Sixteen Years

Sixteen years.

It seems like - and almost literally is - a lifetime. In that time, a child is born, raised, and here in the UK, they're ready to go to college or, if they decide, out into the world, qualifications in hand.

And yet, for me, sometimes it feels like just the blink of an eye.

Sixteen years ago, you left. You dealt with so much in your four short years, and enough was enough. You gave me so much love, so many amazing cuddles, made me laugh untold numbers of time, but today, it's hard to think of much else except that day in the hospital, sixteen years ago.

Don't get me wrong - I am not dwelling on that day, those final hours, minutes and moments - not intentionally. But flashes of it come back to me despite pushing them aside. 12.21pm. That bloody picture on the wall of the fish. A sound. A smell. A movement you made, making me think the doctors were wrong...

Without meaning to sound dramatic, that day when you left, I know part of me left with you. People say how a part of them died, and I completely understand what they mean, without actually understanding what or how.

But regardless of any of the horrific thoughts and memories from that day, I still have four years of memories of you, my beautiful gorgeous, Bethany. 

Four years of you laughing, giggling, cuddling, playing, and yes, even being a monster that could destroy two bedrooms in the space of half an hour. The child that helped shave and colour in our old dog - two different incidents in fact. The same little girl that, assisted by her big brother, managed to "accidentally" tip a huge bucket of paint onto a carpeted floor, and - again, a separate incident - managed to rip open a bean bag so the polystyrene balls covered two our of three floors of the house.

The same polystyrene balls that you "accidentally" managed to re-explode all over the garden days later.

But sixteen years is hard for me to swallow. I don't know why, I don't understand my emotions at the best of times, but today just feels hard...

Just know, my Bethy, that you are greatly missed - even by people that have never met you. You are still greatly loved, again, by people that never got to see you. I know I will see you again one day my little gorgeous, and then we can have all the fun and dancing and cuddles to make up for our lost time.

I see you baby...

Two Decades...

With the last year seemingly out of control, and 2021 appearing to be no better, it surprises and amazes me that today would be Bethanys 20th birthday. 

Twenty years. 

Twenty years ago I sat there as she was born, not knowing what her future would hold - not even knowing what the coming hours would hold for her, let alone the coming days, weeks and months. As it turned out, the first week of her life was a complete and utter shitstorm of things, with new stuff being discovered to be wrong with her literally every day. 

I can still remember every part of that first week, with a different specialist being introduced every single day, with a look on their face that you just knew meant "uh oh" and that they had to break some new medical issue to you.

But, if you knew that tiny little baby, Bethany fought through every single thing thrown at her that week. And it blows my mind that it was TWENTY years ago that this all happened. People say time is a great healer, but it's really not. Time makes things feel different. Time doesn't heal anything, it just makes it different.

And as is usual on her birthday, I try to picture what she would look like, what she would be doing, what sort of person would she be. I admit, with everything going on - personally and in the world - my brain isn't in the best of places of late, and it's hard to remember it's her birthday, a happy day... I have to fight to remember the good, the happy, the funny... You'd have thought after so many years of practice it would be a simple thing, but who knows how my head works the way it does.
To my beautiful birthday girl, Bethy, 

Happy Birthday my little love. I can't believe you would be twenty today. Twenty years old. It just sounds crazy to me. 

As ever, I think about what you would be doing - would you be working, would you be at university, would you have a partner? Would your hair be long, finally, or have you given up trying to grow it and just keep it short? Do you drive? Do you still live here, or have your own place? What have you been through with doctors and hospitals over the years?

I think about all that sort of thing a lot, but more so today. Today brings the daily stuff into sharper focus.

I think about what sort of interactions you would have with Dom and his fiancée Lucina. How would you and Jaysen be together? Would you be fussing over Molly now she's expecting her first baby with Korbon? What would you be doing for Tamsyn now she is he and called Theo? Would you be living with Kellie and I, or would we be coming to visit you are your place?

