Happy Daddy

Florence's Father's Day card
Florence’s Father’s Day card

For the past three years I have been overseas during my daughter’s school Father’s Day Celebrations. This year had to see the record set straight, and so I put in a special request for the school to host their 2014 “Daddy’s Day Breakfast” today, as I am flying to Amman tonight for the rest of the week.

The children sang all of us Dads a special song, served up croissants and boiled eggs, and then Florence and Martha even made me a coffee between them (with Martha on mixing duty, and Flo doing the more precarious carrying work). All of this on the back of another fun-filled weekend of parties, dancing in monsoon rain, ten-pin bowling competitions, and watching 28 performances at the annual Dance Centre Show.

Leaving to spend the rest of the week in Jordan will no doubt produce some new thoughts to populate the pages of this blog, however after spending quality time at home it doesn’t get any easier hauling myself 1,000 of miles around the region, and having to stage a not-too-dramatic goodbye to the girls.

That said, this morning was the perfect send off.

I was crowned a mini VIP for half an hour, wearing the brightly coloured hats the girls had made for me, and touched by the two wonderful cards they’d prepared the week before (above and below).

Martha's Father's Day card
Martha’s Father’s Day card

And if the wise words on Martha’s card above weren’t thought-provoking enough, I feel today is my day to challenge the most enthusiastic team of Poet Laureates to stir up something more magical and endearing than the poem which I found inside Flo’s card:

Daddy, you are
as smart as Ironman
as fast as Superman
as brave as Batman,
you are my
favourite Superhero

I’ll not stop smiling all week now.

Daddy's Day Selfie
Daddy’s Day Selfie

Cake or Death?

IMG_5229 (1)
Hungry for cake anyone?

Excited, beyond levels that normal measuring instruments would find hard to measure, Florence and Martha have been galloping through a recent spate of birthday celebrations.

My 39th last month – pic above – was ushered in with some chocolate and raspberry cup cakes. Martha’s 3rd – last Friday – was awarded double cupcake supplies: first, for a family trip to school and some mid-morning songs and card opening, and second, for an end of the day fancy dress party in Lou’s apartment, where the luminous green cakes were complimented by that reliable choice favourite – the humble pizza.

As you can tell from the photos below, at both events, Martha (playing the part of the Disney movie Frozen’s Anna in the afternoon) was quite “up” for sweet treats, celebrating, and having the day’s limelight opportunities shifted in her direction: Continue reading

Back to School

Sitting still for the camera is not yet a skill mastered by Martha
Sitting still for the camera is not yet a skill mastered by Martha

Saigon is not only six hours ahead of the UK in terms of time difference, but the school holidays are also shunted forward, finding me, slightly out of nowhere, packing off Florence and Martha today for Day 1 of the new term.

If nothing else, this post is to capture the fact that, once in a while, Daddy’s dressing of the girls does stand up to scrutiny (see photo above).  Matching outfits, no less – thanks to Auntie Melly and Uncle Beans!  No doubt by half term I’ll have slackened off and the tattoos will be back on, and their outfits clashing badly.

Anyway, eight weeks of summer holidays is now a thing of the past, and both the girls seem well ready for some proper school time. Continue reading

Summertime (Koh Samed photos)

We’re all just getting along fine

We’re in the depths of the school summer vacations over here in Vietnam.

Week 5 kicked off today, with Florence embarking on a course of dance classes each morning, and Martha re-engaging with any of her mates who haven’t already flown the nest for holidaying in Europe, Australia or elsewhere around the globe.

Last week I took the kids to Koh Samed in Thailand for 4 nights.  This post is mainly a simple collection of memories from the trip, for posterity… Continue reading

Ode to the Kids*

*in homage to my wife, and with apologies to John Keats…

My beautiful, bouncing baby girls,
How I ache with sorrow when not with you.

Your daydreaming smiles,
Innocent questions about
Living thing, thought and action,
Fill me with pride.

(especially now, as my flight taxis the runway and I head 2,000 miles away)

Such envy I hold watching you find
So much life and interest in the
Humdrum of things.

A lonely, curled up leaf on the pavement.
A fridge magnet.
Your own feet.

Your energetic dancing.
Your breathless monologues.
Your spillages!
I will miss them all.

Instead, in this hushed cabin,
33,000ft above the world,
Uninterrupted iPod listening must I endure.
. Children’s tears nearby belong not to me.

With melancholic ponder I sip my drink.
Dine alone.
My dishes cleared by others.
Counting the hours until am home again.

 But, first, I close my eyes.

My beautiful, bouncing baby girls,
How I ache with sorrow when not with you.