The blog has taken a back seat for the past few months. I apologise for that. It wasn’t meant to be such a long gap, but circumstances dictated that I should focus on other things, and before I knew it months had flown by. So here’s a recap to bring you up to date, and why, like our Taoiseach Enda Kenny, I’ve got my mojo back.

2016 started with a surprise – out of the blue I found myself working again at It’s a world far removed from newspapers, and yet my role as a content marketer brings some of the skill sets I used as a sub editor, such as writing and editing, plus research.

It was all a bit bewildering at times, getting used to a startup environment – free snacks, flexible working hours, etc. I’ve written about it here.

Tragically, I was only a few days in my new job when Trish’s sister Betsy died suddenly. Betsy was the third of her sisters to die prematurely. She was so happy to celebrate her 60th a few months before her death, knowing that her sisters Catherine and Robbie had died aged 59.

There was more tragedy a few months later when Trish’s much loved first cousin Grace died from cancer. Grace was a lovely warm, very witty farmer, and knowing that she hadn’t long to live, we had travelled some months earlier to stay with her for a few nights, and to share some great laughs and memories.

Trish and I managed a wonderful trip to Munich in early April, and were startled to find some amazing sunshine and a really terrific city. Fortunately, we were able to squeeze in a day trip to Salzburg, one of those places I had on my bucket list!

The summer stretched before us, but Trish and I had not made any firm plans because she was waiting for an ear operation and we had had no firm date set for a summer holiday.

As it happened, she was recovering at the end of June when we got an unexpected call from our son to say he was in hospital. He had been in an accident and was being detained for observation, but not to trouble ourselves flying over to the UK. By the next day Trish wasn’t happy, and when she suggested we should fly over, this time he acquiesced.

I’m not going into the details of what followed, just to say we arrived in Chichester prepared to stay a few days and it didn’t work out that way. Trish flew home after about 10 days, and I stayed on for another week before I was able to bring him home. He spent another 5 weeks with us before he was able to leave.

I have to say, my bosses and co-workers at were especially supportive and understanding at the time. As CEO Peter Coppinginger said to me, “Tom, we have your back.”

As you can imagine, the blog was far from my mind. Believe me, there’s quite a decent blog or two about our adventures – good and bad – in Chichester, but I really couldn’t write it down.

Pretty soon I got out of the habit of blogging, until I was longlisted for the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards. I was lucky enough to be shortlisted, but didn’t make the final. Ah well, if you’re not blogging you can’t expect to be rewarded!

And then I realised our blog had made the marketing & communications catgory final! We have a three-person content marketing team – myself, Louise Bunyan and Evin O’Keeffe (who just had a second son and is on maternity leave) – so Louise and I travelled to Dublin for the awards in more hope than expectation.

The venue was Duffy’s Circus in Dun Laoghaire, but we wisely decided not to go in clown outfits!

As the night wore on – and what a night it was – we finally got to our category and surprise, surprise, blog was announced as the winner! Poor Louise and I looked at each other in shock, and ambled carefully down the steps and onto ringside where, still stunned, we accepted the award, mumbled our thanks, posed for photos. Oh my God, but it felt amazing!!!

So that’s my way of saying it’s been a pretty mixed year, but I now need to get back blogging. This is the start of getting my mojo back writing.