I Need a Hygge

I Need a Hygge

The view I won’t be seeing. Not yet anyway…

Hygge. Pronounced ‘hue-gah.’ Unless you’re in our house, in which case it’s ‘hug.’ Or ‘higgy.’

It’s the Danish concept of living well, living simply and being good to yourself – and no ‘wellness’ guide can exist without it.

As far as I can tell I’ve been good to myself for several years. Too many, according to the waistband on my grey trousers…

But I’ve always been good at home. I’ve never set foot in Denmark. It’s on my bucket list: one of the countries I really want to visit. Copenhagen, and then a jaunt up the road to Aarhus (see above: pronounced ‘our house,’ obviously…)

And last week, for thirty glorious seconds, I was on the plane. [Read more…]

Empty Nest Alert

Empty Nest Alert

Here we go again…

“I’ve had acknowledgements from Exeter and Edinburgh, Dad.”

“That’s great, Ben,” I say, outwardly smiling.

But inside I’m a mix of emotions. Pleasure, panic, relief, sadness.

Twelve hours ago our youngest son pressed ‘send.’ And that was that. His university application was hurled into cyberspace.

Clearly it’s landed safely. At least in Exeter and Edinburgh. And I’m pleased for him. Ben’s ready to go. He’s ready for the next step, ready to leave home.

But does he need to be quite so far from home?

“What about York?”

“Much too close.” [Read more…]

My Inspiration is Leaving…

Inspiration packed and ready to go...

Inspiration packed and ready to go…

What is it with other people’s children? Why do they grow up so much faster than yours?

“What’s Maisie now?” you say to a friend you haven’t seen for a while – as you feel remarkably smug at remembering the child’s name. “She must be nearly ready to start school.”

“She’s eight.”

“Oh…”

It’s the same with pregnancies. Jane’s pregnancies lasted for about two years. Everyone else is pregnant for three months.

“How’s Claire doing? The baby must be due in a couple of months?”

“Leo’s six months. He’s just started crawling.”

“Oh…”

So I wasn’t going to make that mistake when I ‘talked’ to my pal, Frankie – talked meaning Facebook’ed, obviously. [Read more…]

One of my Children is a Grown Up!

Dan - Yr 4When I started writing these weekly ramblings about my children Tom was nine: in Year 4 at school. I’m not sure when the photo was taken – my wife would know – but he looked something like that.

Three years later there was a Grand Prix on TV – goodness knows why as I had no interest in the sport – and Tom wandered in. He started to watch and became fascinated: not by the race or the drivers but by the technicalities – specifically the aerodynamics.

The first time he started talking about it I scuttled off to ask Google for help. Tom was just beginning to suspect that his Dad didn’t know everything about everything. I preferred to delay the confirmation for a few more months…

Then he disappeared to his bedroom. And a few months later they called us into school. “Tom’s falling behind in Physics.” [Read more…]

Pokemon Gone

Pokemon

I haven’t got a clue…

Let me introduce my two eldest children…

Tom: Master’s in Engineering. Jessica: very shortly to be awarded an honours degree in Journalism.

Both currently at home pending a) going off to design formula one cars and b) going back to uni to do a Master’s.

Both intelligent; both with a great work ethic. And both currently wandering up the road in search of Pokemon.

I vaguely remember Pokemon from when Tom was 11 or 12. Peekaboo? Pikachu? Something like that…

Anyway, they’re back. And apparently the most important thing happening in the world. Failed coup in Turkey 1.54m results on Google. Pokemon Go 33.9m results.

Clearly it wasn’t just a passing fad. And clearly – as an engaged Dad who has his finger on the pulse – I need to show some interest…  [Read more…]

A Perfect Father’s Day

Father's DayFather’s Day. 8:30 in the morning. I was back from walking the dog. Six weeks to go until the Pennine Way and the wretched training schedule had demanded ten miles. Ten foggy miles…

Never mind. My loving family would be in the hall to meet me. Jane with a cup of tea and a slice of toast, two of my three lovely children with beaming smiles and ‘Best-Dad-Ever presents.’ And somehow Tom would have arranged a special delivery from Cambridge, cajoling Yodel to deliver a case of amusing Shiraz on a Sunday morning.

No.

They were all still asleep.

I scanned the hall.

And nothing from Tom.

Ah well. I hadn’t been expecting much… [Read more…]

The Football Family

The days before sponsorship...

The days before sponsorship…

Monday. A text arrives from the Beloved Daughter. Our final bills payment is due this week. Would you be able to transfer me £75? Then it starts again.

Of course, darling, there’s nothing I’d like more. And I’d be distraught if it didn’t ‘start again.’

Tuesday. Another text. Do you fancy going to the play-off finals?

Hang on. Yesterday she needed money to pay bills. Today she has enough to go to Wembley. Or am I’m being stupid? Maybe the text translates as Would you like to take me to the play-off finals?

Not this year, I tactfully reply. You need money: your brother needs money: another year. When it’s Wolves vs. Owls.

Yep, she’s become an Owl. Three years in Sheffield and she’s a Wednesday supporter. [Read more…]

Pretentious? Moi?

Photograph my food? What's he talking about?

Photograph my food? What’s he talking about?

“I’ve got an idea,” I said to my beloved. “We’ll go into town and go to the market. Then I’ll take you for coffee.”

Clearly I’d been hit on the head. Or maybe I’d inhaled something. Maybe I thought I was still in France…

At least twenty years since I’d set foot in the local market and now I realised why. There was a butchers and a fruit and veg man – and three stalls selling old Superman comics. Presumably to each other.

Anyway, we needed vegetables. Jessica was on her way home from university. She’d sent a text demanding fresh vegetables. I still have trouble squaring this with the seven year old girl who forced me to say, “I don’t care how long it takes, you’ll sit there until you’ve eaten your sprouts.” Words I vowed would never pass my lips… [Read more…]

The Antidote to the Aphrodisiac

Awesome! Everything planned.

Tom at uni? Check. Jessica? Ditto. And Ben safely at work for five hours…

The romantic meal to end all romantic meals. “You get changed, darling. I’ll cook.” Oysters, asparagus, a few flakes of chilli on the meat, dark chocolate to finish with. There’s a man who knows how to Google ‘aphrodisiac food…’

“Just the two of us on Valentine’s Day,” I mused. “How many centuries since that happened?”

“I can’t wait,” my wife said, smiling seductively. “Your flat stomach, your rippling six pack, your rock hard abs…” [Read more…]

Watch and Learn. And Visit A&E…

Just ordered a skateboard for a (nearly) six year old, tweeted a virtual pal of mine. This isn’t going to end well…

It’ll be fine, I reassuringly tweeted back. Unless, of course, your OH jumps on it and says, ‘Watch and learn…’

Says the voice of experience, she replied.

Sadly, she’s right. And I have the scars – and the stamps on my A&E loyalty card – to prove it.

Twenty or so years ago – the years when I didn’t fall lovingly on every pair of trousers with an ‘athletic’ waist – I played squash.

Jane and I had been living together for four days when they phoned from the sports centre. “He’s crashed his head into the wall. We think he may need to go to A&E.” [Read more…]