Still gone. Really gone. For good. Really!

I’ve said this before but I’m going to say it again because it happens to be true:

A large part of my brain still refuses to accept that I’m never going to see Trev again.

No matter how many times I tell myself it’s true, no matter how many times I suddenly remember “He’s dead”, no matter how many times I’m reminded of him, no matter how many times I look at photographs and smile sadly…

No matter how many times all of these things occur there’s still a sneaky little voice in the back of my head that whispers: yeah, that’s right, yeah, but we’ll see him again soon.

It’s insane.

But then even a more rational part of my head – one with a less sneaky voice and a modicum of common sense – can’t help but agree.

Sneaky voice does have a point, it says, I mean, surely we’ll see Trev again one day, won’t we?  He can’t just be…gone.  For him to be gone forever would be ridiculous.

And the common sense voice laughs nervously.

Which is when the reality crashes in on me yet again – Trev is gone for good.  No matter how long I live, he’ll never come back.  All we have left of him are memories.

Wonderful memories, but still just memories.

Wimbledon

Forgot to say yesterday: thanks very much to my Mum and Dad for the Lovely Melanie’s birthday present (don’t panic – it isn’t her birthday yet – read on…).

They bought her a day ticket to Wimbledon and she and my Dad went there on Monday.  They both had a whale of a time and saw loads of tennis.  Not only that but the weather was great, too, so it was great to see them both so excited and cheerful when they finally got home at about 10.30.

It seems to have been a while since I’ve seen the Lovely Melanie so enthused about something, which is probably partly my fault as it’s been a while since I’ve managed to get up much joie de vivre. 😦

Anyway, it’s Millie’s birthday tomorrow so that should give us all something to smile about – not least because whenever I ask her what she wants for her birthday it’s always the same thing – a cuddly red Angry Bird that makes a noise.

Which, coincidentally, is exactly what I’ve bought for her. The Lovely Melanie has bought some other great stuff, but “a cuddly red Angry Bird that makes a noise” is my particular contribution to the pile. 🙂

Supernatural subterranean shenanigans, lack of

I was hoping to make a decent entry out of the weekend’s goings-on…but that’s probably not going to happen, I’m afraid.

Millie and I went to the fascinating Chislehurst Caves with my friend R Kelly on Saturday (Amber went with to the South Bank for a dinner date with the Lovely Melanie).  The caves are only a short bus ride away but this was the first time we’d been there – correction, been in there.  We did visit once before a couple of years back but were told they probably weren’t suitable for the girls.  But now we’re back – and we’re bigger!

Chislehurst Caves are great – I really enjoyed them. There were only two downsides…

The first, for me, was that I really wanted to go off and explore all of this fascinating place!

The second, for Millie, was that she was rather scared by this fascinating place.

Shame on me, it took a good ten minutes before I looked down and noticed she was scared.  I thought she was just ‘nuffling the toy she brought along.  Then I noticed she was really ’nuffling, so I bent down to ask if she was OK to which she replied, in a quavery little voice, “I’m frightened.”

Pic by R Kelly

Again – shame on me, I should have realised. We were wandering around deep underground with only oil lanterns to light our way (seriously!), shadows flickering, strange shapes everywhere, a guide mentioning ghosts every two minutes (admittedly with the proviso that there’s no such thing, but he would keep on and on about spookiness and noises and strange events and so on…)

So I picked up Millie and carried her confidently around with me for a bit to prove that there was nothing to be scared of and that Daddy certainly wasn’t fazed by supernatural subterranean shenanigans.

At one point the guide pointed out a dark tunnel ahead that was particularly haunted – if, as he then pointed out, you believe in such nonsense – and asked who was going to go first.

I strode confidently forward with a vaguely protesting Millie in my arms, only stopping upon realising that because I was carrying Millie I didn’t have a lantern to see with!  Doh!

So, anyway, I thoroughly recomend Chislehurst Caves.

