Heavens above! Get down from there Georgina.... this very instant!
“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible." T.E. Lawrence; Seven Pillars of Wisdom
When caught red-handed, wrongfully accused or when the innocent husband just finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, many adopt the passive 'Statue Defence,' gambit. Most men learn this at a very early age and to be fair, almost all do indeed gain traction with its deployment. Overuse though quickly dilutes it's effectiveness. Used sparingly however, it can maintain it's efficacy right into middle-age. The young student of Lifemanship in the clip above is executing the Statue Defence with devastating consequences for his mother's cross face. Well done young fellow!
I looked at my notebook and saw I have a queue of some 22 items I have scribbled a note about and many of which are half written, which at some point, will become 22 blog posts. That is a weak way of saying, 'haven't posted in a wee while but boy, have I got some really important, witty, emotional... blah blah things to say.....!' I will get round to it. In the meantime, and in the the interests of simply putting something up there, let's check out some of the latest Snapchatty messages from the family which, I must say, have been somewhat scant in frequency of late. Could it be because Dad sticks the odd one on his blog? Anyway, (few 'in' family jokes here but they're out there for posterity now), these made me smile...(click to move).
If you have ever suffered from abandonment issues worry not. You are neither unique nor are you alone. I’ve been scraping by for the last five days myself. She left with a cheery wave last week to spend a week with her sister detoxing, (whatever that is), and promising to return, ‘glowing.’ ‘You could get out of a hot bath glowing,’ I muttered as she disappeared in a cloud of dust down the track.
So, it’s been just myself and the boys, (the dogs that is for the Crumble boys are well off and away doing their own thing). So we’ve been here on a boys-will-be-boys self-catering hell-raising week at the homestead. In a manner of speaking that is. Hell-raising in this instance is outrageous behaviour such as leaving the washing-up until the morning, leaving loo seats up all over the house all the time and listening to Radio 4 until I fall asleep.
As Mrs Flashbang was leaving she said, ‘I’ve left some things in the fridge for you.” That was a nice touch. Unfortunately, when I arrived home this evening I realised that all the ‘things,’ had been either eaten or binned because they were either unsuitably healthy or just morbidly tasteless. I had though, forgotten to go to the supermarket today. The resulting rummage around the cupboards and freezer was somewhat disheartening. Given there were things in the freezer labelled before the Internet was invented that was a big no-no. The cupboards revealed things previously unknown to me although I should be absolutely honest and say the last time I looked in there was around 1995. Really though, what in the flying fuck are Cannellini Beans, Bijoux Verts Lentils and Aduki Beans? Is she secretly trying to finish me off by covertly feeding me cat food? I can’t tell you how much my heart soared when I spotted a good old fashioned and honest tin of baked beans at the back. There it was, almost hidden in shame in the darkness when all of us boys know it should be at the front, gleaming with pride and shouting, ‘I’m a tin of baked beans and I’m proud of it.’
Then, the dilemma. Do I go for the failsafe backstop of beans-on-toast or do I risk the out of date chicken fillets in the fridge? “Well,’ I thought to myself, “I have two boys. They do scary, boy stuff all the time. I’m not going to let two chicken fillets that are two days after their sell-buy date turn me into a big Jessie. I need to look my boys in the eye.’ I did what every Dad on his own would do. I made the all time best ever-chicken sandwich, (or ‘stack,’ as us cool Dad’s know them).
Whilst I was chopping and cutting it took me back a wee bit to the days when I got seriously into cooking. When I was on my own it became slightly obsessive. I even did a couple of cookery courses and delighted in entertaining in what I like to think, became a culinary hotspot in Islington for good wine and food and all done from the smallest of kitchens. My flatmate at the time and I used to argue and bicker like two old queens over important matters like sauce consistency and the crispiness of our crunchy roast potatoes, (I’m a Delia man as far as they are concerned). The passion for cooking dissipated in time though, mostly because I married a better cook.
