School Daze a report from October 2014

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Parent’s Evening.  Its an event that most parents don’t look forward to.  A couple of times a year you attend the local school at a given time and then the teacher tells you all about what your little darlings have been up to in class.  What they have really been up to, not what they have told you after school each day.  This was the event for me last night in Girvan.  Now that only two of my three are at primary school for the first time it meant only two appointments rather than three which meant less running about making to a room on time.  So how did the Poet and the Warrior do….

How they did was a ringing endorsement of the parenting that myself and mainly my good lady made an effort to keep to.  Rewarding effort and initiative and punishing bad behaviour while giving the children as much responsibility as their ages can allow and not treating them as anything less than capable within their own limits.  It works.  It really does.  Both were given top marks with remarks made about their healthy attitude to life and high scores in tests and group work.  I may have to rename the Poet since his tendency towards mathematics and numbers is becoming ever greater and the Warrior is so sociable that his name may also change.

In short happy days.  Well done my sons!

GBS

Happy Birthday Darling!

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Happy Birthday my darling wife.  Though I sometimes do not pay enough attention to you know that I love you now more than I ever have.  Know that I and our three wonderful children could not do without you and that you are the loving bond that holds us together.  We have been together for a long time now but that has made us stronger and while those around us suffer their problems know that with me your future will always be golden and that you will always come first.

One of the many pictures from today.  Special thanks to Edward Jackson who sent my fine lady another of his excellent Dodo cards.  This one will join its fellows on the dresser in pride of place.  A new convert to the ways of the Dodo.

Enjoy your presents my love.

GBS

Start of a New School Year 2014

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Today was the start of a new school year here in Girvan for my three sons.  The Thinker, The Poet and The Warrior donned their new uniforms and took up their new jackets (it is Scotland so it was cold in August!) and bags and headed for the class rooms.   This is an occasion for celebration every year but this year there was an extra event as my eldest was now attending secondary school going from a big fish in a little pond to a minnow in a lake.  So he headed off to Girvan Academy while the smaller two went back a year up to Girvan Primary.  As you can see in the image here they looked very smart indeed which is due entirely to my loving wife and not I who has now not shaved in near a week!

As is the duty of all good fathers I asked each how their first day went.  The replies were as follows starting with the youngest The Warrior.  He said that school was cool, that music is now his favourite subject and that having a class smaller than last year made him happy.  So a happy lad.  The middle lad, The Poet, was more reflective and while musing over a new book of tales published in conjunction with the school (in which he had a full entry) said that he hoped it would be pacer quicker than last year as he liked a challenge.  Now the eldest The Thinker looked all grown up in his shirt and tie and what did he think of his first day at a new school?  With a weight of years he said it was a big change with many more subjects and a lot of new faces to get to know.  He was most taken with the idea of responsibility in that he is now allowed out for lunch into the town as well as the canteen.

A big day then and it was a pleasure to see once more what fine lads they are and how they will make their parents justly proud in years to come.

GBS

Now we are Twelve the Thinker

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I waited until the day after, the morning after, my eldest son’s birthday to make this small blog post.  The Thinker is now twelve and the time has passed so quickly it hardly seems real to me.  He had a great day yesterday electing to travel to a local leisure pool and enjoy the flumes and fun with his family and close friends (it was also the first time that I have been down a flume in more than a decade!).

It was an important birthday for him in my eyes as it marks the start of his journey to adulthood and I will tell you why.  The Thinker now has his own bedroom and has moved out of the shared room with his two brothers for the first time.  That room has a brand new desk and book rack in it for his soon to start school work for secondary school after the summer holidays.  He now has his first mobile phone which is an entry level model on a pre-pay contract meaning he can begin to interact with the digital world and learn those lessons too.  As always I am humbled by the adoration that people have for my son who is a wonderful boy, always helpful and always polite.  Cards, gifts and mementos came to him across the day.  Even a great new cover for his new bed!

It will not be long before I am speaking about him becoming a teenager….

Happy Birthday my Son.  From the very start and your first smile until each passing moment and your smiles of today you are the centre of my life.

GBS

Graduation Glasgow University 2014

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I was invited to Glasgow University on the Wednesday of this week to be a part of my sister in law’s graduation from the university.  I was honoured to be selected as tickets are rare and it meant I would once more be able to walk the halls of my old haunt and enter the illustrious Bute Hall for the ceremony.  By an odd coincidence it was twelve years to the day after my own graduation from the university in exactly the same ceremony but this time I was able to see it from the outside without the gown and the mortar board.

