Port De Soller Mallorca

Port De Soller Mallorca

Tuesday 31 December 2013

What a year, 2013 was!

2013 has been a memorable year for me and Ishbel.

As you know we have 5 grand kids and as they get older they get funnier and our love for them just keeps getting stronger and stronger.  They have managed to bring so much laughter into our lives and I am sure they will continue to do so.  Even as I 'pen' this little year end tale I can hear Holly Kennedy laughing and giggling, she has just been to the loo determined not to copy grandmas's earlier disaster who apparently went to the loo, got her onsie off only to discover she sat on the loo with the sleeve of said garment IN THE LOO, and then proceeded to pee on it, what can I say, it is New Years Eve and she did have a glass of the red stuff with dinner ..... which caused much hilarity and rolling on the floor holding sore sides from laughing at poor grandma. Me I don't have that problem with my onsie as mine has a double action top to bottom and bottom to top zipper, oh yeah we guys have it easy, don't we.....

From L to R: Shannon (7), Lacey May (2 &3/4s), Holly (7), Charlie (7) and Mollie (10 &3/4s) 

Although I do feel for poor Charlie sometimes when the five of them get together and he is outnumbered and outflanked at every turn, bless him.

Talking of onsie's, Jennifer has been threatening to buy one for me for months and I said she shouldn't waste her money as I would never wear one, but she could bury me in it, if and when I ever die; as usual, she ignored me and so as dad's and granddads do all over the world, I had to bow to the inevitable ......

On the left with Charlie and Holly and on the right with Lacey Mae, Mollie and Shannon...

The things we have to do to please our loved ones and in doing that nothing else really matters does it?

2013 was entered into with the same note of optimism that Ishbel and I enter every New Year, hoping that the new Year will always be slightly better than the last.  And, all in all it has been a good year.  The kids continue to grow in stature (well apart from poor Mollie who continues to not grow horizontally, but that smile....)  as well as in learning. Their love of all things life, is inspirational.  We continue, as their Mums and Dads do, to always learn something new and to read everything they can get their hands on.  Charlie won a reading competition a few months ago and his prize, to manage the local library in Raunds one Saturday.  He asked if Holly could be co manager and so she too joined in on that.  I did get a pang at that as she can be a right wee bossy boots and I pictured her in my minds eye marching up to some unsuspecting patron to demand that they keep the noise down and that they should turn the pages quietly, but apparently it went off without a hitch. All 4 biggies continue to get praise and awards and certificates from their respective schools and they love the learning process too.

We had some great days out too during the year, tiring but great with visits to fun parks and picnics in the park, the kids continue to face time me relentlessly, checking up that I am not overdoing it and taking it easy.

Since the news in May of the dreaded cancer it has put a bit of a damper on things, but I am determined to not let it spoil anything for me, Ishbel or the kids.  Mindful that the outcome is probably inevitable and it surely must be as I made one phone call to the insurance company, they sent a one page questionnaire and then paid out within a couple of weeks with no further contact, so that was helpful and stress free and I hope that anyone else in my position is treated with the same stress free helpfulness as I was,  so well done and a big thank you to Legal and General for that.  The thing is, and much to the annoyance of loved ones to begin with,  I have been more than a little blasé about the news, primarily I suppose since joining the Army in 1971 I had come close to death on any number of occasions: having been shot, crippled in a parachuting accident that nearly killed me, trapped down a pot hole after a storm started and it began to flood, trapped on my own in the middle of a riot while serving in Northern Ireland, canoe sinking on me twice, once in the middle of the English Channel and then in the middle of the not so Blue Danube, Rock climbing and abseiling incidents, couple of 3 ton military truck crashes, entering a clearing in Kenya and being confronted with an angry herd, is that the correct collective name, of Baboons and the list goes on. So, as you can see it has been a long time coming and while the greatest fear for me since leaving the Army was being confronted by a keeky nappy, heysus, I can face down death but put an eeky baby bum in front of me and I just want to run and hide as it always made me gag.... but it had to be done, sheesh.  So the threat of my impending doom from cancer was just another one of those moments.

