very sad santa

Well hello laptop. How are you? I’ve not been online since last Wednesday when our grandsons S and G arrived for a stay whilst E and S went to a winter wedding up in Scotland. We’re nuts about our grandchildren and found no problem getting into a routine with them but they do occupy your attention 100%, from morning to bedtime and through the night in the nicest way of course. S called to collect them yesterday and it has been very quiet without them….

We took the boys to see Father Xmas at Milton Keynes piazza, where they’ve put on a huge Wind in the Willows themed show for the kids. Whilst we were walking through the car park S turned to me and said ‘Look granddad there’s Lara’s car’, Lara being one of his classmates in Brighton. I just said ‘Oh yeh’ or something but bugger me if not 20 minutes later, we bumped into Lara and her family in the queue for FC just ahead of us. I don’t know if I was more surprised by the coincidence of meeting one of his friends so far from home or his ability to recognise a friend’s parents car in a car park ram-jammed with 30,000 vehicles. Kids eh.

I took S into see Father Christmas whilst C did some last shopping pushing G around. At just 7 months he’s a little young for the Xmas thing. I have to say that the price wasn’t too extortionate (I think it was around £11 with photo and gift) but the bloke who was pretending to be FC was a joke. He just looked like some miserable old geyser, wearing sinister glasses (!) who’d been a litter-sweeper up last week. No ho, ho, ho-ing, no personality, no interest in the kids whatsoever. ‘What’s your name and what do you want for Xmas’ were his only words delivered as if for the 1000th time that day, which I’m sure they were. But if you’re going to set up this huge Xmas display and fair then what’s the point in not having someone in the main role who can at least put on something of a performance for the kids? Honestly this bloke even looked like a child molester. It’s not the greatest acting role but kids sort of believe the fantasy and they aren’t stupid as I’ve shown above. S came out and asked me if he was ‘disguised’ because his wig and beard were so obviously false. Hey ho.

Next day I took S to watch Jake play footie over near Thame. Jake and his dad Mike (an old friend) used to play 5 a-side with me for years. Jake was then a lad but now he’s 18 and playing in proper local league stuff. It was great to get out and watch a match. S really enjoyed it – especially the swearing and the odd bit of squaring up. I’d forgotten how industrial the language can be on the footie pitch and from the side-lines. Ah well. Mike’s the manager this year and having an ok season but Jake and his team lost this match in the last 10 minutes or so. It is still great to know that many people up and down the country turn up in freezing, muddy conditions to get involved in putting on local sport on Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings all unpaid and in many cases without much in the way of thanks. But it’s a great bonding thing with your kids even when they’re adult as Jakey now is of course. He had a fine game.

So the kids are no longer with us but will be coming back tomorrow to spend Xmas day and night with us with all our family here in Buckingham for the final time before the house goes. We can’t wait to see them all now.


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About Paul

Having decided on a change of life by moving home from the UK to Italy, this is the story and thoughts of a man on a personal journey from the Blackpool Tower to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, in search of la dolce vita. After several olive harvests he's now back in London but en route he shares his very personal perspectives on life.

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