions speak so much louder than words, after all.

We're having amazing weather here this Friday in the UK, something that looks set to continue into next week. I'm going to take my girl, my son and my dogs and I'm going to head to one of the beaches along the North East coast of the UK for some fun.

Life is good, grand in fact.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Just Knowing...

Isn't 'just knowing,' wonderful? Just knowing that the person you are seeing is the RIGHT person and just knowing it's going the right way.

Cutie... or to give her her real name (with her express permission, no less), Chloe, is just incredible. Absolutely. She's amazing, my son loves her, she gets on with my friends and she loves football. The world is good.

I'm giving up the single life, the single status, the 'independence.' But, I don't see it as 'giving up' anything to be honest, rather 'trading up.' I'm trading up being single for being committed to one of the most fun people I've met.

I love that feeling. The sunset was particularly beautiful this evening and the future's looking bright ;-)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Whoah, whoah, no comprendo

Why is it that men and women just seem to end up with crossed wires so freakin' often? It's like nature was having a really good laugh when it decided to make us the same species, thus similar enough to really kinda like one another, but different enough that sometimes it's like communicating in different languages?

Examples? Sure!

SHE SAYS: "Does my bum look big in this?"
HE HEARS: "Does my bum look big in this."
SHE MEANS: "Do I look beautiful? Tell me I look great!"
HE ANSWERS: "No dear."

He tells you her that her ass looks great, she takes it to mean that he's indifferent about how she looks. What is with that?

Men need to hear things as they are - and we take what you say as you say it.

If you say, "If you go out tonight, I'm not going to speak to you for a week," we take that to mean, "If you go out tonight, I'm not going to speak to you for a week." We don't take it as the watered down version you use hours later when you've calmed down: "I'd prefer it, darling, if you stayed in and spent some time with me."

I don't blame women. Honestly. And I'd hope they don't blame us. But men and women speak in different languages sometimes... I just wish someone would release a bloody translation guide!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rest With Me

My steady hand will guide you
To a spot beside a fire,
My chest, a cushion for your head,
My eyes lit with desire.

You came to me surprisingly,
From right out of the blue.
And now I've none in mind or heart,
Who could compete with you.

I know not what tomorrow brings,
Today is all I own.
But as long as we two both shall breathe,
You will not be alone.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Things That Make You Go Wow

I was going back through my old Youtube favourites a few minutes ago, sharing some of them with my son.

I came across this poem that is just absolutely incredible. This guy is so, so freakin talented it's untrue.


Bloody Ash Clouds...

For the last 5 weeks or so the UK has been plagued by an ash cloud from a continually erupting volcano in Iceland. When it first struck, UK airspace was closed for almost a week, with costs to the airliners and travel industry soaring into the millions.

'Too dangerous to fly through a ash cloud,' they said. And personally, I am all for closing airspace when there is even the tiniest risk to the lives of passengers.

But this has impacted the whole of Europe and now it's back again closing various airports. Iceland has a number of volcanos and it will only be a matter of time until a bigger one erupts. Do we close the entire continent's airspace again then? The current eruption is set to last for some time yet - so we do we just keep closing airspace for the next month? Two months? Three? We better freakin' not. I've got two trips in the next two months, both of which count on open air space!

However, my point is this. Why are there no provisions made for this now? If we can put a man on the moon and even send tourists into space, why do we not yet feel that our aircraft can handle flying through ash? And if this is the case, why has something not been done about it?

Just a thought.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

You Do Something To Me....

So, it's after midnight and despite the fact that I have a meeting in less than 7 hours and plenty to do before that, I just cannot sleep. The joy of "those nights."

I know why, though.

I'm all caught up in thoughts of someone... and nothing has the power to keep you awake at night like a romantic interest, right?

I'm thinking of conversations shared, of moments of hysteria and of some of the most intense months of my life...

Ahh... in the spirit of it...

My Lad's A Poet!

Ok, so something of a bragging, "I'm the luckiest Dad on the planet," post. But anyway...

I just got back from taking my son to a junior performance poetry event, at his request. He was a little unsure once we got there and I told him it was fine for him to just watch and he certainly didn't have to perform if he didn't want to. However, 2 junior poets in and he got the itch, so I signed him up.

