My dear E is 8 today. We know she is 8 because she has been telling us since my birthday that she is going to 8. My birthday was celebrated as being exactly a month before her birthday. You can see where this is going.
We had a lovely breakfast when she opened her parcels and cooed and ahhed like the grateful, polite child she is. She even gave her brother a hug which, I have to say, was also received gratefully(ish).
I managed not to cry as hers is the first family birthday without my Dad. He won't be speaking to her on the phone tonight and he won't have written on her card with his tiny left-slanted writing. Granny did her proud though with a delicious, matching t-shirt and cardi and some pencils to keep her going on the colouring front. Madame E also received a very smart watch (already being displayed at school), a cd, some pollypocket (will it ever end), an indiana jones lego set and some rather smart Russian Doll hair bobbles - and the day hasn't really started yet.
I try to get my offspring to appreciate being 8 and 11. I think sometimes children always want to be older, to have freedom, to be always looking ahead. I don't know if that's our fault or whether it's a symptom of feeling young and not being able to choose that much about what happens around them. Who knows?
I know that I wish I could remember more about being 8 and 11. I have picture postcard memories, snapshots of individual and unrepresentative events up until I went to college.
I read once that you only remember your childhood if you had a bad one, so I suppose that's a good thing.
On an entirely different matter we (G&I) went out last night with S&D to see Simon Day on his first stand-up tour. He was a member of the Fast Show lot. It was a strange evening. First, the venue was at the Arts Centre in Swindon. Secondly, it wasn't full. The Arts Centre is not a big venue - say 100 maximum capacity. Mmmm. However, it was a cold Tuesday in the run up to Christmas. I'm not sure what he was expecting.
He was funny and surreal and entertaining. His warm-up was not. He hadn't washed his jeans and he moaned about Simon Day quite a lot which I thought was a little churlish.
Simon Day though was value for money. He rambled through various subjects and started off with a description of his Nan knitting, all the time, for ever which I found very interesting. He talked about growing up and dressing up as Mr T and he had everyone laughing out loud. He went off though at the interval and came back on a bit of a downer. We discovered he had a 4 week old baby girl - why would anyone want to be on tour at such a time? I don't think he does, really. He also had a bit of a wobble, remembering where he'd got to and then read a poem which although funny in parts, wasn't funny at the end. Maybe it was us. Maybe it was Swindon.
I thought I might try to email him to encourage him and apologise for the low audience figures. I discovered why he might be struggling to sell tickets. The man has no web presence at all! He's got about as many listings as I have. There's no listing of his tour, nothing. So, sorry Simon, I did try. You were great - try to keep your poetry private.