I wont say that I haven't shed a tear since the news, but they have always been in those special moments we have with our children and our grandchildren or when suddenly a thought pops into my mind about something one of those wonderful five grand kids had said to me recently or remembering something that they had done which made me laugh or smile and there are plenty of those moments, and I suddenly think, hell I'm not going to be about for long to see them grow up and turn into the wonderful caring human beings that I know that they are going to turn out to be, and I do choke up a little and have a bit of a blub, but it soon passes and I am back to being stone heart again accepting the inevitable.  Apparently I probably have less than a year but do you know what I think that is the worse case scenario.

I went on the chemo and felt fine during the first three weeks.  Started the second three week session and felt suicidal so they took me off it.  Once it was out of my system a couple of weeks later I was back to feeling great again. And that's how it has been since July.  There has been the odd week when I thought the damned thing was going to do a John Hurt (from the original and best Alien movie,)on me and burst from my chest shouting 'Baby, I'm home'

Having said that, generally I feel great and I know that I am going to be around for a while yet and with what I hope is my own positive outlook and that of my family and friends I reckon that I will be around to write another year end review at the end of 2014.

Bobby, Jim and John my brothers are all keeping in contact although I seem to have lost Bobs number, tit that I am.  Marylin Shepherd Warner keeps a candle burning for me in the Cathedral of the Plains and +Julia Barrett +Michael Hicks @ian_beckett +Brian Meeks @Julianstockwin from twitter and google all keep me on my toes with their support and friendship as do many many others who keep giving me unstinting support, love and friendship and even although I have largely scaled back my social media interaction you should know that I love you all and appreciate every kind thought and word and not so kind one from Hicks, but I suspect he knows that I know that one of these days Ishbel are gonna turn up on the doorstep and I'm going to take over the kitchen and force feed him whether he likes it or not in Florida and to Jules and Oscar too in Napa ..... one of these days

Have a great New Year my Friends and I'll see you all in 2014 

And finally thanks to my girls Marie and Jennifer and to Brian and Steve and Peter and especially to Ishbel for their love and support and to Jennifer for constantly reminding me to 'stop milking it'



  1. Such a pretty New Year's letter it makes me cry! 2014-- I'm coming. Now I just need a day to plan my visit! Love you and the family!

    1. We can't wait to see you in 2014 Jules xxxxxxxx

  2. Tom! Your year was filled with the best and the worst, and still you have the most optimistic attitude and sense of humor. You are an inspiration to everyone. It looks like you are enjoying time with your beautiful family, which is the best part of life. BTW, Space Balls is one of my favorite movies. That one is always good for a laugh!

    Take care of yourself! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

    1. Penny my Darling, when I listen to the news I am continually hearing of poor folk who have problems far worse than my own so I count my blessings for every day of well being that I have and for those of you out there who keep me grounded all the time.. We had a great festive season with all the family and I am looking forward to the next one too. Space balls was so funny wasn't it and I thought this clip much more appropriate for me than the original ... I mean you still gotta laugh at life, regardless xxxxxxxx

  3. Tom, this letter--and the beautiful family pictures--are a treasure. You have so much: a family who loves and appreciates you; five precious grandchildren; and a powerful sense of self and survival. You're an exceptional man, husband, father, grandfather, friend, and if candles add to the glow that already is lighting your way, then the candles will continue to burn. Keep your wonderful sense of humor, and the hope and healing will follow. Many hugs and blessings in 2014 for you and your family.

    1. They are a beautiful bunch aren't they Marylin, Mothers and Grandmother genes I think. Going for a wee break in the sun next week to Gran Canaria; only gets to about 55 degrees in Feb but warm enough for me

  4. Good plan, Tom. Even 55 degrees is a like a hot spell compared to what's happening all over around here. Enjoy your time in the sun!


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