Good morning Kirsten,

It’s your Dad, again – here to mark your second birthday: happy birthday!

As I think might become a tradition in these posts, this was you a year ago today:

And this was you a few days ago – climbing, no less!

Tea out at Silverburn

What’s been happening?

… Loads, is the answer.

You still go to nursery three days a week (spending the other two weekdays with Mum); you still go swimming and to music classes, etc.; you still see your grandparents and Uncle Mark most weeks; you still love reading books; and we get out and about together every weekend.

We’ve also been able to get out and about more, this year. We’ve been on three holidays:

We went to St Andrews for a few days over Easter:

The cottage in St Andrews
‘Go karting’ near St Andrews

We were in the South of France a couple of weeks ago for John and Paloma’s wedding:

At the wedding with Uncles Dave and Jambo

And, of course, we spent three weeks in California with most of the family for a wedding of our own:

At the wedding, obviously…

Tea in Mission (Kirsten unimpressed by Uncle Mark’s plea…)
Walking over the Golden Gate Bridge (further than it looks…)
A few minutes to enjoy the view
Favourite photo ever? Fun at Moonstone Beach
Last night before we headed in different directions

Cable car in SF

It’s been a busy year.

How have you been?

… Incredible, is the answer.

The pace at which you change remains unreal!

This time last year, you were still a baby. Since then, you’ve become a fully-fledged wee person:

  • You can walk, run, jump and hide;
  • You can talk;
  • You have friends (Josh and Sadie from nursery, in particular);
  • You can play with and pat the cats;
  • You can (and frequently do) ask for cuddles;
  • You insist on putting hair clips on Bertie the Bear and Tombliboo (I’m still not quite sure what they are);
  • You sometimes throw almighty tantrums; and
  • The thing I enjoy to do most with you: you dance and SING!

You have a brilliant sense of humour; you’re mischievous; you’re affectionate; you’re observant; and you’re bright.

One of the particular highlights of my week is currently our Sunday morning routine. We usually have a bit more time on our hands and we spend it playing “slamming tunes” (I can sense your mother eye-rolling, even now) and dancing, while we eat breakfast.

A favourite track of yours is “Tate” by Fred Again. We were having breakfast this morning (a Sunday, so the tunes were slamming) and you demanded that I put on “broskis” – you’ll understand why you call it that, if you listen to the track (I try to turn down the bad language at the beginning…):

Thoughts for the year and What’s Next?

Do me a favour please, Kirsten, and hit ‘play’ before reading on:

[Who knows whether in 20 years Youtube will still be a ‘thing’ so let me also tell you that it’s “Photograph” by Arcade Fire, from the soundtrack of an excellent film called ‘Her’.]

For me, this feels like our last year.

  • It’s called “Photograph” because, in the film, it’s used in lieu of a photo to capture a moment in two people’s lives together (we’re lucky in that we have plenty of photos).
  • There’s a definite rhythm to it, but with changes of pace and key.
  • The track is also instrumental, which sort of reflects that we’re not quite at the stage where we can speak properly with each other.
  • Importantly, I think it’s hopeful…

Speaking of which, you’ll hopefully have a sense from everything explained above that your second year has been brilliant – there’s nothing that I would have done differently.

As for ‘what’s next?’ (the eternal question), we’re thinking hard about the future: there are decisions to be made about where we’re going to live; where you might go to school, etc. By the time you read this, you’ll have an opinion as to whether we made the right decisions. All I’ll say is this: you can rest assured that we’re trying our best for you. We may not get everything right, but that won’t be for lack of effort.

I’ll leave you, for now, with two things:

First: some photos of you with your loved ones this year:

Walking down the aisle with Uncle Mark

Brunch with Grandpa

Second: a ‘Tash’. There aren’t (currently) any photos of me keeping an eye on you as you play / dance / do any of the other things that keeps you busy, but I imagine the expression on my face is similar to this (Joaquin Phoenix, ‘Her’) – he’s mesmerised.

Until next year, Kirsten.