He got up and performed two of his poems to a rather rapturous applause. At six, he was the youngest performer by three years. He's been bitten by the bug now though. As anyone who has taken part in performance poetry will know, you do it once and you want to keep going back for more! So that's him with the bug.

"When's the next one, Dad?"

Unfortunately, there are not as many junior events as adult ones and there's only one every 3 months I know of.... That gives him plenty of rehearsal time, though!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sunny Saturdays

Today was a good day. I went to Alton Towers theme park, which is just an incredible place.

I laughed. A lot. I laughed more than I've laughed in a really long time and that made a sunny day all the sunnier.

And while I'm in my optimistic state of mind, here's a list of things I have to smile about:-

- My beautiful son.
- My beautiful sister.
- My beautiful nephew.
- My incredible friends.
- A certain special someone ;-)
- I've a trip to Toronto in a month to look forward to - a business trip but a trip nonetheless to a place I haven't previously had the opportunity to explore.
- I've a holiday in the Canary Islands to look forward to with my son at the end of July.
- It's summer :)

I love good moods and I've a feeling mine might be here to stay for some time yet ;-))


Another poem I'm going to post. I write all the time and rarely share that much anymore so... I have decided that I'm going to change that.

So here's another:

I still beg the night time silence
To make my truth not true.
Still plead with unseen demons,
For a moment more with you.
I still find my eyes are not yet dry,
Still trying so hard not to cry
Still asking, quizzing, wondering why
Why was it you who had to die?

I still feel the pangs of agony,
Sometimes they strike, no warning.
Still find I wake up hoping it was
Just a dream each morning.

Still hear you when it’s quiet,
You echo through my mind,
Your voice still helps me gather
All the strength I need to find.

I still wish for one more minute,
To say these things stuck in my head,
The thoughts I couldn’t process
That got lost up there, unsaid.

But time is unforgiving,
So I take those thoughts and write,
And when the silence falls
I sometimes say them to the night
In the hope maybe you’ll hear me,
The voice within the black,
Crying, trying, begging,
For a way to bring you back.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Not Good Enough

At yet another revelation
That my efforts just aren’t good enough.
But hey, luck’s tough
And life is rough
And words,
They count for nothing.

I love you,
Counts for nothing.

I want you and
I want this.
That all counts for nothing.

But that’s just life
And mine’s just fine.
I never needed you.

But love isn’t about need, is it?

A Weekend on a Mission

It's almost the weekend! Almost! And I, for one, have decided I am doing no work this weekend. Instead, I will channel my productivity into achieving things I WANT to achieve.

I'd made arrangements already for my sister to look after my son on Saturday so I could get some time online to get into Second Life - something I have not been able to spend any more than an hour here or there in for ages and something I love to do when I can.

However, a minor change of plan. The weather will be reasonable and I'm feeling enlightended today. So I've decided I am going to achieve several things I've been dying to do for ages.

On Saturday, while my lad is having fun at his Auntie's, I am going to grab someone special and go to Alton Towers theme park. Amazing, amazing place and I am a roller coaster fiend. I will be taking my son too next week but this week is adult week. He's too small for most of the 'big' rides so when I want to do white knuckle, I need to go with the grown ups hehe.

I've been wanting a good roller coaster session for ages. That will be the first thing I tick off on my weekend plan.

I also desperately want to see the new Robin Hood. I'm thinking a detour via the cinema on the way home from a theme park will tick that off.

Then Sunday.... Sunday is about my lad's achievements. There is a junior poetry event on in the North West and he wants to read aloud. I've been unsure of whether or not it's right to let him do this yet but there is an under 10s category and he wants to. So he'll be making his 'debut' this weekend.

Three things to achieve and not one of them work related.

How refreshing!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ruth Lorenzo

Ok, so my son and I were talking girls earlier. You see he has this crush on this girl who goes to his tennis club. She's from Chile originally but was adopted by parents here in the UK.

The boy has a thing for the Latinas. What can I say?

Anyway, that got me thinking about another FITTIE! She is not, technically speaking, Latina, coming from Spain rather than Latin America. However... meet Ruth Lorenzo.

She was an auditionee for another reality show a couple of years back and is... without doubt, the SEXIEST contestant ever to have appeared on any reality show ever in the history of forever.

I like her. And check out the curves.... come on, who wouldn't?!?!

Anyway, after much, much, much browsing (video not on Youtube) I found the performance that really made her big in the UK that series. It's from one o' those non Youtube video sites so excuse the ads at the start!

