Sunday, 4 January 2015

Another year is draws to a close.

Another year is drawing to a close so it seems appropriate to write a blog.   It is less and less frequent that I blog at the moment. I'm not sure I will go back to it in a personal capacity but I plan on starting to blog "professionally" for the charity. 

As I look back at 2014 and read my blog at the end of 2013 I am again made acutely aware of my complete dislike of "New Year".  I've disliked it since being a child and rarely has it changed over the years.

This year though I am not at home for New Year.  Jonathan and I are in Egypt, (Sharm-El-Sheikh) and New Years Eve is our last night here.  We will be pleased to go home, we have been here almost three weeks as we came out earlier in December so I spent my 40th birthday here in addition to Christmas and New Year. 

It's been nice to be away but after this long it will be nice to go home too, even more so for Jon as I've now discovered, (the hard way) that, if he is away from the hustle and bustle of juggling home life with work then this causes more problems than it solves.  I guess we all have our quirks and we know now not to plan any long vacations again.

There have been a lot of changes this year.  I've learned a few things too.  I've finished fitting a new kitchen at the big house, put a new shower room and bathroom in so thats a lot of plumbing, joinery and tiling.  I've learned how to erect scaffolding and fitted new uPVC windows, (including a bay window).  I didn't doubt myself but I'd never had the necessity to do many of these things before.

I should add that fitting a new bathroom and shower room sounds simple but the prep took a very long time.  Firstly I had to cut the old cast iron bath into four to get that out down a spiral staircase so you get an idea of the challenges I faced.  There are still a few finishing touches to add but it all looks very different now and I'm pleased with the results.

It wasn't just me who got old this year.  Jon turned 40 this year too and amongst other things I got him two kittens for his birthday, Arthur and Martha.  They are very cute and very mischievous too, especially Martha.  That makes us a six cat household now but fortunately, (because Jon Googled it) we are not crazy cat ladies, that happens when you have seven apparently.  

In saying that, Hugo had been poorly and on antibiotics before we came away.  Jon took him in as a stray many years ago and he has lived like a king since then.  Jon has spoken to Ann, looking after the cats, and she said Hugo is holding on but "be prepared".  The vet told us a few weeks ago he has a tumour but he wasn't in pain and seems well in himself, (well for him anyway) but that given his age and his heart murmur then an operation was not advisable as he may not even survive the anaesthetic let alone the trauma of surgery so it was best to just keep him as well as possible for as long as possible.  I guess you could call it palliative care however, with a human we would make them suffer until their body gives up.  At least we have the ability to give Hugo a humane and dignified end of life.

The other main change this year has been that I have kick-started the charity again, It had been dormant whilst I changed career then for a few reasons we had a change of trustees.  Alongside that there is still two issues to resolve.  They are both with legal advisors.  It is saddening and I am bitterly disappointed but I have also learned the hard way that not everyone who smiles at you is your friend.

On a positive note though the charity is set to grow and grow throughout 2015.  It is really exciting and pleasing to work with other trustees passionate about our cause and keen to get results.  We've had a brief video made by which explains who we are and why we exist.  The website is still under construction but our video is there already so please take a look,

When I said, right at the beginning of this post, that I hope to write more for the charity, that is where the blog posts will apear.  If you follow the charity on twitter though @lgbtcancersupp then you'll have all the latest news etc as and when it happens.

For now I am signing off.  It is currently 16:00 on 30th December 2014 here but even though I am publishing this now it probably wont "send" until I am home on 1st January 2015.

Whatever you get up to for new year, enjoy it.  Don't look back at the year and dwell on the negatives, pluck out the positives and look forward to a brighter and better 2015, oh and there is some other news to tell too but I will save that for another time.

Until next time, take care.
Mark x

Monday, 21 July 2014


I recently watched Jo Beecham's video interview (view it here if you've not seen it yet: ).  She explained in it how she has fought to live and now feels she has to fight to die.  She has terminal cancer and knows her prognosis however, she would like the choice to have a dignified death.

Jo explained how she would like to die.  On the face of it, it is quite a morbid thought but we all know we are going to die however, some of us have an indication of when that could be.  As she explained her ideal death though it made me reflect on Stephen's death.

Would Stephen consider that he had a good death?  It was the best that was possible given the circumstances but, I doubt it is how he would have wanted.