Your Dad

P.s. If you read / look at photos at the same pace as me, “Photograph” will just be ending. Please don’t tell me if that didn’t work: I spent more time than was reasonable playing around with it.

Prelude: Treasure

Good morning Kirsten,

Who knows when you’ll read this, if ever, but you turn one today: Happy birthday! 

In some ways, your first year has flown by.  In others, it feels like a lifetime. From your perspective, I suppose, the latter is exactly what it’s been.

I have tried in this post to jot-down some of the things that I remember most about your first 365 days on Planet Earth.  I reckon that’s important for two reasons: first, perhaps you’ll enjoy reading about your younger self one day.  Second, because you change so quickly, I want to make sure that I don’t lose any of the memories that I’ve accumulated this year.

To start off, and illustrate just how much you’ve changed during your first year, here’s what you looked like when you were three hours old:

And here’s what you looked like when you were 363 days old:

The most important thing about the first year of your life is that you’ve been healthy and happy.  There have been times when you’ve felt a bit under the weather (e.g. after starting nursery, you seemed to catch every bug imaginable, including chickenpox) and a bit grumpy (like me, your sugar levels need to remain topped-up in order to be on top form), but they have been few and far between. Most days, you’ve been like this from the moment you wake up:

Of course, playing is your favourite thing to do, preferably with something you can chew on.  When you’re really enjoying something, you laugh, clap and roll your ankles. You’ve also recently started to bop along to music and nod your head when one of your favourite songs plays (I’m particularly delighted about that!). You get a kick out of books; especially ones with windows that you can open and things that pop out. For example, there’s a book called “I’m Hungry”, by Rob Campbell, which includes a pop-out tiger at the end.  You could read that book all day and still laugh every time at the last page.

This is one of the first times that we read a book together (shortly before you overtook me on the hair-front…):

You now really enjoy your food. You tend to eat at least some of whatever your mum and I have, whether we like it or not!  We also go out lots at the weekend. A current highlight of the week is brunch almost every Saturday morning with Uncle Mark at a café called Patricia’s. We’re there so often that they know how you like your toast and that you enjoy your orange juice from a takeaway espresso cup! 

You go to lots of classes (swimming, dancing, gymboree, etc.) and have had no trouble settling into nursery. Your mum has opted to spend two days each week with you this year. You get up to loads of fun things but you especially like swimming:

I could write loads more about what you do but maybe you’d be more interested in what you’re like. I’m biased, of course, but I think you’re a joy. You have your own distinct personality: you’re developing a sense of humour (you hide under your bath towel, for example, and play peekaboo); you’re interested in the world around you (I remember when you were very small and we used to walk beneath trees while out for a walk because you liked to look at the leaves); you enjoy company (just this morning, you were waving and talking to people while we were out and about); and you’re confident.

You needn’t take my word for all of that. Just look at how much folk enjoy spending time with you:

You’ve brought more joy into all of our lives than certainly I could ever have imagined. That’s especially the case for your mum and me but also for your grandparents and Uncle Mark (to name but a few). The world is simply a better place with you in it, and that’s before you’ve learned to speak and tell us what you think! It’s miraculous, really.

We have some fun things planned for your second year. I’ll check-in here to let you know how they went. Until then, as you’ll gather if you scroll down, the key question for you is: What’s Next? I can’t wait to find out how you want to answer it.


Your Dad.

P.S. This wouldn’t be a proper TF without a Tash (I’ll explain that to you one day). I’ve gone for Steve Carell on the basis that he played a dad in a great film called “Beautiful Boy”. I don’t think that I would have properly understood that film before you arrived:

At the risk of extending an already mammoth TF, I’ll also leave you two of the tracks that remind me most of your first year: the first is a ‘recomposed’ (whatever that means…) version of a Bach’s “Cello Suite No. 1”. I don’t really understand the names of classical pieces but this one seems to be called “Prelude“. I distinctly remember it playing during the drive home from the hospital after you were born and thinking that it was perfect for that moment. The second is “Treasure” by Sampha. It’s the soundtrack from “Beautiful Boy” and, again, it seems perfect for you. You’ll no doubt be sick of hearing both of them by the time your old enough to read this post..


