Archives for category: Dad with two boys.

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Prole2: Can you teach me a joke?

Me: A joke?

Prole2: Yes I want to tell my brother a joke and make him laugh.

Me: Ummmm ok, let me think of one.

Prole2: Can you remember any?

Me: None that I can tell you.

Prole2: What?

Me: What do you call a Deer with no eyes?

Prole2: What?

Me: It’s a joke. What do you call a Deer with no eyes?

Prole2: I don’t get it.

Me: I haven’t finished it.

Prole2: What?

Me: That was the first bit.

Prole2: When is the funny bit?

Me: Well give me a minute I am trying to get there.

Prole2: What?

Me: Ok. What do you call a Deer with no eyes?

Prole2: What?

Me: No Idea!

Prole2: What?

Me: Are you saying ‘What’ because you didn’t hear me or because you don’t understand?

Prole2: What?

Me: No Idea. What do you call a Deer with no eyes?  No…Eye…Deer. No Idea.

Prole2: Oh…No Eye Deer…that’s funny….

Me: Thank you, I thought so.

Prole2: What do you call a Bunny with no Eyes?

Me: Ummm…Ok…what do you call a Bunny with no Eyes?

Prole2: No Eye Bunny.

Me: Very good.

Prole2: Is it funny?

Me: To me? Yes.

He skips over to his brother who is watching ants.

Prole2: Hey! What do you call a Bunny with no Eyes?

Prole1: I don’t know, what do you call a Bunny with no Eyes?

Prole2: No Eye Blind Animal Dead.

Prole1: What?

Prole2: Dad thinks that is funny.

Prole1: Dad?

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I am hanging a kilt up above the bath.

I do this once a year to get the wrinkles out.

It stays up there in the humid air for a couple of days and might get a light pressing before the big day on May the 8th.
Might.
Probably won’t if I am honest.
I did it once but once you are all wrapped up in leaves and flowers you can’t really tell if it is pressed or not.

Prole2: What’s that?

Prole1: It’s a kilt.

Prole2: What?

Prole1: A kilt.

Prole2: What?

Prole1: A kilt, it’s like a skirt that Dad wears.

Prole2: What?

Prole1: Dad wears it, it’s a kind of skirt and he wears it.

Me: I…well not just me…

Prole1: No, not just you. Scotch do too.

Me: Well all sorts of people…

Prole1: Yes, Queen Victoria made lots of people wear the kilt, mostly soldiers and stuff. And Scotch. She liked to see people wearing a kilt.

Prole2: That one? The queen made people…that one?

Me: No, not that one. There are others. Other kilts.

Prole1: Yes, they have…what are they called? The colours? The patterns?

Me: Tartan.

Prole1: Yes tartan. You get Scotch tartan and Indian tartan and French tartan and…well…I think you get quite a lot…quite a lot.

Prole2: Why is that one boring black?

Prole1: The Cornish army wore black ones. The Scotch didn’t.

Me: Umm…yes…I think the term is Scottish.

Prole1: Oh, the Scottish. But the Cornish Army wore Black right?

Me: I think it was the Regiment and not the Cornish Army as such.

Prole2: Boring Black?

Me: Well it’s a classic colour and…well…its not really boring is it?

He stared up at it whilst brushing his teeth and very quietly whispered to himself.

Prole2: Boring Black.

Which serves me right for doing a bit of research into these things and not getting a tartan I suppose.

I know a Kilt does not sound very Cornish.
I know the Kilt is a construct of the Victorian fad for Walter Scott’s fantasy of Scotland and wearing one in Cornwall may seem odd but fortunately I can no longer be repressed for wearing one. I wear it in celebration of Celtic culture everywhere.

Anyhow, try to get anyone in Cornwall to agree on National Dress.
I have to wear something.
It is surprisingly comfortable but you can never relax because you know someone at some point is inevitably going to have a rummage around underneath “Just to see”.
Well, anything to raise a smile.

