My Week In Happy: Life after love and good people making great things happen

Panorama of Salford Quays facing towards Lowry Arts Centre

Spot the panorama drama.

Life after love

When iconic songstress Cher asks the somewhat rhetorical question, “Do you believe in life after love?”, I sit back for a moment and think, “Yes, Cher. I do”.

It need not be love in the usual pop song romantic sense that I’m thinking of, more of the end of one chapter and the start of another. Yes, I am sad about my cat Cosmo’s passing, but that didn’t stop me getting down the gym first thing on Sunday morning and finding this beautiful tranquil scene that you can see above.

Good people making great things happen

On Friday night I popped down to The Umbrella Cafe in Manchester’s fashionable Northern Quarter. Because I was courageous enough to make my very first visit to the cafe by myself it gave me the chance to meet the fabulous trio of women to brought the idea to life Debbie, Michaela and Helen.

The venue has got off to a great start with Lizzie Allan’s Addictive Comedy night proving especially popular.

Manchester Girls Geeks are also doing brilliantly, if you’d like to find out more about us and learn how to create and edit Wikipedia pages we have this great event happening this Sunday (23rd November). You can sign up for the workshops here.

And finally, I don’t really talk about my day job on here that often, but today I attended an excellent conference organised by the Tinder Foundation (nothing to do with the dating app) on making sure no-one is left behind as services increasingly move to digital.

It was so heartwarming to hear about the many different approaches to getting people online and skilled up, but the cherry on the conference cake was when the winner of an iPad Air donated it to another delegate so that they could use it as part of their own digital inclusion project.

I enjoyed the Digital Evolution conference so much and met so many kind and good people that I thought it was time I put together a little gallery.

My Week In Happy: Farewell Cosmo

Cosmo - 1999 - 2014

Cosmo: 1999 – 2014

As alluded to in recent entries, Cosmo – my cat companion for over fifteen years – had been somewhat under the weather.

Sadly, last Thursday I had to make the difficult decision to have him put to sleep, but I was well supported by a wonderfully empathetic vet.

He had enjoyed a long and happy life and I wanted him to have as comfortable an ending to it as possible.

It has been a sad time for me, but I want to focus on the happiness and comfort Cosmo brought me over the years. It has to be said that he left me in much better shape than he found me.

My Week In Happy: Feeling grateful for good friends


I’ve lived in a quite few cities. Childhood in Coventry, teenage years in Norwich, university in Southampton, then back to Norwich before a 10 year stint in London, before finally landing here in Manchester.

In each stage of my life I’ve made new friends and do my best to stay in touch them even if sometimes months or even years have elapsed since we were last in contact.

This week, seeing some dear friends has make me extremely happy and grateful.


I met Mike when we worked at a small offshoot of a publishing house in Norwich in the mid-nineties. He’s always made a really big effort to keep in touch no matter what’s going on in either of our lives. Mike has sharp wit which is reflected in some of the greeting cards he has created for me over the years. Take a look at this gallery.

Some of the Mike's greeting card designs. Broccoli = Brockley.

Some of the Mike’s greeting card designs.


I have known Lynsey since we were about 14 years old. Contact may have ebbed and flowed over the years as we moved to different cities and did different things with our lives, but when we chat (usually online and about pretty much anything) it feels like no time has passed at all.

Lynsey is working on her first novel and blogging about it – the blog itself is a work of art in my eyes.

Birthday buddies

My friend Karen shares a birthday month with me. We love to celebrate and it’s been a month full of hiding cards and collections and eating several kilos of cake.

On Friday it was Karen’s birthday, an occasion that we marked at Chaophraya, a top Thai place in Manchester. To give you a flavour of what we got up to, here’s a gallery.


I’ve got to know Erinma over the last couple of years through mutual friends and various geeky activities. We hooked up for the #HookedOnMusic late event on Saturday night at Manchester’s Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI).

Erinma has had a long involvement with the museum, developing and delivering fantastic citizen science projects including Turing’s Sunflowers and Hooked On Music. She is also one of the most generous and kind-hearted people you could ever hope to meet.

Cosmo update

icu-twitterMy cat, Cosmo, is an old boy who’s led an amazingly good and pampered life.

He’s not been too well for the last couple of months and has lost a lot of weight since the beginning of the year.

He’s at home being cared for in the Intensive Cuddle Unit and we’re going to back to the vets on Thursday to see how he’s doing.