Tag Archives: dad

Deep thoughts

I don’t often get sloppy, but seeing the news over the last week or so has focussed me a little.  We have lost a number of entertainment icons since January 1st and the world has been in uproar – who knew so many people loved David Bowie, for example.  How can Celine Dion bear the loss of two of her closest family within days of each other?  Hasn’t Alan Rickman left a huge void in the entertainment world?  I have also heard of less well-known, but not lesser people, who have lost their fight, whether through illness or old age, and it appears to be a trend.  It seems that every year, during these winter months – and especially just into the New Year –  people ‘move on’; not through the unpredictable weather, although we should all look out for vulnerable friends and relatives as the cold bites, but because their particular fight has become too much to continue.

Last week, when I took my 94 year old dad shopping, he absolutely insisted that this particular jacket was warm enough over his short-sleeved shirt.  He had his flat cap, if he needed it – what was the problem?  You can only try to change his mind for so long but he’s an adult – and then some – and ultimately it’s his choice.  To be fair, we didn’t spend a lot of time in the open, so I wasn’t too worried.  But I sat here, reading about Bowie and Rickman, leaving us at sixty-nine, and others in their seventies and eighties , or even younger, and mentally looked around my family and friends.  We are very lucky.  Obviously, we have had our losses but, on the whole, we are a long-lived, healthy bunch.  I believe that the most useful – and challenging – resolution we could all make for the new year is to make the most of every day, whether it’s to do more, do less, make more of an effort to be with people, exercise *shudder*, eat less, eat better – the list is endless.  However, at the top should be ‘think of me’.  You’re no good to anyone if you’re no good to yourself.

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” – Andy Warhol

“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” –A.A. Milne

Auld Lang Syne

Spinning, once again, towards a new year makes you think.  Well, it does me, so I decided to review my 2015.  Boring, I hear you say.  Everyone does that.  Yes, they do, but I intend to focus on the positive – if I can.

Last January hove into view with my decision to retire firmly sealed in an envelope, ready to hand to my head teacher.  The next few months were a flurry of putting paperwork in order, reassigning jobs (which may not have always been strictly in my job spec but  I had been doing anyway) to other people and, of course, teaching.  Clearing my desk drawers was a challenge.  The most important question I had to ask myself was “Do I need this?”  My brain kept trying to substitute ‘want’ for ‘need’ but I won in the end.  I re-purposed some items by donating them to colleagues and simply disposed of most of the rest.  (There is one zip-top, plastic folder snuggling in a corner of the lounge that contains things I just had to bring home – mainly small items of stationery!)

There was ‘Poldark’, of course, about which I was in two minds, having seen the original, but enjoyed very much in the end.

In April we celebrated the 94th birthday of my crazy, wonderful dad.  Brilliant to still have him making those awful jokes and, sometimes, even more awful faces!  After a major operation and the addition of a pacemaker in the last few years, he is still going strong and is surprisingly independent for his age.

Dad proving that a splitting headache usually has a reason

Later, we had an election which, in my opinion, was a travesty.  No more on that – I was going to be positive!

On July 9th, 2015 (let it be recorded) I retired.  It was a smooth transition and I can honestly say that the only things I will miss are   some great colleagues – who, I hope, will stay friends! – and imparting knowledge.  Two days after that I attending the wedding of my son and, in one, fell swoop, gained a daughter and a whole new family!

Start as you mean to go on

Now, ever since deciding that I would definitely retire people have been asking one question – what will you do?  My first answer has always been ‘Nothing’, followed by ‘take the opportunity to go on breaks in term time!’  Well, first I did a lot of not-planning and not-marking throughout what was still, for me, the summer holidays.  That was the only sign, at that point, that something was different.  In September, when I did not return to work, we visited friends in the East of England and the Midlands; in November, we took an overnight trip to France.

The view down into the lobby from the first floor of our lovely little hotel

This December we were lucky enough to share Christmas dinner with the best newly-married couple and had a wonderful, relaxing day with good food and good company.

So much for 2015.  Next year will prove to be a challenge, but more of that later.  May I wish all who have read any of my ramblings a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.