The white shirt was one of the first things processed in the revitalised washing machine.
It has many more green stains than I remember and is looking a little worse for wear but as I say, it will be greened up soon enough.

Flora Day is a big thing on my calendar and the countdown has begun.
I have brought out the kilt.
I have polished the shoes, the sporran and the belt.
I have booked my 48hr baby sitter cover broken up into three shifts.

I have saved my pocket money for Spingo.

It is all very exciting.

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The man from the washing machine repair service turned up today.

I was working this morning but they said they would text me a two hour window I had to be at home for.

I took a gamble and did not cancel any meetings.

They texted me last night: We estimate our engineer will arrive between 10.00 and 13.00 on Monday.

I was not sure how far to true a company that gave me a two hour window that was three hours long.

I also thought it might be nice to spend a day doing nothing.
I say nothing, I have loads of stuff to do in the house and the garden but a bit of me was also loking forward to having an excuse to sit around doing nothing and being able to write something pithy and mildly self effacing about it later.
It seemed like a good plan to me.
Like when you were off sick from school and you got to spend all day in bed reading comics and it was really boring but slightly thrilling at the same time.

I called the office to say I was not coming in.

Giving the repair team the benefit of the doubt I supposed the engineer would arrive between 10.00 and 12.00 and the extra hour was for the ‘repair’ they might have to do?

Seemed reasonable, after all if they turned up in the last couple of minute they would need time to do the job.

They turned up at 13.15.

When I asked him about this he said that he was due in by one and he had to come from the other end of Cornwall where his other jobs had been.
Seeing his job sheet with my number on and having been told that all his other work was an hour’s drive away I was naturally curious as to why he had not called me to tell me his plan.
I decided not to ask though because it’s been ten days without a washing machine and I did not want to spook him. I felt like I was holding my breath all the time he was here. All 29 minutes of it.

I was not actually holding my breath of course, I was actually taking away at the kitchen table because work never stops and we are up against a deadline at the office.
I say ‘we are up against a deadline’, in actual fact the Artists I work with are up against a deadline.
I say ‘Artists I work with’, in actual fact they do all the work, I just chat to them and gabble on about Cornwall, funding and Art.

I know a little bit about Cornwall because I read a book once, the rest I make up. Working so far.

Anyway, word got out that I was waiting for a service engineer so the morning’s bookings just relocated to my house.

Of course I was pleased about this but it did mean I had to stop stripping the paint off the stairs.

This is a job I have been putting off ever since I put my foot through the landing.
My 125 year old stairs are covered in thick layers of paint.
At some point someone really thoroughly covered absolutely everything in thick dark purple vinyl paint.
The strata seems to be Magnolia, Magnolia, White, Dark Satanic Purple, White, Whitewash.
I had half heartedly started doing this, thinking I might take a tea break later and watch a bit of daytime tv.
I have never seen Cash in the Attic and I have often wondered what all the fuss is about.
I have seen five minutes of Jeremy Kyle once but that was by accident I think.
Anyway, under extreme sufferance and with a heavy heart I was preparing to take my favourite mug and have a quiet digestive in front of the telly.

I had managed two half steps when Old Man Winter came in with Madame and sat at the Kitchen table.
We had a cup of tea.

Half an hour later Dissertation Girl arrived and joined in the talk.
I made another cup of tea.

After they left I had a phone call which I suppose turned into a ‘phone-meet’ with a community artist.
I heard this phrase once in a meeting with some smart looking people.

I have often wondered how much of a hurry you have to be in to shorten the word ‘meeting’ to ‘meet’?

It’s like my Calendar, they have shortened the word ‘June’ to ‘Jun’.
How much ink were they hoping to save?

I wandered around the kitchen while we talked, sort of playing hop scotch on the kitchen tiles and balancing on one foot a lot.
I would lean right forward to see how far I could go without falling over.
Cordless phone and no one watching, I can’t help myself.
Everyone does that, right?
Right?

Before I knew it I was boiling the kettle again.