Good morning Tash Appreciators,

It’s been a while!

Back when TF was in everyone’s mailboxes at 5am each Friday, it was usually drafted while I was on a minging, over-priced, Scotrail train on the way back from Edinburgh.  However, this edition, for the first time ever, is being written (Sierra Nevada in hand) from TF’s spiritual home: the tiny bit of coastline midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles called San Simeon.

Mr Tash Friday Senior (aka Dave-Dawg) likes to check in with me every now and again to make sure I haven’t done something stupid.  Earlier this week, he text to ask where I was and that I wasn’t dead in a ditch somewhere.  When I explained that I was in Yosemite and that I was going stargazing at Glacier Point that evening his reply was:

…you always find the great add ons…

I should first mention that if you’re ever in Yosemite overnight you must go stargazing at Glacier Point.  Glacier Point (as mentioned in previous TFs) is where John Muir (a serial Tash) persuaded Teddy Roosevelt (he of “Daring Greatly” fame and also a serial Tash) to make Yosemite a National Park.  It looked like this the other night, as the sun set and moon rose:


It’s a long drive to get up there at sunset and it seems even longer when you’re going back down in the dark but it’s inspiring stuff: no photo can do it justice.

I hadn’t thought of the trip to Glacier Point as an add-on.  I had just thought: “I’m here – let’s do it“.  Now I think about it, I wasn’t always like that.

A few years ago, I’d have said “it’s too long a drive” or “it’s too dangerous to drive those roads at night” but I’m more inclined to have a go at things now.  I think a lot of that stems from people’s reaction to TF.  The positive reaction to TF (and Operation Zorro in particular) was a real boost at a time when I was swithering about what to do with my life.  I think that’s why my attitude to things now is to think “let’s give it a bash and see what happens“.  Sometimes all it takes is a little encouragement, you know?

This week’s Tash has to be John Muir.  If it wasn’t for him, I might not have had the chance to see the Yosemite which I saw the other night.  He said in 1912, about “The Yosemite” that: “[e]verybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”  Having seen the place, I know exactly what he means.


TF might not be as regular as it once was but the question on my mind is the same as ever:

What’s next?

Have a great weekend folks – hope you’ve got some time off coming up.


While I’m talking about fun add-ons, I should share what I’ve found this trip:

(1) Kirby Cove – San Francisco

This is only really do-able because of the wonders of Uber.

Kirby Cove is on the Marin County side of the Golden Gate Bridge (i.e. the far side).  There are a couple of ways to get there: either get an Uber all the way there or (the more fun way) get the ferry from Pier 39 to Sausalito and then an Uber from Sausalito.  You’re then heading for the first observation point on Hawk Hill (overlooking the Bridge).  Once you’re there, there’s a path which runs down the hill to a small beach.  On the beach, there is a swing over the sea…


It’s not a lot to look at in this photo but the views of the bridge are the best you’ll find and there’s no-one else there.

(2) Moonstone BeachSan Simeon

I’ve banged on about this before.  If you’ve never been (and, if you haven’t, you really need to take a long, hard look at your life choices), it looked like this tonight:


I’d rather spend a day here than anywhere else in the world.

Mark II

Good morning Tash Appreciators,


The Notorious

Some of you may have seen or heard about the Conor McGregor v. Jose Aldo UFC fight last weekend. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t, all you need to know is that McGregor predicted exactly how he would win and he delivered upon his prediction within 13 seconds.

Tash Friday 18:12:15

He said after the fight:

“If you can see it – and you have the courage enough to speak it – it will happen.”

On its own, that’s obviously rubbish. I could say that I’d smash one of these UFC lads in 13 seconds (indeed, I frequently do say things like that!) but that doesn’t mean it’ll happen. However, in a facebook post the next day, McGregor said this:

“To the naked eye it was 13 seconds, but to my team and my family it has been a lifetime of work to get to that 13 seconds.”