When he was given his terminal prognosis we spoke about many things, they type of funeral he wanted but, more importantly the type of funeral he didn't want.  He was very clear that it was to be a fun reflection on his life but, knowing Stephen, I knew his mantra for any performance we gave, "make em laugh and make em cry..." I'm pleased to say his was the first funeral I had attended where people genuinely laughed as we reflected on the deceased's life and also shed more than a tear or two as it dawned on us how lucky we were to know him and how different life will be without him.

There were elements of Stephen's death that I guess would be characteristic of most peoples wishes.  He was hugged and held by his partner and surrounded by his family.  Friends had visited during the preceding few hours to say their farewells and, as far as we are aware, he was free from pain.  All that being said though he wasn't 'present' and hadn't been for some time.  

Stephen was effectively in a coma from the very early hours of Tuesday morning and took his angel wings in the early hours of Wednesday morning.  The last real conversation I had with him was Sunday evening as he asked me to take him to hospital.  He hated being in hospital so I knew he was struggling when he asked to go to hospital knowing that it was certain he would be admitted.

As soon as his bed had been allocated he was given medication to tackle the pain which, understandably, made him drowsy.  There were a few brief moments of consciousness from then until I kissed him goodnight on Monday night but these were mainly just one word answers to my questions.  Asking him after his medication, "how are you feeling now?" His answer simple and concise, "Shit!" 

Later that night, during the early hours of Tuesday morning Stephen suffered a seizure.  We know now that it killed him, his first seizure was also his last.  From then until his last breath we went through a roller coaster of emotion.  The despair of losing him, the disbelief of what we were being told which meant we went through periods of thinking that there may be hope and we shouldn't give up and then almost convincing yourself that it is just a dream, a very bad one, and we will wake up soon, hug and live happily ever after now that we'd been reminded what we stood to lose.  Of course it was real.

Sharing someone's last moments with them felt like a privilege, one I'd rather not have experienced but, unlike Jo, I don't think Stephen had considered how he wanted his last hours to be.  Stephen died in a small side room of an intensive care unit.  He was connected to several machines monitoring all sorts of things. He had been under continuous monitoring by at least one, mainly two, nurses throughout his stay there.  Not once were we, as his family and loved ones, left alone with him until after he had passed.  I and we took comfort from that at the time as it meant we felt he had received the best possible care.  With hindsight though I wonder whether we were monitored too?

Because Stephen had been well, relatively speaking, on the Sunday morning but had died on Wednesday morning we are aware his suffering wasn't long and protracted.  His passing was swift and, whilst I am guessing, it made it more difficult for us, I would have hated seeing him suffer.

That's something Jo mentioned, she will not suffer.  Why should she?  As human beings we can empathise and have compassion for one another but in this country we are not allowed to help them end their suffering.  We can attempt to ease it but, sometimes even the strongest painkillers can only take the edge off.  If someone is unable to talk how can they convey that?

Death is a subject most of us would rather not discuss but some of us have had to.  Dealing with death and indeed discussing my own death has made me feel stronger.  It puts you in control, a box ticked on the "to do" list and something you can put aside as done.  That being said though I cannot comprehend how difficult it must be for people like Jo and Stephen, having to make those arrangements after being prompted by a terminal diagnosis.  

Furthermore, I cannot imagine the turmoil in having to even contemplate choosing your own death.  With this in mind, why do we have to make it even more difficult AND illegal?  Surely the Assisted Dying bill, if it ever became law, is a step toward a truly humane society.  A society in which we not only try to ease the suffering of those who are ill but ending the suffering of those facing a terminal diagnosis.

Those campaigning against it seem to have really not considered the bill fully.  This isn't about finishing Great Aunt Maud off because you're bored of looking after her but it is about giving victims, unfortunate enough to have a terminal diagnosis, a choice.

I am sure each and every person with a terminal cancer diagnosis would prefer the choice to not have cancer but unfortunately that isn't possible.  The second best choice seems to be to give the cancer no place to go.  I know Stephen would consider he had won the fight against cancer.  He may have died but, the cancer didn't get an opportunity to take his dignity.  He fought to the end to make sure the cancer didn't win.  

Those facing terminal diagnosis have my admiration.  Often facing an inevitable end with fortitude.  If I could do anything to help then I will, so, I've signed the Dignity in Dying petition.  If you believe in giving choices instead of prolonging suffering then I'd urge you to sign too.  If you're unsure then please re-watch Jo's interview.  If you're still undecided then just consider how lucky you are to have the time to consider your decision..... Or should I say, your choice? 

