18th January I went for a walk down the cycle path behind my home.
It's a walk that always calms my soul in times of emotional turmoil.
It takes me past the site of my old school, past big trees and exhausted memories.
I spotted a hole in the fence and climbed through to the old Grammar School field, the site of much youthful triumph and trauma - my first kiss, swapping ZX Spectrum games, being last to be picked for the team and wishing I was a 10th level ranger sheltering in the Dragon Inn.
But nostalgia ain't what it used to be and today I had a job to do.
Around a decade ago I took our dog Phoebe for a walk and we ended up sitting in the middle of this field.
It was an ideal summer night - warm, the stars were out and no one else was around.
But in that perfect moment I felt aware of the temporary nature of everything and I remember saying to Phoebe, "this is forever."
I was trying to mark the moment against eternity, knowing that ultimately oblivion would claim it.
Phoebe died a couple of weeks ago and that moment and those words kept coming back to me.
I carry a small stone around with me and sometimes, to mark significant events, I put it down and pick up another.
The trail of stones stretches back many years and I knew that it was time to add another link to the chain.
My plan was to head for the middle of the field where we'd sat that summer, to bury the stone there and pick up a new one.
After I climbed under the fence I stood up and found myself staring at a tree.
In the tree were carved the words: CHLOE N JOHN 4EVA.
"This is forever" had been stuck in my head for days and this felt like some kind of cosmic synchronicity.
We all know that it's never forever, but we leave our mark.
I buried the old stone in the middle of the field, picked up a new one, scraped off the mud, put it in my pocket and walked off.
The beginning of a new chapter.
Rest in peace, Phoebe