• Collecting Dad

    Because I’d failed so pathetically to drive my Father to the airport for his trip to India, I was determined to be there to collect him.
    The car was clean and full of petrol and I’d refused to get drawn into anything or distracted.
    I put my shoes on and was just pulling on my coat, when my eleven-year-old daughter wandered around the corner.
    ‘Where’re you going?’ she asked.
    ‘To collect your Grandpa’ I answered.
    ‘Can I come?’ she responded.
    ‘Er… Sure. As long as it’s OK with your Mum’.
    It was and we drove to Heathrow airport together.
    We were a bit early but she didn’t mind.
    She sat on my feet and drew a ‘welcome home’ banner.
    We were there about half-an-hour before my Dad pushed through the arrivals double doors.
    Hugs and kisses from his grand-daughter while I took his suitcase.
    He looked tired but happy.
    We walked back to the car and drove home while he told us about his trip and other family news.
    When I got him home, I had an unrushed cup of tea with my Mum before I took my little girl away so my Father could pass out on the sofa; guilt free.
    ‘That was good’ my little girl smiled at me in the car.
    ‘I still feel ashamed that I didn’t take him to the airport in the first place’.
    ‘You picked him up though and one out of two isn’t bad’ she smiled at me.
    I smile back, although I didn’t agree.
    I smiled because my youngest daughter will always see the best in every situation.

  • Media lovey daughter

    I met up with my eldest during her lunch break during her penultimate day working for the Huffington Post.
    I cycled there and found her in a outside seating area near Goodge Street Station.
    I bought us both a bags of chips and some cans of coke and we sat and chatted about her day.
    Suddenly we were accosted by two young men.
    ‘Would you prefer to drink this ‘Fosters’ out of a glass or plastic cup?’
    It was a weird question.
    ‘Er… Glass’. I responded.
    We talked for a while and it turned out they were media students, doing a canvassing project.
    My eldest and I teased them for a while before they wandered off embarrassed.
    It’s easy to laugh with my children.
    Despite their differences, we all share a similar sense of humour.

  • ‘Classic’ TV

    My younger daughter was unsuccessfully looking for something to watch on terrestrial TV, so I suggested she look up some of the TV shows on ‘Amazon prime’.
    We trawled through together until I spied ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’.
    This was a fun show that I’d enjoyed watching with her older sister when she’d been around the same age.
    I remembered it fondly but was acutely aware how badly some shows age.
    We watched the first episode together and my little girl loved it.
    A female protagonist, fun characters, witty dialogue, gruesome monsters, acrobatics and ninja fighting.
    After the episode had finished, we looked to see how many episodes and series were available.
    They all were!
    Seven seasons with approximately twenty episodes each.
    The two of us soon got into a fun habit of watching one episode most evenings.
    Another nice memory to share.

  • Eldest gets her Huff back!

    After her sick day, my eldest forced herself back into work at the Huffington post.
    Her bosses were fine about the day off but she was determined to make up for it.
    Despite her illness, my daughter’s a hard worker and I’m glad they got to see that.

  • The age of independence

    My twelve-year-old daughter wants to walk home from her coach stop by herself.
    It’s her second term now but so far she’s always been walked or driven there and always been collected.
    I know that I was wandering off all over the place unsupervised when I was her age but it feels different somehow.
    I should allow it. She’s not a baby anymore and she’s very sensible.
    Still though…

  • Out of Huff

    On day four of her two week placement, my eldest gets sick and has to take a day off.
    Not ideal but she’s made enough of an impression that they don’t object.