Regardless of any of that, I just want you to know that regardless of anything, as ever, you would be incredibly loved. You are still, incredibly loved. I think about you every day, and miss you every day. Today being your birthday brings it to the forefront of my mind more strongly, and I can't help but feel pain that you are not here, that I can't give you a birthday cuddle, or ply you with cake and presents. I miss having cuddles from that crazy little girl, and miss the fact I've not had cuddles from the bigger girl, the teenager and the adult. I can feel with every part of me, you would have done incredible things as you grew older, and almost pity everyone that never met you or knew you.

Everything about you made the world a better place my Bethy, and selfishly, I wish you were here, now, in the world, doing what you did best - making me laugh and giving the strongest little cuddles ever.

Happy birthday my beautiful little baby.
And as ever, I See You Baby...

Lots of love,


Molly Is 18!!

If you have the misfortune of following me on Instagram, you may have noticed a minor flooding today, with a single subject.

Molly - and the fact the she is eighteen years old today!

Considering I am such a benevolent dictator, I have allowed her to reach this milestone with a simple goal in mind - to spam embarrassing photos I have amassed of her over the years! So, this morning, I threw photo after photo of her on there... And, for the most part, they aren't flattering. Some eating, some mid-sentence, some of her being a spaz - but all unedited and honest.

I first met Molly in June of 2008, and she was just six years old. To word it politely, while we've always gotten along, she had a slightly rough temper, which even during her time at senior school, her teachers referred to her exploding as "going Full Molly", a phrase which we adopted here at home as well.

In 2013, Kellie and I married, and while we had lived together for a few years, it was at that point I was officially a stepdad. True, I had considered myself that already WAY before then, but that was the "official" step-dadding of me.

Mo and I have always been out and about together - as I have with all the kids, obviously - but Molly and I dick around A LOT. She laughs at the same childish crap that I laugh at (or do, or cause), we watch the same TV shows, we listen to the same music... I've never told her she has to like the stuff I like, but she and I are a lot alike.

And did I mention, childish shenanigans?

But I digress...
To my wonderful girl, Molly..

I hate I didn't get to meet you before I did - I would have loved to have known you as an ickle bubba, a toddler, a wee kid, but I'll take what I can get. Even when you were in your own angry little world, you would always sit and listen and talk to me about what was bothering you and what was upsetting you - well, unless it was me, in which case, you let me know it was me that was causing the world to end... And that was fine too.

But from there, you've grown from a grumpy kid to a stroppy teen to a moody  you've grown into a lovely, friendly, kind and, most importantly, a FUN adult. I've watched and helped you through schools, relationships, and whatever other things that have tripped you over. I've held your hand when the it seemed like the world had turned against you, and helped guide you through all the shit you had to deal with.

I don't want or need anything in return - I just want you to be happy. To enjoy life. To enjoy whatever it is that you do, whatever you choose to become.

You are no-ones fool. I don't believe for an instant that you will end up in a situation that you don't want to be in. I don't believe you can be coerced or talked into doing something you don't want to do. But the second you feel like you need help, you know that I am here, and always will be, to hold your hand and help with whatever it is.

Happy Birthday little Mo Mo. Welcome to being an adult. But even now you're an adult, you can still rely on me for anything you might need.

With all my love,


Regardless of you, dear reader, going on Instagram or not, I am going to re-post all the photos I posted there - here. Molly, in all her glory. I'm sure she is over the moon to see the photos that hit Instagram (and, by association, flooded onto Facebook too) all reposted here - JUST for her benefit.

And my amusement.


Ok so I admit I am writing this on the 16th, but, well, I couldn't bring myself to do it on the 15th, Bethys birthday... Her 19th birthday no less.

It's now the middle of the night, and my mind has been a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions for close to 24 hours now, and while the last year has been absolutely crap, I need to blog for my beautiful baby's birthday.

As ever, it feels like just yesterday that she was born. Just yesterday the tiny little bundle was handed to me. That I held her tight and close before she was whisked off to the Intensive Care. Just yesterday that my little Bethy started fighting tooth and nail.

