Tuesday, August 31, 2010

300 Words a Day

I am retarting an old habit. No... not super noodles. My habit of writing at least 300 words a day. Creative writing practice is essential to keep the cogs turning... especially in light of how much non-fiction I'm writing in terms of web content at the moment. Must keep the creative cogs going.

I'm going to document this at http://avatarwrites.com

Anyone else up for challenge? Get in touch... join me :)

Private vs Non Private

I put this blog private yesterday in light of recent drama I am frankly not going to go into again.

Needless to say, I changed my mind. My blogs have always been open and I fundamentally don't believe in closed blogs. SO this is reopened...

And thanks to a Canadian (I think) commenter on Pixel Scoop.... I am inspired to stop ehaving like a child and resopnding to said drama lol!!

The latest: http://pixelscoop.net/2010/08/setting-the-record-straight/

So there :)

Quote of the day by the way comes from my friend Craig... "Fight fire with fire and you’re gonna end up accused of arson, mate. Don’t fight fire at all… run as quick as you f***ing can out the door and get away from it.”

That gave me a good laugh :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

bank Holidays :)

So, it's a bank holiday here in the UK today. My son is with my sister having lots of fun and enjoying the last litle bit of his school summer holidays.

Chloe has way too much work to do to enjoy the bank holiday as we would like, so she's tucked up on my couch with the cutest slippers in the world, working away. And me? Well, I could do some work today. But after the 55 hours I put in last week I feel like enjoying a bit of a lazy day today, the first in such a long time.

So I've been productive getting the Second Life machinima blog I wanted to start going. That's at http://machinimaview.com

And now I am going to enjoy a bit of building...

Today I feel good. Really good. :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mary Byrne: Why I am a Sucker for Reality TV

I know that reality TV shows, like X Factor (or American Idol, Britain's Got Talent etc etc) are very much manufactured and edited and that the contestants go through God knows how many rounds of pre-production auditioning before they even see the judges, but I still love them. And that's not only because my little boy loves them! It's because they really give certain groups an opportunity for exposure that no other platform could ever offer.

Mary Byrne, who was featured on tonight's UK episode of X Factor, is now my favourite to win it. When she first came on, I said to myself, "I like her.... I hope she's good." And omg... wow. What a voice and what a wonderful character.

In the shallow muysic industry where everything (at least where female singers are concerned) seems to be about being peroxide blonde, anorexic and in your late teens, a mid fifties, down to Earth normal supermarket check out assistant would have no chance. But reality TV shows make it so that she actually could be recognised for her voice. Even if she doesn't win the show this year (I have a good feeling, based on both her talent and the editing of the show giving her so much air time, that she will make the finals) she will still be known and could still make a reasonable living from her talent.

GO Mary. She's my personal favourite of this year's show. I love her.

Here's the video...(oh and do enjoy Cheryl Cole... who is the sexiest woman on the planet second only to my Chloe)!

A Frikkin Good Offer - With a Sting!

I was offered 100 blogs today for a small fee of $750. They were ready established blogs - had been going for a year minimum (some for three). They were on topics ranging from finance to health.

Now for those of you who know I work in Internet Marketing and SEO, you would know this is a potentially amazing offer. The lowest PageRank amongst them was a 3.

However.... a sting in the tail. The guy has just spent the last 3 years developing these blogs on .wordpress domains.

Big no no if you really want to establish any value.

At the end of the day, what it means is that wordpress.com could come along one day and shut them down. What that in turn means is they have no real value.

I advised him of why I couldn't buy the blogs and I believe he went on to sell those then at a much, much, much lower price to someone prepared to take the risk.

But anyone thinking of developing loads of blogs or websites in order eventually to monetize them - you're so much better off with an unlimited hosting package and owning the domains. You are actually building up the equity in something you really own then.

This is my hobby blog, hence running it on a .blogspot. But I really own nothing here. Blogspot, which is Google owned, owns the domain and essentially therefore the blog itself.

I'm going to put together a tutorial this week going back to the basics. Some people are really put off by the fact they have to go about it "on their own," whereas everything is done for them on a .wordpress or .blogspot. But it's really simple. Domains are cheap... hosting is cheap and a Wordpress installation is free. So I will get a tutorial together this week and post sometime next weekend.

