As book 4 will be released in the next month, I will be posting extracts of the first three books as a reminder of the journey so far beginning with the first novel which was released in 2007: The Dragon Realm Chronicles ‘Stefan Lowe’ The Devil, the Angel and the Carpenter’s Son. Please visit the Books and Art page to purchase the entire book.


Having failed to find a book, Stefan embraced the inevitable and sat with all of his financial papers spread out on the dining room table. 
“What to do…” he said aloud. He couldn’t afford to buy the other towers but of the same time he so desperately didn’t want to leave the Estate. He was content where he was, the crime rate was low, it was easy to get to work from, he had lived at the Estate all of this life. 
There had only been two temporary occasions when it wasn’t his home, and that was when he was at university, and the short time he was married. But most importantly, the Estate kept the memory of his mother alive. It had sentimental value above everything. 
Stefan’s mother died four years prior from what was described as ‘unexplained causes’. She had always been in good health but one day she collapsed and was rushed to hospital. The doctors could not determine her condition they concluded it was severe fatigue. Five days later she passed away.  
At the same time of her admittance into hospital, Stefan was submerged in a large case and had not been outside of the office in days. Then one evening he received a telephone call from one of the doctors at the hospital urging him to come quickly. His mother had taken a turn for the worse, and by the time he had got there it was too late.
“Stress can cause a lot of problems which may hide underlying illnesses…” one doctor said. ‘…It seems her body gave up’.  
Stefan recalled entering the room after the doctors gave him the bad news – her lifeless body laying on the hospital bed in complete tranquillity, her face supporting a slight smile like she was at peace.  Stefan could not understand why this had happened. 
After the first day of her admittance the doctors said her condition had improved and they were making arrangements for her to be moved to the hospice wing. Even though Stefan had been told by the doctors (and on numerous occasions by family and friends), that it was just one of those things, he still felt there was more to her death than met the eye.  
There was not a day that went by where he questioned the situation. He felt he could have done more or called someone. He could have received a second opinion, acted on his own initiative, and then maybe she would still be alive today. He refused to believe that the situation couldn’t have somehow been avoided, but back then he was a very different person. He was consumed with the prestige and the power of the corporate world. He was constantly working unsociable hours and took for granted things that he thought would be there forever – but this was not through will of his own. 

The legal world was competitive; if you only gave half of yourself to it, you may as well not have bothered.   
Stefan sat at his dining room table sifting through his papers not really paying much attention to the endless rows of figures. He knew it was hopeless; he did not have enough money to buy the rest of the towers and he knew the other landlords would sell if the price was right. Rumour had it the price was more than right however, he had an undying curiosity as to why there was a strong interest for the Estate. 
He guessed it was only a matter of time before reasoning revealed itself.


That was a long drawn out title of the current chaos my life happens to be.

With the completion of SwimFor2k and the final marathon swim of the year approaching, I am reminded of a swim I had to bail out of last month.

Overall, it sucks being a woman at times – there I said it. Normally I don’t begrudge destiny for dealing me with the, in my opinion, unlucky gender card, but there are other times I just find it so annoying.

I am sure you have heard this rant before, women being the stronger species because we can make life, and we have certain equipment, that is why we have the power (of Grayskull), well that’s poppy cock!

I do not think we are stronger, I think we had a delayed reaction when volunteering for the good stuff, and we post empowering messages to try and make ourselves feel better. After all, there is nothing great about having a monthly inconvenience, particularly if you are athletic, and how can people say childbirth is beautiful? I honestly don’t know why, if you have been through it once, you voluntarily go through the process again. I mean, we are in the 21st century, why hasn’t anyone developed the technology to beam them out yet?

Did Gene Roddenberry ‘s endeavours not inspire anyone in the healthcare profession?

But alas the reason for my rant is because of certain monthly inconveniences, and post-childbirth recovery (yes one can take years to recover, do not pay attention to the internet), and it has cost me another swim, and one I was really really looking forward to.

