Tag Archives: children

A Meeting

It was the cold that woke me up. For a brief moment I thought that PIL was sharing my bed again and had stolen all the duvet like she used to. Wishful thinking on my part. I rolled over and saw the figure sitting on the sofa by the window. The figure appeared to be tall and slim and was wearing some kind of hooded shroud. I couldn’t see its face. There was a scythe lying across its lap.

“Are you Death?” I asked.

“I am” the figure replied

“Have you come for me?”

“I have”. Came the reply.

“Don’t say much do you mate?”

“Not much to say.” he replied. The voice was definitely male.

I sat up, as I had decided long ago that I would not face death lying down.

“Well, I’d sooner not go just yet if that’s ok with you.”

“Many people say that to me y’know. Not all, but a fair number. It rarely changes anything.”

“It’s just that I still have a great many things to do and see and achieve and being dead won’t help.”

“So what is it that is so important that I cannot take you now?” asked Death.

“There are quite a few things actually. I would really like to see my children grow up, graduate from University, marry and have kids themselves. It would be nice to see my grandchildren.”

“Is that it?”

“I also want to learn to sail and speak French.” I replied

“You mean you don’t want to cure cancer, stop pollution and save the environment?” came the slightly sarcastic reply.

“All fine ambitions” I answered, ” and stopping Mankind’s inhumanity towards Mankind would also be pretty good but I know my limitations. I am a simple man with simple ambitions.”

Death picked up his scythe and put it to one side. I started breathing again. I hadn’t realise I was holding my breathe.

“I have to take a soul. If not yours, then whose?” he said.

“Mate, if you’re saying that if you don’t take me you will take one of my kids or PIL, then take me now. There is no way you are taking any of them. I will fight you with everything I have to stop that happening.”

Death laughed for a second or two then stopped and appeared to be thinking.

“What about the dog? Dogs have souls.” he said after a few seconds.

“That’s not really fair on the dog is it?” I answered. “He’s done nothing wrong, he had an awful start to his life and he’s happy here. He may be as daft as a brush but no, take me if you have to take anyone.”

Death was quiet for a few minutes. I guess he was thinking again. Finally, he spoke again.

“We’ve met before.” he said. That was a bit unexpected.

“Er. I don’t think so bud. I’d remember something like meeting you.”

“No, no, no.” Death exclaimed. “What I mean is that I was taking someone and you were there. You wouldn’t have seen me but I saw you. Three times in fact.”

“Were you there when my parents died?” I asked.

“No.” he said. “That would have been one of my brothers. I have a great many brothers. I was there when your work colleague, Robbie died. The heart attack killed him before he hit the floor so your attempts at CPR were fruitless.”

“Thanks pal. That makes me feel so much better.”

“My pleasure. You really didn’t need to beat yourself up about that but I suppose you weren’t to know. I was also there for the man who got flung out of the car and lost the top of his head. You comforted him while he died.”

“I remember. It seemed to take ages for him to die but he didn’t appear to be in any pain. I was covered in blood and his brains when I finally got up.”

“You’re right. He wasn’t in pain but sometimes these things need to take their course. Did you go and see his wife?”

“I did.” I replied. “I left it a couple of days and then went to see her.”

“Why did you go?”

“He asked me to tell his wife that he loved her and that he was sorry. Seemed to me to be the least I could do. It wasn’t the best time of my life that’s for sure but if you can’t grant a dying mans wish, then what does that make you?”

“I see.” said Death.

“When was the third time?”

“I was there to take your friend when he got trapped in his canoe and drowned.”

“Jean-Claude?”

“Yes. You and your friend tried to pull him out. You did a very dangerous thing. I nearly came away with three that time. So why did you and Omar place yourself in so much danger? Was it because he was a friend?”

“Jean-Claude was a very good friend. We only really saw him at races, but no, we would have done the same thing irrespective of who it was. It’s a dangerous sport and if someone is in the shit, you help. Omar and I always took that attitude and we hoped that if we were ever in trouble, someone would help us.”

Death stood up and picked up his scythe.

“Oh shit.” I thought. “Play for time.”

“Tell me something Death. Why do you wear that shroudy hoodie thing? Doesn’t it freak out the people you’ve come for? It’s freaking me out!”

“You’re right. It does and we recently tried wearing suits. Some of my brothers wore Armani. Others wore Boss. I went the Tom Ford route. I preferred the cut. Unfortunately, it confused the dying. They see a smiling face in an expensive suit and they think the Worlds greatest medic has arrived to save them.”

“Surely the scythe gives it away?” I asked.

“People see what they want to see. Besides, it was costing the Boss a fortune in dry cleaning bills. So we wear these. Easy to keep clean. Chuck ’em in the machine on a cool wash and ‘Hey Presto’. I’m going now. You have persuaded me to leave you until another time. Next time we meet, and it will be me, you will be coming with me.”

“Thank you. I hope I don’t see you anytime soon.” I said.

“I don’t know when it will be but I really do hope you learn to sail and speak French.”

