Sunday, 26 June 2016

Moving On

Post referendum, my incredulity has given way to mourning.
It is likely now that my children will leave this backward country in order to make a living.
And I wouldn't blame them.

But any day now I am going to rally and begin once more to blog about domestic trivia.
As if our world had not been shattered.

Sunday, 19 June 2016


I kinda missed the Queen’s birthday.
Which is a shame, because she was kind enough to send a card to my parents.
They were celebrating their Diamond Wedding.
I drove down after work the day before. On the Diamond Day, I took them out to Trelissick National Trust  property and we watched house martins nesting in the eaves.  We had our lunch there in the mild Cornish air of the courtyard.
Mark and Helen invited us for a hearty roast dinner, and Mum and Dad enjoyed the company of their grandson, Dan, and his cockapoo dog, Scout. My kids phoned, wrote and texted their best wishes.
For me, the day might have seemed a little quiet, but Mum and Dad thought it was perfect.

If ever I am lucky enough to reach the day when I am in my eighties and have been married for sixty years, perhaps I shall feel the same.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016


I have to say it.
I’m IN and so is my family.
IN isn’t perfect, but if you want to change things in our favour, IN is the place to be.
It’s not immigrants that are causing “shortages”, it’s austerity measures following the financial crisis.
I’m with David Cameron, Barack Obama, the Labour leadership, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Captains of Industry, not self-seeking Bullingdon Boris.
I want a future for my children.  And actually, I’m not done yet – I want a future for me.
Exorcise your racism, paranoia and xenophobia.
And if we do end up subsidising poorer European countries, it’s to make a better environment for all of us.  Acting as a larger community is in our own self interest.

Vote IN for the sake of your country – you have far more to gain than to lose.

Friday, 10 June 2016

A different kind of trip

Perran was staying with Carenza at Oxford for a couple of days and I drove over to catch them both for lunch.
Not only had I not seen the twins since Easter, I also wanted to remind myself of the amazing halcyon of sunshine and socialising that follows Finals.
Unfortunately there appears to be a fly in Carenza’s ointment.  I arrived just after she returned from hospital with a sprained ankle.
“How did it happen?”
“Well, I was just coming out after the History Dinner, and I was wearing heels, and I came down this step.”
“That step there?  It’s not very big is it?”
“No, but there was darkness and I tripped on it.”
“You tripped up on darkness?  Well all I can say is, I’m relieved to hear it had nothing at all to do with alcohol.”


Thursday, 9 June 2016

School Trip

If you noticed a gap in my blogs it was for a reason.  I was one of four teachers accompanying 43 fourteen and fifteen year-old boys to Classical sites in Italy for 8 days. 
We came back a few days ago, but I have found it challenging enough to take my school classes and wash all my dirty clothes.  I’ve also spent a fair amount of time staring blankly into the middle distance.  
It is only now that I feel half human again.
The pupils, however, were very much themselves after a good night’s sleep. 
And  that, my friend, is the difference between being fourteen and fifty-three.
Although I did discover another difference – teenagers overwhelmingly have an eerie sixth sense for detecting free wi-fi , even on the beach.
As a parent, I have often helped to pack bags for my own children’s residential trips, but never seen the outcome at the other end. 
I can now say with certainty that “less is more”.  The less they take, the easier it is to keep track of, particularly when mingled promiscuously with the socks and sun cream of others on the floor of a shared room.
It reminded me of the story of my friend picking up her eleven-year old daughter after her first away trip.
“Mum, I’m afraid I had to put on dirty pants this morning.”
“That’s perfectly alright, love.”

“And I’m pretty sure they’re not my pants either.”

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Unplanned Garden

We moved to this house a year ago, and the back garden was a recently-turfed green rectangle.  It was without features.
We really needed to plan carefully what we did with it, not just rush in with a shovel.
As a result, we have done nothing.
We attempted to watch the Chelsea Flower Show footage for inspiration, but were overwhelmed with shame and guilt when we saw the achievements of others.
On our patio is a crowd of around 30 plants in pots, cuttings brought from our last garden . 
One by one they are beginning to fall be the wayside – too wet or too dry or too sluggy.
And it matters because so many of our plants are gifts from friends and relations, so our garden will grow layers not just of colour, but also of meaning.
But Nigel has saved the day by rushing in with a shovel.  He has established a holiday camp in a sunny corner of the garden. 
Here our plants will be able to spread their roots and thrive, before we divide them up and move them on once again to new carefully-planned positions.

One day, the technology will be developed that will detect the noises plants make.  And when that happens, it will be able to prove that our now happy flowers are purring.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016


Our family usually says a little prayer before meals.
On Sunday Nigel and I are thanking God for our soup and go on to ask a blessing on Carenza taking her finals and Perran his end-of-year exams.
We have just looked up and raised our spoons when Nigel’s mobile gives the bright sound of a text arriving.
It says, “Avalanche has blocked path.  Having to go around the long way.”
Our eyes meet.
Amid the exam stress we have forgotten that Pascoe and Matt are climbing the UK’s second highest mountain, Ben Macdui.
Now we recall only too clearly the twenty mile walk to the foot of the mountain, the camping over night, the snowbound ascent and descent, the ten mile walk back to public transport.

We put down our soup spoons and add another prayer.

Sunday night we are relieved to receive a photo of Pascoe still with the full complement of limbs and without frostbite.

Guess we can go back to worrying about exams now.