It’s a lot easier to say that you’re going to do something – and then go out and do it – if you’ve done the work before-hand. It looks like clairvoyance but it’s actually just the culmination of years of training and the execution of a well-laid plan.

Operation Zorro

Some of you might remember that this approach is one that chimes with me. In January 2014 – there’s an edition of TF to prove it – I set out my plan for Operation Zorro.

I can’t remember if I stated the three goals explicitly in TF but I did mention them to plenty of people:

  • get a job at a particular company doing a particular type of work;
  • complete the Etape Caledonia in under 4 hours; and
  • buy a flat with the other half of Tash Friday.

That was almost two years ago and the only part of Operation Zorro (Mark I) that didn’t eventually work out is that the quickest time I’ve managed for the Etape is 4 hours and 11 minutes. I’d be lying if I said that the 11 minutes doesn’t grate…

I know that plenty of you have had some exceptional experiences in 2015 which are lot more impressive than any of the Operation Zorro goals. Within this group we have folk who’ve started / are just about to start jobs which are extremely difficult to get into; backed themselves by taking roads less-travelled; started businesses; got engaged / married; moved abroad… the list goes on.

Set controls for the heart of the sun

So: what’s next?

I don’t want to stop at just one Operation Zorro: I want to see what else I can do; I want to develop Operation Zorro (Mark 2).

Pretty much my whole experience of the last two years can be summed up in one paragraph from this week’s Tash, Theodore Roosevelt. I’ve mentioned snippets of this quote before but the words “dare greatly” have been going round my head for a long time and it only seems right that I give them their proper context:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Tash Friday 13:12:13

Regardless of whether you’ve known the triumph of high achievement in 2015, or you’ve stumbled, I hope that in 2016 you back yourself to dare greatly and fulfil whatever you have in mind for your own Operation Zorro

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a photo taken during this year’s pilgrimage to TF’s spiritual home. Like McGregor said, it’s the team and family which are ultimately responsible for whatever we as individuals achieve…


Have a great Christmas everyone!

What’s next?

8 May 2015

Good morning Tash Appreciators,

How about that election, eh? I was really disappointed/pleased that [insert name] won/lost. I voted but the campaigns were so annoying that I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times when I felt like saying:

Tash Friday 8:5:15

Rather than boring you with election chat, I’d like to talk briefly about something which is hopefully a bit more interesting to everyone: holidays. With spring upon us (seriously, I know it doesn’t feel like it, but it is), it’s time to start looking ahead towards summer and the prospect of some time away.

I know that one Tash Appreciator was waiting until today – 8 May 2015 (I warned you I’d remember) – to even contemplate a holiday. When we spoke about it, he claimed that he didn’t know whether he’d be able to get away and he made the whole thing sound like a bit of a chore.

At the risk of being blunt, this chap is a numpty.

Tash Friday 8:5:15 4

A holiday is absolutely essential – even the Daily Mail says it’s good for you! I won’t dig deeper into the benefits of a holiday – they are obvious – but I will look at the only question which I think is relevant: do you go somewhere just to get away or do you set the bar higher than that?

When the numpty was spouting his nonsense about not having time to get away, there were three of us talking about holidays: me, the numpty and a third pal. The third pal and I were reminiscing about an excellent trip that a bunch of us went on a few years ago. The numpty wasn’t reminiscing because he turned down the invite to come with us. Anyway, the third pal said: “isn’t it about time we made some new memories rather than talking about old trips?”

I couldn’t agree with him more. On that basis, the answer to the question about how high to set the bar is that you set it as high as your budget and time will possibly allow. Go somewhere far away; where there aren’t “British” pubs and you can’t get Eastenders on the telly; go somewhere you’ve always wanted to go and see the things you’ve always wanted to see.

To the numpty (and anyone else who’s swithering about getting away this summer): consider the gauntlet thrown. Get yourself online and get something booked as soon as you possibly can. When it gets to October, you’ll regret it if you haven’t been away. Hell, come with me or meet me there – I’m away from 21 July to 5 August.

