WORLD BOOK DAY

World Book Day!

I should be enthused, happy, excited even. Shouldn’t I?

And I am, I really am. I love books, and have loved them since I can remember.

I have in front of me now one of my prized childhood possessions; ‘My Boy-Blue Book of Nursery Rhymes’, a cloth book distributed by Edwyn A Birks Ltd ‘Washable and Babyproof’.  (Not sure the title would withstand modern sensibilities. Hints of pornography and male hierarchy).

World Book Day doesn’t often impinge on my consciousness these days. It is aimed at children and my daughter is at University and my son doesn’t really see the point of books – though he reads online material, including this blog for some reason – Hi!

But – you knew that was coming right? – but, it has never really worked for me. It is only 25 years old and therefore wasn’t around when I was young. It was about fifteen years ago I became aware of it when my daughters’ school started making demands about dressing up that I noticed it. And not in a good way. I think the basic idea is sound, but like many of these charitable good ideas, ‘numbers’ get a momentum of their own which makes people forget what the original idea is about.

I was in our library yesterday. Not that the council allows anyone to call it a library, it is a ‘community hub’ and the reference section was massacred a few years ago and computers replaced most of the bookshelves. Much of the remaining space was commandeered by the council workers dealing with council tax, refuse, housing problems etc when the council closed a building next door for some arcane plan some years ago which has yet to materialise.

There remain however, some books and a couple of people who work with them. What the status of these people is I’m not exactly sure as the council attempted to remove all trained librarians as an unnecessary expense. They do run ‘events’ for kids however and yesterday I saw them wandering around bearing piles of odd clothes and wearing flamboyant hats.

‘World Book Day’ I was told when they saw my eyebrows.

Apparently this must be a ‘fun’ ‘event’ ( as defined by whom?) which seems to have as little to do with reading a book as possible. All the great literature, all the fun books, all those thrilling reads and THIS is what the supporters of the fun of reading come up with? Dressing up, running around and not concentrating, frankly one of the prerequisites of reading something?

It didn’t particularly bother me at the time. It isn’t the first time I have had this curmudgeonly thought. But after I left the hub/library thingy, I began to fret about my plan to be more human and wondered if I should lighten up, or if anyone else shared my concerns.

I checked.

I am not alone.

First thing I found on my internet search was Marianne Levy’s piece in the ‘i’ online. It echoed my feelings – good idea, but… All that money spent on crap disposable costumes, I thought we were avoiding rampant consumerism that burned resources and screwed up ecosystems?

Marianne’s piece does have a positive side, how to reclaim the day for reading rather than a fancy dress party. But even here there are problems. A children’s author interviewed about what we could do, suggested refreshing reading corners in classes (good idea) and making posters and decorations of children’s favourite characters to give them ‘ownership. Possibly great for art skills, and group interaction, but here’s a whacky idea:

to encourage reading, how about setting aside some time on World Book Day to, oh I don’t know…read a book? In class? Together? Then maybe talk about it and possibly write a story of their own?

Crazy idea.

On with the party!

CLIMATE CHANGE – ALL IN IT TOGETHER

My son and I bumped into the world of climate change protesters yesterday. We had been down to Weston-super-Mare.

He told me about Greta Thunberg’s planned gig at Bristol as we boarded our train, somewhere in South Wales. That is as it should be. He is the right age to be really switched on to this stuff, and I wondered if this meant he wanted to go there instead of Weston.

But  no. Not a bit of it. He wanted to carry out the plan, No ‘order, re-order, disorder’ for him. Maintenance of aim was his watchword. So we went to Weston, Which didn’t fail to disappoint. I mean it was an English seaside town in winter.

We didn’t stay long but despite being cold and wet my son was happy and getting happier as we rolled north and we chatted about trains and geography – the Somerset levels and raised embanked rivers. At Bristol his mood changed. At Temple Meads, our coach filled with young people, teenagers, probably little older him but loud, excited and no doubt to him quite scary.

They weren’t threatening or aggressive. They were just hyped up from bunking/twagging/skiving off school for the day with the aid of some at least of their parents. They weren’t chatting about carbon capture or building plastic recycling plants in the UK instead of foisting the problem onto African and Asian countries. They were other people’s problems. If they thought anything about it, they had done their bit with their day out in the rain. And good for them.