After all these years, I still remember her milestones - crawling, talking, walking, starting nursery... And I am loathe to admit that I even worked out late one night when Poppy would be the same age as Bethy when she left. And I see so much of Bethy in Poppy, it's uncanny. And now, I watch Poppy grow up, start hitting the milestones Bethy never did.
And of course, Poppy is fully aware of Bethany - she asks about her, talks about her, says things like what she and Bethy are going to do and have done together already... Yes, there is a lot of Bethy in Poppy - or, is there a lot of Poppy in Bethy?

Obviously, I know they are two different little girls separated by a vast gulf of time, but when I can think of Bethy as growing up "just yesterday" its hard to not imagine them growing up together. Bethy did this, so Poppy would do it too. Poppy is doing that, so Bethy would be doing it too. I find it hard to picture Bethy as being older than, well, ALL the girls - a year and a bit older than Molly, four years older than Tamsyn. I often wonder what affect "older" Bethy would have - would she be calm and sensible? Would she be disobedient? Would she be working like Dom, or at university like Jaysen? Would she find time to sit and play games with me, or prefer to sit and have a cuppa with Kellie?

"What If" is a dangerous game. It leads you down many roads that can cause hurt, pain, sadness - and it still does on many occasions. But sometimes, like now as I write this, I find myself smiling at the thought of Little Bethy and Poppy together, or Big Bethy and all of them together. That extra place at the dinner table, that extra cab to get us around, that extra ticket for the stupid plan we've decided on.

The 15th was a hard day. It was a sad day. But now, in the night, I'm done with being sad and upset. I'm thinking of my Baby Moo with a smile under the tears.

My beautiful birthday girl, Bethany...

I can't see that you would be nineteen today. The numbers don't sit right in my mind. Maybe it's not seeing you here, maybe it's not the reminders that you are growing up - well, grown up, as you would be. I can't correlate that crying little baby fighting her way through that first day, with a little girl turning nineteen years old.

I wonder what you'd be studying or doing - something in medicine maybe? Something with kids? Maybe you'd be a hairdresser, or an optician - hell, maybe you'd be the first girl something-or-other. Whatever you'd chose, where ever you'd have ended up, just know that you would always make me proud.

I was proud of you the from the first moment you balled those little fists up, let lose with that cry, right through to the bitter end, after bringing so much love into the world, and bringing together so many people to support one another. And even now, I am proud of every second you were around.

You are an amazing girl my little Bethy. You always have been, and you always will be. Where ever you are baby, I hope you are dancing and jumping and spinning and running, and loving the person you are, and the person you would have become.

I love you Bethy, and as ever, I see you baby, every single day.


Fourteen Years Today

Somehow, today marks the fourteen anniversary since losing Bethany. Fourteen years... That in itself is a whole child - Tam will be 14 in four weeks. But it feels so surreal.

On the one hand, today the loss feels very raw and fresh. On the other, it feels like a lifetime ago. I know back then, I was a very different person, and I wonder how much the events changed who I am as a person. I've mentioned before how various aspects of who I am changed after she passed away, and with my brain being as useful as it is, I don't know how much of it is for better or for worse.

Some days are better than others, and obviously the good outweigh the bad, but it still hurts if I think too much about it. Which, obviously, I don't make a habit of - but it's always in a part of my mind.

This time of year is rough, between her birthday and her today, coupled with the horrible grey damp miserable weather - I find myself low and miserable a lot. A couple of you are there for me which helps and makes a difference, but...

I don't know. I am rambling more than anything today. Having had very little sleep of late, today is not what I would call a cakewalk, but as ever, I'll survive.

It's very hard to put into words. I can't verbalise how much I miss her, and that, even after so long, how much it still hurts that she's gone.
My beautiful Angel, Bethy

Today, fourteen years ago, you had to go. You had fought so hard against everything, but your poor little body had take more than any person should ever have to take. You were the bravest little gorgeous ever, no matter what was thrown at you.

You smiled at people after they took your blood. You cuddled the people that prodded your tummy. You played with the people that pushed and pulled things inside your body. You always had a smile and a laugh and a cuddle, and more love than any person ever.

But after everything your poor little body took, it was finally too much. I remember holding you , kissing you, and singing to you on that day, and my heart still breaks at seeing you so small and vulnerable in my minds eye.

