Waiting for months, waiting for years.

How long does it take to get over someone, to finally accept and realise that you have to move on? A day, a week, a month, a year, longer? Tough question to answer, we’re all different and it probably depends on who ended things and how long you were together. Maybe when that moment arrives though, you click that giving up doesn’t always mean that you’re weak, sometimes it means that you’re strong enough to let go and forget them, or at least to try. It can be a relief to escape but it can hurt like hell to be discarded. If a person wants to be a part of your life, they’ll make an effort to be, continually, day after day, but then a morning or night comes and one of you knows that feelings aren’t there any more. Sucks if you still have all of the feels though, you’re on the wrong side of the glass looking in, moving on is always easier for one of you when two people split. What now? You just take as long as you need, no point in rebounding straight into the arms of another.

Finding someone new can be hard enough, but then there’s the challenge of getting your timing right, assuming that you’re brave enough to ask the question, it shows vulnerability to put yourself out there again. If you manage it, sometimes you have to wait for the one person you like to make up their mind if feelings are reciprocated or not. If you miss your moment, has it gone forever? If you really want to do something though, you’ll find a way and if you don’t, you’ll always find an excuse to put those questions off. You can tell yourself that don’t have enough time but that’s bullshit. You have exactly the same number of hours in every single day that everyone in history had, think of all the things that a lot of them accomplished. Once you get to that stage when you think you might be ready to need or want someone, you have to ask yourself some questions. When, why not now, why not me?

Thing is, needing is one thing, and getting, getting’s another.

132,796,800 seconds, or 2,213,280 minutes, or 36,888 hours, or 1537 days, or 219 weeks and 4 days is probably long enough, right?

Sometimes a single word in English doesn’t describe the experience that you feel when someone new comes on your radar and you want to discover a little bit more about them. Tiam, a Farsi word, translates as the twinkle in your eye when you first meet someone. A Korean word, nunchi, is the subtle and often unnoticed art of listening and gauging another’s mood. Always nice to have a twinkle in your eye and to be able to identify whether or not someone likes you back.

A night out with friends happens, another chance to not be thinking of what and who’s gone before. Friends from school, old work colleagues, people that I’ve never met before mingle over drinks, food and music, it’s an eclectic mix. If you’re going to hang out with a bunch of new people, you introduce yourself, you make small talk at the very least. As a boy, you probably talk shit to other boys about sports, that definitely happens. You meet new girls, so you’re sure to compliment them on how they’re dressed or how amazing they look, that happens too. Just make sure that not all of your words are the same to the ladies, that would be a terrible idea.

Do you ever get the feeling when you know that someone’s looking at you? As I’m turning around and making my way to the bar, I can feel those eyes. It’s like a scene from a film, boy meets girl whilst ordering drinks and they get to chatting, but that’s what happens. Introductions are made, does any other boy feel weird when shaking hands with a girl? The same drinks are ordered, the girl has good taste. The conversation flows and it’s easy to talk, that twinkle might be coming back. Sure, she’s pretty but she’s intelligent, cheeky and intriguing. Looks can draw you in initially but aren’t other qualities so much more attractive? It’s not that other people are ignored, but if someone is captivating all of your attention, then how can it be wrong to continue to speak to them? Unless you’re a complete moron, you know when someone’s flirting with you, and you’d be a fool if you didn’t want to flirt back with someone that makes you smile, with someone that makes you feel good. You know when someone likes you and you know that someone knows that you like them, but someone has to be brave enough to lean in for a kiss or ask for your number at the very least. Not much bravery on show tonight. Hours later, the night ends, goodnights are exchanged. It would seem that hugs are now acceptable, tequila will do that.

The morning comes and I reach out to a bunch of people from the night before to try and find out more than just her first name or where she’s from or what her plans are. No one knows who she is, turns out that she wasn’t a part of our group. Fuck, not enough questions were asked and now there’s not much to go on if I ever want to see her again.

A first name, knowing her dual nationalities and the fact that she’s headed for a restaurant in Brooklyn to train as a chef is all I have to go on. How long would it take to check out 6646 restaurants to try and track her down? It’s an absolutely farcical idea but what if it’s time to find out? Take the chance, ask myself the question? It’s oxymoronic but what if we’re all just waiting to have the chance to not wait any more?