Anyhow, a lazy Saturday for me. My son is with my sister and my girlfriend is visiting her parents and won't be back until tomorrow. So it's a lazy one in for me tonight :)

Hmm... pizza and a film I think!

Have a great weekend everyone

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lucky Man

DISCLAIMER: This post is not aimed at anyone. It is not a message for anyone. It's not a dislay of any subconscious feelings I am unable to express and, Jesus Christ, it's not a dig at anyone!

As you can imagine, I am in a good mood today :)

Last night I told my son about Chloe moving in. I decided I would tell him alone and make it rather casual just in case there were any unexpected adverse reactions.

"Hey buddy, I've got some news!"

"What's happening?"

"Well... I've asked Chloe if she wants to come and live with us."


He jumped up and cheered, which was so cute to see :) He adores her.

"Is she coming now?" he contnued,

"No - not now. You remember she has already promised someone she will live in their house for three months?"


"Well, when that three months is done, so in 2 months, then she is going to come and live with us."

"Shall we pain the spare room?"

"She's actually going to move into my room..."

"Oh. Ok..... well.... shall we paint your room?"

"I just decorated my room."

"I know... but girls like different colours."

"Why don't we just ask Chloe what she thinks?"

"Ok, Dad."

I'm delighted that he's pleased. He adores her and she loves him. It's the best possible scenario.

Neither Chloe nor I are naive enough to think it will all be plain sailing. This is a little boy whose Mother died almost a year ago. And although she and I had never been together during his lifetime and he had been living with me for some time before her death, it has been a massive adjustment and obviously, a lot of grief. Chloe knows what being his Daddy is and she knows I come as a twosome.... and she's not only 'ok' with that, but says she wouldn't want it any other way.

I'm a lucky guy. And I won't be forgetting it!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A MASSIVE (and Wonderful) Move

I've invited Chloe to live with me.

I hear you all.

"Whoah, whoah, whoah... fast move there sunshine."

BUT... allow me to elaborate.

Just before I went on holiday in July, CHloe had been experiencing a few problems at her place owing to the last tenant and she began to feel really insecure there. As such, she stayed at mine while I was away and moved into a short term 3 month let when I got back.

Because she's now almost a month in to the 3 month let she has been looking for somewhere more permanent - like a 12 month thing.

Now, what all of that means is that it would be 14 months until she was looking for somewhere else to live again. Things between her and I are going great. Really amazingly well. So... I asked her to consider moving in when her 3 month let at the short term place is up.

I have many a good reason for this:-

1 - I've known her years and years and trust her wholeheartedly.
2 - I dont want to wait 14 months to move in with her
3 - My son loves having her around. A female influence is so so amazing for him.
4 - I'm completely and utterly in love :)

So, I nervously met her for lunch and asked (half expecting a 'whoah, no,')

"When this lease is up in October..."


"Well... erm. Would you like... could you. Do you...."

"Adam? What's up?"

"Would you move in with me when your lease is up?"


"You can say no if you want and I wont be offended. Well, I might. But I won't be mad at you. Well..."

"Stop talking for a second."


"Yes, I will move in with you. I'd want nothing more."


That's the first time (and will be the last) that I have ever asked anyone to move in with me. I lived with one partner prior but she had asked if she could move in with me and it sort of just happened. It was nothing like this... I don't get nervous. I really don't.

But, I suppose when you're truly in love and terrified to lose someone that nerves would be expected when asking a big question, so I forgive myself.

And tonight, I will tell my boy the good news. He's wanted this for weeks!

"Can Chloe stay tonight? Can Chloe live here? Where's Chloe?"

He'll be delighted.

I'm over the moon. She knows me inside out, knows what living with me entails - what with a busy liefstyle and a young son - and she loves all of it.

Today is one of the best days :D

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Some Things Were Made to be Broken

Some things were made to be broken,
Like castles and fortresses
That we admire in their damaged form.
Why do we call them "ruins,"
When they're any but?
These 'ruins' are the skeletons
Of an illustrious
But false past.
And now there they are,
Moreso now than ever before,
Exposed and hiding nothing.
Broken down by violent battles
By Mother nature's violent storms
By desire,
By blood lust
By greed,
Broken down until they hide nothing.
Until all they once sheltered
Is gone
And there's no more battle.

Silence and still falls
And there's no more fighting.