I miss you so much my little baby. I miss seeing your smile, see you performing some daredevil move in the house, running until you were literally blue in the face...

Everything about you and who you are live on inside so many people, and I am proud that you bought love to so many people around the world. You truly are my amazing little gorgeous.

I miss you my Bethy, every day. But I see you, baby.
I see you baby x

With all my love,

18 Today...

Hard to imagine, but today would have been Bethany's 18th birthday. I would have another little grown up in my life, and I can only imagine what sort of person - adult - she would be after everything.

On the one hand, I am trying so hard to be positive today. I am trying so hard to not dwell on the fact that she has been gone for what seems like so long/just yesterday. I'm trying to remember all the funny, happy, silly Bethy moments. I am trying to not remember that last week of her life.

Today is her birthday, and while I cannot help but miss her and think about what she went through, I am thinking about her, the little person, the funny, crazy, dancing little angel that would cuddle anyone and everyone, would deal with everything she had to go through, and made everyone that met her just smile...

To my beautiful not-so-little-girl, my little gorgeous, Bethy.

Today, you would have been 18 years old. Today, you would be a proper adult, a grown up. You would probably be dinky still, and I hope you would still be the funny, silly, crazy person you were when you were little. I would hope you have a smile for everyone, and do what you want to do because it makes you smile, or makes you happy, or makes others around you happy.

You always showed me that, no matter what, you could be happy. You could smile for anyone no matter what. You could cuddle anyone, no matter how you felt. You were strong. You were brave. You put up with so much.

The world was a better place for you being in it... I cannot help but think with you no longer here, the world is a less happy place.

I remember holding you as soon as you were born, remembering how small and fragile you seemed. Your first week was full of drama, but you dealt with it all. Everything throughout your life, you accepted and took in your stride. You might not have liked it, but you never complained. I have never met a little girl as brave and as strong as you.

Your little sister Poppy has so much of you about her... She loves to cuddle, she loves to make people smile and laugh, and she has your naughty side too.

Where-ever you are, whatever you are doing, remember that you will always be missed, and always be loved. You are such an amazing little girl - now little lady - and I miss you every single day.

So happy birthday, my little Bethy. I hope where ever you are, you are dancing and spinning, laughing and giggling, and having fun with your angel wings.

I love you, I miss you... And I see you baby... Always.


Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time, in the distant annals of the past, there was a Guy. He wasn't especially smart, not very social, not much to look at, and definitely not the sort to call attention to himself.

He did, however, have quite a vivid imagination. He would arrange games from all sorts of genres: from high fantasy, to gritty sci-fi; cyberpunk to horror; vampire and fairies, kings and robots... He could throw on some old rags and be the helpful beggar. Some dark robes and be the malevolent necromancer. A suit, and a suave businessman. A heavy suit of chain mail, and be the most noble of knights...

After a time, when He could no longer run around a forest or a cave system, battering all and sundry with weaponry, His realm became based around a table. He would produce maps and props, do accents and have fun with his friends. He would entertain friends and strangers alike, from His own dinner table, to a corner of a local pub, up to entertaining complete strangers for the companies that wrote the systems He would use, to the point that He would be told six months in advance that He had to write an entire scenario for a large group - for competition-level adventures. And when that became too much, He moved into cyberspace. While no one could hear Him or see Him, He used his written word to tell the story, to lead people across vast realms, to battle evil, and to save the day. His days were filled with maps and private conversations, notes and plotting, scripting adversaries and rolling dice for random outcomes.

And then one day, something happened. His real-life Princess was lost, and with it, his imagination. With her passing, He could feel the characters and the places slipping away. The costumes seemed strange, the acting-out imaginary stories an odd pass-time, and finally, pretending to be someone in front of others was so bizarre, He grew shy and embarrassed. Even hiding behind words and a screen seemed too much, and the worlds and characters, places and villains - they all seemed stupid and slipped further and further from His priorities, and a stasis fell across His imagination.

