Saturday, 30 June 2012


No blog from me today, I know it's been a while but I'm keeping my thoughts to myself for now.

Just dropping by though so you can take a look at this film Jonathan did today, we braved the rain and enjoyed a great atmosphere there. Enjoy

M x

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Friday, 22 June 2012

Eating The Elephant

I feel sick, why do I feel like this?  I can tell you why, it's because I have a tendency to take on the worries of the world.  I used to feel like this vary rarely but for obvious reasons in the past 18 months or so it's been more often.  I spoke to Jonathan about it a week or so ago, he shared his strategy for dealing with these feelings.  Basically write them all down.  I suppose it's as my old boss used to say, "don't try to eat the elephant…"  by this he meant instead of looking at all the problems as a whole break them down into smaller bits which are more manageable and instantly your problems seem less imposing.  I am going to write them down but, not here.

It's Friday today though and I am pleased it's the weekend.  We have a busy weekend planned but I am looking forward to just spending some time with Jonathan as he's been away most of the week filming on the south coast and in South Wales.  It felt a little like our first few weeks together where we spent some nights apart.  The main difference this week was that Jonathans cats were with me.  Even though I already have two cats there is something about caring for someone else's animals.  I think naturally we take on a heightened duty of responsibility when caring for other peoples pets or children.

This week has been quite significant for our furry family, or the cat army as Jonathan calls them.  All four have all spent time indoors together.  Since Jonathans cats arrived mine have been more than a little off with us, its clear that they were disgruntled about their routines being unsettled.  Jonathans cats have been very relaxed though and have just settled in very easily and without fuss.  There have been no fights, just a few growls and stares but this week they seem to have spent more time together.  I am not daft enough to think that they are all going to cosy up together but we're near the place where they all get along nicely and respect each others spaces.  I guess it's like any new relationships, (us humans included) they need to find and re-define their own comfort zones and respect each others space.

I suppose that's set me off thinking about Jonathan and I.  We've not had a cross word yet.  I don't recall any serious differences of opinion or at least if there has been they've not been noteworthy.  I guess it's still early days, 3½ months but it feels like longer.  We have spoken so much together about or past and about our aspirations for the future so I feel I know him very well and I hope he feels the same about me although, Jonathan has had the added advantage of being able to read this blog.  He's read back to Steve's entries too which he said gives him an understanding of Stephen too.  I appreciate that a lot as when he's mentioned then I feel like Jonathan knows him too even though they obviously never met.

I think we have a decent understanding of each other.  He knows my past has been tough and on times traumatic and Jonathan has had his own life experiences to deal with.  I know everyone the world over has experienced tough times and dark days but it is how you deal with those that helps shape you as a person.  I feel there is a lot of respect, understanding and empathy in our relationship.  Neither of us seeks to outshine or direct the other, we each have our own strengths and weaknesses and I think we are starting to let those develop naturally, it's a nice feeling.  Jonathan feels like an equal, I am not reliant on him and I don't feel he relies on me.  We are not together because we need to be together but because we want to be together.  It's difficult to explain, perhaps I am too tired (already), to articulate my thoughts properly but I suppose in layman's terms it is about shunning those expected stereotypes of masculine breadwinner / hunter gatherer and feminine homemaker / carer as both of us are equally able to adopt both roles and fluctuate between the two.

I'm going to sign off for now as that has set me off on another train of thought that I really don't want to debate with myself, not now at least.

I'll write soon but have a great weekend whatever you're up to.


Saturday, 16 June 2012

What is priceless but costs nothing?

Once again over the past few days and weeks I have been reminded of the joy of true friendship.  Thank you friends for your care and support.  It's been a tough journey of 21 months since Stephens diagnosis and 12 months since his death.

I have always said that friends are the family we choose for ourselves.  I still believe this to be true but I am also pleased to be able to count members of my family amongst my friends.  Even if we were not related by blood I would still choose to keep them in MY family.

Along the way, since September 2010, I've lost some friends and gained some friends and have been surprised at both.  Surprised who stuck around and really made an effort and surprised at those who turned their backs, gloated or patronised me.

