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Brighton or Breast – THANK YOUs for the third batch of sponsors!

21 March 2012

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Current sponsorship (including Gift Aid Tax Relief) stands at £1,096.25!

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Third set of ‘THANK YOU‘s to people who have sponsored us so far –

Molly Parry     John Phantis     Sanchia Orr     Betty¹     Sandy¹     Ann¹

Denise Hamblin     David Chalke     Lisa Briggs     Victoria White     Elaine Smith

Beki, Dave, Emma, Rosie and Evie     Caroline Brennan    Natalie Flitton

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¹ Family names weren’t given so we’re not exactly sure who to thank!

I saw red.

21 March 2012

Well, it had to happen at some point – I completely lost it last night.

Not with Nathaniel but with Harry, the dog. For the first time ever, Harry decided to chew a plant in the garden. But not just any plant. Oh no. He decided to go for the grapevine that Cat planted last year, completely severing the main vine. Having checked it this morning the stem is so badly chewed there is no chance of splicing it back together. The damage is so near the original graft that it is unlikely to survive.

He knew he’d done wrong the minute I stepped outside as he ran to hide under the trampoline and refused to come out. As a result, I have to buy a new water bowl for outside in the garden as his old one is now in pieces after I threw it at the wall. As I said to a close friend last night, it was the first time in years when I’ve been incandescent with rage – real 100% seeing red rage – and it was frightening. At least Nathaniel wasn’t upset that Daddy was turning into The Hulk as he was more upset about the plant. As always with me, I calm down very quickly and we’re all friends again – even if a little subdued this morning.

I know it’s only a plant but it was Cat’s plant and had lots of memories for me from last summer. I really should put things into perspective – it’s only a plant.


Mothers’ Day, Cat’s Tree Planting and The Weather

19 March 2012

For those readers not in the UK, yesterday was our Mothers’ Day. I had a phone call a few months back from the girls at Olney asking when we would like to plant the tree at Cat’s grave and they offered Mothers’ Day as a special date. Each plot gets a tree as part of the base package and, as you can only use indigenous species of tree, we chose the English Oak.

Yesterday morning started off dull which rapidly turned into rain – not ideal for planting a tree on a site sitting on a thick bed of clay. Nathaniel and I drove over through even more rain but when we arrived the rain petered off and then stopped. We had a nice group of close friends and family there and it was a lovely occasion with laughter and tears.

The hole had already been prepared so the spade was handed over to Nathaniel to shovel in the earth and mulch.

When Nathaniel tired of shoveling, the spade was handed round for friends and family to add their bit. Once done, a little bit of stomping down of the earth (Sorry Cat. I did walk all over your grave) and the bark mulch was added followed by lots of water!

Nathaniel had made a card at School which I laminated so he could attach it to the tree stake.

Cat must have arranged the weather as it stayed dry during the time we were at Olney and then began to rain on the way home!


Brighton or Breast – THANK YOUs for the second batch of sponsors!

13 March 2012

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Current sponsorship (including Gift Aid Tax Relief) stands at £645.00!

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Second set of ‘THANK YOU‘s to people who have sponsored us so far –

Liz Boulter Jane Williams Avril Mills Lisa Baxter

Fiona and Martin Minney Jamie Doyle Andy and Tina Brayford Andrea Booth

Tanya Andrewes Michelle, Stuart, Lily and Amelia Carlaw Paul D’Cruz and Family

Nick Madge Duncan Byrne Jennie and Pheobe Goodwin Nicola Watkins

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Brighton or Breast – THANK YOUs for the first batch of sponsors!

9 March 2012

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Current sponsorship (including Gift Aid Tax Relief) stands at £343.75!

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First set of ‘THANK YOU‘s to people who have sponsored us so far –

Mandy, Jamie, Jazmine and Jordan Coker     Frank and Margaret Smith

Carrie, Paul, Maisie and Ollie Smith     Nicole and Chris Boto     Graham Woodward

Dick and Lyn Hennessy     Mark Evison     Jason Showell     Jo Edwards     Julie Blanchette

Vicky Parry     Dave Holloway     Michelle Chalke     Paola Bickley

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The 2012 London to Brighton Cycle Ride ‘Brighton or Breast’ Sponsorship Page

7 March 2012


I previously posted about my hair-brained scheme to raise money for Breast Cancer Care by joining The London to Brighton Cycle Ride on the 17th June this year. Well, click on either the top or bottom “Brighton or Breast” logos to go directly to our fund raising page to sponsor us! All sponsorship goes directly to Breast Cancer Care and don’t forget to click that box for Gift Aid to claim the tax back from HM Government. You can also reach the page by clicking here.



I must be stark raving mad!

6 March 2012


So, I stupidly said to Nathaniel “We should do something in memory of Mummy and to raise some cash for Breast Cancer Care”. He replied that I had always talked about doing the London to Brighton Cycle Ride so wouldn’t that be just the best thing to do, although as he still has short legs and is only 6 years old, he can’t do it and so I must ride twice as hard. Not one of my brightest ideas but I’m actually looking forward to it for some strange reason!?!