I do think, men tend to focus on single issue challenges, climb that particular mountain and then move on to the next. When for example, I rediscovered fly-fishing, which I had not done since my younger days I tore into it with passion, commitment and unrestrained enthusiasm. Having drained the bank balance somewhat, and having achieved a modicum of success I drifted away from fishing for trout in the chalk-streams and took on the bigger and more industrial challenge of salmon fishing. That had a whole lot more deleterious effect on the bank balance but the reward for success was commensurate with the challenge the Atlantic salmon present. Salmon fishing is just special and really, you do not have to catch a fish to benefit from the joy of chilling while standing in a river casting a fly, even badly, while embracing the peace and unending theatre of nature that surrounds you. It is so very cathartic.
Another example of a rabid obsession was the Annual Airfix Modelling competition at the boy’s prep school. I don’t think the Crumble boys had a losing year. They did the modelling but it was a great excuse for me to go and buy all the bits I wasn’t able to have as a kid. Front and centre was a paint spray gun. Oh how we all wanted one of those when I was young. You get a very nice effect with a spray gun rather than brushes. Your helicopter landing to pick up wounded soldiers on an LZ with flashing helicopter lights, a starlit sky and sound effects really comes to life with the spray painted cam work and the desert floor moulded out of plasticast. Not that I took it seriously or anything.
So, what will be my next challenge? Do you know, I am not so very sure. I started the year with a whole bunch of resolutions, none of which are even close to being started never mind completed. We are at the time of year when I start to feel the old familiar tight knot in my stomach, when my mind begins to wander and I find it difficult to concentrate. Those same feelings you feel when you fall in love. I can sense those big salmon are coming to the end of their long journey from the feeding grounds and are heading to the Tweed. I find myself watching clips on YouTube and checking out salmon fly retailers, (not that, like all fisherman, I need any more flies), yet I have nothing booked.
Is this the year I break the dependency and move on? It is, with such weighty matters as these, that we gentleman must grapple whilst our wives disappear to apparently, detox. I fear I have no answer at present but at the very minimum, this rambling post has allowed me a break from my more weighty posts which I’ve been playing with about Dunkirk and St Valery and I do want to get those right, if not this.
So, it's Halloween and quelle surprise, Mrs Flashbang and the rest of the coven are getting together tonight for their monthly Book Club session. Now tell me that is just coincidence. And you thought I was joking...
25 years ago today.......... and it feels like it has passed in a heartbeat. Apart from the unfortunate incident when I almost carelessly lost her as a result of a particularly nasty ectopic pregnancy early on, there has not been a day that has passed when that girl hasn't made me smile. I'm a very lucky, happy and grateful man.
Fiji was pretty cool too.............
The good thing about having children is they're all different.................... really different.
Coming to the end of summer and as usual, the kids have been spread to the four winds. One left the other week for his holiday with a bag full of crampons, ice aces and ice screws. That won't worry his mother then........
When my daughter was four I was asked to do some face painting. She wanted a pretty butterfly. I thought this was dull so livened things up by painting a scary clown. She hasn’t forgiven me, (see above). Quick off the mark as ever Mrs Flashbang and the boy joined in to make her feel better. That didn’t work, nor did my offer of any treat that a credit card could buy within 100 miles. Somewhat improbably, as a result of this incident, she blames me for her inconvenient fear of blood and needles.
We discovered this when she had her ears pierced at sixteen. Now if you are going to faint dramatically, the beauty salon at Harrods is definitely the place to do it. They do take care of you there. Apparently, there were girls in her House at school who did piercing for free with sewing needles but no, we had to go to Harrods.
Trundling on, (and omitting the Christmas incident when she fainted after pricking her palm with the pen knife I had given her), my by now not so little princess was at the dentist yesterday for a chat about wisdom teeth. ‘Please don’t tell me any more about it’ She pleaded with the dentist. ‘I must, I have to tell you what we’re going to do; I’m not allowed not to.’ She lasted another few seconds before the familiar crump of my daughter passing out was heard.
While she was recovering, the dental nurse mopped her brow and said, and I promise I’m not making this up, ’well dear, when the time comes you’re not going to handle child birth very well are you, perhaps you’ll need to think about adoption.’ ………nice.
We've all had one of these moments. I kind of miss them......!
There you go kid, your dad just put a picture of you at 2 years old all over the interweb....