Tag: motorways

Parental legacies – you can’t escape them even if you want to

This is the weird thought I had the other day when we went to see my dad and step mum for a few hours. While we were there, my dad became quite animated at one point talking about the periodic table and how different chemicals combine to create various compounds. We also talked about how batteries work. I’m not sure this is the usual type of family-get-together small talk that most families engage in. But ours does. It is the norm.

Haven't you ever wondered, how these work?

Haven’t you ever wondered, how these work?

When I was growing up, I thought my dad was in a category of his own. A category of high-level geekiness. In my mind, he was a mostly self-taught intellectual (although he did do a Open University degree, more about that later) with rather high-brow interests: science, maths, motorways, meetings, politics, electricity and books. Although we shared a love for books, mine tended to be the Beano and Enid Blyton books. His books were from the part of the library which gathers the most dust. The other topics that seemed to interest him seemed terribly dull and dry to me. He didn’t seem at all like my friends’ dads.

However, many years later, and with the benefit of hindsight, I have come to realise that I am more like my dad than I thought. Perhaps I always had a latent dad-likeness but it only blossomed as I became a grown up. Here follows is the evidence. Since leaving school I have learnt to love maths and physics a little more. I’ve read a few books on both topics and I absolutely love the annual Christmas lectures at the Royal Institution. I found our talk about the periodic table quite engaging. I think Radio 4 is better than music. I am loath to admit it but I have an odd perchance for motorways and roundabouts (there are so many interesting ones out there). I don’t think I have inherited this quirky interest from my mum. It must be my dad.

And the winner of the best roundabout in the UK is...

And the winner of the best roundabout in the UK is…

I look forward to meetings. I am a parent governor and I secretly quite enjoy the three-hour long (and the rest) meetings in which we get to discuss some very complex educational issues. It really is very interesting, honestly! Politics gets me quite fired up these days. I spent far too much time during the big Brexit debate doing a lot of debating. That’s my dad in me. I’m sure of it.

And these days I don’t just read fiction. I have three books on the go at the moment: Patrick Kelly The View from the Train, Owen Jones The Establishment (admittedly I’ve been reading this for months) and Elizabeth Strout My Name is Lucy Barton. All of which are brilliant. I’m also reading the latest Modern Painters and Aesthetica. Oh, and I’m dipping in and out of Vitamin D: New Perspectives on Drawing. That’s quite geeky, right?

Everyone needs to read this

Everyone needs to read this

As I mentioned above, I remember my dad doing his Open University degree when I was quite young. My memory is a mix of early-morning BBC2 programmes with hairy male or female presenters wearing flares, books, more books, papers, books, and a ceremony in a big building in Birmingham that scared me. But watching my dad spending so many hours learning had a huge impact on me. It gave me a determination to get myself educated. I really wanted that university experience. I had a yearning for it and I did get there (twice now).

So the best legacy my dad left me (and my mum too as she also read voraciously and spent a part of her adult life learning and re-training), one which is more exciting than roundabouts and electrical circuits, is a thirst for knowledge and a desire to never stop learning.

Are we both quite geeky?

Are we both quite geeky?

So I need to say just one more thing to end this weird thought: thank you, dad!

Now time to decided which of my four books to read before bed.

 

 

 

If I were a road I’d be ‘the bumpy way’ in Charlbury

Last weekend we took a family trip to Snailbeach in Shropshire. We were going to a Curlew Lantern Making Workshop (which was most excellent, in case you want to know). On the way there, the Sat Nav took us down the wrong road. It was taking us ‘as the crow flies’ rather than along the sorts of roads that cars should regularly go down, i.e. those with tarmac. The road it took us down (which turned out to be a dead end) was extremely bumpy and pot-holed. It reminded me of a similar road in Charlbury which when we lived there we affectionately called ‘the bumpy way’ (Crawborough Road). I used to walk down that road quite frequently with number one child in a pushchair if I wanted said child to drift off to sleep. It was a road that you would want to avoid if you were in a car. It was a road that small babies love.

A random bumpy road

A random bumpy road

Later that night, I had a weird thought. What if we could all describe ourselves as a road, what road would we choose? I decided that my husband would be the M1 (dependable and important, like a backbone and if out of action the result is chaos). My eldest son would be the M54 (straight, steady, comforting, predictable). My middle son is definitely the M5 (slow, especially in good weather, and likely to cause big delays, but brings much joy in the end). My youngest is without a doubt the M6 (noisy, busy, stressful, but never, ever dull).

The M5 on a good day

The M5 on a good day

Perhaps I had this weird thought because I love motorways (just like my dad).

Does he look like the M5?

Does he look like the M5?

I’m not a motorway, I’m the road we drove along in Snailbeach, or ‘the bumpy way’ in Charlbury: unpredictable, totally impractical, a little annoying and likely to cause much damage to your car.

A bumpy car

A bumpy car

So, what road would you be?