24 September 2006


Well, a few days have gone by since I last posted. I have just got back from pints of foaming bitter at the pub on a Saturday night. We got a letter this week and it seemed like a marker. Can it really be twenty five years since me and Shirley signed on the dotted line for our first house? Well it is. And next month we'll have been married for twenty five years too. That first house - 40 Leamington Street - it was a typical Yorkshire terrace. We had a cellar and an attic. The views from the top were sometimes breathtaking - right over the bowl of the city's centre. During occasional winter temperature inversions, we'd see buildings sticking up out of the mist.
The building society and Scottish Provident Assurance tell us the financial punishment is about to stop. In some ways, it feels like the end of a jail sentence. Twenty five years paying interest on the loan and £20 for three hundred months to the assurance company. When we first signed, it seemed as though we were signing up forever. The end was so far away it might as well have been in Antarctica. Now it's almost over. The house we are living in is ours and they're even going to send us the official deeds. Life is so short.
Our daughter, Frances, is eighteen next week. She went to Birmingham on Saturday. She's keen to apply to Birmingham University to do a degree in American and Canadian Studies. She's bright and quite industrious but the grades they are asking for could be a bridge too far. I'm afraid I cannot subscribe to the bullshit


philosophy that says if you really want something badly enough you've just got to go for it. There are so many successful idiots around who imagine that just because they "made it" everyone else can too. It's crap.
Our son, Ian, came back from Barcelona this week. He'd been there with two mates. I was their travel agent. I booked their flights, researched the city and guided them to some great, cheap accommodation. They had a fantastic time. They visited Gaudi's cathedral and the Nou Camp Stadium, drank and ate well and absorbed the city. Brilliant!
To celebrate our twenty five years of marriage, I'm taking Shirley to Venice next month. I'm checking out hotels and getting to know Venice so well through the net that going there may be something of an anticlimax. Twenty five years? How come I feel so young? How come it feels like yesterday that I carried her over the threshold of that house? Life really is so short. Before you know it, I'll be six feet under with so many things I wanted to do left undone. Blame this rambling on the pints I supped before this keyboard called me over. Hic! Night everyone!


  1. I think your comment on wanting something badly enough is very wise.It's taken me till now to come to terms with that and I'm still struggling. Btw how is it that after only 2 small glasses of wine on Friday evening, I have been suffering from a migraine ever since (often happens these days) and you get away scot free??? It's just not fair!

  2. Venice sounds wonderful - and so does your relationship with your wife.

    I see so many people getting divorced these days, my parents did after almost 30 years of marriage.

    you say you feel young? Good, there's plenty more to live for and love for.


  3. I'll bake a banana trifle for your anniversary. I'll try not to get too many pieces of gorilla fur in the custard. (My Landlady uses Bird's Custard but I make mine from scratch. Which do you prefer?)

    Oh, and I've decided I'm going to Venice at the same time as you and Shirley. If you see a gorilla in a gondola, that's probably me.

  4. Congratulations. It must be a load off your back.

  5. without a mortgage to pay you will be able to live like a Doge and Dogess in Venice YP. I hope you have a lovely time in la serenissima or whatever they call it. Happy anniversary

    ps, as you are loaded now, can you lend me a fiver?

  6. without a mortgage to pay you will be able to live like a Doge and Dogess in Venice YP. I hope you have a lovely time in la serenissima or whatever they call it. Happy anniversary

    ps, as you are loaded now, can you lend me a fiver?

  7. Sounds like Shirley is a lucky woman. I've just celebrated my 17th anniversary. Venice is fabulous. And you sound like a great dad too.

    I didn't know Jennyta commente here, she is one of my visitors too, I'm just flicking around different blogrolls to pass some time.

    You are brave being a teacher.

  8. Congratulations! Bede and I are 26 years away from owning our own house (as opposed to the bank owning it). The irony, of course, is that we get a tax break now for paying a mortgage, and will get hit pretty hard with taxes when we pay off the house. People can't afford to retire in Seattle.:( Hey, hey, maybe by then it'll be time to get a houseboat and float to Venice.

  9. Mr Pudding,

    Stop drinking pints of foaming bitters and start posting again! What, you've already left for Venice? This is an outrage, I tell you. An outrage.


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