Thursday 24 July 2008

Surf's up

When The Boy's away, it's a good time for him to have a break from me and vice versa...or so the teacher said to all the parents when they disappeared off to Zermatt earlier this year. None the less, the house always seems a little empty and motivation to do anything domestic goes out the window. I do resist the temptation to call to see how he's getting on...but the wicked witch of the west always insists that he rings me. Usually, as it's under duress, the conversations are short and uninformative...and end with me encouraging him not to worry about calling me if he doesn't need/want to. So it's been a surprise that calls this week have been full of excitable news about his latest holiday ventures. Yesterday, he learnt to surf and is insistent that he needs to buy a surf board....fortunately as the waves in Brighton don't lend themselves to this particualr sport, then it should be an argument easily won. Or will it?

Wednesday 23 July 2008

Statistically sound

I'm taking advantage of the boy's absence to get a lie-in (he has an uncanny ability to rise early, which doesn't seem natural for a teenager) and the good weather to cycle the twelve miles into the office. I've got a fantastic gadget that tells me all sorts of things including the fact that essentially, I cycle downhill to the office and uphill to get home in the evening. I suspect I would be happier if it was the other way round. My travelling experiences lead me to the following conclusions:

1. As a car driver I do an emergency stop no more than once a year. As a Vespa scooter rider, it's once a month. And as a cyclist it's once a day.

2. Cyclists are a menace. They have no regard for the rules of the road, consideration for other road users...or even for themselves. I came to this conclusion any moons ago, but am pleased that even as a cyclist my conclusion is still right. I should point out that I do stop at traffic lights.

3. Cars are usually pretty law-abiding...but Vauxhall Astras and Audi A3s are invariably driven badly and should be avoided like the plague. I have a much longer list of dangerous road users, but as it is not in any way PC, it will have to remain in my head.

4. Vans are driven faster than they should be, and always come much closer to my shoulders than I would like; Buses are the worst at pulling out in front of you...or worse still when you're three-quarters along the side forcing you to stop mid-road or swerve into the on-coming traffic; lorries are fine...but never cycle up the inside as they have a habit of turning left with the likely outcome of squashing you into jam

5. Exercise may make your body ache, but makes you feel mentally alive, colours become more vivid and shapes sharper

Monday 21 July 2008

There are no Daleks

The Boy has gone off to spend sometime with Grandma in Wales (as opposed to Grandma in Cyprus). It's become an annual ritual, providing me with something of a break...and indeed him too. We were up early on Saturday to ensure we had time to stop off at the designer discount outlet in Swindon...I'm not much of a fan, but it has given us two pairs of Quicksilver trainers for a grand total of £18 in the past, so I'm not one to turn my nose up at it. Unfortunately, declining to purchase a pair of jeans that he would have grown out of in a fortnight induced a sulk meaning there were no trainers deemed worthy. I, on the other hand, managed three shirts and a pair of shorts for 30 hard earned quids.

At the outlaws (a phrase coined by the boy's own phrase for the grandmother is 'Wicked Witch of the West' in honour of his mum's love of Wizard of Oz) there was only one embarassing moment. Somehow over lunch the topic of the boy leaving home came up...the boy asserted that I had said he was being thrown out when he hits defence that I hadn't said that, it was just that I couldn't see why anyone would want to stay at home when they grow up was met by a stony silence...particularly from the 51 year old uncle who still lives with his mother, The Wicked Witch. We moved on.

I left to go and visit Hereford friends, and a joyous paddle down the River Wye. Very much to be enjoyed, and for once I didn't fall in. Commenting on the scenery, one of our party stated quite clearly, 'Look there's a Dalek'. Two of us heard it quite distinctly. Her defence that she had in fact said, 'Oh smell the wild garlic' was dismissed, and we spent the rest of the day looking for Daleks.