Click on the link and make your voice heard:

Until next time, 

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

As one year ends...

...another year is dawning. I'd like to write a positive and glowing review of 2013 but right now my mood is bleak. There have been a lot of high points over the year and just a few lows however right now I think it would be difficult to muster a fair appraisal of the year.

New year fills me with melancholy. With no distraction away from it planned it becomes all consuming. I hate new year and all the fuss and hype around it. I feel sad. Very sad. My reasons are many but I'm not in the frame of mind to explore them. Tomorrow is a new day so I think an early night is in order.

Goodnight and, I sincerely hope your farewell to 2013 is much less difficult than mine.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Very long overdue...

I started writing this entry (Friends) a few weeks ago and never got around to finishing it or posting it to my blog.  As I have a few minutes spare at work, (an extremely rare occurrence lately) I've decided to finish it off and add a little update so, nothing for months then a huge tsunami of blogging at once!


I'm sat in bed wondering what I will achieve this morning before I go off to work and I started to consider my friends and that's got me thinking....  So, I've decided to write a blog as I have been very aware lately that I've not written for a very long time.

I've thought a lot about my friends recently.  In part because I've deactivated my Facebook account so don't see what my friends are up to now but mainly because there are a few more I have parted company with.  There have been no arguments but sometimes our lives go in different direction.  If a friend cannot accept your life choices and it causes friction between you, then is there any point in trying to maintain a fractious relationship? The situation isn't going to change and I'm fed up of trying to please other people.  Again, losing Stephen made me realise life is too short to waste time on those who don't appreciate you.

I think I have quite a small circle of friends.  I've never been one to "collect friends" and have never felt the need to have lots of people around me but I feel those I do have around me are very special to me.

This week I've been thinking about Christmas, the fact it's just 115 days away (as of today it's only 72 days away so you can see how long this has taken to complete) and I've been thinking about those friends who I rarely see but do get to see at Christmas.  I love it.  It's great to catch up with them, sharing news and gossip from the months since I saw them last.  This is my point exactly, I don't need to see my friends daily or weekly to consider them friends.  They remain friends because of their actions and attitude and not judging me. 

Both Jon and I have enjoyed spending time with friends this summer.  We've not spent as much time as we would have liked but that's mainly due to work commitments and decorating at home but we've appreciated the time we've had with them.  We've both had issues and problems to deal with elsewhere but they'll sort themselves out with time.  For now though we will just look forward to less hectic lifestyles and more time with friends.


I'm in quite a reflective mood today.  Reading my blog above I suppose has contributed but by far the biggest influence on my mood today, (and for the past few days to be honest), is the fact that tomorrow, Monday, would have been my 7th anniversary of Steve and I getting hitched.  It was a lovely day, everything went perfectly and it was an enjoyable, stress free and over far too soon.

I've debated with myself many times the thought of "til death us do part" and how I'd never have considered Steve and I would part so soon afterwards.  Our 'lifetime' together spanned just 4 anniversaries so that's just four anniversaries as a married man and now I'm on to my third as a widower.  It's a thought that makes me only too aware of how quickly time passes us by.

So, what will I be doing to mark the occasion?  In short, not a lot, I'm working.  At the same time whilst it is important to look back and accept where you've come from I think it's also important to look to the present and to the future.  This makes me grateful for the partner I have and the future we are able to build together.  Not forgetting our pasts but learning from them and looking forward to a brighter future.

The Rest

I suppose then all that's left to say is to mention a few highlights since I blogged last.  There are loads but amongst them are:

1) My parents have celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary with a party at home and then a road trip around Scotland.  It was great to see friends and family and a good time was had by all.  The weather was good and I thoroughly enjoyed cooking for them all, (although I did make far too much food).

2) There's been a new addition to the family.  A lovely baby boy who decided to keep us waiting almost two weeks more than he was supposed to but he was well worth the wait and is adorable.  

3) Jon and I have taken a trip to the Channel Isles to see family.  It was the first time I'd met them and was the first time in many years Jon had seen them too so it was lovely to just spend time with them.

4) A dear friend of mine has been appointed as a representative of The Queen as a deputy lieutenant.  It's a well deserved position and it suits her personality too so I look forward to hearing the many stories I am sure she will have over the coming weeks, months and years.

