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A word we all dread to utter

Sympathy, not a word I used much in my younger years.  Unfortunately a word I’m starting to get accustomed to.

It’s a horrible simple word that gestures the knowledge and offering that someone or something has come to an end.

So much pain and loss this word has caused.  It’s a dreaded word.

Thankfully there are also words that bring light to darkness.

Joy, happiness, togetherness, family, friends, love.

Long may these words and the memories they bring distance that word we dread to utter.

It’s a cliche to say time is short, for me this weighs heavy when I’m giving my sympathy at a wake or learning of a terrible catastrophy or horrible terrorist atrocity.

Yet when back in work, faced with problems or the everyday hum drum of life, the realisation of how special and important life has to offer distances itself.

Still, it’s all life, time is inevitable but I hope the word sympathy stays a stranger for as long as possible.

The cat who would not give up

A couple of months back my beautiful bride to be asked if we could rehome an older cat.

Tina had visited Ty Nant cat sanctuary to hand over provisions for the animals.

Tee is a huge animal lover and part of the reason why she is so special to me.

Tee was asked if she wanted to look at the cats currently looking for a home.  She was taken into the kitten room.  It was a beautifully sad scene of all these kittens needing to be rehomed. Miaows aplenty.

She resisted knowing that our own Bonnie at 16 wasn’t ready for an energetic kitten messing her retirement pleasures of eating and sleeping!

Aha thought the owner, let me show you the older cats who need a good home.

Tee described walking into the room and her heart sank.  No one really wants to take on an older cat, people naturally go for the kittens.

There was one cat hitting 20, could barely move but would try and come over for a cuddle.  Who said cats are cold.

One cat though jumped down and ran over leaping onto tees lap.

This was the cat that tee asked me for us to have.  Her name was Gypsy and named for good reasons.

Gypsy knew tee was the one she wanted to go home with, instant connection.

I like to think she sensed the goodness in tee and thought yep, you’ll do for me.

Gypsy loves food and a fuss, whenever she is stroked she let’s out a crackly miaow.

She was named Gypsy as she was found roaming.  She was found with no fur, her skin was sunburnt.  She’s got just one tooth that means her tongue pokes out.

We don’t know how she survived but Ty Nant took her in, cared for her.  Her fur grew back, her appetite returned, the attention and love they gave her is immense.

We’ve continued that love for her, she’s not afraid of people or other animals so we don’t believe she became a stray because of animal cruelty, so it’s a mystery.  Maybe her owners moved away but left her behind accidentally, who knows.

Yet I know one thing, we’re giving her as much love as a cat could want.

Even Bonnie who is doesn’t really like other cats has been accepting of Gypsy.

Maybe Bonnie senses the rough time that gypsy has had.  We estimate she’s 12, god knows how long she was a stray for.

To overcome what she had experienced, cold dark nights, no food, no home or shelter, alone.  It’s no wonder she’s not fussed by other animals, it’s as if she’s thinking that, I’ve been through hell so nothing can scare me now.

Whilst her tongue pokes out for only having one tooth, it feels like she is poking fun at the world.  I’m still here!

I love giving her a fuss, but stroking her even though her fur is back it doesn’t hide the bumps and blisters of where her skin was bare to the elements.

Here’s a picture, we only wish she could use the toilet, as she often leaves messages, warm brown ones around the house!

This is a cat who’s overcome unimaginable horrors and for that we’ll love and care for her.


What comes, then goes

An almost silent and distant hum of a car approaching.

I was in my bed, at age 10, counting sheep was not helping.  Don’t get me wrong I can count, but my sleep wasn’t  coming by counting those little cute fence jumping sheep.

The sound got a bit louder, closer.

I lived on a hill, my bedroom was at the front of the house overlooking a reasonably quiet road.

We used to have the melyn manor up the road.

Interesting place is possibly the best way to sum the manor up.  Especially on a weekend where the sossled staggered past our house early in the morning.

Harmless men singing songs of things that a ten year old shouldn’t probably hear.

The cars engine got louder.

Who’s in that car, where have they come from.  Do they have a passenger, are they alone.  Listening to music or with window open enjoying a cool breeze of a surprising warm and dry Welsh 80’s evening.

