It's 12.40pm on Saturday Morning and I'm sat at the kitchen table eating my regular daily salad and pondering on the last fortnight's events.
I haven't mentioned it here on the blog, but I've been very preoccupied for the last two weeks, since the Manchester bombing, mainly due to the fact the LB was due to attend a concert last night at the O2 and we were considering whether or not to let her go, even though she'd been saving up and looking forward to it for the past six months.
At the end of the day, her safety was our priority and no amount of money paid for a ticket was worth compromising that. The world that we now inhabit doesn't allow us to take for granted many of the pleasures that we once did. An incident like this can happen anywhere at any time, and although we all say that it's not going to stop us doing what we want to do, sometimes we may still think twice before going into crowded spaces at times.
In the end, of course, we relented and took her to the concert, although part of me was hoping the artist themselves might cancel. To their credit they didn't. The said artist, was Shawn Mendes, a young 17 year old performer very popular with teenagers today, and who like Ariana Grande, was from the US and on a much awaited tour. We didn't want to disappoint LB, but would have done so had we thought that the risks were too high, although how on earth could we know for sure whether this was the case. If people want to find a way to cause destruction on major scale, they will.
Anyway, we went along with her and her friend last night, after discussing the matter with her friend's parents. Whilst the girls went into the concert, we had a meal in the O2, then retired to a bar to wait for them to come out. It wasn't a wholly unpleasant evening. We would have preferred to drop them off and pick them up, but after Manchester, there was no way we could do that, and anyway, we had reassured her friend's parents that we'd be there the whole time, so we couldn't and wouldn't renege.
I felt very emotional in the foyer of the O2 both before and after the show, when the thousands of young people and their parents were filing excitedly in and out of the building. Obviously, I couldn't help but think about all those affected in Manchester and what a callous, vile act was committed against the innocent people there, who were just enjoying a night out or collecting their children from a similar much longed for event. It was very surreal and I'm sure I wasn't the only person there thinking the exact same thoughts.
Security was reasonably tight with all bags being searched before anyone could get into the building, but the world, for young people and their parents, is never going to be the same again. From now on, every time our loved ones go to a concert or a large scale organised event, we are going to be thinking about Manchester, and so we should.
They should be remembered and prayed for and shown the love and compassion that they deserve, but never sought. Our lives can carry on as normal from today. There lives will never be the same again.
To the supposed 10,000 people who lied about being at the concert in Manchester to get free tickets to the benefit concert next week, (excepting some of whom might have had tickets not bought from official vendors and therefore not traceable) - Have you no shame or respect for the victims of this atrocity? For one minute think about what your behaviour is demonstrating to the victims and the bereaved. Be a human being and have some compassion. The world doesn't revolve around you.