Not for the first time my mind took me to some strange places in my dreams last night. I don’t know what prompted the first dream, and the other two were odd in different ways.

Hillary, World Champion?

It began in Las Vegas. At least, I think it was Vegas. My wife and I were watching a boxing match (strange really, as neither of us have any vested interest in boxing), between an unknown guy and… former First Lady Hillary Clinton. Yes, seriously.


Believe it or not, Hillary gave as good as she got, holding her own well into round 6 and possibly beyond. Even in the dream I couldn’t help but wonder ‘WTF’, and no, I don’t know how the fight ended.

War, with… Animals?

Onward to dream two (I don’t recall if this dream was a strange continuation of the first, but it’s so different it deserves to be classed as a separate dream). I’m driving a tank (or I’m a video game character driving a tank) and blasting enemy tanks in some sort of futuristic war. After wading through dirty sewer water, I’m talking to an anthramorphic fox when a nuke goes off. I blame a combo of Guardians of the Galaxy and the North Korean problem for that one.

Poignant Times

I know exactly what brought on the final dream. I was firstly waking around a supermarket with my wife and daughter, when for some reason we had to go off in opposite directions. My little girl wanted to come with me, so off we went to get a card for my Nan’s birthday, even though at this point she has been gone for five years. Still, it mattered to me to get this card – so off I went to find one.

Suddenly, we found ourselves in my Nan’s old home, even though it wasn’t actually her home. My brother was there, and my Nan was there too. She gave me a hug and it felt very real and very emotional (feeling a bit emotional as I write this). Sadly, my daughter couldn’t see her – my Nan was there for my brother and I.

Surreal and touching and emotional.

Time is a funny thing. It can feel painfully slow sometimes, such as when you’re a kid in school, watching the clock, wanting desperately for the school day to end. Yet you can wake up one day, and it will have been over a decade since you were at school, leaving you to wonder, where did that time go? My daughter is seven – yet I can remember the day she was born like it was yesterday. Where did all that time go?!

Today is a particular poignant reminder of how time flies. On this day, twenty years ago, my Grandad left us. He was a wonderful man, who did not judge, did not get angry, did not do anything except take everything life threw at him in good humour and grace. In his youth he had served in the Army and fought the Nazis; he was brave, courageous and noble. I have many memories of listening to him talk about the war, though I’m sure he left out the gory details, on account of how young my brother and I were. His was a good soul, and to think  that it’s been twenty years… it’s just staggering.

Tonight I will raise a toast to this wonderful man, and I will look up to the Heavens and hope that somewhere, my Grandad is proud of me. I love you Grandad, and I miss you. x

Time to get a little emotional. Today my baby starts junior school, which is a surreal sentence to write. I don’t see how she can be that big, yet she is off to begin the next chapter of her education and start the next chapter of her life. My baby is not a baby, not anymore.

Such is the way of life. We can only move forward with time, though sometimes, wouldn’t it be nice for time to move more slowly?

Sometimes kids will mispronounce things, and it can be hilarious! They will also come out with funny stuff. My daughter frequently reminds her mother and I that ‘we’re allowed to kiss because we’re married.’ When she was smaller she would sometimes ask to watch Shrek and Fiona, but get her words jumbled and come up with something virtually unprintable…

She was travelling home on the train from a day out yesterday and chatting away to her niece (yes, my daughter is an auntie – it’s a complicated family dynamic!), who is around the same age. I was at work at this point so I didn’t get to witness this first hand – if I had, I don’t think I’d have been able to keep a straight face…

So they’re ‘having tea’ and making their purses talk… yes, talk. Then my daughter has said something along the lines of ‘and let’s not talk about the time when I shit my pants at the party!’. How my wife didn’t erupt into fits of laughter I do not know. My step-daughter thinks she actually said ‘when I lost my pants’, which is to be honest, nearly as funny, but still!

To answer this question effectively, we need to go back, to a time before she was born – to the time when I first learned I was going to be a father. We’d been trying for a baby for a little while, but I wasn’t sure how long it would take for my wife to fall pregnant. Then, one evening, she took a test, and it came up as positive. Another test followed the next morning; she confirmed it – she was pregnant – I was going to be a father!

I went to work that morning in something of a daze. I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to tell everyone, but of course, you can’t – so I kept my mouth shut, waiting until the twelve week scan mark. That felt like a long wait!

