Currently Browsing: Family

New Year new me?

Well that’s what Dad is hoping for anyway.

And preferably a new me who isn’t in his house.

The Christmas and new year were brilliant actually, despite still being under the folk’s roof.

I don’t have a hangover today, largely because we actually had a lovely night at home as a family. Dad’s brother Rex came over and he’s far cooler than dad. I know that’s harsh, but even dad would admit it. Rex knows all the good bands, watches the cool films, has had gorgeous girlfriends (actually there’s something telling there too – Rex has no money whereas dad seems to have loads).

We watched Lana Del Ray’s 10 minute video called Ride, which then led him to telling me to see Ride, the film, which is on Tv on Friday night – I’ll be sitting there ready.

Then we watched this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=VOenDrFIj8Y

And now I want to find a 300D Mercedes.

Mercedes-Benz-300D_Turbodiesel-1985-1600-02

There are far fewer of them out there than I expected. But I was thinking that if I can find a good one that has been for sale for an age I could maybe put in a low offer, sort out any issues it has, and then advertise it again. I got totally carried away with this thought last night.

Look at this one I saw on Google images – the trouble is if I had something like that I don’t think I’d want to sell it on.

When I delivered the older coupe for Jon a few weeks back I fell in love with that too. There’s definitely something very different about old Mercedes Benz that has captivated me, they even seem to smell different.

Anyway, I’ve looked at a load of sites over the last couple of hours and I have seen one in Limerick in Ireland that has been advertised for ages – I’m not linking to it here in case Jon’s reading (not really Jon, I’ll need your advice on this).

What this space dudes.

The inspector seems to be gradually becoming something of an odd job man.

Most of what I have been doing over the past few weeks has been related to driving in some form or other, whether it’s getting dad’s clients around the country, or delivering and collecting flash, but ageing cars.

But now there’s something different on the cards for me.

It turns out the chap I picked up for dad quite liked me and thought I might be an enterprising fellow (although I’m flattered, I don’t actually think that’s the case, but hey, I don’t want to disillusion him).

He has asked if I could look into getting visas for some people he wants to have come and work in the UK from his factory in Malaysia.

When I first heard this it wasn’t dad who told me, it was one of his team, and I thought it was a wind up. But that evening (back on Wednesday it was, I remember because mum made a great spaghetti Bolognese which is my favourite dinner) the old man started telling me that he had a job for me, and the cogs started slotting into place. I did some digging around online and found a company called IXP Visas who seem to have an amazing reputation for advising their clients on what to do. I need to source three at the moment, but if that goes well dad suggested that there could be more work from the chap. He’s based down in Oxford, so I have no idea why he is interested in me, but what the hell, if it helps me find more work then I’m game for giving it a try.

Watch this space. The inspector could soon be your man to go to when you need something moving from here to there, whether that thing is a car, or a person. That sounds like it could be a little sinister, but I don’t mean it in that way.

Egg nog!

Mum and dad have a couple of American friends who live around the corner from us. I’ve no idea how they came to know each other but they are a decent couple.

I particularly like them because they seem genuinely interested in what I have to say as well as mum and dad, and while my parents treat me like I’m some kind of drop out, these people actually remember what I talk about, and don’t seem to judge me.

I get the feeling that money isn’t anything that they have to worry about, they live in a huge house, and seem to fly back to the states regularly just because they fancy it, or because one of their kids wants to see their friends.

Anyway, enough background. They throw a party now and then, last year it was Thanksgiving and we had, or they had, a great adult party with two huge turkeys, gorgeous sweetcorn chowder, and lashings of wine. Everyone got completely plastered and drank through until after 3am, and they didn’t give a hoot about me getting pissed.

Last night they had an egg nog party!

What the hell is that you may well ask.

Well the woman loves cooking and she creates this amazing cocktail called egg nog and from what I understand it’s a sort of runny warm custard that is then laced with brandy and sprinkled with cinnamon and other sweet spices and whipped into a sort of Heston foam.

All that bit I’m not sure about, but I do know that the end result is completely delicious.

We didn’t drink as much last night as the noggy stuff isn’t that strong, but what we lacked in alcohol we made up for by being starving hungry, that is until we all went en masse to the Village Tandori for kebabs. They might not have been heaven in a nan bread, but they certainly tasted like it at the time.

Education and reforming it

Living at home definitely has its advantages, predominantly cost based, and having great food served up on a regular basis. The down side is very much about living with your parents.

I dearly love mum, and I know it’s not cool for a young fella to admit that, but I’d miss her like mad if I moved out.

Dad though is hard work.

The worse thing is that I’m a disappointment to him.

He’s quite bright, but more important than that is that he has worked really hard all his life, and been successful.

When I started tinkering with go-carts as a fourteen year old he saw it as showing engineering potential, but I knew otherwise.

ChalkboardHe was always banging on about the value of getting his O levels, and he is oblivious to the fact that no one has studied for an O level for several decades. Having said that it seems that Michael Gove is hell bent on bringing back the pain he went through when he went to school. If he has his way course work will go out of the window, and qualifications will be based again on exam prowess and not much else. It’ll mean that the kids will need every bit of help they can get from reading past papers, example exam answers and stuff like that, thankfully there are businesses like these guys to help these days.

It’s a shame I think, because not all of us react well to the pressure of months of preparing for and then sitting exams. It sort of takes the pressure off now that kids sit exams through the year, rather than all within a couple of weeks, but that also means they have a degree of stress for longer.

For me it didn’t matter too much as I was too slack at school and didn’t get anywhere near stressed enough.

And for dad? Well he just refuses to acknowledge any qualification that came along after he left school. At least that means you get hired at his place on the strength of what you’ve done, not what you did at school.

Whether that’s a good thing or not I’m not sure.

Image courtesy of Cristian Carrara

Grandma and grandpa teach me the value of family

I haven’t visited grandma and grandpa in a very long time.  It just so happens that we started living separate lives.  During the years I was training as a mechanic I was rather busy and, as they live some distance away, I only saw them now and again when they visited my mum and dad.

However, I still remember when I was small and they used to live on a farm.  We would visit every school holiday and I had great fun with grandma’s cookies, grandpa’s incredibly scary ghost stories and the farm animals.  That’s when grandpa taught me how to ride a horse.  After all these years I don’t know if I’ll still be able to do it today, but hey, I’ve got a motorbike now and the two can’t be that different, can they?

Since I’ve become unemployed I’ve been thinking of them often.  They now live in a retirement village about 80 miles from here.  So last Sunday, when I went for a drive on my loyal old motorbike, I ended up in that vicinity and decided to see how they were doing.

They looked older than when I’d last seen them, and frailer, but there was no mistaking the gladness in their eyes and the sincerity of their smiles.  Grandma went into the kitchen immediately and a few minutes later we were all chatting about old times with a cup of hot tea and a plate of cookies in front of us.

When they found out I’d lost my job they were genuinely concerned, to the point of both of them inviting me to stay with them until I found work again.  I’m not prone to emotional outbursts, but that brought tears to my eyes.  It made me realise how true the saying that blood is thicker than water really is.

When I drove home I promised myself I would visit them more often.

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