The kids on the train were typical privileged, self absorbed middle class teenagers. Entitled and inconsiderate of everyone else, blocking aisles, noisy and raucous, banging into everybody with their back packs, kneeling up, getting mud all over the seats others have to use (and clean – resource issues anyone?) and waving banners in people’s faces as they tried to stow them.

My son was very quiet for the rest of the journey and not happy about the invasion of the last bit of his day out. Now I realise his less than enthusiastic response stems largely from his ASD but he is not a great supporter of the protest movement anyway and this is I have to confess is probably down to me.

I heartily approve of Greta Thunberg’s desire to change things regarding our attitude to and interaction with the environment. At her age I wanted changes in our attitude to the environment. I still do. But repeatedly castigating everyone over 18 years old for being the problem is wildly missing the point and massively counter-productive to her cause.

I understand her fear and exasperation with those in power. And therein lies the problem. To her and no doubt all those kids in the train, ‘Those in power’ in their immediate experience means parents, teachers, police, as no doubt it did to me when I was their age. People older than them are an amorphous, unstructured group.  But as I have grown older my generation has differentiated itself into those grabbing real, serious power and those of us who have not.

The problem is not a generational related one but a power one.

Greta Thunberg has said many times, as in this quote from her publicity stunt with The 1975: ‘We have to acknowledge that the older generations have failed.’

My generation didn’t want to destroy our world or our children’s life chances. In the early 1970s I read a book called ‘The Doomsday Book’ by Gordon Rattray Taylor. It outlined many of the things that were going wrong with our stewardship of the planet: overcrowding in cities and the societal and mental health problems resulting from this, over exploitation of natural resources, destruction of the ozone layer and climate change.

That we didn’t manage to stop a massive industrial surge towards over exploitation of resources is more complicated than generational indifference. It’s about economics and who controls economic power.

Greta Thunberg is to be applauded, but everyone should remember that she is being listened to, not because she is 17 and opinionated and enthusiastic, we all are at 17. She is being given a platform because sufficient numbers in earlier generations recognised the problems she is talking about, made enough noise, did enough research, and kept putting it out there for her generation to try and challenge those in power; political and financial.

Greta, you may not be standing on the shoulders of giants, but there are a lot of people who went before you. My generation loves yours – we made it – we really should be fighting this thing together.

(Oh and keep the muddy feet off the seats and back pack outs of people’s faces!)

WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

Just got back from the train station having dropped my daughter off to return to University. She’s been home for reading week and while I will miss her (for another couple of weeks anyway – apparently she has to return to have her hair cut by the only person in the country who can do it) it should give me the opportunity to concentrate a little more on writing.

Having gone through the teen years in the usual blur of ‘bye Dad’ in the mornings to ‘what’s for dinner?’ in the evenings, and very little other conversation save imprecations for lifts around the country, she now bombards me with an almost minute by minute dialogue concerning her course, her new found obsession with weight training and the state of the nation/world/universe. All of which is great and I much prefer information overload to the strong silent approach of her age c.16, however it does soak up my brain which needs time to get into the right seam of thought for putting words down on screen.

So with any luck the next few weeks should allow me to work at finishing (I have decided on a wildly optimistic approach!) a couple of novellas and  short stories and maybe progress that novel I mentioned I had several starts, middles and ends for, but not in any sort of joined up way. You will notice my optimism is still tempered with some realism – ‘work at finishing’, not actually ‘finish’, although that is the plan with one of the novellas at least, but don’t say it out loud.

Apart from my longstanding worry about finishing things my son’s continuing presence at home is an issue in terms of concentration. He is a lovely lad, but he is currently not at school (he hasn’t been suspended or anything) and although we have had a tutor coming in, that is not going as smoothly as I would have liked and soaks up a lot of my time as well.

Right – excuses lined up neatly in advance, I shall go and write something ‘creative’; fingers crossed!

SHIBBOLETH

My daughter just opened an amusing can of worms for me. Possibly even a box of frogs. Nay, a bag of spanners or even maybe nails.

What is this hate filled container of vitriolic differences?

How many spaces to put between sentences.

I know. A minefield of typographic horror.

So which is it people? One or two spaces? Let’s not trammel with the insanity of none or more – that way madness lies.

I grew up with one way – I’m not going to tell you which just yet, you can sweat a little. Let’s just tease you for a second or two and say that my age has something to do with my initial preference but that is not the end of the matter.