As I hung up on them there was a knock on the door and two more artists stepped over the cat into the kitchen.
I made some more tea, including a Nettle tea which we have very little call for these days, and had a long and wide ranging talk about what it all means.

Things have shifted a tiny little bit in Cornwall this last week. You wouldn’t notice it right away but things are different.

The repair man arrived and I made another cup of tea.

The cats thought it was Christmas by the way.
Lots of visitors on a Monday, some of whom actually paid them some attention.

I tried to hide the bald one but it kept getting free.
I tried to look like the owner of a cat that had just had an operation.
No one questioned it o I can only assume I got away with it.

At 1.45ish the repair man left and the Artists got up as well.

I put a load of washing on.

I ran over to the office and caught up with the Rockfather in the cafe.
He had coffee, I had tea.

Suddenly with ten minutes before I had to leave to collect the Proles I was given a complicated data base problem to solve.
Actually, it was not a complicated problem at all but I use the Access Database so rarely I have to relearn how to do it every single time.
It’s only been four and a half years.

I suddenly realised I had not been to the loo for ages.

All that tea…

Arrived at the school just in time and met the Proles.

Prole2: Why are we running?

Me: Just run…

We got home and I put a load of washing on and I went to the loo.

We bundled into the car and we did a quick shop in the super market and I went to the loo.

When we got back we unpacked, Prole1 fed the cats, Prole2 broke his helicopter again and I went to the loo.

I put a wash on and there was a knock at the door.

Old Man Winter arrived again and went to talk to Prole1 about serious Company business, Prole1’s career is going slightly better than his father’s.
Then Fannie and Fox arrived with all the Proles’ artwork from their gallery show and it was all so lovely and exciting I went to the loo again.

Suddenly the house was empty, the Proles went to bed and I came down here.

I still have not seen Cash in the Attic.

 

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I can’t post today.
It is too late and the wrestling has started.

Honestly, Kurt Angle is about to wrestle Rockstar Spud, I don’t have time for anything right now.

It got late somehow.

Someone said they were coming round for a Chinese and suddenly I had to tidy because it’s been a while, you know when you  forget to clean up that stain in the kitchen and suddenly it take fifteen minutes of soaking in bleach to get it off? Only you can’t find the floor bleach so you have to use toilet cleaner because time is short.

The Proles were no use at all because they had been given tiny little remote control helicopters to fly and they kept flying them into me and when I saw one of them, and here I am not joking, land one in the toaster they had to be sent to the hallway for an hour to play.

The hallway was fine but in a long thin enclosed space with two small boys and two remote controlled helicopters things were never going to end well.

At least Prole1 was wearing protective glasses.

Later on Prole1 decided to fly his helicopter in the trampoline because the protective net around the outside would protect it and keep it safe. Sadly he gave it full throttle and it climbed about thirty feet into the air, got caught by a light breeze and flew away over the fence.

It must be the 21st Century when a small boy knocks on your door and says “Excuse me, can I have my remote controlled helicopter back please?”

Anyway, I had a Chinese meal for the first time in ages and the wrestling is on and I have to re-glue the tail on a helicopter for tomorrow.

Good night.

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Me: We all know the rules. No swallowing. Right?

Prole1: Right, I am so going to win.

Prole2: Right!

Silence.

They giggle.

I reach to the bowl in the middle of the table.

I take a marshmallow.

I put the marshmallow in my mouth.

Me: Fluffy Bunny.

Prole1 puts a marshmallow in his mouth.

Prole1: Fluffy Bunny.

Prole2 puts a Marshmallow in his mouth.

Prole2: Fluffy Bunny.

They giggle.

I put a marshmallow in my mouth.

Me: Fluffy Bunny.

Prole1 puts a marshmallow in his mouth.

Prole1: Fluffy Bunny.

Prole2 puts a Marshmallow in his mouth.

Prole2: Fluffy Bunny.

I put a marshmallow in my mouth.

Me: Fluffy Bunny.

