Category Archives: The Family of Tin

I Dreamed Last Night That We Were Married

The above was the prompt at our Inksplinters Writing Group last week, and this post is based on what I wrote for it…

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I dreamed last night that we were married, that we’d moved on to the next stage, moved on from deep infatuation, and finishing each others sentences, and going to the pictures no matter what shite was on, just so we could snog in the dark.

I dreamed that we’d moved on from feeling that we were soulmates, and being able to use the word “soulmates” to our friends without being mortified at how sickeningly sweet we sounded, the romantic equivalent of sixteen sugars in your tea. I dreamed that we’d moved on from long phone-calls about nothing, calls that ended, eventually, after a long round of “you hang up”, “no, you hang up”. I dreamed that we’d moved on from Valentine cards the size of front doors, from sudden kisses on the cheek for no reason, from you practising writing my surname after your first name, and me pretending that I didn’t know you’d done it.

I dreamed that we’d moved on from dreaming about being married, to being married.

I dreamed that we’d no money, struggling with a mortgage on a house thrown together by a cowboy during the building boom, a house built from Weetabix held together with snot, a house that leaked rain inwards and heat outwards, a house that always needed some shit done to its roof, or some shit done to its gutters, or some shit taken from its drains.

I dreamed that we bickered in this stressful place, that we found our own selves in a stressful place, that we squabbled over the telly, and why could I not give up cigarettes, and why it was the most important thing on earth, more important than world peace, or the rain forests, or global warming, that the toilet seat be left down.

And I woke, and looked at you, asleep beside me, and realised that it hadn’t been a dream, that we had indeed married, and bickered, and squabbled. That we had fought together, so many times.

But that sentence has two meanings. We have fought together, you and I against the world, and against everything that life could throw at us, and we’ve generally won.

And we have laughed together, so, so many times, and still do. And we do still give sudden kisses on the cheek for no reason. And we do still finish each others sentences, indeed increasingly over time we start them, one of us saying something just as the other person is thinking it. We’ve stayed as soulmates, though we’re too grown-up now to say that in public.

We moved on from dreaming of being married, to being married. And it’s been great.

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Oh, and today is our Wedding Anniversary, celebrating 32 years of being married to my soulmate, the one-and-only, wonderful Mrs Tin. 

 

 

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Oh Canada

So, see you in a fortnight has turned into five weeks.

A combination of jet-lag, odd working schedules, Big Brother being back on TV (I haven’t watched it yet this year, I’m just thinking up excuses) and, well, laziness, has meant that it’s only this morning that I’ve finally got back to my favourite occupation, staring at a blank screen with a blank mind.

Plus, Mrs Tin has gone away for the weekend with her two sisters (what a jet-setting life that girl leads) and I’m at home with nothing to do.

Part of the reason I haven’t written yet is that I felt that my first post should deal with our trip to Canada, and frankly I haven’t the words (nor the pictures, they just don’t do it justice) to describe just how wonderful it all was.

We went on a helicopter ride, we walked on a glacier, we travelled on a gondola (no, a kind of mini cable-car, we weren’t in a narrow boat with a man with a long pole (stop it) singing O Sole Mio). We sat in a rooftop hot tub while the temperature was five degrees. We saw mountains, waterfalls and frozen lakes. We saw bears, moose, elk, eagles and, well, chipmunks (just because they’re small doesn’t mean we weren’t impressed).

And we saw Tinson2. We saw where he works, where he lives, we met his friends, caught up with his life, and listened to how happy he is, and how, even during the dead season of October, when he was getting few shifts at work (actually, in Ireland that phrase has two possible meanings, but I’m leaving it, because both meanings were probably true) and had no money, and the months of unrelenting cold were just beginning, he always felt that he was exactly where he wanted to be.

And we met many young people like him, from Canada itself, but also from Australia and New Zealand, all there for two years, working in the shops and restaurants, and having an experience that they will never forget.

So, thank you, Canada, for the astonishing beauty of your scenery, and the warmth of your people, and the niceness of your beer, but most of all thank you for taking in so many people like Tinson2, for letting them each leave their own small imprint on your country while your country leaves such a huge imprint on their hearts.

