Monday, March 10, 2008


On Friday it was Nicky’s birthday and it’s becoming traditional to go to the Comedy Store. Before moving on to the comedy where a couple of good comedians followed a guy who seemed to have been parachuted in from the 1970s (plenty of jokes starting “my wife’s so fat…”) - I met up with Steve, Nicky’s brother.

We were talking about schools for children. His go to a church school and apparently they’re being taught Genesis rather than evolution! He didn’t seem bothered about it, but I would have been – I don’t think it’s even legal. I’m sure he’d have been pissed off if they’d been teaching that the world was flat… mind you, they probably are.

To drop or not to drop

More and more often, we’re coming home to find no parking spaces in the road and we’re having to drag George and whatever shopping we have back from Sam’s road. We don’t want to, but it’s looking more like we’ll eventually need to put in a drop kerb and a drive at the front of the house. Apparently people paving over their front gardens is eating up lots of the green space in London – but without resident’s parking, it looks like we’ll have to do it.

The thing is I don’t want to become someone who goes on about parking all the time… it seems to be the only thing (apart from house prices) that the neighbours want to talk about.

I guess that means things are generally good.

Mum’s birthday – sudden glimpses

We went up to Mum and Dad’s for mum’s birthday at the weekend. Everyone was delighted to see George had put on so much weight. Helen met him, and Grace (my grandmother) was there too.

Grace is horrified that we’ve taken George swimming – she’s also not best pleased that we’re going to a nursery (although she doesn’t say so).

Sometimes you get a sudden glimpse that not everybody shares your world view…. At one point, Grace asked me a question:
”I’ve been meaning to ask you - You know on TV programmes, when you get a telephone number come up?”


“well, you know there’s sometimes some writing underneath and it ends in .com”

“what does that mean?”

What I said was:
“it’s like a magazine – you type that into your computer and the magazine comes up on your screen.”

What I didn’t say was:
“it’s the single most important invention in the history of the human race. Almost everything anybody does involves it in some way.”

Grace is 92, but she’s quite with it… I guess the technological revolution just passed her by.

Andrew arrived, had lunch, then fell asleep almost immediately. This set the tone for the weekend. When he wasn’t’ eating, he was sleeping – it was good to see him, but he must be so tired to sleep like that – propped up against chairs, or anywhere he happens to be sitting, lying or standing… it sounds like the danger of him loosing his lorry driving job is passed for the moment – and they’re relying on him more than ever… still, I can’t help thinking he could do with a less demanding job.

Mum opened a bottle of rose at lunchtime – a nice gesture since it’s only us two that would drink it – but it was from Grace and Igor’s cupboard and I’ve no idea how long it had been there. Anyway, it was the colour of whiskey and had thick black flakes in. we didn’t drink it. Extra low fat food was served… as always at home. We had cheese on toast for tea, with an extra piece of cheese on the side, followed by carrot cake…. and Croissants for breakfast…. There’s an awful lot of dairy in my parent’s diet. And a lot of fat too.

Dad decided he wanted to put some of his old videos from his camera tape onto VHS. He wanted my help and I thought it would be a good way to judge just how basic the book I’ve been asked to write on digital video for absolute beginners has to be.

I’ve been told that the target market is older people who have never really got involved with youtube or digital video - so I thought my Dad would be the ideal person to set the right level for the book.

About half way through explaining to him how to plug the camera into the VCR, I realised that writing the book is going to be a tough job if it’s really to appeal to him…

George probably had the most sleepless night of his life, keeping us awake most of the night.

Mum and Dad are thinking about moving. Dad’s always thinking about it. He has an idea of moving “somewhere warm” but he won’t do it. It takes enough effort for him to go on holiday… However, now Mum’s thinking that it’s not good to be living on a flood plane and wants to move uphill (locally). So we had a look in the local papers…. We found out what we could afford if we sold up in London – it’s a game, I think most homeowners in London play occasionally.

Every time we do it, we see what’s on offer and wonder for a moment why we live in London. Then we look at what it would really be like having to get in the car if we wanted a pint of milk – and decide we’re better off in the city – for now at least.

On Sunday, the Andrew Marr programme showed an interview with Ian Paisley who’s just stepped down. For the first time ever he appeared sensible… I guess you can do that when you retire from politics.

On Saturday I’d mentioned to Dad that the documentary had sold in Spain and Indonesia now as well as Canada…

“oh.” He said.

“What’s it about?”

he’s seen it, of course. Lisa must have seen the dejection in my eyes because Lisa, Mum and I had a big chat about Dad on Sunday.

It’s not that he isn’t interested in what I do… he just can’t get his head round it and so it just falls out of his mind. Lisa gets very frustrated with him (so do I and so does Mum). But I don’t think he even notices.

He’s always there to back me up – but not until after whatever I’ve done works – by which time he doesn’t need to.

I always compare him to sooty. I never hear him speak about important things – I just have to infer that he thinks them. My mum ends up speaking for him

“your Dad thinks this” “your dad thinks that” “Your dad’s very proud of you”



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