Prole1 looks serious, Prole2 looks like a crazy hamster.

Prole1 puts a marshmallow in his mouth.

Prole1: Thif if filly.

Me: You in or out?

Prole1: Fluffy Buffy.

Me: What?

Prole1: Fluffy…ang on…Fluffy Bunny.

Prole2 puts a Marshmallow in his mouth.

Prole2: Fluffy Bunny.

I put a marshmallow in my mouth.

Me: Fluffy Bunny.

Prole1 puts a marshmallow in his mouth.

Proel1: Thif if filly, I gone an a goo if.

Me: Sorry? What did you say?

Prole2 giggles.

Prole1: Fluh-ee Wuh-ee.

Prole2: Wha?

Prole1: Fluh-ee…fluh-ee…wuh…fluh…

Prole1 spits four soggy marshmallows out into his hand

Prole1: Fluffy Bunny. This is silly. One of you can win.

Prole2 is giggling a lot.

Prole2 puts a Marshmallow in his mouth.

Prole2: Flupy Buh-ee.

Me: Pardon?

Prole2 pokes his index finger into his mouth and rummages around.

Prole1: Stop! Stop! Stop! Stop! No swallowing, why is he allowed to do that?

Prole2: Fluffy Bunny.

Prole1: That is not fair. I am going to read a book.

He stamps off and can be heard treading on lego with bare feet on the landing.
Me and Prole2 eyeball each other.

Me: Four marshmallows now? You must really want this.

Prole2: Wha?

Having a chat with four marshmallows in your mouth is not easy so I decide not to pursue the trash talk.

Me: Nothing.

I put a marshmallow in my mouth.

Me: Fluffy Bunny.

Prole2 tries to smile and drools a little. He is still making giggling noises but can barely keep his mouth shut. He has never gone above four.

Prole2 puts a Marshmallow in his mouth.

Prole2: Fluh-ee Buh-ee.

Me: What? I can’t understand.

Prole2: Fluh…fluh….fluh…

Me: Fluh? What’s a fluh? Why are you saying fluh?

Prole2 starts to giggle louder.

Five marshmallows.

He goes bright red with silent laughing.

Me: You are drooling on the table. No drooling. Stop drooling and stop saying fluh.

Prole2 laughs out loud, inhales a marshmallow and spits five wet sticky marshmallows across the room and the table.
Some of the fall out sprays the bowl of marshmallows in the middle of the table.
He turns in his seat, still laughing and vomits gently into the top of the radiator.

Prole2: You…you…you…win….

I look at the mess.

I am still the champion at Fluffy Bunny in my house.

Why don’t I feel like a winner?

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I knew it was going to be a difficult conversation but I steeled myself for it and ploughed on.

The walk home from school.
It is still early in the term, day two but I thought I may as well dive straight in anyway.

Sometimes it is hard for families to share.

Sometimes it is difficult to talk about the little things.

I know the Proles don’t like to talk about this particular subject but as a parent I feel I have to try.

Me: So….how was school today?

Prole2: What?

Me: How was school today?

Prole2: What?

Me: Did you have a good day today?

Nothing.

Me: Playing with your friends? A good day? Did you have?

Prole2: What?

Me: Did you have a nice time with your friends at school today?

Prole2: What?

Me: Ok, you know your friends?

Prole2: Yes.

Me: You know the time since I dropped you off at school?

Prole2: What?

Me:  All the time you haven’t seen me? While you were at school?

Prole2: Today?

Me: Yes.

Prole2: Yes.

Me: Well, did you have a nice time with your friends at school today?

Prole2: I can’t remember.

I looked back down the slope to where I had picked him up and then up the slope to the school gates.
We had not quite left the school premises and his mind was a complete blank.

Me: Did you do any playing at break time?

Prole2: Playing?

Me: Yes, playing. At break time. Did you do anything?

Prole2: What?

Me :What did you have for lunch?

Prole2: Roast. Mash, carrots, green thing and gravy. Meat. Meat roast. And a fruity thing. Roast.

