web analytics

A card with a difference.

By Mike Cunningham On December 21st, 2013 at 4:15 pm

 

marco card001

 

 

As I gaze at my mantelpiece this afternoon, crowded as it is with family photos and Christmas cards  from old friends and family, my eyes are drawn, again and again, to one particular card. It is not glossy, or covered with tinsel, or even featuring holly, sleighs, reindeer or a slightly-mythical bearded figure all dressed in red, trimmed with white fur.

 

Instead the cover of this small card comes with the imprint of a small boy’s idea of the outline of his Grandfather’s head ( I think) and he struggled with where my ear should be, because he scribbled over the first position and settled for a new one.

 

I know that the spade work is done by computer graphics, along with micro-electronics, but this card says all there is to be said at this time of year. My grandson Marco Michael wrote his name beneath those of his Mummy and Daddy, and who can argue with the innocence of childhood?

 

To all those who read these words, and who have read my posts throughout the past year; I hope and wish that you have the peace and happiness which comes with true contentment, and that you all have a truly Happy Christmas, and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.

 

Mike Cunningham

 

Granddad’s portrait

By Mike Cunningham On June 26th, 2013 at 2:22 pm

bigdaddypix001

 

 

 

I reckon my five year-old grandson has captured the total ‘Je ne sais quois’ of my face and features, although strangely missing out on the full beard and moustache which I have worn just about all of my life. He has caught the white hair, but somehow my eyes have been ‘greened’; perhaps because my Grandson knows of my devotion to all things ‘Green’!

Yet another viewpoint.

By Mike Cunningham On February 24th, 2013 at 5:05 pm

In late November of last year, I consulted the Oracles, scanned T’Internet and of course spoke to she of all knowledge, namely my son’s wife, regarding the suitability of a present which I was thinking of deputising Santa to deposit near the fireplace carpet usually occupied by my 2nd Grandson. As he is now approaching five years old, I was wondering if a decent telescope would be suitable for his hands and mind, and after due discussion, the arrangements were made.

I received an updated situation report when I asked my grandson this afternoon if he had managed to look at the moon through his new telescope.

I was left in no doubt as to the suitability of my small gift when this small boy’s eyes seemd to widen like saucers, as his reply came back; “Grandad, it was Gigantic!”

amoon

Not the ‘look how well we’re doing’ letter time again!

By Mike Cunningham On January 8th, 2013 at 2:24 pm

We have relatives in America. My wife’s cousin married an American serviceman, and moved to the ‘Home of the Brave’ some short while before we ourselves married. The American branch has thrived, and are now at the grandchildren stage, much as we are, but maybe a little more advanced.

My wife’s cousin is now, after such a long time, indistinguishable from a native-born resident, complete with accent, style of speech and manners, and all this is good, because she has embraced the American dream; and life has been mainly good to her and her family. But the one American trend, adopted by my family cousin, which gets trotted out, every year for as long as I remember, is the dreaded ’round-robin’ letter. Late December into early January, we here as well as wider outposts of our far-flung family get a ‘Missile’ missive telling, or rather almost gloating; about how good everything is, and has been over the last year.

We are supposed to be enchanted about XXXX, who is in some baseball team (winning, naturally), or YYYYY, who is now involved in ‘Interpretive Dancing’, whatever that is; and to rejoice in her fantastic devotion to this ‘Art’, despite the fact that last year she was utterly devoted to some other load of codswallop! Other paragraphs detail how successful family members have been, or are becoming, and how good life is, and on, and on, and indeed on!

I am daft about my grandchildren, and happily supply links to all the extended family members to the web-albums, all well populated with pix of the three ‘wunderkinder’, but that is as far as I go. My kids are all grown, fled the nest, and are making their way in the world. If they wish to tell something of their achievements., fair enough, but let’s not make a meal out of it.

How can I tell my cousin that ‘enough is indeed enough’?

Answers to anyone but me!

Fruit Shortcake?

By Mike Cunningham On December 2nd, 2012 at 6:22 pm

I sit in front of my computer, adjacent is the dining table full of the detritus of Sunday’s lunch. We had two of my grandsons come visiting, bringing with them of course my son and his wife, otherwise known as Mummy and Daddy. For a couple of hours, my world was lit up by the infectious grin and captivating smiles of those two small boys. What we ate, and what we talked about is irrelevant, as that afternoon was complete once they came through the door; one jumping, as all five-year-old dynamos do, the other safe and smiling in his Daddy’s arms.

As five-year-olds also do, he has decided that heaven, or rather dessert, consists of chocolate biscuits; not ice-cream, nor fruit and cream. But of course disaster had struck, as absent-minded Granddad had not purchased a pack of ‘Hobnobs’ specifically for the lips and tongue of one small boy. I offered ice-cream, or fruit, and as a last resort came up with ‘ordinary biscuits’.

So I am seated in front of my computer, next to me is a saucer holding two chewed remnants of shortcake biscuits, because as every five-year-old also knows, all raisins baked into biscuits are to be avoided like they were diseased. I sit here, with a silly smile all across my face, as the house has become quiet again; but it is a quiet which holds the memory of yet another perfect Sunday, when smiles, and toys, and biscuits rule above all.

An argument, and a memory

By Mike Cunningham On November 19th, 2012 at 9:59 am

As my own family will testify, I have strong views on many things, and over the years I have altered my position on very few.

As some at ATW may remember, I wrote of my brother’s death in the final days of May. He died with his friends around his bed, together with my brother who had travelled down from the North-East.

We had not spoken for over a year, as my brother and I had argued; the reasons for our arguments are not important, but he was similarly annoyed, so we just stopped answering the phone.

