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


One Degree From Beastiality …
May 14, 2019, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Cats, Comment, Love, Rosie

When I was young, I used to look at people who loved their pets as a bit weird.

Maybe ‘love their pets’ isn’t right … I mean overlove them.

Buying them presents.

Signing their name in birthday/Christmas cards.

Kissing them goodnight before you went to bed.

Maybe part of this is because the only pet I had as a kid was a goldfish.

There was a moment I almost – emphasis on almost – managed to talk my parents into getting me a doberman, but it fell short.

So my relationship with animals at home was severely limited.

Then I got Rosie.

For a street cat from Singapore, she struck gold.

She’s lived around the World. She’s been given treats and toys to her hearts content. She’s even had special cat houses and nooks built for her personal pleasure.

Hell, I have even done freelance jobs to ensure she could be flown inside the cabin of a plane rather than in cargo!

And what have I got in return?

Complaints. Loud meows. And a general feeling she’s always disappointed with the people who saved her.

But despite that, I love her.

I love her with all my heart.

In some respects, I regard her as my first child … demonstrated by the fact that when Otis was born, I went to great lengths to ensure Rosie still felt a valid member of the family.

If I heard someone say that prior to having a pet of my own, I admit I would have either wanted to smash them in the face or call an ambulance.

But it gets worse.

Oh yes … the man who wrote only a few sentences ago, that he was suspicious of people who ‘overloved’ their pet is about to admit being peak ‘pet overloverer’.

You thought it was bad when I spent a shitload of cash for a cuddly toy that was made to look like Rosie didn’t you?

And you’d be right to think that.

So I daren’t imagine what you will think when you learn that I paid an equal amount of stupid cash on this …

If that wasn’t bad enough, I really, really like it.

Alright … alright … I’ll let you have the first punch for free.

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Till Next Year …

So this is the final post of the year.

It’s been a big year for me and the family.

Then again, it was a big year for the family last year too.

However, whereas 2017 saw us leave Shanghai and Wieden+Kennedy – something that was truly emotional for all of us – 2018 has seen us go from sunny LA, working at Deutsch, living in a house by the beach and driving a custom made Audi to being citizens of cold and rainy London, living in a much smaller house in Fulham, working at R/GA [with some sprinkles of Metallica madness in-between] and traveling by tube to and from everywhere.

And we haven’t been this happy in ages.

Don’t get me wrong, there are things we definitely miss from our life in the US – people, the weather, Otis’ school, free soda refills and bacon mainly – but this move was right for us for a whole host of reasons, personal and professional, and we enter 2019 with the full expectation we’ll still be here when 2020 comes around.

I hope.

It’s funny, when I read the final post I wrote for last year, it is apparent that change was in our minds. We didn’t think that openly, but it seems it was there.

Of course, moving to a country and then leaving in just over a year is not the best thing.

It’s financial stupidity for one.

But these things happen and we are very happy for the amazing experience, though I must admit I’m even happier my wife, son and cat are still talking to me.

Fools.

But while our environment has changed, some things have stayed exactly the same.

Your ability to trash everything I write on here, for one.

And to you all, I say a huge thank you.

Sure, being told I’m a bad dressing, musically ignorant, gadget tosser every-single-day can get a bit tiring, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Because amongst the insults, there’s often pearls of gold in there.

Stuff that makes me think about things a different way.

Stuff that influences how I think about things I never thought about.

Stuff that just keeps me on my toes and interested about stuff.

And I love it.

I love that people come here and share a bit of their time and opinion with me.

Yes, I appreciate moving to the UK and still posting at 6am is screwing up the flow of the comments given the East Coast of America is asleep and can’t insult/join-in until much later … but the fact so many people still write makes me feel very fortunate.

While I have loved the ability to move countries and cultures so many times – and hope to continue doing it, just not for a bit – the reality is that is makes your friendship network difficult.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very fortunate we have technology to keep me in touch with the wonderful people I’ve met in every country we’ve lived [whether they like it or not] and this year I got to catch up with people I’ve not seen in years – from Freddie to Paula – but there is something about having a level of constancy that makes you feel settled.

Bizarrely, this blog has provided me with a bit of that.

Even with people I have still yet to meet.

[Though I met Marcus and Neil Perkin this year and that made me so happy]

While I would never suggest I am your friend, you have been to me – in many ways and at many times, both at moments of darkness and happiness – and I want to take this opportunity to say thank you.

