14. Thursday 27th December. Writing

14. Thursday 27th December. Writing

Egret in flight. Andrew Brel. Getty Images

Egret in flight. Andrew Brel. Getty Images

My beautiful Byron,

I am back in my favourite coffee shop after the Christmas visit to the desert. I didn’t sleep very well there – the air conditioning made a noise and woke me up every hour, so I am somewhat dozy, but that’s not an excuse to take time off work .  I did manage to go for a nice desert walk and take some photo’s which was a highlight of my visit. I followed a beautiful Egret for ten minutes and shot this picture.

Now I have a four hour writing session ahead and I need to meet a deadline.

You wait until you get that deadline thing going on. Something to look forward too. I love deadlines.

 Click for book

Click for book

Last week I finished a short story book and I hope to have a launch party for that in the next few weeks. Its a fun book about an Indian guy who lived under a tree and made up clever things that  gave people the answers they needed. It’s a fun book called Krishna vardu Ghan. I have been working on a book of short stories for like – ever – and because I have a much more important book to finish first, I decided to release this short story on its own. And include it in the Big short story book when I finally get that finished. (Deadlines – remember?)

I have a tennis match set for later. Hope I can stay awake for that.


mariababyChris called me from South Africa yesterday. We remembered it was three years ago that Maria passed. Anna is growing up beautifully. She is five now – and Chris is with her all the time so she is a very loved child. Nick is there almost every day as well. She is lucky to have a daddy and a big brother who is so cool.

Do you know, Maria was there to visit you one month after you were born and she saw you a few times every year, either at our house, or when we visited them in South Africa. For the four years you lived with me.

Your ‘Beautiful Maria’. One day I will share with you the story of how we were going to go together to say good bye to Maria. You may remember it, it was June 2015. Yaya was having her 80th birthday and Maria was facing a difficult challenge with her health.
Along with Chris, I set up a visit for you and me to go to see Yaya for her 80th  and spend a month with Maria. So you and her would have some time to talk to each other about this thing called life. mariababyb

Everyone knew how special Maria was for you and no one more so than Maria. It was a big thing for her to have the opportunity to spend some time with you to tell you herself about the challenges that lay ahead. Both for you, but even more so, for her. It was a very difficult time for everyone. Cancer is an awful thing.

I booked the flights for you to come with me for a Month in Dainfern. Yaya was super excited because she was wondering if she would see you again with her 80th coming up, and I had discussed with Chris and Maria how appropriate it was for you to have time alone with her to understand that life is what it is. Baby Anna was two at the time and I had hoped that in this time you would spend together you would form a lasting friendship with Anna. There were many reasons why that visit was important for many people.

Maria and Byron 2009

Maria and Byron 2009

So when Adler/Amlot and O’Leary cancelled your trip, after I had booked tickets that cost a lot of money, I had to call Maria and explain to her why you would not be going. After I gave her my assurance that you would be there.

That is one of several reasons why you have two parents who represent opposite views on blackmail, fraud and child abuse.

After Adler cancelled that visit, unless I paid her £100,000, not only did you not see Maria and Yaya again, but you have never been allowed to visit with me again.
That was 2015 summer holiday. You were with me for 3 weeks in 2014 summer holiday and that year would have been your second visit with me. I had a ticket to come and collect you from London, take you to South Africa, and from there take you to California for three weeks. Our summer holiday together after we had not seen each other for so  long.

This story of Byron, Maria and Yaya’s 80th birthday is British family law at its best. There is a lesson there for you and one for me. For O’Leary/Amlot and Adler there is a payday. They all made a bunch of money out of me trying to take you with me for summer holiday in June 2015. I wonder if there is a word for people who profit, hugely, out of the misery of children and a dying woman.

It is a good opportunity to make money. Exploiting people at their most vulnerable. But I do hope that in your life ahead, you avoid anything to do with family law as your career. These people do not model ethical values that I respect. I know from Maria’s own words, that they were very wrong in placing money above letting you go with your father to say goodbye to beautiful Maria and your Yaya.

Lucky for British family law, they can do whatever they like and can rely on the secrecy law to protect their anonymity. So why am I telling this story from 2015 in 2018?

Anna and Andrew, 2018

Anna and Andrew, 2018

Because I believe, as your father, it is your right to know who did what and why. And, here we are, three years on the anniversary of that day and I still believe it was wrong to stop you from seeing Maria. Blackmailing me with that opportunity.

In other words, I say it is in your best interests to know. And we can move forward from there. Rather than protect Adler/Amlot and O’Leary by pretending what they did is somehow British family law acting in your best interests.

They each owe you a personal apology for many things, but for this alone? Do you know, Michele O’Leary still works as a judge in family court?

I see Anna every year. She has a special relationship with me. I think beautiful Maria lives on through beautiful Anna. A sweet belief that makes the best of sorrow.

Miss you,

Love you,




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