Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Curate's egg

Writing a blog increases your knowledge about things you didn't realise you needed to know. Take this week for example. It's been a bit mixed, as I shall describe in a moment, hence why its title is curate's egg; we all know the line that follows someone's description of a thing being like the curate's egg is 'good in parts'. What I didn't know, however, until I wikied, was that the term derives from a Punch cartoon from 18 hundred-and-a-long-time-ago, the purpose of which was to to suggest that some things simply can't be partly good or partly bad, a bit like you can't be partly pregnant, and thereby expose the obsequiousness of the eponymous curate. So if my interpretation is right, when we describe something as a curate's egg we're misusing the term; it's not good in parts, it's unequivocally bad. Which wasn't my week at all, which begs the question as to whether my title of this nonsense is right. But it's there now, so away we go...

Good things first. Offspring #2 got straight As in his As, meaning he gets to go to Exeter Uni to do History & Philosophy, his first choice of place and subject. Phew. He worked very hard and deserves his success.

Second, the boy and I celebrated by a weekend of walking in the Shropshire hills, along Wenlock Edge and up and over the Long Mynd. This is becoming an annual trip for the two of us; we park in Church Stretton and walk a 30 mile circuit, staying somewhere near Craven Arms overnight. We walked clockwise rather than anti-clockwise this year by way of a change, which meant Saturday was the shorter leg, walked in warm weather. We had half an hour or so of rain on Sunday, but it didn't dampen our spirits - we had a great couple of days. Well I did anyway, you can't always tell with 18 year old boys can you? We drank beer, ate fish 'n' chips and ice cream, and watched Match of the Day though, so surely it can't have been all bad?

And then to complete the hattrick of son-related good things, he worked like a demon in our garden on Monday, clearing a massive, unkempt border. What a star.

Other good things have included HMRC cancelling a fine for late submission of a tax return (which wasn't justified in the first place, but that's not the point is it?), finding out just how close Brad and Cav will come to my house on the Tour of Britain (very), and the Vuelta being covered on poor person's telly (mine).

However, all that has been tinged with a bit of worry and sadness, nearly all of it involving the older generation. Howie Johnson wasn't that, but there's still something shocking about the premature death of someone you've known, even only slightly. Mendip Rouleur has blogged about his mum's circumstances. My mother's digestive problems don't compare to those, though we are waiting to establish the results both of her invasive medical tests, and the seriousness of my mother-in-law's liver problem. The next couple of weeks should tell us. Those are the worries.

The sadness concerns my stepmother, who, I learned, seems to be conducting a campaign among her and my father's friends to badmouth the conduct of my sister and I since our father's death couple of years ago. Ho hum. All the earlier things put that kind of pointless, destructive behaviour into context. I haven't the slightest intention of responding to it, and I'm not quite sure what she hopes to achieve. Learn and move on.

I can't end on that note though. The sun is shining, cycling is on tv as I write this, and a Bank Holiday weekend is imminent. The silver linings are re-asserting themselves.

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