Single Motherhood and Coronavirus

I was inspired to write this by this blog that Charlotte a single mum of twins and my best friend’s old boss wrote:

“I really feel for you Adele, I really do” – this is what a colleague said to me at the beginning of “this situation” and I think it summarises things quite well: you really feel the weight of “single parenting” during a time like this but you also feel the support, I do anyway. I just wrote “a time like this” as if any of us have ever been through anything that compares, this is clearly NOT the case!

The first day I worked from home my daughter was still at school so it was fine, that lasted 3 days and then on Monday 23rd of March the concept of “it’s just you and me kid” took on a WHOLE other meaning! The night before I attempted to write a timetable and simply had no idea how a school day is even structured, all I knew is they did phonics in the morning and something called “5 a day”.

My first “homeschooling” failure was the fact I couldn’t even find the right section on her school website with all the homework etc. I had to email them to ask! Since then I’ve probably been on that page 3 times. Just like Charlotte mentions in her blog I quickly decided/realised/was forced to remove the whole concept of “homeschooling” from my life basically. I didn’t know how to do it, for example I asked A “how do you learn mathematics” and she replied “we watch a video”, hmmm super helpful. I didn’t know how to make her do school work or how much she should be doing or anything! Thankfully social media (which yes I’m addicted to and heavily influenced by) started having many messages about surviving and not worrying too much about homeschooling, which made me feel better. 2 friends of mine who are teachers also made it clear it’s even hard for them! I’ll be blunt, the parents (and it seems to be mums more than dads) that are proudly telling the world how they are “bossing” homeschooling and how much their kids are doing ARE NOT MY PEOPLE! My people are the mums, whose main concern was the ability to stockpile wine. I hardly ever drink at home but now it’s definitely a daily event. So homeschooling is not happening, she’s 5, in Finland they don’t start school til 7 so that’s that. I nearly forgot to mention that for one day it was heaven. A’s dad works for a very big American bank and they sent me a nanny for a day and it was like Mary Poppins, she looked after A and at the end of the day cooked dinner for both of us, I nearly cried as nobody cooks me dinner. Sadly that night lockdown was announced and I had to tell her not to come back.

What does she do all day then? Scatter everything from her bedroom all over the flat and balcony, do some drawings and watch TV. That’s all and that’s fine. She’s made all sorts of things with her toys and teddies, WOMAD festival, a cinema, a hairdressers, a village etc. Her imagination is quite impressive, however an active brain does mean a LOT of questions all day every day! She has also participated in some work calls: “can they hear me mummy?”, “what’s a database?” Etc The work calls are the hard part as yes it’s cute when they make an appearance but you do have to concentrate and so I quickly came up with the “lollipop” technique. One call=one lollipop and sometimes I keep tv time for call time as well. On Thursday she spent 45mins on a FaceTime “play date” with her friend whilst I spoke to a client. When I have to be fully focused on work that’s when being a single mum is hard because there is nobody else to keep an eye on her, play with her etc. My cousin and his fiancée have a rota throughout the day of who looks after their daughter, I don’t have that so I’ve ordered an iPad. Technology and chupa chups are my co-parent.

However I’m lucky that she went to her dad’s the first week of the Easter holiday. I thought I’d miss her but I didn’t, I needed the break so much after 2 weeks of intense one on one time 24 hours a day. I’m usually a big outsourcer and have no shame in admitting it. I have a cleaner, Arabella has regular babysitters, I use Hello Fresh so hardly have to do food shopping, I don’t iron, I pay people if anything happens in my flat etc. Suddenly no cleaner and my dishwasher broke. There are only 2 of us but somehow this meant lots of washing up because like everybody we are eating at home 3 times a day. Talking of cleaning, when I explained to A that we had to do the cleaning now , she said we should “watch a video on YouTube on how to do it”. For her it was clear mummy had no idea how to clean anything as she’s never seen me do it! I’m not that bad but I still can’t work out how my cleaner gets so much done in a few hours. Getting a new dishwasher this week was like Christmas. I really appreciated the week I had off, I decluttered, did loads of online Barre classes, watched a load of episodes of Billions and worked uninterrupted. It was night and day compared to the weeks before.