Some things were made to be broken,
Like hearts, sometimes,
That only become completely exposed
When left shattered and crumbling.

Those ruins may be broken,
But they're beautiful.

Productive Days

Today I had a productive meeting with some contacts from Toronto. I'm feeling good about it as it's a great business set up for me.

It was a little hectic since I was originally scheduled to go out there to meet them. However, a few bits and peices cropped up and I couldn't go out there. I had assumed that might mean the end of any potential deal and I called them and told then.

A short while later they called back.

"Since you were here last time, it's out turn to travel anyway. We'll come to Manchester."

And so they did.

We'll have a number of meetings over the course of this week but it's looking like there's a great deal to be had out of this. Unfortunately that's pretty much all I can say at the moment.

But.... you know when you have a really productive day and you come out the other end of it feeling all the better? Well that is where I am at: Grinning ear to ear.

And tonight... well my boy is with my sister until Friday so it's the gym, some dinner and a couple of hours leisure time. I'm in the midst of a freebie making frenzy in Second Life and I might just get back to it. It's been good to get some time in there after weeks of only being able to pop in for 20 minutes a week :)

It's a good month.... in spite of the shockingly bad British weather.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Granny Angela....

My Mother was a beautiful woman, inside and out. A staunch Catholic, she was somewhat disappointed when I navigated my own way out of any faith and declared myself "agnostic." But she just told me,

"Well, you have to make your own decisions in life."

I could see the disappointment in her eyes though, but in spite of that she genuinely meant it when she told me that she wanted me to find my own way.

She was equally disappointed when I decided at 21 that I didn't think I would ever get married.

"Why not?"

"I just don't think it's for me."

"Well, as long as you are always happy, son...."

Again, I could see the disappointment in her eyes but knew that, as ever, she meant it when she said she wanted my happines above anything else.

My Mother's eyes always had that quality about them - to completely reveal the contents of her heart. She could never hide how she truly felt. That's how I know how disappointed she was not to ever be a Grandmother.

Some days after we found uot that the Doctors could do nothing about her cancer, we talked about whether there was anything she wanted to do, that was still feasible while she somewhat fragile.

"Nothing that's possible in my time," she told me.


"The only thing I feel like I haven't really fulfilled is being a Grandma."

There was a moment or two of silence and then, as always she did, she focussed on something positive, adding,

"But I have been a blessed Mother."

The most painful thing for me in all that, is that she was a Grandmother by then. I just didn't know it... so obviously, nor did she.

I know how much she would have loved my son, his cheeky grin, his quick wit and his beautiful childlike outlook on the world. She and my son, they would have been the best of friends. He has a way of getting his way with women - my sister, my girlfriendm my female friends.... he's just got a way of getting what he wants. And as much as my Mother could be strict, she'd have melted when he gave her 'the look.'

Anyway, in case you're wondering where all this came from, Chloe, my son and I were watching a film last night when he suddenly asked, "Do you think your Mum would have liked me?"

"She'd have absolutely loved you," I told him honestly and without hesitation.

My sister's baby is 16 months old now too. He's another cutie and my Mother would have adored him. I called my sister this morning and told her about my son's questioning.

"You know what we should do?" she suggested, "We should get the old video tapes converted to DVD and have a home movies night with the boys."

Tonight, I will dig those tapes out and take them to get converted and this weekend I'm going to 'introduce' my boy to his Granny.

I also suggested that he could write her a letter and that we'd take it to her grave and leave it for her.

"Good idea, Dad," he answered. "I think I should tell her all the things I like."

So Mum....or should that be Granny, meet your grandson.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Poet

For the poet who occasionally reads random works on the streets of Manchester

She sees the world
Through eyes of art,
Translates it into
Words of heart,
So you, and I,
And he and she
Can sneak a peek
At what she sees.

Her words are worlds,
They're hearts
And souls.
That come to life
When she's alone.
Alone but for her poet's pen.
And then the magic starts again....

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Beauty of Diversity in Thought

My friends see life in fascinating ways. I'm lucky. I've been putting together some ideas for a potential machinima series focussing on the different ways in which people think.

I started by asking a combination of online and offline friends and family for their answers to a few questions. This one in particular, I got some really amazing responses to. I'm not going to name names,specify ages or mention anything about the individuals who sent the answers, because I think that really glazes over the beauty of diverse thinking. When we begin to identify thoughts with people, we look for motives as to why their thoughts are like that and we overlook the basic beauty of differences in the way we think, the things we want and the way we view the world.