I’ve been sitting around, wasting my time, wondering what you’ve been doing.

@TheSamMcLeod

@YouMeMusicLife

Don’t let yourself sink.

‘Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.’ James Conant, a former president of Harvard said those words, clever guy. Maybe the consonants and vowels that left his mouth are about stepping out into the unknown and finding out what we’re all made of, perhaps trying to find that positive attitude towards change and your willingness to take risks in order to move forward with everything that you have going on in your life. Some days are easier than others though, aren’t they?

Just how it is, different things have a way now and again of hurting your heart or throwing you a curveball. When whatever you have going on throws you a left hook, you always want to hit back harder if you can. Easier said than done sometimes, but the thing is, if you look hard enough inside, you can always find something redeeming in even the worst of situations. It would be nice if we were immune to hurt, emotionally and physically but none of us are superheroes.

That said, the easiest thing in the world to do when you’re struggling with things is to sit and feel sorry for yourself. Hopefully a day comes though when you’re done sulking, you realise that you need to suck it up and fight back. Stick on the big boy pants and start with the one person that you can directly affect, maybe you’ll surprise yourself. Haven’t you got to keep moving on, try and get past all of the bad shit and look for something that will keep you moving forward? There’s nothing easier than doing all of the things that we always do, but when you get that feeling of doing that something different, shouldn’t you try and begin a new chapter? Sure, it matters what your life story has been up until that moment when you get that you’re not happy, or when you realise that you need something more. Undoubtedly, special things have happened to you so far, you’ve perhaps met the best person in your life that you’ll ever meet, you know that you have someone that you’ll love forever unconditionally. How about embracing the fact that you can write the rest of your story though, even if it’s just a tiny part?

We’ll all check out one day but before you do, don’t you want to check in first? Do something that you’ve always wanted to do, even if it’s risky, even if it might accelerate the checking out process? None of us wants to let the world rob us of something that we’ve always dreamt about doing. Sometimes you realise where it is that you need to be in that one moment when you suddenly get it and you need something to get you through whatever you’re experiencing right now. Maybe it’s time to completely let go of what you know, what you’ve been comfortable with, even just for a little while.

You haven’t come this far to fall off the earth.

When January 1st comes around, we all hope and believe that the new year will be our year. Some of us will make resolutions, hopefully most of us stick to them, but there’s that curveball again, something happens that you didn’t see coming. The end of a friendship, a relationship. The start of a new friendship, a new relationship. Illness, having to move house, switching jobs, fuck, it could be almost anything, couldn’t it? Good and bad things, they happen to all of us.

2019 is not going to plan so far.

Flying thousands of miles across the world to try and resurrect something that never really stood a chance. Having people that are important pass on. Being subjected to unexpected hospital stays, leaving said hospital, and then having to go back because your male pride makes you ignore medical advice because you had a ticket for the game. Spot the idiot. It turns out that this idiot though accidentally did something good amongst all of the bad, this unexpected stay might actually do some good and take care of something that was unexpected. That said, anyone who’s ever been in hospital knows how lonely a place it can be, what is there to do? If you said to your younger self that you’d spend more than 20 hours of your day in bed, you’d be pretty excited. Who is she, do we take showers together, where do we order food from, does anywhere deliver beer? Do I even float the idea of her wearing a Celtic top?

Just silliness, but a long time spent on your own gets you to thinking. If you’re facing challenges, isn’t it natural for your thoughts to turn to all of the things that you always wanted to do? Like every other choice or decision in your life, you need to pick one first, the rest can follow later. Sometimes you have no clue where the ideas about all of the things that you want to do in your life came from.

The night grows dark, but I’m wide awake. I post a tweet looking for advice about something that I’ve always wanted to do and a good friend replies with a belter of a recommendation.

I have zero clue why, but riding a freight train across the US has always been a thing. Is it illegal? Yes. Is there a chance of being arrested? Absolutely. Could I die? You know it. NYC to LA is the preferred option, always good to end a trip with meeting a close friend. There was a study conducted once and a thousand people were asked if they could know in advance whether or not they would want to know the day of their death. 96% of people said no. Is it wrong to want to be one of the other 4%? Chances are, it might be on one of those days. The journey could last a day, it could last a month.

