Tag Archives: tinson1

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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.

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:

All The Twos

Grad Day 2Tinson 1 had his graduation last Friday.

There he is, receiving his degree and a speech of congratulation in Latin. He is now officially a physicist, licensed to split atoms, to use the “Spin” setting on the Large Hadron Collider to dry his clothes, or to laugh “mwa-ha-ha-ha!” while wearing a mad-scientist lab coat.

He’s now in University College Galway doing a Masters in Medical Physics. I’ve reported this before, and also reported that as part of his course he will have to work with cadavers. These sessions started last Friday, while he was taking part in the photo above, so today will be his first one.

And it’s his birthday. He’s twenty-two today.

He spent last year’s in North Carolina, and probably thought that as memorable birthdays went that would be impossible to beat. Now he knows better.

Anyway, we have sent him cards, will Skype him tonight and will eat cake in his honour. I hope he has a great day, and that he continues to have as great a time in Galway as he seems to be having.

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

Xmas bean

Going West

Tinson1 sets off tomorrow to University College Galway to do a Masters in Medical Physics. Galway is on the very far side of the country.

Now this, of course, is Ireland, so we can practically see the far side of the country from our kitchen window. In terms of distance it’s not exactly Moscow to Vladivostok, but being away is measured more in mind than in miles. He’s moving out, even if only for a year.

We are taking this as any close-knit family would. Mrs Tin is planning to use his room as a Craft-room for her quilting, I’m going to type my blog from his desk and Tinson2 has already swiped his chair.

We are also quite enjoying that fact that, while he knew his work would involve studying radiation therapy and such-like, he never realised that he would have to work with dead bodies.

This does not mean that he will have a zombie as a study partner, although I think he’d rather that it did.

Anyway, he has found a house to share and is really looking forward to it.

It’s not like emigration in the 50s, of course. There are phones, there is Skype, and of course there is every student’s greatest fear, the odd weekend visit from your parents.

He’ll go there and study hard, because that’s what he does. I hope he finds time to enjoy himself too, that he has a really great time.

All the best, son. We’re proud of you and love you as always.

Cometh The Man

He was like a prototype, the one we practiced our parenting skills on, skills that, having perfected, we had totally forgotten by the time his siblings came along.

We made formula milk the consistency of porridge, put both feet into one leg of a baby-gro, attached nappies so unskilfully that it looked as if he was wearing a bicycle tyre.

If we didn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, it was only because we had filled the bath too full to be able to lift it.

He replied, since he was learning too, with projectile vomit, smearing his face with baby-food, and an uncanny ability to pee straight into your eye.

But we would wake in the morning to the sound of him singing in his cot in his room. When we went to fetch him he would squeak with delight, shaking his blanket excitedly like a matador who has suddenly discovered that the bull has come armed with a baseball bat.

He brought unimaginable joy to a house that had always thought that it was joyful already.

Today he is 21. At the moment he is away, yet he has never been more here.

Part of the reason is Skype, of course, which means he appears each Sunday afternoon on our computer, eating oatmeal and drinking the last pool of milk direct from the bowl (which I now do, having never done it in my life, learning it from him when he was just three). He is always in the same corner, with pale blue walls behind him (we suspect that he’s in jail and hasn’t had the nerve to tell us yet).

It is important to remember that he is a university student, so when he is home we see very little of him. The weekly Skype visit is actually an improvement.

As I say, today he is 21. I think that means a lot more to our generation than it does to this one, who can vote, drink, or drink and then vote, at the age of 18. He supposedly gets the key of the door, but has had one since he was about 12.

But it is a special day, an day when he can no longer, in any way, be referred to as a child (just ask the delightful Quinn Healthcare about this, they have increased his annual premium from under €400 to over €1300, as if the road to decrepitude begins exactly on the day you turn 21).

Right now he is in Wake Forest University, working on a project which will hopefully make solar panels cheaper, and thus help save the world. It’s not quite in the way that, say, James Bond does it, and he gets less girls (as far as we know), but he is out there, making his contribution to society, and loving what he is doing.

The project ends in just twelve days’ time, and he will be home again.

We will keep his birthday celebration till he comes home (though he may be having one of his own, shooting at moose from the back of a pick-up (sorry, North Carolina, if that’s a bit of a stereotype)). In the meantime, today we just want to tell the world, as always, that we love him, and are proud of him.

Happy birthday, Tinson1.

Time Difference

We have just finished talking to Tinson1 via Skype, for the first time since he went to North Carolina last week. He looks great, seems really happy, and is getting on great with the two guys who went with him. He  says the heat and humidity are amazing, though he told us this in a hoodie with the hood up, since the Air-con was on in his room and the answer to the riddle “how many physics students does it take to figure out air-conditioning?” seems to be “well, more than three, anyway.”

His twenty-first birthday will take place while he is there, and much mockery was made of him before he left about the fact that, since you’re not allowed to drink until you’re 21 in the States, he would only have 12 days of being able to drink before he came home. He wasn’t that bothered, but now says that he was in the college bar during the week, and that the problem doesn’t exist anyway.

His birthday is November the 8th, so his Trinity College student card gives his date of birth as 08/11/91.

The Americans think he was born on the 11th of August.

Outward Bound

When they are babies and you lift them from the cot they cling to you, tiny, chubby fists gripping the shoulders of your shirt. When they become toddlers they run to cling to your legs, head-butting you in the process in painful places. When they are afraid they need hugs from you, when they meet strangers they hide behind you, staring shyly around your knees.