I asked: What three things do you want the most right now?

Loads of money, a fit girlfriend and a new job!

My washing machine to be fixed, the kids to sleep through for just one night and to pay less tax.

To see you smile like you mean it, to see Mum for just a minute and for the boys to grow up happy.

To get my Mum back, an iPhone and to be allowed to stay up later on school nights.

A week of sunshine, a new car and a pepperoni pizza.

Good sex, a porsche and a job!

Manchester United to win the Premier League, my girlfriend to get out of hospital and a full nights sleep.

To be able to hear, for my Husband to come back and a new PC.

To beat my cancer, to be able to forgive God, to become a better human being.

A university degree, a record deal and to undo my infidelity.

I just took the first ten I got and the diversity in the responses is incredible. Some people interpreted what they want to be what they want in life while some addressed their immediate desires. But the difference in how people see what they want is really beautiful. Or maybe it's just me that thinks so? But anyway....

From iPhones to faith, pizzas to love....

What do you want?

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Friend's Loss

Yesterday, I found out that a friend I know through Second Life lost her brother just a couple of weeks ago.

I don't get into SL much at all these days and as such, speak to friends I met there very infrequently. But upon finding this out through a mutual acquaintance, I left her an offline reminding her of my email address and passing on my condolences.

She and I were very close when I was in Second Life a lot. We'd hang out under alts to get away from IM overload and just chill. We'd speak on the phone sometimes and we'd chat on messenger while she was at work during the day. She's a really amazing girl and a lot of fun to be around.

I was as upset last night upon hearing that as I would be if I had heard it about a lifelong friend I went o school with or something. I guess the point is that friendship, no matter where it is formed and no matter how many miles separates it, is as real on a virtual platform as a real life one.

I heard back from that friend last night and, as you would expect, she's in a lot of pain. Nobody's words can fix that... nor can anyone's actions. But I'd love to be able to offer her a hug right now. And I suppose that's what's difficult about friendshps that start online. They're often between people too far away to offer a real hug in times of need.

But that doesn't devalue them.Not at all.

And to that friend.... You have my phone number, my email, my Skype addy and Yahoo messenger ID. Anytime you need anything, you can find me.


Thursday, August 12, 2010


He holds her as though
She's the last one left,
As though she is the
Only person left that
He cares about.

He holds her as though
If he lets go,
She too might float off
Into some obscure eternity.

She won't go,
She won't float
As all the rest did
Into an abyss of History
And darkening memories.

If he turns his head
For a moment,
When he turns back,
She'll still be there.

But even so,
She likes it
When he holds her so.

Wow, wow,wow....

I am blown away by a poem I just came across on Youtube. You can't really hear very well what is being said, so I am going to paste the poem beneath the video. Please note, it's not mine.... it's the property of UMG and I found it courtesy of 'Crovax3000' on Youtube.

I'm blown away by this. It's the best poem I have come across in ages. Beautiful, moving and entirely upsetting at the same time.

Let me reiterate again that this is NOT my intellectual property...

We held hands on the last night on earth.
Our mouths filled with dust.
We kissed in the fields and under trees, screaming like dogs, bleeding dark into the leaves.
It was empty on the edge of the town, but we knew everyone floated along the bottom of the river.
So we walked through the waste where the road curved into the sea and the shattered seasons lay, and the bitter smell of burning was on you like a disease.
In our cancer of passion, you said, "Death is a midnight runner."

The sky had come crashing down like the news of an intimate suicide.
We picked up the shards and formed them into shapes of stars that wore like an antique wedding dress.
The echoes of the past broke the hearts of the unborn, as the Ferris wheel silently slowed to a stop.
A few insects skittered away in hopes of a better pastime.
I kissed you at the apex of the maelstrom and asked if you would accompany me in a quick fall;
but you made me realize that my ticket wasn't good for two.
I rode alone.

You said, "The cinders are falling like snow."
There is poetry in despair, and we sang with unrivaled beauty, bitter elegies of savagery and eloquence, of blue and grey.
Strange, we ran down desperate streets and carved our names in the flesh of the city.
The sun has stagnated somewhere beyond the rim of the horizon, and darkness is a mystery of curves and lines.
Still, we lay under the emptiness and drifted slowly outward; and somewhere in the wilderness we found salvation scratched into the earth like a message."