Lowlights include:

1) Health issues within the family, not just on a personal note with Jon and I but also the wider family.  This has caused a ripple effect, much like throwing a boulder in a pond.  It's difficult being unable to help though.

2) Health issues with friends, one in particular is battling a cancer and there are others, equally concerning.  I want to do more to help but my hours at work, more specifically the antisocial non working hours aren't helping.

3) Taking on too much work, trying to renovate a kitchen, bathroom and a few other rooms in the house consecutively really does take it's toll on your motivation and energy levels.  It seems like a never ending slog.

Reasons to be cheerful:

1) It's holiday planning time for Jon and I.  We both turn 40 next year so we are hoping to go away for each of our birthdays, Purses permitting.

2) I have some time off in November to go and visit my Sister, visit some friends down south, a shopping day with Mum and a beer sampling day with a legendary lesbo!  (The hidden negative is that these trips are punctuated with work and MUST DO DIY tasks.

3) Christmas is coming (Yay!) although this means I am VERY behind on making and crafting things for gifts and I will be working most of it but still, I love the festive season.

Well, that's about all I'm going to bore you with for now.  I'm not making a promise to be back soon because I doubt I'll be able to keep it but I hope it isn't so long until I return.

Take care,

Saturday, 15 June 2013

731 days later

Or, I suppose it's easier to count it as two years, (spread over a leap year hence the odd "1" at the end).

That's how long it's been since my husband took his last breath, since I became a widower and since the world as I knew it changed forever.

As I look back I recall it was a very long night following a very long day which was a roller coaster of emotions from 01:58 when I first received the call from the hospital advising me Stephen had become acutely unwell and asking if I'd like to visit him. I was there at 02:16 but it was after midday before I was allowed to see him.

By this time he was securely wrapped on a gurney hooked up to loads of machines with tubes and wires all over him ready to be put in an ambulance and sent with blue lights flashing to a neuroscience specialist unit.

Shortly after his arrival he was seen by a consultant who immediately came to advise me what he had found. Stephen was unresponsive to light. This meant little to me at that time but it basically meant he was already brain dead and, although a variety of machines were keeping the mechanics of his body "alive" the chances of him ever opening his eyes and smiling at me were gone. It was now just a waiting game.

We were told that sedatives would no longer be given to Stephen and eventually mechanical support would be withdrawn but, as he was a strong young man of 32 then we may have days as opposed to hours to say goodbye to him. This was like nature mocking us. Firstly it claimed Stephen too many years too soon and then it toyed with us and threatened to torture us for an indefinite period just waiting for the inevitable.

Stephens final hours were peaceful. It was 04:30 the following day when he exhaled his last breath. Fate had allowed Me, his parents, my parents, his brother and some friends the opportunity to say goodbye. Wishing he could stay but allowing him to leave and go on to wherever he had to go next.

The next few days, weeks and months are a bit of a blur. Gallons of tears, recalling some wonderful memories and feeling bitter and cheated at the cruelty of life.

Looking back though I learned lots at that time. I learned a lot about myself and about those around me. More importantly though looking back I can see that actually I am a stronger person than I realised and I still firmly believe things happen for a reason.

With this in mind I truly believe if Stephen could have gone to a "pick'n'mix" counter and build a new partner for me then the person I met just nine months later is precisely that person. I guess I have another guardian angel now. This one is called Stephen and I'm sure he's never far away.

Two years on and a lot has changed. I sometimes wonder what Steve would say if he could come back and have a chat and review the past two years with me. What would he tell me off for and what would make him proud? I can guess and I'd probably be pretty close.

Time hasn't made his passing a less bitter pill to swallow and it hasn't made the hurt any less but I've got used to this feeling. Like a numb ache you can't get rid of and the feeling that something isn't quite correct, like wearing your shoes on the wrong feet.

I have a lot more happy than sad days now and I have things to look forward to. I'm not sure if I will ever feel like I used to but I'm not sure I want to. I'm proud of my 'scars' and wear them like medals of an ongoing battle where every day is a triumph.

As I start my third year as a widower, all be it a partnered widower, there's a tinge of sadness for what may have been but, I am excited about what the coming year may bring.

Thank you Stephen for our happy years together, thank you for being my guardian angel and thank you for continuing to make me smile, even in your absence your memory makes me smile. Sleep peacefully. Finally though, thank you to my Jonathan for being so patient and understanding.