A little Light Humour...

I'm loving Britain's Got Talent right now, as you might have gathered! I admit it! And I'm not embarrassed! Much.

Anyway... this was an audition from a couple of week's ago that was one of mine and my son's favourites!!

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Awkward Line of Questioning Resumed

So, I thought I had it sussed after yesterday's questions about the 'why don't I have brothers and sisters?' I figured I could avert his attention easily enough that I would be able to get away with awkward conversations for at least another three years. I was even about to stock up on chocolate as per Dannah's suggestion!

But it seems he's a little quicker on the uptake than I give him credit for.

We have our time every single night. Once his homework is done and we've had dinner, once he's had a bath and he is ready for bed, we set aside 'guy time.'

We watch TV or we talk. And because he has his PJs on at this time, it's ok for him to ask for cuddles. It seems an unwritten rule with my boy that he will only ask for cuddles (except for moments of upset) when he is in his pyjamas. But that's our agreed time every night. I turn my phone off for that time and he puts his toys and games away cos that's when we 'catch up.' He tells me about his hard day at school, the spelling tests, the number crunching (times tables are hard work) and why Declan got a smiley face taken off his chart (because talking back is naughty and it's cheeky and you should respect your teachers, right?). He asks me how work was, whether Samantha (one of my employees he has a little crush on, I think) was there and how much I missed him.

I cherish that part of my day, the quiet time with him.

Anyway, our rule is no interuptions at that time. That's the way it works and it's the way it's been a good while now. HE TOOK ADVANTAGE!!

"Dad....." he asked, as soon as we sat down, "Why didn't you and Mum live together?"

"Erm.... well... it was..."

"This morning you said you'd tell me 'another time.' It's another time now. Will you tell me now?"

You can't really say fairer than that and I think, for a six year old boy, he can understand a remarkably greater deal than I often give him credit for. So I decided to take the plunge.

"Ok. Well, your Mum lived in Russia with you for a long time and I live here in England, so..."

"But you never came to see me did you?"

Ah. Awkward. I was becoming clear at this point that there was no getting around it at all.

"Ok. You want the truth, son?"


"Got your grown up head on, cos this is complicated stuff?"

"Let me put it on."

At this point he (purely for comic effect) ran out of the room and back one moment later informing me,

"Ok, ready."

"Ok... right. Well, your Mum and me decided, before you came along, that we didn't really want to be girlfriend and boyfriend anymore.... so,"

"Why?" he interrupted.

"Because. Well. You know how it is, right? You see a girl at school you like and you might like her for a really long time and then she likes someone else or you like someone else or you just decide one lunch time you wanna hang with the guys?"

"Yes. I liked Natalie but then I liked Nicole and Melissa and now I like Katie."


"So did you like someone else or did my Mum like someone else?"

"We both just decided that maybe we liked each other more like friends than like girlfriend and boyfriend. Do you understand what I mean?"


"So, by the time you came along...."

"I came from my Mum's belly didn't I?"


"And you put me there?"

"Erm... well...."

"My friend says a boyfriend and a girlfriend go to the hospital and they open the girlfriend's belly and the boyfriend put a little tiny egg in there and then they close it all up and it grows into a baby."

That was a phew moment, courtesy of the story that 'Liam's Mum,' had concocted for Liam!

"That's sometimes how it works. But the boyfriend doesn't have to be there to put the egg in. So sometimes the boyfriend doesn't know."

"Is that so the girlfriend can give him a surprise?"

"Absolutely. I didn't know about the egg and then your Mum and me decided we weren't going to be a boyfriend and girlfriend anymore. Then your Mum moved back to Russia and married your step-Dad. And so they looked after you."

"So when the girlfriend gets a new boyfriend if the egg hasn't grown yet is the baby her new boyfriend's?"

"No. Not exactly. But... you see.... I still didn't know about the egg until you were four. Do you remember when you first came to England?"


"That's the first time I knew."

"Why didn't my Mum tell you and then you could have come to see me."

"Because she was in Russia and we lost each other's phone numbers and...."

"She could have sent you a letter?"

"Well... ok. Can you get reeeeal grown up now, just for a few minutes?"


"Your Mum thought that, because I lived so so far away, it might be better for me not to know and for your not to know in case we missed each other all the time."


