Monkeys, gurning and a selection of anoraks

To avoid another bit of bloggage about the banality of January, let’s wander back through the years.  My Mum popped round earlier with some old photos.  Louise had been asking if she had any really old black and white ones that we could frame and hang, she didn’t just appear out of the blue with random photos.

From a vast collection of photo albums (remember those) we looked through just three.  They were a mixture of really old photos of my Mum’s parents, and brothers and sisters through to some that were even in colour!

Before I shock and amaze you with my incredible levels of cuteness when I was younger, take a look at these of my Mum and Dad, or Tony Curtis and Doris Day…not sure which.

Mum and Dad
A scene from Goodfellas

I think at the time of this next one my Dad was in National Service.  It is amazing and scary to think that just a generation ago every male had to serve two years in the army! My soft under belly quivers at the prospect.  I am under no illusion that my Dad spent those two years in peace time on a switchboard rather than on a front line somewhere, but still, two years in uniform is a prospect I cannot compute.

On a similar note, I have been watching Band of Brothers (again) of a Friday evening on TCM.  It is probably one of the best, most compelling and watchable pieces of drama ever made, and this week was the one where they spent weeks dug into frozen holes with no supplies, ammo or warm clothes at the Battle of the Bulge.  I simply cannot comprehend that experience either.  But I digress….

Suave Dad
Suave Dad

Moving on a good few years, this next one caught my eye for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, I look horrified, and second this was from a time when you could have your photo taken with a monkey outside of British Home Stores.  Or was that just Bolton?

Monkey and terror
Monkey and terror

There is also some top anorak action going on here along with some top gurning from my brother, more of which later.

So onto the cuteness I promised you.  I’m not sure if this next one is before or after the last, but my levels of cuteness only lead me to ask what went wrong?

Brace yourselves….


I’m pretty sure that is food around my mouth, so not much changes really.

As technology raced ahead, within only a few short years we emerged into a glorious world of technicolour, Polaroid cameras, large brown swivel chairs that only Dad could sit in, but for some reason still with dodgy anoraks.


My brother is one of those people who cannot have a photo taken without such an expression.  I think there are probably only half a dozen of them in existence where he looks “normal”.  Some of them are his wedding photos, but not all!!

It has been strange looking back through history.  Looking at myself seems like looking at someone else.  I sort of remember those times, but somehow see them as seperate to my life today.  I wonder how the girls will see themselves in years to come.

It will be different I suppose, as their life will be captured in many and varied ways.  Facebook and twitter have already captured their every thought in recent years, and with phones acting as cameras and video cameras, they will have a lot to reminisce about.  There are moving images of my younger years of course, but they are on silent jerky “cine” films which are buried somewhere in my Mum and Dad’s house.

I suppose I can only hope they have more happy memories than otherwise, and of course that I manage to stick around long enough to look back with them.  If Emily keeps taking corners on two wheels like she did again this afternoon, that could be in jeopardy.

Till the next time…..



Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

Time, they say, is a cruel mistress, a double-edged sword, a swirling maelstrom of contradictions, a thing that can feel the opposite at the same time.  OK, I made the last couple up, but time is a strange thing.  Not as an abstract concept, but more of a thing that can feel to pass so slowly, and yet in the blink of an eye all at the same time.

For example.

The last few weeks have edged along at a pace not seen since I last tried to run anywhere.  With “issues” to resolve, the pace at which the world responds to my efforts to do so has been painful to say the least.  I look into next week and see half a chance of finally sorting stuff out from a work perspective, and also with more than a mild feeling of trepidation that it will somehow be ripped from my grasp at the last moment, and I’ll have to wait yet more time to feel some sort of relief.

On the other hand, time on a grander scale seems to flash before my eyes as if it were nothing but a few seconds.  Two things this week have made think this way.

Firstly, Rebecca has entered the workforce.  It is, in the scheme of things, in a small way, but nevertheless, on Saturday she emerged from work beaming from ear to ear clutching the first £16 she had ever earned and feeling like a millionaire.  She has got herself a Saturday job in a hairdressers.  Said hairdressers is owned by my cousin, and she spent her first day at work shampooing, brewing up and cleaning the loos, thankfully not concurrently.

She seemed to enjoy herself, and was to be seen constantly looking at the sparkly money in her purse for the rest of the day.  But never mind that, how did it come to pass that my little girl became old enough to go into the working world?

This thought had been reinforced by the second point I am making, which is that we are in the process of clearing out all of our cupboards and drawers of all the accumulated pap that we have shoved into drawers and cupboards since we moved in ten years ago.  Much of what we are finding is photographic evidence that I used to have hair, Louise once had a really bad bubble perm and the kids grew up sometime in the last ten minutes to be nearly adults.

Packet after packet of photos bring back to life different stages of our lives, and along with that wistful smile that memories bring (or is it wind?), it has reminded me that I seem to have blinked and missed a decade or so.

I haven’t of course, I was just busy in that decade working hard, and planning for some big thing that never seems to arrive or happen.  At the risk of getting too clawingly sentimental, smelling a rose or two along the way sounds like a plan, until life happens, and the roses whizz by the car window as you drop the girls off at another party or school event for which we are always late, and having a row as we have had to do something at the last-minute as the girls failed to mention that they needed those ingredients, that T-shirt or their PE kit.

Such is life I suppose.  So now I share my house with two almost adult girls who still call me Dad, and when the need arises still rely on me to sort stuff out, but they certainly won’t be going on my shoulders anytime soon, and won’t be needing me to put that stupidly small dress onto their Polly Pocket for the sixth time this hour.

Time is relative.  Immediate issues that need addressing, like my current ones, feel like you are wading through a swamp with lead boots on, and no matter how hard you try, time drags on.  A bit like watching your countdown tick by till your next holiday.

The big picture stuff, which sees you changing nappies one day, and having yours changed the next is something akin to how you find yourself sat on the tarmac in Orlando waiting to head back to greyness and crap weather seemingly about seventeen minutes after landing there in the first place.

Ah well, my latter point proves that I shall no doubt look back on the dark times in the right now, as a small pot hole on the outside lane of life’s motorway when I look back on photos of us now, and remember what was going on.  Then I’ll ask one of the girls to take me to toilet again, and soil myself just before we get there out of spite.

So as you may guess, I am still somewhat in limbo, as my maudlin ramblings above may suggest.  Progress is slow, and very distracting, but as mentioned earlier, next week suggests that (to quote Lilly Allen) there may be a tunnel with some light at the end, or something like that.  I hope so, as these last few weeks are not ones that I wish to repeat at any time in the future.

Forgive me again for the elusive nature of this here post but I strongly believe that jumping any guns here would jinx the small amount of progress made so far, so, you shall have to return to later bloggings to be bored to tears by the full story, and be very let down by its mundane nature…so it’ll be like every other week’s blog then!

In other news, Oli continues to become fluffy again after his hair cut when it was back in the spring (or was that summer).  He is a cutie.

Oli nose
Oli nose best

We also went to the cinema today for the first time in ages.  Men in Black III was the film of choice, and we enjoyed it.  There were no great surprises, but I wasn’t expecting any, just a good entertaining family film, and that was what we got.  The real surprise of the trip was that for some reason I did not get any Pick n Mix, and instead got a small (yes, I said a small!) popcorn instead.

I tell you, all this stress and bother is causing me some obvious issues.  Fingers crossed that this time next week I can tell you of some resolution and a return to normality, not some crazy world where I order a small of anything.  Madness!

Till the next time……