It wasn’t a race, it was more of a leisure swim around Hever Castle and the first with the influence of Outdoor Swimmer.

Hopefully next year 😦

And for all those who are saying, if you suffer that bad why not get something done about it, well if there was something that could be done, I would have definitely done it by now.

I can’t complain overall though, even though I am doing a good job of it I know, I am nearly back up to my distances and speeds only 18 months after having Monster. Granted when I get to the lido, I feel like I have already carried out a marathon, and often look like I have been dragged through a hedge backwards with my kit (i.e. cap is on diagonally, I am fighting to detangle my underwater MP3 player, my straps on my goggles keep loosening), and the swim itself in the morning can normally only last up to 45 minutes. But without sounding like I want the moon on a stick, overall, I am lucky – like most humans, I just forget sometimes.

It is getting to that time of year when the pools are much less crowded, which means I get a lane and the lovely cold water to (virtually) myself, and in the mornings, I get to swim to the sun rising which I love.

I’m still very happy with my MP3 player, it is one of the best I have owned for years, but I am having trouble with earbuds, they tend to let water in, but that is easily rectified. Music for most is a stress relief and I couldn’t imagine swimming without it now.

On the subject of music, I am not sure if it was a reflex of perhaps drinking one night, or if I just missed it, but the relaunch of Lotus Magma Magazine is in place. The new site, with all new scripts and snazzy look has been launched and at present there are legacy articles from the old magazine on display.

In fact, I think it was due to drink because I remember pulling the old LM back up databases whilst drinking rum. Like most tech-people ‘in the zone’ I was drinking at my desk, coding and exporting/importing the old database and sipping my drink at the same time. I must have been doing a lot of sipping because when Jack came home from work that evening he found me laughing at the printer.

I don’t know what it did, but clearly, I found it funny.

More details regarding the relaunch of Lotus Magma will following shortly. In the meantime, the JustGiving page is still open for SwimFor2k for the Marine Conservation Society and look out for further details for my final swim of 2017.

.. insert bodily function of your choosing to finish the title.

In my infinite wisdom, and my increased hatred of glasses, I decided to move over to contact lenses a few weeks ago.

Since having Monster 18 months ago, I found that my sight has not only got worse, but as a result, I am more dependant upon my glasses, which give me a headache. The prescription is fine, what causes my discomfort are the frames, I don’t like anything on my face.

I had great delight in explaining to the optometrist that up until that point my use of contact lenses was strictly limited to Comicon (i.e. novelty lenses), so I had some experience of them, but not with daily use. Well it didn’t take long to realise that daily contact lenses come with their disadvantages.

Following the trials, I chose to go with monthly contacts instead of dailies, mainly due to the cost. I know I’m tight with money but that’s me.

With monthly contacts you receive 3 pairs just in case of accidents, they clearly had someone like me in mind when designing them, because in the first week I lost one on the train (it is probably still travelling to or from the city right now), I then broke another, luckily it was the opposing eye, then another one was damaged, I lost another one, again the opposing eye, the contact just jumped out while I was walking around my office, this left me with just one pair. I decided to stop using the plastic tweezers, and resided myself to the fact that I had to be careful for the rest of the month.

On that note, I purchased an awesome combined contact lens and glasses case, it has everything you need, albeit a little heavy, but works like a charm.

The contact drama was the week leading up to our break away in Sherwood Forest. It was to be a well deserved getaway as Jack and I were running on reserve fuel, what with full time work, marathon training, I was about to release another book, and of course Monster rearing. Jack was clearly feeling fatigued as well as while I was trying to negotiate my swim kit one morning, as it was fighting back, as well as the contact lenses that did not want to go in,  Jack returned home twice to pick up the items he had forgotten, luckily none of them were Monster, and the I had to call him back for a third time as I had left my purse and train ticket in Monster’s bag.

I keep telling Monster they are doomed.