"Well, you know sometimes you go to your Auntie's house for a weekend and you have soooo much fun... but sometimes you want to come home just because you miss me? And you know sometimes I come and pick you up early just because I miss you?"


"Well, can you imagine if you were all the way in Russia all of the time and I could never get to you? That would make me so sad."

"And it would make me sad too, Dad."

"Yes, so see your Mum thought it would be best for us not to be sad. So she didn't tell me until she was able to bring you close by so we wouldn't have to miss each other. Don't you remember? When you first visited, it was only a short time that you came here forever?"

"Hmm. Yes I remember."

"So that's why I didn't live with you or see you."

"My Mum didn't like it when I got sad."

"I know."

"She didn't like it when you got said either."

"I know. So do you understand why now?"

"Yes. She had to wait until she could bring me here."

"Yep. Wanna read a story??"


So there. It's done - he knows. Well, he knows a softened up version, but still knows. A fair few years earlier than I was anticipating telling him, but better sooner, I guess.

Shoulders minus weight = aaaaah :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Reality TV and Opportunity

You can say what you want about reality TV, but it provides opportunity to some people who would really otherwise have had no chance.

Take Britain's Got Talent, for example. This show is on at the moment in the UK and is a particular favourite (second only to the X Factor) of myself and my boy. I want to share a video with you...

This is an 80 year old woman from Glasgow. When and where else would she ever have had this opportunity??

However, video embedding on this one has been disabled on all instances of it on Youtube, so I will have to give you the URL instead!


Brothers and Sisters

"Why don't I have any brothers or sisters?"

That was the question I was asked over a very sleepy breakfast this morning. Talk about snapping me out of my cereal based daydreaming and into another week!

"Because I don't have any other children. And you Mum didn't have any other children," seemed like the diplomatic answer.

"Well I know that! But why?"

I could see this wasn't going to be such an easy conversation to end.

"Well, some people only ever have one child, some people never have any and some people have lots. I just happen to just have you right now."

"Ok. But, why don't you have more?"

"Well because.... you know.... Andrik, what's brought this on?"

"I want a sister. Or a brother. You've got a sister. My friends have sisters and brothers."

"Ralph and Charlie (our dogs) are like your brothers."

"Yes. But they can't come to my school because they don't know how to behave."


[Insert some crunchy nut cereal munching for a few seconds].

"So can I have one?"

"A what?"

"A brother or a sister?"

"Maybe one day but you can't just have babies just like that. Before you think about having babies a man and a woman would usually live together and decide to have one together."

"You and my Mum didn't."

"Well, sometimes there's difference circumstances. But usually that would be the way it goes."

"But it doesn't have to. You and my Mum didn't live together but they still let you two get me."

"Don't you think we're having fun?"

"Yep! Loads of fun!"

"And think about it. If we had a baby, we wouldn't be able to do lots of the stuff we do. Because babies can't play football can they? And they can't go running and cycling? And they don't know how to write?"

[Insert a pensive silence].

"Ok. Well maybe not yet. But one day I want one."

"Me too."


"Yes, son."

"Why didn't you and Mum live together?"

"You need to get ready for school, lad! We'll talk about that another time!"

I've a feeling it might be one of those weeks! ;-)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Meeting My Son

I've realised reading back over this blog that I've written a lot about my boy, without really even giving much background on him other than the fact that he recently lost his Mother. So let me tell you a little more.

At University, I had a relationship with a Russian woman. She was spending a year in the UK as partof her degree course. We dated for that year. When she was due to return home, we had a choice. We could either continue and attempt a long distance relationship, or we could lovingly let go.

"Do you love me?" she asked me. "Are you IN love with me?"

"I care deeply for you. But I'm not in love with you. I'm sorry."

I felt terrible. But is it ok to lie? Is it ok to say you're in love with someone when you're not? I don't think so.

She was in love with me. But she agreed that a long distance relationship where one person is in much deeper than the other just wouldn't work. We broke up, she left. We kept in touch by email for a while and then, around 3 months after she left she told me she'd met someone and she felt it best for us not to keep in touch. I sent her an email and I told her that while I was disappointed to have to lose touch, I was delighted for her to have met someone.

I heard nothing more until almost 5 years later. The break in the silence did not come from her, but from her solicitor. I was being invited to take part in a voluntary paternity test to establish whether I was the Father of her four year old son. When I received the letter, my jaw almost hit the floor. I reread it hundreds of times and I showed to my sister.

