My daughter lost her birth mother when she was just 4 days old, thanks to a criminally incompetent doctor and a hospital that would be lucky to operate successfully as an abattoir. As starts in life go, there would be few less auspicious. 

Today, she turns 12. Thanks to Luscious, the mother I met when she was 14 months old and she chose when was approaching 2, she has grown into a stylish, graceful, intelligent, mature, wondrous child, at whom I marvel every day. There is nothing of me in her: she has her birth mother’s looks, and her Mum’s dignity, optimism and unwavering moral compass. She is a developing artist, a burgeoning cook with a fine line in muffins (another skill in which she follows her Mum), an fan of Katniss Everdeen, a listener to Goon Shows, Queen of the colouring-in competitions (undefeated in 12 attempts over four years). admirer of Pink, chooser of NuWho over Classic Who, with a heart like a planet and a caring nature and fierce desire to learn that constantly fills me with joy, consistently at the top of her classes, recommended by her teachers to stand for School council, awarded and rewarded and valued by all who meet her.
She is the kind of 12 year old I never even attempted to be, and truly precious to us. 
Happy birthday, my girl. 


“It appears to be some sort of ransom note.”
The idea that we send a welcome message of love and togetherness out into the depths of the cosmos on our deep space probes is a wonderful one, and speaks of the depth and hope that typifies the best of the human spirit, reaching out across immeasurable distances and time to let other races, of whom we cannot even begin to imagine, know that they are not only not alone, but that our first offering is one of friendship and companionship. It is a truly wondrous, beautiful thought.
The idea that they’ll have any bloody idea what we’re on about at all is the soul of comedy.