‘For Rufus’

This evening I came home to a chilly apartment, no light on, no radio on and more importantly, no chirping cockatiel pottering about in his cage waiting for me to let him out for an amble. Instead, I put the key in the door and heard no sound and entered with dread, because I knew that this morning I had held Rufus, this little being who had been in my life for 24 years, in my hands as he died. I knew that I would have to face this reality now and man up to do what was needed. To do it not with maudlin self pity but with love. If I have learnt anything the last few years, it is that death is about love, not misery. It took me a while, and A LOT of bereavements, and I won't lie, I feel just awful, but it is only love and empathy which ...

‘Que Sera Sera, Whatever Will Be Will Be…’

When I woke up this morning, for a split second I didn't remember that yesterday Britain left the EU, the Prime Minister resigned, London and other places wanted to be a Republic and there was basically no Opposition. Like when you lose a loved one, in the first few seconds of the day you forget, and everything seems as it should be, and anything else is just a weird dream.  Yet as I opened the curtains and let the sunshine flood the room, I looked out the window at the early morning peace and quiet and noticed that usual knot in my core, present for so long, was no longer there. I felt a sense of openness and warmth towards myself and the world. I remembered what did go on yesterday, but today was a new day full of exciting opportunities. The first day when looking back is no longer ...

‘To Thine Own Self Be True’

So, the day we go to the polls to decide whether the UK stays or leaves the EU. And tomorrow is another day, because the more things change, the more they stay the same. Or do they? This is a deeply personal post and one that has been a long time coming perhaps. It is also one of deep gratitude. A photo of the Puppy unimpressed by a 1971 book about going into the EU seemed as good as any to represent this referendum! Three years ago I would have thought that tonight I'd be at the centre of the action, yet instead I will be fast asleep while the results are coming in. So what changed? I am grateful that I have been blessed (yes blessed) with losing so much and starting my life anew away from politics because it has given me the clarity and the tools to work out why politics has ...

‘The Truth must dazzle gradually, or every man be blind’

Out and about on dull errands in drizzly unfestive England today, I thought back to last weekend when I was in Paris. The Dickens line, 'a tale of two cities'  has never seemed so accurate. Paris has always been my quick getaway for me time to reboot. I've never taken for granted the miracle that is Eurostar, to hop on a train in London avoiding airport mayhem and arrive in the centre of Paris in less time than it can take to get to Newcastle. I've even been known to go for the day, where a few hours tricking my senses with different food, streets and sights can make me feel like I've had a fortnight a million miles from home. How different these two Capitals have always felt from each other, and now more than ever after the recent killings in Paris. After a peaceful, relaxing and invigorating weekend we arrived back at Gare ...