Father’s Day

Father’s Day this year passed off without seeing my daughter and with seeing my son off at the airport on his way back to Berlin. My daughter usually gives me a card like this year’s card and always manages to write warm words about how wonderful a dad I am. Thank you, kid. On the way to the airport I reminded my son that it was Father’s Day. “Happy Father’s Day, Dad”, he said! Ever since he’s been living in Berlin he hasn’t been doing cards – birthdays, Christmas, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day. That’s OK, son…..

Several decades ago I made a decision that Mother/Father’s Day cards were a marketing thing by the card industry and that I would stop sending a card to my mother. I seem to recall this didn’t go down well with my mum and I reverted to going with the flow in subsequent years.

Good to see you, son

My son lives and works in Berlin but he’s been working here at home in the UK for the past 3 weeks. It was over 15 months ago that we last saw him (other than video calls). On arriving into the UK he had to quarantine for 10 days and to have Covid tests on days 2 and 8. He chose to take an additional test (test-to-release) on day 5 which enabled him to end the quarantine on day 7 once the results of the day-5 test had arrived.

Other than a mid-week, day trip to Brighton, he did a normal working week whilst here. I couldn’t believe how much of his working day is taken up with Zoom meetings. When I was working I had one monthly meeting – that was it.

Having decided to return to Berlin he had to arrange for the flight and the necessary travel Covid tests. His flight was actually two flights, via Amsterdam, and it wasn’t clear which tests were required to satisfy the UK, Dutch and German Covid regulations. In the end he did the full works – tests at 72 hours and 24 hours – though I think it turns out one of these wasn’t really necessary.

Now, back in Berlin, he is required to self isolate for 14 days. No leaving of the flat, no visitors to the flat. He hasn’t been looking forward to this – I hope the time passes quickly for him. It was wonderful to see him again, and little Chloe and Iris gave him oodles of attention. Hopefully the UK and German restrictions will ease over the coming months so that we can all see each other again. Thanks for coming, son!

Not David Hockney

I have a copy of a David Hockney painting, “Red pots in the garden”. My latest project as not an artist was to paint it – see below for Hockney’s original. I’m OK with my effort and I enjoyed doing it. You can see my development / non-development at https://thingschange.blog/not-an-artist/

In the style of David Hockney
Red pots in the garden, by David Hockney

My mum would have been 100 today

Mum-on-93rd-birthdayx
1921 – 2018

My mum would have been 100 today. This is her on her 93rd birthday. She didn’t look her age, and it’s how I remember her.

In her later years, but before going into care, she liked sitting down with her feet up; watching TV and Holby City; reading the Mirror and the Daily Echo; chewing toffees; visits from her family; visits from the carers; tea but not coffee. She dozed a lot.

She loved driving and the independence it gave her. At the age of 89 she stopped driving – and her swollen knee suddenly got better.

She was a strong old lady. She had a lovely smile and looked a bit like our Queen. We all miss her.

Little pics for little ones

Each week I try to send the little ones a notelet, with a bit of writing, a picture and a couple of silver coins stuck to the back of each notelet. Here are today’s painting, done using acrylics. I began by painting a black background – a first for me. #NotAnArtist

Cable guy

Three months before I was due to leave home and embark on college life in Middlesbrough, I took a temporary job in a cable factory at Eastleigh, near Southampton. The job was a clerical one and my office was to be a small, blue shed inside the factory. My task was to deal with a huge backlog of paperwork relating to goods received and issued. I had to enter the details of each movement into an appropriate page in an appropriate ledger. What a nightmare! A vast number of screws, nails, nuts and bolts, in a multitude of sizes and type. More often than not the description in the paperwork was insufficient to correctly identify the appropriate item in the ledgers. Having exhausted the patience of my supervisor with my numerous requests for help, I ended up making educated guesses. I’m sure the resulting records were hopelessly inaccurate. The records for the cables themselves were easier to match up and thus probably more reliable, though I do vaguely recall doing a stocktake of the large reels of cables and discovering mismatches between the records and the reality.

While working at the factory I met my first girlfriend (if I exclude SW at infants/junior school!). M used the perfume Memoir Cherie – I sometimes think I can still sense the smell, decades later. We would catch the train (steam?) into Southampton and in those days carriages had corridors, and compartments with blinds. Taking M home there wasn’t much light in the compartment as the train passed through a long tunnel leaving Southampton station, and it was there that the delights of innocent snogging began. M was to cause me much heartache as we attempted, and failed, to continue a relationship when I went off to college. The Beatles’ song Hello, Goodbye always triggers memory of the break-up meeting, just before Christmas. <sobbing>

I had my first pint in a pub. I think it was probably the day I had an interview for the job. Fish and chips and peas, and a pint at the Railway Inn (?). Happy days.

ThingsChange.blog redesign

I’ve done another redesign of thingschange.blog! It’s not the first redesign I’ve done – probably the fourth or fifth change since I started with WordPress almost 10 years ago. Before then I used Google’s Blogger and I probably changed the design a few times using that blogging platform. The current change is more fundamental as I’ve gone from having a blog to having a web site with a link to the blogging pages. There’s no real reason for this change – I just like tinkering.

When I used to write software programs I was always tinkering, improving the code, adding new features. It’s a fun thing to do, if you’ve got the time.

The web address thingschange.blog now points to the main web page, whilst the blog pages can now be accessed through links on this page and from the top menu.