Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Fifty and Counting

Welcome to a 50th birthday celebratory blog posting written by me, using my trusty old stylus and an iPad. Extraordinary as it may seem I have made it to 50. There have been a number of occasions over the last fifteen or so years when that achievement had seemed a trifle optimistic and so it was with some relief that the 13th of July arrived without the accompanying sound of sirens and the flashing of blue lights. In fact the bulk of the day passed uneventfully what with the children at school and Polly having an appointment at the hairdressers. I had been told that my mother-in-law, Pam, had booked a table at a local Harvester and that we were all going out for a meal that evening. I was a little suspicious of this because Polly had put out socks for me to wear and so I suspected we were going somewhere slightly more upmarket, Pizza Express perhaps.

As we turned off Wimbledon Park Side I had an inkling that we were heading upmarket of even Pizza Express and that our destination was Cannizarro House, the hotel where Polly and I had spent the first night of our honeymoon nearly 18 years ago. On that occasion our little red self-drive hired van had squeezed between S class Mercedes and Porches to take pride of place opposite of the main entrance. This time our VW Caddy looked slightly less incongruous but I was grateful Polly had had the car cleaned recently. She apologised for the deceit and hoped I wasn't too disappointed that I would not be availing myself of an all you can eat salad bar. In fact, she explained, we were meeting Pam here for a drink and then she would take the boys on for a burger leaving us to have a cosy, intimate meal for two. (Polly and me that is, not Pam and me. That would be weird under the circumstances.)

On entering the hotel we were led by a member of staff away from the main dining room and through a private dining room laid out for a large private do and on to a patio overlooking the park. It was at that exact moment that I realised I had been throughly suckered for there before me was my entire family. My mother, whom I'd been told I would be seeing next week, was there. My brothers were there and both my aunts were there. All my nephews were there. Most surprisingly my sister Helena was there when she really should have been in Texas. She, Andrew and her two boys had all flown in especially.

We were served canap├ęs on the patio and then retired to our dining room where we were served a pork and cherry pate followed by cannon of Romney Marsh lamb. We finished up with a chocolate birthday cake (with 5 symbolic candles) and petit fours. By the time coffee was served I was sated. It was a fabulous evening and I greatly appreciate the effort that was made on my behalf.

Oh, and in case you are interested, among my gifts I received the promise of a new flat screen TV and a genuine little apple tree already growing apples.

On Saturday Polly arranged a drop in birthday and house warming party. She had cooked enough chilli to feed an army laying siege to the Alamo, a greenhouse full of salad, a gallon or so of Pimms and three huge cakes. I sincerely hoped people would turn up or my choice of meals was going to be somewhat limited in the forseeable future. Thankfully people did come, many bringing plants for the garden including, to my delight, an ornamental Japanese tree, an Olive tree and a vine. We made my friends Paul and Harvey plant the trees because they were dressed in kilts and it was therefore both funny and useful.

I had a great 50th birthday. Thank you so much everyone who made it special.

Next we are off on holiday. Not to Wales and the rain but to Cypress and the Mediterranean sunshine. All we need to do is to get from Carshalton to Polis via Gatwick and Paphos with two children, my mother-in-law, a large electric wheelchair and enough medical equipment for a small respiratory ward. What could possibly stand between me and a relaxing holiday? I will let you know.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The Right Move

Regular readers of Quicksketch’s ‘How to be an inspiration’ blog may be familiar with a couple of lads that shared his childhood with him. May I introduce my self as being one of those two boys and I go under the blog moniker of ‘Rock God’ although the name that my mother gave me was Paul.
 
I imagine that many of you have become concerned that Quicksketch or ‘Stephen’ as his mother likes to refer to him when he’s in the dog house has not put pen to internet paper for over 8 months now and you may by now be thinking the worst.
 
Can I right from the very outset reassure you that Stephen is still very much with us and has plenty of stories yet to tell.
 
However; as you will undoubtedly be aware from this blog Stephen’s condition has begun taking a more aggressive toll on his ability to undertake many of the day to day tasks that most us take for granted. This sadly includes Stephen’s ability to write.
 
Although with the aid of an Ipad and a stylus he is still able to correspond in way of e-mail, the time it would take to construct this blog would be prohibitive as well as exhausting. Although his creative mind is as sharp and witty as ever his physical prowess is now considerably limited to short e-mail sentences.
 
Stephen’s writing style also prevents him from just kicking back and reciting his beloved words of knowledge as he likes to see the written word unravel in front of him. Well, that’s his excuse any way. Personally I can well see him reclining in his boudoir, sipping champagne and nibbling on the occasional goat hoof whilst pontificating words of wisdom to a bespectacled sycophant.
 
This being said it was brought to Stephen’s attention that his loyal readers were already in a state of withdrawal and that all those that don’t know him personally might begin to suspect that he may have gone and fallen off this mortal coil.
 
And so finally he allowed me the privilege of penning a few short words just to keep you loyal readers informed of the proceedings in the lives of the Quicksketch family.
 
The biggest piece of news is that the council of ‘wherever’ have finally got their oversized thumbs out of their collective rear ends and have granted the family new housing.
 
By new housing I mean a brand spanking new three bedroom house that is specifically equipped for the disabled including proper hoists and a lift that will allow Stephen the luxury of going upstairs to bed (myself and fellow childhood friend Darren spent a happy afternoon going up and down in this I can assure you, although we were informed by Stephen’s wife that the majority of those that had enjoyed this experience thus were actually children).
 
The house has a brand new purpose built kitchen with work tops at a lower level so that Stephen if he is inclined can actually reach things (their previous kitchen work tops were so high I had to step on tip toe and I am nearly six foot tall).
 
There are two bathrooms that will afford both Stephen and Polly the luxury (my wife would site this as a necessity) of having a long soak in a bath. It also means that Polly and the boys will be able to get themselves ready at the same time as Stephen and he will no longer have to wait until they are done with their ablutions.
 
The best part of the house is a large living room that has a magnificent view of their new garden. Yes, QS will be able to sit and enjoy the grounds of his very own estate.
 
This family have never asked for anything from anybody. Both Stephen and Polly have worked hard all their adult lives and continue to do so. They have paid their taxes and have never expected or asked for hand outs. Personally I think it is a disgrace that they have had to wait for so long for the one thing that they have needed a bit of a hand with and they certainly didn’t ask for anything that millions of people in the UK take for granted. But that noise is just me falling off of my soap box again.
 
Anyway, Darren and I were well excited with the new family dwelling and we were doubly impressed as always at how Polly held all the strands together (she took no prisoners and greeted us on the door step with tools and instructions…we had a happy afternoon dismantling things, something we do best).
 
God willing this new abode will make life considerably easier for the family and you never know, it might inspire QS to consider dictating his memoirs to a willing scribe.
 
With his blessing I will pop by from time to time and keep you up to date with what is going on in our favourite author’s world. Just please be patient, I live in another part of the country to Stephen and so I don’t have as much contact as I should or want. So please just drop in from time to time to see if anything new is up.
 
On Stephen & Polly’s behalf, thanks for your interest, concern and if you are so inclined prayers.
 
RG