As if the prospect of time off work and relaxation wasn’t enough, going on holiday gives you the opportunity to live like Tom Selleck: you too could lie on a hammock; with a terrible shirt; drinking cocktails out of a pineapple with pink flowers decorating it.

Tash Friday 8:5:15 3

Don’t worry ladies, you can get in on the action too. I found this delightful number on Amazon for a mere $12!

Tash Friday 8:5:15 2

Have a great weekend folks!

What’s next?

Money talks

Good morning Tash Appreciators,

In 2002, a man from Grand Rapids, Michigan, was given a six-month suspended sentence; two days of house arrest; and ordered to undertake 48 hours of community service following his conviction for two counts of domestic violence and one count of battery.

In 2004, he was convicted of two counts of battery against women; was given a one-year suspended sentence; counselling; and either a $1,000 fine or 100 hours of community service.

In 2010, he was again found guilty of domestic violence. This time, he was sentenced to 90 days in prison; 100 hours of community service; and a $2,500 fine

Tomorrow, the same man will make a minimum of $180m for a maximum of 36 minutes’ work.

Tash Friday 1:5:15

Disturbingly, it seems that all of Floyd Mayweather Jnr’s illegal acts of violence against women are nought compared to the 47 times he’s entered a professional boxing ring and left victorious. I’m sure this appalling turn of events has everything to do with television companies supporting the rehabilitation of convicted criminals rather than it being purely about the vast amounts of money which people will pay to watch the fight.

Apart from his character as a man, I also question Mayweather’s claim that he’s the greatest pound-for-pound boxer of all time. His argument seems to be that he is the greatest because he’s won all 47 of his professional fights.

Boxing is strange in that way: it’s basically one massive game of “winner stays on”. Mayweather is the boxing equivalent of a 38-year-old student (who’s been a student since they were 17) in the Uni Union who claims to be a world-class pool player just because they’ve beaten every punter that’s had the audacity to play them. You know the guy I mean, he brings his own cue and refuses to let you play against your pals.

Mayweather has avoided Manny Pacquiao (his opponent on Saturday) for so long that you have to assume he’s only fighting him now because he’s sure he’ll win.

Speaking of Pacquiao – who’s this week’s Tash, by the way – apart from an issue about not paying his taxes, he’s much more my type of guy: he’s fought everyone (he’s had 57 fights compared to Mayweather’s 47); has lost five times; come back from each defeat; and even been elected twice to the Philippine House of Representatives.

I really hope that Mayweather catches a glimpse of the following image a split second before finding himself flat on his back looking up at the lights in the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Tash Friday 1:5:15 2

As it happens, the big fight in Vegas isn’t the only Battle Royale taking place this weekend. I’m due to enjoy a “sociable” bike ride up some stupidly unpleasant stretches of road in horrible weather on Saturday. The trash talk for this race has been raging for weeks and we’ll see who comes out on top. I suspect no-one will leave with their dignity intact. Perhaps more about that next week.

Anyway, whether you’re staying up until 4am on Sunday morning to watch Mayweather get clobbered, or just taking it easy, have a great weekend folks!

What’s next?

Aged 30…

Good morning Tash Appreciators,

A couple of nights ago, I suddenly had a hankering to hear a song that I hadn’t thought about for years: “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” by U2. I can hear the hipsters tutting already but, like T. Swift says: haters gonna hate hate hate.

It’s normal for TF to be written during the course of a commute but that’s traditionally been on trains. This week is slightly different in that I’m typing away while sitting in a cramped window seat on a Bombardier Q400, somewhere over the Irish Sea. It’s a clear spring evening outside and the sun is just dipping below the horizon.

Tash Friday 24:4:15

After take off – when I was allowed to put my earphones back in – I put my new tune on. I’ve listened to it a couple of times now and I’ve reached the conclusion that Bono isn’t looking for something which can be found just by looking for it (like a set of keys). I think the lines about “climbing the highest mountains” and “scaling city walls” are about looking for something intangible.

I know what he means – as I’m sure many of you do. We spend a lot of our time looking for things which, no matter how hard we look, we may never find – things that have to find us, so to speak. That can be religion, a career, the ideal home – anything.

