Week tinged with so much sadness

This week has been very emotional for me. Firstly it was my Mum’s birthday. She shares it with the Queen, and I like to treat her as if she is royalty. Due to the illness she has I never thought she would be here with us this year. Each day is a blessing and I visit her every day.

On her birthday I received a call with the sad news that my Uncle, her youngest brother had passed away. He and his family live in Scotland so I decided to let my Mum enjoy her birthday and saved the news for her until the next day. It upset me to think that she's the last surviving member of a big family and all her siblings have now passed on.

Mum is staying at our house this week as my Sister has taken a well deserved holiday - She’s a single mum and due to Mum's health she is living with her and my nephew at the moment. I’m sure Mum will be glad when Rosemarie gets back though as she can’t put up with my cooking for long.

Before Mum arrived I flew to Morocco for a couple of days to oversee the renovations which are ongoing at my house there. I wanted to check that the builders were knocking down the right walls and the house was still standing! I arrived late at night so went straight off to bed. When I awoke to the sound of hammering it still felt like the middle of the night. The builders were downstairs.

The next few hours felt like a scene from ‘Holidays from Hell’ as wherever I tried to eat my breakfast or find a place to sit I was being pelted with debris and an army of workers invaded the house. Usually I get frustrated that they take so many breaks and have a sleep period in the afternoon but the silence really was golden.

I couldn’t even dive in the pool for a relaxing swim as it had been drained and half filled with rubble. My Partner Michael decided that having such a deep pool is a waste of water so that was a no-go area too. I couldn’t wait to get back to England. I usually leave all that side of things to Michael and stick to my hobby of taking pictures, it’s much less stressful.

On my return from Morocco I was waiting for my connection in Paris airport when I received the shock news that one of my office staff had been stabbed to death in the early hours of Thursday morning in Leeds. I couldn't believe what I was hearing; it wouldn't sink in and particularly as I was in Paris so far away. Michael had to gather all our staff together to deliver the dreadful news. There has never been such a sad quiet, day in our normally buzzing and vibrant office.

When I returned and walked into the building and saw his empty desk I could hardly hold back the tears - he was a person so full of life who always had a quip for everyone. It hit me so powerfully how fragile life is.

I have created a website for Damian on the memorial site I set up GoneTooSoon.co.uk It has given not only his friends and colleagues the opportunity to leave tributes and messages but his family to leave their own tributes and share their memories of Damian. I hope that when his Mum reads the touching messages that have been left it will give her comfort at such a tragic time.


The Bafta’s

I watched last week’s Bafta ceremony from the comfort of my bedroom at home as even though the programme ‘ Secret Millionaire’ which I appeared in last year was nominated for an award as best feature, I missed out on a ticket for the prestigious event.

I had already planned my list of thank-you’s and had written a few words about the friends I met when filming down in Cornwall. The elderly couple Kath and Don who I gave some of my money to in the show keep in regular contact with me and have welcomed me into their family ever since. Recently they’ve sent me some photographs of 2 Yorkshire Terrier pups they bought for their disabled daughter Juliette with the last of the money they had left from the gift.

That programme changed all our lives in so many ways and I felt sure it deserved the accolade but I guess Ramsay’s Kitchen nightmares which won must have wowed the judges more.

Perhaps I should produce my own programme visiting bars and clubs around the country who are struggling and helping them to turn their businesses around �" on second thoughts though; I don’t swear or drink so maybe it wouldn’t be outrageous enough!