Anyway, I have signed up the team “Brighton or Breast” for The British Heart Foundation’s London to Brighton Cycle Ride. It’s now down to the others team mates to sign themselves up (or chicken out). I’ll keep you posted as to who has joined the team.

Sponsorship details to follow…


It’s been a while…

6 March 2012

I know it will come as a shock to some of you, but I haven’t had anything to say for a while – hence no new posts.

It’s been a funny few months but things are (hopefully) back on track.

For me it’s been a time of highs and lows. The high-point is I’m now back in contact with one of my oldest friends. The lows are as to be expected – good days and bad. Music seems to be my killer at the moment – turn on the radio or put the iPod on shuffle and every song seems to have some memory of the time I shared with Cat. It’s only been 5 months so I shouldn’t expect to be my old self for a long while yet.

The biggest problem I’ve had to deal with has been Nathaniel and school. Just before the half-term break Nathaniel decided to not bother at school at all. He couldn’t tell me why exactly but I must have missed the signs. There was something playing on his mind and his schoolwork just went to hell. Unfortunately, this wasn’t reported to me by his teachers and they took the drastic action to move him down from the top group. In hindsight this may have been the kick-up-the-backside he needed and he’s back on track to being moved back up later this term – if he carries on the way he is. He enjoys school again and we do extra work each night together – maybe he just wanted more time with me rather than sharing me with a laptop/work.

I finally got my arse into gear and got back into the garden. The sight of the weeds and dead plants was depressing so I ignored it as best I could. Once the sun returned and the temperature picked up I knew I had no excuse so I got to work cutting back the old Wisteria and grape vine ready for this year – we might even get some more grapes and may be this year they won’t taste like battery acid. I was given a shrub back in October last year by Caz, Debs, Sharon, Lisa, Mel, Elaine, Jane, Lorne, Jennifer, Anne and Tracey (if I’ve forgotten anyone then please let me know) to plant in the garden as a memory of Cat. After resting it over the winter, it is now planted in the flower bed next to the swing seat where Cat spent many an hour with her book/laptop/phone (delete as applicable). So far it seems to be thriving and I promise to do my best and not kill it.

The blue tits have returned to the box they used last year and a new blue tit is in the other box – both are CCTV’d up so pictures will follow as before. There been no sign yet of the Hedgehog but it may still be too early.

I promised Cat I would sort out her things as quickly as possible rather than leave it to fester and I did sort all her clothes into many bags which have remained in the garage for the past four months. I suppose I didn’t do anything else with them as I didn’t want to seem like I was just ‘getting rid’. Last week I made the decision that they must go and I sold them through ‘Cash4Clothes’ with the proceeds going to Nathaniel’s piggy bank.

Nathaniel and I discussed doing something for Mummy and raising money for Breast Cancer Care. So, I’ve signed up for the London to Brighton cycle ride in June this year – more on that to follow.

So, onwards and upwards.


Spam. Spam. Spam. Spam.

6 January 2012

As you know, I keep an eye on Cat’s email addresses just in case one arrives from anyone who doesn’t know – it has happened recently so I’m not completely barking.

This morning in the junk mail folder were over 5,000 mail delivery failure reports from Cat’s email address. Oh crap, I was thinking. Her laptop has been infected with some virus/malware etc. and I’ve just spent the morning combing her laptop and checking our main router logs to see what’s been going on. Luckily, all the machines in the house are clear and none of them are spamming the hell out of the Internet.

So what’s going on? Closer inspection shows that the email originated from what looks like Cat’s email address except the letter ‘case’s are all wrong – she used that format of her email address over 5 years ago. Someone has harvested her email address from somewhere and is sending fake email through an unprotected email server purporting to have come from her. When the email fails to be delivered the failure report is sent back to the sender, i.e. Cat’s email.

Upshot is there’s nothing I can do about this except report the unprotected email server for being an open relay – at least we’re in the clear.


Back to normal. Or as near to normal as can be.

5 January 2012

I haven’t written much over the Christmas period not because I had nothing to say but because I just didn’t have the will. I suppose I just wanted it over and done with so life could get back to as normal as possible and if I could have spent the whole time in bed with my head under a pillow I would have.

The whole Christmas/New Year thing wasn’t my favorite time. Nathaniel was fine and enjoyed himself with all the activities we did – lots of father-son bonding time – but to me it just wasn’t the same. At least it is all done and I know I can manage it next year. A baptism of fire, if you like.

I do feel guilty though as at one point over the holiday I went out in the evening with some of my oldest friends and had a great time. I actually enjoyed myself, forgot that all this had happened and tried to rewind the clock twenty years. For the first time in months, I ceased to be Cat’s widow and reverted to being James – the James that makes jokes, has a laugh (and in this case, gets well and truly smashed).

Was it wrong of me? No. Cat wouldn’t want me to closet myself away. She always believed that life was for living and that’s what I intend to do.


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