Love, hugs and best wishes to you too and to everyone who remembers Steve and looks back fondly.

Xx M xX

Friday, 7 June 2013

Fifty - Fifty


That’s much better odds than you have of winning the lottery.  Macmillan’s report today that by 2020 almost half of the UK population will get Cancer during their lifetime comes as no great surprise to those of us who have lived with or had a brush with Cancer.  How many of us buy a lottery ticket and dream of what we will spend our winnings on?  How many of us dream of how different life would be if we won the 50:50 lottery of cancer?
It’s a fascinating but scary thought, as you look around the room or think about those nearest and dearest to you that half of you will get Cancer.  That doesn’t mean you’re likely to die from it, the odds on that are much higher.  After I lost my Husband to Cancer I checked out what the odds were of the situation I found myself in and was surprised to learn that Stephen was more likely to win the Euro millions lottery on a Triple rollover week than to get diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme and die just eight months later.
Stephen’s Cancer was a relatively rare, just Google it, the simpler term would be Grade IV (4) Brain Tumour.  Extremely aggressive and quick growing cancer that rarely responds to even the strongest treatment.  Median survival is 12 – 18 moths.  It doesn’t make for pleasant reading, especially not as the sun shines through the window and we think of the weekend ahead but, it seems sooner or later we will all have to consider cancer and the effect it will have on us or a loved one.
Prior to Stephen’s diagnosis in September 2010 we had rarely considered Cancer or it’s effects but we were soon plunged into a strange and unfamiliar world.  Yes, we met fantastic professionals who told us clearly what we could expect and to re-assure us that they would do all they possibly could to give us the best, or longest, possible future.  We were told about support available on an emotional or practical level too and introduced to some of the wide ranges of support Macmillan, ( ) amongst others, were able to offer. 
Our experience of Macmillan was great, Stephen’s specialist nurse, Alison, was great.  Just knowing she was there was a comfort.  We sought specialist support though as we wanted to learn and understand more about this journey we were on.  We found another charity, BT Buddies ( ) and they were also great in providing clear and factual information specific to Brain Cancer but when we looked for emotional support we struggled, we found none that we felt met our needs although many wanted to help none really understood our situation.
You see, as a gay couple Stephen and I felt our needs were slightly different.  We were processed in the same way with no consideration for our situation.  For example, we had the obligatory “fertility talk” from a nurse explaining that Chemotherapy could affect Stephens chances of fathering a child.  We made light of the situation, both giggled and flippantly asked the nurse if there had been recent scientific breakthroughs meaning that men could bear children?  It was uncomfortable for us all, the nurse saying.... “Well I have to tell you” even though whilst not mincing in on a cloud of pink glitter, we were clearly a couple and were proud to say so, and often had to.
Throughout his treatment Stephen had regular appointments with various doctors and consultants.  This involved waiting in a large waiting room to be called to a small consulting room.  The pattern was usually that the nurse would call out Stephen’s name, he would stand to identify himself to her so she could take him to the consulting room and as I stood next to him there would be a slightly  confused look and she’d say... “and you are?”  I’d have to identify myself as Stephen’s husband and then she’d march us off to the consulting room. 
Not such a big deal you may think.  It may not be for us, we were/are not shy and retiring types but imagine how difficult that is for someone who is.  Someone who would prefer not to disclose their sexuality or are simply not “out”.  They have just been identified as a same sex couple in front of a busy waiting room.  It’s a simple thing that adds to the stress and anxiety of the situation for a vulnerable patient.  There were many other situations which Stephen and I made light of but, had we been more sensitive types, we may have been more upset by them.  It was this experience that made Stephen and I want to address this issue. 
We searched throughout the UK for an LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Trans) service which provided specific support for cancer sufferers.  We wanted to chat to other men to see how they were dealing with their cancer and how it affected them, their families and friends and found that there are none.  A chance to talk to someone in the same situation and to share experiences.  Whilst the medical needs of LGBT patients may be the same the emotional ones are not.  When we realised there was no such support though we decided we would remedy this, just as soon as Stephen got better.
Unfortunately he didn’t get better and he passed away almost two years ago.  His dream hasn’t died with him though.  With the help of some friends I’ve now set up the first UK charity to help provide such support.  It’s taken some time and  LGBT Cancer Support ( ) is still in it’s infancy but we are here to help.  We are not a replacement for any other support service and see ourselves in part, as a signposting service toward other specific and targeted support but our main aim is to support the LGBT community, their friends and families living with a cancer diagnosis.  We have plans to make a bigger difference but this will take time, experience and of course money.  Sometimes our questions or thoughts don’t make sense and there is no logical reason to ask them such as, “would my Son have got this Cancer if he wasn’t gay?” or  “I feel embarrassed about my breasts since my partner had a mastectomy” but if these are things which trouble us then why shouldn’t we talk about them? 
You’re right, we should but members of the LGBT community are often concerned about homophobia.  It still exists and it’s still in our communities.  Yes we may have legal rights and laws protecting us but prejudice is ingrained in some and gay hate crime is still a real and current threat.  As gay marriage is debated by government gay men are being targeted and attacked so is it any wonder we worry that we may not get the same treatment as our heterosexual friends, or that we may be judged for our life choices.  Let’s face it, the common perceptions of the LGBT community are often those of hedonism and promiscuity but cancer doesn’t respect or recognise age, sexuality or even those of a virtuous nature so we, as a community, are also facing those 50:50 odds of getting Cancer during our lifetime.
As I’ve said, Cancer isn’t something any of us want to think about and of course I can only talk about it from the perspective of a Widower who lost his husband to the disease.  I can’t change the world and I’m not going to discover a cure but, I can take my experiences and channel them in to making a positive change in the lives of those affected by Cancer.  I hope to never meet or hear from any of my readers as I hope none of you have to experience the cruelty of Cancer  but please keep me in the back of your mind and remember LGBT Cancer Support will be here if you ever need them.

