Thursday, 8 October 2015


Dear Rachel,

It's not enough that I apologise for delaying in writing back to you but at least let me start by saying that I am sorry. Your writing has been in my mind but my bum has not been in this seat for long enough to let you know that. Here we are.

Good news is one of life's pleasures. Babies are good news, ergo babies are pleasures. A lady whom I have worked closely with for the past couple of years announced her pregnancy recently and you can see already in her face the love and excitement bubbling. It's as if she has already had a cuddle, which I suppose she has as she envelopes and develops that wee creature. I wonder if she has any idea how new her life will be in just a matter of weeks.

I received a handmade father's day card in the post today from my dear Jonah. I've written before about him and the delay I had in bonding with him when he was so little. I adored him long before he was a twinkle but, to my enormous shame, I held back. It's godawful for a parent to write those words. 

Jonah is a hero. His is alive to the nth degree and brings happiness and hope to his company. He brings it to me every time I feel him in my thoughts and prayers. Ben is a one in a billion boy and we worried that Jonah would be in his shadow. Little did  we know that they be in each other's - keeping the other cool. Our family has its bumps but the love and affection between Ben and Jonah is as big as Wales itself and the root of all the pride I enjoy in my life.

Yes, I got my cookies and the conversation and smiles I really was after. There was also a bag of cookies hanging on my door handle one evening this week after I returned from a run.

With a good friend, I am off to Oman again tomorrow, . It's a beautiful place and you'll definitely get taken there when you visit. The water is clear and there is a warmth from both the sun and the people which makes me feel at home. I am going because I have been so busy at work (and the pub) recently. There will be not let up for the next month. This is a forced break and when my friend agreed to come I knew that choosing to be happy instead of busy  this weekend was a splendid move. With regards to ice cream, I like the ones that are berry flavoured. As an adult with discretionary income, I often splash for frozen yoghurt or sorbet. I was babysitting a wee boy yesterday and we went for a very simple vanilla on a stick, coated in a hard chocolate shell. It was a good choice because it became a little messy which gave us reason to laugh and wipe faces. You did well to identify the need for a treat and stepped up, as a kind person, to make it happen. Ice cream is a memory maker, amiright?

I do actually understand what you mean by parenting being a be a show and we're in the audience to some degree. Once I realised this was the case, I felt a relief in letting my boys be who they already are rather than trying to make them into who I wasn't, we were all free to enjoy the ride a little more. A trip to New Zealand a few summers ago to farewell a friend impressed this deeply in me and although I never thanked him for helping me understand this, I will be forever grateful.

Being secretary for the Sailing Club will be a hoot. If there is a uniform, like I hoped, it will be provided by myself and will consist of what most cool middle aged men wear - jeans, adidas sneakers and either a smart collared shirt or retro tee with a slogan reading 'independent trucks' or 'old school' across the pecks.

You asked me a question which I was asked again by another compatriot this week. You'll get the same answer. Little makes me happier than to see parents taking joy in their children and expressing that through the stories they tell. I worship my sons and talk about them as much as I bloody can. Please, don't for a second hold back sharing this part of your life with me. There is no sadness here when I read these stories as they all remind me of the love I have for my own whippets.

As I work long, officey hours these days, music has been barking away in the background relentlessly. Jack White and Dave Grohl have had my attention almost exclusively this week. Jack White is, as has been said by many, a genius. Dave Grohl is simply a good old fashioned rockstar with belting tunes. In the end, it was decided that we enjoyed listening to music we liked more than playing musical tease.

Rachel, it's been lovely to chat. I said more to you in my head as I reread your post and it's not all here but be assured you have kept me thinking as always. When you're ready, tell me about friendship and goodwill with your Ben.

Have a happy weekend. Drink wine (then tea) and laugh as much as you can. As you like. As you need to. As a child.


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