This journey, and your support along the way has made me the person I am today.  I am proud of who I am and I feel blessed to have wonderful friends.  I truly hope I never have to console a friend through the journey I have been on because I wouldn't wish it on my worse enemy but, I would be proud to support my friends in the same way I have felt supported.

As my life starts a new chapter with a new partner, new hopes and new aspirations I am looking forward to all that it will bring.  I plan on spending more time with those that make me happy and less time with those who don't.  

Watching my Husband die reminded me of a valuable lesson and reminded me of what is really valuable in life.  It reminded me that the most precious thing I own is priceless, the most precious thing I  can give or receive has no price but is also priceless.  It cannot be seen, it does not smell, you cannot hear it and you cannot touch it or taste it but you can feel it.  Love.  It costs nothing but it is priceless.

A beautiful home, a wonderful car, designer clothes and luxury holidays all sound wonderful but can they really fulfil you?  Will they keep you going when times are tough?  Can they console you when you're feeling low or share your joy when your feeling great?  Will the memories you have of your car comfort you when your partner isn't there, more than remembering the love of your partner and their warm embrace?

I know the answer to my question, do you?
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Friday, 15 June 2012


Theres no blog really from me today, I'm just a little thoughtful, remembering happier times with Stephen. We walked in to our "Wedding" ceremony to this track, for us it was all a Question of Honour. We said we’d love each other forever, his forever just wasn’t as long as mine.

I saw this quote today and it resonated with me:

"You will never know true happiness until you have truly loved,

and you will never understand what pain really is until you have lost it."

Thank you Stephen for some wonderful memories and for helping make me the person I am today. You may be gone but never forgotten.

I know you’d be pleased for me and the new happiness I’ve found and the lessons I’ve learned from you will stay with me forever.

Sleep well Pud, 831 x

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Irritating birds!

I had a really enjoyable evening last night. A thoughtful one too. When I got home from work I decided to change the bed linen. As I busied myself making the bed I could hear birdsong through the open windows. As our bedroom is on the second floor there is very little around to dampen the sounds around us. Even though we live quite close to a major hospital, to the motorway network and close to the city we rarely hear any traffic noise though as our area is very leafy with lots of large old established trees. Clearly these are home to many birds as the tweeting on times is very loud.

Jonathan has commented a few times on how he likes to lie on the bed and listen to the birds tweeting. Only last week we took a drive out and a long walk in the countryside and enjoyed the scenery, (and a dance on a picnic table but that's another story) we also enjoyed the background noises of a babbling brook and birdsong too.

Whilst I was making up the bed last night I thought it may be nice to go for a walk with Jonathan. He's had a busy few weeks at work and I was feeling more than a little lethargic so I thought a walk might just blow the cobwebs away. It was lovely, we drove out to a country park and walked alongside the lake for well over an hour, chatting and enjoying the scenery and birdsong. There were a few things we needed to chat about, and it was nice to be able to relax and chat and walk. I guess we do that a lot, chatting.

After that we headed home via the supermarket and had a nice dinner together. We then sat out on the patio enjoying the mild evening. Last night it was very still too, with no breeze at all. We spoke again about many things and, reflecting on our walks I recalled how irritated I used to be by the birds tweeting.

After Stephen died I obviously felt very sad. I can see there were clearly three months which were very dark and dismal. I would spend hours sat alone in silence in my sitting room. No TV, no music, no conversation with anyone brave enough to phone or call in but, the one thing I couldn't control was the birds.

I was often irritated and angered by the birds tweeting. The incessant noise which I could neither stop or control the volume of. In my almost sterile environment I could be in control of everything, lighting, heat, smells and sounds etc but the one thing I couldn't control were the birds that used to chirp and sing.

Their chirping and singing seemed like the ultimate insult to me. Why were they so happy, didn't they know how sad I was feeling? Don't they know I need quiet time? It's odd though looking back and it's nice to feel that I've got past that time.

As the anniversary of Stephens death is looming in the not too distant future I am feeling that people are paying me more attention, that they are looking at me and analysing. Have I said that because of "the anniversary" is that the reason I have done that or said that? People give me that 'Oh so knowing' look, a raised eyebrow and a nod of the head. I am sure that's them trying to indicate they know or understand what I am thinking. In reality they don't.