I laboured under this misapprehension of spatial insertion orthodoxy for years until I read the MHRA style guide, as you do. Okay it wasn’t a light recreational reading choice I confess, it was for my Masters. And there it was, the awful truth that I had been doing it wrong all these years. And I shall now reveal the answer to the question I posed…

It is one.

Apparently it was the manual typewriter that introduced the heinous aberration of  double space between sentences into the world of typography. I’m not going to labour the point about monospaced font – manual typewriters usually, versus proportional fonts, computers and trad typesetting. You can go and search for it online, trust me it is there in all its glory. The reason I learned to put two spaces was because of the mechanical and typographic idiosyncracies of the typewriter. The demise of that  beast and monospaced type meant the the return of the single pace, which real typesetters had never abandoned. Apparently.

 

So if it is one space now we have done away with the temporary glitch of manual typewriters sticking the extra space in to counter their abysmal fonts, why did my daughter spark such a trail of devastation throughout the Farrish household?

Because despite the change back, yes single space was the accepted norm before manual typewriting apparently, to single spacing between sentences, her academic writing guide suggests, possibly more than suggests, double spacing!

Hence my sudden trawl through the backwaters of typographer hell. They are quite vehement in their condemnation of the double space on the whole. Not merely suggesting it is preferable to use a single space but utterly consigning to the outer darkness those who would toy with the wasteful concept of double spacing between sentences.

So MHRA, typographers of the world and space savers everywhere or her University style guide?

(Sorry, no prizes if you got the question right, and I suspect no thanks from my daughter if you would like to suggest which route she should choose. Currently I believe she hates everyone associated with typographic rulings. Keep your heads down!)

MEMORY LANE AIN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE

I went to Cheltenham yesterday. The main idea was to let my son travel on a new (to Transport for Wales services) Class 170 train. This was achieved, missing the other rag bag collection of DMUs (Diesel Multiple Units) running on their routes, including Pacers – a Leyland bus on a rail chassis from the 1980s, definitely to be phased out in Summer December, honest, (2019)  but still currently trundling around for at least another six months – it’s Wales isn’t it?

I thought I’d also take the opportunity to have a look at Cheltenham, compare it with when I lived and worked in the area and bore him with ‘when I were a lad’ moments.

The latter objective was easily completed within seconds, you can bore a thirteen year old into a truculent rendition of ‘Daaad! Stop it’ with a simple point of the finger and ‘that used to be a loco shed’. He did get his own back almost immediately as we walked out of the station approach by beginning the second task somewhat earlier than I expected. I was gesticulating, offering a choice between the two routes I knew led to the centre of town, when he took us across the road down a short wooded slope and we joined the Honeybourne line. The council have turned this old railway line that used to run north into Warwickshire, into a cross town path and cycleway. I believe it goes all the way up to the leisure centre and Tommy Taylor’s lane near the racecourse but we just walked into town.

The centre of the town looked familiar, the Prom is much the same – I was aware of the Rabbit/Bull liaison on the bench (a sculpture of a large bull and rabbit cuddling – God knows why) but obviously shops had come and gone and moved about. Waterstones has crossed the road and moved up towards High Street a bit and a couple of other bookshops seem to have disappeared. We didn’t have much time in the end as we wanted to eat and catch a direct train back; stopping trains to where we had left the car are politely described as infrequent, so I didn’t stray very far from the centre. There are clearly major changes just off centre which we didn’t see: GCHQ has unified across town on the old Benhall site, called itself ‘The Doughnut’ and the old Oakley, Prior’s Road site is now a supermarket and housing estate.

Lower High street has had some money spent on it – demolishing large chunks of characterful (dilapidated) properties and substituting flash concrete and steel constructions – no doubt soon to be characterless and dilapidated.

Cheltenham obviously remains that very Middle England mixture of the affluent and the distressed underclass. The number of high end retail outlets – not the mass market chains but exclusive intimate sellers – remains large and the characters who produced the action for the first headline I saw on the newsstands, when local papers had paper display sheets outside newsagents to entice the punters, remain active in the town. That headline had read ‘Post Office armed robbers caught’. A shock to someone coming from the North to what he thought was a spa town for retired gentlefolk and Army majors and colonels. They were there, but so were the late twentieth century equivalent of the trio who walked into the fast food joint my son and I were having lunch in yesterday.