On the outside looking in though, doesn’t it seem that people who are the happiest do whatever it takes to get to whatever they feel one of their highest points is to overcome all of their obstacles? Perhaps it begins with doing something that you never thought you’d do.

What will it take? Courage, determination, hope, perseverance and strength. Damn skippy, but that’s the same for anyone of us who’s fighting with something. It’s tough but don’t giving up on something that’s challenging.

Wherever it is that you want to get to, make fucking sure that you appreciate the view.

Just keep your head above.

@TheSamMcLeod

@YouMeMusicLife

Say something.

Aren’t the regrets in your life the things you haven’t done, rather than the things you have? Those lost opportunities, those lost possibilities, the feelings that you might never get back. Those moments, when you lose them, can they be found again? They’re gone forever. Aren’t they? Hopefully not. Will we ever know though?

The chances are that if you ask people what they’ve always wanted to do, the most likely response is that they haven’t done it. Me included. Sad in a way, almost heartbreaking for all of us.

We pray for opportunities or chances, we seek out opportunities and we yearn for the slightest chance of something that we want. The good news is that we’ll meet opportunities in every day that we spend on this planet. The bad news is that we miss a lot of them, only to come to a later realisation that we fucked it or them up. Isn’t an opportunity like a bus or a train on the move? Once it’s doors have closed, it’s gone. Another one will come along but will it carry better opportunities? A sliding doors moment, right? Too often, we might miss out on a chance of something because we were too busy or we were too distracted. Maybe we were just shit scared of asking a question and being rejected. Who can say, perhaps we just missed those chances tapping us on our respective shoulders. Excuses will always be there for you, opportunities might not be.

Can you ever undo it, ever unlive it, or relive it all? Why not take the plunge? Say something. Maybe you could have had what you wanted. You’d be silly to not ask the question, wouldn’t you? Don’t miss all of those opportunities along the way to do what you wanted to do because you didn’t have the confidence to tell yourself. Say something?

Some people say that it’s not what happens in your life that matters, it’s what you think happened. Just bullshit or is it true? It can be quite possible that the most important thing to happen in your life will be something that didn’t actually take place. Make sense or not? Maybe you missed the opportunity to make it happen. You wanted it to but you didn’t follow through.

Maybe all, maybe just some of us go through life disappointed in ourselves. Do we all keep a memory of that one moment when we missed out on someone or something?

It was too easy to start rushing towards all of the excitement at a million miles an hour. I should have taken the chance but I didn’t.

It was a road that we didn’t take, towards a door that we never opened. Correction, a road that I didn’t take, towards a door that I never opened. We chatted. We flirted. We joked and we touched each other in a way that people who like each other do. Bumping shoulders, gentles nudges in the ribs, playful rubs of each other’s backs. We shared stories of our travels, tales of your life in Zurich and mine in Sydney and Scotland. New York featured a lot. My favourite city in the world. What are the chances of bumping into you when the place has over 8.5m people living there?

It hits me that I’ve lost you, although I never really had you. Will you now rank among the things I’ll always regret? I’m not sure. Okay, definitely an opportunity lost but should it matter that much? Maybe it does. I found myself feeling for one of the first times in my life that I’d maybe missed out on something. On someone.

Not going to lie, there’s a constant differential dynamic between the excitement and thought of someone new and the security with one person. Not that I have her but taking the chance is scary, perhaps the reason that I didn’t ask the question that I should have.

I always win in my imagination but this time I lost. You might have said no to dinner, to drinks, to something more. I might never know now. I’ll probably never know now.

Don’t be afraid of missing those opportunities in your life, give them a go. Behind every bad decision or misjudgment is an opportunity that somebody wishes they had missed.

Tonight it’s easy to feel like the one who is on the sidelines, the one who has missed out.

If I missed my moment, I missed my moment. Fuck.

Say something.

@TheSamMcLeod

Now I see you in a better place.

Caring. Loving. Manners. Politeness. The right thing.

You hold the door open for everyone. You apologise when people bump into you. Not something that you should do, but hey ho, you do it, the right thing. It’s definitely not the wrong thing. Politeness and manners though, never bad things.

