On the way home..

I haven’t done one of these for a while, but eldest was on form again.

It’s a thursday catchup as we haven’t seen each other in a few days. The darker nights and the motion of the car tend to be the gentlest lullaby for youngest cub, who is asleep before we hit the main roads. His sister is in full flow.

‘So dad…’ she begins

‘I’ve been thinking about Egypt a lot as we’ve been studying it in school. We talked about the great pyramids of Giza and the curse of the mummy’s tomb. Do you believe in the curse?’

No; I tend to…

‘I don’t believe in the curse. I think it was, wait for this, you’ll like this one; bacteria!’

I’m impressed. Do continue..

‘Well; my friend and I are now scientists who don’t believe in God’

Wait a minute; you go to a Church of England School. You pray every day.

‘I don’t really pray any more; I just think’

Ah so you reflect?

‘No; I just think about things that have happened recently….’

Well it’s fine to challenge beliefs darling; I encourage you to take nothing at face value but, be prepared to come up with an argument, both for and against. And be prepared to respect the views of others, without being dogmatic.

‘That sounds like a lot; I’m only 8. Anyway, a dead body locked in an almost air tight building is bound to generate some bacteria. Either that, or the bodies were coated in something that we can’t detect, that became airborne during the course of decomposition. Once the tomb was disturbed, the entrance of new air caused a reaction and the bacteria was breathed in. Boom’

Are you sure you’re only 8?

‘I told you; I’m a scientist.’


landscape nature sky person
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‘What would happen if the Universe shrunk?’

It depends on how quickly it happened; we probably wouldn’t notice. It could be shrinking now.

‘I don’t believe in aliens. Little things running around out there’

Well it’s hard to discount other life forms. The Universe is infinite, and expanding.

‘Not shrinking?’

Definitely not shrinking. It’s still expanding from the big bang.

‘How many other galaxies do you know?’

Just Andromeda.  I think. I’ll have to check when we get home. Think about this; each star that you can see in the night sky is probably a sun. Each of those suns could, potentially have planets orbiting around them. Any one of those planets in the Goldilocks zone, could support life similar to ours. Now imagine this; all the stars that we can see, in the expanse of the sky above us, are a fraction of the stars out there. For scale, it’s not even equivalent to me placing a pea in our garden, but we can only see one-quarter of the pea. To travel to the other side of that pea, would take millions of light years; do you know what a light year is? It sounds like a measurement of time but it’s actually a measure of distance. It’s the distance that light can travel in a year. Light travels at 186,000 miles, per second. PER SECOND. Times that by the number of seconds in a year.

What do you think of that?

‘My friend at school said he rode his dad’s motorbike down the road one night. I don’t think that’s true’


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‘Do you believe in mythical creatures?’

I’m a fan of cryptozoology, which is the study of mythical creatures. My favourite was Bigfoot, but you have the Loch Ness monster amongst others.

‘What others?’

I’m stumped.

‘A unicorn?’

Yeah; why not.

‘What was so good about Bigfoot?’

Strangely, it was the most plausible of all of the stories, and there was video footage.

‘I’ve seen it; do you believe it?’

No; not really. There’s not enough strong evidence. Where are the bones of the deceased? hair samples? scat?

‘What?’

Scat. Poo. It’s what you look for as evidence of existence. It can tell you loads.

‘I don’t like the sound of that. Maybe it poos out of the other end?’

Which other end?? It’s head?

‘Yes. It could all build up inside and then come out later’

I’m not sure you’ve thought that one through. It would still have to come down and hit the floor.

‘Not for a while though. That’s probably their secret’

dadplusone

BSD

On the drive home; and there’s been a case of Head Licence.

“Dad; there’s been a case of head licence at school”

Eh? a case of what?

“Head licence”

I think you mean head lice dear. A licence is…well, it doesn’t matter now.

“One of the boys has them. He was working at his desk and one jumped out onto his book”

Are you sure darling? that’s quite unusual. Did you see it happen?

“No, but one of my friends did and she’s been a good source of information in the past”

I think you listen to daddy talk too closely. Anyway, head lice are quite common and pretty easy to pass from person to person. They only like clean hair.

“I should probably stop washing mine then”

NO

“I think the cold kills them so we should be ok now.”

That’s good to know

“I’m not sure how they feel about spring though”

Who??

“The head licence; the cold kills them. It’s pretty cold in Spring still isn’t it?”

Lice. Cold? Who told you that anyway? Was this your friend again?

“No; this was a teacher.”

Well….?!!?…..Ok.



Armistice 

“Dad; they’ve taken down all those poppies that we saw on the lamppost yesterday” 

They were up for Remembrance Sunday / Armistice day where we pay tribute to those who lost their lives during conflicts and wars.

“How many people died?”

Quite a …..

“And before you say ‘a lot’ can you give me a number please. I need that level of detail”

Jesus.

