This week, The Boy is mostly learning to be a ski instructor. For his 'BASI 1' qualification, he is spending the week at the Hemel Hempstead Ski centre. I'm glad they have a ski centre, because as far as I know its only other claim to fame has been the most complicated round about in the world - one roundabout with mini-roundabouts at each of the entrances...so you can end up legally going the wrong way round the roundabout. Fortunately, The Boy doesn't have to go through/round/over that on his journey to ski school. Hemel is about 40 minutes away from us on a good day, and a trek of several hours round the M25 and up the M1 during the rush hour, so he is at least getting to practice his driving skills.
Once he's done the course, he will be able to teach you to throw yourself down the (indoor) mountain on two pieces of polished wood. Mad. But fun. He'll then be back home for a week before he heads to Austria to do their equivalent in a place that nobody's heard of after a journey that is the equivalent of going to the Centre of the Earth. I wish him luck...he'll need it. I will merely age several centuries as I fret over whether he has arrived safely. And that's not good because clearing through some old paperwork I realised that if I live only as long as my father, I'm into my last innings. Just 26 years to go. As they say in stocks and shares, past performance is no guarantee of future results. Or something.
I've been quite (very) shocked to see the reaction of some people I know to the Madeleine McCann programme this week. These are folks that I've known for many years and have always found them gentle, friendly and nice. On Facebook they've come out in a vicious, quite a nasty way about how the McCanns should be prosecuted for neglect and probably for the murder of their child. I don't know what happened that night, and I doubt we ever will, but a torrent of bile towards the McCanns doesn't seem civilised at any level.
The Cat's Mother has been pining badly for her daughter, so I have introduced her to Skype. I may have been better off giving her heroin. She thinks it's the greatest invention ever, and proved it on Sunday by making three calls in one day. The Cat is lapping it up at the moment which is terrific. But I can't help but feel that putting a distance between parent and offspring is all part of the university experience. I expect I will be in trouble for even thinking that.