Most of us, perhaps all of us would do anything for the people that we care about. The people that we love. Whatever they need, you’re there, aren’t you? A friendly ear, a hug, a smile a word of advice? It turns out that you’re considerate of other people’s feelings. Who knew? What if they’re really struggling though? If they have issues or problems going on, are you able to be there?

It’s not always easy to have that sense of intuition though as regards their life, about what they have happening to them. You could be forgiven for not knowing that anything is going on, for not knowing that everything isn’t okay. For not knowing that they might be having a difficult period. Sometimes, perhaps all of the time, that person in your life has to reach out to you. It’s easier said than done, granted, but don’t they need to let you know that everything isn’t okay and that they need your help?

If they don’t reach out though, what can you do? Not a great deal really. The one thing that you know intrinsically though is that you will do and have done anything and everything that you can. Hopefully for a large percentage of us, that’s in our nature. It’s inbuilt hopefully.

All of that should be part of your daily make up, shouldn’t it? Be good, be kind, be nice. No games. Always.

What happens though when you really need to step up? To do anything? To be the person that the one person in your life thinks that you can be. You step up, don’t you? What happens though when it’s tougher than you think? What happens when you lose someone close to you?

Sometimes the person who tries to keep everyone else happy is always the most lonely person, so never leave them alone, because they will never say that they need you.

He was a childhood friend but then suddenly he was gone, taking with him, like everyone does, a lifetime of private and unknown dreams, experiences, fears and hopes. Again, like everyone does when they pass, he left the good parts of himself behind to everyone that he loved and cared about.

He left pretty explicit instructions about what he wanted his friends to do with his ashes after he passed. Cheeky to the end. Scatter some of them from the top of the harbour bridge in Sydney. We don’t think we hit anyone. Let some go underneath the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles. Dump some into Niagara Falls. Spill whatever is left into the East River from the Brooklyn Bridge. We might have hit people in NY, it was windy! Apologies.

He had a soulful kindness, a never-ending generosity. My heart twisted in my chest when the call came. When every fibre of your being wants to shut down, do you have a choice? Not really. You know what you have to do. Just do the right thing, despite how hard it might be for you personally. You have to suck it up, it’s not about you any more. Whatever you are asked, no question, no possibility of saying no. You’ve been in tears for days, your eyes are red, you might look like you have a thousand yard stare. Staring at yourself in the mirror is a scary thing because you don’t want to see the face that’s looking back at you. You just get on with it though. Sometimes the sadness grips you so suddenly and with so much intensity that it takes every breath you have to just keep moving. The worst part is that you can do everything to protect your heart and it’ll still get broken.

Sometimes it’s better to just let things be, to let people go. Don’t fight for answers, don’t look for closure, don’t chase explanations.

It seems that he was just nursing a new secret in a life that was already full of old secrets.

It’s been easy since to have pangs of guilt from promises that weren’t kept about keeping in touch, we’ve all been there.

The lesson learned?

Love your fucking life with all that you can give. Take photographs of everything, especially the people that you love. Tell those people that you love them on a regular basis. Talk to random strangers. Do things that you’re terrified to do, because fuck it, all of us will die one day and not many people will remember a lot of the things that we did. Take your life and make it the best story in the world. Always choose happiness. Life is too short to fuck around with negativity, pain and remorse.

Friendship is when people know every little detail about you, but yet they still like you. Isn’t it?

@TheSamMcLeod

It’s easier to leave than to be left behind.

I didn’t travel abroad when I was younger. As a child of a single parent, we couldn’t afford it and there was never any possibility of seeing other countries, the rest of the UK included. Now that I’m older, it’s fair to say that experiencing new cities, countries and cultures are something that I enjoy greatly and that I’m incredibly passionate about. I appreciate that a lot of families are unable to take holidays due to circumstance and it’s something that I never, ever take for granted.

Amsterdam is intriguing, to say the least. Barcelona never fails to amaze. Venice is like something out of a film, so picturesque.

Preferred destination for me? New York City. Eight million stories.

It’s my favourite city in the world. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been more than once and every time that I have the pleasure to visit, I learn something new about this amazing place. Did you know?

