Reasons to be cheerful 1-2-3

It’s been a bit of an odd week boy-wise.

Last Saturday Mrs WeeKeef and I were invited to a wedding.  Just the evening “do” but it’s a while since we were at anything similar and the fabulous Mrs WK does enjoy a bit of a dance.  The Groom was actually a member of her team at work so several of her crowd were there, including Boy 1 (of 3) who shares the same employer.  It was, it struck me half-way through the evening, probably the first time I have been the “incomer” to his group at such an occasion and it was interesting, and nice, to see him in his natural habitat. Blimey, I thought, he is really grown up!

Then, on Sunday afternoon, we get an unannounced visit from Boy 2 (of 3) who is generally the coolest of the bunch, but is somewhat discombobulated on this occasion.  He is taking his first steps into the housing market and has spent the last few weeks perusing and viewing a number of city-centre flats, without much success.  This weekend, however, he has gone off-piste and has been to see a suburban detached house. Small, at the top of his price range and entirely not what he was looking for.  And yet here he is, smitten and talking about putting in an offer.  Blimey, I thought, he is really grown up.

And then yesterday Boy 3 (of 3) reached his 18th birthday.  Eighteen, for crying out loud! Admittedly, it being a Tuesday, the celebrations were understated, with the “highlight” being a final outing for me, the Ex and him at Parent-Teacher night, discussing his exams and the options for University after the summer. Blimey, I thought, he really is growing up.

And that’s the thing. They are not boys any more.  They are young men, and very fine ones at that. They are making their own ways in the world and seem to be reasonably well adjusted, generally happy, and all round nice people. You would like them.

It was once said of me (maybe more than once) that I am not very ambitious. Well, to be honest, all I have ever really wanted to be is a good husband and a good dad. I hope I am both.

And all you Presidents and Prime Ministers and CEOs and medal winners and consultants and workers and movers and shakers and strivers and climbers and worriers: I am filled with admiration for many of you (not all!).

But here is my thing: I have already achieved my greatest ambition.  I have Boys 1-2-3 and I couldn’t ask for more than that.

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Flight of fancy

To Edinburgh Airport earlier this week to meet WeeSis who is visiting for a couple of weeks. She’s here primarily to see the Mater in her new home and (though she thinks I’m kidding) I have a huge “to do” list for her, mainly around persuading said maternal ancestor to chuck some stuff out.

Anyway, having just about negotiated the airport’s ever-changing traffic and parking management conundrum I eventually made it to International Arrivals just in time to watch Expected change to On Approach, and then to Landed, then Arrived and Arrived and Arrived and Arrived … You get the gist. It took a while to clear customs, apparently.

No matter, airports though soulless, infuriating and (occasionally) exciting are at least fine places to do a bit of people-watching if you are a non-traveller. Mid-morning on a Tuesday is not exactly the busiest point of the week but there was the usual collection of ill-tempered business travellers, a few families taking advantage of the half-term holiday, and several small and slightly refreshed groups of ladies-of-a-certain-age clearly heading for a bit of late-season tanning and sangria.

My favourite, however, was a young man, perhaps in his late-twenties / early-thirties, smart-casual and there, like me, to meet somebody coming to the capital. Unlike me, he was carrying a large and quite expensive looking bunch of flowers. “Well done, that man”, I thought. It’s nice to know that the younger generation still make an effort to say to their loved ones that they are pleased to see them. (I did wonder briefly if he was in trouble, and was making a peace-offering, but he looked too happy for that).

It was only then I noticed that he was also carrying, in his other hand, a banana. A slightly strange combination of gifts, but I assumed he had some time to wait and was going to consume one of his five-a-day and thus use the time fruitfully. Not so. He simply plonks himself down in one of the few available chairs and, like me, starts doing a bit of people-watching of his own. And now I’m intrigued because I really want to see who’s going to come through those double doors and what their reaction will be.

Sadly, readers, we will never know because WeeSis suddenly makes her own entrance and life becomes all about hugs and enquiries about the flight and assurances that the other is looking well, and all that stuff.

Still … Who on earth greets a loved one at the airport with flowers and a banana? Is it a code? Might they be spies?

Was it Michael Jackson?

 

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Don’t call us

I’m heading in to work an hour late after BT Openreach engineer #3 turned up promptly for our 8am appointment. Which BT had failed to tell us about. After 90 minutes, however, said engineer concluded that we have a fault and they will have to dig up Mrs WeeKeef’s lovely front garden to trace it and fix the problem.

This would be shocking news if, in fact, it was news at all. It is, however, exactly what BT Openreach engineer #1 told us 22 days ago, not long after we first notified them of the problem. In fact, the only person surprised by any of this is the aforesaid engineer #3 as it would appear there is no paperwork from the earlier visit.

Quite what handsome but ultimately pointless BT Openreach engineer #2 achieved last week is a moot point.

Anyway, it seems that the fault lies somewhere between the junction box on the pavement and the junction box attached to the outside of our house. BT engineers #4, #5, …. #n will now have to arrange a time to come with a digger to find the exact location of the problem.  This would be easier if the (apparent) change of cables underground had been recorded. But there is no paperwork.

“So,” says I, “when might this be?”  “No idea” says #3. He’ll log the call but it is a different group that will come to find the fault. In the meantime, and I’m quoting here, the problem will only get worse as time goes on.  Gee, thanks.

And all of this on the day the telecoms watchdog Ofcom issues a report criticising BT Openreach for “woeful levels of service”.

Once again I am failing to be shocked.

 

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Not the realistic fruit

It’s almost May and yet the last few days have been plagued by hail showers, flurries of snow and a rather cutting north wind. Typical spring weather for Scotland you may think but it comes hard after a weekend which saw me hauling furniture around in a balmy 16 degrees. 

This, of course, adds extra irony to the recent radio adverts by one of our biggest “garden centres” who are touting their range of conservatories and orangeries. 

Orangeries, forsooth! Who on earth in east central Scotland grows oranges? Frankly, the closest many Scots get to an orange at all is when they turn up at a rugby match during half-time, by mistake. 

I suppose you have to admire the aspirational nature of the sales pitch, but perhaps they are just taking the pith. 

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Flat out 

Back in September I told you of our journey south to help the Ma-in-Law pack up and move north. At the time I was hoping all would go well. It did, and she is settling nicely into a lovely flat and preparing to vote in her first Scottish election. I think and hope she is happy with her decision to move. 

I also said that we thought the Mater should similarly downsize, though that looked less likely at the time. 

Well, to cut a long story short (as she would say), a nice place was spotted, purchased and the deed was done. On top of that, the house which has been home to the Mater for more than 30 years sold quickly and easily and everything looked good to go. 

Except, the two ladies are not the same by any means and this move is a much harder one in many ways – physically, emotionally, psychologically, organisationally. 

While she does accept the benefits of moving, my 80-something Mater does not really want to leave the last home she shared with the Pater. It is hard and she is not really prepared. 

And I am about as stressed as I can remember being for a long time (2010 actually). There is so much left to do in the old house, the new house and everything in between. 

We are three days from the move and I am sitting up at 3.30am blogging this because my brain will not stop spinning. There is too much for me to think about and I feel quite lost, so no wonder the Mater has regular tears. 

I guess things will work out fine, and I know it is the right thing to do, but I have asked so much of her and I wish I hadn’t had to. 

So, more and proper detail to come later but for now you can have this uncrafted, unhappy brain dump. 

There is no amusing sign off to this blog but I do hope it has a happy ending. 

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