Category Archives: parenting

Graduation

Last Tuesday PIL and I made our way to the University of East Anglia near Norwich for our eldest sons graduation ceremony. He graduated with a BSc in Business Management. He put a huge amount of effort both at school and while at Uni into getting that degree and I think he deserves it. Both PIL and I are immensely proud of him and what he has achieved. (We’re immensely proud of all three of our children). The ceremony itself was more formal that I expected with much doffing of hats and tugging of forelocks. Afterwards we all went into Norwich city centre for lunch at a restaurant our son had booked. A new era begins for him now.

I really don’t have the words to describe just how proud we both are. They say a picture paints a thousand words. So here’s a million words worth of photos we took during the day.

Just before the Graduation Ceremony

Just before the Graduation Ceremony

A very, very proud mum.

A very, very proud mum.

Waiting his turn.

Waiting his turn.

Going up to shake hands with the Chancellor

Going up to shake hands with the Chancellor

Degree in hand

Degree in hand

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With two of his mates afterwards waiting for the group photograph

With two of his mates afterwards waiting for the group photograph

I would love to know what the girl behind was saying!

I would love to know what the girl behind was saying!

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Ellgrad12

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Gowns off at last!

Gowns off at last!

Our son

Our son

Have a great day.

 

More Dick soon.

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Stitched Up Good and Proper.

Before I start on today’s post there are a couple of things that I’ve forgotten to write about in previous posts and I feel it necessary to cover these particular aspects of our holiday.

First of all, if you go to the Harry Potter part of Universal, be aware that Butter Beer tastes like…well, shit really! I have no idea what shit tastes like but if I was to take a guess then I would say shit tastes like Butter Beer or, if you prefer, what I said originally – Butter Beer tastes like shit.wwohp-butterbeer

All five of us tried it and the more profane of us concluded that it does indeed taste like shit while the females of the tribe declared their disgust for it in a slightly more lady like manner:

“Bloody disgusting.” said PIL.

“Foul, disgusting stuff.” said CJ.

“Tastes like shit.” said Ed.

“Ed!” said PIL

“Yeah. Tastes like shit.” said Greg

“Greg!” said PIL

“Fuckin’ horrible.” I said

“Dick!” said PIL

“Dad!” said CJ.

“Ok. Sorry.” I said. “Still tastes like shit though!”

“Dad!” said CJ

“Dad’s right.” said Ed. “It’s fuckin’ horrible.”

“Ed!” said PIL

“Ed!” said CJ

Anyway, as you can see, we didn’t like it. 5 out of 5 considered it foul. You may think differently but I would suggest that you buy ONE SMALL Butter Beer and try that before investing a shit load of money for a drink that in my opinion, tastes like shit.

Secondly, if you go to Typhoon Lagoon take your own music (phone or iPod) and good head phones . Unless you are a huge fan of 60s California surfing songs that blare out on a continuous loop that repeats every 2 hours, you will go nuts within hours because that’s all that’s played and you can only listen to “Daddy taking the T.Bird away” so many times.typoonlagoon

I wholeheartedly recommend both these places as tremendous fun and not to be missed but just be aware of what I’ve said here.

Today I started the day with another 1.2 mile run. This time CJ came with me as the lazy toad known as Greg was fast akip in his pit still. After breakfast and showers we headed off to Wet n’ Wild. We’ve never been here before so weren’t sure what to expect. We were not disappointed though. It was smashing. There were lots of water rides that the kids went on straight away while PIL and I sorted out the loungers and chairs and made like Germans by covering everything with towels. After about an hour the kids came back and started telling us about the rides they’d been on. They harped on about this ride called the H2O Disco ride and said it was great fun.Wet-N-Wild-Water-World-54698-735x400

“Dad. You really must have a go. It’s got really loud 1970s disco music playing the whole way down. You’ll love it(!!!!!)”

Eventually I agreed to have a go. Ed said he wasn’t going this time round as he wanted to top up his tan. He said it with a huge smile on his face. Greg and CJ were beaming too. ( I should have guessed something was afoot). So off we went and joined the end of the queue for this allegedly fantastic ride.

“So what happens?” I asked

“OH Dad it’s great. You get in this 4 person rubber ring thing and shoot off down the slide. Some of the time it’s in a dark tunnel thing and then it’s outside then it goes back inside the tunnel and finishes off in the pool. It’s great. You’ll love it.”

“Yeah Dad, and all the way down they play disco music really loudly.”

“But I don’t like disco music.” I said

“That’s ok Dad. It doesn’t matter. They only play it loud so no one can hear you screaming.”

“What?”

“Never mind Dad. We’re there now.”

“No” I responded. “What’s this about not hearing you scream?”

Whereupon the guard at the top of the ride gestured us forward ready to take our places in the rubber ring thingy.

“Right Dad. You stand on the number 1. We’ll stand on 3 and 4. That way the weight is evened out.”

“Cheeky bugger” I thought. “Why is the guard smiling like he’s just toked a whole spliff on his own?”