I don’t often feel “different” being a single mum except for on a few occasions like last summer at a BBQ where I had to leave early to take A to her dad’s and it was a drama because she wouldn’t leave and I so wanted to just be there with my husband and be like everyone else. I know that will happen again in the future. Lockdown has definitely made me feel the single mum thing, before it even started I found it very stressful planning for it alone, what food to buy etc and I suddenly had a much stronger desire than usual to put an end to this living alone business.

Now I have to finish on a positive note. For the past 2 Fridays, I’ve been hosting “cocktail hour at The Ned” on Zoom for Frolo (a single parent app and community that all single parents need in their life!) and it’s been so nice to meet new people and bring a bit of joy into their lives for an hour by recounting some of my “stories”. Indeed some single parents are not speaking to ANY other adults at the moment so I’m really grateful to be able to do that, if it cheers one person up then I’m happy. Also the support I have felt is heart warming, colleagues and friends that call or check in with me daily, offers of help from so many people. Finally 2 things that have come out of this: music and love. I’ve never listened to so much music in my life, some tracks will forever be associated with lockdown for me. It keeps me sane, distracts me, makes me emotional and all the dancing in the kitchen with A will never be forgotten (I could do with her wanting to listen to something else that George Ezra though). Love is clearly all we need, nothing else matters. I miss the ones I love dearly and know that everything will be OK long term. Stay strong everybody !

Solo-Parenting Is a Only Taste of The Logistics of Single Parenting

I was going to watch Baptiste but I just wanted to add my two cents to a debate going on on Instagram around whether you can understand what it feels like to be a single parent when you are “solo-parenting” for a period of time, meaning your partner is away.

My main point is that ALL parenting is hard and as a single mum of one, I have no idea what it’s like to have 2,3 or 4 children and looking after my daughter and a friend of hers for a few hours will never compare to doing it 24/7.

Now what I also believe and agree with is that parenting alone for a while gives you a taste of the logistical juggle that single parenting is but not of the emotional side of things. Yes you’ll realise that not being able to ask ANYBODY to help makes things a lot harder at home and you’ll realise that you need to be super organised to avoid chaos but you won’t know all the feelings that go with it and the sense of permanency of the situation and the lack of emotional support from the other parent.

On the other hand living together as 2 parents is no panacea either, living with someone who doesn’t help is probably a nightmare and very frustrating too. The grass is definitely not always greener and I feel very lucky and happy with my situation. Nobody knows what really goes on behind closed doors and I would never assume that “standard parenting a deux” means one parent is fully supported by the other (there should be an accent on that a but I can’t find it!).

I do see how all the posts like “I’m solo-parenting this week and it’s so hard, I don’t know how single parents do it” can offend/annoy/upset single parents. We “do it” because we have no choice and personally I do it with a lot of help from babysitters, a flexible employer and help from friends and family and a healthy dose of self motivational “I can do this shit by myself” type of attitude.

To parents who are “solo-parenting”:

-if you’re going to shout about it on social media just be aware that you are indeed dealing with similar logistics to a single parent BUT it’s temporary and you are in a very different position and you might get some negative comments by the way

To single parents:

-come and be part of the frolo_app community

-join Gingerbread

-download the bubble app

-be proud

-remember everything changes so doing it all alone may not last forever

And let’s not forget that it’s only recently that dads are so hands on and helpful. My mum and grandmother were not single mums but they sure did 99% of the parenting and everything house related.

By the way mum, if you’re reading this, thank you so much for spending hours re-organising A’s bedroom before you went back to France, I appreciate it more than if you bought be a Chanel bag (however if there are any rich readers out there, I won’t say no to one).

I’ve no idea what it’s like to parent in a slum or whilst having a night job or 4 kids or a sick partner etc etc but if ever I had a taste of it, I probably wouldn’t make a big deal of it. Find your community, those who can really understand you and be mindful of others’ feelings, that’s all.

They say “fed is best” with regards to babies, I say “parenting is best”, as long as you’re consciously parenting with care and love then it’s going to be OK.