To all of you.

Even you Andy.

When I started this blog way back in May 2006, I never expected anyone to read it, let alone comment so the fact some of you still are – regardless that many Police officers would call it abuse – I’m grateful.

I’m excited about next year.

It will be big.

Not because we’ll be moving … or I’ll changing job … but new things will be entering my life.

From my beloved Otis starting proper school – which literally is screwing with my head – to the much-talked-about-but-not-much-actually-done Weigel/Campbell officially doing its thing in addition to the exciting adventures and exploits my wonderfully beautiful family, my bloody amazing friends and fantastic new planning team will get up to that will make me feel even luckier than I do already.

Being back in England has had a much bigger effect on me than I ever imagined it would.

I am grateful for it.

I am grateful for all I have.

I hope this holiday season and 2019 is one that is wonderful for you all too.

See you in a few weeks. [Yeah, don’t think you get so lucky to not have me come back]



Celebrating 11 Years Of Cranky Wonderfulness …
June 29, 2018, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, Daddyhood, Emotion, Family, Rosie

So on the 1st July, the cat above is 11 years old.

While she can drive the patience of a saint with her demanding ways, I absolutely adore her her madly.

I’d never really had a pet before – unless a goldfish and a cactus counts – and while there were some initial complicated moments, Rosie has given me nothing but utter joy.

I bloody love that cat.

What else would explain me building her a cat penthouse so she can survey her kingdom without having to venture outside [something she’s never done] or buying her a plane seat so she can be with us when we moved to LA.

For a street cat from Singapore, she lives a pretty pampered life.

Not that she thinks that.

Oh no.

I swear if she could talk she would list all the things she believes she’s hard done by.

Not having constant access to Friskies cat treats.

Or not being allowed to go behind the Televisions.

Or not getting brushed 24/7.

And yet – ironically – for all her desire for even more pampering, I swear that she thinks of herself as this …

… because when birds – or another cat – comes into her vision, she reacts like Russia has just invaded another nations airspace, but if she was actually allowed to go and ‘defend’ her land, she’d be utterly rubbish, because underneath it all, she is 100% this.

And I love her even more for that.

Even though it took her 3 years before she sat on our knee.

So to my beloved Rosie, happy birthday you beautiful but cranky purr monster.



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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A New Year … A New Set Of Hopes … An Old Set Of Stupidity …
January 11, 2016, 6:20 am
Filed under: Comment, Family, Rosie

Hello!!!

Happy New Year.

Did you have a good one?

Did you get loads of presents?

Did you get drunk? Have a snog? Vomit profusely?

For such a crap 2015, I was very fortunate for it to end on a high note … in Australia, with my family, relaxing, catching up with friends and – even more wonderfully – catching up with 2 groups of mates who also happened to be in Oz, the lovely Jonathan and Truus and my beloved Paul and Shelly.

The best compliment I can give my break is that for someone who has found Christmas pretty hard to enjoy ever since my Dad passed away, I had a wonderful time.

Sure, Otis got more presents and much better presents than me … but overall, it was a much needed, special time.

Talking of presents, I think I should explain what the photo accompanying this post is about.

Not just because I accept it looks weird and I need to [badly] justify myself, but to reinforce the fact that while it may be a new year, the old rubbish will still be spouted on this blog.

So back to that photo.

As many of you know, I love my cat Rosie.

Well about 6 months ago, I heard of a company called Cuddle Clones who will make you a – yes, you guessed it – cuddly toy clone version of your pet.

So after sending them a huge amount of photos, dimensions and money … cuddle clone Rosie turned up and I have to say, it’s pretty good.

It’s so good that Jill, Otis and I have all – at some point – looked at it, thinking it’s the real thing.

In fact the only person who isn’t impressed by it is Rosie.

OK, I get that this is all a bit weird.

I even accept that it looks like some sort of taxidermy experiment.

But I’m used to liking things no one else does so your insults will just bounce off me.

The fact is, seeing Otis walk around the house hugging it [or should I say, dragging it around by it’s tail] makes me happy. Not just because it helps justify the stupid amount of money I paid for it, but because it lets him do what Rosie will never let him do.

Their relationship has been really interesting to see evolve.

At first, Rosie was petrified of Otis.