Days, weeks, months and, eventually, years slipped by. Now and then, something would spark in the back of His mind, but then would fade almost as suddenly as it appeared. The people around Him changed... Some grew up and changed. Some grew up and left. Over time, others came into His life to fill the void left by others, but none understood the passion He once felt for his hobbies. Some would look at him with a strange look, some would chuckle, others would outright ridicule Him, and the thought of rolling dice and pretending to be someone He was not seemed beyond stupid.

One year, an invitation arrived - to attend a party with friends, and to solve a murder while assuming the mantle of a different person. Role-Playing had effectively muscled its way into His life, and there was nothing He could do to avoid it. As the day and time grew closer, His nervousness and embarrassment increased. In reality, it shouldn't have been so difficult. A scripted character, a list of ideas for costumes and props, and to add to the things which would have made things easier, the character was already scripted as nervous - which played into His wheelhouse.

The night came and went, much laughter and fun was had. The nervous vicar did not commit the murder, nor did He explode into flame on the spot. That isn't to say that He didn't will himself to disappear a multitude of times over the course of the evening, but He did indeed survive. The people around were friends and loved ones, and some were as nervous as He.

But all He could think, was how far He had fallen. A scripted character? Told what to wear? Told what to SAY??

Even this, however, did not return His imagination. Despite being very aware of himself, and how this should have been child's play, He struggled to play to the simple role.

A year later, and another murder mystery. The murder of the doctor put the suave ladies man and famous cricketer of the 1920s firmly into the "Suspect Number One" position. This man was not a nervous vicar, but a loud, brave, flirty ladies man.

The real person, however, while He could be loud, was most certainly not loud, brave and flirtatious - especially around His assembled friends and loved ones. Once again, He felt the pangs of performing from a script, but He tried his best, and even now is unsure if He managed to convince people that He was not shaking in His suspenders and cap.

Over the course of the evening, however, someone said something He never thought He would hear, but struck the same chord as being told that He would be role-playing for the evening.

Someone suggested that - thanks to his background - perhaps HE should write a murder-mystery evening... Create the scenario, make the characters, plot out the evening with scripts, revelations, clues, and host it.

If you have been paying attention to this tale, you would realise that that is exactly what He used to do - many many years before.

Before He became a nervous wreck.

Before He would panic in normal social situations.

Before He would be laughed at for His hobby.

Before He lost the fair Princess.

The subject cropped up several times over the course of the evening, but He laughed and shook His head - while at the same time feeling terror at the very thought of it.

He journeyed home that night, climbed into bed with his Queen, and, despite the late hour, lay reading, immersing himself in a world of high fantasy once more.

After a time, His eyes grew heavy, and He placed his book down, settled under the covers and set to sleep. But, as is common knowledge, He was not sleeping. Instead, His mind was replaying the evening, cringing at His comments, His abilities, His accent, dwelling on things He had done and said. And, eventually, it replayed the "You should run a murder mystery night..." comment from His own Queen.

Again, the fear and nervousness crept over His mind like a shroud, but this time - maybe the late hour, maybe the alcohol - but along with the worry of such a situation, the spark flared once again. The rest of the night, it seemed, was filled with Him virtually arguing with Himself. Could He do it? Should He do it? What if this, What if that...

And so, today, the strange, nervous, worrying Guy is wondering if He could manage it.

Honestly - despite thinking and considering and debating all night, He isn't sure if He could manage it. And yet, at the same time as thinking He couldn't do it, He's also thinking about the setting, the era, the characters, even the victim...

Time will tell, I suppose. Maybe the spark will remain, maybe it will fade once again. And while He is considering, He is not setting anything in stone. On one hand, there is the thought of failure - to fail to produce something fun and imaginative, failing to meet the deadline He sets, failing to create something fun and engaging. On the other hand, there is the thought of performing in front of others, and putting Himself out for all to see - if the evening fails or there are glaring errors, they cannot be blamed on a company or unknown individual... They would fall squarely upon His own lap.

Time will tell.

Thirteen Years...

At 12:21pm today, my precious Bethy will have been gone from me for thirteen years. On one hand, that feels like a lifetime ago, but on the other, it feels like it has only just happened.

This past year has not been great, and for some reason, that has made today feel more raw and visceral than the last few years, and I honestly feel like I am struggling to hold myself together - today is making that feel almost impossible.