My Little Pleasures in Life

    Drinking very cold milk whilst eating chocolate
    A proper margarita
    Cashmere socks
    Cashmere anything to be honest
    Peonies in a vase
    Aveda tea
    The right hand gossip column of
    Wearing leggings on a Friday
    Booking a holiday
    The first glass of champagne
    The tortilla chips and guacamole from Wahaca
    Aperol Spritz all damn summer
    Reading vanity fair
    The Real Housewives of NYC
    Having my hair washed at the hairdressers
    Barre Class
    My sister and Arabella doing some crazy dance together
    Arabella telling me she loves me
    Arabella lying on me
    Arabella saying “maman”

A Single Mum’s “Weekend Off”

I’ve been asked a few times what I do on the weekends A is at her dad’s (that’s every other weekend) and earlier I saw a post on @frolo_app on instagram about how lonely weekends when your children are at the other parent’s can be so I thought I’d tell you what I do and give some advice.

So here is a summary of what I did this weekend:

Friday 5.45PM: drop off A with her dad at St Pancras, this went badly as she was screaming that she didn’t want to go and wanted to stay with me. Her dad had to physically restrain her and carry her away screaming. People possibly thought she was being kidnapped!

Friday 7.45PM: cab to my friend’s birthday dinner. There were 4 of us and we had an interesting conversation about how much “outsourcing” of your children is OK. As a single mum if I didn’t use babysitters I would have very little freedom, she’s only at her dad’s 4 nights a month so other people than me do look after her from time to time. To be honest I feel lucky to be able to afford babysitters.

Saturday morning: annoyingly wake at 7.30 AM despite going to bed at 1AM and being childless this weekend. Somehow manage to go back to sleep for another hour between 8.30 and 9.30. 2 fried eggs on crumpets, 2 cups of tea and 2 episodes of Marie Kondo on Netflix and I’m ready to face the world and also now have an obsession with tidying up!

Saturday afternoon: I go to TkMaxx and find A a great coat for next winter and then go to one of my favourite places in the world to buy cleaning supplies: Lidl!!!

I spent the rest of the afternoon “Marie Kondoing” the flat and feel much better after filling bags with rubbish and stuff to take to the charity shop. How long it will take me to get to the charity shop is anyone’s guess…

Saturday 6PM: I get on the tube to go to my boyfriend’s, later we go out for very good sushi and my new obsession (in addition to Marie Kondo) green tea ice cream!

Sunday is spent with my boyfriend, we go to a reformer pilates class, which is hard but that I really enjoy. If I could I’d have a reformer machine in my house!

4.30PM: I leave to go back home and get ready for A to come back

5.45PM: A is back, she always gives me the biggest hug when she gets to the door and then the whole dinner, bedtime malarkey begins…

I realise I’m lucky I have a boyfriend and see him most Saturday evenings and usually at least part of Sunday when A is at her dad’s and that clearly fills up a good chunk of the weekend. I’m also lucky that I am very happy spending time alone and don’t really get lonely. Also in the past 2 years since my ex-husband moved out I haven’t given my flat as much love as I should have so always have plenty to do and now I’ve discovered Marie Kondo I’m unstoppable! Also I always do barre or pilates on my weekends without A and using your weekends without children to exercise is definitely something I’d recommend.

On Friday night I mentioned that I feel a bit awkward seeing my friends that have families at the weekend as there is this understanding that that is “family time” and it feels a bit odd meeting up alone without bringing my daughter. However my friends made it clear that I’m always welcome to come over with child or without, not that I ever doubted it. Don’t assume you’re disturbing any of your friends that aren’t single at the weekend.

So here is my advice for any single parents on the weekends you don’t have your children:

  1. Try and be super positive and see this time as a gift as most parents NEVER get a break
  1. It’s the ultimate time for “self care”
  2. Don’t feel bad if you do nothing, I have spent hours and hours watching the Kardashians or my ultimate favourite “Million Dollar Listing New York” and I have no shame!
  3. Follow the Frolo app on instagram, there are loads of interesting discussions on their stories and once it launches it will be the perfect app for meeting other parent’s in the same boat
  4. Try and join your local “single parents” Facebook Group or set one up if there isn’t one
  5. Use that time to exercice, it’s good for the soul and the body
  6. Marie Kondo your house!
  7. I’m always happy to meet new people so if you’re in London get in touch!
  8. When you’re ready, join a dating app, if anything it can be pretty entertaining!
  9. Do what makes you happy and relaxes you whatever that may be – this is your time

When I realised my husband and I were going to get divorced, one of the things that made me the saddest was the idea of not seeing A at the weekend but I’ve learnt to really appreciate these weekends and I actually even need them for my mental health because the rest of time parenting alone is INTENSE.

