Final Science Museum

Today was my last day at the Science Museum for 2014.

After yesterday, going to work was just what I needed. Being amongst people who had no idea what happened yesterday and immersing myself in musty old files was the perfect distraction.

I managed to fix up quite a few object records and added a few new ship records. I also cleaned up some people records as well. The day slipped away easily.

At lunchtime, I popped over to the V&A but it wasn’t to visit any art exhibitions. I was on a shopping exhibition instead.

I rather liked the artistic Christmas tree in the Cromwell Street entrance.

Merry Arty Christmas

And speaking of exhibitions…Exhibition Road looked particularly beautiful in the sunshine today during lunch. And, given I’m testing out my new phone, I couldn’t resist taking this.

At home, I made sea bass on Mediterranean vegetables for Mirinda and Bob…and me. Apart from the bass fillets being a bit small, I thought it was quite tasty.

At peace

Most people pass away peacefully but, according to Tracey, Dad did it with a massive thunderstorm. It’s one hell of a way to say goodbye.

Dad and me…a few years ago

And so, I’m saying goodbye to you, Dad, because I wasn’t there and didn’t get a chance to. I know that you knew how much I love you. Loved you. Will always love you. That’s something I hold very dear because you didn’t have much of a family as a kid and so ours meant so much to you. I can’t imagine your father telling you he loved you.

Unlike you, I was very lucky to have such an amazing dad. While I tended to take full advantage of your love, you were always such an important part of my life. And, of course, you put up with me!

I’ve hated thinking of you suffering, fighting for every breath, worrying about things. I thank Skype we had so many happy Tuesday chats. And even more so for this week. Tuesday just gone will always be my last day with you and something I will hold very dear to my heart. I guess there are lots of people who don’t get that opportunity.

Anyway, I’m not going to go on and on or make too much fuss (I know you wouldn’t like that). I just wanted to say I’ll miss you so much and while you may have gone physically, I can still see you and talk to you and love you.

Thank you for being my dad.

Sadie strikes again

In just over a week, the Hassells are going to stay at the flat. They’ve been told by some pretty reliable sources that the flat is barely big enough for one let alone a family of four but they reckon they’ll be fine. All I can say is, they must be very close…cause they’re going to be.

Anyway, because they’re going to flat, I had to go up today and clean and polish it in readiness. And take another inflatable mattress for one of the kids. I’m hoping that Adele didn’t puncture the one that’s already there.

I had a reasonable enough trip up (I went late in the morning in order to miss the rush. I had a big suitcase full of pillows and mattress and sheets and towels, so I needed the seats. This was a particular need when I realised it was a 444 train. The luggage racks are smaller so a seat is the only place the suitcase can go.

Everything was fine. I reached the flat and went mad with various cleaning products.

While I was there I had a text from Mum saying that Dad had been taken to hospital. I then had a frantic text from Tracey saying that the hospital staff didn’t give him long to live. My first thought was to book a flight immediately but Mum told me to be sensible. I didn’t book a plane and, instead, waited for further news.

I didn’t get home till quite late. The awful news came even later.

Dancing Alice

Mirinda went to work this morning but just for the day. She’s actually going to commute.

I had to stay in for the inevitable deliveries and to wait for Bob, who arrived early this morning.

My time was anything but wasted, however. I spent a lovely hour Skyping with Mum and Dad then hit the kitchen to make more Christmas tree shaped shortbread.

After lunch my new phone turned up. I have been having problems with the Galaxy for a while now (the screen getting less responsive, not finding signals, generally irritating me) so I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to claim my free swap to a new one. Of course I did all the proper research and decided that the HTC One M8 was the phone for me. Apparently it’s the most popular smartphone at the moment.

It arrived (along with the biggest free gift I’ve ever seen – a sound system) after lunch so I spent a delightful while setting it up. HTC have created a brilliant app which allows easy transfer (via wifi) of your old phones contents to the new one. Easy and painless. I then had to swap my SIM so I could keep my number. It is because of this that I missed a text from Mirinda.

We were going to see a live streaming of the Royal Ballet’s production of Alice in Wonderland at the Maltings and Bob and I were happily waiting for her to get home from work. She’d texted me to say she’d be late and we should meet at the Maltings. Eventually she went very old school and rang me on the landline. Bob and I set off and walked over in about 15 minutes.

The ballet was fantastic. I’m not a big fan of classical dance but was thoroughly entranced. At first, I was a bit concerned that Alice had been made a bit older and had a love interest but I quickly realised this was just a convention. Obviously the male and female leads need to have a couple of dances together and it was all just flirty; nothing overt.

While the dancing was excellent (the tap dancing Mad Hatter was excellent) the set was just extraordinary and the music superb. I couldn’t fault it and was enchanted from start to finish. A great night out.

Long distance attendance

Mum and dad’s anniversary party was today, and I attended.

Well, I wasn’t in Queensland, like any sensible person, eating at lunchtime and settling down to a nice long chat with family and a few (or more) beers. No, I was in my office, heater blazing out (it was below zero outside) and talking on Skype. And it was 3am.

