Martinhal prides itself on offering barefoot chic at the beach and my friend and hairdresser, Nancy and I, who have come to experience Martinhal's first yoga week, don't put our shoes on all week. We patter from our beautiful wooden cubed beach room with beachfront view to our 'pod' complete with beanbags, overlooking the ocean.
We are waiting for the kids to fall asleep so we can drink like civilized people: sitting on the corridor outside the cabin. The depths to which one sinks as a parent never cease to amaze. We could have just gone to bed at the same time as the children and listened to them not falling asleep. But we are on Holiday!
I can still recall those early days when our second daughter was born in June 2012, endless tears; long periods of inactivity, terrified to leave the house caused by an unbearable anxiety and despite being surrounded by loved ones a feeling I can only describe as utter emptiness and isolation. This is how I remember seeing my wife in the summer of 2012. My heart still sinks when I think that at the moment our little treasure was born a part of my beloved wife died.
I made a promise to myself while recovering from my injuries to always put family and friends needs before anything else. In the ensuing years I have managed to keep this promise. What I could not foresee was how this vow would be tested when I was torn between both family and a friend, at the same time, in the past two months.
Hubby is a patient man. Strong, loving, considerate too, but mostly patient (in the extreme). He has a tough job sometimes - he has me. Granted, I have my good points (too many to list, obviously) but then there's also that nasty cloud/dog/bubble aspect just waiting in the wings, ready to pounce as soon as I let my guard down. And when it pounces on me, it pounces on him too.
Earlier this year I decided to change my life forever. On 30th January 2014 I made my way down to Dorset to attend the funeral of my Grandmother May... her passing reminded me of two facts: life is too short not to grasp every opportunity and life is far too long to regret the big choices you didn't make.
In my eyes adopting a child is one of the most amazing things someone can ever do. To give a child a loving and stable family life is a gift beyond compare. For England's 6,000 children hoping to be adopted, every day is a desperate wait. Another day spent longing for the love and support that, through no fault of their own, they are currently being denied. Everyone involved with these brave children wants to see them all get the family they deserve. To make sure each of their dreams come true we need a system that gives them the chance at a new life as quickly and effectively as possible.
In the working population, the word retirement generally conjures up wistful thoughts of long lie-ins, lazy days, unlimited opportunities to pursue hobbies and the chance to finally get around to doing all of the things that you've never quite had time for. Is that really the reality of retirement though, and what can my 30-something generation expect in later life?