I don't want or like my emotions or thoughts now being attributed to Stephen. Yes I think about him and talk about him often but he is part of my life not the entirety of my life. In the same way that my interactions with my parents, my family, my friends and of course Jonathan shape my mood and emotions now then Steve is a part of that influential jigsaw but not all of it.

When I look back over the last 12 months I feel proud of how far I have travelled on my journey with grief. Yes, I had three dark months but after that I managed to make progress for six months and completely changed my outlook on life and love before meeting Jonathan. Since meeting Jonathan I can honestly say I have been reminded what it is like to be happy and it is nice to hear that I make him happy too.

I won't say that I am over Stephen now, I am told I may never get over the loss but I have learned to live with it and accept it and I am looking forward to the future with hope and happiness. These are the days I had hoped for when I was in those dark and dismal days.

I look at the imminent anniversary not as an opportunity to be sad and to re-live those deep feelings of grief and loss but as an opportunity to reflect. To reflect on how lucky I was to have had a Husband like Steve, how blessed I have been to have supportive friends and family around me and how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to love again and to feel loved again.

It's certainly been an eventful year. I have learned lots about others and about myself and I feel ready to face whatever the next year throws at me. I can already see some challenges on the horizon but, far from being fearful of those I am looking forward to embracing them and moving forward. Who knows what the next 12 months will bring? Nobody does but, one thing is sure though, whatever they bring I will learn and grow from those experiences.

Have a lovely evening, I hope to as I can already hear those birds tweeting and I'm enjoying it.

xx Mark xx

Sent from my iPad

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Something different

The sun is shining in Manchester tonight, it's a lovely evening, the birds are tweeting like mad and I'm enjoying just relaxing on the bed listening to them, something I rarely did before but have started to recently as a result of Jonathan's influence. It's nice to just have quiet time in a positive sense as opposed to just when you need time out to think etc.

This weekend has been lovely. Yesterday we took Jon's Dad out for lunch. He seemed to enjoy the company too. A hearty meal and a few pints later we were home so Jon and I had a long soak in the bath before snuggling down with a few bottles of wine and a film just in our dressing gowns. A lazy relaxing night.

After the film we just listened to soft music and talked whilst enjoying a real open log fire. There was no smell from the fire as it was one of these DVDs of a log fire and, being a film maker himself Jonathan noticed the edits in the film and pointed them out. That sort of defeated the point but hey, it was lovely to spend time together anyway.

Today we had a lie in again but then headed off to town for the Manchester Day Parade. Jon fancied doing something creative so I tagged along and took pictures etc. It was a lovely day weather wise and I enjoyed not only time with Jon but the atmosphere, the crowds and just about all of it really.

There's a link to the film here: but that's really about all for now.

Signing off for tonight, happy and smiley with achy feet. I hope you had a great weekend too!

Xx Mark xX

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Thursday, 7 June 2012

Less Blue and More Optimistic

Today has been a good day. not for any reason as nothing has changed since yesterday but I suppose thinking some more and chatting to Jonathan last night just reminded me what I already knew.

Tonight I am swapping computers, basically taking all emails from my faulty laptop to another one and transferring all emails along with all 10 email accounts to the other laptop too. hopefully soon I will be able to get the things done that I need to get done.

OOPS!!! I spoke to soon, it looks like the other laptop has given up the ghost before i can finish doing what I needed to. It took me days to get it sorted last time so I shall persevere again as I just need it to work for a few more hours and I guess I will have gotten all I need from it. Bloody machines!!!

Well thats scuppered my evening plans but hey, theres no point stressing over it because there is not a lot I can do right now. Oh well, theres always tomorrow.

M x

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Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Blue but optimistic

Well I'm back at work today, it's lunchtime and already I'm struggling.  I didn't really sleep well last night, in fact I haven't for a few days for various reasons.  I just feel quite blue today, I suppose we all get days like this.  I cant name one specific reason as I am not aware of one, I guess there is just a lot on my mind at the moment but, when I look at all the various elements I am aware of, none of them in isolation are a major issue.