I still believe that my stance was correct, but wish we had not broken the way we did!

We had our laughs, as families do, but we were both as stiff-necked as they come.

YouTube Preview Image

DADDY’S (NOT) HOME

By David Vance On August 4th, 2012 at 8:45 am

We live at a time when Mum and Dad, Mother and Father, Husband and Wife, are slowly but surely being erased from the vocabulary and the structure of our society. For decades now, the liberal Left have portrayed Single Parents as heroic – almost role models. And guess what? Yes, when you do that you get more of them, so many more of them…

Single-parent families are now so common that couples living with their children are the minority in some parts of the country. Data shows there are seven Parliamentary constituencies where single-parent families make up the majority of households. There are close to 2million single-parent families in the UK and we have the highest proportion of children brought up in one-parent families of any major European country.

Now then, I KNOW there can be many reasons for a single parent family. Obviously the early death of a partner can cause this. An abusive relationship can be another. However..

Jill Kirby, a social policy expert and former director of the Centre for Policy Studies, said: ‘Children need input from both parents in order to thrive. Research shows children growing up in fatherless homes are much less likely to do well at school and are at twice the risk of getting into problems with drink or drugs, or involved in crime. The UK welfare system has been partly to blame, by providing a substitute breadwinner rather than encouraging parents to stick together.

That sums it up. Daddy is more often than not absent.  The decline of marriage has accompanied this rise in one parent families. The ease of separation has also facilitated this decay. In certain communities, such as the Black community, there is a particular problem with almost 50% of babies born to single parents.

Is there a political angle to this?

“In 1996 – the year before Labour came to power with tax and benefit policies based on the doctrine that all kinds of families are equally acceptable – 38.7 per cent of babies of British-born mothers were born outside marriage. By 2006, that had gone up to 49.4 per cent, some 266,000.”

The all powerful State likes to see family breakdown since it can then step in and fill the void.  But the consequences for our society down the line are horrendous. Still, whistle while you work…

Choices!

By Mike Cunningham On May 25th, 2012 at 6:55 pm

I have to report a ‘sea-change’ in my life-style and habits. I came home from the weekly ‘shop’, unloaded and stacked all the food, perishables, dairy etc. in the fridge, frozen gear in the freezer, tins in the cupboards etc., the usual round. Made my wife a cup of tea, and one for myself too, sat down after clearing up; reached for the remote to switch the tuner on, and then paused. It was five-past-six in the evening, the 6 p.m. news had already commenced, and still I paused; and then clicked the remote to…..Classic FM, where I listened to a Piano Concerto by Robert Schumann, then Delibes, Karl Jenkins, and much more after that was finished.

I realised that if I had tuned to the BBC news, I would be hearing of the latest stories from the Leveson Inquiry, where I would be regaled with lots of gossip and crap dressed up as useful evidence about politicians and their spin-doctors; and who said what, to whom, and when. I would also be learning the latest in the tortured trials of the Eurozone idiots, along with, hopefully, a bookmaker giving odds on when Greece would default; or Spain, or indeed Ireland. We would then be regaled with ‘news’ about the progress of the Olympic torch, and how it is being greeted by cheering crowds. Seems to me that they must have very little to do with their time except by watching a re-enactment of a ‘inspiring activity’ which was, unfortunately, invented by none other than Adolf Hitler’s Nazis for the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. No doubt we would also have heard the real Fat Controller, Alec Salmond himself, telling us all how wonderful it would be once Scotland become Independent. Add to that deep pit of sludge by mention of Spain’s banking woes, Paralympic ticket sales, or rather the lack of sales; and a statement by a Labour MP to the end that she wished that a ‘lager-drinking oaf’ should be killed before he could breed!

Sorry, folks, but this evening is for me and the music, possibly a glass of wine, and memories of an eldest brother who has just died from a mixture of pulmonary fibrosis and cancer.

Times of Joy

By Mike Cunningham On April 17th, 2012 at 11:13 pm

As Davids post was about music remembered, I would copy a post of my own from nearly two years ago. My tastes run Classical these days, but even I know ‘class’ when I hear and remember it.

 

Good times with Joshua.

YouTube Preview Image

There is a line of verse from this song by Abba, which goes:-

“Times of joy, and times of sorrow,” and that is what this life is really all about.

Yesterday afternoon, I sat on the the carpet in my son’s living room, and watched and played with my younger Grandson. I helped him load toy cars into a garage, and taught him that the winding path down from the top of the toy garage is called a ‘Ramp’, and then he smiled and repeated ‘Down the Ramp’.

He eventually sat on my knee, and I knew that all was well with my world.

We all have to play the cards we are dealt, and the deck which I have been dealt from has given me a few lousy hands, but as I looked at my grandson, I realised that there are always aces in the pack!

 

 

There’s rice on the floor

By Mike Cunningham On March 25th, 2012 at 3:16 pm

There’s rice on the floor all around the chair.

There are many grains of cooked rice on the floor, all around the dining table where my eldest grandson demolished his Sunday lunch, but I don’t mind.

I have to get the brush and dustpan and clean all the signs of this small man’s presence away, shortly after he waved ‘Bye’ to his Grandad and Grandma as his Mom and Daddy drove away with himself and his very young brother safe in their respective car seats; but I don’t mind at all.

For a couple of hours, he graced my home with his smiles, as he ate his lunch, polished off his ice-cream, and played with his toys at my feet, and the rice was scattered all around after he left the table, but I don’t mind.

It’s a little quieter now, for two of my grandsons have left to go home with their Daddy and Mom, and all that remains is to sweep up the rice; but I really don’t mind at all!