The dates added up. But why on Earth would she not have told me that she was pregnant with my baby?

I went through my contact book and got in touch with everyone from University I could think of who just might have a contact number for her. I eventually tracked down a number for her Mother and got in touch with her that way. The conversation was a series of angry and confused questions on my part and an insistence from her that this was not what she had planned.

Eventually I agreed to the test but declined the opportunity to go to Russia for it. Instead, I asked her to bring her son to England for us to carry out paternity tests here. In the meantime she sent photos that led to my sister telling me, "If he isn't your son, I will run naked through the town centre." Still reluctant to believe it, I brushed the comments off.

A couple of weeks later, she came to England. It had all been worked out so that I would not actually see her and the boy until after we had the results and only if it turned out she was right.

However, it didn't work out that way. I was due at the clinic half hour after she should have left but she hadn't left. I walked in and saw her there with her son and within a split second of seeing him I knew he was my son. And it wasn't just the fact that he was almost the double of me physically. There was just something there. There wasn't even a minute that had passed between me seeing him for the first time and me feeling like his Father. I just became his Dad, right there. It's one of the most bizarre moments of my life but also the one that changed my life for the better.

Of course, we said nothing to him throughout, but after we left the clinic, I went back to her hotel. Once our son was asleep, we talked and talked. I wasn't angry anymore. I was emotionally drained and somewhat confused, but there was no anger.

And she was beautiful, The chemistry was there and despite the questions my head was still full of, we had a great evening talking that night. I left her hotel with my head full of confusion but my heart full of joy.

I called my sister the next morning and I told her, "I am sure he is mine."

The results we received soon after confirmed it.

I was ecstatic. My girlfriend of the time was less happy about it and that period of my life marked the beginning of what would eventually be the end of the relationship I had with her. But I was a Father and my son was the most beautiful living being on the planet.

To cut a long story short, a few months later I asked the Mother of my son to consider a move to the UK. After much red tape and discussion, she brought him here. She was going through a divorce at the time and wanted a fresh start. For a brief period, she and I dated and seriously considered restarting our relationship. We decided against it in the end, for all the right reasons.

Almost two years since I found out about my boy, I'm now a full time Father. His Mother unfortunately passed away seven months ago and that was a devastating blow to both of us.

We now have our 'lad pad' in Manchester. He does incredibly well at school, having picked up English to the same standard of any other native English child his age within a year of being here. He's bright, funny and incredibly brave.

It was an unconventional start for my son and I, but we've more than made up for the four years we missed and there are so many more to come that I've stopped looking back with bitterness about it.

And so this post is dedicated to the late Mother of my son, to whom I owe a lifetime of gratitude for the most beautiful gift anyone could ever have given me. It might have arrived a little late, but when it comes to gifts of that quality, you can't really complain. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I'm only sorry you couldn't share his future.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Friday Reading Round Up

I'm going to try to make this a regular feature, a Friday round up of the things I've read online this week that everyone else shoudl read as well!!

Lessons Learned

This is a great blog post on a blog I've recently started reading called Real Life 2.0. This post is about things that Second Life (a virtual world I'm passionate about the potential of) have taught the blogger that apply to RL too.

Go read!


From a blog of someone very dear to me. Guerilla Poetess is an incredible read all the time - Lori there is a very talented poet indeed. This, though heart wrenching, is one of the best poems I've read in a long time. Not just best poems of hers.... but best poems full stop.

40 Ways We Still Use Floppy Disks

I had almost forgotten they existed, but the BBC compiled an awesome list of 40 ways we still use floppy disks. A great read!

Should Poets me More Adventurous in Their Use of Form?

A thought provoking article, sure to be of interest to the Wordsmiths amongst you.

And those are just four of my absolute favourites from the week.

Have an awesome weekend :D

Pet Peeves

I've come to realise that certain little things irritate me to abnormal levels. I know, I'm a freak.

And they don't just make me grumble... they actually wind me up. And here they are:

1. People stopping in the middle of the street. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? Why would you just stop dead in the middle of a packed out street or (even worsE) shopping centre? Even more annoying when people do it at the bottom of escaltors or in front of store entrances. It's either inconsiderate or stupid - or a dangerous combination of the two.