We got on. Then the ground suddenly disappeared from below us and we shot off somewhere. I was facing back up the ride throughout and a) had no idea what was happening until it happened to me, b) all I could see was Greg and CJ laughing their heads off and c) I was probably screaming like a girl but due to the VERY loud 1970s disco music, I couldn’t be sure.BombBay2

Finally, after what felt like an hour or so we ended up in the pool at the end of this ridiculous water slide thing. The kids were wetting themselves with laughter. I was so exhausted from all the screaming I’d screamed that they had to help me out of the pool and escort me back to PIL and Ed. PIL had a huge grin on her face so it was fairly obvious that Ed had told her what was going to happen. The buggers had conspired on the way back earlier to stitch me up like a kipper and they had. There I was thinking that PIL and I had succeeded as parents in bringing up three civilised human beans. Wrong!

Today is our last full day in Florida as we catch the evening flight back to the UK tomorrow. Ed, Greg and I are finishing off the beer before going to bed. PIL has drunk the last of the wine and gone to bed.

We have had a truly wonderful time. We will return again soon. Next time though, we may not have all the kids with us. Ed is 22 now, finished Uni and about to start work. He may decide that he wants to holiday elsewhere with other people. We shall see. Greg is 18. He’s about to start Uni. Who knows what he will decide. CJ will come with us though as she’s still not old enough to holiday alone. I hope that our kids will all join us on holiday again. PIL and I love having them around. They are great company (somewhat annoying at times though) and both PIL, CJ and I will miss them.

Have a great day.

More Dick soon.

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Kids.

Greg, Ed & CJ with Dexter

L-R: Greg, Ed & CJ with Dexter. Note normal dress for them – track suit bottoms, hoodies, trainers and back to front caps

I love my kids. I think they’re great. I’ve spent their whole lives watching them grow up from tiny, helpless bundles to the characters they are today. Naturally, I’m biased but they are a constant source of wonder and bewilderment to me. Both PIL and I have tried our best to bring them up to be responsible human beings and I think we have succeeded. They are intelligent, well-mannered, humorous and generally a delight to be around. Bringing them up has been challenging on occasion. Despite all the books on bringing up kids (none of which we’ve read) it’s really a case of making it up as you go along. Being English, the only language I speak is English. So that’s the language we taught them. The Germans have a joke. “If you speak four languages you are upper class. If you speak three you are middle class. If you can speak two then you are working class. If you can speak only one you are English”. Sehr gut ja? I don’t know about other children but when my two boys reached the age of about 13 they spoke a different language to the one we taught them. Neanderthal. A typical conversation back then went something like this:

“Have a good day at school?”

“Ug”

“Good. I’m pleased you had a good day. Have you got much homework?”

“Uggg. Yisall snark issleorf.”

“Getting stuck into tonight then?”

“Erph gnarf plyder wobtet. Hungry.”

“Will you want any help?”

“Hirft debfor vingal. Food.”

“Dinner about 6.30. That ok?”

“Snert bupyit tergif meat”

You get the idea. I had no idea what they were on about. PIL claimed she did but she is a woman and they know everything. (Oops, am I digging a hole for myself here?) They both grew out of that stage but even now I often wonder what on earth they are on about. You’ll notice the only words I understood were about food. Good God above can they eat! I remember buying thirty eggs (free range) one saturday because the whole tribe were home for the school holidays. By Tuesday they had all gone! All three of them are incredibly sporty. They train almost every day for the sports they play and enjoy so they must burn a million calories a day each but boy, do they know how to replenish. I’ll fancy an apple. All gone. A banana then. Also gone. Orange? None left. Some grapes? All scoffed. A bowl of cereal would be nice. Only three cornflakes left in the box. (Why they would leave three cornflakes is beyond me. One each perhaps?) Ok an egg sandwich? Its Wednesday, there’s none left. Bacon sarnie? No bacon. Aha! Some cheese. I’ll make myself cheese on toast. No blinking bread! Most people save to go on holiday. We save to buy food when the kids are on holiday. Their appetites are phenomenal and our pockets are empty!

Seeing their sense of humour develop as they’ve all grown up is also a fascinating thing to experience. It starts to develop with ‘knock knock’ jokes, progresses through the three ‘P’s (Pee, Poo and Puke) to a more developed sense of humour that often means listening to stories of things they, or their friends, have experienced. It must be said however that my two boys have not really grown out of finding breaking wind immensely funny mainly because of the reaction they get from PIL and CJ. I was recently pottering around in the back garden while the three of them played cricket. I was regularly hit by the ball which they found hilarious. It was only later when we were having dinner that I discovered that I was part of the score. A direct hit was a four, a hit on the head was a six and a hit in the goolies was a century! PIL almost choked on a carrot she was laughing so hard. They all found it extremely amusing. I was just covered in bruises.Thank God they were using a tennis ball. I hasten to add that no-one scored a century although they did get close. Gardening is dangerous with my lot!

Children are a delight. Mine are anyway.Along with PIL, they are without doubt the best thing that’s ever happened to me. PIL thinks the same. Watching them grow and develop has got to be the most fulfilling experience anyone can have. It is endlessly fascinating and economically disastrous. So they always have their hand in my pocket (and PILs), but I wouldn’t change a thing. Thank you guys for being such wonderful human beings. You all make my day every day.

Enough already. Time to risk life and limb in the garden. I hope you have enjoyed my latest post. Let me know some of your own experiences as a parent. I look forward to hearing from you.

More Dick soon!

Dick