More details on Sherwood Forest to come…

As book 4 will be released in the next month, I will be posting extracts of the first three books as a reminder of the journey so far beginning with the first novel which was released in 2007: The Dragon Realm Chronicles ‘Stefan Lowe’ The Devil, the Angel and the Carpenter’s Son. Please visit the Books and Art page to purchase the entire book.


Stefan returned to his apartment that Friday afternoon to find the light blinking on his fax machine.  Stefan occupied apartment six on the first floor of St John’s Tower. His family had been residents there for over seven generations.  He walked over to the fax machine and pressed the button whilst at the same time flitting through his post. The machine beeped and then played the only message recorded.“Mr Lowe, I am calling from Charlton & Co Solicitors concerning the offer to purchase St Towers Estate. Please could you call Carten Validine on 01 6578920 for an update, thank you”.

“Blah blah blah,” said Stefan walking away from the machine and throwing the post onto a nearby chair. He rubbed his temples – he could feel the dull numbness return to his frontal lobe, glands and around the ears.  Stefan walked over to the fridge and opened the door.

He peered in amongst the half eaten desserts and left over casserole that was next to an ever-greening cheese, and shrugged. He shut the door and began wandering around the apartment, which was very spacious holding a large living room, leading into an even larger dining area. From this there was a small kitchen off to one side (a wall with an arch separating the two), and two bedrooms one of which was his daughter’s Imogen. It catered for all of her toys, clothes everything a growing child could own (in Stefan’s interpretation several skips of junk), but he never had cause to complain when she was there. It was the only time he ever truly felt happy.

With regards to material possessions, his apartment still held several articles of his mother’s. Up until her dying day she had been a traveller and must have circled the globe several times.

Each wall in the apartment was covered in artefacts from her expeditions; hanging prints, tribal masks, weapons, wall ornaments, voodoo and dream dolls, and other antique mementos.

An item that was by far Stefan’s favourite, was also one that had been in his family for generations. It was an antique medieval looking sword, mounted on the sideboard cabinet in his living room. The handle was made from pewter like material and displayed intricate carvings which were mimicked down the face of the blade, however these were covered by tarnish so they were virtually indistinguishable. There was an element of mystery to it, as the date of creation was unknown.

Its rustic condition often led Stefan to assume it was either very old, or it had not been taken care of properly.  The blade was gloved by a soft velvet cover which looked newer than the sword itself. It was rather fragile and acted like a cloth skin as opposed to a protective casing. Stefan thought this odd but to his recollection there had never been an outer, more solid sheath.

Hung on the wall above the sword was a giant print of a map of the earth with a pictorial timeline along the bottom, displaying all of the creatures of evolution.

The map was another one of Stefan’s favourites, as it had been a gift from his mother from when they explored Africa over twenty years before. The map was more of a novelty piece and Stefan did not know if there was any fact behind it, he just found it intriguing.  Since his mother’s death the items Stefan did not want to keep were put up for auction. Half of the proceeds went to charity and the rest went on the co-purchase of St Luke’s Tower.

The items which remained in the apartment segregated Stefan’s and his mother’s predilections. However, there were still many items with origins that could not be verified. In particular there was a key engraved with the letters DSS which hung in a frame next to Stefan’s wall map. Stefan’s mother had specified in her will to keep it close but she never mentioned what it unlocked. Stefan had his suspicions that there was a safety deposit box somewhere which contained hidden treasures – or rather that was more wishful thinking.  His mother had only left a solitary one-liner in her will about it, ‘…you will soon discover what the key is to. A companion will help you find your way…’

Even though this sounded cryptic, Stefan was confident in time the key would tell its tale.  In her will Stefan’s mother left the apartment to him but when she died he decided to purchase the whole of St John’s Tower (which was the same time he was looking at leaving law).  Stefan walked around the apartment feeling restless. He switched on the television using the remote, and started to flick through the channels. He wasn’t really paying any attention to the broadcasts it was just something he could apply his attention too.

