The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


One Of The Best Things In The World Was Born This Day In 1976 …

I’m writing this from Berlin where it is already the 15th June.

This is important because today and tomorrow are the birthday’s of 2 of the most important people in my life.

My beloved wife, Jill.

My beloved best mate, Paul.

While I’m sure they’re happy I’m in Europe on their special day, I know I cannot imagine my life with either of them not in it, which is why I want to mark the occasion with this post.

[Which is also cheaper than a present, despite the fact I’m sure being away from them on their birthdays is the best present of all]

Paul has been there since 4 days after I was born.

Causing me trouble, mischief and immense amounts of laughter.

Literally pretty much every memory I have in my life involves him.

Every. Single. One.

From first days at pre-school, school and college.

Concerts, booze and accidents.

Girls, games and gigs.

You name it, we have shared – and been there for each other – at every significant high and low in life.

Whether that’s being a shoulder to cry on or a person to point at and laugh ourselves stupid at.

Plus he is the only other person I knew when I was growing up that had a Philips G7000.

Paul is, quite simply, someone I absolutely and wholeheartedly regard as family.

Truly.

I am a better and happier person for him [and the wonderful Shelly] being in my life.

So to my dear, wonderful idiot of a friend, I wish you an amazingly brilliant and immature birthday tomorrow. May it be filled to the brim with immaturity and stupidity, which – let’s be honest – we both know it will.

And then there’s my Jilly.

My wonderful, kind, considerate, beautiful, funny, smart Jilly.

What she is doing with me is anyone’s guess.

From the moment I met her 14 years ago, she has been the one.

More than that, she has been my support system … holding my hand and giving encouraging words of support as we have embarked on a ridiculous journey together.

Different countries. Different challenges. Different adventures.

She’s never complained.

Never demanded anything.

She’s embraced every situation and made it something we can look back on with happiness.

Even those points where I was convinced I’d led us astray, she has backed us to come out the other side and we have.

She is insanely talented, creative and just plain wonderful.

And while everyone who meets her recognises how special she is, they often misunderstand one thing.

She is strong.

Stronger than most people I know.

Not just because she puts up with me, but because there’s not many people who would move countries to be with someone they had only met a 6 weeks earlier.

But she did.

Because she felt it was worth it.

Which means she felt I was worth it … which is utterly incredible.

I’ve written before about her unbelievable levels of compassion, support and love.

How it took me some time to come to terms with the fact I had met someone who wanted to take away any pain or troubles I had in my life.

Not just say it, but actually want to do it.

And she did and does … whether it’s the way she gently consoled me as I tried to deal with the tragic loss of my Mum or simply being the person I turn to when I feel lost or unsettled.

As much as I always felt my life was pretty great, things became infinitely better when Jill came onto the scene.

Then she raised the game by giving birth to our beloved Otis.

I always knew Jill was going to be an amazing Mum, but she does it in ways that continues to inspire and blow my mind at the same time.

The way she focuses on what he needs not what others say he should need.

The way she is teaching him to be a good person, not just a good boy.

The way she fiercely protects who he is when others are quick to judge.

And the result is an amazing, cheeky, pink-adoring, kind, chinese-speaking, curious, creative, mischievous, broom-sweeping, loving, Bez-dancing little boy who I literally couldn’t love anymore.

Not a single milligram more.

Which ultimately means I couldn’t love Jill anymore.

Not a single bit.

She makes the best days better and the worst days, less dark … whether that’s a well timed moment of love or an act of Jillyism brilliance.

I don’t know what I have done to deserve her.

I don’t know if I will ever be able to describe how much I love her.

I don’t know if I will ever be able to do enough to show how much I adore her.

But I’ll keep trying, because as much as this was an amazing present … she’s the best gift I could ever receive.

Happy birthday my darling Jilly, I love you so much.

Rx


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You May As Well Ignore This Week Of Posts …
June 11, 2018, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Birthday, Comment

I know, you looked at the title of this post and thought …

“Tell me something I don’t know”.

However this week, it is extra true as it’s the beginning of what LA residents call ‘June Gloom’.

Not just because the land of 72 and sunny becomes the land of 62 and grey … but because it’s a week of birthdays.

Not just anyone’s birthdays, but people close to me.

Including mine.

I know, how depressing is that, eh?

But don’t fret, because I have some good news for you … as you read this, I am on a plane flying to Germany so there are literally no posts for the whole of this week.

Except for Friday … where I try and convince Jill and Paul that a post on this blog is way, way, way better than a present from me.

So enjoy the peace, and I look forward to opening all my presents on my return next week.



Happy Birthday My Wonderful One …
December 11, 2017, 6:15 am
Filed under: Anniversary, Attitude & Aptitude, Birthday, Comment, Daddyhood, Jill, Mum, My Fatherhood, Otis, Parents

So this is the last week of posts for 2017 so prepare for a bunch of sentimental claptrap as the week continues. Sorry, I mean ‘even more’ sentimental claptrap.But today I am talking about something else.

