Another birthday? Put the kettle on

The Northern Echo: Another birthday? Put the kettle on Another birthday? Put the kettle on

WHERE do the years go?

Somehow, without understanding how I got there so fast, I reached my half century at the weekend.

Fifty? Me? Surely not.

The big birthday coincided with another shock: the announcement that our first-born, the one known in this column in recent years as The Big Friendly Giant, is flying the nest.

With full-time employment mercifully confirmed, we went with him to look at a nice one-bedroomed flat last week and he’ll be moving into it next month. My favourite settee is apparently going with him and I wonder what other bits of furniture are likely to disappear from under my nose.

I know he moved out when he went to university a few years back but this is different. He’s been back at home for more than a year, and this time his departure feels like it’s for good.

At the age of 21, it’s time for him to have his own place and negotiations are already under way over who’s going to have his bedroom up in the attic. Thinking about it, I quite fancy it myself.

Meanwhile, in another reminder of how quickly time is flying, Jack, 18, is preparing for his first lads’ holiday without us. He and his mates are off to Bulgaria and then, when the summer’s over, he’ll be off to university.

It was Jack, I remember, who put all my worries into perspective when I was hurtling towards my last great milestone a decade ago Jack was eight and very cute at the time, and I said to him: “You know your daddy’s 40 next week, don’t you?”

“Yes, I know, dad,” he replied as we drove along in the car.

“Do you mind having a dad who’s that old?”

He considered the delicate question for a few seconds, then declared: “No, not really, dad – you could live another ten years yet.”

In what I’m sure was a further attempt to downplay the gravity of the situation, he added: “Anyway, dad, it just means you’ll drink more tea – that’s what old people do.”

I have to say none of it made me feel any better at the time but I am, of course, delighted he was right in suggesting I might survive those further ten years. Greyer, thinner on top, and saggier all over, there is still plenty of living to do – I hope.

These days, Jack’s not nearly as endearing as he was and he doesn’t feel the need to pull any punches.

“You know your dad’s 50 next week, don’t you, Jack?” I asked him in the run-up to my half century.

“Yessss,” he sighed.

“Do you mind having a dad who’s that old?”

“Yessss – you’re absolutely ancient,”

he replied, dismissively.

With that, he stuffed in his earplugs and I went off for my eighth cup of tea of the day.

THE THINGS THEY SAY

OUR sports editor and fellow dad, Nick Loughlin, who happens to be hurtling towards 40, told me how his daughter Hannah, five, got into trouble for stamping on a ladybird in the garden.

Hannah was told off by Nick’s wife Helen and sent to her bedroom.

Ten minutes later, she came downstairs and said sorry to her mum.

But after a stern talk, Hannah was told she also needed to say sorry for hurting a living creature.

She promptly went back into her bedroom and was overheard saying: “Dear God, I’m sorry for hurting one of your creatures and I promise not to do it again.”

AT Chester-le-Street Townswomen’s Guild, Pat Willis remembered the time grandson Adam, aged six, was playing with a toy car.

“When I grow up, I’m going to buy a car,” he announced.

“That’s good,’ replied grandma, “you can pick me up from the train station when I come to visit.”

“That’s if you’re still alive when I’m grown up,” sniffed Adam.

“Do you think I will be?” asked Grandma.

“No,” concluded Adam, without batting an eyelid.

PAT Walker, also of Chester-le- Street TWG, told how grandson Oliver, nine, came home from school and told his mum: “There’s a girl at school says she fancies me.”

“Oh, and what do you think of that?” asked his mum.

“Well,” replied Oliver, “I don’t want to hurt her feelings, so I’ve told her not to build her hopes up.”

“Is there no one you fancy?” asked his mum.

“Only you,” came the reply.

Comments (1)

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4:29pm Sat 14 Apr 12

timsinc says...

Happy birthday. Here's to your next half century...

Tim, aged 66
Happy birthday. Here's to your next half century... Tim, aged 66 timsinc

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