Tuesday, 10 May 2011


Today we received this postcard.

Our son and his good lady sent it to us while they were on honeymoon. Th
e postcard was selected because his father is a rather more than fanatical chess player. Strangely enough, in the gardens of the hotel where the boy got married there was also a giant chess set. Odd!

Of course the boy and his lady were back from honeymoon well before the p
ostcard arrived. This is what happens when you go off to the other side of the world.

Now this honeymoon itself was rather late. The boy and his lady were married in September but postponed the real honeymoon until March. If you’re going to combine a honeymoon in faraway places with a visit to members of the bride’s distant family, you need time to do it properly. So in September they had a quick week in Portugal and put off the honeymoon proper until later.

Clearly our boy and his missis have set a precedent because it has just been announced in today’s news that Prince William and his lady (do we now call her Princess Catherine or Princess Kate or Your Highness the Duchess of Cambridge or what?) have finally set off on their honeymoon. They too waited until the right time to go away, probably in their case as a way of avoiding paparazzi!

Anyway it’s always good to have things to look forward to.

I have recently managed to book tickets to see various singers in concert. The first is tomorrow evening: Mariza, a Portuguese singer. I’m going to that one alone as she sings fado, traditional Portuguese music which my husband says he has to be “in the mood for”, rather like Spanish flamenco. I can see his point but I like Mariza and her rather dramatic presentation.

Later in the week we will go together to see Loudon Wainwright III. Younger friends have usually not heard of him and need to be told that he is the father of Rufus Wainwright and Martha Wainwright but for us it’s the other way around: Rufus and Martha are the children of Loudon.

And then at the end of the month we are off the see K. D. Lang, an old favourite of mine and whose songs my husband is fortunately usually in the mood for.

So, things to look forward to.

On a different note altogether, I am glad I don’t have to look forward to applying to university at the moment. It’s already hard enough for students to face the increasing cost of going to university along with the fierce competition to get a place at a really good one. Now it seems that plans are afoot to allow some of the most select (and selective) universities to offer extra places to those students whose families can pay upfront. These places will cost substantially more than the usual places and the applicants will have to renounce the right to take out student loans.

Apparently this will “free up” places at top universities, making it more possible for less financially advantaged students to attend those institutions. And the high-fee paying, no-loan student still have to achieve the high grades in order to earn a place on the courses.

However, it still has me wondering about the rights and wrongs of such a scheme. Might we not be creating a two-tier system? Am I too idealistic in thinking that this level of education should be available to everyone who makes the grade, or should I say makes the A-Level grades?

Once again I find myself glad to have been born a baby-boomer. Life was so much simpler then!

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