Take care,
Mark x 

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

A much overdue update...

Well I guess it's about time I actually write something and today, being Stephens birthday seems an appropriate day. He would have been 34 today. It's his second birthday since he got his angel wings. I don't mind admitting its a difficult day. Of course I still miss Steve and then feel guilt for Jon but I think he understands. Circumstances beyond the control of either of us brought us together and far from him being a 'second option' I love them as much as each other but only one can reciprocate. I'm sure some thought it would be a "passing fad" or "on the re-bound" but that's not the case.

I am as surprised as anyone to have found someone so special so soon but we make each other happy. We've been together now well over a year. I won't say it's been easy, it's not been but, most of the difficulties have been due to factors outside out relationship so as those are resolved things just keep getting better.

When I wrote last I mentioned I was in training for my new job. It was intense to say the least and not everyone who started met the grade and completed so I was pleased to have qualified early in March. I am now a driver for Metrolink.

Yes, driving trams wasn't something I ever envisaged doing but compared to my last job it's great. The main motivation for leaving my old job was that I was working long hours, over and above those contracted with no thanks or appreciation and no monetary reward either. Here at least I have sign on and sign off times. Work outside those hours is voluntary and paid and there is no chance of me being expected to take work home. The shifts can make socialising difficult as when I finish at 1am there's few people around for a chat but the shifts are planned well in advance so at least I know when the next break is coming. All in all, the stress if training was worth it and now I get to enjoy driving a 2Million pounds vehicle weighing around 40 Tons (unloaded) and seeing the sights and sounds of Manchester and surrounding areas on a daily basis.

Looking back there are a few other significant events, flowers from Jon, a visit from Spider-Man and some weekends away including a beautiful 5 star mini break with Jon for passing my exams and most recently a lovely weekend visiting friends. Those are the good things. On the down side my Sister is having to have her dog euthanised today.

She got her from a rescue centre, many years ago, she was an abused dog so took time to settle but she was certainly one of the family. I'm not sure how many years, probably more than 10 or 12 years but I think my sister has had the dog longer than she's had her husband! The dog has been poorly recently and the vet has advised it's "for the best" as she's likely to be in pain etc. I really feel for her an feel sad myself too because Simba really was like Michelle's shadow. I'm very sad about it too. This has come days after Jon has had to bury his Dads cat who died on Monday.

They may "only" be pets but when they are with you for many years, you care for them and nurture them and see their little personality traits and you really do become attached. My cats were great after I lost Steve, even my antisocial cat, Marmalade, would sit with me just to keep me company. Lately Tigi, who was Steve's cat before I met him, has been very affectionate to Jon. I think she approves. He is very much a cat person and she is able to look cute and make him do what she wants!

Well, time has flown by and I'm up at 4.30 am tomorrow so I'll bid you all goodnight and I hope to write soon as there's plenty more to say .

Bye for now.
Mark x