Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Larry Grayson

I can't lie... it's all gone a bit Larry Grayson out there today! So here's a couple of shots from last week down at Rock. It is a beautiful part of the world down here, make no mistake! Pinch, pinch, pinch.

Now did I mention that I've been flexing my reading muscles? I don't think I did, but I have. A little book worm is what I've become. I like a mystery, thriller style. So exercised are my muscles that I'm even contemplating a revisit to Middlemarch. A book that I studied and got good grades in at 'A' level. I said 'studied'. I meant 'never read'. I said 'good grades'. I meant a 'D'. It's in the top ten of my life's greatest achievements - passing an 'A' level on a book I'd never read. My parents took a completely different view. Time's a great healer!

Ten years ago in WHSmith (Heathrow) as I waited to board a plane to South Africa, Middlemarch stared up at me from the 'two for one' display. I bought it and one page in realised why I'd never got through it the first time. I deposited it in the sick bag, an appropriate place I felt. I'm going to tickle through this Isabel Allende first and then I'm going to take it on. Put a big tick in that box once and for all.

Reflecting on my blog yesterday, it might have seemed that I was a bit down on current living arrangements. It's not all bad. I get to spend some one on one time with the boys - I've become a domestic goddess (God) don't you know... cleaning, washing, ironing and cooking. I've done my bit in the past but now there's no escape. The responsibility falls squarely on my shoulders. I had no idea quite how much Billy ate! In my estimation, just slightly more than a small horse (that would be a medium horse then!). And I don't mean the equivalent of what the horse would eat, but the size of the actual horse. ( I like horses but I could never eat a whole one). Really, I don't know where he puts it. And Findog, (at home today for the third day in a row off school sick.... we don't do sick in the Craskie household, but we'll cut him some slack for this nasty, pesky bug)... is surprisingly conscientious with his homework. Doesn't get that from me (please see - Middlemarch). Fin has informed me just now that he'll be going to school tomorrow (hm, footie training tonight). He has also informed me that when he was lying in front the of the telly last night and I lay next to him, I snored very loudly! Nasty bug playing tricks on the mind.

Speaking of horses, I used to ride horses when I lived in Bristol. The centre was a mile away from where Janey lived, and I never knew her then. Anyway, I went riding one day wearing a pair of boxer shorts. Walking was comfortable. Trotting brought a tear to the eye. True story. Never went back. I was quite a brave rider, jumping ascending Oxer's on the second lesson. The instructor was brilliant and just let me go for it. I rode on a 17 yr old white who, when I was on saddle, came alive. "Could I race this horse?" I asked the owner. "Yes, and you'd probably beat it." And I joked when we first met, "There's a whisky named after you!" "What, Hector?" he replied. Oh happy days. Anyway, when I was on site, there was none of this walking around in a circle with a small child on board. He remembered his glory days when I mounted. No more long face. (Enough, enough. My sides.) I think in the end I probably brought his life to an earlier close than the equestrian centre might have been hoping for! But he passed away with a contented whinny.

Janey has just driven back from Plymouth. Nursey is here to take care of the fallen soldier. A miraculous recovery from the Findog could now be on the cards. I've done my very best, but there's nothing quite like a Mum's cuddle. We're going to be out of sync now as I'll head to Plymouth to sort out Billyman. It's life, but not as we know it! Janey has just announced that we're going to make pancakes!! Back of the net! Oh and Fin's just thrown up! Great timing mate. Oh and now I've missed out on a pancake.

Watching Pat's funeral on Eastenders, Fin remarked

"I've been to a funeral!"

"Have you?" I enquired, I couldn't remember that he had.

"Yes", he said "Great Nan's....."

"That was a memorial Findog, but yes I suppose it's a similar thing. And the other one?" I asked.

"I went to one with Mum, but it wasn't who we thought it was!"

It's been long enough to recount this true story. A local old man passed away just over a year ago, we knew he'd been ill and we were sad about it because he'd always been really nice to the boys. Janey went to the funeral with Fin to show her appreciation, it seemed appropriate. After the service Janey said a few words of support to the widow and close family members, then left, heads bowed.

Imagine her surprise when two months later at a local event, that very same man that we thought had died, came over to say hello, looking fit and healthy. This was a turn up for the books. A case of mistaken identity it transpired. The upshot being that Janey and Fin had sat through a funeral of someone random geezer! Makes me laugh every time I think of it!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Back and Forth

I can't deny, it's all a bit odd at the moment. Billy's move to Ivybridge has been the right move at the right time for him - and he's thriving in the super competitive sports environment.

Last weekend he took the start line in Exeter to compete in the Devon County Cross Country
Championships and won by some margin. He gatecrashed the party! There would have been local favourites. 'Knowns'. And then this fluff head from Cornwall steals the show. After the race, others gathered around to take a look at the new kid on the block, where's he from, what's his story? Unbeaten, that's his story. He'll represent Devon at the South West Championships in two weeks time where he'll line up against the likes of the best from Millfield, that'll be super tough. And on the football pitch (his very reason for being there), his team are through to the last 16 in the English Schools Cup, a final beckons at Anfield. And Manchester United representatives make there third visit to Ivybridge today, in as many weeks, to take another look at the squad and set-up. So there's lots of amazing stuff going on, doors to open and he's in his element. When he's being challenged, he's alive. We're incredibly proud of him and he's doing himself proud.

The flip side is that myself and Janey are having to work hard to deal with the change. Twenty years we've spent side by side, growing with the family and the business, day in day out, joined at the hip. For many couples, it'd be no mean feat to still be talking to be honest!! But the truth is, time apart doesn't suit us. Not having the whole family together, doesn't suit us. So there's a lot of thinking to be done. We've rented a place in Ivybridge until the end of the summer, and at the moment one of us stays up there with Billy, the other staying at home in Polzeath with Findog. We swap over mid week when the boys meet for Argyle training. At weekends we're all together unless they have matches in different parts of the country. So yes it's a bit odd. Lots and lots of positives, just a few challenges along the way - but no-one said it was going to be easy! Short term pain for long term gain, that's the way we see it.

On the Surf's Up! front there are a few exciting things happening behind the scenes. The most notable is the new booking system that's going on line in two weeks. It's a fast tack option if you want to avoid the queues in the summer. Book on-line, do you disclaimers, payment etc before you get to us and when you get to the trailer, it's wetsuit on and away we go. No need to wait for late arrivals to fill in their paperwork etc. I think that's big step in the right direction.

Other news - Wailin is currently sunning and surfing himself to oblivion in Bali, he's back for the Feb half term (when we're having a huge Swellboard sale - time to replenish our own stocks with new kit). Pretty big swell coming in on Thursday with a big tide, so trailer's off the beach, the transit started first time (huge sigh of relief). Erm, I think that's it for the moment... I know it's been a while since my last update, that's just the winter lull. I'm back on it now. Hello again.

My hotmail account was hacked into over the weekend, not so bad as I don't really use it that much. Turns out the hackers sent e-mails out to all my contacts, in alphabetical order offering either a job, discounted viagra, a gimp mask made of the finest bovine skin or indeed all three. Strangely, there were no complaints!