On Duty

We have attended the Remembrance Sunday service at the Dulwich Chapel every year since the Boywonder joined the Combined Cadet Force at school. Seeing my teenage son in his cadet uniform really brought it home to me about the millions of mothers over the generations who have seen their sons go off to war and never come back again and about the whole generations of young men completely wiped out in the last century of armed conflict. Having once been a trainee pacifist, member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and defiant wearer of a white poppy, the strength of … Continue reading On Duty

On Memory

My mother has had increasing problems with her short term memory for a while now. It’s the classic thing: she can remember stories and songs from her childhood that have etched themselves on her brain as on a vinyl record, but she can’t remember that the last time she related any particular story was 2 minutes ago and 2 minutes before that, and before that. She is a scratched vinyl EP, a tourist in her own life. It is impossible to rely on her to remember anything at all without writing it down in duplicate and even then she forgets … Continue reading On Memory

Gloomy Sunday

          No, I’m not feeling sorry for myself. This is how I’m feeling today: 1) Frustrated I am frustrated that the Boywonder’s exam results should have been better. That they could have been a lot worse is testament to our total lockdown regime. I am sad that he wasted nearly five years arsing about at school, squandering all that effort, goodwill and privilege, his undoubted talents, and risking the reputation of his family. Although probably far better than his age group nationally, his results were only average among his peers at his school, and a lot … Continue reading Gloomy Sunday

There’s gratitude!

The Boywonder went off on tour with the prestigious Bromley Youth Concert Band to Slovenia and Venice this morning. He had to be at the Music Centre in Southborough Lane at 3.45. It was hardly worth going to bed so I stayed up following the increasingly upsetting #SaveLennox thread on Twitter. He hadn’t even set his alarm so I had to go and pull him out of bad at 3.20. His sister was up and dressed, tearfully wanting to see him off on the 10 day concert tour. The Boywonder was invited to join this top wind band only this … Continue reading There’s gratitude!

That’s MY boy

A warning: I wrote this post a while ago and it expresses some really quite primitive emotions. I prevaricated for a while before publishing it as I wasn’t sure whether this sort of stuff, that is so excruciatingly personal and risks portraying me in a very bad light, should be in the public domain. But my blog is just that and this sort of thing is on here because I believe it reflects a common experience with which others might identify. Maybe if you have felt like this too, you will realise that it’s not just you. I hope you … Continue reading That’s MY boy

The Boywonder’s first suit

I spent an hour recently in a gentlemen’s outfitter’s at Bluewater with the Boywonder, choosing his first suit. It’s a sobering moment as he stands on the very window-ledge of boyhood, scanning the next few years that will, with hard work and a little luck, determine exactly what sort of productive human being he will become in his adult life. Having now finished his GCSEs, he starts a week of work experience next Monday. ¬†Work Experience is a new rite of passage, I think, and gives teenagers a taste of the real world, some for the first time. Our Boywonder … Continue reading The Boywonder’s first suit

On youths and dogs

I’m still rather shaken up although on reflection I probably wasn’t in any real danger. Walking my lovely flat coated retriever, Oscar, in Beckenham Place Park as usual, I cam across three youths with stereotypical “Staffie-cross” looking dogs. One was just a tiny puppy, but the other two were young and fit. The white dog was on a chain lead and the younger tan dog ran about enjoying itself freely as any dog on its walk. An alarm bell rang in my head that something wasn’t quite right – we have encountered unfriendly dogs and owners before in this part … Continue reading On youths and dogs

The case of the pillaged Advent calendar

We have a wooden advent calendar in the shape of a Christmas tree which the Advent fairy fills with chocolates to be eaten on the countdown to Christmas. The Advent calendar is placed on a low glass coffee table, the first Christmas decoration of the season. Recently, though, the chocolates from the lower doors have been disappearing. Someone has been stealing the Advent calendar chocolates! Exhibit A:¬† Exhibit B: You will see that only the chocolates from the lower and left hand side of each group of doors has been stolen. The thief carefully pushes the doors shut to cover … Continue reading The case of the pillaged Advent calendar

Thank you for the music

I was introduced to music at the age of five, as we whirled around the school hall to The Blue Danube Waltz in PE. I came home and sang the tune to my dad, who had been a member of a record club and had a huge collection of 45 and 78 records. Do you remember them? A friend of my mother’s had a piano and I used to go and bash on it from time to time. How I longed to be able to play it properly. Eventually, I persuaded my parents to pay for piano lessons. I practised … Continue reading Thank you for the music

Dear Mrs L

I just want to say how sorry I am for your loss. You don’t know me but our children played together in wind bands on Saturdays. Last week, when they broke the news discreetly to the children and us volunteers without going into the details, they were quiet and businesslike. The children just got on with rehearsing as I am sure you will continue with your life, eventually. At pickup time, many were tearful. I’m sure you’ve witnessed many tears these last couple of weeks, but the sorrow of those who shed them can be nothing compared with yours. Time … Continue reading Dear Mrs L