Friday, January 28, 2011

A big thank you to Joan and BC


First of all who are Joan and BC?

A. They are the parents of Dave, soon to be married to our youngest daughter Laura. There is probably a name for the relationship we will have with them which I can’t for the life of me recall.

Why is he called BC?

A. His first names are Brendan Christopher – how logical is that? However, I suspect deep down it is because his son’s always thought of him as ancient as in Before Christ. It is the same for me. My girls call me Wilf because it sounds old – in fact it was my grandfather’s name so they are right.

When Joan and BC came to Spain last August, they brought thick books with them to read. In fact everyone but me seemed to have thick books to read. When Joan and BC asked why this was, I told them that it was because I couldn’t read. That brought a withering look on their faces. They knew that was a load of b*******, after all I’d passed exams, I’d been to college and university and then spent my working life as a teacher – of course I could read.

In fact, unbelievable as this may sound, since we came to Spain in 2004, I have read only two books both of which were about bullfighting. And now I have read three. Since the weather has been decidedly dull for the last week, it seemed a good opportunity to get stuck into this Christmas present from Joan and BC and I am right glad I did.

Now here is the thing, the reason I don’t read books is the same as the reason I don’t really care for serials on the TV. I like my stories complete and finished in one go, I don’t want to have to wait for another day or the following week to find out what happens next. There are very few books that you can read in one session so I just don’t bother.

I must confess, I’d neither heard of the author nor his TV programmes about “grumpy old men” or GOMS for short. This may come as a shock to you but there have been odd times when Mrs W. has accused me of being grumpy myself; so, my curiosity was aroused to find out whether she was right. I dipped into the book to see if this was indeed true and liked what I read. Surprisingly, I found that I had some of the symptoms of grumpiness the author described.

Why, because there is a lot of what he says that I concur with and I dare say most men of any age would recognise straight away. For example how many men do you know who enjoy shopping for anything let alone Christmas presents? How many send Christmas cards and how many really enjoy putting up Christmas trees. Most poignant of all, how many of us growl in our seats when carol singers ring the door bell and demand money for singing one line of a carol.

There are things that even the grumpiest old man enjoys about the festive season but to be honest, once we have got to a certain age, most of us are glad when it is all over. For some inexplicable reason though, that does not stop everyone from making us go through the same ritual year after year – maybe that is what makes us grumpy.

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