1. Pinball was banned in the city until 1978. The NYPD even held “Prohibition-style” busts.

2. It is a misdemeanor to fart in NYC churches.

3. It costs $1 million to get a license (medallion) to operate a taxicab.

4. The first pizzeria in the United States was opened in NYC in 1895.

5. In 1857, toilet paper was invented by Joseph C. Gayetty in NYC.

6. The Jewish population in NYC is the largest in the world outside of Israel.

7. Up until World War II, everyone in the entire city who was moving apartments had to move on May 1.

8. The city of New York will pay for a one-way plane ticket for any homeless person if they have a guaranteed place to stay.

9. There’s a man who mines sidewalk cracks for gold. He can make over $600 a week.

10. According to New York City’s Office of Emergency Management, the last hurricane to pass directly over the city was in 1821. The storm surge was so high that the city was flooded up to Canal Street.

11. Hog Island, a one-mile-long island south of Rockaway Beach, was never seen again after the hurricane of 1893.

12. New York City’s leading hurricane historian, Nicholas Coch, a professor of coastal geology at Queens College, believes that this is the only reported incidence ever of the removal of an entire island by a hurricane.

13. Up until 1957, there was a pneumatic mail tube system that was used to connect 23 post offices across 27 miles. At one point, it moved 97,000 letters a day.

14. Albert Einstein’s eyeballs are stored in a safe deposit box in the city.

15. There are tiny shrimp called copepods in NYC’s drinking water.

16. On Nov. 28, 2012, not a single murder, shooting, stabbing, or other incident of violent crime in NYC was reported for an entire day. The first time in basically ever.

17. There’s a wind tunnel near the Flat Iron building that can raise women’s skirts. Men used to gather outside of the Flat Iron building to watch.

18. About 1 in every 38 people living in the United States resides in New York City.

19. New York City has more people than 39 of the 50 states in the U.S.

20. There is a birth in New York City every 4.4 minutes.

21. There is a death in New York City every 9.1 minutes.

22. The borough of Brooklyn on its own would be the fourth largest city in the United States. Queens would also rank fourth nationally.

23. New York City has the largest Chinese population of any city outside of Asia.

24. New York has the largest Puerto Rican population of any city in the world.

25. PONY stands for Product of New York.

26. In 1920, a horse-drawn carriage filled with explosives was detonated on Wall Street killing 30 people. No one was ever caught, and it is considered to be one of the first acts of domestic terrorism.

27. In nine years, Madison Square Garden’s lease will run out and it will have to move.

28. UPS, FedEx, and other commercial delivery companies receive up to 7,000 parking tickets a DAY, contributing up to $120 million in revenue for the city of New York.

29. It can cost over $289,000 for a one-year hot dog stand permit in Central Park.

30. Sixty percent of cigarettes sold in NYC are illegally smuggled from other states.

31. There was one homicide on 9/11, and it remains unsolved.

32. There are “fake” buildings in the city that are used for subway maintenance and ventilation. The building below in the middle, located in Brooklyn, has a fake facade. There is no brownstone within.

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33. Chernobyl is closer to New York than Fukushima is to L.A.

34. There are more undergrad and graduate students in NYC than Boston has people.

35. New York City’s 520-mile coastline is longer than those of Miami, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco combined.

36. The Empire State building has its own zip code.

37. The East River is not a river, it’s a tidal estuary.

38. There is a secret train platform in the Waldorf Astoria hotel.

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39. When the Dutch first arrived to Manhattan, there were massive oyster beds. In fact, Ellis Island and Liberty Island were called Little Oyster and Big Oyster Island.

40. McSorley’s, the oldest Irish ale house in NYC, didn’t allow women inside until 1970.

41. Madison Square Park, Washington Square Park, Union Square Park, and Bryant Park used to be cemeteries.

42. There are 20,000 bodies buried in Washington Square Park alone.

43. The original Penn Station was considered to be one of the most beautiful train stations in the world but was torn down because of declining rail usage.

44. NYC garbage collectors call maggots “disco rice.”

45. In 2010, 38% of all 911 calls in NYC were butt dials.

46. Times Square is named after the New York Times. It was originally called Longacre Square until 1904 when the NYT moved there.

