Things happen, life happens. The last few weeks have been different.

The week before last I attended the inauguration of my parents in law as Mayor & Mayoress of Bolton. We paid off our mortgage after several moves and 31 years of making payments. I was offered a new job. Liverpool FC winning their final game to ensure Champions League next season. Attending the leaving party of our popular practice nurse. Helping a good friend and also my sister, celebrate their birthdays. Listening to my daughter play Twinkle, twinkle on her violin for the first time. Oh, and watch her trot on a pony with reasonable ease & poise. What joy!

And then, the Manchester bomb.

It is hard to see at times the joy of life when faced with atrocities of that bomb. I didn’t know anyone at the concert (I didn’t even know the singer) but with 24hr news channels, it felt like I was there. Why would anyone do that? We will never truly know I suppose. What I do know is that it will make us more resolute to continue as a family. I use the word ‘family’ to include everyone in this country. It is clear that, barring those fundamentalist evil people, we all wish to live together. Some wish to dress differently, eat differently and live differently. It is that freedom to express ourselves within our communities which creates a rich tapestry of beauty. We need to champion this diversity and inclusivity of our wonderful nation. We forget why people come here to live. It is because they can be themselves. At one time in history, people went to North America to seek freedoms that were impossible in the countries in which they lived. I hope we continue to embrace anyone willing to continue the tradition of cultural improvement. The difficulty is preventing those that wish to harm us and use our freedoms against us. Whilst I despair at the situation, and the thought that other members of a terrorist cell are out there, I do have optimism as we come together. There is no simplistic solution.

We must all take care and take stock. It is most important that we do collect our moments of joy as life is short and none of us knows what tomorrow brings.