In the early hours of the morning, I was sat in the dark missing Bethy, and my emotions ranged from sadness at losing her, anger at my inability to do anything about it, I smiled remembering all the funny things she did, and enormous love for her and how she made people feel.

But I miss her. I miss her every single day, but today I miss her more than anything.

Having a memory like I do, I remember the events of this day thirteen years ago almost like it only just happened. The voices, the words they were using, the expressions on faces, the sounds of machinery, even the smell.

Seeing my little Bethy laying there at the end of her fight was probably the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with. And it kills me every time it pops into my mind - usually unbidden, sometimes when I am thinking about her and her running around, invariably, my mind will slip back to that place. So much reminds me of her and of the hospital, but today, I am struggling to see the good times, the laughs, the happy little Baby Moo, the big cuddles with her tiny little arms around my neck and her breath on my skin.

Today, I am struggling. Today, I am missing my beautiful little princess, daddys little gorgeous, ever so much.

To my beautiful Bethy,

Holy hell am I missing you baby. Today more than ever. It has been thirteen years since you left, and time hasn't healed any wound. The wound just got different. But this year, it feels like it's been scratched open, and today it is ever so painful.

I miss you so damn much. I miss seeing you dance, I miss hearing you giggle, I miss you being naughty. You went through so much and were always the bravest person I ever knew, so strong and full of fight. Even today, I think about how amazing you were - sitting through tests and prodding and poking and having procedures done - always with more bravery than I have ever seen.

Thirteen years is a long time, but also no time at all. And I have missed you every single day of those years. I still cannot listen to certain songs. I still notice when the clock his 12:21. 

You would be so proud of your brothers and sisters. I wish they had the chance to meet you. And I see you in Poppy so much it's almost scary. So many people in my life now should have met you. Kellie would have doted on you. You'd have Dom and Molly wrapped around your little finger within minutes, and Nanny Diane would do anything you asked. 

Where ever you are my baby, I miss you. I hope you are still dancing. I hope you are still as full of love as you ever were. I wish I could see you again my gorgeous. And I will, in time, I know that. But I have people here that need me for a while yet.

I love you so much Bethany. And I see you baby.

I see you x

Happy Birthday My Bethy

To my beautiful Angel, Bethany...

I can't believe you would be 17 today. That number boggles and blows my mind, and I can't help but think what you would be like at this age. Seventeen. You'd be looking to the future; College, University, Work, Boys NO BOYS...

Would you still be dancing? Would you be as strong-willed and stubborn as you were when you were four? Would you still love to sit with me and have a cuddle.

I think about you every single day, think about what you would be doing, what you would be like, what you would be in to... Seventeen years old, and I miss you as much today as I did the day you left. 

I'm sure you would give me a cuddle at this point. See me upset and give me one of your little fangy-smiles, wrap your little arms around my neck and squeeze. I know you would hate to see me sad and missing you, but I can't help but miss you.

Just know that you are still very much loved - even by those that never got to meet you - and very much missed.

So happy birthday my sweet little gorgeous. I miss you very much, but love you so much.

With all my heart,


Is This Thing On?

So, turns out poor old 0ddness has been a bit neglected of late. A lot late. But, with yesterday being a momentous occasion, I figured I would appear out of lurkdom and grace you with my presence.

Yes, I still think a lot of myself. Go figure.

(FYI: Long Post Klaxon!)

Firstly, I was indeed 41 years old yesterday. Of course, I didn't realise it was my birthday this weekend until Wednesday when someone asked me which day it was. And when asked how old I was, I had to pause, and do some pretty complicated mathematics in my head to work it out.

So, with the freshest thing first, I'll start with yesterday - in which I became older, no wiser, sexy as ever, and generally continued to grace the world with my presence. As mentioned already. As is usual, I don't make a big deal of my birthday - I'm not into the whole party-hearty because I managed to not die for another year. Yesterday was nice and quiet and chilled out. My gift from Poppy was me tripping over her potty, and splashing pee all up my leg, so that was nice. And warm.