2. Apostrophes in plurals. If you eat more than one pizza, you eat pizzas. You do not eat 'pizza's!' Stop it, stop it, stop it!

3. David Cameron's face. Enough said. The Conservative leader is looking likely to be Prime Minister here for the next five years and there simply are not enough hallucinogenic drugs on the planet to make that ever seem like a good thing.

4. Stereotyping. I work with some teenage lads who are all recently out of juvenile detention. They're troubled, no doubt. I run slam poetry workshops with them and it's when they get to writing and performing their stuff you can really see how frustrated so many of them are with the fact that they are more often referred to in terms of statistics, or as just another yob, or hoodie. People automatically assume that because they have been inside once, they must therefore permanently be bad people. If you ask me, trouble is something you get into. It isn't something you are. The same applies to any form of stereotyping or judging people before speaking to them.

5. People who listen to their music without their ear phones while out in public. Ok, so you have an iPhone. Great. Me too. But mine came with EAR PHONES!! Just because you want to listen to dodgy drum and bass in a fucking shop in the middle of the afternoon does not mean the rest of the world does!!!

Anyway. It's Friday. The sun is shining. And in spite of the fact that David 'annoying face' Cameron looks likely to be becoming Prime Minister, the world is still good. Though it would be better were David Cameron not a politician, for sure. Grrr. I do not like that man.

Anyway, as I was saying. The sun is shining. Tonight I am heading to the cinema, my son having requested 'movie night'. We're going to go watch (for the third time) 'How to Train Your Dragon.' My boy rather likes that film.... I think I secretly like it more!!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Democracy and Children

This morning I voted in the UK's General Election. I proudly ticked the box for the Labour Party MP standing in my constituency. I wholeheartedly want to see Gordon Brown back in Downing Street tomorrow and rolling his sleeves up ready to fix the economy. He is the only man who can repair the damage done (damage that was not, contrary to uneducated misconception, caused by Labour, but by irresponsible lending on a global scale by credit and mortgage providers).

Anyway, I'm not here to bitch about politics. But voting always makes me feel fortunate. With the electoral system in the UK, whereby you vote for an MP of a party, rather than for the leader themselves, it means some votes effectively count more than others. I am in a constituency that would require a massive swing to take it away from Labour - a Labour safe seat and stronghold, so much so that no other party has actively campaigned within it. This means my vote effectively has less power than were I in a constituency where it's a marginal seat and one party only holds it based on a small majority. But Gordon Brown has promised electoral reform if he gets back in, which will mean a fairer system.

Anyway, I'm going off on one again. The point I was trying to make is that I feel fortunate, however flawed the system, to have the right to tick a box and have my say. My son has been watching the election campaign with interest. The leaders of the three main parties were here in Manchester prior to the first televised debate a couple of weeks ago and one was staying close to where we live. My son watched as he stepped in and out of his car, surrounded by police.

"Why does he need all those police, Dad?"

"He's the Prime Minister. They have to protect him."

"From what?"

"People. People who might want to hurt him because they don't agree with some of the things he's done or said."

"But I don't agree when you send me to bed early when I'm not tired, but I wouldn't hurt you."

Anyhow, it was from that day he started to ask questions and I've explained how it works to him as best I can. I've explained to him what it would mean if each of the three main parties won and how they want to change things.

"Well I'm going to vote for the yellow ones," he told me.

"Liberal Democrats, you mean?"


"Why?" I asked him.

"Because they're the one you said want to make people who don't get lots of money from work pay less of their money to the Government."

He's right. He listens. The Liberal Democrats wants to increase the tax free personal allowance to £10,000, meaning the UK's lowest earners and minimum wage earners will pay less or even no tax.

"Ok, good for you," I continued, deciding against telling him about their more flawed policies, just because I am happy he's considering and making choices like this at 6. "But you can't vote."

"What?" He was puzzled.

"You have to be 18 to vote in the UK. You won't be allowed until you're 18."

Now my son has a whole list of things I have told him he cannot do until he's 18 including certain horror movies he's seen trailers for and wants to see and I have told him, "When you're 18." There's a host of other things too and he has them on a list.

"I'm adding that to my list," he said. "It's not fair."

"It's not my fault," I assured him. "It isn't me who says you can't."

"Well who does?"

"It's the law. The Government decided that."

