Mothers’ Day was spent sitting at the side of a swimming pool, watching one son win a well-earned bronze medal in backstroke, just reward for recent enthusiasm and hard work, whilst his younger brother swam a valiant 400m with his goggles in his mouth. You’ll probably realise that the mouth is not the ideal location for a pair of goggles, but they dislodged when he dived in and that’s where they ended up. He could have stopped and got out, as 400m is a lot of lengths, but he carried on almost as though nothing had happened in a creditable time, all things considered. They collected more metalwork with their teammates after some exciting relay swims. All in all, not a bad Mothers’ Day.
And by coincidence – because it was a long, long day – I happened to finish my current reading matter on poolside. Reading matter for Mothers’ Day. “Mothers and Sons”, a collection of short stories by Colm Toibin, has been sitting by my bedside for over a year. I don’t know why it has taken me so long to get around to reading this as I always enjoy the clarity of Toibin’s writing and, sure enough, once I was into it I couldn’t put it down. The stories were all very different but they tweaked a few emotional heartstrings and the predominantly Irish setting nudged out a childhood memory or two. I have to say that they’re not mother and son stories to lift the spirit and gladden the heart, but a good short story most certainly needs a twist in the tail. If you enjoy short stories, I can surely recommend this, although not necessarily for Mothers’ Day!
Wouldn’t it be nice if once, just once, life was boring and everything went according to schedule? I could happily do boring for a while.
Whizzo scheme No. 1
An Ocean Youth Trust trip for the boys. What a great idea! Time off school was negotiated, forms completed, money paid. The boat is due to leave this Sunday from Holyhead. No problem! We’d go via Manchester on Saturday, collecting Boy Cousin en route. And oh look! The World Short Course Swimming Championships are on in Manchester – what a bonus! So I bought tickets a couple of days ago. And even better – I have a meeting in Bangor on Tuesday so let’s reschedule everyone for Monday and I’ll stay over for it.
Have you spotted it yet? No, I didn’t either. Nor did a lot of other people, it seems. Continue reading
Last Saturday saw the swimming club championships, an annual event when our own swimmers race each other for medals and glory. It’s always a very full on day, and this year was no exception. It was non-stop from first thing in the morning when I was melting chocolate over food for the evening do to sometime during the night when we were clearing up the last bits of rubbish after the disco. In between we all yelled ourselves hoarse as 50+ 7 to 15 year olds raced each other up and down the pool. Not all at once of course, although that might have been easier. I wouldn’t have had to cope with keeping the small boys under control for quite so long if that had been the case; I always seem to end up as the grumpy old woman shouting at them. The longest race was the little girl Continue reading