Letter to David

19 May

Dear David,

Thanks for the cushions! That was really good of you to sort it out. They are surrounding me as I write this, feet on a cushion, while a movie is being streamed to us by Netflix. Not uncommon of me, doing two things at once.

I am typing this on one of the world´s most expensive laptops, a Macbook Pro with a solid state drive and Retina display. It is really superb, and wildly expensive, and if my employer hadn´t paid it, I would never have got it. But now that I do …. I hope I never have to go back to a PC again. Part of the appeal is the hardware – nice to hold, light, rounded, instant-on, long battery life. Really long. And blindingly fast for my use. And the touchpad, it actually works, and the keyboard, which is good to type on….

I thought of you as I tidied the garden just now, and placed my three bikes back in the shed. They are now all in working order. Just as autumn was closing in, two of them packed up in quick succession. On the road racer, the front derailleur stopped working; on the cyclocross, the front shifter stopped working. Only now that spring is here did I fix them. On the road bike the wire had worked itself loose, so that was five minutes with a hex tool. On the cyclocross, the Tiagra shifter had broken, and this set me back – wait for it – 140 quid + the work. Ah well, what can you do? Should have got it on the Internet, I guess.

Anyway, spring is here with a loud bang, and it is sooo lovely as always. We´ve been hit with a heat-wave which will last for a few days. It started on the National day, May 17th, and is dragging on until tomorrow. So tonight it´s more than twenty degrees, it´s bright light outside at 9:30 PM, and .. just lovely. All plant life has taken time out for the last month, and now break´s over and everything is happening – at once.. Take the lawn – hasn´t been happening at all really, with frost-patches where the grass has turned yellow. In the end we gave up and bought some loads of earth and some seeds and I covered up the worst part and now I have planted seeds, and Peter helped me water… he´s been playing in a small inflatable pool in the garden, and was so worn out he fell asleep on the sofa in the end, and I carried him up to his bed all sweaty. That´s when it hits me that I have a four-year old in the house. Four years. Practically just out of the womb. This is what happens when you keep breeding. But I have followed your example and cut the connections … So the family he is born into is so very different from the one we started 16 years ago. Sometimes I almost worry about the fact that it will be another 14 years until he´s of legal age. Really, we have some years head of us ..

What else can I say?

I guess I think a lot about the world, as always, and I read the Guardian ev´ry day, and so I am fairly up to date on the impending melt-down of the Tory party, and the hot breath of Ukip down Cameron´s neck, and Thatcher´s state funeral, and all that. I formulated the hypotheses to myself that the animosity of the Tories against the EU may have to do with the Imperial past to which they feel attached. I read about the number of Etonians in Cameron´s circle, and the young black guy that was taken on as a special advisor for a while and then got bumped off on a 60 grand salary in a cupboard.

Then I read about the birthrates in Ethiopia and Bangladesh, and the child brides and all that stuff, and I think about the progress we seem to be making as a race, and the 400ppm and melting glaciers and 30 quid a month textile workers crushed in Bangladesh.

And here I sit, mending my lawn, trying to sell my excess car (Yaris hybrid, excellent!), counting the money towards the private school, and trying to keep the promises I make at work and to my wife.

Sounds like life, really.

The hybrid is amazing, actually. See, that´s the thing. Focus on gadgets, on bikes, on whether to get new cycling shoes. Poor little rich boy.

My brother got a baby girl about two months ago, and he´s totally over the moon. He and his girlfriend just finished their PhDs, so they are all set for adult life. I do believe they shall cope.

Dad´s finally retiring come summer. I think he´s a wee bit tired, he travels a lot. But he has achieved a lot of what he set out to do, and he´s met a lot of powerful people. I believe he is content. He turned 70 just before xmas, you know.

Better sign off,

Jon

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