  • Boy’s second school exam

    My ten-year-old son took another day of to try out for the only other selective state schools nearby.
    This one’s a proper Grammar school though, rather than only a proportion of selective entry.
    QE boys.
    After taking his sister to school, I gave my son a good breakfast and walked him down to the school.
    His exam session was at 11am.
    One of several throughout the day.
    I considered driving but I imagined parking would be difficult and the walk itself was only about twenty minutes.
    We left early and chatted as we walked. I was pleased that my son didn’t seem nervous.
    Then we walked around the penultimate corner…
    There was a river of people waiting in a ridiculously long line.
    The ‘Q’ in QE school apparently stands for ‘Queue’.
    It was all the way up the street from the school gates, around the corner, across the road and half-way down the park!
    I was appalled.
    This was just one of several entrance exam days.
    My son was going to up against thousands of desperate children for less than a hundred places.
    I felt suddenly sick.
    My son though had struck up a conversation with an oriental boy behind us.
    Looking at the queue in front and already building behind us, I was glad that we’d left early.
    Eventually the line started to move and after about half-an-hour more, I waved my son through the gates.
    After waiting a few minutes to be sure he was safely inside, I made my way back through the tide of incoming and outgoing families.
    He was to be there for several hours and there was no point waiting.
    I wandered home but was back at the gate early and anxious.
    He’d been fine during the Dame Alice Owen exams but these ones seemed more daunting somehow.
    When his group was announced, I pushed through the crowd to find him.
    He was there, looking a bit nonplused and scruffy but ultimately fine.
    ‘How’d it go?’ I asked him.
    ‘Alright’ was his muted response.
    'Funny name for a school though' he added.
    'What do you mean?' I responded.
    'Que-Ee school' he concluded.
    I smiled.
    'It's not 'Que-Ee' school, it's 'Queen Elizabeth' school'.
    'Ah' he smiled. 'That makes much more sense.

  • Cousin’s ‘new’ home

    My cousin finally bought himself a new place to live after renting for several years.
    He invited my parents down to visit but my Mum was too nervous to drive down without me.
    It was only after he’d been there for over a year, that I felt guilty enough to make the time.
    (I’m as terrible a cousin as I’m a son.)
    We organised a date when my cousin’s parents (my aunt and uncle) were going to be down there at the same time.
    My Mum and I, loaded up the car with provisions and set off relatively early with my youngest two children in the back.
    The drive wasn’t too bad and we arrived before 11am.
    My cousin, his Mum, Dad and both his children were there.
    I say children but they’re actually 18 and 16 already. My 18-year-old nephew is taller than me by at least an inch.
    After chatting, laughing and generally catching up, we all drove down (in two cars) to a Chinese restaurant.
    Lots of food, soft drinks and laughter.
    Then we all wandered down to the Pier and to the Amusement arcade.
    My youngest two were in tweeny heaven, surrounded by all the noise and flashing lights.
    I gave them both a fiver each and sent them off with their older cousins.
    My Mum, Aunt and Uncle chatted while the children played.
    I was very grateful to my nephew and niece for their kindness and conscientiousness.
    My cousin and I took the opportunity to play a one-on-one car racing game.
    Just for fun.

    Which I won!
    After than, I took my little girl for a quick paddle in the (really cold) sea before heading back to my cousin’s new place.
    After a cup of tea and a biscuit, we said our goodbyes and exchanged hugs before racing home.
    Unfortunately we got caught in, not one but three, traffic jams.
    Still, it was a lovely day and I got to tell my cousin that he had found himself a lovely house.

  • Pizza nostalgia

    My Brother visited my parents and I took the opportunity to take my youngest two over there as well.
    My Mum suggested we buy some take away food and, after digging out a Pizza hut flyer, I ordered enough pizza for everyone.
    More than enough.
    I hadn’t had Pizza Hut pizza for years but my brother and I used to live on it when we were teenagers.
    In my memory, it was hot, filling and delicious.
    In modern reality, it was thick, heavy and really greasy!
    Still, good enough to eat but I’ll stick to Pizza Express’ oven backed offerings from now on.
    It was good to see my brother though.
    Nicer that it was with two of my children and both of our parents.

  • Twisted pinky

    Since breaking the last two metacarpals in my right hand and crushing the last knuckle, whenever I make a fist, the fingernail on the little finger cuts into the skin of the neighboring finger.


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