From a household of quiet, Otis turned it into a household of mayhem.

But now, despite Rosie being a little where of him, they are quite fond of each other.

They look at each other and miaow/mutter.

Rosie will go up and sniff him while Otis crawls over to lean on him.

It’s not just sweet, it is – at least for me – a reinforcement that I have my own family.

A group of people [and animals] bonded [in some cases] by blood and [in all cases] love.

We put up with each other. We look out for each other. We take care of each other.

It’s something I wasn’t sure I’d ever have and, if I’m honest, something that is better than I ever could have imagined.

And yes, I appreciate this is quite an emotional ending for a post about an overpriced cuddly replica of my cat.

Which doesn’t bode well for the standard of blog post you can expect to read in 2016, does it?

Mind you, when has it ever been good?

So if you’re a glutton for punishment, I’ll ‘see’ you tomorrow.



Love Fades But Never Disappears …
February 9, 2015, 6:25 am
Filed under: Comment, Love, Rosie

So it’s the 2nd week since I decided to re-start blogging.

And I’m still here.

But it gets worse.

It’s Monday.

And I’m feeling sentimental.

Sorry.

A few weeks ago, I thought we had lost our beloved cat, Rosie.

She sometimes rushes out the door when I get home and when she hadn’t come out to see me after 10 minutes [she actually likes me, though it could also be because I give her treats], the reality that she may have got out started to become a reality.

But it got worse.

You see we live on the 5th floor of our apartment and there have been occasions where she has rushed out the moment I’ve got in and run into the lift before the doors have closed.

Every time this has happened I’ve been able to get her but maybe this was the time she succeeded.

I got in the lift and went to every floor of our building.

Nothing.

I went to the underground car park.

Nothing.

But it was when I went back to our apartment to check if she had been found that I really started to feel a sense of panic because I could see Jill was starting to get worried.

She had checked every one of her hiding places – even the vent that once fell down and she basically climbed into the walls of the building – but she wasn’t to be seen.

It was about now that I started to think she had gone.

She had run out of the door when I got home, got in the lift – which returns to the ground floor – and then, when the doors opened, panicked and ran straight from the apartment lobby, out of the automatic doors and into the madness of the China streets.

While she fancies herself as a tough cat, she’s pathetic and wouldn’t survive a minute on her own. She’s even scared of birds.

So I decided to check every floor again. Just in case.

But still there was nothing.

Then I went back to the underground carpark and looked under every car.

Again, nothing.

So all that left me to do was go out and walk the gardens shouting her name.

I grabbed a pack of her favourite treats and with a sense of despair, but a need to feel I was still doing something, I went out into the rain and shouted “Rosie” over and over again.

I walked and walked and walked but nothing.

Not even a meow from the street cats.

And it was now – after about 40 minutes of looking – that I started to come to the realisation that she had gone, that I would never ever see her again.

I loved that ball of fluffy mischief.

Yes she was a whining pain in the ass, but she was my whining pain in the ass and she had given me more happiness than I ever could have imagined.

The thought that she was on her own, out on the wild streets, was incredibly upsetting.

I imagined her hiding. Too frightened to move, too frightened to stay in one place for long enough to be found.

She would be cold and hungry and alone and all I wanted to do was find her, take care of her and protect her.

I started thinking how I could never have another cat.

That all it would do was remind me of who it was replacing.

And that wouldn’t be fair on the new cat.

I felt a real and deep sense of loss.

Why did Rosie have to run out?

Why hadn’t I noticed her escape when I walked in?

How could an evening go so bad so quickly?

Then the phone rang. It was Jill.

Rosie had just walked into the lounge from somewhere in the apartment.

THE LITTLE BITCH.

THE BEAUTIFUL, ADORABLE, WONDERFUL LITTLE BITCH.

The sense of relief was incredible. I mean totally out-of-proportion incredible.

Except it wasn’t really ‘out-of-proportion incredible’ because while she’s a cat, she’s a member of our family.

I used to snort in derision when people used to say that, but it’s true.

We know each others ‘ways’ and indulge each other – whether that’s letting her meow at 7am to announce she wants breakfast or me waking her up with pats when she’s curled up – which is why I live in the delusional belief that had she escaped into the wilderness on that cold, lonely night in Shanghai, years later we might have come face-to-face again and when it happened, the reaction would be something like this …

Happy Monday.