‘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 ...

‘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 ...

‘It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society’

By Thursday, August 14, 2014 0 Permalink

Over the last few days there has been increased discussion about suicide sparked by the sad loss of the American actor/comedian Robin Williams. I resisted discussing anything about what I view as a fact of life, and sat back only to find the outpouring was superficial and lacking in real knowledge. Such discussion needs considered reasoning based on experience rather than hypocrisy or pity. However, knee jerk reactions are generally lacking in any reason and based on misconceptions which do need to be addressed for any informed debate. Suicide is for many the epitome of autonomy and ownership over one's life. Therefore it deserves a decent discussion. His suicide while sad is no more or less significant than any other but it is the knee jerk social media outpourings about it which means that the topic gets the attention for this moment. Until the next 'thing'. Every day you can find a news item about a suicide ...

‘Friendship is not a big thing, it’s a million little things’

By Sunday, August 3, 2014 0 Permalink

To write of another death in my life seems almost absurd, yet here we are again. My dear friend Andrew Dodge died last week after battling a long illness. He was, thankfully at his home in the USA with his beloved wife by his side. I was told of his worsening condition only a few months ago and I'm pleased I decided to visit him immediately in person while he was in London. Humans need to remember that saying get well soon on Facebook is not the same as a hug or seeing people face to face. Ever. It is also naïve to ignore the issue of mortality. I could be sorry I don't have more photos of us, I didn't see him enough or even be resentful that all the awful people we knew are still here and the good ones go too early.  But the only thing I could really regret is not appreciating ...