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  • Death in the family

    I got a call from my Dad in the morning.
    His younger Brother had been hit by a motorcycle while crossing the road and was in hospital.
    Not great but not terrible, I thought.
    My Uncle was in his early seventies but still pretty fit.
    It was only a couple of hours later we found out that he’d died.
    It didn’t seem possible.
    My Father was devastated.

  • Tetrus trolley

    I like doing the food shopping.
    I like wandering the fifteen-minute journey to the nearby supermarket with my dog and my shopping trolley.
    My wife hates the trolley. She thinks they’re only for old ladies and finds it embarrassing.
    I don’t.
    I love it.
    I can carry/pull loads without hurting my back or the plastic bags cutting deep grooves into my fingers.
    After an easy walk to the supermarket, I tether up my dog outside and put my trolley into the supermarket shopping cart.
    I tend to buy two or three days supplies per shop and I always remember a treat for my (impatiently) waiting dog.
    A sausage roll or some other cheap, meaty snack.
    After I’ve paid for everything, I rejoin my dog and transfer the shopping from the supermarket cart to my two-wheeled trolley.
    It takes me a few moments but I arrange everything Tetrus-like, with no space wasted.
    Heavy things at the bottom, fragile things at the top.
    Nothing must get broken.
    I get annoyed with myself, whenever I fail in my plan and have to use an extra plastic bag to carry any ‘overspill’.
    On the walk home, my dog is extra loyal and walks perfectly to heel.
    This is probably due to the snack I dole out piecemeal.
    When I get through the door, I empty the trolley, like a magician pulling scarves from his pocket.
    If anyone's watching, I feel the urge to go:
    Ta Dah!
    :)

  • Back to Gymnastics

    My little girl managed to go to her gymnastics club on Saturday.
    The first time in three weeks due to her school sports team commitments.
    There was an odd amount of bustle though.
    We didn’t realise why until one of the other parents informed us that it was competition day.
    This is the once-a-year day that the club judges their own students.
    What the Hell!
    My daughter blanched.
    She’d forgotten all about it.
    I was invited in to sit with the other parents to watch.
    I grinned at her and she smiled weakly in return.
    The floor routine was first.
    I looked at my daughter and could tell she was inwardly panicking about remembering the routine.
    The group she’d been allotted to comprised of about half-a-dozen girls and thankfully the teacher asked them in which order they wanted to perform.
    ‘I’ll go last’, my little girl ‘generously’ offered.
    I smiled as I saw her watching the other girls and trying to memorize their routine.
    She actually did pretty well but I could clearly see the cogs working in her head between each part of her routine.
    Next came the vaults.
    The spring board was moved closer or further away from the vault, depending on the vaulter's ability.
    For some of the girls, it was set at as little as one foot away, most were at three feet and one of them was at three-and-a-half feet away.
    For my little girl, the spring board was placed four-and-a-half was 5 feet away from the vaulting horse!
    She had a couple of practice jumps before her two ‘scored’ attempts.
    She sailed over the horse every time.
    Ultimately, after her floor routine, she had no expectation of winning but she’d at least saved face.
    There was about twenty minutes left at the end of the competition, so the teachers organised some (just-for-fun) ‘elimination’ contests.
    The first one was ‘handstands’.
    Despite a few wobbles, my little girl won it comfortably.
    She was doing well in the next event too but dropped out when there were only three girls left.
    After glancing around, I watched her lower herself slowly to the floor.
    Afterwards, I asked her why she’d deliberately dropped out of the second test.
    ‘I’d already won the handstand one and I thought I should let one of the other girls win’.
    I wasn’t surprised; that was typical of her.

  • Missing music lessons

    My son’s doing fine but my youngest daughter has managed to miss the last three weeks of lessons due to her sports teams commitments.
    Both her piano teacher and I agree that this is far from ideal.
    :(

  • Little girl’s first St Albans parents’ evening

    My efficient little girl had set us up to meet most of her teachers on Thursday night.
    We turned up around 5.30pm and had some complimentary tea and cake while we waited for the teachers to get ready.
    It took us a couple of hours but we managed to get through all of the teachers on her list, if in a somewhat shambolic order.
    All of her teachers were in agreement about my youngest daughter though.
    ‘She’s a bright, talented and lovely girl’ was the general opinion.
    I had to agree.
    :)

  • Angri(Eld)est

    My eldest was upset when she heard that she’d been excluded from the Holland trip.
    It hadn’t even occurred to me that she might’ve wanted to come.
    Two long travel days, wrapped around a walking holiday around Amsterdam.
    Ultimately though, she was just annoyed that I hadn’t even asked her.

    Despite her health issues; I should have.

  • Hating the train

    If I’m not taking the children to school, I travel in the morning rush hour.
    On a bike, it makes very little difference but the train is awful.
    Fortunately I’m assured a seat, as our station is the first/last at our end of the Northern line.
    On my first day back traveling on the misery line, the train was pretty crowded by the time we’d gotten to Euston.
    There’ was a heavy set, middle-aged man with two big bags and a backpack sitting opposite me.
    As his stop approached, he heaved himself out of his seat and turned toward to exit. At this point, he accidentally bashed another standing passenger with his backpack.
    Obviously accidentally.
    The other passenger was so affronted however, that he shoved the oblivious backpack wearer hard from behind.
    It was only the side panel that prevented the backpack wearer from being pushed completely to the floor.
    Next came the pointless slagging match before the first man was forced to vacate the carriage.
    I did nothing.
    I said nothing.
    I just watched.
    Would I have done something if the situation had escalated?
    I don’t know.
    Maybe I should get a new bike?
    :(

  • Shall I buy a new bike?

    My Dad talked to me about my love/hate relationship with my bastard-hub-geared-piece-of-crap bike.
    It was a pain but, aside from the rubbish gear system, it was actually a pretty good bike.
    And the reason I got it still hold true.
    I’m fitter and slimmer than I’d be otherwise.
    It kept me out of the underground.
    It saved me a fair amount of money.
    Almost £10 every return trip to the office.
    :-/

  • Evans above!

    The young man from Evans, called me back the next day and the short conversation went just like I’d imagined it would...
    ‘The main hub wrecked and needed replacing’.
    ‘Both wheels were slightly buckled and needed replacing’.
    ‘The bottom (pedal) bracket needed replacing’.
    ‘The chain needed replacing’.
    ‘Both of the chain cogs needed replacing’.
    ‘How much?’, I asked.
    ‘What; including labour?’, the young man on the phone responded.
    I asked him for his best guestimate…
    ‘£500?’, he ventured.
    £500!
    The entire bike only cost £400 brand new!
    >:(

  • Daft priorities

    I thought about what my eldest had said.
    Why hadn’t I just left my bike locked up and got the train home?
    Why had I felt the overpowering need to keep the bicycle with me?
    That strange decision nearly made my late collecting my youngest two children.
    I had no real answer, other than I didn’t want to risk the bike being stolen.
    I’d had a lock with me though and the chances of it disappearing in one night were quite remote.
    Ultimately it had been a daft decision but one I know I’ll make again.
    Years ago, when I was knocked off my moped, my first reaction was to get myself and my moped home.
    It didn’t matter that I was concussed and bleeding.
    It didn’t matter that my clothes were ripped and that I was missing a shoe.
    It certainly didn’t matter that several parts of the moped were missing and the handlebars were bent .
    All I wanted to do was get myself, and as much of my stuff, back home.
    Maybe heading for the safety of your home is just a basic human urge.
    Maybe though, I’m just a bit thick sometimes…
    :-/

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