At the moment, I am looking for a home. Not that I don’t have a home, you understand; I’m just looking for a new one. I’ve been telling people that there’s nothing out there and I’ve jokingly said I’m giving up the search. However, watching the sea, sunset and blue sky outside I’m reminded that there is a place out there which feels like home but which cannot be found in Scotland. Maybe I found what I was looking for a long time ago and that’s why nothing I’m seeing now seems quite right.

So where does that leave me? Because the captain has just said it’s 10 minutes until we land and I need to wrap this up before I’m told to put my phone away.

I’m reminded of a line I heard recently when I was watching a documentary about a media mogul who’s empire was at its height in the 1930s – William Randolph Hearst. The film starts with William’s father (George) working away on a small mine, trying to make his fortune.  Ultimately, George decides to  gather his possessions and leave the place of his birth. The narrator says: “aged 30, he went to California.”

Tash Friday 24:4:15 3

I’m beginning to think that Operation Zorro needs to look further than one year ahead. Unlike Bono, I might have found that intangible thing which has sparked something in my soul. Maybe that’s why I spend an inordinate amount of time watching  planes flying west and wondering whether they’re going to San Francisco. Maybe one day…

It’s not really a Tash but a big dream deserves a large amount of facial hair. Thanks for the inspiration, George Hearst:

Tash Friday 24:4:15 2

Have a great weekend folks.

As ever, I ask you: what’s next?

Cops and Robbers

Good morning Tash Appreciators,

I hope you all had a good break over the Easter weekend.

While most of us spent the weekend relaxing / nursing hangovers, others had to work hard. In particular, a group of burglars were working hard smashing through concrete walls; drilling through 18-inch-thick metal doors; and abseiling down lift shafts in order to ransack 70 safety deposit boxes in the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit building.

The papers claim that the burglars got away with up to £200m of jewels – like it was an Ocean’s 11-esque heist…

Tash Friday 10:4:15

but I’ve seen enough episodes of Storage Wars to know that the majority of those boxes were probably stuffed with old towels and Christmas decorations.

Tash Friday 10:4:15 2

Such a cinematic sounding crime got me thinking about who the robbers might be and what made them turn to their life of crime. However, rather than thinking about the social circumstances which led them to take their criminal path, I started to think more about what they would look like. It was then that I started to worry. If popular culture is to be believed, at least one of these villains was bound to have a moustache – and that’s bad for business. Just take these ruffians and baddies as proof that “the media” discriminates against the Tash by portraying it as the facial hair of choice for all villains:

Ming the Merciless

Ming the Merciless

Danny Trejo - the man who's been type-cast as the must-have baddie in any film involving Mexicans.

Danny Trejo – the man who’s been type-cast as the must-have baddie in any film involving Mexicans.

White Goodman - the evilest man in Dodgeball.

White Goodman – the evilest man in Dodgeball.

Dick Dastardly - with a name like that, he was never likely to race by the rules.

Dick Dastardly – with a name like that, he was never likely to race by the rules.

Thankfully, though, I remembered that the position of the Tash as a symbol of truth and justice has been somewhat saved by two of the greatest crime-fighting minds ever:

Hercule Poirot

Hercule Poirot


Jacques Clouseau

Jacques Clouseau

Thankfully, these righteous men protect the reputation of the Tash and go to show that the moustache is really the most democratic and fair of facial hair: it looks equally good on the robber as it does on the person tasked with putting the robber behind bars.

Have a great weekend folks!

What’s next?

Rocket Man

Good morning Tash Appreciators,

As we head to work today, most of us will be looking forward to the end of the week and a couple of days off. It might even be a non-uniform day at work because it’s the last Friday of the month. However, for one chap in particular, this definitely isn’t a “dress-down” day and he definitely isn’t looking forward to a nice weekend at home.

