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Linkblog – June 3rd to June 4th

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Links between June 3rd and June 4th:

Just so you know, this is an automated recent overview of the Linkblog, a collection of interesting links I find on my travels. The archives are here:

Suits and Housewarmings

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Saturday was a busy day which rolled into a drunken night. My best man duties entailed me driving to Epsom with Nick, his brother and dad for suit fittings. Handily, it proved a good opportunity to test out the Lexus. We discovered that rear leg room was an issue (“I can’t feel my legs anymore”, Nick’s dad exclaimed halfway through the journey) and that most of the controls were unnecessarily complicated. And I can certainly vouch for the build quality of the rear bumper, which was tested to destruction by a Ford Fiesta that missed my plethora of brakelights and plowed into the back of me. Epsom is not a place I’d recommend driving round on a Saturday afternoon…
Nick had a set idea of the kind of get-up he’d be wearing at his wedding. A red waistcoat, apparently, was a must – and there was a red and gold theme that had to considered. I never knew weddings were so complicated. After a good hour and a half choosing the waistcoats (eventually settling on one that has to be ordered in, bless him) and half an hour verifying the choices with the wife-to-be, we burst out into the dazzling sunlight of the unseasonally warm weather.
Sadly, I was expecting to be back about an hour earlier to plan for the first party in our new house – it was more of an apology party for not organising a housewarming sooner. Michelle and I had prepared the legendary party bags earlier in the week, and she and Sarah had gone shopping in the early afternoon for food-based essentials. Jac and Shaun had turned up early to watch the Grand National. Jac had managed to win money for the last four years, and he wasn’t going to miss this one. News filtered through while we were suit fitting that his horse had fallen, much to the secret joy of everyone around. When I arrived back at the house the food had been lovingly prepared and they were all playing cricket in the garden. The garden, however, isn’t quite as big as a cricket pitch. Jac and Shaun’s competitive edge saw the softball regularly ending up in both neighbours’ gardens, with one of them eventually offering to leave their garden gate open so we could pop over whenever the ball strayed. “Can we put a fielder in there too?” Nick enquired, pushing the boundaries of neighbourly conduct.
As the sun set, 20 people came through the front door and joined in the revelry. We’d decided on a barbeque, but forgot that fact that I’m useless at them. Nick and Sarah eventually had to take over as the arrival of guests and drinking eventually took its toll on my concentration. Shaun and Michelle found some strings for my guitar and managed to plug away at it through the drunken haze for a good hour or so. The newly-installed Nintendo Wii and Xbox360 were put to full use (an enthusiastic punch from Shunta on Wii Boxing managed to break a ceiling light) and a lot of us managed to stay up until the early hours drinking, laughing and strumming.
The next morning, however, was not so enjoyable…

A few words before I leave home

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It kinda hit tonight.
In the past few days, I’ve been in a haze of busyness, running around and putting everything movable into large boxes, readying them for the move to Guildford. Plans (well, “ideas” at any rate) have been formed for the first few days in our new house, and companies have been informed of the new address. All, in short, is sorted, and tomorrow is the big day.
But as I look around me tonight – at all my worldly possessions, piled high and battling to escape from their cardboard prisons – it’s suddenly sunk in. I’m leaving behind my formative years with my parents – the happy childhood, the uninhibited teenage years and the challenging responsibility of the last half-decade. No longer will my mother wish me goodnight, hoping “that the bugs don’t bite”. No longer will I see my dad come home full of the joys of life, making us laugh despite the rocky road life has dealt him and my mum in recent times. Never again will my mother be able to fuss over and protect me – and never again will my dad try his best to show me the way of life over a lavish meal cooked as only my mother can.
These and many, many others, are the things I shall miss. But I have a load of memories of life growing up. I distinctly remember one Christmas Eve, I was eagerly waiting for Santa to appear. My mum had helped me fill the sherry glasses by the chimney (for some reason, Santa needed a lot of sherry) and I had crept into bed, losing the will to stay awake a few minutes later. The morning came, and miraculously the huge Christmas stocking was by the end of the bed, full of presents. I woke my parents up and rushed downstairs to find something that made me more excited than ever – several perfect snowy footprints leading from the chimney to the stairs, all expertly formed and evidently from Santa’s snowy foot. Although I now know the effort dad had gone to the create the perfect Christmas – the snow was in fact polystyrene, can you believe – the moment made that and many further Christmasses all the more real and magical for me.
Another time, I was looking for a cricket ball and my dad had an idea. He had won a special cricket ball at his school, which had been given for some magnificent cricketing feat and he was very proud of it, keeping it up until that day. And yet here he was, prising off the plaque commemorating his great feat – just so that his son could play cricket for the day.
And all the while, in amongst these many amazing memories of my dad, I have countless wonderful memories of my mother, comforting and caring, being the mum she was born to be, while my dad was out earning a crust. She managed to have an in-built common sense that allowed me to always be looked after and sent in the right direction. After I left home for the first time to go to boarding school, she cried for three days, wishing I could come home but knowing it was for the best. Even to this day, it seems as if she has so much love to give, but not enough time to give it. She really was born to be a mother, and I couldn’t have wished for more.
I suppose all children think that their parents are the best in the world – but despite the ups and the downs, I can safely say that my parents, to me, are the best in the world. There are so many more memories that I could describe, but I’d be here for a goodly while. I know that they have always done their best for me, put me first, worried, comforted and helped – even if as a rebellious teenager I couldn’t always see it.
So this post is for my parents. Thank you both for everything. I know that in moving away to an exciting new stage in my life things will be different – but I shall always be there to help, as you have helped me.
And, let’s face it, I’ll only be 26 miles down the road…