Monday, 9 August 2010

Do you remember that the hospital forgot to send me out an appointment so that they could let me know the result of my MRI scan? Well I phoned up this morning because I was due to receive an appointment for a bone scan last week. I was told that they had a request for this last week but because the Consultant had not been specific enough, they had returned the request to him for clarification.

Last letter from me to Daniel aged 12

Dear Daniel

I don't know why you haven't got a middle name, get over it, you can give yourself one when you are older. In 1974, unable to get a job, you will bluff your way into working as a qualified aircraft engineer doing work for Rolls Royce and others. Not a good idea and it will probably contribute to why you will become scared of flying, so don’t do it. You’ll sell Insurance for 6 months and that is just perfect, because after that, any job you ever do will seem great! Right now, Michael Foley is bullying you and your Dad has told you how to stop him. Don’t go ahead with that because he never really recovers and the consequences are far worse than you expect. Then again it helps you to be more of a pacifist which shows that good can come from bad.

You know how the Russian Women keep winning every medal at the Olympics? They find in years to come that they are all on steroids, and then everyone starts taking them, until they are eventually banned. Now it’s the wealthier Nations who win the most medals. Isn’t that still wrong; still not a ‘level playing field’ hey?
You weigh just 11 stone right now and your waistline is skinny. In 1977, you’ll still be in good shape when a fast food store in Kensington opens called ‘McDonalds’. The press say, ‘it might catch on’! You will go in and try a ‘Big Mac’ and you will love it. Eventually there will be an outlet in every town in almost the whole world. You won’t even make the link between that and creeping up to 15 stone; you will think it must be all down to ‘Guinness’. Your choice of TV channels has just gone up from 2 to 3 and now you feel spoilt for choice. I have bad news for you. There will eventually be hundreds of channels, so many that you will spend all night flicking through the channels from your sofa, but unable to make a choice because they are all so crap. Yes I said ‘from your sofa’, because not only will you have your own sofa, a thing called an ‘automatic’, will mean you don’t have to leave your seat all night except to use the toilet; and they are working on that. Paul Taylor's mum turns out to be right because when you are about 45, a TV show called ‘Big Brother’ starts. It’s a live show for people who haven’t got a life, watching people pretending to have one!

At school now you all eat nuts at break time and you throw them up in the air to try and catch them in your mouth as they come down. In about twenty years, nuts will not only carry a warning on the packet saying ‘this product may contain nuts’ (I’m serious!), but nuts will be banned in all schools. At first it was because ‘there is a danger of choking’ if you swallow one the wrong way; well you could do that with the hood string of your anorak, but nobody ever did. But then, loads of people started to become allergic to nuts to the point where even a trace of nuts could kill them. It started with nuts and then it spread to almost everything. Some people find it difficult to even function now as they have so many allergies. It’s a mystery as to why this happened but my theory is that babies in modern countries have everything that comes near them sterilized, so when they do come into contact with something as biologically advanced as a peanut, it kills them!

In about 4 years time you will be offered the chance to immigrate to Australia for £10, on the promise that when you arrive, they will provide you with a bit of land, a house and work. Start saving now because I’ve met lots of Aussies and they have lots of fun! Your brother Paul can climb up a rope very fast but he doesn’t know that until the summer holidays next year. He is on a rope swing with a big bushy frayed end just under the knot that he is sitting on. I can’t remember why you set fire to it but I do remember crying with laughter.

As you are growing up try to always remember to live in the ‘NOW’, appreciating all the good things that are happening to you and learn from the rest. It’s your life that is happening while you are thinking about the past and the future. It’s the ‘journey’ that counts not the destination, which you will never arrive at anyway! The past has gone the minute you live it and the future is unknown, so make ‘NOW’ count. There are some ‘dark’ things that I can’t tell you about here but you’ll know when they arrive and they wont harm you. You will learn from experiencing them. I can’t tell you about your children either, because you will talk to them and get to know them as individuals. You will soon learn that they will examine how you treat them in relation to each other. It starts when they are very young and you buy them all 7 presents at Christmas; but you give one of them only 6. It is noted by the one who has a present less, that even though the value of the 6 presents far outweighs the value of the 7, she feels shortchanged. You can’t win, don’t try. Treat them all the same in front of each other and as individuals in private; it works.

When you hear that something called the ‘Internet’ is about to change everyone’s lives forever, believe it, because it does. Get in there early and learn as fast as you can, and even then, you won’t keep up. One day you will be able to carry your telephone, TV, radio, stereo, vinyls, books, every piece of music and literature that has ever been produced by mankind in your pocket. Imagine having a tiny computer far bigger than all the computers invented so far put together, along with built in inventions that you can’t even imagine, on your desk. But you’ll still need to iron your shirts!

I could send you some winning lottery numbers but I won’t, you couldn’t cope with that kind of money, and even though now you think that money is very important, the more you get, the more you'll want. But in 5 years time put everything you have on ‘Charming Venture’, running in the 2.15pm at Kempton; it wins at 50 to 1 and that will encourage you to save until then! I was going to send you a photo of you when you are older but it would spoil things for you. Not that you turn out dead ugly but you're lovely and new right now and it's best that you see yourself slowly evolving.

Your Grandmother who brought you up as a baby will die soon, but don’t worry; she really loves you, and death, like birth is just another part of living. You must embrace it because it will come to you also one day Daniel. I have just been told I have prostate cancer, which is what Dad will die of, but because you always thought you would live to be 100, I guess I will just have to try hard to do that for you. Good luck and enjoy the journey, there is no plan, just go with the flow.

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