The next day was Millie’s sixth birthday party for her friends (Six! Millie is six years old!) – of which there are many pictures here.  Millie invited ten friends, a mix of boys and girls, and we did an hour of party games and food before handing over to the professionals – a brilliant children’s entertainer called Dizzy Lolly for the second hour.

Seriously, she was great – if you need a children’s entertainer in Kent or London then the Bexley Carters highly recommend Dizzy Lolly. 🙂

I’d love to write some more here about the party and my anthropological observations of young children in their natural habitat (i.e., surrounded by clowns, balloons and crisps) but work aren’t paying me for that (at this particular moment they’re supposedly paying me to write an article about competency-based interviewing).

Suffice it to say that –

  1. small children – especially girls – seem to have a bizarre compulsion to show their knickers off at parties
  2. both our children, I’m pleased to say, seem to be better behaved than average.

😀

Now, what was I saying about competency-based interviewing…?

Horrid Henry

The girls have been busy these last few days, not least getting excited about Millie’s forthcoming sixth birthday party (the one for friends – family are invited the weekend after) and choosing what to wear.

Then changing their minds and choosing again.

And again.

Millie impressed me this morning by managing not just to start playing Horrid Henry on the computer all by herself but by managing to play Horrid Henry all by herself.

Horrid Henry is a computer game for kids based – obviously – upon the character Horrid Henry.  I bought it for her about a year ago when she became interested in watching me play computer games and wanted a game that she could play herself.

So we had a look around and bought her Horrid Henry.

Now, getting Horrid Henry started is not quite as simple as clicking on an icon: you have to start Steam, the gaming platform, which takes about 30 seconds to get going, and then click on the icon in there.  But Millie’s mastered that (actually, thinking about it, if she has mastered that then I’d better put a lock on some on the scary games in there like Deadspace, Left4Dead 2 and Crysis 2…).

As I say, what impressed me this morning was that she could play the game without me there to help.

Previously when we’ve played games together she hasn’t had the understanding or the co-ordination to use more than one key on the keyboard at a time.  If she wanted Henry to run left she would lift up a pointy finger, hover over the keyboard and then press the key for left; but if she needed to jump over a spider (you have to jump over spiders, among other things, in Horrid Henry) then she invariably failed because she had to lift her finger off left, find jump and then press it – with the same finger.

By the time Millie pressed jump the spider was long gone.

I showed her a few times how to use more than one finger and explained that I left my fingers on the keys at all times, but she just didn’t get it.  Which is why this morning I was surprised to see her get straight through to level four on Horrid Henry without me even being in the room!

She hasn’t quite mastered using a keyboard to play games yet (and hasn’t even begun to use a mouse at the same time) but she’s well on her way.

She and Amber love to play on the computer in the mornings these days.  They both sit there in the big white swivel chair and Millie will do the technical stuff while Amber sits there and watches in amazement as stories, games, cartoons and pictures are produced seemingly from nowhere.

Personally, I’m just happy that there’s another gamer in the family. 😀

Well, at the moment I am.  Give her a year or two and she’ll probably be whupping my ass!

Peckham

In Peckham last night to watch Green Lantern at the Premier Cinema (myself and friends Si and Nik are Tuesday regulars there because it’s £4.99 a ticket).  With 30 minutes to spare I stopped at local Wetherspoon’s pub The Kentish Drovers for a spot of dinner (it isn’t worth going home first so I usually grab something there or round at Simon’s house in nearby Ladywell).

I chose a table, perused the menu and strolled up to the bar.

But before I had a chance to order the lady behind the bar was concerned to point out to me that “We don’t have steak knives.

My mouth sort of flapped up and down for the couple of seconds it took to remember where I was and realise why The Kentish Drovers in Peckham doesn’t have any steak knives – unlike every other Wetherspoons pub across the country…

Ahh, Peckham.  I am fond of you, but lord knows why.

I suppose it’s a side-effect of having lived around there for years and being a regular visitor to your cheap cinema.

That, and perhaps an inverted class snobbery that sees me, a married middle-class office-working Guardian-reading home-owning father of two, clinging onto a teeny-tiny shred of street cred.

If, that is, people still say “street cred”.