Well i’m not sure but it was in the 10’s of millions. You’d think that with all that loss of life, humanity would lear……

“PADDINGTON IS ON AT THE CINEMA!!”

I guess she is only 7.



Good habits

“Dad”

Yes darling?

“I really don’t like coming home in the dark; can you work a bit less?”

I’d love to, but life is a balancing act at the moment. No work no pay.

“There isn’t a lot of time to do anything by the time we get home”

You could do your homework? there’s always time for that.

“………………………………………..why would you even say that…?”


“Dad”

(Christ) Yes?

“Have you had grapes with cheese before? they’re fantastic! you really should try it!”

Yeah I do darling; quite often.

“Oh ok. Do you like them”

Yes. Adults will often have them with a glass of red wine.

“Really?”

Yes

“So can I have some in my packed lunch tomorrow?”

What; cheese and grapes?

“Yes”

Yes of course

“And you’d better put the wine in my water bottle or the teachers might want some”

 

car

This conversation was approximately 5 minutes of a 45 minute journey.

BSD

We will get to the truth…

So what was your favourite part of the school day?

‘After school club’

Ok (trying to get to a favourite subject) What about during the day? What was your favourite part of the day?

‘Lunch’

Gives up. 

Also on the way home

Boris Johnson on the radio from the Conservative conference; 

“COME ON PEOPLE! ITS TIME TO BE BOLD!”

‘BOLD!? But Dad; I like my frizzy hair!’

BSD

More serious questions 

This morning’s drive in turned plenty deep plenty quickly.

“Dad; would a hurricane blow the hair off someone with Cancer?”

Whoa

After skillfully not crashing; I ponder a suitable response. I’d have preferred a ‘Where do babies come from’ as I have a script for that one but this was left field.

‘Those two things are quite unrelated darling; how did you put them together?’

Silence..

“Well; I’d noticed that when people get Cancer they lose their hair. I suspect that Cancer makes it loose so if you’re in a hurricane, those strong winds will only make matters worse.”

I can see her logic and decide to tackle the big one first.

‘Ok; it’s not the Cancer that causes sufferers to lose their hair, its the treatment. It can be quite aggressive’

Having lost my mother to the big C, I know enough about the topic to feed her facts. Preempting her next enquiry, I continue.

‘Cancer happens in the body at a cellular, microscopic, level. Every part of us is made up of cells. Technically we are constantly regenerating ourselves but slightly older than the version before..”With Cancer, somehow the message to create a new cell gets messed up and misunderstood, so the new cell isn’t quite as it should be. If there are enough of these not-so-right cells, they can attack the good cells. That can be really bad’

She looks creeped out.

‘It’s a gradual process; we call it mutating

Less creeped and now showing the look of ‘I’m gonna tell folk this in the playground’.

“So is a cell small? what’s the smallest living thing?”

Now I’m wading out into deep waters…

‘I think it’s a single celled, protozoa but I’m not sure; I’ll check this evening’

It’s been a while since Biology class.

“I think it’s a woodlouse”

The hurricane went unmentioned.

collapse

BSD

 

On the drive in..

“Dad? What makes us different from animals?”

Not your everyday question, but the kind of thing I expect from my daughter on the drive in to school.

Well, it tends to be our ability to express a range of emotions such as compassion grief love et cetera. That and the fact that we can display intelligence. 

“Not like Donald Trump then?”

One high-five later, daddy 🙂

BSD

Stress? What stress?

This morning’s school run was a test of patience. 

As seems to be the norm on Britain’s roads, you can’t drive more than a mile without hitting roadworks. 

I’d managed to hustle the cubs into the car in reasonable time and with limited fuss, but we were now confronted with the familiar sight of brake lights. 


I watched my chronological advantage slip away and my ire rise. Not good. 

I took a short cut; brake lights. 

We eventually crawled forwards and I cordially let folk in sideroads out, in order to move everyone along nicely. 

We started to move faster, through a nearby village on the school route. We passed a less than well hedgehog in the road. 

“Dad; is that hedgehog ok?”

Now do I try to protect my daughter from the reality of life and death of fauna on British roads? Yeah of course. 

I think it was ok darling; just moving very slowly…

She didn’t buy it. 

“I think it was dead. There were bits of it scattered everywhere!”

Ok…

“It’s feet were quite wide apart and it’s hands were further up the road…”

Ok but…maybe….well….

“And it’s intestines look like they’d come out of its backside…

Wow. You saw all that at 30 mph??

“I don’t think it’s going anywhere now dad…”

And she collapses in fits of laughter. 

Daddy needs therapy. 

School run

It’s business as usual by the time I pick up my daughter. 

My son is asleep within 5 minutes of me driving off. The day is warm so I don’t blame him. 

She is full of energy and big hugs which is always something I look forward to. I ask her about her day. 