47. The entire world’s population could fit in the state of Texas if it were as densely populated as New York City.

48. In 1975, the city of New York sold a private island in the East River for $10.

49. The winter of 1780 was so harsh in New York that New York harbor froze over. People could walk from Manhattan to Staten Island on the ice.

50. From 1904 to 1948 there was an 18th Street station on the 4/5/6 line. It’s abandoned now, but you can still see it on local 6 trains.

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51. The narrowest house in NYC is in the West Village: 75 1/2 Bedford Street is just over 9 feet wide.

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52. In 1906, the Bronx Zoo put an African man on exhibit in the monkey house.

53. Credit card minimums ARE legal in the city. In 2010, Congress passed a law saying up to a $10 minimum was legal.

54. It would cost about $17,000 to take a cab from NYC to L.A.

55. In 1922, there was a Straw Hat Riot. It was an unofficial rule in NYC that straw hats weren’t allowed to be worn past Sept. 15, but some unruly kids started snatching people’s hats a few days before that causing an uprising that lasted a few days.

56. Eating a New York bagel is equivalent to eating one-quarter to one-half a loaf of bread.

57. NYC buries its unclaimed bodies on an island off the coast of the Bronx called Hart Island. Since 1869, nearly a million bodies have been buried there. The island is not open to the public.

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58. There’s a 150-foot-deep hole (15 stories) on Park Avenue between 36th and 37th streets.

59. The price of a slice of pizza and the cost of a single ride on the subway has been nearly equal for the past 50 years.

60. The scary nitrogen gas tanks you see on the corners of streets are used to keep underground telephone wires dry.

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I enjoy all of the little known facts, curiosities and intricacies of New York but perhaps the best experiences of this wonderful city for me, have been sports related.

US Open Tennis, Quarter Final, Andy Murray v Novak Djokovic, September 3rd.

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Boston Red Sox @ New York Yankees, September 4th.

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Oakland Raiders @ New York Jets, opening weekend, September 7th.

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Now that I’m home and given all I that I experienced, I don’t agree that it’s easier to leave than to be left behind. I know where I’d rather be right now.

These streets will make you feel brand new.

Trying to find a work/life balance is hard, right?

Working in recruitment, I hear stories every day from jobseekers who are desperate to move on from their current role and employer because the hours demanded of them have just become too much. Work has taken over, there is no quality time outside of work, definitely not the best scenario for a balanced life.

I’m more than sympathetic because I know that we all need to work to keep the lights on, to pay the mortgage and to meet our financial commitments. That said, it is always good if we can get a holiday or a break to recharge those batteries to set us up for the rest of the year. Who doesn’t love a holiday?

Last week, I had hoped to be in New York for a week or so with the single most important person in my life, my daughter. Due to my work circumstances, I ended up breaking a promise to her and that hurts so bad. Our time away didn’t happen and it was down to me not being able to find that balance. Needless to say, you all know what that feeling is like when you disappoint someone, it is heartbreaking. Do I need to make it right? Absolutely.

The dates were difficult in the end due to work and it’s all the more disappointing now that I can manage a holiday, having got through the crazy spell of a busy time. Having had a hell of a year, I’ve now been able to book some time to go away.

Chicago is the first port of call, somewhere that I have never been. I hear that it is a beautiful city, I’m sure it’ll be amazing.

From there, New York beckons before some time in Boston. Having been to New York many times before, the anticipation is amazing. It’s a mindblowing city, constantly evolving and full of some of the most friendly and incredible people that I’ve ever had the fortune to meet.

The US Open tennis is on, I’ll catch an MLB game and I’ll tick some more things off of my bucket list.

I can’t explain the reason why but I’ve always wanted to climb the Statue of Liberty and see out through the crown. This has not something that has always been possible due to the horrific terrorist attacks on 9/11 and the natural disaster of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Someone close to me today booked us a chance to be able for me to experience this. Whilst she wanted to do it herself, she knew that it was something that I was eager to do and it was done for my benefit, how cool? Given that this normally needs to be booked months in advance, I’m staggered that someone would do this for me. How good to us are our best friends? One thoughtful gesture can really make your day.

I leave seven weeks today to have my main holiday for the year. I’m so excited that I probably couldn’t put it into words.

That said, it is more than tinged with sadness that Emily won’t be with me.

Another time soon hopefully, fingers crossed..