He continued to flick through the channels until a news bulletin caught his attention. He paused on the channel. The large print across the screen read ‘Britain’s largest snake abducted.’ Next to an overly large snake enclosure stood a reporter detailing the story.

‘This morning Kensington Wildlife Park reported the loss of Gertrude, the largest recorded python in Britain. In the early hours of this morning, intruders broke into her enclosure and took her. Gertie, commonly referred to by her keepers, is a rare breed of python and quite valuable. It is thought this is what instigated her abduction.’ The camera showed damaged glass at the front of the enclosure with nothing inside but a few vines and branches over a small water feature in the centre.

‘The wildlife park officials have yet to comment, but all wish for safe return. Police are treating this matter as very suspicious and are investigating within the park as well as outside.’

‘Gertie was born in the park six years ago and has since been one of the park’s major attraction…’

“That’s odd”, Stefan muttered.

He switched off the television and strolled around the apartment again trying to find something to occupy himself. He looked through his large collection of books which were packed tightly on six large shelves dominating the width and height of one of his living room walls.

The books varied different genres of fact and fiction but he could not decipher as to what mood he was in. Then something caught his eye.  He walked over to the large windows which curtained one of his living room walls, and peered out. The apartment in the tower opposite his had not been occupied for some time, but it looked as though a person, a woman to be more precise, had rented it. He stood there staring curiously until she came into view. She was young, very attractive with long golden blonde hair and soft porcelain features. She had an effervescence that captured Stefan instantly, he could not look away, and then she turned to see him.

His heart skipped a beat, she too looked surprised as she was unaware that someone was watching her, but then she met his stare and smiled slightly. She then turned and walked into another room, out of Stefan’s sight. He shook his head and returned to reality, but the feeling did not subside.

He felt the consumption of something he had not experienced in a long time, desire, attraction and the stirring of lust. It was a strange and dormant feeling. Stefan was young in years, and very attractive, but he had developed a ‘grumpy old man’ facade which repelled the opposite sex.

Even though he had been divorced for nearly four years the concept of getting involved in another relationship was not the desired option he would choose at this point in time. On the contrary though, living at St Towers estate had suddenly become much more interesting.

I’ve been looking for a new phone for a while, and saving up for it, but at the same time trying to keep my BlackBerry Classic (which I love), going for as long as possible. This is not only to get my money’s worth, but because I have to vet the next phone to make sure it can deal with everything I throw at it. It has to deal with several email accounts, marketing apps, draft books and of course blog entries.  At the same time, I need to ensure that the phone will not slow me down (I type really fast), and having used an iPhone for business, I knew that that was definitely off of the cards, if only for data inputting reasons.

I was expecting to change my phone in December and had been looking at the Samsung S7 Edge, I didn’t expect to be buying it this week though.

My BlackBerry went terminal at the weekend, I am sure it had nothing to do with being at Oktoberfest, it was just a coincidence. We went on the Saturday in London, and that night when we got home, my phone started going crazy – of course this has to be the same month as the kitchen floor needing refurbishment, and I mean it needs work! Considering the kitchen was only fitted in March, taking on rectification work several months later was not what we had in mind. In addition, we are going away for a week and that always costs, then of course both cars needed £450 spent on them respectively (even after pre-MOT services were carried out a month ago).

All in all, a busy and costly month!

Back to the BlackBerry, from Saturday night, it was unusable. The menus looked like they were being controlled by an outside source, and I couldn’t take control of the device. So I broke all connections, wrapped it up in tin foil, connected it to a non-networked computer and did a factory reset.

This didn’t work! 48 hours and another £450 later, hello new Samsung S7 Edge.

While for me it is not the end of the world not to have a phone, albeit incredibly inconvenient considering the amount of correspondence I carry out on a day to day basis, I have never, nor do I plan to, treat my mobile like it is a surgical attachment to my body, or some other form of life line.

