To my wife, my friend, my love, and currently my bubble-buddy.
Happy birthday, wonderful girl.
To my wife, my friend, my love, and currently my bubble-buddy.
Happy birthday, wonderful girl.
Tinson2 is twenty-five today.
We will not be giving him cake, not being giving him candles, not be giving him hugs. This is not because of lockdown, but because he is in Australia.
He’s a year into his two-year visa there. So far he has worked in a restaurant, in a mountain-top bar, on a farm, at a vineyard, in a lettuce factory and in a cocktail bar. This is not because he keeps getting fired, it’s because you have to do a certain amount of farmwork to get the second year of your visa.
At the moment he’s working nowhere. The cocktail bar, which he loved, has of course been closed, so he’s looking at all sorts of other jobs, but then so is everyone else.
But he’s staying there. During a family conference we agreed that since he stayed there while Australia was on fire and we weren’t, what’s the point of leaving when they have a virus that we have too. (During the conference he let slip that the fires had been fifteen kilometres away at one point, something he had never mentioned at the time). So he’s still in Fremantle, still upbeat, still being the positive, happy-go-lucky, laid-back, wonderful person that he always have been.
And there will be cake, and candles, and hugs, via FaceTime. We will sing Happy Birthday, and tell him that we love him, and are proud of him, just as we always have been.
Happy birthday, super son.
It was just like in the song.
This morning – Wednesday morning, as it happens – at five o’clock, as the day began, Tingirl left home.
What was unlike the song was that she didn’t have to sneak out, leaving a note that she’d hoped would say more. Mrs Tin and I were up with her, enthusiastically helping her pack two massive suitcases into our ancient car, driving her to the airport and accompanying her in to bag-drop in case either case failed the 20kg test (this wasn’t the case, 19.7 and 19.9) in which, sigh, case we’d have returned home with several pairs of discarded shoes.
Our baby girl is moving to London with her degree in Media and PR, pursuing her dream of writing for TV and radio. She is excited and scared, and so are we.
We will miss her – her beautiful smile, her cheerful chatter, her ability (unique among the Tinfamily), to take a good group selfie. I will miss watching Bones, and Love Island, and Doctor Who with her.
But we are sure that she will do well. She is a lovely girl with a warm personality, and is diligent and hard-working (she worked here in a really stressful job that included all-night shifts, to raise the money to fund the early part of her stay). In media she has found something that she loves, and has sailed through every exam associated with it.
So best wishes, my lovely princess. May all of your dreams come true. You deserve it.
We are sad that you are gone. But so very, very happy for you.
Our girl is 23 today.
Tingirl, lovely baby, cute little girl, teenager-like teenager, is now a wonderful young woman. She is adored by her older brothers, fiercely loyal and close to her friends, passionate in her beliefs.
She works now, in a difficult but very important job, but her plans are to move abroad, to work in radio or TV, fulfilling her lifelong ambition.
We love her and are proud of her. She is her Dad’s princess, and always will be.
Happy birthday, my beautiful girl.
He changed our lives.
For six years we’d been married, meeting friends whenever we wanted to, playing two sports each, doing pretty much as we liked, or at least as much as you can do that when you’re absolutely broke.
Then he came along, and changed our lives. And for the better, so much better in a way that you can never imagine in advance.
Tinson1 is twenty-eight today. The world’s cheeriest baby has grown into a fine young man, clever, opinionated, hard-working and fun.
Happy birthday son. We love you and are proud of you today, as always.
Our wonderful baby girl was conferred with her degree this week.
We love you and we’re proud of you, Tingirl.
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.
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.
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:
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.