The perfect stocking-filler sees self-styled Grumpy Middle-Aged Dad Michael Hadley, who struck publishing gold with his first book of humorous adventures holidaying in Orlando, revisiting the same fertile territory.
But this time, interspersed with the hilarious anecdotes and self-deprecating humour of his holiday adventures, is the poignant and moving story of his daughter Lottie’s battle to beat the devastating disease which struck her down as a young baby.
Thankfully Lottie, now 18, pulled through and made a good recovery, although the disease has left her with lifelong after-effects.
Excuse to celebrate
The Orlando trip was an excuse for Michael to celebrate that extra special bond between father and daughter, especially when that daughter has fought back from death’s door.
“And loads and loads of time spent with my wonderful, zany, bonkers teenage daughter before she realises that it’s really not cool to go on holiday with just your dad,” Michael said.
In the book, "Grumpy Middle Aged Dad (and Lottie) – More Adventures in Orlando", Black Country businessman Michael, 50, from Wolverhampton, returns for more humorous adventures in Orlando, dodging huge thunderstorms, avoiding being chomped by plastic alligators and totally ruining his credit rating, all in a skin-peeling 100 degree heat.
Lottie’s meningitis story
The book is a sideways look at the madness of Orlando but at its heart is Lottie’s meningitis story.
“On Thursday 20 July 2000, at around 8.30 in the morning, an ambulance arrived at my house. Shortly after, a paramedic carried my precious little Lottie into it and rushed her to the hospital”, Michael recalls.
“Overnight she had developed an illness. She was quiet, subdued and wouldn’t feed. She kept falling asleep and was hardly moving."
“We now know that Lottie had contracted meningitis and over the course of the next horrific three weeks we would be perilously close to losing her."
“If I ever need more reason to seize every single precious moment with my beautiful daughter, I just think back to that time when she was at death’s door.”
A special letter
Whilst Lottie was in hospital fighting for her life with Michael keeping watch he wrote her a letter, to be opened on her 18th birthday if she survived. “The letter explained what had happened, where we were and how much she was loved and cherished by her mum and dad,” Michael said. It is reproduced in the book.
Michael has been hard at work promoting the book and encouraging sales, with stands at our London and Gloucester carol concerts and events in Edinburgh and Wolverhampton over the last two weeks.
Beth Bottrill, Fundraising Director at Meningitis Now, said, “We’re so grateful to Michael, Lottie and their family for sharing this story and supporting our work in this way."
“Michael is a wonderful storyteller and I’d defy anyone not to laugh out loud at his exploits. But his story is also a poignant and moving look at the impact meningitis has on individuals and families.”
Michael’s first book, "Grumpy Middle Aged Dad (and Lottie) – Adventures in Orlando" is available, priced at £9.99 from www.grumpymad.co.uk and Amazon.