I know it is hard to believe, but up until 20 years ago, people got by without mobile phones, and social networking. I was 18 when I had my first phone, prior to this, they were not popular, if you had one in school, you (or your family) were doing very well.

Having said this, I now know exactly how much I use my phone, for example, my time on the train is sometimes the only downtime in a day that I will get, so I will clear my mind by browsing general gossip on Facebook, or browse/purchase something off of Amazon (I purchase a lot of off of Amazon actually, normally Paw Patrol related items for the little human), I will Tweet and go on Instagram, or just listen to music. Well when I was without a mobile for nearly 48 hours, I couldn’t do any of this, and train journeys are so unbelievably boring, how did we every cope before. I have said it before and I will say it again, I think mobiles and MP3 players saved commuters lives!

As time has progressed with mobile devices, we have seen the benefits of productivity, for example, when BlackBerries were first introduced in the workplace, it was like a revelation. I still remember one of the associates at a law firm I worked at in 2006, showing a trainee, this is what you do with a Blackberry, and back then they even looked like flattened blackberries. I am still, and probably will alway be pro Blackberry but unfortunately, looking at predicted mobile device evolution, they may not be around for much longer. This meant that sooner or later I would have had to have moved on to a more competitive device, but the good thing is, I can attach a keyboard to the Samsung S7. I will see how I get on without one for the time being, and then perhaps get one in a month or so.

The benefits of having severe dermatitis in a touchscreen world (yay me), on the face of it people think I’m anti-change regarding touchscreens, but when you have fingers that don’t work on touchscreens or biometric scanner, then your mobile device options are somewhat limited. But it is more than that, the advantages of a hard keyboard is that I can type and talk, I can walk and type, I can think about something else, while my fingers are typing out something completely different, and I don’t have to look at the screen. I don’t need to correct the text after I’ve typed it with a hard keyboard as I would need to with a touchscreen, because I know the keys I am touching are the right keys. Additionally, when people say, well you can dictate instead of type, when you deal with confidential information and you are walking from one floor of a building to another, you do not want to be saying certain things aloud, you never know who it listening and with the change in data privacy laws, keeping tabs on the information you are responsible for, has never been more crucial.

Picking the right case is also as crucial in my mind. With the Blackberry it was never a problem dropping it because those things are virtually indestructible but I wasn’t sure about the Samsung as it has been several years since I owned one. I opted for the following in blue to match the phone. So far I am impressed with it. It is sturdy and not inhibiting.

Depending on how things go with the touchscreen a clip-on keyboard may be in the phone’s future. However, I don’t know if one of these will work as well as the Blackberry, I shouldn’t compare really, but I would interested to find out if they help or hinder progress.

So far I’m very impressed with the S7 but time will tell. I don’t feel like I’m slowed down by the device and I have access to far more apps on Android, so hopefully this might be a silver lining type situation. However, one thing I have learned which is a disadvantage is my Bluetooth headset is no longer compatible. Apparently, this is to do with Android 7.0 and should be rectified with the upgrade, but it is undecided when that will take place, so I had to buy another headset. The following, which is a variation to the previous headset I had works really well.

As book 4 will be released in the next month, I will be posting extracts of the first three books as a reminder of the journey so far beginning with the first novel which was released in 2007: The Dragon Realm Chronicles ‘Stefan Lowe’ The Devil, the Angel and the Carpenter’s Son. Please visit the Books and Art page to purchase the entire book.


“The park was so picturesque, and the night had turned into an incredibly beautiful clearness, it was like a new world, a new beginning, but all I could see was my murdered love … my murdered angel…”

“Murdered angel? That’s a rather sentimental portrayal,” said Joyce to Stefan. They were sitting opposite one another at a park bench playing chess directly outside of their apartment tower.

It was a very dry and humid summer’s day. Even though it was overcast, Stefan could feel a slight tingle to his skin that one would only receive when out in the sun. The two large oak trees they were sitting under provided little shade which was odd considering their size. Stefan only stayed outside because he knew Joyce liked the sunshine, or to ‘humour an old lady’ as she quite often put it.