The car is getting closer, I stared at the gap between the top of the curtain and the wall ready for it.

My bedroom was in darkness, nearly for the slight moonlight reaching through that gap.  My parents room was behind me and the slow rhythmic snore of my father was the only other sound.

The car was really close, the rev of the engine I could hear as it started to climb our hill.

I liked my little bedroom, it was mine, my secure place.  So extending my thoughts from the safety of my bedroom out into the moonlit darkness gave an odd feeling of curiousness and danger

Who was this mysterious driver.

Then quickly the room lit with his headlights, my ears were filled with the sound of his engine.  It was a crescendo to my senses.

And then as quick as it came, the car, it’s driver their thoughts and feelings were gone, gradually fading into eventual silence, leaving just the soft rhymetic snoring of my father.

Where are the going to, are they going home, have they left home are they happy or sad.

To many questions for a ten year old, whos slowly drifting into sleep to answer

Nos da



After loss comes recluse, or does it?

I met the mother of my future bride in 2008, a lovely warm and generous person.

The only person she wasn’t generous to, was herself.  Tony was her husband, I liked him he was likeable, he loved Denise in his own way, he wasn’t one to shout his love from the rooftop.

Unfortunately he fell to dementia.

Before I knew him I was told of the sharpness of his mind, he memorised detail, enjoyed a good debate.

Certainly he had that when I met him, he still had that for a couple of years after but slowly quickly he went downhill.  I can’t imagine the terribleness that Tony suffered but also the dreadfullness that Denise had to cope with, and she coped with it long after others gave up.

She refused until the last, to give what she knew in his lucid moments he wanted, to be with her in their home.

In the end she was at physical breaking point and he went to a care home.  She was there every day.

The horribleness of dementia finally took him.

She retreated into herself, retiring any romantic notions of ever feeling for another again.  Denise had her children yes, but in her mind that was all.

After a few years a friend introduced her to Richard, a kind hearted true gentleman.

She was ready to run, believing well, in a way she had already retired any romantic notion so this was folly.

Could her heart be saved, could a light long blown cold be relit.

We all wanted it, her family, her friends and if there is one person deserving of happiness it is Denise.

I experienced a special day last Saturday, in fact the whole weekend was a moment in time that will stretch long into the future of my memories.

So thankfully, after a few ups and downs that he asked the question and she accepted.

My beautiful Tina, whos mother got married will be a special moment for both myself and all those close enough who know what Denise has suffered through the last number of years.
After a beautiful, intimate wedding they’re  sailing north to Norway, to see the lights.

I’m elevated to feel there can be a happy ending to what has been a terrible number of years for a woman who’s done no harm to the world.

I wish them all the happiness.

First day back

What feels like a lifetime ago, it was on this day that I and most of my classmates, and those who came before and after us dreaded..the first day back at school, after a long lazy summer.

In a time when age was important, by confirming our age in quarters.

“No I’m not 12, I’m 12 and 1/4

Six weeks of rope swings and roaming, of hide and seek, and kids tv, it was all good.  And it was long.

It used to be a long hot lazy summer, a time when seasonal weather was guaranteed, then global warming stuck, and now gives us unpredictably barmy monsoon summers..but that’s for another blog.

New term, new uniform, new pencil case, new topics and new experiences.

We were ready, in our newness of everything (especially pencil case) to be educated.

Even if being partly distracted by the incoming neath fair that arrived two weeks after term started, we were ready to be educated.


Time to applause

I’ve worked in some places where it feels the culture is to be critical, whether it’s a colleague, a process, the boss, stationary control even.

What on earth are they saying about me when my back is turned!

I’ve had colleagues stare at me in downright condemnation for being complimentary of a colleague who’s being verbally stoned.

I don’t mind if it’s based in fact, but I’d prefer if those colleagues who see more faults than San Andreas actually first looked at themselves, maybe the issue lies within, but if not then to look to improve the fault that’s tickling their critical hot spots.

I’m a peacekeeper not a hard challenger at positive change, both have success and failure.  Yet it’s important to keep pushing to make the world a happy and productive place.