In August, I finally bit the bullet and started looking for a new doggo. Since I lost Sally Dog, I wanted something small and stupid with a wanky obnoxious name - but have been putting it off and putting it off. First we needed somewhere bigger. Then we needed money. Then with Poppy, we needed her to be less... Baby. So, last month, Kellie made some phone calls (and aside from avoiding a rather dodgy situation with what later turned out to be some travellers and puppy farming!) she found a lady with a couple of Jack Russell puppies. We travelled over to see them, a boy and a girl, and set to having a play.

The little girl - as a typical female - was probably just having an off day, and didn't seem bothered by us. The little boy was an idiot, wanted to lick my chin and eat my stubble, and seemed to like having cuddles. He also like being near Poppy (kind of important with THAT force of nature) and on top of that, didn't growl at Kellie - so he can't sense evil.

We took him home there and then, and since then, the little idiot has been charging around like a mad thing. Naming took a couple of days (He was just "dog" to start with!) and we toyed with everything from Dave to Kujo to Jeff to Gobshite... Eventually, however, remembering a dog my Great Uncle had maaaaany years ago, we opted for Lord Montgomery II. Granted, we call him Monty, but everywhere he's registered, the vets, his microchip, his insurance, his name tag - he is Lord Montgomery. Which the vets find hilarious.

He's such an idiot. No sense of how small he is, can't navigate a series of three steps without tripping over at least one of them, can go through a baby gate in one direction, but cannot work out how to come back through... He tries to leap up onto the sofa - but takes off about three feet too soon, so generally hits the front of the sofa face first. As I write this, he is snuggled against me, on my lap. Oh yes, he's a lap dog.

Him and Poppy get on like, well, a toddler and a puppy. I should sell the idea to Disney for their next Princess. A noisy troublemaker and a puppy, systematically destroying everything they go near - but everyone still loves them. For some reason.

Anyway... With Monty being my early birthday present, I didn't expect to get presents yesterday, but low and behold, a large box was produced. I was genuinely not expecting anything, so to unwrap it and find a brand new spanking shiny gaming laptop inside, I was shocked into speechlessness. I expected it to be a box with a brick in it. Or something explosive. Or divorce papers.

You see, last year, I made the transition from a PC Gamer to a PS4 Gamer. The PS4 was my birthday present last year. My old Aspire laptop - while still able to run a lot of things - was getting a bit rickety. It survived the Great Kicking of Kellie in 2012, it was resurrected after the Dropping Off Of Screen in 2013, and even last year, it survived the Great Coffee Flood...

The Second Great Coffee Flood, however, proved to be it's undoing. All seemed well for a week or so, then, in the immortal words of the great Nanny Plum, it went BANG. Literally, BANG. Complete with the Blue/Grey Smoke Of Electronics Doom.

I have no idea what died, though I suspect either the power gubbins or the processor, but it was Dee Eee Dee Dead. And that, I am afraid to say, was that for the laptop. Within a fortnight, my old wheezy Medion PC System also gave up the ghost, and has since been sitting on my desk staring at me like a corpse glaring at its murderer.

But now, I am back in the world of the living. I am still a PS4 Gamer, but am also once again a PC Gamer. And, MOST importantly, I can now get many many Gigabytes of data retrieved from my old systems. See, having no computer to speak of meant the laptop and the PC have been sitting there rotting, their four hard drives holding tightly onto lots and lots of photos from over the years - including a multitude of Bethy pictures.

Thankfully, after doing the Medion hard drives, all the photos from the last ten years or so are safe and sound and YES I've already backed it all up. Thank you Google Drive & Photos. Of course, the anally-retentive Dan has spent the last three days sorting the photos and putting them into the correct Month & Year folders... Because why wouldn't you?!

I've not had a look at my laptop drives yet - I have to confess, I am a little nervous to do so, mainly because of the spectacular way it exited the mortal coil... As long as there was no surge in electrickery or, you know, fire, I think they should be good.

So, moving on from the most important thing (Yes, still me), I move on to the wee little troll that is Poppy.