Two men and a woman entered, dived for a table tucked away out of sight of the serving counter and started arguing. After a voluble exchange of expletives, not good natured by the sound of them, one man started swigging from his own unmarked plastic bottle while the woman and the other guy rummaged furtively in a shopping bag. Small white packets of something were being flicked through. At no stage did any of them even pretend to buy any food or drink and when I went to the toilets upstairs I made sure my son came up with me whether he wanted to go or not. As we exited the place they were still rummaging and arguing and the counter staff were looking the other way.

So plus ca change, as they say. A microcosm of inequality: serious wealth, a pretentious middle ground – you can’t move for yoga and Pilates places – and a profoundly dysfunctional group of left behind working class. I moved to Gloucester pretty quickly in the 80s and I haven’t lived in England for twenty four years. It felt odd going back. A beautiful town set in gorgeous countryside on the edge of the Cotswolds, but I never really felt comfortable there. So much pretence, striving to be something that probably isn’t worth the candle and leaves so many harmed. I was glad to get back on the train to Wales.

RAIL TRIPS AND HEART BLIPS

On the non-writing periphery of life, the good news is my son and I had a day out in Swindon yesterday. Now Swindon may not be the immediate place that springs to mind when one thinks of places to spend the warmest day of the year so far in the UK, but trust me it was all good.

He likes trains and the main reason for going was the travelling, not the arriving. This involved a class 166 DMU set to Newport (boo! he wanted a newly truncated HST, 4 cars and two power cars) and his longest trip on the Class 800 IET.

I get used to making these train journeys and sitting on the station eating, let’s be fair here, quite pleasant, but often dramatically overpriced food and drinking unusually flavoured teas and coffees. Not this time however. To my surprise he decided to leave the station and go into the wider world.

I have been to Swindon fairly often off and on over the last thirty years but usually to other parts of the town than the area around the station. I think the last time was c1999 when I met some friends in the car park to start a journey to Agincourt. So the immediate vicinity was not exactly as I remembered it.

However we did find somewhere to have lunch, a branch of Subway; not what I was looking for, but what I was looking for probably does not exist in most (all?) of Britain these days.

When we had finished that he surprised me by suddenly expressing a desire to the ‘Steam’ GWR museum. He isn’t the faintest bit interested in steam engines or the ‘romance of the steam age’. Diesels and electric units are his obsession. On this occasion he walked right up to the door and inside – so I paid and round we went.

I don’t think he has transferred his allegiance to steam but he stuck with it for far longer than I thought he would. I’m a ‘casual’ railways fan – I like travelling on trains, as long as they are clean, not overcrowded and reasonably priced. I have never stood on a station watching trains for my own amusement, though I have over the last few years spent many hours doing so with my son. My enjoyment comes from seeing his enthusiasm. But I caught the tail end of steam locomotion on British Rail. I was given a look round the footplate of a steam engine at Macclesfield station by my Uncle Wilf (actually my father’s uncle) who was a train driver. I don’t know whether I remember it or whether I have constructed the memory from being told about it. Whatever the truth things were okayish until he blew the whistle which precipitated quite a long bout of crying and howling to rival the whistle. I’m not saying I dislike steam engines, I don’t, but I can share my son’s enthusiasm for the comparative cleanliness and quietness of modern railway engines.

Modern engines have not meant a significant improvement in service however. Sat on Swindon station later in the day, waiting for our Paddington to Swansea train to arrive, there was a litany of announcements. Services were running late, stations were being dropped from the schedule and people were on and off trains like some sort of musical chairs as announcements were ‘corrected’ and instructions on how to complete your journey changed.

Our train arrived only about six minutes late but it meant that the passenger wanting to make connections to several other trains missed the next trains by minutes. It turns out we were lucky as after the train we caught things really snarled up and there were several trains cancelled. I suppose I should be grateful we missed the worst of it all and we had a good time.

The bad news?

My heart has gone back into arrhythmia.

B*****!

 

PS-next bit of Westley follows shortly – later today or tommorrow.

HERE WE ARE AGAIN

It’s alive!

Well the national grid didn’t go down and despite waking up feeling slightly confused for a few minutes as the room had changed (well of course it had , I was in recovery) everything seems to have gone as well as (possibly better than) expected.

Heart back in sinus rhythm, blood pressure good, walking easy, no breathlessness.

Regrettably there is a good (should that be bad?) chance that it will go back into arrhythmia within a year according to the stats. But not everyone does, so fingers crossed.