On that note, remember the following:

For Those of You About to Fall

A friend of mine recently told me about one of her friends whose husband had suddenly left her for a colleague. She described feeling like she was at the top of a very steep slide and she couldn’t stop the fall. I know what she means and I want to tell her and anybody else who is ever at the top of the slide that yes the fall hurts but you land, you always land and you might land somewhere better than when you started. To quote La Haine “ … Mais l’ important n’est pas la chute, c’est l’atterrissage.”.

I was recently lucky enough to attend a brunch where Jo Malone was speaking (this was at The Ned, which I am obsessed with so it was definitely one of the better Saturdays of my life! Thanks again Ruth), she is very inspirational, I was on the verge of tears at least twice, there really is nothing better than strong positive emotions. One thing that she said that struck a chord with my divorced self was “Struggle takes you to such great heights”, think about that for a minute the next time everything seems to be going wrong (you know like when your hike hates you, the dinner has burnt, everything went wrong at work and there is wine in the fridge….). The old cliche of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger is true”, indeed I’m pretty sure anybody whose marriage ends badly is a little wiser the next time…

Anyway back to the slide down. I’ll never forget my first meeting with my solicitor, having to explain why I was there, what had happened, what the financial situation was etc. That was the rope of my slide. It made the end of my marriage very real and was the beginning of the divorce process which can be horrendous, mine wasn’t easy but it could have been so much worse, I didn’t have to move for a start so I know how lucky I am. Realising I had to share my daughter was heartbreaking as was the day I had to transfer a lot of money. But guess what? I actually enjoy the weekends when I’m alone and my flat is now 100% mine and best of all I had a divorce party with a divorce cake that tasted better than my wedding cake and I have a very big smile on my face on the picture of me cutting in…

So my advice is : find your “separation/divorce village”. You need your family, friends and a good solicitor. You need wine or chocolate or both, you need spa days with your girlfriends, you need lipstick, you need a new bra or two, you need dancing in the kitchen with your child, you need sunsets in Ibiza, you need to listen to Beyonce’s Lemonade on repeat (“Becky with the good hair…), you need that feeling on the first New Year’s Eve after separation, you need to remember “mieux vaut etre seule que mal accompagnee”, you need Bumble for when you’re ready to come across a load of weirdos but some good ones who will help you move on, you need a haircut, some pink shoes and you need to believe you can get down that seemingly never ending slide and land on your feet. Not only will you land on your feet, your divorce will be pronounced on the 4th of July, which is Independence Day and you’ll have your delicious cake and eat it.

Girl, you can do it, at some point you have to let yourself fall. The single mum club ain’t that bad, I welcome you into it and it doesn’t have to last for ever.

One Year Older…

I turned 36 a month ago and was reminded today that Sex and The City is 20 years old…time is flying! I am going to start with saying that I have really been finding it quite tough recently. Indeed the life of a single working mum is bloody hard and I am one of lucky ones as I have a job and support. Also it was the anniversary of my dad dying, which didn’t help. Still I am feeling better, maybe it was because today was sunny or because I ate loads of M&Ms or because a few things reminded me of how lucky I am and am going to try and keep dragging my mood and confidence upwards over the next few weeks (slowly does it).

I have never been great at self care and have a tendency to not only keep my emotions in but also to “catastrophize” ( ; ) TM ) and then I closed a car door on my thumb, got really bad PMT, somehow convinced myself I was rubbish at my job (I am not), felt fat, wasn’t sleeping properly, got post holiday blues, indeed who wouldn’t feel sad at leaving this:

And ended up in some kind of downward spiral. A good and wise friend of mine asked me what I was doing about improving things and basically concluded that I needed a “win”. He was right so I spent a ton of money on Amazon buying all sorts of books, my mum arrived for a week, I looked at my performance at work and realized I am not rubbish, got some encouraging words from an old friend, spent Saturday evening at The Ned, which I love, slept more, bought some bargain shoes at TkMaxx, watched TED talks, discovered Love Island, cried and cried again and I am very happy to report that things are looking up! There were always going to be some tough moments during a divorce and following losing a parent whilst bringing up a feisty child to say the least:

So yep, I do have my vulnerable moments, moments where I actually wondered if I wasn’t depressed but took time to analyse the situation and make adjustments such as trying to sleep more and accept that I get really bad PMT since I gave birth. Losing a night’s sleep because I was in A&E for my thumb really didn’t help and was one of the catalysts for this not so great period.

