Isn’t it ironic?

Europe eh. What more can you say about it that doesn’t sound oddly unexpected? The newly-formed Brexit party, led by the delightful Nigel Farage, won 29 seats to the European Parliament in the recent elections. A massive victory. And this was for a party only 5 minutes old that doesn’t believe in the EU and wants us out asap. That’s its only policy. It’s likely that none of its elected members will ever sit in the parliamentary chambers in Brussels and Strasbourg. Unexplainably weird? Yep. You want more?  We used to be pretty regular, and you’ve got to assume popular, winners of the Eurovision song contest. Then just over 20 years ago every country in Europe started seemingly hating us and we ended up just about last in every competition since then. It happened again a week or so ago; our chappie came last with a miserable total of 16 points whilst the winner received 492. That’s what it’s come to – the country that gave the world The Beatles, The Stones, David Bowie, Rod Stewart, Elton John and countless other musical greats, got well and truly twatted in a popular music contest by dozens of countries that have contributed just about Jack Shit to such culture, including the musical giants of Belarus, Albania, San Marino and some place called North Macedonia. Sigh. OK it wasn’t a total surprise.

Then, not content, after a few days the event organisers made a statement admitting that they’d actually made an error in the calculation of the scores for the United Kingdom. So instead of 16 points we’d only scored 11 or something. Two thoughts; what kind of organisers get the arithmetic wrong adding up 16 points? And couldn’t the twats just have said to themselves ‘look it’s bad enough we have to admit this but let’s give those poor Brits a break and not inflict any more shame on them?’ Of course they couldn’t. They couldn’t wait to ladle on a bit more sardonic embarrassment. The nation that stood up to tyranny and evil, sacrificing over 1 million soldiers and civilians in the process, to save Europe in two World Wars in the last century and paved the way for a post-war federation of mutually supportive peaceful trading states, is now a European pariah.

How did it come to this? I really don’t know. Could you imagine them humiliating France or Germany in quite the same way? I doubt it. In fact any other country would have pulled their investment and left the whole overblown ridiculous Eurovision circus long ago. Except that we Brits take these things in our stride; millions of our people love the whole campfest and can’t wait to tune in to Graham Norton’s nice sardonic comments. We know we’re destined to be losers (currently) but we keep a sense of humour about the whole thing. Not because we’re losers – we’re actually a nation of unbelievable achievers – but because we are self-deprecating and enjoy irony. Unlike some nations I could mention here known for their national chauvinism and lack of humour. But I’ll resist naming names.

So undaunted by Europe’s seemingly hostile attitude towards us, we did the only thing that a retired British couple with broad shoulders and thick skins does and followed our irrational love of (almost) all things European, and headed out to Italy for a quick break.  To our place in Marche in fact. No doubt it’ll be sequestrated by the Italian authorities under orders from Brussels as soon as we officially leave the EU on 31 October, should it come to that. But until then we’ll keep heading there, even though the last visit was a sodding nightmare. In fact every trip seems to involve a bloody drama but this one was remarkably crisis-free. We were joined by our super eldest (17 year old) grandson Sammy and his good friend Zak. Sammy last came with us when he was about 6 and we loved having some cool Italy time with him again. After a very wet start, we enjoyed truly fab weather. We spent days at the beach and the boys had time at the gym and two long walks and one hot hilly run to maintain their fitness during close season. We ate out and also shared much time with our super friends and neighbours John and Christine and their friend Mac and lovely Freddy. We’re all pensioners and I’m the young kid on the block, so you can tell how jurassic the company was. So how the young fellahs felt holidaying with grumpy (not really) old senior citizens I do not know. But I think they really enjoyed it. And we loved having them join us. They never experienced Italian sunrises nor indeed any sense of mornings but they loved the afternoons. Teenagers eh. But reassuringly Sammy told us that he thought there was so much about Italy to enjoy eg the weather, food, girls, friendliness, helpfulness, atmosphere and views like this, love him…

You see Europe, we don’t do grudges. We genuinely wanted him to experience Italy as a young man and make his own opinion about it. And despite being surrounded by aged, silver and in my case shaven-headed people, he found joy. That’s what matters. And he found fun, contentment and a sense of wanting to belong without any sense of resentment towards we Brits. I believe real ordinary people in Europe want us to continue be a part of the whole EU enterprise. It’s not a song contest folks, this is reality. I don’t want to get all political; I just wish that our children and grandchildren are lucky enough to continue to embrace being part of feeling truly European.

