My daughter Robyn, my son Mark, and I, live in Kidsgrove which is on the outskirts of Stoke-on-Trent. Stoke is a city famous for its (once large) ceramics industry, oatcakes and a strange dialect that is instantly recognisable (to other Stokies that is) the world over! I've always lived around here; I grew up not far away in a lovely village on the Staffordshire/Cheshire border called Betley, where my mum continued to live until she moved to Alsager in 2010 and then, finally, to Madeley in 2011.
Now a word or two about the more important members of the household...
Robyn completed her first degree in Human Geography at Durham University, following this up with a Masters in Planning at Manchester University. In Spring 2011, she started working in London Town and has stayed the pace, but still finds time to visit when she can.
Mark now lives at altitude and works with Network Rail, so I'm expecting my 1hr 25 min. London commute to be improved upon significantly now he's got his hands on the signalling equipment.
Finally, a note about Taz, our beautiful cat, who died on her 15th birthday towards the end of 2011; that's her sitting bestride Roland the rhino! It's been a while now but we still miss her every day.
I'll quote a short extract that was included in a Christmas letter that we sent out shortly afterwards - I don't feel that I can improve on the text:
I cannot begin to describe the myriad of ways in which I miss her and, for me, she will for ever remain simply the finest, most beautiful cat I’ll ever know. For over 15 years she tolerated my strange lifestyle and gave more love and affection that I ever had the right to expect - provided she was fed regularly and allowed to sit on my knee, of course. I know that I speak for Rob and Mark, and all those others who’s life she touched, in saying that her loss is irreplaceable and her memory is so very safe with every one of us.