I understand why I feel like this, I recognise that I sometimes see things as bigger issues than they are, then afterwards, when I reflect on things I see that I worried un-necessarily.  I'm not generally a needy person or at least I don't think I am.  I see myself as confident and outgoing and fairly optimistic too despite my life experiences but I also like to either be in control to be aware of all eventualities so I am prepared for what may come. 

The major downside to this is that emotions cannot always be controlled.  Least of all mine.  I like to think I am in control and I can disguise or hide some thoughts or worries or concerns.  I'm guessing the assumption many people will have is that this is all focussed around Stephen as it's coming up to 12 months since he passed away.  I'm not conscious that that's the case, maybe it is sub-consciously but I don't feel it is as Stephen is still spoken about regularly and I also chat to Jonathan about him too.

I am aware I have so many things to be cheerful about right now and Jonathan being part of my life is a major thing worthy of a smile but today I am finding smiling difficult.  I have been thinking and wondering too whether my time in Egypt has contributed to my mindset?  I didn't want to go from the outset and now I recall how sad I felt being away.  Maybe.

Before I went away I sorted a few things out at home with a view to coming back refreshed and bright and hopeful of a sunny future, almost like a new start or an opportunity to move forward in a continued positive frame of mind, (remember how sickeningly giddy and excitable I was?)  Anyway I still want that and I am still enjoying making those plans etc, I am sure this is a temporary blip.

I think tonight I will try and sort my computer out, it's been playing up, and that started the night before I went on holiday.  I am conscious there are a few things I need to do and the info is on my PC so I think I will feel better when at least some of the jobs on my "To Do" list have been done.  Perhaps a walk first though to clear my head before I start.  That's it.  That's my plan for this evening. I feel better now, almost like writing this has been some sort of self help therapy!

Till next time,  Mx 

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Saturday, 2 June 2012

Dirty Gays!

Ooh, I can sense your intrigue as you yearn to learn about the dirty gays of which I write...  Is your mind racing with all sorts of thoughts of how dirty a gay can get?  Are you Getting concerned that you may see more than you want to here?  Fear not, I am not talking about dirty sex but dirty dirt of the organic earthy variety.

Does that surprise you?  Are your thoughts of gays such that you could never imagine them anything less than perfectly groomed, in pristine attire with hair coiffured to perfection.  Sorry, but even gay men are just men and, whilst some take more time on their appearance than it would take to prepare 10 brides on their wedding day some are just blokes.  

I think that is more or less the space that Jonathan and I fall in to, we don't completely neglect personal grooming but it's fair to say we can both go from shower to ready and out the door within 20 minutes, there's no lengthy beautification procedures that must be adhered to.  Clean and fresh with spritz of fragrance and we're away.

Anyway, back to dirty gays.  That's what Jonathan is doing today, he is watching (filming) a gay rugby tournament this weekend and, if the weather turns wet then there will certainly be a lot of dirty gays.  If it stays warm and humid then they will just smell dirty! (sometimes I wonder how far off we are from the wonders of smelly-vision?)

This weekend sees the Bingham Cup tournament in Manchester. (read the Wiki page all bout it here: )   Jonathan is filming it all so, if you like the idea of seeing hunky men in shorts getting hot and sweaty then take a look at his films.  He filmed the opening ceremony on Thursday evening ( )  and then filmed the first match yesterday. ( )  There are teams from all over the world competing so there's a great atmosphere.  I am sure filming hunky men in shorts will make working all over the weekend more bearable for him though.

I will post more of Jonathan's films as he does them.  The films this weekend are going to be really quick turnaround, yesterday's film was shot in the morning, edited immediately afterwards and then uploaded late afternoon.  When you look at the film it's hard to believe, even though they are short films, making the statement you need the film to make in such a short time takes skill.  

Fortunately Jonathan has good staff and they form a great team as each knows what is expected of them and they deliver it.  It really is fascinating seeing how a film is created from raw footage and made into a film that makes sense.  I suppose really it's an art but, one which is overlooked or taken for granted as we spend hours in front of the TV and expect programmes of a certain standard without realising the skill and work involved in producing that piece of film.