"Well I am going to phone them. It's not fair. I know who I want to vote for. It's not fair!"

I suggested he did not phone them but I am going to let him write. Of course, bringing in the vote for 6 year olds is ludicrous! But I am thrilled he cares enough to want to have his point heard.

In the meantime, I suggested last week to his school that they hold a mock election today and they are going to. They explained in class yesterday a bit about voting and why we vote and then today they get to play their part in a mock election. My boy is excited, but more concerned with the fact he can't vote in the real thing.

"Will you vote the yellows for me, Dad?"

"No, son. I'm voting Labour."

"Oh. Why?"

So I explained my reasoning. He agreed that I should vote "the reds," and he went off to start writing his letter to complain about the vote.

As we were leaving the house this morning, I went into the Town Hall to vote. I took him with me. I cast my vote and as we left I told him,

"18 isn't too bad you know. In some countries, like China and North Korea, Cuba, Laos and some African countries, nobody is allowed to vote. They don't get to decide for themselves, the people in charge won't allow it."

He said nothing for the remainder of our journey to my Sister's house, where he goes each morning before school. Before I left him there, he told me,

"I'm going to write to China too, Dad. And those other countries."

It seems my boy is about to embark upon a campaign for democracy in his own little way. I'm rather the beaming Father today!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wuthering Heights

I knew Wuthering Heights was special because of the silence - the silence it dropped on a classroom full of rowdy 15 year old lads.

I went to a school for boys and, at 15, we weren't exactly a tame bunch.

But Wuthering Heights (by Emily Bronte) did something to us.

There's part of the novel where heroine, Cathy, is talking of her love for love/hate villain Heathcliff (in my opinion, the best fictional villain ever created). The quote that so many know from that story is:-

"Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He's always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being."

At that point in the novel, a bunch of teenage lads fell silent with the exception of the one whose turn it was to read. He wasn't reading particularly well - but the words were powerful enough that we stopped dead, entirely engrossed completely in every single word on the page.

That is when I knew that this was a special novel.

And it has remained so for me. I've read it countless times now and despite the fact I pride myself on being quite the toughie ;-)) I don't mind admitting to having read one the greatest novels ever written so many times.

But why did I start thinking of that today? Well mostly because I have just decided to take a drive up to Haworth this weekend with my son. Haworth is about a 40 minute drive from where I live and is the village in which the Bronte sisters lived. Wuthering Heights was based on the rugged moorland up there...

I like to walk there and write there. And I was thinking of that today when I decided to spend an afternoon there this weekend.

Once upon a time (not so long actually), I started to share Wuthering Heights with someone special and never got the chance to finish... I'm rather hoping, however, we might just complete it soon! ;-)


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Man Flu vs Heartbreak

I've come down with a nasty cold this morning. Annoying. I haven't had a cold since Christmas and I was rather hoping to make it to summer without one, particularly given how well I'm eating and how frequently I am exercising.

Not so much luck, I'm afraid. My boy has had a cold for a couple of days and he has generously shared it.

Of course I go into whining mode when I get sick. My cold is the flu, my sore throat is a sinu explosion and my sniffles are the apocolypse. I admit it.

But I can't feel too sorry for myself as my sister phoned me this morning. Her ex partner, one who she was indeed very much in love with and only just split from, called her to say he is leaving the UK and returning to his native Brazil in 2 weeks. She had been thinking more recently of a reunion between the two of them, having realised in the weeks since they have been apart that she misses him terribly. I thought, at one point, she was seeing someone else as she spent a weekend away with someone. No. She was spending that time with him and they were talking about maybe getting back together.

But now he is going back to Brazil and unless she wants to go with him, which she does not, she will not be reuniting with him.

She's gutted.

My internal apocolypse of a cold is nothing, is it?

I can treat my symptoms. She can't treat hers. Where do you rub the cream to heal the heart? What sort of pills do you swallow to mend that?

Man flu, I can cope with.

A broken hearted baby sister... well that's a whole other challenge.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bank Holiday Goodness

So, it's May Day Bank Holiday here in the UK! I am hangover free and I am ready to compensate for the Sunday I almost missed in its entirety thanks to the hangover from Hell.

