‘Now before you get all hot under the collar branding my post ‘icky’ and distasteful, just keep in mind EACH AND EVERYONE OF US was born of our father’s semen!………… Oh and I’ll be away for the foreseeable 🙂 ‘
(Talking of good taste, here are two cute puppies before I begin.)
I’m hoping my Title above has intrigued you enough to read this very personal Posting. I’ll try to be brief with my introduction BUT I always say that don’t I!!
Dad sadly passed away early April 2019 after a long illness enough said. Well as you’d imagine we as a family have been busy with banking and legal documents etc hence a very good reason to clear and tidy through his study draws. AND AS ALWAYS HAPPENS when someone passes away, we discovered many long forgotten treasures including the typed manuscript of a fictional novel the name ‘Jennifer’ emblazoned in red ink across a Title page, but that’s a whole blog post all of its own which I’ll leave for another day!
We also discovered a folder crammed full of newspaper articles from the 1980s which I for one had clean forgotten about, and a selection of which I’ve photographed and shown below. Our local newspaper is called the Oxford Mail, every Town and every City across the world has its very own newspaper, although the internet has very probably moved them on-line however the Mail battles on in the Newsagents reporting local news to local people.
Well it turns out in the early 1980s my father wrote a ‘Mail’ guest column once a week, fifteen or so editions only and approximately 700 words long, themed on a variety of topics from family also childhood. Interesting readable pieces written with humour and from life’s experience and IMPORTANTLY Dad didn’t earn a penny because the Oxford Mail are known to be stingy with money, HOWEVER be totally aware he would neither have wanted or expected to be paid, I’d guess purchasing the stamps with glee because yes my father wrote through pure enjoyment, and I’d guess many of you reading here and now will nod your head in agreement 🙂 .
Yes Dad wrote for love enjoyment not financial reward 🙂 and that’s today’s introduction sorted. Below I’ve copied one of his Oxford Mail published article’s called ‘Facing up to the student challenge’ featuring my brother and his girlfriend, the original is of course typewriter written and yes I am rather proud of these pieces of writing, who knows perhaps he’d have been thrilled I blogged his article on the internet?
I’ll leave you with one last thought, if Dad was alive and in good health today I’m positive he would have taken to WordPress ‘like a duck to water!’
Can you visualise days at Redbrick University in the1960s? All the male students wore coats and the girls were locked up in their halls of residence, not a miniskirt in sight.
(Blimey 😮 Dad was imagining miniskirts!)
An entire Term’s equipment could be transported in one large suitcase. This was heavy, admittedly on occasions fellow travellers on the 11.17am narrowly escaped with their lives when the case was swung up onto one of those silly little tennis racks they had in those days. The swinging sixties and the permissive Seventies (to say nothing of the Expensive Eighties) have changed all this.
Below are listed some of the items essential equipment parents of prospective students might invest in. Also included is some advice to parents culled from bitter experience.
Don’t allow your son or daughter to secure a place too far away from home unless gaining comprehensive knowledge of the road works on the UK motorway network is your forte. Preferably choose one far enough away to prevent journeys home to borrow money or best non stick frying pan, but not so far away as to make the transport of incredibly heavy cardboard boxes a problem. Gone are the days when a text book costs 15 shillings. Books like those used by the student coast about £40 a nicend a quick glance will not rivet the layman like a Jilly Cooper.
Driven to tears?
2. On the subject of transport, invest in a van of fair size. If this is thought absurd, try getting three guitars, a trunk full of dirty washing, fourteen cardboard boxes of assorted shoes, cassette tapes (remember those?), books, files, a monster packet of Sainsburys monster biodegradable washing powder, a small microwave, a cardboard tube containing a poster of Madonna, portable TV and spare parts for a Citroen 2cv.
3. Students reappear at the end of June ready to unwind. This however is the parents hardest time. Struggling to get the cardboard boxes into the loft is only part of the problem. A trip to Israel and Egypt with the girlfriend is in prospect…………… paid for with proceeds from casual employment.
Watch the telephone bill. Calls to the Egyptian Embassy in the daytime are expensive. The trip will begin at 8am from Oxford bus station, so say fair well to at least one nights sleep.
Two days before departure, realisation dawn’s the girlfriend does not know where Egypt is, let alone that a visit there is rather different from a day out in Bournemouth. Search the loft for a school globe to show her. Full to the brim with typhoid injections and quinine tablets, she will take fright at 11pm the night before departure. ‘Prisoner Cell Block 11’ has a marvellously calming effect and the parent can relate to it by realising the inmates are having a better time than he is.
Reversed charges from Tel Aviv cost about £9, so budget for them. Arrival back after a month is also at 3am. Cook egg and chips, make gallons of tea while you listen to stories of spells spent in Israel and Egyptian hospitals suffering from gastroenteritis which seems to be the main feature of the trip.