Anyway, it’s time for Love Island, which is basically self care. Bisous everybody (bright dresses and smiles are a good thing!):


Quick Note To My 15 Year Old Self

You wanted to be one of those business women you used to see walking through airports, it seemed so glamorous and high powered. Well guess what? It’s not glamorous, especially not when they make the dreaded announcement that all bags have to go in the hold because this means you will have to wait at the other end for the bag to come out on the carousel, which means it will take longer to finally get to your hotel when a big comfy bed awaits (and a lovely bar it turns out in this case). All you’ll be thinking about is if your daughter is going to behave well and be OK whilst you are away and if your meetings will go well. You won’t feel glamorous drinking a tea from EAT in the departure lounge. However you will feel pretty pleased with yourself at how efficient you are at travelling by now: timing, packing, security, you know exactly what you are doing. One thing you still haven’t mastered is getting out of Zurich main station, still getting lost after going there for over 10 years, it’s your travelling nemesis!

Still you will enjoy watching French TV when you go to Geneva and drinks by the lake. You’ll fall in love with the Helvetia Hotel in Zurich and crave their scrambled eggs after client dinners. You’ll always steal gummy bears from the SWISS departure lounge and drink apple juice on the flights. Going to NYC for work will become your favourite but that stops in 2014 unfortunately!

You’ll exchange your Eurostar points for Selfridges vouchers and go on many a free flight with your Avios.

Anyway those women you used to see rushing through the airports were probably tired and definitely unaware of the strong impression they were making on teenage girls.

One last thing, you’ll have a very cute daughter and a fun (but sometimes hard) life ahead of you and don’t worry about the BAC, you’ll do really well.

I Thank You, I Am Proud of You and I Promise You

As it is Father’s Day  I wanted to share my eulogy from his funeral a few weeks ago.

Happy Father’s Day Dad!

First thing Dad, more people have turned up to your funeral than my wedding so you did well there! Rest assured that I’ll make sure that in future people will always say 1,000 people came to Marcus’ funeral and Robbie Williams sang Angels. You know what I mean dad.

I want to thank my family and friends, who have supported me recently, in particular Sandie without whom I could not have managed to do it all over the past few weeks. The bad times definitely show you who really cares.

Ironically you were one of the only people I knew who didn’t have a Facebook account, yet there is a group with 170 members dedicated to you.

It is a testament to the man you were that so many people have sent messages and raised money for today. Special mention to the WOMAD crew (in particular Steve, Angela, Geoff, Soly, Dick Vernon, Jack, Stevie and so many more), WOMAD which turns out is not only the World Of Music and Dance but also the world of friendship, love and generosity. We are forever grateful.

I want to quote a few of the notes left on the Facebook page (I’ve edited them a bit) because the world needs to know what a man you were. One thing is for sure, you were definitely one of the boys:

  1. “You were a true friend; a rascal; a good laugh in the good times; dignified when times got tough. You were never slow to tell anyone who gave you the opportunity how much you loved your family and how proud you were of them and their achievements. You often wore your heart on your sleeve, which brought you gentle ribbing from your friends and family, but NEVER derision or dismissal. You were – and still are – a truly unique individual who enriched our lives, and will be sorely missed. Thank you for having been MARCUS; a larger than life figure who I’m proud to have known.”


  1. “a WOMAD legend gone, clearly he will be greatly missed”



  1. “a true legend, who had a lot of fun. I learnt a lot from Marcus, most importantly always wear sunscreen”


  1. “Raise your glasses for an amazing man, we will miss you madly thank you for all the good times and exceptional company RIP mon ami”



  1. “In a festival world full of characters you sir were a giant. Always on hand for a chat, a joke a 4am call out across site or fist if needed. Old school rock n roller and a real gentleman. The world is a poorer place without you Marcus. I am sure campfires will echo with tales of your exploits for years to come. Rest easy man. “
  2. “WOMAD will never be the same”

Nothing will ever be the same to be honest.

