That’s all it said.
It was validated by two, hurriedly, scribbled and barely legible initials.
Eleven words that really knocked me. One for each of my tender years at the time. They still hurt a little, nearly half a century later.
It was, without doubt, the worst written report I’d received throughout my entire time at school, sixth form and college.
It was far worse than any of my maths’ reports. They were never good, but they offered a degree or two of optimism and suggested I was, at the very least, trying.
Admittedly, I was not good with numbers…
We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary with fish ’n’ chips in the garden.
There were no pearls. There was no lavish party.
My wife’s never been keen on pearls, diamonds or expensive shiny trinkets of any description for that matter. She’s not that fussed about parties either.
Neither of us is remotely materialistic and right now with the world slowly recalibrating itself, extravagant gestures of that magnitude somehow seem totally inappropriate.
Simple, thoughtful gifts and gestures and acts of kindness are what’s needed.
They’re even more relevant and important during these extraordinary times we’re coming to terms with.
Today, I’m committing to the writing career I’ve always wanted — Mine.
Not the writing that generates profits for my clients, promotes brands, increases market share and secures editorial features, but the writing I love.
I’ve always told my children to do what makes them happy and never take a job for the money. What a hypocrite.
Now, ever so belatedly, it’s time to heed my own advice.
It’s not the sensible option — Far from it. But, in my experience, being sensible all the time can weigh heavily stifling creativity and personal ambition.
Sometimes, you’ve just got to suppress…
As I write, I’m smiling. That’s got to be a good thing.
I’m taking it on board as a positive.
It’s 7.35am already and I haven’t started my ‘To do’ list or touched my journal.
It’s a dilemma…
I wasn’t aware of it until right now, but today, I’m operating freestyle. I’m running with it.
I was up at 6:00am; I’ve had my water; a cold shower (okay, tepid, it’s not compulsory); and I dressed in the dark having laid out my clothes last night.
It’s been going well. The only trivial downside, noticed by my wife actually, is that…
About 4,070,000,000 results (0.43 seconds). I had no idea.
I’m not even sure what that number is.
Van life’s a pretty big deal then.
There are heaps (billions it seems) of incredibly well-crafted, articulate and informative articles on every aspect of van life (okay, not all of them are well-crafted and articulate).
There’s something about the idea of heading off in a camper that’s just so appealing.
It has to be a Volkswagen though, a VW.
I have no idea why. Other brands… as they say.
Hitting the open road with a full tank of fuel; only a vague idea…
It’s been a difficult year, seldom calm and seldom bright.
The global pandemic has disrupted all our lives to varying degrees.
For so many, the hardship, uncertainty and despair has compounded into life’s biggest challenge as we all struggle to adapt to the rapidly changing world around us.
Yet, there’s always hope. That’s certainly the belief of one small charity despite being forced to close its doors to the homeless in March prior to the first UK lockdown when it couldn’t meet the government’s COVID guidelines.
After months of hard work behind the scenes, The Big Yellow Bus Project is…
For me, it’s the most magical and rewarding part of the day.
The rising sun is not just one of nature’s joys. It’s energising and can be life transforming. It gives you a new beginning each day and an opportunity to make a difference for yourself and those closest to you.
Little is accomplished while you slumber beneath the duvet.
And there’s something immensely satisfying about rising before the masses and getting a head start on your day.
If nothing else, you get to enjoy some uninterrupted ‘me time’. Treasure it. Devote it to sitting quietly with a cup of…
I never actually told my children, there’s no Santa Claus — I couldn’t.
They would work it out themselves at the right time. In the meantime, we wanted them to enjoy the wonders of as many childhood Christmases as possible.
I think I was six or seven when my older brother, by a couple of years, shattered my illusions on Christmas morning and told me Santa Claus didn’t exist. It wasn’t the same after that. The childhood magic was lost.
I’ve been thinking about this piece for a while pondering whether I’ll be the one to shatter any illusions for…
For nearly an hour this morning, I couldn’t bring myself to start work.
I kept glancing at one of my favourite photos in its dusty little brass frame next to my screen.
The slightly fading picture of my wife and our three adored children captures one of many treasured days with my family over the years.
It was taken on a glorious blue sky day in the snow among the trees at Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire more than 20 years ago. Strangely, we all love trees.
A lovely lady had been watching us playing together and came over and asked…
I won’t be on the start line with 30,000 other cyclists for the Prudential RideLondon100 as planned on Sunday 16 August.
Sadly, it’s another casualty of the unforeseen events of this strangest of years we’re coming to terms with.
Among the many adjustments we’re all making, I made my mind up during lockdown that it wasn’t going to stop me supporting the incredible work of Children with Cancer UK because their suffering doesn’t stop until we find a cure. Their suffering doesn’t stop during a pandemic.
Every day, a dozen families in the UK still receive the devastating news that…