Do children still play in the street?

Excuse this burst of nostalgia, but whilst tidying up this weekend I happened across some old school diaries and various notes and letters to my Mum, scrawled in my own fine hand aged between 7 and 10 or 11 (roughly). One thing that struck me was just how much I used to do when I was younger. Excluding the piano lessons and practice, the Boys Brigade and visits to see my Gran I used do a lot.

Memories came flooding back, times of mammoth Monopoly games that would span weeks at a time, bombing round the street on my bike, playing tag with a spud gun, and that one where you tied some poor sod to a lamppost and everyone ran off to hide. Tennis in the street when Wimbledon was on, cricket on the big patch of grass round the back when the Tests were on, and football at every other turn because, after Action Man, that’s what boys did back then.

I had a pretty damn good childhood, until my sister came along to spoilt it (KIDDING!! Or am I?), and I realise this may just be down to the fact that I’m getting older but kids don’t seem to do as much these days? Don’t get me wrong it’s not that I don’t see kids outside playing, it’s just that I don’t see as many as I (think I) could.

Of course I can’t really comment on this, not being a parent.

Still it was nice to flick through the old notes and diaries of my childhood. Remembering the red trainers, visiting my Mum in hospital, and even the time I had to put cream on my “wili” (see, even back then I was a blogger in the making, no holds barred!!), There were even some slightly more up-to-date photos, including one of my sister and Louise, hey it might even make for a good caption competition.

Right, enough of that, I’d better say goodbye because she’ll kill me when she sees I’ve posted that photo!! Was nice knowing you all!

Day in the Life

“Woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head” sang Paul. And everyday I do the same thing, except the comb thing as there isn’t really that much there that needs combing…

I recently completed an article outlining a day in the life of a technical writer (well a day in MY life as a technical writer), and thought I’d take a stab at filling out the rest of the day on here. I can’t publish my ‘working day’ article until the magazine comes out, so there will be a big gap there but it’d just bore you anyway.

My typical weekday starts at 6.30 am. Well it used to, it now starts whenever a small black furry creature decides it’s time to leap up onto the bed and gently knead one of us awake (that sounds odd, cat owners will know what I mean). Regardless, the alarm goes off around 6.15 am, and the snooze button is quickly employed, at least once, sometimes twice depending on how many times I’ve awoken during the night. I tend to sleep lightly until around 3am so any noises or, say, cats leaping onto the bed, tend to wake me up.

Rolling out of bed, the first and usually most pressing matter to be dealt with is my bladder (too much detail?) and then it’s a quick shower and time to get dressed. I’m lucky that my darling wife doesn’t trust me to iron my shirts properly so there is usually one waiting for me, a quick check to see if my boxer shorts will last another day or whether I need to change them (I’m KIDDING!) and then an important part of my morning.

My office is based in a fairly out of the way location with no shops within walking distance, so the restaurant/canteen downstairs is our main source of food. I’ve tried my best to be disciplined and to make my lunch to take with me but it just doesn’t work and I usually end up buying my lunch at the office. With that in mind, when the company launched a salary sacrifice scheme for the canteen I signed up immediately (they are contributing 30% on top of what I put in so I’m saving money this way, kinda).

That means that I need to make sure I’ve got my wallet with me or I’m stumped. I still carry a couple of pounds in change, just in case, but after slipping my wallet into my back pocket, strapping my watch to my wrist and grabbing anything else I need for work (iPod, USB drive and occasionally my notepad or a book) I toddle downstairs for a glass of fresh orange.

Feed the cat, check his litter tray and generally potter until we are both ready to leave, usually just after 7am. The commute takes around 40 minutes most mornings, and I tend to drive the bulk of it as it involves a short spell on a country road which she doesn’t like driving. She’ll leave me at the office and take the car with her as she works about 10 minutes away. I don’t have a fixed time to start but have gotten used to the timings which allow us to miss the bulk of the traffic in the morning, and allow me an hour or more of peace and quiet until everyone else arrives.

These days I eat breakfast in work, typically Fruit and Fibre in a throwaway attempt at being healthy, then it’s coffee and my working day has begun.

[This is the bit that is getting published. It’ll get posted to my other blog in due course.]

As the clock rolls past 5pm I start thinking about going home. Louise and I trade the odd email during the day so I’ve usually got a fair idea of what is planned for that evening. She picks me up around 5.20 and we doddle home as quickly as the traffic allows to be greeted by Ollie who has, obviously, learned what our car sounds like.

We usually have a cup of coffee when we first get into the house, sort through any mail and double-check plans for the evening. Although since Louise changed jobs and we now commute together, we’ve usually covered all that so depending on what is in store sometimes it’s a straight dash for dinner. Louise is currently dieting (really well too, almost 2 stones in 4 months!) so she’ll prepare something that she can eat, and I’ll take a bit of whatever is on offer.

A little bit of TV whilst dinner digests, typically something we don’t need to concentrate on (hello Friends, Frasier, Simpsons, and Everybody Loves Raymond) and it’s time for some household chores. Of the two of us I’m the tidier, and tend to focus on that type of thing, which is handy as apparently I don’t hang the washing up correctly… hey that’s what I’m told, don’t blame me!

I don’t tend to watch “live” TV these days, unless it’s sport related, and the decision is usually to do some work on the computer, play a game (PS2 or Wii) or chill out and play with the cat. One of us will knacker him out at some point in the evening and the rest of my night, and more nights than is healthy, the PC will win the battle for my attention.

Bed beckons around midnight.

Boring huh. Still, it filled a blog post.