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

Rushing Towards The End Of Oblivion …

I can’t believe that tomorrow, we will be in the last month of the year.

Given we have basically all been confined to working in our homes, doing the same thing over and over and over again … it’s amazing how quickly this year has seemingly gone.

Of course, while our lives have been in arrested development, everything around us has been changing at a rapid rate.

From a personal perspective, in addition to the constant stream of dramas revolving around COVID-19 and the US elections, I experienced being made redundant, buying a new house, moving into the new house, seeing Otis go to a new school he adores, being asked to work on some of the most weird and wonderful creative projects I’ve ever had the opportunity to work on [for ‘clients’ I never dreamt I would get to work with], set up the adventure that is Uncorporated, mess about with the minds of procurement departments and enjoy the joy of being offered a job at one of my absolutely favourite agencies in the whole wide World, Colenso … which all combined to ensured life felt it was still rushing forward even though so much of my physical life stayed exactly the same.

Not that I didn’t love my physical life staying the same because it was basically the best bits of my life delivered in ways I had never really experienced them before,

Being with my family every single day.
Enjoying breakfasts, lunch and dinners with them.
Hanging out. Playing. Spending time just in each others life.

So while acknowledging the utter privilege I have in my life that let’s me be able say this – and acknowledging the fact that because my parents have sadly passed away, I did not have to deal with the emotional pressures and challenges of looking after elderly family members when you could not see them – I can say 2020 has been one of the best years of my life.


And while I look at 2021 with excitement, there is also a feeling of sadness this year is going to soon end because there’s been many things I have discovered, enjoyed and experienced that I either never knew, didn’t realise or just didn’t want to end.

I totally get I may be the only person who thinks this way – though my best friend Paul probably agrees – but that’s how I feel.

I know I am in a position of great fortune.

I know many are in very different situations.

But whatever your circumstances … I hope the final month of 2020 lets you feel either a hint of optimism for what could be ahead or grateful for the lessons this year has revealed to you. And if you can’t and are worried about it, then please get in touch – because while I can’t promise I can change this for you, I can promise I’ll listen and help you create the conditions that could increase the odds of making it so.

Have a great week.

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One Of My Favourite Pictures …

Yep that’s Jill playing Otis’ Ben 10 game.

Yes, that’s a Macca’s breakfast on the table.

And yes, that’s Rosie and our rocking-horse sheep watching on.

In fact, the only person not in this photo is Otis … who is a bit miffed his Mum has taken over his game.

Of course, Jill claims she’s just wanting to help him past a difficult bit.

But I know that face of concentration.

She’s in deep competition mode … determined to win at all costs … resistant to surrender regardless what she faces.

And right here, is a moment of my family I love.

Doing something [kinda] together and enjoying the ridiculousness of it all.

I love this.

I love that COVID has enabled me to have more of this with my family.

Which is why while I acknowledge the devastating impact it has had – and continues to have – on so many, what it has given to me is an opportunity to embrace and celebrate how precious my family are and how much I love being with them.

Even if Otis feels he’s being ‘game denied’ by his Mum.

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.


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.


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Gareth [From ‘The Office’] Lives …
October 10, 2007, 6:01 am
Filed under: Jillyism

Yep, she’s at it again.

Nice to know marriage hasn’t changed her. Ahem.