Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Sweet sixteen

There's nothing like the gentle sound of your sixteen year old son wretching violently into the toilet at half past one in the morning to make you realise that time has indeed marched on since you were changing nappies in the middle of the night. The bodily function may have changed, and the end that needs attention may be different, but the need to be a diligent parent has remained. I stayed in bed whilst The Cat and The Cat's Mother tended to his needs. Not that I was uncaring, it's just that I thought my role was best as amused father the following morning. I may yet be proved right.

We had been to the 18th birthday party of the daughter of a friend whose son is the boy's best friend. It took place in the sort of bar that appeals to eighteen year olds, but for the grown ups it was a moment to think, "I'm so glad I don't have to do this anymore" It was alternately red velour, black walls and shiny mirrors, in places dark in other places bright and sparkly. Lovely. The Cat's Mother and I thought we should stay for an hour, which was both polite and enough time to catch up with the other oldies we know. It wasn't long enough to embarrass the offspring with our presence. We left as The Boy downed a(nother) beer and The Cat finished her first gin and tonic. At some time nearing one in the morning they crashed through the front door. And forty five minutes later The Boy made his presence felt in the bathroom.

For no obvious reason, our alarm clock decided that it had missed out on the action and some time around four in the morning it decided to turn itself on. It took me several minutes to work out what the time was...have you ever looked at your watch sure in the knowledge it must be a quarter to seven when the hands are definitely telling you it is five past four. As was the digital clock nest to it. It's like drinking a cup of coffee when you think you've been handed a cup of tea.

The Poet Laureate and Auntie Gwen hauled me up for my comments about public sector pensions, so let me just say's not that I think people don't deserve to have a living income when they retire. I do, absolutely. But there is a real has been apparent for a decade or two that the pensions offered simply cannot be afforded...they will bankrupt the country. The private sector is offering much worse pensions than it used to because of the affordability issue. There are two factors at is the ageing population...people are living longer so pensions need tobe paid out for longer, and secondly, by far and a long way the greatest growth in employment over the last decade has been public sector employment. So there is/will be more pensions to be paid for a longer time. Whether it is the current rabble in No 10 or the descendents of Tony Blair, the decisions would ultimately have to be the same. It's harsh. I know that, but at the end of the day it is horribly inevitable that change has had to come. The promise is, though, that public sector pensions will remain the best available. Personally I think we should all move to Greece where (I'm told) if you're in the armed forces you can retire at 45 and then your children get to inherit your pension when you pop your clogs.

And quickly backj to my photo a day...this is Monday night's...a panorma of the quad at The Boy's school. I realise these don't work so well on the blog...the best thing to do is simply to right click and download can then enlarge it in your normal photo viewer so you get the effect. Or don''s up to you!