I woke up at 7am as usual and staggered downstairs as usual. CJ was in the living room.

“Good morning sweetness”, I said. “Boy, did I have a weird dream last night.”

“Ewwww Dad. I really don’t want to know.”

“What?”

“I’ve heard about THOSE dreams boys have.”

“What?” I said again.

” Yes. You dream about naked women and make a mess on the bed sheets.”

“What? What? It wasn’t that kind of dream. Where did you find out about this stuff anyway?”

“School. Sex education. Boys are disgusting.”

“Jesus girl. I really don’t want to be having this conversation. I haven’t had a cup of tea yet.”

“Well, you started it.”

“What? Ok, whatever. Where’s Mum?”

“She went to see Richard. Y’know, he lives round the corner.”

“I know where he lives sweetness. I take it she’s gone to wish him ‘Good luck’ in the marathon he and his wife are running in today?”

“No, Richards wife..”

“Elizabeth.”

“Yes. Elizabeth. She died suddenly in her sleep last night.”

 

More Dick soon.

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My Family

I often forget what it says at the top of my blog thingy. “Life, The Universe and Everything That Matters to Me” and rabbit on about something trivial, so now to write about the most important thing in my life. Family. Obviously all the opinions stated are hugely biased and why not? They’re my opinions so I’m allowed to be biased.

Dick.

Terribly boring. Hasn’t got a clue about most things that involve any technology more sophisticated than clock work and has issues with that as well. Spends most of his time attempting to avoid carrying out the tasks that PIL, the love of his life asks him to do and wonders why she gets the hump with him. Boring job that pays the bills (just). Rough men stand ready and all that.

Taken a split second before face slapping the snow. Again!

Taken a split second before face slapping the snow. Again!

PIL.

Drop dead gorgeous and totally unaware of it. When she walks it looks like she’s chewing a toffee with her butt. Smashing! Has a really cool job up in London working for this huge multi national company that apparently searches for engines. I believe they search for all kinds of engines such as automobile engines, aero engines, motor cycle engines, marine engines and probably more. I think PIL specialises in marine engines for fishing fleets as she’s always on about “trawling the net” and stuff like that. Dress code seems to be pretty casual and I have to say she fills a pair of skinny jeans admirably.

It's a hard life

It’s a hard life

Ed.

Our eldest. An ambitious young man who has continuously set himself goals. For some years now, he has set his heart on working in the City of London and that’s exactly what he is doing now. It’s with a company that deals with all the Tier 1 banks (whatever they are) so he gets to see every aspect of the financial world and he’s loving every minute of it. The company he works for seems well structured with continuous training, a commitment to promoting from within plus well thought out expansion plans. The possibility of working in places like New York is strong which is another aspect he likes the sound of. He worked hard at school and at University to achieve his goals. Like his younger brother and sister, he not only worked hard but played hard too with a great deal of success on the playing fields at rugby, football, basketball and cricket. Crap at golf though. Ed isn’t the best when it comes to trains as we have often waited at our local station to pick him up only to get a call from him to say the train got lost and he is now twenty miles away and can we come and get him as he spent the cash he had for a cab down the pub!

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Greg.

Did well in his ‘A’ levels and won a place at Aberystwyth University to study Human Geography with Economics. Greg decided to have a gap year as he had been in the education system from the age of 3 and really fancied a break after 15 years. PIL and I were happy with this. Then, he discovered a course that really caught his imagination, International Relations. So, he changed his mind and went to college to take a further two A levels; World Development and Film Studies. The former because he had become fascinated by this subject and the latter because he had always been interested in movies. He has conditional offers to the Universities he has chosen. He now has to decide and accept an offer from the one he thinks will provide him with the best education and also the best sports facilities as Greg also played football, rugby, basketball and cricket for the school. He also ran cross-country. Like his older brother he is also crap at golf. A fascinating person with the ability to name the starting line ups for all the Premiership football teams, the defensive and offensive starting line ups for the NFL plus the starting line ups for all the NBA teams plus all the rugby teams in both hemispheres and yet cannot remember where the dish washer is, how to turn it on and where all the stuff goes when its finished and needs emptying!

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CJ.

Having only just become a teenager, CJ has a long school career ahead of her. Like her two brothers she loves school and all that it has to offer. That, to a great extent is down to the school. She is currently at the Junior school and plans to board at the senior school come September. She is currently studying for the Common Entrance exam that will allow her to do this. As well as being clever like her brothers, something they got from their mum rather than me, CJ is also like her brothers in being very sporty. In 2014 she took part in the schools cross-country race. She came second. Not, I hasten to add, second in the girls or her age group but second overall! Earlier this year she was asked to swim for the senior school in a major inter school competition. She rocked up expecting to swim for the under 14s and actually swam for the under 16s! She came third in the individual 50 metre backstroke and wiped the floor with the opposition in the backstroke leg of the 50 metre medley relay. She’s captain of the Netball team, plays hockey and was in the ‘A’ team a year early. She’s also House captain and it has to be said her school reports are brilliant. To top it all, she was awarded the David Gower Sports Scholarship to the senior school earlier this month against some really stiff competition. The future looks bright for her as well. Now all we can hope for is that as a boarder at the senior school, they will get her to clean her room up. Messy just doesn’t sum it up. She leaves a trail of discarded water bottles, Ben & Jerries ice cream containers, shin pads, hoodies, trainers and hockey sticks all over the house.