In fact, whilst I waited for nine months to see my little girl, it actually felt like a moment my whole life had been building up to. Sitting with my wife in the hospital as we waited, and waited, and waited for my daughter to arrive, was one of the longest days (and nights!) of my life. Then, after an eternity, one of the midwifes announced she could see the baby’s head, and at that point, I felt my control snap. Emotions hit me and hit me hard. This was the moment I would finally lay eyes on my baby.

I cried. I cried when she appeared, I cried when she let out her little cry, and when I got to hold her for the first time, telling her (as my voice threatened to crack) ‘hello, I’m your daddy’. Even as I type this, I can feel myself welling up. In that moment, my life and my world were complete. I had everything I could never want or need.

The other day I posted a call to ask me questions. Well, I already have quite a few! The first of these asks ‘how I met my wife?’

The year was 1889… actually it was July 2004. England had not long made their customary hurried exit from a major football tournament. The Cassini-Huygens probe entered orbit around Saturn. If we want to get technical, I’d started talking to the lady who would become my wife a few weeks before, online and on the phone, but I didn’t actually meet her until the 10th of July, 2004.

It was a hot day. I made my way from King’s Cross station to Fenchurch Street (previously completely unknown to me), and met her as she got off a train. Straight away I thought she was beautiful, but we were meeting as friends (in fact, the original plan was for a group meet-up via a web forum, that everyone blew out), and I wasn’t going to presume anything. I just wanted to have a nice day that would be different from the usual weekend fare, and if that led anywhere…

So, what did we do? My memories aren’t 100% anymore, but I recall visiting an art gallery, and having lunch at Planet Hollywood, which included an amazing chocolate brownie dessert thingy, that I took a photo of, and still had until recently. We wandered around Covent Garden and Leicester Square. I felt myself wanting to get to know this woman more. I was a little guarded back then – a few bad experiences made me wary of opening up – but she put me at ease. I could relax with her. By the end of the day, we were kissing, cuddling, and I knew I had to see her again. We parted ways, but that night, I could still feel her arms wrapped around me. It was the strangest sensation, the warmest and happiest feeling, and one I’d never felt before. Since then, we’ve had our ups and downs, as all couples have, but it didn’t take me long to decide I wanted to marry her, even if the proposal wasn’t the most elegant proposal! I don’t remember exactly how long it had been, but I knew I wouldn’t find anyone who would understand me quite like she did.

The rest, as they say, is history! Here we are, thirteen years later, and we’ve been married for nearly eight of those. We have a beautiful daughter, a happy home, and I have found my place in this crazy world.

The final chapter of our Highlands adventure took the form of a meal at a nearby hotel, where we said fond ‘until next times’ to our loved ones. Beyond that, the day has been a quiet one – our energy is all but spent, our mood one of reflection on the week’s activities. Tomorrow is the journey home and soon, the routine of work will resume. It’s been a memorable week, crammed with various experiences, and one I shall remember with great joy and delight.

Today marked the Big Day! The reason for descending upon Aviemore. Weddings in my family tend to be big, boisterous affairs and this promised to be no different. My second cousin had hired a grand hall to host her special day – and this provided a good reason to get suited and booted!

Aultmore Hall is an astonishing venue. A huge place that’s obviously hosted a wedding or two, the hosts ensured the wedding ran smoothly and that everyone had a great time! My wife and I watched our adorable little girl throw herself into the festivities with abandon, and we enjoyed a big big dinner (which I am still recovering from). The whole day was glorious, and I wish the happy couple all the best for the future!

Today has been an altogether more sedate experience. A trip to the local cinema to see Captain Underpants (a better film than I’d expected!), a few unplanned run-ins with relatives and a couple more sights of the steam railway. We also fed a duck!








Tomorrow is the big one – the wedding!

Pictures to be added later to this one!

Today was very much an ‘action adventure’ day. I did something I’d never done before, and I loved it.

What was it you ask? Something called canyoning. It involved a wetsuit, harness and hard hat, to give you an idea as to the nature of it! The experience began in earnest with a jump – literally, we jumped into a river, from a reasonable height. The water was cold (but then, we are in Scotland), and from that point on, we did a mix of sliding down the rapids, hurling ourselves off various points, and abseiling too. For me, the most nerve-wracking parts of the experience were sliding from a near-vertical drop into pitch-black waters, and abseiling more or less into a waterfall. 

This is actually a tough experience to describe in a manner that does it justice. If you don’t mind getting wet, aren’t too worried about heights and prepared to ache afterwards, it’s worth a go!