It is at this time of year that we think of resolutions, of change and new beginnings. How many of us set ourselves goals that we have no hope of reaching? Maybe to lose weight, to get fit, eat and drink less etc. etc. This is why I do not normally bother with new year resolutions; I know they will not last beyond the end of January. However, this year, there are a few things that I intend to do, and I’m pretty certain that I will be able to achieve them. If the events of the last 18 months have taught us anything it is that life can be far too short and you never know what is round the corner.
Looking back at all the comments posted on Facebook in the days after Russell died, everyone seems to agree that he lived life in the fast lane; he made the most of all the opportunities available and had a good time. So, that’s a good place to start for a resolution – don’t let life pass you by, grab it with both hands and make the most of what you have got; you only get one chance at living. Another goal for this year is to continue all the positive things we have done in Russell’s memory. We have now raised over £1400 for Save the Children, an amazing amount and thanks to all of you who made this possible. This is something we really must continue into the coming year – to allow Russell’s death to help those less fortunate than ourselves.
Many of you will know that our family spent Christmas in Istanbul this year. We enjoyed perfect weather, blue skies and sunshine, albeit a little cold. Christmas lunch was again eaten in the open air and we had a toast for Russell (without alcohol!). The place we chose for our lunch was originally the old soup kitchen attached to the Suleyman Mosque, which supplied food for the local poor. A beautiful setting in which to remember Russell; the mosque itself is perched on a hill above the city with fabulous views over the Bosphorus and Golden Horn. The mosque was built in the 16th century by the architect Mimar Sinan for the sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, and yes, the mosque is truly magnificent and well worth a visit.
So it was with much sadness that we heard on the news this week that a suicide bomber had targeted this beautiful city. I cannot understand how someone could do such a thing, but our thoughts and hearts go out to the family of the young policeman who was killed in the attack. Another young life tragically snatched away, a young man who went to work one morning and never came home. He left behind a wife and young baby; two more people who are just starting to travel the long and lonely road that we are following. We hope that they will have the support from family and friends that we have enjoyed and that they will eventually find happiness again. I have heard that you are only five steps away from anyone else in the world, so if anyone reading this thinks they are one step nearer than us, please forward our thoughts and best wishes to the family of this young policeman. But we should also remember that only individuals, with the backing of a few extremists, commit these atrocities; we should not condemn a whole race or religion for the actions of a few. The people we met in Istanbul were charming and friendly, and we felt safe and welcomed in their ancient city.
On a happier note, I posted a few photos of the holiday on the Internet, and one of them has now been published on the Guardian Witness website (fame at last!!). I have included it below but if you would like to see the others that were published with it, follow the link.
So, a mixed bag of ramblings this week and thank you all for reading. In next week’s blog we are off to a party, and in the not too distant future there will be another contribution from Kaley; something about a Chihuahua I am told. And remember, if anyone else would like to contribute, please let us know.
Happy New Year, and try to keep those resolutions!