Slimes of Passion

Some weeks ago I started to notice blobs of candy-pink sludge in the bottom of cups… The outbreak spread to larger food containers, before regularly plaguing all three sinks in the house…

Then my shaving foam started moving about. Tackling my eldest, she was concocting slimes. With a bit of huff and puff on the messes she was leaving, I left it and moved on.

Some weeks later there was a regular psst and a pervasive whiff of artificial fragrance seeping from her room… 

It transpires cans of Airwick 6-in-1 are the last source of ‘Borax’ left in the European Union. It was banned in cleaning products a few years back; and borax is the indispensable companion to PVA glue in the slime makers art.

She and I had a rewarding if ultimately costly and unsuccessful weekend down the seaside Pound Shops – trying to find an alternative to Airwick. But we did find some handy pots – and the following week two types of slime hit the underground school slime market at 50p and £1.

So I googled borax again – not least since all of us had developed a splitting headache from the fragranced fug in the kitchen and found… Kershaw’s Traditional Laundry Starch! 

No fug, no headaches and the slime maker is back at work – now the only psst is my shaving foam being expertly worked into a particular variant. We have styrofoam balls and glitter on the way for ‘crunchy’ and ‘sparkly’ to add to the range.

I said last weekend watching her at work: “It’s great you’ve found a passion, Honey.” She said “It’s not a passion Dad, its just fun.” And indeed it is… I took a particularly excellent slime in to work this week, which delighted two of my colleagues; reminding them of ‘potions’ and ‘flubber’ from their childhoods.

Simple pleasures, and sharing an interest with your kids and colleagues; is there any better combination?

Movin’ on up

I had my first cup of proper filter coffee made for me by my daughter this morning; and enjoyed two sophisticated and very funny gags at each end of the day from my son.

Me and my girl went on fairground rides and shopped for and cooked chicken, mushrooms, spinach and cream linguine; even my food-fastidious boy agreed it was pretty good.

Yesterday I left work in good order: with plans, roles and actions in place. Now I have my feet up in our very own Georgian seaside cottage; with a fortnight in Italy ahead to look forward to. 

Albeit I’m getting older, life in many ways is getting easier. From today’s perspective, the second half of my middle years are looking better by the day…

More Sun than Shivers


Rainy day
Heading away
Patch of blue
Half way through
Arrive at the coast
Prosecco toast
Beautiful view
Before Barbecue
A day on the beach
Tasty Cornish pasty
Bucket and spade
Castles made
Splashing in the surf
Sun kissed
And wind tousled
Uphill hike
Chilli spike
Before a greyer day
To harbour throng
Ferry wait
Great escape
Walk in the dunes
Steep hill conquered
Happy son
New sword won
And the day is done
Bright again
Beach beckons
Serious boy splashing
Brave girl surfing
She manages standing
Despite hard landings
My job’s to potter
From one to the other
Wiling away
Another sunny day
The next is duller
Overcast overhead
Family fun and games
On steam trains
Boating and putting
A fair few laughs
Despite it being naff
Final day
Clifftop ramble
Among pretty brambles
Perilous steps
Precipitous edge
Stunning view
Sea more black than blue
Footling around
Stomach grumbling
Waiting for orders
Late lunch outdoors
Sword fight
With small knight
Fish on the beach
End is in reach
Sun sinks
A sky of all pinks
No more drinks
Pack up the car
Final hurrah
More sun than shivers
Cornwall delivers.

Stage Left


Whew, what a week. I’m getting better at this ‘fronting up’ malarkey but there are limits. Four big staff talks and two big public events – chairing a debate and judging an international final. I’m pooped and rumbling back home from the last, hungry and tired on a Saturday afternoon.

Like all these things, it’s good to have done them. As the Harvard Business Review advised this week – think of it as learning and it’s less of a stresser, but still… I fancy a steadier week in my own company next week.

But in all the hurly burly of microphones, podiums, stages and cameras, the only news that really matters is that my boy is doing his best at school – and my girl is acting up because she wants some quality time and attention.

That’s today’s job – putting a smile on their faces. And that’s the one which most reliably puts a smile on mine.

Small Pleasures


Today the email system at work catastrophically collapsed. Ironic that, as we were at an Away-day discussing our digital strategy. Ho hum.

I bumped into one of my team on returning to the office. He commented on the crash in connectivity and then laughed:

“You’re trying to find something positive to say aren’t you.”

“Yes; and I can’t.” I admitted.

And so with a rueful chuckle I donned my jacket and pedalled home nice and early. And what a delight…

Tea time with the kids, leftover spuds hoovered, dishwasher packed, lamb and aubergine in the oven, a happy boy abed and read to with gusto, red wine in a glass, sparkling teeth and three kisses from a delighted daughter and now time to sit down – and all before the News!

Small pleasures indeed – but a break in the breakneck speed of ‘always on’ connectivity and an extra 45 minutes at home, brings myriad small benefits. I left this morning feeling blue, now I’m in the pink. Perhaps I should cut the connection more often…

But literally just as I finish these words, the server’s back. ‘You have unread mails’ – the joy and curse of 21st century life.

It’s not all about you


The slightly otherworldly quality of my son – combined with his regular backing track of strafing and explosions (as he imagines himself Iron Man, Luke Skywalker, Hulk etc), has sometimes made us wonder if he’s here at all or permanently off in his daydreams.

But the Boy Wonder was sharp as a tack the other morning. As I was holding forth about my experience of learning French and the read across to my daughter’s times tables homework, he chipped in:

“It’s not all about you Dad.” he offered in his piping five year old voice. I suspect he will outsmart us all.

Family Bundle


Returning wet, tired and cold from pouring rain and the demands of work, cheerful – if poorly – children have been a joy to come home to.

So poorly in fact, they’ve been super hot, red-faced and unusually placid. And piling into bed, with one either side, for a bedtime book has been a particular delight this week. No bickering, no fidgeting, just two big cuddly hot water bottles with mops of hair.

We call it a ‘family bundle’. And when you’re in the middle, it feels like all is good in the world. Simple pleasures. They warm the heart on a cold winter’s night.