But when they are playful they run away, giggling gleefully as you chase them, happy in the knowledge that you will catch them. (By running away I do not mean filling a toy suitcase with necessities such as toys, taking your toddler brother by the hand, and announcing that you are leaving home, and anyway I apparently always gave up before I got to the front gate).

They slowly move more and more away. They find schoolmates, go to parties and sleep-overs. A morning comes, a surprisingly hurtful morning, when they announce that they would rather walk into the school themselves. Eventually they go somewhere most days with friends, or reply to the question “where are you going?” with the reply “out”.

They are growing up, and growing away.

Tomorrow morning Tinson1 will leave to go to North Carolina.

It’s an exchange program with Wake Forest University, where he will take part in some Physics project to do with solar panels. He will only be gone for three months, though those three months will include a special birthday of Mrs Tin’s (the one and only mention that I will ever make of this birthday here) and his own twenty-first.

(I say, by the way, that he will be back after three months, although having seen where the College are putting him up it’s hard to see why he would).

I hope he has a wonderful time, that he meets wonderful friends with whom he will stay in touch forever. We will miss him, his cheerfulness, his earnestness, his caring and friendly manner, but we know that these qualities are the ones that will make him popular over there, and help to ensure that he has a tremendous, life-changing experience.

I’ve shown the picture below before, but it sums up today, as he strides across the sands, one heel lifted as he takes steps away, but still looking back to us, smiling.

Have a super time, son. We love you, and are, as always, more proud of you than we can say.

Than I’ll Ever Know

Having told you all that Tinson1 and I were going on the beer last Friday because his exam results were coming out, I should really have let you know that he passed them.

He will start Fourth Year Physics in September, and must begin by carrying out a nine-week project.

The one he has chosen is “3D Optical Architecture for very high efficiency solar collection“ (I know, piece of piss, but then kids don’t have it as tough these days as we did back in the day, when we had to learn Latin, Viking and Fletching).

This project will not take place in his own Trinity College, though, a mere train ride from our house. It is in Wake Forest University.

In North Carolina.

I must confess that all I know about North Carolina is that it is above South Carolina, and even that is based on logic rather than actual geographical knowledge. But since he got the news yesterday we have consulted (possibly for the first time ever) our huge Atlas of the World and have learnt that he will be getting up five hours later than I do (no change there), that the state’s capital is Raleigh, that it has humid subtropical temperatures, and does not appear to be populated by bears, alligators or any of the other creatures which make other US States so entertaining in movies, though less so when your son is going to live there.

Needless to say he can’t wait, and we are delighted for him.

Although it carries the term “furthering one’s education” to a whole new level.

A Toast To Success

There are now only two days on which I drink.

One is Christmas Eve morning (morning?!?). This is one of the Tinfamily traditions. Ever since Tinson1 was about eight we have gone to my local pub (I am an excellent father and role model) on Christmas Eve morning, he wraps whatever presents he has got for his two younger siblings, we wrap my present for Mrs Tin, and I have one or two drinks to prepare myself for that evening, when I will be surrounded by presents, mystified by instructions, bereft of batteries, and bleeding from the thumb from the incorrect use of a screwdriver.

When we arrive the owner has a scissors and a sellotape-dispenser on the counter waiting for us. Sometimes outsiders get sucked into your family traditions too.

The other day is the day on which his college exam results come out. This tradition has not been running for as long (obviously, he didn’t start college at eight) but means a lot to me. When he passed First Year I thought he would celebrate wildly with his friends, but the results for different subjects come out on different days so apparently wildness was not taking place and he actually had nowhere to go. I said to him “well, I’ll be in the pub watching France play Uruguay in the World Cup if you want to join me”, and to my surprise he did.

And to my great pride and welling-upness, when he passed Second Year and Mrs Tin asked him what he planned for the evening, he said “I’m going out with Dad”.

His Third Year results come out today, and again we are going out together. It’s 8am as I write this, I don’t know at this moment whether he has passed or not, but either way we will go out this evening, and chat, and bond, and have fun, and I will yet again wonder and rejoice at the fact that this wonderful young man is part of my life.

Hard Times

Tinson1 started his Third Year Physics exams in Trinity College today. He isn’t home yet so I don’t know how he got on. He was unusually nervous, perhaps because it seems that there are no repeats this year. If you get above a certain score you get to go on, if you get below it then that’s it, you leave with something like a diploma, and I’d say that a person with a Diploma in Physics has as much chance as being allowed near an atom-splitter and as I’d have of being allowed to design a suspension bridge on the basis that I once owned a set of Lego.

Yesterday I told him all the things that I was told as I faced exams, that he’ll be fine, that he’s very clever, that he’s been studying all year and is bound to know more than he thinks, just at this moment, that he does.

I also told him that I remember being told all of these things myself and that they didn’t help my nerves in any way at all.

But I told him that we love him and are proud of him as a person, not as a student, and I texted him this morning to tell him all of that again, in case he really is less clever than we think he is and it didn’t sink in the first time.

When he sat in front of the first paper this morning and realised that there were things on it that he could answer I hope that he started to relax. He deserves to succeed and to continue his journey, step by step, toward doing what he really wants to do.

Best of luck today and all of this week, my son.