Sunday, August 8, 2010

5 Promises to Myself

In light of my newly optimistic mood, here are 5 promises I have made (and will be trying my damnedest to stick to).

- Don't read the blogs of shit stirrers and drama queens trying to get attention. Yes, while it's laughable and entertaining for myself and my friends, it achieves little other than to waste my time. I have removed several blogs from my reader this morning and I won't be going back to them :) From now on, I will read useful blogs.I've kept most of the poetry blogs I have on my reader and I love to go to those. I have removed those whose poetry is aimed at pissing people off or whose poetry is becoming "stale" and "samey." I'm keeping the original ones. I will read blogs that contribute something positive to my day. Fortunately for me, 90% of the blogs on my reader do indeed. But a quick clear out this morning has seen to it that the ones that don't are bye-bye!

- Spend half an hour every single day (even if it means staying up half an hour later) relaxing or doing something I love recreationally. Half hour isn't much and I know I could force that in and would feel better for it. Whether it's half hour cuddled up on the couch with my girl, half hour in front of the telly or half hour in Second Life.... I will set aside 30 minutes a day for stuff I love to do.

- Read something every single day that makes me laugh until my eyes water.

- Count my blessings daily. It's all too easy to forget that. I could do it as I'm strolling over to work, just make a conscious note of everything in my life that is wonderful.

- Make someone smile. I want to make at least one person smile on a daily basis.... let's see how that goes :)

For Chloe...

Let my lips never touch upon,
A pair apart from yours.
Let my fingers dance, entwined,
Forever, just with yours.
Let my hands be laid upon
No other’s skin, but yours.

I love you.
Need you.
Want you.

And this heart of mine
Is yours.

Reflections on a Year

This is the type of post I guess you would generally see in January. I know that. But I’m running it in August for one reason. This week seems like the chapter that was the last year or so of my life has sort of closed and I’m free to move on from it. It’s not going to be a “oh poor me,” type post because I can’t stand the “born victim” type who think everything happens to them. Over a lifetime, I think we all get our taste of the bad luck. This post just sums up why I’m suddenly feeling more optimistic.

My Son
In October last year my son lost his Mother. He was 5 at the time. It was around this time last year though that she began to get very sick. Not only her death, but her sickness too had haunted my boy. He’s been living with me just over a year now and in that time we’ve had a bit of a ride. Ups, downs, bad days, good days. He will never get over losing her. I know that from experience. But he’s dealing with it much better these days and in a year I feel like I’ve gone from being his ‘Father,’ to really being a ‘Dad.’ A real one. Not just biologically. I’ve never had a bond as strong with anyone or anything in my life as I do with my boy.

As he starts to see the light at the end of the tunnel and he deals with his grief much better, he and I are starting to look forward to things. We’re looking forward to planning Christmas with the family and friends, looking forward to birthdays (even my own, which is a first lol). The future’s looking rosy.

My Hobbies
I love virtual worlds. I love the Internet. I love all things digital. However, a year ago my real life vs digital life balance was very skewed. I could spend 40 hours or more per week in Second Life. Whenever I did go out, it would be drinking with the guys.
I still love my digital life. I look at it more as an extension of myself and my real life, rather than a separate entity. However, my balance is better. I have recently launched a business that deals with Internet Marketing and this has been hugely successful thanks to the insights I gained through Second Life and internet marketing channels in general. So I’ll never regret, in that sense, the time I spent so many hours online.

But having my son full time and working a business that requires a lot of attention, my personal (rather than working) online time is much more limited. 4 hours a week maximum in Second Life (if any) and I honestly don’t bother with my own personal social media profiles. I run many for clients and the last thing I feel like, when I sit down in the evening, is doing my own. Shock, horror, I don’t have a Facebook!

My hobbies now also incorporate loads of activities with my son. I’m in the gym 5 times a week, going running and cycling with my boy. And when I do take some time to myself or to go see friends (which we all need), I don’t particularly care for clubbing and boozing. I’ll go play poker with the guys or hang out at one of their houses. Maybe a few lagers in the pub but never a mad one clubbing. It lost its appeal. 5 years ago I would have called myself “a boring old fart,” for saying stuff like that!

