Following a baptism of fire in local newspapers I joined The Herald in 2003. I write features for all areas of the paper with a particular interest in reportage pieces and real life stories, both quirky and compelling. I'm also interested in health and wellbeing and in Scotland's great outdoors. My career low was, as a cub reporter, being sent to the official opening of a set of traffic lights. My most memorable job was travelling to Bosnian mountain villages to interview survivors of genocide.
The long and winding driveway to Carbeth Guthrie House has the effect of filling any visitor with a mounting sense of anticipation. Indeed, when the handsome white Georgian building finally comes into view, it doesn't disappoint. The whole scene, with lavish scenery which stretches to Dumgoyne hill, has a filmic sense of grandeur.
It is known that the mere action of stroking a dog or cat slows down the heartbeat and reduces blood pressure as well as inducing feelings of wellbeing.
I'm about to witness first-hand the effect an animal has on patients as I arrive at the Prince and Princess of Wales hospice in Glasgow with Mac, my bearded collie, who is volunteering as a therapy dog for the afternoon.
Some things in life just seem fated. For Gillian and Murray Barclay it was coming to live in the Old Post Office building in the village of Blanefield.
The couple were resident in Hong Kong when they came back to visit Gillian's parents and couldn't help but notice the attractive, detached property on the main street. As they drove past, Murray remarked: "If that house ever came on the market, I'd love to buy it."