For a very long time now I have been indulging my passion for wood, old tools, a battered but much loved ancient Landrover, and generally mucking about in the woods.  I have moved from picking up wind blown sticks and carrying them home, to firing up the chainsaw, clambering around in tree canopies, and creating havoc for the natural world before hauling the fruits of my labours home in my utterly beautiful Series 3.  Taking this a stage further and indulging some of my childhood passions I now create, instead of just dismantling and cutting up; I make things, objects of utility, that I hope raise a smile and embellish people’s lives.

I know that what I do now in my little workshop brings me great pleasure, a sense of fulfilment and immense satisfaction – I have a focus, providing a distraction from the whirling maelstrom of everyday life.  When I am in my workshop a peace descends on me, that I have never experienced before in my life.  When, like yesterday at Listoke, someone runs their fingers over a chair I have made, smile, and stand absorbed for a brief moment, I feel an exhilaration and sense of satisfaction that almost consumes me – and I feel grateful, and humble.

Why?  Well, it’s quite simple.  I would not have done, been able, or continue, to do, any of these things, to feel these wonderful feelings without help, encouragement and support.  Through all the doubt, disillusionment, and sometimes hopelessness that can assault a fellow on occasions, one person has picked me up and gently encouraged me, believed in me and indulged me; never passing remark at the latest old tool, Landrover part, new chainsaw, or crazy and outlandish idea.

Jennifer, thank you, so much, for everything.  You have been unbelievably tolerant, kind, caring, loving, supportive and encouraging.  You have been, and are, the navigator and driver, metaphorically and literally.  There is not a day goes by that I am not grateful and humbled by all you have done and do for me; you make me smile, and laugh, sometimes out loud, and sometimes quietly to myself (like yesterday when we drove round in circles); you astound me with your patience, fortitude, and constant positivity, your ability to always see the good, the happy, the wonderful, the beautiful, even when I cannot see or feel any of these things.

I look at you and I marvel – constantly.  You are kind beyond anything I have ever experienced.  And, as if all these magnificent qualities were not enough, you are truly talented and blessed with a gift, that I know you have worked incredibly hard to refine and develop.  You are an Artist, a creative force, that, at times, I know I don’t fully appreciate – though I am in awe of you, what you do, what you have achieved, and I know you will achieve.  You are an inspiration.  You continually amaze me.

Thank you, My Habibi, for everything.  You are, truly and in every sense, the Laughing Lion.

Oh! Almost forgot, I LOVE your Photography.

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