Joyce moved her bishop diagonal to his King.

“Check,” she said with a triumph smile. He casually moved his King to the left out of the line of fire.

“I do love your stories Stefan. Please tell me that one again.” Stefan slightly smiled at her as for him it was not a story but a memory from the previous year. Now it felt more like an obscure fairytale or a distant nightmare rather than reality, and he knew it was something that would probably haunt him until his dying day.

Up until the previous year Stefan had never believed in superstitions such as angels, the devil or even God. This was ironic considering he was a lecturer in art history, and his classes were mostly based upon religious depictions of Christ, and surrounding theology. Stefan believed that a person made their own destiny and sometimes, if you weren’t careful, fate would play cruel tricks on you. His knowledge of this was first hand, because the previous year Stefan’s life had changed, but it was questionable whether it had changed for the better or for the worse.

It all began one Friday afternoon in early December 1985. Stefan had been walking his daily route back home when he passed the small chapel outside his apartment building. A falling hammer missed him by a ‘hairs-breath’ one onlooker said. There was no indication as to where it had come from either. Stefan just shrugged it off as bad luck, or maybe carelessness on his part for not paying enough attention to his surroundings – something his uncle used to frequently point out when he was growing up.

Stefan had often been described as a quiet man, a loner, and an outsider to the world. To most psychologists he hosted the symptoms of mild antisocial personality disorder, which could be attributed to growing up without a father. However, Stefan was not unfriendly per se, he would just not go out of his way to be sociable and he was content with his life. He was in his late twenties; he had a job he liked, a daughter he adored and the freedom to do whatever he wanted when he wanted. In his mind he had fulfilled more requirements and gained more achievements in his young life than someone who was double his age, therefore he felt his contentment was justified.

Stefan lived at a complex in Kensington called St Towers Estate. The Estate comprised of four towers, aptly named St Matthew’s, St Mark’s, St Luke’s and St John’s. Stefan resided and owned St John’s Tower and part of St Luke’s.

Each tower was identically square and divided into twenty floors that held ten apartments. The towers were also set out in the formation of a square with one at each corner of a small park. It was in this park where the two large oak trees stood and in the centre of the park was a chapel which had recently undergone some restoration work.

The refurbishments were almost complete – the only traces left were some scaffolding and brick dust but there shouldn’t have been any tools as the builders had vacated several days before. So it was a shock on that Friday afternoon for Stefan to find himself dodging a flying hammer.

“Damn incompetent builders,” he muttered. This he regretted shortly afterwards. He didn’t like making defamatory comments without knowing all of the details, in fact he normally didn’t comment at all.

Stefan had recently been suffering from severe headaches and erratic dreams which was disrupting his sleep. This contributing to an over active imagination made the pressure on his head almost unbearable at times. No one could deny that Stefan was a very attractive man, but he currently familiarised the obligatory features of what could only be described as the walking dead. He was pale with dark circles around his eyes; this was not a pleasant contrast considering how brown they were, and with the contribution of his olive skin, his dark features were even more blatant.

There was something indescribable about his dreams, but nothing that he could focus on. They were just powerful and overwhelming to a point where he would find himself sitting upright in bed, with cold sweat running down his face and breathing shallowly. They had begun a few months prior; around the time he started receiving letters from Charlton & Co Solicitors. They were a conveyancing firm who had a big client wishing to buy St Towers Estate at an obscene asking price. Their frequent correspondence was also the reason why Stefan had walked past the chapel that particular Friday afternoon.

Normally he would use this route as a shortcut to his favourite coffee shop, however on this particular day Stefan had gone to the bank to get some further information about buying out the other landlords of the estate. They had been warming up to the prospect of selling the towers at the above market value price on offer which was of no surprise as most would, but not Stefan. However, the bank had not been very accommodating.

