Thursday 5th August, Madrid, Spain.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TODAY TO THE COOLEST OLD GIRL IN THE WORLD!

My Mum.

It makes me feel a long way from home when I miss Mum's birthday two years in a row. Last year I was in Alaska on her birthday. This year, Madrid. Next year?

On the subject of Madrid, can you believe that until a couple of days ago, I had more or less forgotten about the terrorist attacks in this earlier this year? It wasn't until my host Maria mentoined it, that I thought to myself "Oh yeah, this is where that attack was, on the train system that I used just yesterday. I was shocked when I realized that I had barely given it a thought since I left England. On one hand, I feel ashamed that such a butcherous attack on innocent people could deserve so little of my attention. But then, I'm proud that I've not let this isolated incident colour my view of the world. Never for a second did it make me reconsider travelling to Spain, or Madrid. Never did it make me feel like I was any less than safe. No fanatical sonofabitch with explosives up his ass tells me where I can travel, or when. Only sonofabitch border officials do that!

I spare a thought for the 192 innocent people- including a friend of Maria's- who lost their lives in the sickening, cowardly attack earlier this year. And I take my hat off to the millions of people who said "To hell with the terrorists" and boarded the trains the next day and went back to work, and came home and played with their children. As cruel as it sounds, life goes on. You can't let a handful of maniacs stop you from living your life.

I wanted to write about something else as well, but now I forget. I'll close with a G'day and best wishes to an old mate of mine, Simon. Simon's been a slack bastard, and hasn't sent me a single email since I left Oz thirteen months ago... until today. It seems he's had a turbulent year with work and housing problems, but the good news is that he's soon to become a Daddy. In fact as I write this, it's quite likely that he already is. His wife Becky is eight days overdue. They have chosen not to know the baby's sex yet, but Simon is hoping for a boy or a girl! I hope he gets his wish.
ALL THE BEST TO SIMON AND BECKY AND THE BUB. COME OUT OF THERE BUB, IT'S LOVELY OUT HERE!

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