How many people have the honour of knowing their dad was a legend, so unique and so unforgettable? Lana, George, Max and Tallulah, we had our extraordinary dad, I know he wasn’t perfect but man he tried. And Lana Banana, you did him proud, you were there til the end, something I couldn’t do and that’s because you’re an Armstrong, we all are and man am I glad I never changed my name. George and Max, you have clearly inherited his physical abilities and strength, George you look more like him every day (in a good way!). Max, whenever I would ask how you were, he would say “Max is lovely”. Tallulah, one of the only full size pictures he kept was of you, he was so proud of you and always told me how well you were doing at school.

He loved us all so much, may you never doubt that.

Dad kept 2 cards: a fathers’ day card from Tallulah and Michael Eavis’ invitation to his 70th birthday at Worthy farm. These were the loves of your life, your family and your festival family


Dad, this is what I am thankful for, why I was proud of you and what I promise.


  • For taking us to festivals and opening our eyes to what an amazing world it is out there
  • For giving us all a love of music from Dire Straits to Burning Spear to Tracy Chapman and Tom Petty.
  • For a non-conventional childhood
  • For introducing us to such a wide variety of people
  • For not being a dad like any other dad
  • Showing me what passion means, your passion was working at festivals and you made it happen.
  • I thank you for Teaching me that if you walk in somewhere like you own the place, they’ll let you in.
  • For not judging me and just being there when I needed you a few years ago.
  • For coming to Berlin to my 21st Birthday party, you made up for forgetting my 18th birthday! Of course, in true Marcus fashion, you made one of the waitresses give me their staff t-shirt as a souvenir
  • For instilling in me this strong will to live life to the full. Carpe Diem.
  • For all the laughs and fun times: for example when we went to Twickenham to watch England and every time you got up to get another beer they scored so you missed all their tries. For having a mouse stuck in your leather trousers. For shouting out loud at my graduation when someone was receiving a degree in medieval grammar or something “ I bet he’s fun at a party”. Man you were fun at a party dad.
  • Thank you for offering to take care of Arabella on Xmas day when she was only 1 month old and just wouldn’t stop crying. Not everyone would take that on, I’ll always be grateful for you coming in my room where you heard me struggling and offering to help.
  • For giving me health and safety advice when I was stuck in a hotel during Hurricane Sandie. If there was one person I would have been happy to be with at that time, it was you because you would have made me feel safe. Nothing scared you. You were a true man.
  • For some of the most magical moments of my life like standing in the crowd at Glastonbury when Robbie Williams sang Angels, that’s a big deal for a 16-year-old.
  • My friend recently told me “you’re amazing Adele and it’s partly thanks to your dad”. What else is there to say.


I always tell the story how one of the only times in my life when I’ve been really irresponsible was when I decided to have a party in my hotel room in Abu Dhabi. Tony Paiton told me “ your dad would be proud of you” I knew this meant it would end badly! But man, was it fun. Story of your life basically.

Now this is the hard bit for me. I know you never thought I was proud of you but I really was dad and this is why. I would not have changed you for a thing, you made us strong.


  • for taking me to buy my first bra at John Lewis, I ended up with a lacy red thing that probably wasn’t appropriate for a 14-year-old but you tried your best.
  • for having the strength to drive Lana and I back to Heathrow and put us on a plane to France so many times. That can’t have been easy, you were a better man for it.
  • all your certificates that used to hang in Brenda’s at womad
  • For being able to walk into any pub and make friends at the bar. The dodgier the better. From Rastafarians to Hell’s Angels, you had friends from all walks of life.
  • For giving me the courage to walk around my school in France wearing my England rugby shirt that I am wearing today whether England had beaten or lost to France at the weekend. You didn’t care what people thought, I’ll never forget when you came to visit me in Berlin and wore your “fast as fuck” hoodie.
  • Once at Glastonbury I watched you with my own eyes avoid a massive crowd crush by climbing on the top of a bridge and redirecting 10s of thousands of people.


  • Most importantly I am proud of you for showing us what to live authentically means. Very few people manage this and if I can live even half as authentically and true to myself as you did dad, I will be proud. Needless to say “work hard, play hard” was invented with you in mind.