He did his hoppy skippy run-dance-thing , lost control of his feet and fell over.
In days gone by I would stop, pick him up, dust him down, check for scrapes, bumps and bruises, give him a cuddle and a kiss and set off again.
Honestly though, if I did that every time he fell over I would never get anywhere ever.
He falls over walking across the kitchen.
Every day.
These days I check to see he is still moving and trudge on.

We were in the school run trudge out of the gates.
You can stop to pick up a fallen child but it is the social equivalent of breaking wind in a lift or taking four sugars in tea.
People sort of smile and pretend they understand but you can see the distaste in the air.

The trudge moves at the slow amble speed of the push chair going uphill.
I am sympathetic to this. I have been a pushchair driver and I know the hell of a hill.
The trudge is further slowed by the pushchair drivers who stop in the gate way, right next to the lollipop man and the people with sniffy dogs on long leads and have a chat with other pushchair drivers.
I tried not to do this as a driver but I cannot, hand on heart, say I never did it.
This stuff just happens, come to peace with it.
Don’t judge me.

This buggy-dog-toddler-lollipop-man-chat-zone creates a bottle neck of misery for everyone trying to get out of school.

We negotiated this squash by way of tortuous emotional and social turmoil which included leaving another small part of my soul on the pavement and carried on with the slow amble along the pavement.

It is a Lollipop Man before you get all cross.
The Lollipop Lady is at the other gate.
I am being gender specific because he is.

Come on, get back on the pony.

Me: So…how was your day at school?

I signalled the Prole I was talking to with a slight squeeze of Prole1’s damp hand.

Prole1: What?

Here we go.

Me: How was your day at school? Good?

Prole1: Well I FINALLY got a new reading book, it has taken ages, I have been looking for a good book for a long, long time now but there was just nothing on the shelves for me.

Me: I thought you got a book to take home….

Prole1: No Dad. This is from the library. For reading in free time at school.

Me: And there have been no good books in the library?

Prole1: No dad, there are LOADS of good books in the library, I am just not allowed near them. We have to choose books of our shelves and we are not allowed any books from the..the whirly thing…the spin thing…the carousel…spinning book rack?That’s got all the books for the year above and I can tell you there are A LOT of Pirate books when I move up but you can’t get to the Harry Potter books until the year above that. I mean, I spoke to them about it, I asked the teacher in charge of the library and she said I had to choose from the shelves for our year. Actually, I tried to take out a Harry Potter book with the computer, I typed it in and asked to take it out and I had to enter my name and the computer said “We are sorry, you are not in the correct year to take out this book (exclamation mark) Pupils at this school are only allowed to take out and read books from their own shelves(exclamation mark)” so I could not take it out.
I had to take out a Secret Seven book and I sort of like the Secret Seven but they are not as good as the Famous Five, sort of…well half as…I think three…no two Secret Seven Books would make up one Famous Five book.
But of course what I really want is to read the Harry Potter books.

Me: But…you have them at home, you have read them.

Prole1: I have not read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for about two years.

Me: Three months.

Prole1: I have not read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for about three months. Anyway, I finally got a book I like.

Me: Have you asked to read other books?

Prole1: Oh yes, yes, I have asked. I have asked and asked. I spoke to the teacher in charge of the library today. I said I would like to read Harry Potter or…well a Pirate book or any book from the other shelves and she said I couldn’t. I told her about the computer. She said the computer was right and that at our school the little kids don’t read the big kids books. She said the school was allowed to give us books according to our year. I said I had read all the Harry Potter books and she said that did not matter, she told me the rules again. Little kids are not allowed to take the big kids books out of the library. It was just one of those rules.

Me: Were you ok with that?

Prole1: I said I understood completely.

Me: What did she say?

Prole1: She told me to get out of her classroom because her lessons had started.

Me: I thought you were in the library?

Prole1: We were but I followed her back to her classroom to talk about it and as we were chatting the lessons must have started I suppose. She told me rules were rules and to get out.