The side effects warned about in the very thorough, and slightly scary, briefing about what could go wrong seem to have missed me. Main one – no stroke with blood clots from the swirling blood in the atrium being ejected into the blood stream and clogging bits of the blood supply. Also avoided burns from the pad connections and even skin irritation.

I don’t seem to have undergone any major personality changes either. Not that that was a possibility on the warning sheet, but I wondered if I could use it as an excuse to be suddenly aggressively decisive and ruthless and do exactly what I wanted, when I wanted. Still thinking of faking this, but I think I missed my window when I deferred to my children wanting to go to McDonalds drive thru on the way back from hospital. I wasn’t driving of course but I just for a second wondered whether I should have demanded to be taken home at once. Frankly I was still too groggy to care.

We’ll see about getting some more Westley Writers out soon then.

 

 

LIGHTING CANDLES

This takes place in the early 1960s and displays a set of values which I’d like to think are very different from today’s youth. But underneath all the new ’empathy and understanding’ I fear we may not have come on that far.

Pierce Street ran up the hill up from Catherine Street. Half way up the hill was our school, Christ Church infants and junior. Twice a week the curate from Christ Church, where Catherine Street became Bond Street, walked up the hill and gave us Divinity lessons and general chats about vicary things. When he ran out of homilies, we got talks from visiting African church members with all the associated embarrassing questions from Ally Sinclair: ‘Sir, is it true African babies are born white and then turn brown in the sun?’ I mean I know we didn’t have a lot of sun in Macclesfield, but baby ripening? Really? On the walls the maps were still coloured pink across large portions of the globe. Our text books had detailed descriptions of the sensible layout of various imperial cities, thanks to the perspicacity of British engineers and administrators, and reassuring suggestions that there were still opportunities for adventurous British youths in continuing the work.

At the top of Pierce Street, up the cobbled hill, built much later than Christ Church for reasons that we hadn’t yet touched on in history, loomed the tower of St Albans Roman Catholic Church. Attached to St Albans was another school, cunningly named St Albans infants and junior school.

We didn’t deal directly with the Reformation as such in lessons and certainly the Catholic Emancipation acts never got a look in, but we knew the Queen was head of the Church of England, and therefore Christ Church, and in consequence our school and that she also ran all the bits of the world coloured pink.

In contrast, St Albans was in the final analysis run by the Pope, who wasn’t British and had been on the side of the Spaniards when they sent the Armada to conquer England. Something we had done in class. The Armada had been rightly thrashed by Drake on his tea break from playing bowls. Bowls was played by the old men in South Park and on the much more difficult double crown green in West Park and woe betide any child who stepped on the hallowed turf. We wondered if Drake had worn a flat cap and smoked a pipe.

Whatever Drake’s sartorial and tobacco choices, he certainly dished the Dons who we all knew had been trying to reimpose Roman Catholicism on Elizabeth. Most of us realised this was a different Liz from our current monarch, Supreme Governor of the Church of England , Christ Church and our school, but I couldn’t vouch for everyone.

Sporadic reenactments of the sixteenth and seventeenth century wars of religion would, as a result break out, up and down the length of Pierce Street at break times, and before and after school. I don’t know what version of ‘love thy neighbour’ they were being taught in St Albans but it was clearly as ineffective as ours in behaviour modification compared to the underlying ‘this is us and that’s them and they’re bastards’ message underlying the history lessons.

After one particularly intense and enjoyable exchange of stones, more hits on them than on us defined the enjoyment factor, the Head called a special assembly. Bill Lewis, Mr Lewis, or God’s Anointed on Earth, acknowledged the different confessional preferences pertaining to Christ Church and St. Albans but reminded those of us invested in such things that it was all the same God in the end. And for those of us not so committed, it was against the law and we would suffer torment, if not eternal, then certainly in this world, should we be caught defending HM the Q’s faith in such a manner again. This was before human rights and telling the under tens they were below the age of criminal responsibility.

We trooped out, having sung a suitably martial hymn, possibly Onward Christian Soldiers, which, though flying under false colours, I used to enjoy belting out with gusto. As we filed into class, Mr Bayley sought out his usual suspects and fixed us with a steely gaze.

‘I hope that sunk in’ he said.

We nodded.

‘Good’

As we prepared to return to our desks, he asked us one more question.

‘Who won?’

Graham Newfield beamed ‘We did Sir!’