  • always have smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on Christmas morning
  • drink pints in your honour
  • try and make you even more proud of me than you were
  • dance in the mud all night at Glastonbury (talking of which if anybody has ticket, come and talk to me J), to take Arabella to WOMAD and by the way she wanted to say she loves you Granddad
  • make sure all your children stay in touch with each other
  • to put my happiness first as you told me to do.
  • go to New Orleans where you always wanted to go
  • watch every France versus England rugby game religiously for the rest of my life
  • To not look back and to be happy.
  • And I finally I promise to be one of those people, who has stories, just like you did because sensible can be wrong sometimes.


Very few people can say “ if I die tomorrow, I’ll die a happy man because I’ve done so much in my life”, you said that and you meant it. It gives me great relief to know you died happy and typically under your own terms. As per Mark Twain (thank you Adrian): “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time”

Over and Out, it’s time to switch the radio off.

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You Were Amazing Dad or Therapy Through Blogging

This time last week I was in Mauritius with my mum and daughter making the most of our last day in paradise. It was hot, the only worry on my mind was “will the taxi turn up on time tonight for the airport?” and I was completely relaxed after a great 10 days of not doing much.

This morning I’m sat on a train going to Dorset to start dealing with funeral arrangements for my dad, who died a few days ago. There are so many worries on my mind that I can’t even process it all or sleep past 6.30 at the moment.

About 6 hours after he died, I thought “I’m over this, I feel fine” , people have probably written essays on that type of reaction. It must be some kind of defence mechanism and it’s probably not very healthy. I’m not over it and I’m going to write about it. Some people might not understand why I want to make my feelings public but I know it’s going to help me and frankly at the moment I really don’t care about being judged. I’ll post as many photos on Facebook as I want, go out as much as I want and just deal with it however I want to.

What makes me sad the most is that he couldn’t live his last years to the full due to pain and illness, that’s a shame. I’m the eldest of his 5 children and I was lucky that he gave me away at my wedding and met my daughter – my brothers and sisters won’t have that and that’s painful. If my youngest half sister graduates from university, I’ll make sure I’m there and unlike dad, T I promise you that when they are handing out a diploma for a slightly boring sounding degree I won’t shout out “I bet he’s fun at a party!”. I think this was before he fell asleep and Granny had to poke him because he was snoring so loudly…

Yep that was typical dad (typical of him, he definitely wasn’t a typical dad in good and bad ways) – he spoke his mind and didn’t give a damn what anybody thought. What was also typical and sometimes comical (and sometimes very annoying) was his ability to exaggerate a fact…indeed dad was not perfect by any means and had an uncanny ability to “enhance” the truth. He worked at festivals and clearly met famous people but which ones he “saw” versus “met”, I’ll never know and now I don’t care.

In times like these you start to see the influence people had on you. My love of rugby comes from him, I didn’t inherit his love of Chelsea FC though (#arsenal) nor his love of Stella, man that stuff is disgusting.

I do love a festival though and I will forever be grateful for all the summers I spent working and having fun at festivals, it seriously enriched my life. The people I’ve met, the music I’ve heard, the experiences I’ve had at festivals are a big part of my life and I will always be thankful for that.

There is so much more to say, so many more memories and mixed emotions. I forgive you for forgetting my 18th birthday (and some others…) you came to Berlin for my 21st so that made up for that.

So what was amazing about my dad? He embodied our surname “Armstrong” – he worked outside most of his life and could do work guys 20 years younger couldn’t, he had tons and tons of friends from hell’s angels to a disabled guy, who he looked after at WOMAD and made sure he had a pass to the site every year to people he used to play rugby with and what seems like half of the UK’s festival crew. Anybody who met him would always remember him, he really would help people if he could, he was flamboyant and fun and I recently discovered that he said years ago “if I die tomorrow, I’ll die a happy man” and that gives me great comfort.

He lived most days like it could be his last, this did mean not much sleep (which eventually caught up with him) but he had more good times in his life than 50 average people put together.

I get my belief in “carpe diem” from you dad and I’ll do my best to live life to the full (I might just be a bit more reasonable and sleep more!).  The Armstrong show must go on.