Well, I'm going to sign off now I have titillated your senses with dirty gays in rugby kit looking... Well just looking very manly and Grrrrr!  If you want to go to the official website it's here:

Have a great weekend 

Xx Mark xX
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Friday, 1 June 2012

Goodbye to Egypt

Thursday 31st May

Well I am currently sat in the departure hall at the airport.  Yes, if you're observant you will have noticed its not been two weeks.  My scheduled departure day is next Tuesday, 5th June but today is 31st May.

If you read my earlier blogs this week you will know I have been very unhappy, despite the glorious sunshine, great service and lovely surroundings I have still wanted to be at home.  I can't give a simple reason why because there is not one thing that has motivated this but a combination of many things.

After I spoke to Jonathan last night, unknown to me he checked out some early flights home for me and then called me in my hotel room to let me know.  I was impressed that he got through although I guess in this modern age of the Internet it wouldn't have been too difficult to get the number for the Hilton hotel in Sharm El Sheikh and then it was just a case of negotiating the language barrier to get put through to the correct room.  

When the phone rang in my room last night I almost didn't answer it.  I am glad I did.  I hesitated because I didn't think anyone would have cause to phone me.  It wasn't too late, probably about 22.30 local time or 21.30 UK time but, because I was feeling low I had just gone to my room after chatting on FaceTime.

Jonathan gave me the flight details etc and left me to sleep on it.  I considered all sorts including the fact my flight back is now to Manchester but my car is in Bristol, (probably 250 miles away from home), also that I would be leaving my travel companion alone and also the inconvenience all around with my early return.  I spoke to my travel companion about it last night and after very little sleep I finally decided around 3am, when my back was aching from the firm bed and my head was aching from thinking so much that the cost was secondary and that a further 5 days here would just make me more miserable.

I have to admit to having quite dark thoughts this morning when my head was aching.  I had a headache for most of the day but then I had laid on the bed for most of the day.  When I stood or sat up the headache eased.  This I have learned, can be the sign of a brain tumour, the ache eases when upright as gravity allows blood to flow  freely from the tumour whereas being recumbent the blood cannot drain so easily and thus causes a pressure headache.  I am sure my headache was due to how I was feeling and being laid down for a long time but, following my experiences, I will be keeping a tab on my headaches as I rarely get them, usually 1 or 2 per year.

Anyway, I slept a little after making my decision and I sent a text to Jonathan to let him know.  By 9.20 local time (8.20 UK time) my flight was sorted.  I have never been so happy to be leaving the sun and heading back home.  After a FaceTime chat I started to pack and shower etc ready for the off.  I booked a taxi to the airport, said my goodbyes, and after another brief FaceTime chat my taxi arrived.

I can't go through to check in or to departures until three hours before my flight.  I have actually arrived 4.5 hours before my flight.  I am happy though to be here in air conditioned comfort as opposed to in the hotel.

It's now 13.50 local time, I can go through security and on to check in at 14.35 so I may write more later. 
It's now 15.50 local time and my flight departs at 17.35.  I've just bumped into some people who were at the same hotel as me.  They really seemed to struggle with the concept that's am going home early.  

I am now just being patient as I know I am homeward bound.  The flight is around six hours long. Every minute will drag but I don't care, I am going home and looking forward to the huge hug that is waiting for me at the airport.

Friday 1st June 8.31 am

GOOD MORNING!!!  It certainly is here, washing, changing the bed and maybe even a trip to the supermarket are all on the cards for today.  It is SO good to be home!

I landed at 10.40 last night and, as I had a seat right next to the exit on the plane I was one of the first off, through passport control and fortunately my case wasn't at the back of the queue so I was one of the first out of the airport last night into Jonathan's waiting arms for a huge hug.

We got home around 20 minutes later and after more hugs we settled down for a bottle of wine together.  It was so nice to be home, I can't explain how much happier I am to be here rather than in my "luxury hotel".  If you've read the blog posts over the past week, many of which haven't been notified on social media etc then you will understand.  

I slept well last night and this morning I am still very very happy to be home.  Jonathan has gone off to work so it's washing and domestic stuff for me after unpacking my case so just going to post this and I will write again soon.

Have a GREAT weekend because I know for sure I will!

Xxx Mark xxX

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