Tag Archives: tinson2

Long Distance Love

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.

 

 

 

…Get Me Out Of Here!

The new series of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! started on TV last night.

“Celebrity” is one of those words that has changed meaning in recent years, like “literally”, “sick” and “friends”. Once used to refer to giants of screen, sport or literature, it now means anyone who has been on the X-Factor, appeared briefly in a soap or has found, to their horror, that they are not famous anymore.

So this year nine celebrities and Caitlyn Jenner (even I’ve heard of her) have gathered in the jungle in Australia, where over the next three weeks they will endure ghastly trials, shortage of food and the boisterousness of Ian Wright’s laugh.

They will sleep in the open, with snakes, frogs and spiders crawling over them. They will shower in freezing water. They will eat kangaroo anus to earn a meal, though had I to do that I would never eat again. They will crawl into dark spaces filled with bugs, rats and cockroaches.

They will be well paid for all of this, and a closely watching team of experts will ensure that they are never in any danger.

It’s formulaic mindless rubbish. Every year I swear I will not watch it. Every year I do.

But I mention this guilty pleasure only because of the photo at the top of this post, which is not from the programme. By co-incidence it arrived earlier today from Tinson2, currently working at a vineyard near Melbourne, and is a picture of something that jumped out of a vine this morning and ran up his arm.

He is not being especially well paid for all of this, and has no closely watching teams of experts to ensure that he is never in any danger. He will not even get the chance to see Nadine Coyle in a bikini.

But the title of this post is mine, used purely because it matches the title of the show. Tinson2 would never use the phrase. He is eight months in Australia now, after his two years in Canada, and is enjoying every single second.

In three weeks time somebody on I’m A Celebrity will be voted King or Queen of the Jungle. To us it’s him.

 

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:

Yet Another Birthday Post

Teenagers are magnificent. Funny and fearless, maddening and marvellous, brilliant and bonkers. Tinson2 is a typical teenager. He is laid back, invariably cheerful and can sleep at Olympic level. He is opinionated, and sometimes even right. He is fun to be with, loyal to his friends and well thought of in the part-time job he keeps while he’s at college. He is happy, handsome and infuriatingly tall, since he refused to eat almost everything as a child. Tinson2 is nineteen today. Happy birthday, super son, we love you and are immensely proud of the terrific person that is you.

Steve

 

 

On The Brink

The Leaving Certificate is the final, state-run examination which marks the end of our school cycle. After this students, depending on their results and upon their wishes, can go on to university or some other college, or out into the world of work, or, as it is known now in Ireland, unemployment.

Tinson2 starts his Leaving Certificate exams tomorrow.

He is eighteen now, and stands almost at a door between two worlds, one foot still in childhood, the other stepping towards the door into adulthood. After tomorrow that foot will be through the door and th other foot will have lifted from the ground to follow it. He will still be a teenager, wonderful and bewildering, daft and then brilliant, filling you with frustration and then with joy.

The ultra-laid-back manner which makes him such a lovely person has not been a great advantage when it came to studying and preparing for these exams, and I worry for him and for how he might get on.

But whatever happens he is still our magnificent, maddening, charming, baffling, super son, and we love him for that, for the amazing person that he is.

All the best tomorrow, my son and my friend.

Another Special Day

He was born ten days late. That sums him up, really.

Tinson2 is one of the most laid-back people on the planet.

He breezes happily thorough life, never seeming to get angry, or upset, or worried. We still sometimes call him “Smod”, which is short for “Smoddler”, which is short for “Smiley Toddler”, the world’s happiest two-year old.

Although I must admit that the smiling toddler followed the angry baby, a child who frankly scared us. Then Tingirl arrived, when he was just eighteen months old, and he became her protector, her comforter and her friend.

He didn’t learn to walk until he was two-and-a-half. He tried it one day, stood and took a couple of steps, then seemed to decide that, since sliding along our wooden floors on his bum was quicker, he wasn’t going to bother (couldn’t be arsed, in fact). It was only when his younger sister started her first tottering steps that he sighed almost audibly, and climbed finally to his feet.

He was the fussiest eater on the planet. He wouldn’t eat fruit, or meat. He wouldn’t drink what he referred to as “fizzery” drinks. He basically lived for the first ten years of his life on milk, and on unbuttered rolls with jam in them. We used to call them “jam-dogs”.

He has rewarded us for this bad parenting by growing taller than either of his siblings, and much taller than us.

He is eighteen today. He has been a lovely child, a happy youth, and from today I’m sure will be a great adult.

We love him and are proud of him. He’s just a super guy.

Happy birthday, Tinson2.

Avec Moi Le Deluge

On Thursday night it rained.

Oh, how it rained. You could hear it on the roof, you could hear it playing music with objects in the back garden, you could hear it flattening supposedly summer flowers.

There was a reason for this. It wasn’t caused by global warming, low pressure, anti-cyclones, the Gulf Stream or Al Gore. Just four words were all the explanation that anybody would have needed.

Tinson2 was going camping.

He has been camping about four times before, on a Par 3 golf course owned by parents of a friend of his, and the weather has been the same. He has never known the delights of drinking tepid tea full of twigs from a chipped tin mug, of listening to night-time rustlings that could be anything from rats to mammoths, of falling into a clump of nettles whilst peeing in the dark.

All he knows about camping is that it involves sitting in wet clothes in a wet tent, being dripped on from above and osmosissed from below. All he knows about camping is that it is miserable.

In other words, he is learning a valuable lesson.