Friday, 29 August 2014

Autumn Makes Parents Essential

In the Autumn, long-legged spiders start striding across our walls and floors.  They are males and they are looking for mates. 
In the Autumn, our independent daughter who, over the summer, fixed passports currency and tickets on her own suddenly needs us.
In case you can’t read it, the note reads:
“I know I’m a bad person for leaving this spider here, but SHIT is it big and I just can’t face it on my own,,,
(a very frightened) Carenza xx"

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Twins Back Together

After a couple of months apart on student summer experiences, the twins are happy to be back together again.  So happy that Perran threw a bucket of icy water over Carenza and I almost filmed it.

Carenza succeeds where Obama failed - the Icebucket Nomination.

"Thanks SinĂ©ad for the nomination. I've done the ice bucket challenge and donated.
Due to a technical problem (my mum's iphone skills) there's a slight problem with the footage...
Ah well, get soaked PascoeLaurenHannahLilahBetsy and Bethany. Enjoy!"

Friday, 22 August 2014

Furry Kettles

Carenza, Lila and Hannah
Just this time last year, Perran and Carenza’s A level results came out.  Suddenly it was the end of suspended animation.   At last Perran and Carenza knew where they were going to study and where they would be living.  I felt like I had a licence to go out and by duvets, desk lamps and waste paper bins. 
It seems so much more than a year ago that the twins got their results.  In fact, it appears to have been a full generation ago – Carenza now has sons and daughters.  These are her “college children”.  Second year undergraduates, are assigned freshers to support with helpful advice (and presumably hangover cures). 
Carenza herself, when she was a new college daughter emailed a question which caused her college parents some confusion:
“Will I need to de-fur my kettle?”
De-furring kettles is an everyday problem in the hard-water area in which we live.  However, her college parents were not familiar with the challenge of hard water so Carenza’s query caused some consternation, especially when they shared it with lots of their fellow undergraduates.  People still mention the furry kettle today...

I wonder what unexpected questions Carenza’s college children will ask her.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Ben Nevis on a Unicycle 2

He got to the top!  Now waiting to hear that he has got to the bottom - but hopefully not too quickly.

Ben Nevis on a Unicycle

For Ben Nevis today (Saturday), heavy rain is forecast and temperatures of 5 degrees.  For Sunday, thunderstorms; for Monday, snow.
If, like Pascoe, you intend to attempt to climb the UK’s highest mountain by unicycle, today is probably the best day of the weekend then.
The trip says a lot about Pascoe’s time at the University of East Anglia, because his fellow unicyclists in the attempt are Caroline and Ian, his housemates from last year.  University should be the kind of place where you discover people you can unicycle up Ben Nevis with.
Meanwhile, as I write, Pascoe has already encountered his first obstacle.  He was told that unicycles weren’t allowed on the bus.  He overcame it with a highly devious ruse – he wrapped the unicycle in a black bin bag.  Apparently, odd, dog-bone-shaped parcels are allowed.
In all seriousness, the thought of my son risking his neck on the mountain makes me worried, but also proud, because he’s raising money for an essential fund:-

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Edinburgh Fringe

John Kearns in his show 'Schtick'
One of the benefits of having children at university in other parts of the country is that you get to visit those places.  
Carenza and I set off on a girls’ trip to visit her godmother Charlotte in Glasgow and Pascoe in Edinburgh.  It was great to catch up with Charlotte and Robert, and when we reached Edinburgh, Pascoe with huge generosity gave us his room and bedded down in the shared sitting room. 
However, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival hijacked the trip.  
None of us had been before, although Nigel and I did once set off in a mini which broke down half an hour from home.  The Edinburgh Fringe is a matter of such complexity that at first we were overwhelmed by the multiple telephone-directory-sized programmes, the hundreds of venues, and the constant press of people shoving flyers into our hands.  
But we soon got the hang of it.
Pascoe is an obliging person, prepared to play along with a joke, so it was inevitable he would end up on stage:  I guess when you’ve been up in front of an audience, sitting on a bar stool, wearing a blonde wig, sipping a tia maria and lucozade with comedian John Kearns sitting on your knee you definitely can say you’ve been to the Fringe. 

Friday, 8 August 2014


Guess we'd better get rid of that plastic spear then.
Spending a year on my PGCE gave me the perfect excuse for avoiding my most hated task – clearing out. 
A day spent clearing out always feels like a day wasted.  And what do I have to show for an entire day of clearing? – a square foot of floor, or a yard of shelf. 
Curiously it is not only essential but also not worth it, both at the same time.
What makes the process last so long are the emotional booby traps.  Sandwiched between the strata of unloved school exercise books will be a hand-drawn fathers’ day card or a painting of our long-deceased guinea pig.  Little explosions of affection and nostalgia detonate in my heart.  My judgement begins to falter – how can I throw out anything from my children’s infancy when it was such a precious time?  I should treasure each sacred artefact.
But my nearly-grown-up children still come home and when they do, they don’t want to find their rooms like museums stuffed with ancient objects – they want somewhere to sling their rucksack and a shelf to store their shot glasses until next term.
So I scoop up another armful of physics notes and pile them into the recycling box.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Student Food Instagram

Typical Foodie Instagram
Just now, a meal in a smart restaurant begins not with tucking in your napkin or pouring a glass of water.  Instead, when your food arrives, beautifully presented, you are supposed to take a photo of it and upload it to Instagram. 
Some people are very scathing about this, others see it as a chance to celebrate some food art whose existence is fleeting.
I recently found a picture Pascoe took of some proper student food.  It is clearly a superior meal – exactly what the metabolism of the growing young male requires – a large heap of filling, brown-coloured food.    And as to presentation, I think the whole roast pigeon perched on top makes it look rather special – don’t you?

Student Food Photo