It had always been his goal to own all of the towers but for now fate was not about to grant this, so he needed other options, and quickly, for he could not defer his contact with the solicitors much longer.

Stefan hated lawyers. In his mind they were arrogant, and inhuman. This again was ironic considering he used to be one. His short time in the city, working long hours, on commercial caseloads satisfied his loath for them and the corporate world.

He originally qualified when working for his uncle who was the owner of an established London law firm. By practice his uncle was a commercial conveyancing lawyer and as time went by, he expanded the practice to include other areas of law. Even though Stefan never revealed just how intelligent he was his uncle recognised it from an early age, and when ready he paid for his tuition at Oxford University. There Stefan received the highest commendation in his year, and despite the numerous job offers at many prestigious law firms (in the city and all over the world), Stefan completed his training contract at his uncle’s firm. He then qualified as a corporate commercial lawyer.

His uncle had high prospects for him, within a short time Stefan was working unsupervised on transactions, to then heading his own deals. His uncle even went as far to insinuate that one day Stefan would aspire to partner and then Managing Director of the whole company.

Stefan was appreciative to his uncle for all he had done, but thought the continuous attention was strange considering his uncle had two children. Though they were more interested in what could be earned from law (or more precisely what their father could earn from law), and they often spent it.

Shortly after qualifying Stefan married Katy who was now his ex-wife. She was also a lawyer at his uncle’s firm who had qualified a year before him.

Within two years of completing his contract, it seemed that Stefan had everything any prospective lawyer could dream of. He had a career most would envy, a wife who shared the same ambitions as he, and enough money to see him well to do for the foreseeable future. However he wasn’t happy, something was missing.

By the age of twenty-four he felt that he had lived the majority of his life, and he could see the rest of it flying past him in an array of late night transactions, mergers and signings. His social life was dissolving into nothing and the prospect of a family appeared even more obsolete. His home was his office and he wanted so much more from life.

He could not deny that working in London had served its purpose. It had given him a good foundation for basing his understanding of business on; it provided him with the money to retrain in something else as well as a substantial deposit on St John’s Tower.

Stefan left his uncle’s firm when a teaching position appeared at the local school for a lecturer in art and design. He was still a good artist, not as good as his O-Level years mind, but his continual efforts outside of work, was enough to secure him entry into the teaching profession.

Stefan sometimes thought that maybe if he had changed practice areas he would have stayed in law longer, probably the criminal sector, but he knew that his uncle would never have allowed that.

Stefan walked past the chapel in the direction of St John’s Tower. The formation of the towers was attractive and usually intrigued visitors and passers-by. It was often compared to some contemporary sculpture; however, the main topic of conversation was always the unusual plaque at the foot of the chapel steps.

The plaque, or seal as it was most commonly referred to, looked like a bronze circular disc secured in the ground. It was engraved with many unusual symbols, the most prominent of which was a six pointed star which covered the face. In the centre of the star was an angel with spread wings and placed across its centre was a key. Directly above the angel’s head were two more heads conjoined facing away from one another. In the south east corner was a bell, and in the south west corner was a double headed cross. Around the rim of the seal was etched scripture. Stefan recognised only a few words which he simulated to Hebrew but the others were intranscribable.

Most assumed the seal was also some sort of contemporary sculpture placed there by a local artist, but in actuality it had been there since before Stefan’s family had occupied St John’s Tower. As far as he was aware no one could find any feasible explanation as to why it was there at all. Neither could they explain the presence of a pewter statue which stood over five feet tall above it.

The statue was of a winged man dressed in armour with two large wings protruding from its back. It was stood upright with both hands clutching an empty sheath. The identity of the statue had never been established.

Over the years many archaeologists and historians from all over the world had visited to diagnose the seal. They all had their explanations but Stefan felt that these were to justify their journey rather than diagnosing the origin. Most of the time people left with very bewildered expressions and more baffled than when they first arrived.