Me: I bet she did.

There seems to be a petty unfairness about the allocation of books at Prole1’s school but on the other hand they have to put up with Prole1 all day so it seems a fair swap.

Prole1: Maybe rules can be changed in time….

He went quiet and I decided not to pick open what ever was going on in his head.

I squeezed Prole2’s hand.

Me: Did you go to the library?

Prole2: What?

Me: Nothing……

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I have to write a cheque for Prole1’s chess tournament.

It’s a Megafinal apparently, which sounds pretty impressive until you realise there is a Gigafinal and a Terafinal after that.

They need him to register for the Delancey UK Schools Chess Challenge MEGAFINAL XI.

Sounds posh.

I am not sure of Prole1’s chances.
He did well to be selected and this is obviously the fruition of his dream to ‘be and athlete and represent the school at chess’ which he has had since the run up to the Olympics a couple of years ago.

The motto of the 2012 Games in London was “Inspire a Generation” and it certainly seems to have worked in our house.

“Inspiration”, incidentally, is the action of taking air into the lungs.
Part of “Respiration”.
Inspiration is to breathe in.
It’s nice to know the Government were able to sell something back to us that we all do every day.

I may be being jaded but from my perspective down here in Cornwall but Prole1’s particular drive to be Faster, Higher and Stronger at Chess is the one tangible legacy of the Olympics in my house.
I was fairly jaded about the Olympics in the first place it has to be said so in fairness I must be open to the possibility that sport has in some way affected and transformed my life in other ways since the Games in London.
I just can’t say I have noticed.
Last time I was in London I did not see lots of people ‘saying hello to each other in the street’ or being ‘quite nice’ to each other, which was much commented on at the time but seems to have been un-sustainable in the modern climate.
In fact it was announced that the local running track was to be sold and turned into shops and possibly a multiplex cinema centre, thus spawning a public outcry from the users of the other local cinemas in the area who are all struggling to stay afloat.

It is true that, as a single parent with two kids, it would be easier to shove them into a car outside the house, drive them to a Multiplex carpark, go in and then drive home afterwards than it is to negotiate the several roads and crossings necessary to visit my home town cinema, the place that I have been seeing films in for decades.
I love my local cinema and I will continue to take the boys there in the future.
It would just be easier to drive to a multiplex if there was one.
What a world. I am not sure I all progress is getting us anywhere.

So apart from a scattering of oddly coloured post boxes I am not sure what the Olympics have done really.
Except Prole1 says I am not allowed to call it the ‘Dull-ympics’ any more.

I wonder if, sandwiched as they are between China’s extravaganza and the up coming Brazillian bonanza, they will be remembered as the ‘plucky, little games’ as Cameron has suggested or just a little bit embarrassing?
Like the time Skooch represented the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest?

Anyway, brilliant opening ceremony wasn’t it?

Where was I?

Chess.

It had to be chess really didn’t it?
Given Prole1’s track record and given his position in the school, it had to be chess.
I caught Prole2 laughing at the Smurf books the other night and asked what the joke was.

Prole2: Brainy Smurf is just like my brother….

And he was off giggling again.

Brainy Smurf really is like his brother.

Also my suspicions about his hand eye co-ordination and ball skills were tested on the beach today with the Sport Dads.
I was not there of course, I have long given up pretending and was sitting with the Mums, looking at rashes on babies and talking about the best bubble solution to blow bubbles with.

The Proles were playing foot ball, volley ball and keepy-up with a variety of Dads and children.
Prole2 occasionally came over for some reassurance after a 50/50 tackle or actually making contact with the ball.
Prole1 appeared to spend most of the time qualifying the rules and falling over.

He did well in the school chess tournament.
Well enough to qualify for the Megafinal anyway, which is not to say he won that many matches, more that he managed to win the most matches in his year.
History has not recorded how many other people in his age group he actually played against so I am not sure how to calculate his ‘form’ for the up coming event.
With a fair wind behind him he might do ok.