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You know you’re getting old when….

Poignant day yesterday. First up we went up to Akeley Wood to collect my super grandson Sam from his school. He’d just finished his 21st and final GCSE exam (physics urgh) which had been spread over 5 long weeks. 5 weeks!! I know we’ve all been through it but that’s too long in my opionion. The lad is shattered but happy and relieved at getting over the finishing line. And there he was in his shirt all signed by his school mates – when did that become a thing? Anyway the point is that yesterday was effectively his last day at school. That’s it no more school uniforms, lazy long holidays etc. It’s all behind him as in August he’ll start his 2 year contract with Borehamwood Academy studying BTEC level 3 Sports Sciences while doing all his football stuff of course. Then yesterday afternoon it was fab grandson Georgie’s last sports day at junior school. It was a fun afternoon. But you know you’re getting old not just when you’re kids leave school but when your grandchildren do! Thank christ they didn’t invite the grandads up for a race at the end. Couple of pics from the day…

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Grandsons eh

Well today I went to watch my eldest grandson S play for his academy team against Barnet FC. It was a lovely morning if a bit cool and it was a proper lads get together with his other Grandad BB there and his young brother G and my son-in-law St there too of course. I haven’t been for a while to watch him and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Little break

Sorry I’ve not been posting much recently. All that WC action and I’ve hardly said a word about it (and wasn’t that a great match last night between unfancied Algeria and ruthlessly bloody effective Germany?). And I’ve been working quite hard on some proposals for some new clients on some meaty website opportunities. Actually I have been blogging but I’ve started a new site to diarise events looking after our youngest grandson, as our daughter, S, has recently returned to work. And C and I are having a ball being very hands-on, very special aged carers. It’s good practice for C for when I turn incapable. I’ve set up the diary as if it was written by our grandson so I can be cheekily rude about his mum and dad, his Nana and most especially his Grandad, who deserves special mentions for being so hopeless at almost everything. I think I’ve found my calling, writing as a 7½ month old. It’s my natural intellectual level ha! It’s a private site so cannot share it with you but it’s got the makings of a good book (and let’s face it a lot more fun than ‘a year on the chemo ward’ or the riotous ‘the day my heart stopped’ or the solemn ‘thinking about the day I was told my Hickman Line was infected and I was getting sepsis’) so one day maybe. I’ll be back to the blog with cutting sarcasm and biting wit ever so shortly.

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so it’s adios manchester, hola madrid and last night in paris

I’ve mentioned my grandson S’s passion for all things football. He’s only 7 but simply loves the game; he plays whenever he can, reads every footie magazine he can get his hands on, listens to footie song CD’s in the car on the way to and from school, collects Match Attak footballer cards and can tell you any fact from them , watches any match he’s allowed to on Sky tv (including classics) and he talks about the game with such insight that he makes Mottie look like a rookie. He’s constantly posing me questions like who was better and why, Zidane, George Best or Cantona? And he expects a well-argued response.

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grandkids

Well after my feast of postings yesterday – there just seemed like so many things to rant on about and comment on – a bit of a writing famine today. We got up a little late after a little too much wine last night which is something of a rarity to overdo it these days. There are probably many people smiling in complete disbelief at this point. I didn’t say abstinence I just meant not going mad at it every night. Believe what you think. Plus I had a quite a bit of work on today so a busy morning bashing stuff out. Then C mentioned she wanted to go food shopping. Normally I’d go a little deaf at those words but I’ve been crashing away on the laptop all week and felt more than a little cabin crazy so I was happy for a chance to get a change of scenery – even to Waitrose in Towcester. The other reason was that our two grandsons were coming to us this afternoon and I love buying little things for them, like Thai sweet chilli crisps which S and I always have as a stay-up-with-grandad late night snack when he stays over. Full of rubbish and indulgent but hey, when you’re grandparents you’ll understand. Continue reading