Originally I’d intended to snooze in the lounge zone, waking up at 2:30 for a coffee but, for reasons known only to my strange brain, I worked on my blog and Flickr until the wee hours. Then I called, just as the washing up was being finished.

It looked like they all had a great time and it was very nice getting to talk to them all in the daytime…well, their daytime anyway.

But I didn’t last long. My eyes were closing and, after Tracey delcared that I looked tired, I said my goodbyes and crawled into bed.

A few hours later I woke up feeling not a jot refreshed but having things that needed doing.

After the shops, I set about icing my Christmas cake. I’d wrapped it in almond paste (so much better than shop bought marzipan) on Thursday and it had dried out, ready for the royal treatment.

Now, Delia goes to great lengths, describing how to make it very smooth. It’s all very step by step in the simplest terms. Even so, no matter how many times I do it, it always ends up looking like a wind swept snow drift. Not that I care. I figure it gives it that homemade look. It now needs to wait 24 hours to set properly.

It was then time for another batch of mince pies followed by some Christmas tree shaped shortbread. I managed to wash up three times before starting to cook dinner.

A very productive day but by the time I was ready for bed, I was REALLY ready for bed.

Coming and going

Back at work today, just in time to say goodbye to Chloe.

It’s funny when you only go to work once a week (not considering the fact that I missed so many days this year because of the extension). People arrive, start work and become part of the office then, seemingly suddenly, they vanish again.

I think the museum has a lot of people on contracts which don’t get renewed. Not because of bad work, I should stress. More because the budget doesn’t allow them to renew them. It’s very sad but means the people get to work in different institutions as they hop from contract to contract.

Chloe, for instance, is off to the Royal Academy and, while she was sad to say goodbye, she’s really looking forward to it. I have no idea what she’ll be doing with them or, in fact, what she did with us.

Eventually, of course, her position will be filled again and the whole thing will start again. It reminds me of Telewest and all the contractors who skipped through our lives. You’d meet them one day, have a drink with them on a Friday, maybe discuss various improvements in technology with them and then, as quickly as they appeared, they’d be gone. You’d ask around and be told they’d gone to pastures new. It’s odd and a bit disconcerting for permanent staff members.

To ‘celebrate’ Chloe’s leaving, we had the usual tea and stickies, as Nick at Work calls it (it’s a quote from The Goodies which he’s always eager to tell the ‘youngsters’ who invariably say “What?”) and, because it’s near Christmas, this included a small stollen.

Now, thanks to Ina, I LOVE stollen. Even given my failed attempts to make one myself, I still love stollen. When I was asked if I’d like a piece of cake, I surprised them all by saying “Yes please…is that stollen?” You see, I don’t usually have cakes at work. It’s nothing to do with being good (I love cake…did I say how much I like stollen?) but I feel it’s a bit of an intrusion when I’m only there once a week and I am only a volunteer.

Anyway, I was told it was, in fact stollen (like I didn’t know!) so I said I’d like a piece. Howard (the other Friday volunteer) followed saying how he’d love a bit as well and then Nick. As we partook, everyone then recounted how much they disliked either marzipan or fruit cake or, in one sad case, both.

Having eaten our pieces of German delight, we waited the proper amount of socially acceptable time to elapse before Howard and I reached over and grabbed the rest of it. Given no-one else liked it, it seemed the only thing to do.

As for work, nothing truly momentous happened and I didn’t uncover an amazing story about a forgotten person of maritime history. I did find one model maker but, other than his address in 1893, I couldn’t find anything else. (His name was Thomas Green, in case I do find anything at some later date.)

And that was my day.

60 years ago…

Mum and dad celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary today. They had cards from the Queen, the Governor-General of Australia, the Prime Minister and a scrawled note from the premier of Queensland. They were also interviewed for the local paper. It’s quite an achievement…and proves my legitimacy.

They are having a family party on Saturday with some of the family. I wish I could be there too. Still, I’d just like to send them both the most love and best wishes and hope today was a lovely day.

As for me, it was basically about tidying up, finishing the washing from the Paris break and generally preparing for Mirinda’s return tonight.

The biggest bit of excitement was a frantic phone call from Mirinda saying she needed an emergency doctor’s appointment because of a blockage in one of her ears. It started bothering her in Paris and hasn’t improved. I managed to get her a late appointment, giving her time to get home first. And, miraculously, she made it. Actually she was an hour early, so we even had some time to sit with a tea/coffee before she left. Of course, the talking was a bit loud.

The doctor said there was a build up of wax and it would have to be encouraged to leave. When the doctor told her it would have to be syringed, Mirinda was a bit worried about her brain being compromised. The doctor laughed. We share the same doctor and I have to say that I have NEVER seen or heard her laugh. But that’s not till next week, in the interim, she has to drop extra virgin olive oil in the offending oriface twice a day.

Apart from the TV having to be extra loud, we had a lovely night. It’s always good to be home.