Stefan never admitted it but he secretly found humour in their frustration. Even though he himself could be classed as an art historian, he knew there were no documents evidencing the seal and he certainly was not going to waste his time researching something which overall he was not particularly interested in. Maybe one day he would go on a quest but for now it could wait and be left in the capable hands of the post graduate theorists of this world.

I’m starting to think I am not as intelligent as my Monster. At 17 months old, they are regularly outsmarting me, but then again, they haven’t got to contend with over three decades of dormant knowledge and self-abuse (by over-doing things not by stimulants… ok perhaps coffee but that is it), and the continuous battle of fatigue due to not much sleep.

Any parent will tell you that as soon as you get up in the morning, or as soon as your small human alarm clock wakes you up, it is not over until you are back in your bed, and even then, there is no guarantee that you won’t have to get up out of your bed in the middle of the night.

Jack and I are woken up by a strong pair of lungs on a daily basis. Depending on who is going to work, they will get themselves ready while the other one deals with the small human. Given that Jack and I are both training for marathons, one of us may even be off to the lido, or out on the bike. We then all somehow get breakfast going, and manage to have something to eat. One or both of us will then go out to work while the other ones goes to the childminder first and then work or stays at home with Monster. Then the day begins.

Here is an excerpt of one of my Facebook status’:

My morning so far:
– Monster shot me with Calpol;
– I took Monster to the train station instead of the child minder;
– When finally got to the child minder’s, the back seat (including child) was covered in milk;
– Child refuses to walk up the road to the child minder so slung over shoulder like sack of potatoes; and
– a mini nearly side slams my car.

It’s not even 09:00am yet!

Jack and I are both in proactive, and rather sensitive positions which means that both come with high responsibility, and there is always the possibility that we will not finish work on time, so it is very much a tag-team event when dealing with childcare.

Though there are high points, for example, Monster may be intelligent but they let themselves down by reacting in a down right hysterical manner when being shown the little things. For example, peek-a-boo is still a good one, and then there is my ab-twister.

I no longer take offence the fact that every time I go into the kitchen Monster brings me my ab-twister, even though my husband narrates the scene with: “I’m not saying anything mummy, but I will just leave this here…” He is going to be really put out once Monster can speak for themselves.

The ab-twister, in all seriousness, is great if you are trying to tone up after having baby. It is fun to do, you can really get some speed on it, and for baby/toddler they find it hysterical to watch. Team it up with the track “You spin me right round,” or “Let’s twist again,” give the child either some maracas or a tambourine, and you have at least 30 minutes of exercise and entertainment.

Ideal!Another fitness trick I have added to the regime during pregnancy, and it is something I have continued to do nightly, is swats while cleaning my teeth. Gentle swats while pregnant is great for the pelvic floor muscles (if done in a particular way, and of course safely), you can vary it once you have had the baby and then when you are nearing the end of your recovery you can step it up if you want. It is also great if you are like me, and forget to charge up your toothbrush regularly. Once you know how many squats you can do in 2 minutes, then you can manually clean your teeth while exercising at the same time. Currently, I am up to 70.

If you work, then you can add to this by doing 10 squats every time you go to the toilets. They soon add up.

As above, you can incorporate it into your childcare regime. It is so funny watching a toddler copy you – those with little humans, try some yoga around them. Again, my Monster finds it hysterical when we do downward dog.

Finally, is it me or do Amazon use too much packaging when sending out items? I ordered a steamer mop and potty (for Monster, not myself) and look at the size of the box.

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This is one of many of my Amazon delivery comments, overall, I can’t complain about their service, I think by myself I am putting most of the employees’ children through further education, but some of the deliveries do make me question the common sense used.

On an end-note, I watched an episode of Paw Patrol with Monster, and didn’t know there was such a thing as a Blue Footed Booby bird. I thought it was because they couldn’t say ‘tit’ (as in Bluetit), on a children’s programme, but there is such a species and don’t they look awesome. Here is a picture below from the folks at Wikimedia Commons.