friends and family and numbers


Sounds like a BT tag line but it’s a just a way of saying that we’ve been busy on personal stuff for a few days hence the absence of new postings. Yesterday evening we got back from visiting our daughter and grandkids and had Mike and Jayne round for dinner. We haven’t entertained at home for ages and it was lovely to see them and return the favour of the dinner they treated us to some weeks ago. We weren’t able to push the boat out but that’s not necessary with old friends. It was just good to chat about life, the kids growing up, a little on old times etc and to drink a little too much too (except Jayne who was chauffeuress for the night). Great company.

Last Thursday I spent the day with daughter S mooching round Tate Britain. We’d been promising to do it for ages. It was great to be spend some time just with S; we rarely get the chance to do things like this. S hadn’t been to Tate Britain before and it’s a very different experience from uber-cool Tate Modern. But I like the building enormously (all of our meetings with the Tate guys during my time at BT were held behind the scenes here) and the collection of British art from 1500 to the present day is so sweeping and extensive it includes something for everybody.

We took in the Millais show which is more interesting than I imagined and the Turner Prize retrospective which had examples of key pieces from virtually every significant artist of the last few years. For me – brilliant! Perhaps the most beguiling piece in the Prize show is Damien Hirst’s Mother and Child Divided, a cow and her calf each bisected and preserved in formaldehyde, the original of which earned Hirst the Turner Prize in 1995. Whether this is enjoyable art or not is very much a personal view but it is virtually impossible not to study them and be stunned by the piece.

We were going to take in another gallery later but it was gone 3pm before we’d had some lunch. Given that we had to get the train down to Brighton to catch up with the rest of the family down at my daughter E’s home, we figured it better to beat the crowds and set off then for nearby Victoria station. But it must have been a prescient visit to the gallery; the next day I read the news that Damien Hirst had agreed to gift this particular piece and 3 other important examples of his work to Tate. He intends to donate up to 30 of his most celebrated works to the gallery eventually which is great news for Tate. Director Sir Nicholas Serota called it an ‘astonishing gesture’. Out of the blue I later had a message from an old friend and former colleague with other relevant news. Isn’t life spooky?

Anyway so to Brighton and time with all our daughters and our two amazing grandsons. Friday was S’s carol service – things have certainly changed since I was 5. His class performed a traditional French Carol (!) as part of a very moving service. There must have been a dozen choral and musical performances, 7 or 8 readings and a cluster of prayers and poetry readings. It was as much as we could do at that age to perform the nativity and not drop the myrrh (whatever that is), forget 3 lines nor miss too many notes on the glockenspiel during O Little Town of Bethlehem. What a fantastic school he attends. He broke up for the Xmas hols after the service and during Friday afternoon I had S and baby G to myself as the girls went shopping. Actually R stayed and helped me which was very welcome. I’d forgotten how absolutely consuming the kids are with your attention! There wasn’t a minute when either C or I weren’t doing something with one of the boys. But like most grandparents we love it of course.

So it meant I haven’t really had time to go online since Wednesday evening. Since then you’ll have noticed perhaps from the newly-installed Blog stats reading on the right hand column that we’ve had our 10,000th visit, which was my aim before the end of December. Thank you very much indeed folks for checking in. I don’t believe it’s earth-shattering traffic compared to other people’s blogs that I come across but it makes me both surprised and happy. And grateful of course.

I was intending to do 50 blogs during December to help nudge the figure over the 10k mark and this is the 25th posting so far. I’m still going to press on to get the 50 up this month and I’m hoping to see if that enables me to set a new visitor record of 2,500 visits during a month. If we do the total number of visits will have to pass 11,200. So that’s the new mark; 50 postings bringing the total to 250 and over 2,500 visits bringing the total to more 11,200 by end December. In doing so we should also notch up over 150,000 words on the blog overall.

What a bloody thought. So much comment and so little sense. Isn’t the internet wonderful for we who are full of crap?

pp

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