Personally I am just over the moon he has the opportunity.
I must also count my blessings that it is not the sort of competition where I will have to stand on a touchline with other Dads and talk about the progress of the match or enter into discussion about tactics.
I don’t imagine anyone is going to be asking me if I have seen the latest match from the Russian Chess League or ask me if I favour Carlson Magnus or Levon Aronian for the top slot next year.
I am rather hoping for a quiet sit down rather than ninety minutes of bellowing at my son at the top of my lungs to ‘watch that bishop’ or ‘pawn to queen five, PAWN TO QUEEN FIVE’ along with the rest of the spectators.

It’s a long day though, 10am kick off (Is that right? What do you call it?) and 5.20pm prize giving.
Seven hours of chess with time for a packed lunch.

The other finals, later on this year are altogether more tense and high stakes affairs.
The Gigafinal is in Reading and the Terafinal is at Loughborough School.
Since each final will be creaming off the winners from each area I imagine Loughborough will be full of highly coached and hot housed kids whose parents missed out on the opportunity of touchline yelling and have refocussed the family efforts into the Delancey UK Schools Chess Challenge instead.
I have so far resisted treating Prole1’s brain like a Prize Marrow and trying to pick up rosettes with it but I can see that others might be tempted.
He is not exactly a savant and his talents are a little patchy and unpredictable but with some investment of time, some real practice, private tuition and some real focus on his learning I am sure I could completely steal his child hood away and re-live my failed life vicariously through his successes.

Sadly I am bound over by a moral promise to try to make his life fun, which precludes three hours of Chess training every day.
I clearly did not think it through properly when I started this parenting thing.

To be honest I am not even sure we will make it to the first tournament at all.

I think he is confident enough and I am sure he should be able to win at least one of his games but the problem is a little deeper than that.

Searching through the drawers of the bureau in the living room I have turned up four Paying In books and six Cheque Books, all for various accounts now defunct.

I cannot find my cheque book.

I have tried ordering a new one online but with no success and I am not sure I can bear phoning them up for an hour and a half, inching my way through the system.
I can’t remember the last time I actually went into a bank.
It seems the last time I had to write a cheque was over four years ago.
They won’t let me pay the registration fee by cash.

We may have to stay home.

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Last night, Saturday the 19th of April, I was unable to post on WordPress.

I have not really wanted to go into why I write this stuff or the ‘process of writing’, mostly because I don’t really have anything intelligent to say about it and I am not really sure.

Anyway, I woke this morning and was really disappointed.
I honestly felt like I had lost something.
Like my watch was gone or my wallet was not around or something.
I had not written some words on WordPress and it meant I could not go back to sleep.

I want to say there was a technical reason for not posting.
I want to say that the broad band dropped out or WordPress was playing up or my computer crashed but unfortunately none of these things happened.

Yesterday I went to visit friends and I started drinking before the boys went to bed.
We went to a bar with the children.

I don’t often visit pubs any more.
There was a time when I would go to a pub at least three times a week, usually five or more times.
I loved pubs.
I liked pubs for the warm, closed in feeling of good conversation and a bit of a cheeky laugh.
I liked the philosophy and the fencing with ideas.
I loved meeting complete strangers and somehow having a complete and unforgettable adventure with them.
I had favourite pubs in the same way people collect favourite hats or shoes.
I liked being in London and knowing twenty pubs I liked to drink in across town.
I liked finding new pubs and trying them on like a jacket.

I loved Sunday afternoons with all the papers and no reason to leave.
I liked Friday nights when the theatre staff all kicked out and I knew everyone in the pub.
I liked a quick pint in a loved pub.
I liked a pilgrimage to a particular place to meet particular friends and sit in particular seats to watch the world go by.

I just loved pubs.

The etiquette of buying a round and the subtle changes depending on which group I was with.
The flow of people through an evening.
The constant search for the perfect pint.