 

Rocky Mountain Hi

This blog has been back at work for two months now, producing an average of one post every four days.

Obviously such incredibly hard work deserves a holiday, so Mrs Tin and I are off to Canada for two weeks.

People say that the journey is a long one, but it doesn’t seem too bad. We are flying out of Dublin at 15.15 tomorrow and arriving, via Heathrow, into Calgary at 20.15 on the same day. Honestly, it takes longer than that to drive to Tralee. (Curiously, though, the trip home starts on a Wednesday evening and ends the following afternoon  – perhaps we’re flying uphill).

As I’ve said before, Tinson2 is in Whistler on a two-year student visa, and we are going to visit him for three days. Travelling all that way for just three days would be a bit daft, like visiting the moon on an afternoon off, so we are starting with a ten-day tour of the Rockies. The first eight days are by coach along the Iceland Parkway, and we are not at all worried by the fact that, just last Thursday, an attempt by Parks Canada to trigger a “controlled avalanche” to lower the risk of, well, an avalanche, brought down more snow than expected and blocked the entire road for over 24 hours. Perhaps they don’t have disaster movies in Canada, since all such movies begin with someone saying “it’s okay, we know what we’re doing”, followed by the sentence “hang on, that shouldn’t be happening” and then the phrase “aaarghhh!!”, and thus act as a salutary warning to anyone tempted to use the phrase “controlled avalanche” as part of a serious suggestion.

The last two days are on a train called the Rocky Mountaineer:

The tour ends in Vancouver. For the rest of the tourists that will be the end of their holiday, but we’ll have the best part still to come – one last coach trip to Whistler, to visit our boy. We are bringing Tayto crisps, and Dairy Milk chocolate, and Barrys tea bags, and lots and lots of love.

So that’s that. See you all in a fortnight.

 

 

Another Birthday Post

One of the things that I missed most when I gave up blogging was the birthday posts, writing about my three super children and telling the world just how much I love them.

Tinson2 is twenty-two today. Tonight we are planning to have a cake, and to light candles and sing Happy Birthday, and then to get him to blow them out.

The blowing out will be a joint, inter-continental operation, in that he will blow and I will put out the candles, because this will all be done via Skype.

Tinson2 is in Whistler in Canada at the moment. He is on a two-year student visa, and has been there now for almost eleven months. Whistler is a ski-resort in the Rockies (former host of the Winter Olympics) and this has been a typical day over the past five months:

He took off with three friends last June, and they share what looks like a lovely house there with an English girl, a Scottish girl and a guy from Hawaii. They all have low-paid service industry jobs, they are all, in his words “super poor”, and they are having the time of their lives.

Tinson2 works in a place called The Old Spaghetti Factory, where he charms customers with his Irish accent and by telling them, quite inaccurately, that he has never seen snow before.

While it’s his birthday here it’s not yet his birthday there, because he’s eight hours behind us. Many other people would rise early on their birthday, but not our boy, who Tinson1 once described as The Indestructible Sleeper, so it will be this evening before we get to talk to him. He will appear on Skype, we will see the happiness that has been on his face every time we’ve spoken to him since he left, and we will know that he has done the right thing by heading off into this terrific adventure.

He’s still the same sweet guy he’s always been, laid-back, kind and thoughtful.

So Happy Birthday, wonderful son. We love you and are proud of you, as always.

 

Family Matters

 

Those of you who followed this blog during its most productive years watched as the Tinkids grew, joining in the celebrations of their birthdays and their various achievements, and thrilling me with how much you all cared about what happened to them, so obviously I have to update you on what they are all be up to now.

Prepare to be astonished, by the next sentence, at the passage of time.

Tinson1 is now twenty-five. After a lot of study and a long time trying to get a job in post-crash Ireland he started work 15 months ago as a medical physicist (no, I don’t know, either) in the Oncology Unit of a hospital in Waterford. Waterford is about 100 miles from where we live, so he has become the first of the Tinkids to leave home. He has an apartment that he loves, a small car that he is slowly learning to drive (and hopefully learning to drive slowly) and a job that he really enjoys.