There was a flash of a smile and a wink.

‘Good lads! Off you go.’

 

This and more short fiction can also be found under Writing, Short Fiction

 

A Tale of Two Children

My daughter called me the other day after a night out dining in Birmingham to celebrate the birthday of a friend. It had been a good evening, nothing too madly extravagant, she’s a student after all, but enjoyable food, perhaps a little too rich for comfort in the dessert department, and good company. On the way home she passed a homeless man sitting in a doorway. He asked if they had any change to spare. She did not, having paid for her meal by debit card in our modern, monitored, cashless society. Wages snatches and bank robberies down, hooray! Online fraud, account hacking, data mining by companies and ‘targeted’ ads through the roof. Boo!

She felt guilty that she had to say ‘no’ to him and go on her way. He didn’t harangue her and her friends, or swear, or grumble or threaten or intimidate. He said he understood and thanked them for listening and wished them a good night.

I consoled her and during our conversation she rehearsed some of the caveats and concerns a decent middle class young woman might have: she knew some people used the money for drink or drugs, she didn’t want to infantilise or ‘discincentivise’ him etc, but at the end of it all she wished she had had some money to give him, and she was going to make sure she carried some change in future and maybe donate some food to food banks.

I have my thoughts about that – charity is a great sticking plaster for governments shirking their responsibilities – whatever happened to socialism, one nation Conservatism, the idea we are ‘all in this together’? If the state expects acquiescence and buy in from its citizens it had better look after the weak or the violent will inherit the earth.

But the thing that surprised me was the reaction of my son when I told him this story. He is twelve. His face creased in a concerned frown. His first comment was, ‘he was probably scamming her’. When I pursued this, he said ‘they’ weren’t really homeless but were just taking money off people. We had a chat. I suggested that there probably were people doing exactly that, but it was unlikely someone was sat in a doorway in central Birmingham in the freezing cold at that time of night to score a few pennies in change if they had somewhere better to be. At 1600 hours possibly. At midnight, not likely.

We kicked the idea around for a few minutes until the blandishments of Fortnite overrode social theory and risk assessment.

Did this suggest a Victorian truth? Girls are nice but gullible and Boys hard nosed but clear sighted? Well I’ve peddled the same middle of the road social democratic line of societal integration and inclusivity on social, racial and gender lines to both of them. I’m a Guardian reading, BBC Radio Four listening fool. I draw the line at Vegan Soy Milk Yoghurt Knitting but I have definite rules about ‘understand a little more, blame a little less’ to flip John Major’s aphorism on its head.

So did hard wired gender bias take over and filter this message to my daughter’s brain and my son’s brain and leave wildly different results?

I don’t think so.

In his reaction I can hear the clear voice of the parents and grandparents of some of his peers.

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I have no desire for him to grow up to be a mug or an easy touch for charlatans, fraudsters or sturdy beggars. I do however want compassion and empathy to be his touchstones, the first emotions he reaches for rather than contempt and condemnation. Sure there are people who will try and scam money off others. I just want both my children to be aware that the threat is just as likely to come from someone peddling a mainstream brand of unnecessary first world dross, as from someone pretending to be homeless, and far more likely to succeed.

The pretend homeless person may take a few pence in change from you, the purveyor of empty dreams will take your wages, your data, your future, your house and your soul if you aren’t careful.

So what do I do?

I don’t want to do a hard sell on him, but I won’t just agree with him when he repeats the simplistic twaddle that infects much of our public discourse. So I’ll continue to look puzzled and ask him a few follow up questions and play games with him and be his Dad, and hope that common sense and truth can successfully filter through to counter fear and prejudice.

Keep your fingers crossed.

 

Daughter’s Success!

Another of those moments.

My daughter turned 18 earlier this year, which was nice, but is one of those things that you achieve simply by surviving.

More interesting is that last week she got into her first choice, Russell Group, university to study Philosophy Religion and Ethics.

I am immensely proud of her, and incredibly pleased, and also a little sad.

It is what she wanted and I support her wholeheartedly but it is the portent of the severing of a tie. She is off to be an adult, and despite a plan to return in three years and live here during her teacher training year I know this is the beginning of her separate life. That is obviously something to be desired, something we have worked towards and something we are proud she is keen to achieve. And yet…

I have enjoyed the last 18 years so much I’d quite like to do it all again!

I’m going to miss her.