My friend hypnotised me with a piece of bread and I’ve been practicing my kicks. I can kick to a child’s head!

Ok. I don’t want to know how she knows that, but as I received no phone calls during the day, I’m good. 

BSD

What I was supposed to do today..

Versus what I actually did, are two different things.

I was supposed to go [Kung Fu] training today but as you can probably guess from the headline, I didn’t make it.

The weather is great so I decided that it was an opportunity to get my motorbike out.

What I was supposed to do in June…

Was to MOT my bike. For those not in the know, an MOT is a legal requirement on British roads, giving you an annual declaration of roadworthiness. The cops prefer you to have one too.

What I actually did today…

Was rest, following a very brief sulk.

The cubs are with their mum (technically my weekend but there were family celebrations on her side so we made a deal) and the house is tidy.

I also took the opportunity to connect with all of my new followers, thanks to the amazing Daily Post first friday! what a great idea and I’m so glad I took the opportunity to engage.

Hints and tips are coming in already and I will definitely be rummaging through all of your pages for a good read and some ideas!

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Not today kung fu kingdom; not today.

BSD

Plan B it is

via Daily Prompt: Jangle

I love the jangle of the bike keys when I take them out of the cupboard.

So here’s the deal;

  • Sunshine? check
  • No kids? check
  • Bike gear? check
  • Training gear? check
  • Certificate of roadworthiness? silence
  • Dammit.

Turns out that the jangle when you put them back is exactly the same.

BSD

 

This happened a while ago…

No kids today but i’m up early and off to the city for a meeting. This gives me a rare opportunity to ditch the uniform and dress like a proper grown up.

 

These meetings occur once a quarter and I usually drive, but on this occasion I have opted to take the train, joining the early morning masses. Even after shaving my head, filtering water (in child’s plastic bottle, having discarded my own metal one) i’m out of the door in plenty of time. I even find a parking space at the railway station. I can’t see what the fuss is about so far.

I buy a return ticket. The taxpayer is now £79 worse off. I wonder if the teller had accidently included the previous traveller’s ticket in my price but say nothing.

train station

 

Walking to my train I pass a sign informing passengers that due to the change of seasons and the potential for leaves on the line, some services may be a few minutes late. George Stephenson and IKB are probably rotating in their graves.

 

My train arrives and isn’t too packed, so no traingate scandal for me. As I walk down the carriage I find a seat in a cluster of 4, where 3 commuters have set up residence. Oddly, it’s the window seat that is free as commuter 1 has elected for an aisle seat. I break the first rule of commuting; thou shalt not invade personal space. We smile at each other yet I still have to ask to sit down. At £79, you can bet i’m going to sit down; I owe that at least to the taxpayer. He obliges, grudgingly, and moves the several sheets of A4 (and himself) to allow me in.

Now I am not small; in fact i’m quite the opposite. Add a Navy Peacoat and bulging laptop bag and you get somewhere near the picture.

Commuters 2 and 3 stare at me with incredulity. I smile back and continue my descent into my seat. I should have taken my coat off first, but the moment has passed; Commuter 1 has resettled. 2 and 3 have gone back to his mobile device and her window staring respectively.

I’m still all elbows, having to turn my laptop bag on it’s side to take my Kindle out.

Now the bag won’t fit between my legs and the table, and won’t go on the floor. I put it beside/behind me, but this forces me into a kind of ‘I have a secret to tell you’ position with 1.

I look up, and realise that a quarter rise will probably be enough to place this carbuncle in the luggage rack.

Success.

train 3

 

Normal service is quickly resumed and 1,2,3 and 4 (me) engross in our collective solipsism. Then it happens – my foot accidentally touches that of 3 under the table. She has skillfully placed her continental sized handbag on the table between us and this has done its job, but she neglected to protect her foot space. There is an audible dual shuffling of feet and we successfully ignore each other. Until it happens again.

Good Lord; in terms of Britishness this is like some mismatched date where well-meaning parents mastermind an attempt to pair their offspring.

She plays with her hair but staring out of the window I take this as extreme discomfort. The book that i’m reading is now the most interesting thing I’ve ever read.

⇔⇔

A slow stroll amongst the morning rush gives plenty of opportunity to people watch. This lifestyle has zero appeal but creating backstories for strangers amuses me no end. The sun’s ineffectiveness does nothing to lessen the beauty of the day, even amongst the volumes of traffic. Day 2 of fasting and it feels pretty easy, even when I order my lunch.

coffee

Fast food chains insist on American vernacular but I don’t. I ask them if I can ‘have’ a ‘medium’ Chai Latte please. He turns to his colleague and shouts “CAN I GET A MEDIO CHAI LATTE…!”

 

I sit down in the meeting room alone, with 15 minutes to spare and as I check the agenda, I see that the meeting starts at 11, not 10.

Awesome.

BSD