Today's rather a big day. As I'm out of the office and my boy is off school for the bank holiday, we decided we should do something fun. So in half an hour I'm going bowling and for a movie and my lad specifically requested the company of my sort of casual girlfriend, Cutie :)

Now then, he's met her before when she and I were just hanging out as friends. But whenever there's a romantic interest I tend to have a no introductions rule for quite some time. I think children can be all too easily confused and he's been through a lot lately. But he specifically asked me to invite her.

So I did.

"Ok," I told him, "I've invited her and she will come along."

"Good," he answered, "I like your girlfriend. She's fun."

So it seems he's a step ahead of me.... I don't know whether I should be worried or not, particularly as she and I currently have a fairly casual set up.

But anyway, he likes her. She thinks he's adorable (something he absolutely plays up to in her company) and she wants to get to know him. So the signs are positive.

The sun is shining in Manchester this morning and my mood is shining too....

Happy May Day!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I love you....

Words once precious,
Their meaning now gone.
I loved you. I love you.
And I’ve loved only one.

Ok, so here's another rant (my second of the day). Perhaps hangovers put me in funny moods... But anyway.

I hate how people throw 'I love you,' around.

-Te amo
- Je t'aime
- Ich liebe dich
- I love you.

The fact that people throw that stuff around so completely freely has meant that those three words have lost so much of their meaning and that is what drives people to using cheesier and ever more cliched ways of expressing their love. It's what drives people to need 'proof' that someone is in love with them or to question whether someone really is... because saying it just isn't enough anymore.

When I say 'I love you,' it's said with thought behind it. It isn't something I just say for the hell of it, or because I quite fancy getting a response. I say it because I mean it. But because so many people 'fall in love,' so freakin' easily now, those words (no matter who says them) are often viewed simply as 'lip service.'

The way that people throw those words around has made me cynical too. I get sick of friends who bounce from relationship to relationship declaring each time that they are in love. How can you possibly come out of a relationship that lasted a year or more and then within a matter of weeks be 'in love' with someone else? How can you then change your mind and be in love with someone else the next week? It's.... crazy.

Anyway, bacon sandwich anyone?

Voter Apathy

There's a General Election here in the UK next week. I will be voting Labour. However, in the last general election in 2005, 40% of those eligible to vote here in the UK just didn't bother.

Voter apathy or, as I prefer to call it, ignorance.

I am fiercely proud of the fact that I have the right to vote on how the country is Governed. I am acutely aware of the fact that there are still dictatorships in the world and that people in countries where there is no democracy would probably give anything to be able to do what I will do on Thursday 6th May. I will walk into the Town Hall in Manchester and I will exercise my right to have a say in who becomes the MP for my constituency, something which will in turn decide who the next Prime Minister of my country is.

Those who have no right to vote, those who live in a country where everything is decided for them, where there's no choice and where the voices of the people are simply ignored would give anything to do that.

Yet 40% of those with the right to do that here in the UK just don't bother.

What is with these people?? Voter apathy is nothing new, but it's just not disappearing. You would think with all the news coverage of nations where no such right exists, that the British would be grateful for the right.

Even if there was no party I cared to vote for, I would turn up and spoil my ballot paper. That is how you can still be heard. That says "None of you work for me. None of you deserve my vote, in my opinion." Simply not bothering to vote just says, "I can't be arsed. I don't care."

This election has seen televised debates between the leaders of the three biggest parties, however. They pulled in millions of viewers and it's hoped that this might spur the apathetic into voting. The social media hype around the election might do as well. But will it get everyone voting? I doubt it.

There will still be people who say, "Well the party I would vote for won't win anyway." What a stupid excuse not to vote? If everyone who said that actually got up and went out and voted for that party they might stand a bloody chance! But they'll certainly not win an election if you're all just moping on your couch about the state of affairs.

You know the annoying thing? It's these people who will continue to complain about the state of affairs, about high unemployment or uncontrollable immigration. It's these people who will whinge about the amount of tax they pay or NHS waiting lists. IF YOU DON'T VOTE, YOU LOSE YOUR RIGHT TO COMPLAIN, in my opinion.

Anyway, there's not really a point to this post. I'm just ranting.

Brits - get out there and VOTE VOTE VOTE!

Sunday Morning Hangover

I spent yesterday at the wedding of a friend. It was a beautiful ceremony, excellent afternoon reception and a superb evening reception. Today, I'm hungover. Majorly so. Painkillers, water, rest.

Sympathy welcomed.