Something that continues to be one of the best and most amazing parts of my life.

I’m talking about my son Otis, who today hits his 3rd birthday today.

THREE.

How is that possible?

And yet it is and I’m both thrilled and petrified about it.

Thrilled because he is the most wonderful little boy I could ever hope to know and petrified because – as the cliche goes – he is growing up so, so, so fast.

I can remember everything about the day he decided to come out and say hello.

From the moment Jill woke up at 2am feeling ‘funny’ to seeing his face at 6:27pm.

Up until his birth, he was about 7 days past the due date and a part of me that was very happy about that fact.Not because I didn’t want to meet him, but if he was born on the 12th December, our medical insurance would have clicked over for another year and all the costs associated with his delivery would be covered.

Of course he came out 5 hours 33 minutes too early for that to happen … proving that even before he was a minute old, he had the same annoying, cheeky-bastard traits of his father.

And yet, despite having just cost his Mum and Dad thousands of dollars by being born on the 11th, he has only filled our lives with happiness, excitement, joy and love.

And I mean filled.

To the point of overflowing.

This little boy is a delight.

He’s funny, kind, compassionate, curious, mischievous and loving.

He is everything I could ever have hoped to have in a child and a ton more besides.

I am incredibly proud to be his Father and hope he will feel the same way for all his life.

So with that, I want to say something to him that he can look back on whenever he faces trials and tribulations in his life.

My Dearest Otis.

You are the best thing that has ever happened to me and your Mum.

You make everything worth while.

The late nights, the early mornings, the decisions we made focused around your needs.

Everything.

So much has happened in the last 12 months and yet you have taken it all in your stride.

Your Mum and Dad are under no illusion how challenging this must have felt and yet you remained happy and open to all that is around you and we are in awe of the way you have coped with it all.

We will continue to do all we can to equip you with the skills and knowledge to handle whatever life throws at you and all we ask in return is you stay as cheeky, curious and happy as you are. Be safe knowing there are lots of people around the world looking out for you and we will always support you in the things that excite you and move you and will love you, regardless of what trouble you cause us ahead.

But don’t push it too far …

Happy birthday my dearest little boy.

Oh what a treasure you are.

Mummy and Daddy [and Rosie]

xoxoxoxoxoxoxox



Wonderful Gets Another Year Older …
December 9, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: Anniversary, Birthday, Daddyhood, Jill, Love, Mum & Dad, My Fatherhood, Otis, Parents

So on Sunday, my beloved little boy turns 2.

TWO!

How the hell did that happen, so quick?

It honestly feels like yesterday that he came into this World and while I love seeing him develop and grow, I do wish he would slow down a little.

One of the best/worst things has been seeing his vocabulary grow.

While I am in awe of his ability to say words – both in English and Chinese – to articulate what he wants or where he wants to go, I must admit I miss hearing the sounds he used to make before he could clearly communicate. I used to love the enthusiasm and gusto he would put behind his utterances … it was pure joy.

But on Sunday he turns 2.

He’s packed quite a lot into his life so far … from travel to hospital visits … and through it all, he’s smiled, laughed, swept and danced his way through it. Well, 94.2% through it, the rest has been screams, tantrums and looks of disappointment.

I still go through periods where I have to remind myself he’s my son and I still wish with all my heart my Mum and Dad could have met him … hugged him … kissed him.

The best compliment I can give Otis is he has changed my World.

The things I once valued no longer have the same appeal.

That doesn’t mean I don’t like those things, it’s just Otis’ happiness and development is most important of all.

The decisions I/we make are now revolving about issues we had never considered before.

Of course, that is nothing new for most parents, but for us, it’s a bit of a revelation … but it’s worth it because he is worth it.

So to my delightful son, Happy Birthday [for Sunday]

Your Mummy and Daddy love you with all our heart. Even Rosie the cat, kinda likes you.

For me, everything you do is wonderful, but when you say, “Daddy’s home” as I walk in the door, there is literally no better feeling for me in the World.

You have brought so much joy into our lives, it’s impossible for me to articulate.

We will do all we can to equip you with the skills and knowledge to handle whatever life throws at you and all we ask in return is you stay cheeky, curious and happy. Be safe knowing we will always support you in the things that excite you and move you and will love you, regardless of what trouble you cause us through the years.

But don’t push it too far …

I love you so, so much and I am so proud to be your Dad and as always, I will do all I can in my life to ensure you will be proud to call yourself, my son.

Happy birthday my darling Otis.

Rxxx



Happy Birthday King Dong …
June 16, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: Birthday, Comment, Family, Love, Paul

After a wonderful day for Jill’s birthday – which included a surprise visit from her Mum, all the way from Australia – today I celebrate another incredible precious person in my life … Paul.