Tash Friday 27:3:15

This morning, Scott Kelly woke up in the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and won’t go to bed on Earth again for a whole year. That’s because Captain Kelly is going to spend a year on this:

Tash Friday 27:3:15 2

The point of spending a year in space is to find out how the body changes in zero-gravity conditions over a long period of time. That’s going to be useful information to have before folk start heading off to Mars in the not too distant future. The guys at NASA are apparently concerned that long periods of time without gravity could lead to eyeballs changing shape; muscles (including the heart) weakening to the extent that they don’t function properly when back on Earth (or Mars); and bones losing minerals like calcium and weakening.

Of course, in any experiment about the effects of a particular type of situation on the human body it’s useful to have a control subject. Luckily for NASA, Captain Kelly has a twin brother – Mark. Mark Kelly was also an astronaut and you may recall that he’s married to Gabrielle Giffords, the former Congresswoman who survived an assassination attempt.

Mark Kelly isn’t just a control subject though – he’ll be key to his brother dealing with a whole year away from not just his home and family but his planet. As Elton John predicted: “it’s lonely out in space”. to Scott, the feeling of helplessness while he’s away with absolutely no way of getting home is likely to be the hardest part – he’s been in space for long periods before and he doesn’t seem all that concerned about the physical side of things.

Mark will be the person at the other end of the phone who’ll keep Scott’s spirits up and makes sure everything is OK at home. I guess it’s really true that no man is an island; even when he’s 229 miles above the Earth, going at 17,500 mph.

I almost forgot the Tash. You’ll never guess what Mark Kelly likes to rock…

Tash Friday 27:3:15 3

He’s grown his Tash out a bit since his days in space ended – no doubt that will be some comfort to his brother.

Have a great weekend folks!

What’s next?

Trust Your Power

Good morning Tash Appreciators,

This week marks the beginning of what will hopefully be the return to normal service of TF. I say “hope” as editions may not appear every week but it wouldn’t be TF if we didn’t at least give it a go. You know, daring greatly and all that.

I wonder if any of you know who this chap is:

Tash Friday 20:3:15 3

His name is Derrick Coleman – he won the Superbowl with the Seattle Seahawks last year.

What’s interesting about Mr Coleman isn’t that he won the Superbowl (loads of folk have done that) but that he’s been deaf since he was three years old. That’s a problem in a sport where a key part of the game is hearing and implementing a particular play. If you’ve ever seen an NFL game, you’ll have seen the coaches giving instructions from the sidelines and plays being called on the field.

You’d think that a deaf person would find it difficult to play football at any level; let alone in the NFL. You’d be right. Derrick Coleman was told from the beginning that he couldn’t play. Even after he’d played in college, NFL teams didn’t think he had what it took and none of them picked him in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Looking back on those who said he’d never play in the NFL, Coleman said: “I’ve been deaf since I was three, so I didn’t listen.”

He was in an excellent series of Duracell adverts called “Trust Your Power”. It’s worth a watch:

I like that phrase: “trust your power”. I like it even more when you add “it’ll take you anywhere you want to go”. I take it to mean that if you back yourself and your own ability to get where you want to be; you’ll get there. The other point is that if you don’t trust your own power, and your own ability, no-one else will.

The other interesting point about Derrick Coleman, at least from my perspective, is that he’s almost exactly the same age as my younger (but bigger) brother.

Unlike Derrick Coleman, my brother isn’t deaf. He doesn’t have a Superbowl winner’s ring either. However, he has recently beaten very daunting odds by trusting his own ability and persevering when others would have either given up or compromised. His achievement is testament to the fact that hard work will take you literally anywhere you want to go.

There is one further similarity between my brother and Derrick Coleman in that most of us would love to work in their offices. Coleman’s office is a stadium but my brother’s office will look like this:

Tash Friday 20:3:15

Congrats, pal – you deserve it.

All that remains is to roll out this week’s Tash.

He did a different type of flying but, who knows, maybe the Wee Man will do a bit of flight instruction when, sometime in the distant future, he packs in the jet-set lifestyle. This week’s Tash is Tom Skerritt, aka Mike “Viper” Metcalf from Top Gun.

Tash Friday 20:3:15 4

Have a great weekend folks!

What’s next?