I’m not perfect mind, there’s people who simply don’t want to change and certainly they are the ones I’m critical of.

I read somewhere that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile,  so I guess it’s the same with behaviours.  Should we treat others with a negative or positive behaviour, to strive forwards with applause or backwards with criticism.

As long as either is justly deserved.


Stuff I couldn’t learn at school!

Like most, possibly I spent months ahead of exams pouring over books and past notes to hope for a good outcome, to get the marks needed.

Algebra, economics and history to name a few.  I had pretty rubbish results.

Certain private issues that I made public on another post here didn’t help, yet that’s not an excuse.

I loved wood work but didn’t have a knack, the flying propeller nose dived like my results!

Yet years later, I’m surprised by what I now remember and I suppose that’s because I’m interested and engaged.

There’s loads of non important, non world breaking, no newspaper front page stories of the things I memorise but it’s what makes me who I am and what makes us all a little unique.

We all have talents and passions, not all of them can fit into the conformity of a curriculum, so while as a child I felt I couldn’t learn Stuff, I guess the passion of my teachers  (not always in the right 70’s context) helped me in later life to seek a passion and follow it, to memorise a belief!

Rope swings

I was walking with tee and one of her clients, a beautiful husky called Boris.



Finally we have a lovely warm sunny day, so the three of us are making the most of the weather when I came across this.

Ok it’s not the best but the memories of proper rope swings was a nostalgic trip!


Instant memories of a childhood spent swinging on a rope came flooding back.

Who cares about health and safety, as a kid if you came across a rope and stick there was fun to be had.  Who cares whether the stranger who setup the rope was competent, I didn’t care and risked unknown injuries to swing as far or as high as possible!

There was one swing down near giants grave  (love that name but could never find the grave of the giants).  The swing hung over the canal.  Long summer days were spent swinging out and diving into the cool water.

Now that sounds idyllic but if you saw the canal with adult eyes you’d be concerned.  But we didn’t care we had a swing and cool water to dive into!

Another fine swing was in the ferry woods, it was atop of a deep drop so when we swung out it was like you were at the top of the empire state building!

I went back a few years ago and it was more like six foot tall!

Funny how time alters memory.  Yet the memories of the fun to be had with rope swings is a priceless memory, who doesn’t love a good rope swing!

Happy memories.

My balloon fell on the moon

I can’t recall where, but as a seven year old I’d been somewhere that earnt me a balloon.

I was walking home with my mum, one hand in her hand and my other holding this balloon.  Best balloon in the world, its smooth silky like bobbing in the wind captivated me.  She danced as dusk touched our day.

We were nearly home, I must have got distracted, maybe mum was asking a question or the magic of my balloon temporarily escaped me.

One minute my balloon was safe in the guardian grip of my hand, holding the string that kept my balloon close.

Yet then she was gone, floating away into the air, higher and higher, gone lost.

I had this such clear vivid memory of hopelessly chasing my balloon, shouts and tears as she floated higher to the moon.

Without Rhyme or reason I was crushed.  Years later as an adult, that memory confused me, why did the loss of this balloon upset me.

At that age the little things that are so important, so crucial seem miniscule as an adult.  Yet they signpost to who we are.

I made that balloon a part of me and with it’s loss it felt I was losing something close.  Like a close friend that becomes a distant contact.

Not sure this makes sense, no rhyme or reason i guess, but I do hope that balloon, made it to the moon.

Dedication to a passion

People who avoid pubs, avoid late nights, eat the right foods, who get up ridiculously early to go and do their thing.


Like most I’m in awe of these amazing people who dedicate their lives to their passion, to their sport.

I’ve watched the last couple of Olympics with tee and we’re glued to the screen, to sports we don’t normally watch but to see the achievement and the success of gold coming to these athletes has been a beautiful experience.

Equally for the losers and the really closers the emotion displayed is magnified by all those years of dedication of training. It’s something that leaves us speechless.

These people give their all for years, the early mornings and late nights, literally hours and hours of unseen dedication for a moment of potential.

I feel honoured to witness this dedication to watch the eyes and focus these people have to grab their dreams. Just a moment.

I pay Homage to all athletes, you inspire me to do more.