I inched forward, holding my breath. Don’t look, don’t look. My eyes flickered downward, and I gave a little lurch. I was falling.
Get a grip! a little voice inside me growled. People are staring! I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. Everything’s fine, the voice breathed.
After a while the idiocy struck me of standing by one of the most spectacular sights of the world – with my eyes screwed shut. Come on, the little voice coaxed. With an effort I opened my eyes: first one, then the other. I looked at the cliffs opposite. Breathtaking.
as usual our family has enjoyed an eventful year, and we’d like to share our news with you all.
As some of you already know, our house was repossessed earlier in the year, due to an unfortunate misunderstanding with the tax authorities. Happily we’ve found the perfect little family home, and we’re currently parked just 3 miles up the North Road. Grant attached it to a power line with his usual technical skill. Later in the year he was fired from his job, but not before he got hold of some choice bits of information on several members of the board. We are looking forward to a comfortable retirement in the near future.
Our pride and joy Sharon failed the entrance exam to the new school, but with her usual courage she’s decided to soldier on and try again next year. Her charming new boyfriend Dwight is very successful in the pharmaceutical line, so let us know if you need anything. Our dear son Steven was arrested (his first time!!!), but we’re confident he will get off on a technicality.
After our move, Rover went missing, though we believe he may still be in the area. We have heard of a number of chickens disappearing, and he always did love chicken. Ginger on the other hand is thriving – and providing us with regular fresh meat: the local butcher has a cat-flap.
As for me, I’ve got my little flask, and am fine as always.
We wish you all a Merry Christmas and an equally successful 2013.
Is there still time for hot chocolate? Riley asked.
The-End-is-Nigh guy blinked. Ah, maybe, I don’t know.
― Jana Oliver, Forbidden
Why, thank-you, dearie. I never say no to a biscuit. And what’s your name, young lady? Louise? The old face cracked in a smile.
Do I believe what? That the dragon is coming and the world will end tomorrow?
Now, when I was your age, the world was always coming to an end. Left and right people were predicting disasters. I think it’s because they want the world to change. And right they are! But no, I don’t think the world will end tomorrow.
The dragon, now, that’s a whole other story. The old eyes twinkled. I’ve seen it myself, you know…
When I was young I thought a lot about life, truth, what is right, and what is good. I was confident that, with time, I would know more. Now my eyesight is fading, and it seems that the answers are further away than ever. Indeed, I’m no longer sure these questions have an answer at all.
As if reality is receding into the mists, leaving more and more grey areas. I wonder whether you become less and less sure of your ground, until you are swallowed by the mists of uncertainty?
Project winds can be gusty, especially in I.T., but this was really something else. We had been buffeted to and fro all year by changing requirements, priorities, and resources – but this? Major design changes in complex accounting software, just weeks before go-live? At the end of User Acceptance Testing?
It was quite a serious meeting, and I really tried not to laugh, but I simply couldn’t help it. Then, of course, half the team went into hysterics. It was Eric’s fault, really, for keeping a straight face when he asked:
Er, were you planning to do any actual testing before go-live?
* * *
This week’s 100-wcgu: …I really tried not to laugh…
Any resemblance to real projects, live or dead, is purely coincidental inevitable.
He loved public demonstrations. This one would be a triumph.
When he came with an order, the technicians always growled. Impossible, they would say. Not enough time, no resources. Grumble, grumble, grumble. But lay on enough pressure and, hey presto, the impossible would happen.
He gave his developers a pointed look and turned the key. Nothing. He tried again. The silence was deafening.
If you want us to build a car, said one technician,
…in two weeks, the second chimed in,
…entirely from recycled cardboard…, the third,
…surely, they went unisono, you don’t expect it to run?
In a modern comedy, a bachelor left to bring up two children would be half a child himself; they’d have marvelous fun together. Real life isn’t like that.
Granpaul’s approach to life was methodical; he was a chemical engineer, after all. When a driving accident left him with the task of bringing up his sister’s children, he took his new responsibilities seriously. Things were done by the book: luckily, the book was Dr Spock. The idea that you know more than you think you do confused Granpaul, but he soldiered on, trying to let the children unfold their personalities on the book’s instructions. He didn’t buy other books. They were all written by experts, surely, so they’d all say the same thing.
In the picture below, you see my mother and uncle Ted holding on to Granpaul’s hands. The sun is in his eyes, but he was probably born with the serious expression. I’m not sure I ever heard him laugh. Not because he didn’t get the joke, but because he never took time off from the serious business of living. Being accurate was important to him: he would never let us call him Grandad, though over time “Great-uncle Paul” did get shortened. Was he secretly pleased it became nearly Granpa?
It’s really only when people die that you realise how little you knew them. He tried hard to do things right. He never spoke about his feelings. He approved of trees. I think he liked them because they were sturdy and predictable. You can depend on a tree.
On my way home for the funeral, I saw a tree, and suddenly the tears came. I hope that in his own way he understood how much he meant to us all.