A last piece of advice for the parent is to give up, at least temporarily, alcohol and tobacco and embrace the conversation movement with open arms. A crafty cigarette in the garage will pass unnoticed, but don’t throw away the tube from a used toilet roll last the green police pounce. Pay the Poll Tax, but don’t attempt to justify it…………. and pay the students as well.
When your son or daughter goes away for the first time, things will never be the same again. It is hard to negotiate the path between idealism and the demands of this difficult world but one day it will all be worthwhile.
R. Shepherdson & A. Shepherdson 2019
(One final thought, just imagine living in an age of being unable to edit as you go and NO spell-check!!)
File this under happy childhood memories, my first true love 🙂 .
A thought just crossed my mind, I’d guess I’m not only person to have fallen in love with their school teacher, no love is tooo emotive a word, sexual infatuation fits better or is experiencing strong feelings towards an adult every child’s first real sexual awakening, a young teenager’s rights of passage have you will?
Oh and the hair is but a distant memory (sigh) 😀 , back in the 1970s I was always making things from old scraps of wood so was I taught to be creative or inherited the skills through my genes?…………… Happy days! 😀 And back in the days of my youth pram wheels were childhood currency, if you had them some kid would always buy or exchange for a swap……….. I’m wondering do children play like this in 2018 or am I looking at my past through rose coloured spectacles?
Anyways chatting about ‘meee’ isn’t necessarily the point to this post.
My mother is a perfectionist she can turn her hand to almost anything, as a small child I remember her sitting at the dining room table, cutting out material for dresses, shortening curtains by sewing machine and taking the hem up on my Jeans because she could never buy…………….. LOL long story!!! Most evenings leading up to Christmas she’d be baking mince pies, cooking a fruit cake, icing when cool with brilliant white sugar solution then leaving on the dining room bureau to dry. My mother used to make everything and anything before arthritis took hold of her hands (they’re not so bad which is a blessing but sewing is a hobby of the past), and only just recently she helped me assemble a bathroom cabinet holding it up while I drilled screwed and attached to the wall……….. yep a lovely family anecdote to put down in writing.
Ah where was I? Oh yes crafting a response post to a lady blogger I follow, about the age of nine and for some unknown long forgotten reason I had to make from scratch a small ‘sitting stool’ from oddments of timber. You know the scenario, this crafting project was a task to be completed earning me a badge from my Cub Scout leader, successful and mum would later sew onto my arm. The point to my tale is I guess mum could have left me to my own devices, and yes I could would have presented a half decent chair to my Cub Scout leader, earned the badge because well I was good with my hands and now I’m a time served engineer by trade.
Anyways rather than leaving me to work on my own, mum helped with the measuring cutting drilling screwing together before trusting me with a tin of brilliant white gloss paint!…………… And measuring each small piece of timber is the key to my tale, the dimensions had to be marked with a pencil then cut to a line, left to myself I’d have used rule of thumb and yes as I remember the ‘sitting stool’ EXACTLY resembled the picture on the plans……… even if I say it myself the stool looked pretty darn spectacular with its shiny paint drying under bright sunlight.
As an aside after the presentation ceremony, unbelievably one rather catty bitchy mouthed mother had the nerve to criticise mum saying,
“I don’t agree with parents doing the children’s work for them!” (Mum let it pass!)
Ffs I physically made it! Mum just instructed me how to use tools properly and to this day I still live and work by the mantra measure twice and cut once, and yes still to this day there are occasions when in a rush to get tasks done the initial first measurement turns out to be wrong…………. don’t you think that bitchy mother was out of order? I guess some parents compete against other parents through their offspring and it gets outer hand, anyways very childish behaviour but there you.
So what’s the point to my tale? We all have childhood memories experiences which only when many years later as adults ourselves do we realise shaped our lives, to this day I can close my eyes and picture us two knelt on the concrete front drive with tools and oddments of wood scattered around about us, I guess some would use the word bonding though I’m not so sure? To me our labours were more an exercise in how things should be done correctly, and yes on reflection the anecdote is a happy childhood memory which perhaps I’ll appreciate even more in years to come……… sadly.
I’m employed as an engineer so perhaps her early construction lessons rubbed off?
The amusing part to this tale is knowing my mother as a person I’d guess she was herself competed against other parents, however note she was very careful NOT to make the ‘sitting stool’ for me (btw I’ve asked mum and she cannot remember what happened to it), yes a competitive parent but cheating to win an award wasn’t and isn’t her style!
So my message to the blogger I’m responding to, don’t worry about the mess, the child is crafting and baking but life skills are being learnt, I’d guess treasured memories are being locked away for future reference and at least the child isn’t staring at a screen zombie like watching TV.