To paraphrase Forrest Gump, life is indeed like a box of chocolates – we don’t know what we’re going to get. It is full of variety, the human factor being the ultimate randomiser. In theory therefore, we should be prepared for this variety, good or bad. That doesn’t alter the fact that things happening which are unexpected, or that do not fit into some form of perceived “norm”, feel downright odd or just plain upsetting!
It’s now very common to hear people say, ‘I’m rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually nothing more… than a whine. ‘I find that offensive.’ It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that.’ Well, so fucking what.”
[I saw hate in a graveyard — Stephen Fry, The Guardian, 5 June 2005]
I recall reading that Stephen Fry quote for the first time (quite recently, despite it’s age) and smiling. The man almost always makes me smile whenever I read or see one of his erudite quips. There’s a degree of envy on my part I think, about the particularly articulate nature of his intelligence and humour.
I was an adult when Bill came into my mum’s life in the early / mid 90’s. They were together for a short while, each travelling between Yeovil and Bristol before getting engaged and then married. Their getting together was the catalyst for me truly moving on with my own life after what had gone on before;
A family’s festive season often involves children, laughter, food, gifts and family gatherings etc. Our household was no exception, although children getting older gave it a different flavour this year; Changes due to the passing of time, like the milestones of leaving for university and being old enough for part-time jobs amongst other things, made the difference more noticeable this year. With Imogen being just 10 and still faintly clinging to the Santa myth for what is almost certainly the last time, as well as our young nephew Alex being here too, some childhood innocence about the occasion remained however!
I’ve looked after Yatton RFCs website for several years, and whilst still coaching was also junior chairman 2014 – 2016. Four seasons ago, I received an email addressed to me in both of those capacities from a very earnest sounding young man named George Haynes. He wanted to know if we had a colts team, as although he didn’t live in the area he visited it often, and he wanted to get back into playing rugby following some time out through injury. I put George in touch with then colts coach Mike Patch, and after playing with the colts George soon integrated into the 2nd / 3rd XVs as a senior player in the following seasons, during which we became good friends. A mutual friend and teammate once warned me not to stand by George at a bar, as he’d “…bankrupt himself buying you drinks because he’s such a nice bloke.”
(a.k.a An ode to my rugby playing career…)
Late 1970’s South Africa – a beautiful country, but with questionable politics. We’d moved there when I was only five years old due to my dad’s job. A country where Rugby Union was almost a religion, and young (white) boys indoctrinated very early on. With a dad keen on rugby too, it was no wonder that I soon found myself with a rugby ball in my hands.
Grown men playing with toy soldiers? Oh for shame…
Being embarrassed by something we do, say or take an interest in is an experience we could all have at some stage in our lives, unless we have particularly thick skin. The degree of embarrassment and / or shame would vary too, depending on person and subject. How then, would you deal with derision from others for a pastime from which you take pleasure? An interest less “mainstream” than others, or that’s perceived by some as being ‘odd’? Ladies and gentlemen…I give you the adult wargamer!
It’s lovely seeing kids enjoy something. Laughing and playing, with all of the innocence of youth etc. That joy ratchets up a notch or three when it’s your own kids, and you witness first hand their enjoyment of an activity or whatever it may be. So, imagine then the dismay, when something that has brought an immense amount of pleasure for a number of reasons over a number of years starts having the opposite effect. Very simply…I see my lad doing something reluctantly that he used to do without question and full of joy, and that makes me sad and want to know why.
One of the beauties of having several children, is that they are all so different from each other. Watching each of them grow up and interact with the world around them is fascinating in each case. As a parent, one’s relationship with each of them is rewarding for both the same and different reasons as a result of that individuality. Whilst they are all different however, they are after all the components of a whole. The dynamic is very noticeably different when one is not there, as has been seen of late with our eldest moving away to university. I’ve written a few things on this blog about my pride in my kids…three out of four of them so far. So, it’s more than high time I finished this off and spoke about the youngest of the brood, Imogen Frances Foley.