Tinson2 (twenty-two next month) is in Canada at the moment, where he is nine months into a two-year student visa. He works in a restaurant in the ski resort of Whistler (minus 10 degrees there last week, according to my iPhone), and shares a house which has a stream rushing alongside, snow on its roof (it’s called a snow ‘fro, apparently) and racoons under its deck. It has also had, though only once so far, a bear in its back garden. He’s having the time of his life, and looks really happy whenever we talk to him.

Tingirl, our baby, is now twenty, and is in first-year at college in Carlow Institute of Technology, where she is studying media and public relations, hoping to make a career in radio. She absolutely loves the course, the college, the Foundry (Ireland’s biggest nightclub, situated in Carlow, Wednesday night is Student Night) and her housemates.

Yes, housemates. Carlow is about 60 miles from Greystones, so she has to live there during the week, and although she’s at home every weekend (she’s in the sitting room watching This Is Us with Mrs Tin as I write this), it means that during the week Mrs Tin and I are empty-nesters.

And Mrs Tin? Still the best, supportive when I was sick, supportive when I cut my working week, putting a brave face on the fact that I am at home for two extra days each week to drive her mental. I’ve talked before about her sense of humour, and it’s best summed up by what we have in our kitchen now:

Oh Yes We Are

The Tinfamily are going to a Pantomime tonight.

Rathmichael Parish Church, in Shankill in South Dublin, is 150 years old, and as part of the parish’s celebrations their Drama Group is putting on Old King Cole, and the five of us are going along tonight.

This may seem slightly odd. The Tinfamily are not from Shankill, and are not members of Rathmichael Parish. Furthermore, since Tingirl is now 18 we are all adults, at least in theory, and are not in the age group that typically shouts “Oh no, it isn’t” and bursts into terrified tears at the sight of the Witch. But there is a reason why we are going.

I wrote the Pantomime.

Ah, I hear you say, that explains why you’ve written so little here in the last six months, we completely understand, now can you please go back to writing a bit more often, we need something to laugh at, often in the kind meaning of that phrase.

And it would be a great excuse. I’m pretty sure that when Tolstoy was writing War and Peace he didn’t write anything on a blog either, but it’s an excuse that I can’t quite get away with.

I wrote Old King Cole in 1991.

Back in the late 80s I was in an Amateur Drama Group, and every year we would stage a Panto. Over time I noticed that, no matter how tired the standard, shop-bought script that we would use was at the beginning, our inventive director and some really great comic actors would always manage to turn it into something terrific, and so one year I had a go at writing one. After that it was accepted that I would write the script each year, and so I wrote five of them.

A friend of mine (actually, she’s Tinson2’s Godmother – no, a real one, not a Fairy one) who was in the Group back then is now Headmistress of Rathmichael school, and rang me a few months ago to ask could they stage Old King Cole. I am thrilled, obviously.

And terrified. I was always sorry that none of my children ever got to see any of my pantos, because I had stopped doing them by the time that they were old enough, but I’m a bit nervous about sitting beside them, at the age that they are now, while they watch one.

I can’t remember anything about this one, except that I have a vague recollection that the goodies win in the end. I’m clinging to the memory that the audiences at the time seemed to enjoy them, and I’m hoping that whatever I wrote back then is still funny now.

Anyway, while I’m scared I’m also excited, and really looking forward to it.

Turn Around, And You’ve Grown

She was the last of the three, the baby of our babies, but now our baby is a young woman.

Tingirl is 18 today.

She faces into adulthood as wonderful a person as she has always been. She has a warm and kind nature, a host of friends to whom she is fiercely loyal, and a smile that makes her face light up like a sun. She is a typical teenage girl – sometimes funny, sometimes grumpy, sometimes full of energy, sometimes a bundle of yawns barely visible beneath a duvet on the couch.

She still loves acting, and is still part of the closely-knit drama group with whom she has essentially grown up.

To me, her Dad, she is still a source of wonder, a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside a hoodie.

She is also a source of deep, joy-filled love.

So Happy Birthday today, Tingirl, and enjoy the life and possibilities that now lie before you.

You are our baby, our Princess, and now our wonderful grown-up girl.

Tingirl for 18th