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The programme of events. We were lucky with a mild and dry day and it was really fantastic to see all the smiling faces full of accomplishment.  I will admit it was a lot of deja vu  on my part but I will avoid going into details.  I had not been back to the university since 2002 but I keep in touch with letters and email.  Its a place that holds and radiates its five hundred years of scholarship and its formed the minds of thousands who have shaped the modern world.   I have done a lot since I graduation not least the public work I am known for but I have gotten married, bought two homes, had three children, travelled, wrote, thought and fought the good fight.

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A view of the side of Bute Hall to give an idea of the scale of the stone work.  My sister in law Kirsten Loy was the star of the day and trust me it only seems like yesterday when she applied to go to university.  While some might argue the benefit of further education I can tell you from my perspective that you go in one person and come out another better one more suited to the rapidity of the world now and better to deal with it.   So congratulations and I am so proud of you.  I wait to see where you go now!

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I will end with the above photo of Kirsten on the left and my good lady on the right.  I am so lucky to be part of a world of such beautiful and talented women.

GBS

Now we are Eight my Little Poet

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Minions are cool..but purple minions are way cooler!

Now you are eight my little poet and bright you burn.  A ray of sun in the world that promises much for a future not yet composed.   Your face radiant and your words stronger and surer each day.  Strong in limb and in mind my how you grow.  Not so long ago to me a babe you were and a bundle in constant need of me.   You need me still and you always will but it will be less and less and for that you will make me proud.  My central son, my poet, my Daniel.

Happy Birthday!

GBS

Goodbye Gran

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1981 on the beach. One of my earliest memories.

I am now without grand parents.  A life process that began before I was born with my paternal grandfather and then when I was a young teenager with my maternal grandfather.  It continued with the death of my paternal grandmother in May 2012 which I blogged about here and it ended last week as my maternal grandmother passed away.  She had been unwell for some time and had gradually slid away from the caring and wonderful woman that in many ways dominated my early years.  I had expected her death and prepared myself mentally for it but it was still a shock and saddened me greatly.

Her funeral was yesterday and those who know me personally will have noticed my lack of work in the last week or so.  I had not the heart for it.   A simple service at a crematorium in Glasgow followed by a meal in the city all attended by family and friends alike.   I have little time for religion and empty promises of a better place beyond and instead as the service went on I thought instead of the times I had shared with my Gran in the close years before I moved away to England.  Then those times many years later when I stayed with her during my time at Glasgow University when we spent virtually every weekend together for the best part of five years.  We were related and I saw her in myself but more than that we were loyal friends and I did all she asked and needed me to do.  I was snapped back to the service by the touching eulogy which named me as her ‘little soldier’.  I had not been called that in more than two decades.

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1983 my 4th Birthday with my cousin Jennifer (she is even prettier now!)

Life moves on and in time this will become another memory but right now its sore to the touch.  We are a small family and now we are fewer and poorer for this.   My grandmother stood by me year after year and watched me pass each milestone that marked manhood and there have been many.  Every challenge accepted and met.   She loved her two daughters and her two grandchildren and my own children too and now this final milestone for her makes me no longer a grandson but a son only as the generations change.   In the end death comes to us all but it is in those who continue that we matter for our fingerprints are on those whom we touched and guided and improved.

Goodbye Grandmother Fraser 1927-2014.

GBS

Lion King on Stage in Edinburgh

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My good lady enjoyed a weekend away with her best friend which left me at a loose end (only kidding I just kept working of course).  She travelled to Edinburgh to spend a night in a swish hotel and to take in the stage version of The Lion King at the Playhouse.  I am pleased to report that my treat which included an excellent gift bag went down well and that a super time was had by both of them.

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Perhaps I am too nice…but I do love her dearly.

GBS

Happy 5th Birthday my little Warrior

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Way back when with the Warrior dead centre!

Today is your birthday and now you are five.  What a little terror and delight you have become my son.  Mercurial and unlike your brothers you are the most testing and often the most rewarding of the trio.  I see your mother and myself in you and your temper…well that is all me.  Enjoy the presents and the cake and the birthday party too.  It’s your day and now you are five.

As an aside there is an important member of the family not here today and he is missed.  The picture above is from 2010 and shows the trio at Girvan Rail Station plus another….Uncle James. See you soon!

GBS

GBS and AJS 2014!

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Twelve Years ago today I got married.  I snapped this picture a few days ago and it sums up my feelings.  I love you my lady as much today as I always have and no work, no money, no people and no damned nonsense of the world will ever come between us.  Anniversary Day once more and while this is a short post it makes the point!

Now…Champagne Cognac or Botanical Gin….hummm…

GBS