She is growing like a weed. All the new stuff we got her for the summer is already looking a bit little on her. Not that it matters too much, as she is currently going through her "Nekkid Toddler" phase and hates to wear clothing. And runs around without a care in the world. She looks so much like Bethany some days,it pulls at my heart strings, and she is SO much like her, from the trouble making, to the putting herself on the naughty step after intentionally doing wrong, to hiding her dummies, so when you take it away from her, another one appears out of nowhere! She is gorgeous, funny, stubborn and bright as a button.

She's now entitled to her 15 hours a week of nursery, and so - realising both how fast she's growing and how little she is, she started three mornings a week at a little nursery near us. At first, she was, shall we say.... Less than impressed... She's never really been away from Mummy or Daddy or Siblings or Nanny - and the first few weeks she did to get used to it in August... They did NOT go well. But with the girls at nursery helping out, we persevered, and now she hates NOT going to school. She's still doing exactly what Tamsyn did was she was small and lovely, and refuses to speak except in her own language. Since starting nursery, she is coming on more and more.

For those of you that don't follow me on Twitter or Facebook or whatever, she also had her first proper injury in the summer - she gashed open her forehead beside her eyebrow. Typical guilty daddy moment, I looked away from her for a few seconds, and down she went. Because she was wet, the blood went EVERY-fooking-WHERE and she looked like Carrie. It was awful. It was touch and go for a while if she'd need referring to another hospital for the plastics team that rebuilt Jaysens hand as it was so close to her eye, but in the end, it was nice and clean and not too deep. Steri-Strips and TLC, and she now has a scar above her left eyebrow, but with copious usage of Bio-Oil, I'm hoping that it fades more and more over time.

As I mentioned earlier, she and the dog love each other, and are generally always running around together. Where one goes, the other follows. If she curls up for a nap somewhere, he usually curls up with her too, and it is exactly what we wanted - for them to grow up together and be best friends. They play with each others toys, play with each other, and literally bounce off one another. Until they both flake out and have a nap...

And it's at times like that, the rest of us can sit for half an hour, have a breather, drink some coffee, clear up the chaos, and wait for it to start all over again - because when one wakes up, the other wakes up.

As for the other morons children in the house - well, I say children... Dom is 19, has moved on from being one of the managers at McDonalds, and now works at some big financial place doing something... Financial. Jaysen is 18 (19 in a few months even!), still in college studying something with animals, while working at the Dogs Trust a couple of times a week - and now he's considering University. Molly is 15 and in her last year of school, getting ready for her GCSEs. Tamsyn is 12 (but seems older?) and is shooting up like a bloody weed as well. Both Molly & Tamsyn go to Army Cadets twice a week, and it's definitely doing them both the world of good.

Jaysen: Being Special

Molly: Probably Sulking

Poppys Other Great Passion: Water!

Tamsyn: Not Actually My Son

My Classy Kellie


Lucina (Doms better half), Molly (doing something with her fingers),
Kellie (squashed), Tamsyn (still a girl) and Poppy (trying to escape)

Tam & Mo with their detachment (Armed Forces Day)
Now, oddly, I cannot find any photos of Dominic that fulfil the following criteria. Firstly, I wanted a recent photo, and secondly, I wanted it to be of him fully dressed and not on the toilet. As it seems all the photos I have of him seem to be in his pants or on the loo, here's the next closest thing.

Dominic: Needs a Haircut
And so, after what can only be described as a wall of text and random photos (and a cauliflower) I will leave it at that... I can cover my medical rubbish any other time - probably at three in the morning when I feel shite, and all of Kellies medical rubbish is a blog post unto itself.

And yes, I am fully aware that while blogging has never been considered "cool", I still prefer it to most other forms of Social Media. And, while on THAT subject - while I might have things appear on Facebook, I do not actively go on there, and have not done so for a long time. Too much drama, bitching, politics, and what seems to be playground behaviour - so I continue to avoid that. I use Twitter now and then, and post pictures to Instagram occasionally. I am hoping - though I'm not making any promises - that now I am back with a screen and a keyboard and no danger of autocorrect, that I will manage to blog a little more regularly. Aside from that, if you play on PS4, feel free to add me - username is Danielson0

Until next time, you little crowd of nutters that made it this far!

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