I’ve written so much about this guy over the years …

From our childhood.

To his clumsiness.

To our epic holidays.

To his appendage.

To our history.

To my love for him.

Now my parents have gone, he is the person I have known the longest in my life and is now even more important to me today than he was before.

Every single important moment in my life has involved him.

Some directly, some indirectly … but always with him a part of it.

From my first days in the World to starting pre-school to failing/passing/failing/passing my exams to being in a band to getting a job to moving countries to experiencing family tragedy to getting married to becoming a Dad.

I swear he is one of the main reasons I’ve been able to get through the highs and lows of life relatively unscathed because at the heart of it, he brings incredible happiness into my life.

Not just for a moment.

Not just every now and then.

But every single time I’m with him or think of him.

Part of this is because when we’re together, we immediately revert back to who we were as little kids and part of it is because he gets into all manner of ridiculous scrapes, but a lot of it is because he’s just a kind hearted, wonderfully-natured idiot. Ha.

Of course he would probably say the same about me … and I’d be extremely happy about that, because despite us living very different lives, we are still fundamentally the same as we always have been – at least where we are both concerned – and I regard that as one of the greatest things that’s ever happened to me.

Sadly, I won’t be with him to share his special day today, but I will be with him in a few weeks and I look forward to smiling and laughing till it hurts because he’s more than a special friend, he’s literally good for my health and wellbeing.

Happy birthday lovely man, I hope you enjoy a day of presents, drink and general stupidity.

See you soon.



On My Wife’s Birthday, There’s Been A Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On …
June 15, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: Anniversary, Birthday, Family, Jill, Love

Today is my wonderful wife’s birthday.

Despite the fact she looks ridiculously young [she once was mistaken for being my daughter. Sadly, that is not a joke] it’s a ‘big’ birthday for her.

There are many things I love about my wife, but this story explains one of the biggest reasons.

So I wanted to buy her something special. Something that really marked the occasion.

I decided it was going to be a piece of jewellery but then I was stuck with what to get her.

I’ve bought her earrings before.

I’ve bought her necklaces before.

She refuses to wear a watch.

In the end, I decided I’d like to buy her a ring – but because I didn’t want to stuff it up, I told her my plans and said I’d love her to come with me to choose something she’d really love.

When I told her, she looked at me and said,

“Errrrrm, would you be OK if I suggested something else?”

Of course I replied yes … not suspecting what would come out of her mouth next.

Now before I go on, I should explain how my wife loves Elvis.

Yes, THAT Elvis.

God, she adores him.

When I took her to Graceland for her 30th birthday, she cried when I told her what we were going to do … she cried when she got to the house and she cried when she was by his grave.

She loves him so much she even has his name tattoo’d on her.

She doesn’t have my name I should add, just his.

Anyway, I tell you this because she replied to my interest in hearing her idea with this.

“You know Kristen from Real Housewives of New York is an Elvis fan?”

Sadly, I do … so I nodded.

“… well she’s a huge Elvis fan too and she wears a TCB necklace and I would love that if that is OK with you”

I should explain what TCB is.

TCB stands for ‘Taking Care of Business’ and it was the name Elvis gave the musicians who formed the core of his band.

Along the way, he designed a TCB logo and had it made into gold and diamond jewellery that he gave each member.

Now Elvis was a very talented man. Sure, his movies sucked – but where music was concerned, he was a god. However being a good singer doesn’t mean you’re a good designer because the TCB logo looked like this.

I know … Microsoft Clipart is better isn’t it?

So what is a man who has no right to be married to such a wonderful woman, to do?

I’ll tell you what … find a way to make it happen.

So after some searching, I found out Elvis’ jeweller was still alive.

Yes, his actual jeweller … the one who made all the jewellery Elvis gave to his band.

Anyway, after some of the weirdest email exchanges I’ve ever had in my life, I was able to commission him to make a necklace for my dear wife using the exact mould and materials from the exact design that Elvis originally drew for him … which is why today, the birthday girl is walking around like she’s Pricilla at Graceland.

And she deserves it.

So to my darling Jill … happy, happy birthday, I am so happy you are mine and I hope you have a wonderful day.

And remember, this is only part 1 of the present, part 2 happens in a couple of weeks. In Italy.

Boy, I hope it makes you feel a little bad for only getting me a picture on my birthday.. Only joking, that was bloody amazing. Bugger. 

Have a wonderful day my sweetheart. 

Love you.



Happy Birthday To Meeeeeeeee …
June 12, 2015, 6:25 am
Filed under: Birthday, Comment

A year ago today, I wrote how Jill had got me the most expensive birthday present I’ll ever get.

Today, as you can see from the photo above, I have it.

And it’s also the best birthday present I’ll ever get.

But I’m open to you trying to prove me – and her – wrong.