I felt bigger in a pub.
More confident.
I trained really hard to hold my own until I could last until closing time and still walk home.
I knew my limits (mostly) and I loved exploring them.

I felt it last night.
The Proles got a packet of crisps and a drink each in the snug and I sat at the end of the bar and surveyed the drinkers.
I had a pint and I could feel myself growing.
Beer.
Brilliant.
I drank a pint quickly, made sure the Proles were ok and went back for another.
I started to worry lees and less about them.
It was like being in the 1970s.

I was feeling more confident, I had missed all this.
The light from the beer taps, the feel of the beermat.
The smell.
I started to feel less like a parent and more like a man.
I could feel the warmth running through my system.
I remembered fighting and romance and working hard.
I thought about how long it had been since I had done this.
I suddenly became aware of my hand holding the beer glass and as I looked at it it seemed to come into focus and it surprised me because it looked so….right.

It got to half past nine at night.

That was a surprise.

I had had a few drinks.

I went to check on the Proles who were flopped on the sofa.
Prole2 was trying to build a nest in the coats and jumpers.
They should not be in a bar.
They should be in bed.

I was being selfish.

I could feel it all pouring back out of me.
I was slightly out of focus, I was slightly unsteady.
I could not have a conversation with my own children without it sounding weird.
I felt loose and baggy and I had to really concentrate to focus on what they were saying.

I was small.
Rubbish, useless and out of control.

And I needed a wee.

I don’t drink to enjoy myself any more, I drink to get drunk, it is the most selfish thing I do these days.
It is not about good conversation or company, it’s about getting drunk.
A drunk is no good as a parent.
Everything else was there, love, care, hope, dreams but the part of me that could guide my family safely was gone.
It was past bedtime and Dad was drunk.

I took them home and they sleepily went to bed.

I chatted with my friend for a bit and then I stayed in the house as he went back to the party.

I sat at the table looking at my hands.

Absolutely useless hands.

Selfish.

When I woke this morning I could not get back to sleep.

I did not write last night because I was drunk.

I don’t want to do that again.

I am not giving up drinking completely, not yet, but I need to see if I can stay in some sort of control and I hope I can keep posting here every day for a while to come.

Image

 

Sometimes I am just blessed with an illustration of how lucky I am.

We were up on a path between Paul and Lamorna, over looking the sea.

The sky was clear blue with a faint haze on the horizon.

The sea was a wash of glistering splinters of white light on blue.

The sun was beaming down but a light breeze coming up off the sea cooled us.

The boys and I were amongst friends and we were talking about boats and food, places we had visited and things we wanted to do.

Prole1 was off somewhere in the group discussing the difference between Elvish and Hobbit psychology with the Wordwitch.

I was just ahead of Prole2 who was wearing a thick wooley cardigan and a cowboy hat.

We came up over a rise and Prole2 held my hand.

We could see all the way from St Michael’s Mount round to the tip of the Lizard, just there in the haze.

There were boats in the bay and the sky was empty and huge.

Me: Look at that. Isn’t it beautiful.

Prole2: What?

Me: Look at the view.

Prole2: What?

Me: The view, I am saying it is beautiful.

Prole2 stopped and adjusted the doc leaf he had wrapped around his hand.
Nettle sting.
Nettle.
The Prole’s deadly enemy.
Prole1 had an identical battle wound with a matching doc leaf field dressing.

Prole2 clambered up onto a rock and peered out across the bay.

Prole2: What?

Me: The View. It’s beautiful.

Prole2: What’s a view?

Me: Everything you can see. That’s the view.

Prole2: The sea?

Me: No, I mean everything you can see.

Prole2: I can see the sea.

Me: Yes. The sea is part of the view, the view is everything you can see. I just thought it looked nice.

Prole2 went quiet and stared hard out into the distance.

He looked at me.

Prole2: What?

I had been here before.

Me: Do you think it is a nice day?

Prole2: Yes.

Me: Good.

I gave him some cucumber and he skipped off munching.