Life was kind of good. I had a decent job in a studio in Nottingham, designing 3D visuals and building websites.

After years of doing a job I hated, that I only put up with because of my friendships with my supervisor and fellow printer, I’d made the break and trained local businesses in Flash and Photoshop. A European project allowed a team of us to get trained in industry standard software and we then created courses for business – a somewhat unknown route for a college that never had to run like a business because of being paid fees by students or the government.

I then met a couple of guys who suggested I come and work for them – and that was that.

A few trials and tribulations later and I ended up at a studio I first interviewed at some 5 years earlier (and got offered the job) but had chosen another couple of studios because of the variety of creative work I would have.

I worked at this studio for a year, loving every moment. Sadly, redundancy due to lack of new clients ended that journey somewhat prematurely.

I worked freelance after that. Bitting and Bobbing from client to client. But things were good.

In 2004 my wife was pregnant.

We went to the hospital, had scans (12 weeks) and as we left the hospital, we decided to call my parents.

Standing outside the hospital, I picked ‘mum’ from my contacts list and called.

“Hi Mum – we have some good news!”

My Mum was happy – excited. My Dad however, his first words cut me open, though maybe it didn’t hit me there and then.

“I’m too young to be a Granddad.”

That is a sentence that I only realised in more recent years that actually I should have realised that something wasn’t right. Why say that? Surely you’d be happy right?

So during the next few months my world started to slowly but surely unravel. Again in hindsight I can look at these things and understand what happened. Sadly when you are going through it, it’s just not so apparent.

My dad disappeared. He left my Mum standing outside work and never collected her. She got home to a note. He’d left.

I didn’t see or hear from him after that for about two and a half years. But we’ll go in to that later.

A few months followed of us helping my Mum find her feet on her own. We had some good times during this few months. Trying to teach her to enjoy life and enjoy being on her own.

Sadly she met a guy and reverted back to type.

By this time my son had been born and we were looking forward to getting him baptised here in Greece. But even by this point I could tell that my relationship with my mum was not going to last. Getting to know her revealed things that I had never really realised. Or maybe I had. But I refused to accept it. We do of course place our parents on a pedestal no matter how bad they have been or can be.

Friends and family came to Greece to enjoy the baptism – but with every day that passed, the relationship was getting closer and closer to it’s end.

A huge tantrum over 20 euros was the beginning of the end…

The rest of the week was tense – my mum being her usual stubborn self. Never prepared to back down. Never prepared to accept she’s wrong.

So we flew back to the UK and life went downhill pretty rapidly after that….