I also spend more time with my sister and my nephew. Incorporating the family element of my life has become so much more important for me.

Following the death of my own Mother over 4 years ago now, I took a bit of vacation from dating. I did the casual thing for a while. I was never really a “player,” per se. I was always open with people that I did not want an exclusive thing. I had too much of my own shit to deal with and honestly was not in the position to “give” anything. A couple of years after she died, I joined SL. I met a girl from California I started a relationship with, which ended after just over a year. Then I met someone else from Toronto (who I never actually physically met) who I had a bit of thing with for over a year too. When my son’s Mother died I did my usual thing: clam up. I was unbearable to be around for many people, this girl included. I shut her out. I know I did that and I take complete ownership of it.

However, I feel as though I am now, for the first time ever really, ready to commit to something more meaningful than binary. Chloe and I are building something. I have no desire to touch anyone else or even look at them that way. I’m 100% serious about her. My boy loves her, my family loves her and my friends do.

After other recent relationships, I promised myself “no more born victim” types. I honestly truly believe that, unless there is adultery or physical violence etc, a relationship breakdown generally has 2 sides to it. I think everyone should be mature enough to accept their own part. I hate the “it was all his fault,” type of girls. Wrong. If you have a string of failed relationships in your past (myself included) there is one thing in common with each of them: YOU. Of course the other party must accept their role too, but nobody is perfect. And I have so much respect for people who will take ownership of their mistakes rather than being all, “I give, give, give and he just took, took, took.” Look at the facts. Establish what really went wrong several months down the line when you’re feeling less emotionally fired up over. Most breakdowns have 2 sets of fault.

Chloe is not that type. She and I had something of a breakdown before I went on holiday. The other day we talked it over. She admitted her faults, I admitted mine, we buried it and forgot about it and we are moving on. Our foundations are strong. The ability to both admit our wrongs, the ability to open up to one another.... that’s huge. I have never in my life completely opened up to anyone before.

So I guess the summary point there is the fact that I am actually serious about sharing my life with someone, in its entirety. :)

Side note: a lesson from the last year: Some people do not want honesty. When they ask you for honesty they mean “tell me what I want to hear.” I don’t fit with that type. If someone asks me for honesty, they get blunt honesty, even if it’s not something they want to hear.

The Year...
..... was shitty. Though by comparison to the year that some have had, I’ve been lucky. I have a roof over my head, a good income, my son, my friends and family.
Moving forwards, burying the past and heading in the right direction. That’s where I am.
I’m not perfect. I never will be. But I’m sensible enough to know and admit it.
I’m one year older than I was a year ago, but emotionally, I think I’m only just really catching up to my true age. Maturity and a sense of knowing exactly what I want. It’s refreshing.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Weekend

After a great holiday, it was back down to Earth with a bump this week.... with a bloody hard and busy week.

I had planned to go to the North East today with my sister, nephew and son. However, she's not feeling so good so it's a vegging day for me and my boy. We went for a run this morning and now I am catching up on some blogging and he is playing his video games. He gets a few hours a week maximum on his video games... I prefer him to have more active hobbies. But a lazy Saturday is on the cards.

Tomorrow, I will be helping Chloe to move her stuff into a new place she has found. She was staying here while I was away but has now finally found some place close by that she likes and will be moving in soon.

She and I are back together [insert cheesy grin]. But of course, it's early days and way too early to be thinking of living together. But her being so close by means she can come around whenever she wants and spend time with me and my boy. He is over the moon. He loves her and really benefits from the female presence.

So today is a happy day....

How are you lot doing? :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Post Holiday Smiles

My son is on cloud 9. In fact, since we went away for a couple of weeks he's been happier than I have seen him in a year. He enjoyed the holiday, the sunshine, the sand, sea and swimming immensely and I enjoyed showing him a place that has been special to me since I was his age.

He didn't want to leave and we did have tears at the airport! However, now we're back in rainy Manchester the tears have stopped and instead he is looking forward to the next time he can go. In much the same way that I feel revitalised after a couple of weeks free of work, he experienced the same rejuvenation of his smile after a couple of weeks from his worries.

I know he'llnever get over losing her.... and it will always hurt in some ways, but it's almost a year since his Mum died now. And perhaps he's starting to believe truly in the light at the end of the tunnel.