A week. And frustration.

A whole week and no post on this blog.  What on earth is going on here – this has never happened before. 😦

There are a number of factors to blame: a friend at work pointed out that since I write for a living now coming home at the end of the day and writing some more just doesn’t appeal as much as it did before.  And although he was talking about programming it’s just as true for writing.

Also, I’ve got another new phone which has had me spellbound.  And yes, it’s only six months since the last new phone so, yes, I do at least have the decency to be slightly embarrassed by this and have sworn not to buy another for a whole year (unless I lose or break this one).

The new phone is a Samsung Galaxy S2.  It is brilliant – not least in speed of connection (it’s HSDPA, which I thought was another fancy name for 3G, but apparently isn’t – it’s much better!)

Next, we’ve just got back from Bristol today, where we’ve been to stay with Conny for a few days.  It was wonderful to see Conny again, and great to be back in Bristol – even if the girls were only there for a little while – they went to stay in Swindon with my parents and for various reasons ended up staying there most of the weekend.  That meant we could spend some much-needed time with Conny and just relax and hang out and talk a bit more about how Trev’s loss continues to affect everybody.

The girls were only supposed to be in Swindon for one night originally but ended staying there both nights.  The Lovely Melanie pulled a muscle in her neck while travelling down there on the train and Conny had a dose of flu so in the end we did very very little – which was just fine by me, quite frankly.  It’s rare that we get a Sunday to ourselves just watching TV and reading the paper from cover to cover, but that’s what we got this weekend. 🙂

I had been worried that it might be strange being at Trev and Conny’s house with no Trev.  Fortunately it wasn’t strange at all.  Today, Bank Holiday Monday, Conny drove us back to Swindon to pick up the girls and all of us went to Trev’s grave – including Millie and Amber.  That was rather difficult for me, it must be said.  I couldn’t tell you why if I tried – it was just really really hard for me in a way that being in Trev’s home wasn’t.

Here’s the thing I keep doing at the moment: whenever someone famous dies now I imagine myself going back in time to somehow warn Trev of what’s going to happen but without giving him the exact date or circumstances of his death; instead I have to resort to saying cryptic things like: “You die before Elizabeth Taylor or Gil Scott-Heron, but you outlive Michael Jackson.

Is that a little bit weird?  It’s part of the game of imagining going back in time and if not actually stopping his death then at least giving him an inkling of how long he has to live.

A bit weird, as I say, but basically harmless.

Another thing I’ve realised recently when a bit upset about his death – and perhaps not unrelated to the above mind game – is that I’m thankfully still not angry or even a little bit cross about his death.  I realised that the main emotion I feel about it at the moment is frustration.  There isn’t anger in me that he’s gone because it isn’t anybody’s fault.  There’s just a frustration that he’s gone so soon, that it doesn’t seem right and I can’t do anything to make it right.

And that’s…frustrating!!

I initially thought “annoyed” might be the right word, but having thought about this it’s dawned upon me that it’s frustration.  Just frustration.

Anyway, we’re back home from Bristol now and despite our careless weekend I am shattered.  It’s half-term now so Millie is staying with her Grandma and Granddad in Hatfield until Thursday which means an easy week in terms of getting children to school and nursery as there’s only Amber to get to nursery and myself to get to school – which is a doddle!

And here’s a little bit of video of the girls playing at the swings this weekend – including a Millie somersault!  This video was taken with my new phone and is supposed to be HD so let’s see what it looks like, shall we?  Oh, and both the photos on this page are taken with my phone, too.

++UPDATE++ That’s not HD!  I’ve just found the setting on the phone which lets you select HD, so future clips will be in HD.  Probably.

Blimey

Sometimes it takes a vista of an extraordinary galaxy some 12 million light-years away to remind you of how small you and your problems are in comparison to the size of the universe.

This is Centaurus A, which has twin particle jets, each a million light-years long, squirting out from its centre at a third of the speed of light.

Blimey.

You don’t take a picture like this with a single telescope.  This picture combined nine different radio telescopes into a single mighty instrument as big as the entire planet, thus achieving the resolution necessary to pick out objects as small as 15 light-days in size.

The smallest things you can see in this pictures are still 15 times the size of our entire solar system. A length like that boggles the mind.

This is the kind of thing I like to think about when thoughts of Trev get me down – just how vast and amazing the universe is.

Seriously. I have no idea why, but thinking about twin particle jets a million light-years long each…does.  Perhaps because I know that Trev would have been similarly amazed.

That’s one of the astonishing things about being human: whilst we can mourn the loss of a brother we can also look in wonder at objects like Centaurus A.

Both of them are part of our world, of our tiny little consciousness; and while we might imagine we understand them we can’t truly grasp either.

Monkeying around

We took the girls to the nearby swings yesterday and I was struck by how differently Millie plays on all the apparatus compared with Amber.

Small children look to be be in continual danger of falling off things but they’re also fairly hesitant in letting go or climbing too high.  Amber’s still like this – as though she hasn’t quite grasped the laws of physics fully yet. Millie, on the other hand, now swings around with wild abandon and is quite happy to cling on with only her hands – no footholds at all.  She’s figured out that launching herself in a certain way will lead to swinging in a certain direction and landing in a certain spot.

In fact, that’s probably the difference between her and Amber – Millie can predict what will happen: that what seems a fairly reckless action actually has very predictable consequences and is perfectly safe (assuming you hold on tightly!)

It’s also nice to see the relatively timid Amber learning from Millie’s example and happily climbing to the very top of (some) of the apparatus.  The Lovely Melanie pointed out that the two of them are proper little friends now, that they play together very happily most of the time.  When Millie was small we had to play with her a great deal more than we do with Amber, which makes the Lovely Melanie feel a bit guilty, but Millie only had us to play with.  Amber has Millie to play with so they don’t need us to be there all of the time.

As the Lovely Melanie said with a crazed glint in her eye – soon we’ll be able to sit down and read a book while they play!  Imagine that – reading in the daytime while the kids are awake!!  Ha ha!!!

Even as I write this they’re playing Princess dollies together outside the bedroom, completely independent of my input.

Hell, now I’m feeling a bit guilty that they’re not getting more of my attention!

Inside The Human Body

I’ve just been watching the second episode of Michael Mosley‘s Inside The Human Body, which has left me a little upset this evening.  Only a little, but more so than I’ve been for a while since Trev’s death.

Fortunately I have a wonderful wife who just hugged me until I was back on an even keel once more.

I shouldn’t have been surprised about getting upset since it was the episode about how the human body performs countless small miracles to stay alive every moment of every day, and how, inevitably, it eventually fails.  It was my own silly fault for watching it in the first place, but anything Michael Mosley makes is compulsive viewing as far as I’m concerned (him and Jim Al-Khalili, which should tell you everything you need to know about my TV viewing habits!)

This was the episode where they filmed a very old man take his final breath.  The first time on British TV, I’m told.

The death wasn’t a big part of the programme, wasn’t graphic or dramatic, and was included – like birth – as an inescapable part of life.  And yet it moved me enormously.

I didn’t know the man who died, had no relationship to him except as another human being…which is perhaps part of the legacy of Trev’s death – that if you’ve seen first-hand what death is like it affects you more.  Knowing, on an emotional level, that it’s the end, really truly understanding that cruel finality, you can’t help but empathise with others in a similar situation.

One thing I do know – Trev would have enjoyed the programme, too.

The Lovely Melanie suggested afterwards that I shouldn’t watch things like this if it’s going to upset me but I think it’s important to face these things and learn how to live with them – because all of us eventually have no choice but to learn how to do that.  As John Donne said:

Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.