Ten-pin bowling with the kids

The noise! The lights! The colours! Welcome to ten-pin bowling in the modern world! We texted my wife that she might like to keep away! We had a great time – I came top (I’m the oldest) and little 5-year-old Iris (the youngest) came second. Well done Iris! And the day wasn’t over as we all met up for a late lunch at Pizza Express, which was also a great time. What a great day!

I’ve been to a football match

I can’t remember the last time I went to a football match – possibly a Premiership match at Fulham, 10 or more years ago. On a whim I decided today to go watch my local team, Sutton United (newly promoted into League 2 of the Football League) play a home match against faraway Carlisle. Sutton went on to win 4-0. It wasn’t a bad game but it was a great result. The picture below was taken after one of the goals.

I once went to a match with my dad. This was after he had separated from my mum. I can’t remember the actual teams but I think it was two of Corby, Kettering or Northampton. My dad lived in Corby. Today, my more-than-grown-up son who lives in Berlin messaged me in response to my messages re today’s match that “I would also like to go sometime!!!”. Back in 1989 (I had to look that date up) Sutton beat Coventry in a famous third-round FA Cup match, only to be slaughtered 8-0 in the following away match against Norwich. Me and my son went to both matches and if I remember correctly he was distraught by the drubbing in this fourth-round match. That was probably the last time I went to a match with my son. It would be nice to do it again, son.

It was interesting being at today’s match. There’s a lot of booting the ball forward and far more heading of the ball than I would consider healthy. The supporters at the match were predominantly male, middle-aged or older, bearded. Mums and dads came with their kids but most kids seemed disinterested in the match. I can’t believe how long people will queue for burger and chips, even during play. The players seemed to be more gentlemanly that players in the top divisions, which I appreciated. I’ll go again.

The day we lost the kite on its maiden flight!

It was all going so well, the little ones taking turns flying the new kite – their first kite! Little Iris started running, encouraging the kite to fly higher, but then she stumbled, letting go of the kite spool, and we all watched as the kite flew up and up and into the trees. Our attempts to encourage it to untangle from the branches and to be blown out of the trees were in vain. Finally, we severed the cord hoping that the wind might be strong enough to blow the kite free, but it wasn’t to be.

We continued to the top of Boxhill to enjoy the rest of the day, hoping for a miracle and that we would find the kite waiting for us on our descent, but sadly no. Ordering a replacement kite will be the first thing to do on arriving home.

Hampton Court with the kids

On a cool day, a picnic with the little ones in the beautiful gardens of Hampton Court followed by a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. What stunning flowers! Then back home to admire their garden decorations – little girls are so imaginative.

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!

When we got back

When we got back from our 9 days in Eastbourne, part of our walls had been turned into an art gallery (the plate is ours)! We had vacated our home so that our grandchildren weren’t homeless between house moves – and this is how they thank us!!