Getting ready for some sport or other

Getting ready for some sport or other

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PIL and I don’t really mind though, our kids are just bloody brilliant and we love them all to bits and we are so proud of everything they do. (Well almost everything. There have been one or twelve little episodes that we won’t go into here, the toe rags).

Dexter.

Of course Dexter is an integral part of our family. Every household should have a pet of some description, whether it be a dog or a cat or a gerbil or a budgie. A rat, a snake, a spider or lizard. Dexter is a lovely, stupid dog that we love to pieces. Except today when he decided to roll around in some pretty pungent badger crap! Bastard dog!

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Have a great day.

More Dick soon.

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Pets

I guess you could say we are a dog family as far as pets go. None of us has any particular dislike of any domesticated animal but we just like dogs. When I first met PIL she had a pet German Shepherd dog named after Fred Flintstones pet dinosaur, Dino. As was so often the case when we first got together we had sacrifices to make and unfortunately PIL had to leave Dino behind.

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Dino

 

After a few years and with children to tow, we decided to get another dog. Getting another German Shepherd was a bit of a no brainer to us and we ended up getting a puppy from a breeder in Kent. Even as a puppy he was huge. We saw both his parents when we got him and they were enormous. Being a long-haired GSD added to his size. The kids named him Dodger after the dog in the Disney movie Oliver & Company thereby continuing a trend of naming our dogs after cartoon characters beginning with the letter D.

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Dodger with Greg

Dodger grew into a magnificent dog with a fantastic temperament, especially around the children. Then when he was 12, we noticed a very sudden change in him. Literally in a matter of days he lost all his energy and was obviously seriously ill. He had cancer and it was everywhere inside him. A family friend who is also a vet ran through the options with us but she said it basically boiled down to having him put down to stop  him suffering. So on the 16th September 2009 I drove him to the vets surgery. The whole way there I was telling him that everything would be fine, that his family would make him better again and he would be back to his old self. I was lying to him the whole way. Once we arrived we were seen almost immediately and the vet gave Dodger a lethal injection and he slowly slipped away. Then she gave me a big hug because I had burst into tears.

Over the years the subject of getting another dog came up from time to time but was never pursued. Then in the summer of 2013, the subject came to the fore. Everyone, except me, wanted a dog again. Greg used the excuse that it was his 16th birthday soon and showed me pictures of dogs on the Battersea Dogs Home website. There was one particular mutt he wanted to see at the Homes satellite branch in Kent. The tribe went to have a look-see without me. They were full of it when they got back and my earholes were bent constantly for days. Eventually I succumbed and off we went. But we went to the main Home in Battersea, south-west London. Oddly enough, the borough I was born in. Battersea Dogs Home has all kinds of dogs. Hundreds of them. They have pedigree dogs, mongrels, dogs with great temperaments, dogs with awful temperaments, dogs whose owner could no longer look after them, abandoned dogs, dogs that had been subjected to appalling cruelty. Each and every one of them was looking for a new home and I wanted to take each and every one of them home with me! Oh bollocks. I’d had been completely and utterly seduced. So, a few days later we drove to the satellite branch in Kent and got the dog Greg was after.

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Dexter with his favourite toy – a stick. Any stick!

 

He and his brother had been abandoned as pups so there was some doubt about him. Battersea thought he was a staffordshire bull terrier/labrador cross with some lurcher thrown in for good measure and they thought he’d been born in February. They’d taken care of all his inoculations, he was in good health, stroppy, a bit aggressive, had abandonment issues and was absolutely perfect so we took him home. Greg named him Dexter. PIL and I were happy with the choice of name. We thought he was named after the character in a cartoon Greg loved when he was little – Dexter’s Laboratory. Smashing!

 

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The other Dexter

 

We were wrong. Greg was 16. Cartoons? Ha! He was far too mature and sophisticated for cartoons. No. This Dexter was named after Dexter the TV serial killer. Good grief but it was too late. Dexter was now Dexter and nothing could change it now.

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Dexters normal position after walkies

 

Dexter is nearly two now. We decided his birthday will be on 1st February each year. He is now a lovely dog with a fantastic personality – absolutely barking mad, affectionate, loves walkies, loves rolling in fox poo at every opportunity, will chase sticks and balls for ever, digs holes, steals clothes from the laundry basket, chases his tail for ages, hates getting wet and the postman. He is lovely and I am so glad we have him at home with us. Dino and Dodger are still in our thoughts  and no doubt at some stage in the future we will have only memories of Dexter but they will be good ones and until then we intend enjoying every moment.

Have a lovely 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