• Back to gymnastics

    My little girl went back to her Saturday gymnastic club after the break.
    The last session had been a competition day.
    We’d both forgotten about it though.
    I was surprised when my little girl ran out of the gym to find me, an hour before she was due to finish.
    ‘What’s wrong?’, I asked, getting to my feet.
    ‘Nothing’, my daughter grinned at me.
    ‘I just wanted to show you this’. She said, brandishing a medallion on a ribbon.
    She’d won the club ‘Bronze medal’!
    She skipped back to the remained of her session; happy.
    She’s twelve now and I keep waiting for her to ask me if she can quit her gymnastics club.
    She never has though and I’m glad.
    She loves using her body and I hope she continues to do so all through her life.

  • Yet another War hammer party

    All my son’s friends seem to be throwing ‘War hammer’ parties.
    I guess it makes sense.
    Most of his friends are really into this strategy war game and the parties are relatively cheap to throw.
    Unfortunately, my son doesn’t enjoy gluing and painting tiny plastic figures for hours.
    Still, he had to go, otherwise he’d offend his friends
    I collected him from his third-in-a-row War hammer party, to find him juggling balloons that he’d drawn faces on.
    I couldn’t say anything.
    He liked the birthday boy but hadn’t wanted to go to the party.
    Instead, he entertained himself for the duration.
    In fact, he was quite proud of the faces he’d drawn onto his multiple balloons.

  • Missing bike

    Despite cursing it, now that the weather’s improving, I’m missing my bike more and more.
    Shall I replace it?
    My ever expanding stomach’s showing me that I could really do with the exercise.

  • Brother-in-law’s birthday

    What do you get a forty-something-year-old man?
    Cash apparently.

  • Three generations of men

    My Dad had to go back to hospital and I offered to go with him.
    My son was home so I brought him with us.
    Not ideal but neither his Granddad or I minded.
    We had to wait around for a few hours but all three of us had books to read and the time passed by relatively quickly.
    Actually, it was oddly nice, given the situation, the three of us sitting together.
    Eventually my Dad was seen and checked by several nurses and a doctor and released.
    He still looked pretty ill to me but he wanted to go.
    My boy and I dropped him home.
    I wasn’t happy about leaving him but it had been several hours and I wanted to get my son home.
    He’d been brilliant throughout the day. Waiting for hours without a word of complaint or grumble.
    I got a call from my Mum though, much later that evening.
    Despite being released, nothing had changed and he had to go back to the hospital again.
    I felt annoyed at the indifferent attention he was getting.
    My Dad was in pain and yet the doctors were showing no urgency at all.
    It had been two weeks since he’d gotten home but they’d effectively done nothing to solve his problem.

  • School trips

    One of the benefits/penalties of sending your children to private schools are the ‘optional’ and mandatory trips.
    I put ‘optional’ in quotes because they really aren’t.
    During the first week, I was presented with bills for four of these trips.
    A trip to France, A week in the Isle of Wight, A five day camping/adventure trip and a sports camp.
    Cheques needed immediately.

  • Back to school

    The children only had a couple of days before they had to go back to school.
    My little girl was looking forward to it but my son’s more like me.
    Still, at least he had lots of things to tell his friends.

  • Collecting dog

    I took my youngest two with me to my parents when I went to collect our dog.
    My Mum and Dad were happy to see us (and to return the dog) but my Dad looked ill.
    We stayed for a while and my children were full of stories they wanted to share.
    My dog though, looked thoroughly unimpressed with me and barely acknowledged my presence.

  • After thoughts

    I woke early the next morning but left everyone else sleeping for a while.
    I was glad to be home but had really enjoyed the trip.
    Surprisingly so.
    The whole mini-break had been driven by my son.
    He’d wanted to go and it’d been a reward for doing so well in his school entrance exams.
    Ultimately though, it’d been a treat for all of us.
    A memory we could all treasure.
    I felt a bit sad that my eldest had missed it but knew that I’d make up for it somehow.

  • Amsterdam city break: Day four (The journey home)

    After collecting the bags and tipping the concierge, I led the four of us back across the main square to the station.
    As was expected now, it was crowded with people, cyclists, cars, busses and trams but this time, there was the added spectacle of scores of motorcycles.
    (Apparently it was some sort of protest.)
    Still, the walk was short and we weren’t particularly delayed.
    I’m not sure why I worry about being late as much as I do.
    I hate being ‘fashionably’ late for parties or meetings and I actually get anxious at the thought of missing a scheduled train or plane.
    That’s why we arrived at the platform twenty minutes before we needed to.
    It was another ‘Thalys’ train.
    We’d been delayed by over an hour on the journey to Amsterdam from the connection stop at Brussels but it hadn’t really mattered.
    This time we had to make the Brussels to London connection or we’d miss our (non-refundable) Eurostar train.
    I checked our tickets and noticed that the transfer time was only 50 minutes. If we were delayed by the same amount as last time, we’d miss it.
    I quelled my momentary feeling of anxiety.
    How likely would it be that the train would be delayed by more than an hour again?
    Half-an-hour later, there was an announcement over the tannoy…
    ‘Due to people on the tracks; this train will be delayed…’.
    I smiled at my wife and reassured my children.
    Inside, I felt my stomach knot.
    We arrived at Brussels station with fifteen minutes before the Eurostar was due to depart.
    Running through the massive station, with no time for mistakes, we made it with three minutes to spare.
    The guards slammed the carriage doors as I stored our luggage.
    For the three previous train journeys, I’d failed to get a table seat for us.
    I’d managed though on this last stretch.
    It was a nice way to end the holiday and we were able to play cards and eat the buffet car food together.
    Although it’s expensive, I rate the Eurostar. It was comfortable, clean and easy.
    Lucky considering that I hate flying.
    By the time we’d gotten to St Pancras though, it was after 8pm and my children were starting to fail.
    I got them onto the underground and I had to wake up my little girl when we arrived at our station.
    I carried and pulled must of the luggage but couldn’t carry the children as well, so we trudged slowly home.
    I bought some soup, bread and some breakfast supplies from late-night mini-mart as we passed it.
    It was just after 9.30pm when we got to our front door and our waiting cat.
    I let everyone in and quickly checked the house.
    The children were grateful to be home at last.
    I was grateful that the cat was fine and that the TV hadn’t been stolen in our absence.
    While my family collapsed in the front room, I headed to the kitchen to heat up the soups.
    Too tired to organise the dinning room table, I laid everything out on trays and we ate on the sofas.
    There’s something lovely about bread and soup when you’re tired and hungry.
    We ate in a satisfied silence and, once everyone was finished, I ushered everyone up to bed.
    I had a few minutes left in me though, so I fed the impatient cat and tidied away the plates and bags.
    By the time I went upstairs, ten minutes later, everyone was fast asleep.
    I joined them a few minutes later.


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