Exchanging Packages

I have nothing to report, which of course isn’t going to stop me from emptying my head into the keyboard for the next few minutes, because this is me, and this is what I do. In a world of social media influencers, vloggers and podcasters, I quietly record the days of my life into a blog that somewhat intentionally escapes too much attention.

So what HAVE I been doing today?

The day began with a cycle across town in the opposite direction of work – meeting a wonderful neighbour quite by chance while en-route to the school where my other half works. After patiently weaving my way through a steady stream of parents leaving the school having dropped their children off, I made it to the office, watched by a somewhat circumspect, and ridiculously attractive young teacher.

It occurs to me while writing – somewhat humorously – that all infant school teachers seem young to me now. I remember walking to work past a secondary school in a previous career, and noticing that the young lady walking a little way ahead was… well let’s just say I noticed her. And then I realised as she turned towards the school, carrying an arm-full of exercise books, that she must have been a teacher – and something snapped inside my head. Until that point I had always thought of teachers as being tweed skirted or jacketed, and of a certain age – and here was a pretty young thing – about my age – striding purposely up a school drive with calves for miles.

Where was I? Oh yes – standing in the reception area of the infant school, waiting my turn to talk to the lady on reception (my other half) – my bicycle leaning on the wall outside, one earphone still in an ear playing Owl City, my bicycle helmet perched lazily on my head, with the scruffiest shorts in the known world complimenting a half-way decent white t-shirt.

Finally it was my turn. I slid the backpack from my shoulder, unzipped it, and retrieved a clear plastic sandwich box containing a cheese and pickle wholemeal bread sandwich. My other half looked at me questioningly.

“Can we switch lunches?”


“Because you picked mine up.”

She burst into a fit of giggles – as did the pretty teacher waiting alongside me. I received a tin-foil package in return, which I dropped into the backpack, and slung onto my back. I smiled at the teacher, and explained;

“She’s vegetarian – my sandwiches have ham in them”.

I’m not entirely sure why I explained – nobody asked – I suppose it just looked incredibly suspect – exchanging packages with the lady on reception in an infant school without any conversation, or identification. The teacher broke into a huge smile as I turned and left.

Twenty minutes later I arrived in the office, and set about picking apart a programming problem some of my co-workers had been looking at when I left the evening before. After a few minutes I thought I might have a solution, and showed them. It turned out they had struggled for a good hour after my departure, and built quite the most impressively complex solution I have seen in quite some time. My solution consisted of perhaps six lines of code, was easy to understand, and ran faster. A younger co-worker held his head in his hands:

“Why didn’t I think of doing it that way? Of course that was the way to do it!”

I grinned.

“I’m glad 25 years of software development still counts for something.”

That Friday Feeling

It’s Friday afternoon, and I’m taking a break from work for a bit to empty my head into the keyboard. The chest infection is slowly clearing up, replaced by a head cold. Go me. I’m battling on though – fuelled mostly by chocolate bars, cups of tea, and badly made sandwiches. I have a can of Dr Pepper sitting on the corner of my desk at work, but hot tea seems like a better idea at the moment.

One part of me wants to celebrate because the weekend is nearly here, but another part of me knows the weekend means cutting the grass, doing laundry, going grocery shopping, and so on. Urgh.

The highlight of this week was almost certainly our middle daughter becoming a prefect at school. We were invited to a morning assembly where those becoming prefects were awarded with new ties by head teacher, and photographed. Watching a room full of teenage girls wrestling with their ties for the next ten minutes was unintentionally hilarious – after most of them had worn ties throughout junior school, the secondary school issues clip-on ties to students – to prevent them wearing them backwards, upside down, or however else teenagers dream up. The prefect wear proper ties once again.

With a little help from parents, teachers, and each other, the group of new prefects trooped outside into the sunshine for photographs. While being ordered this way and that by a teacher armed with a camera, a member of staff sidled up to myself and my other half.

“Are you Natalie’s parents?”

“Yes?” (we both looked at each other, and at the member of staff, somewhat questioningly)

“I just wanted to say how proud you should be. She’s a wonderful person. A real credit to the school, and to you and your family.”

We didn’t know what to say.