As I write this it is Sunday evening and I’m watching highlights of last week’s Reading Festival on the television. Specifically I am watching Liam Gallagher’s set. As I discussed in last week’s post, even though it takes place a mere ten minute walk from my house, I didn’t make it to the festival itself this year for myriad reasons. Mainly because it sold out before I could decide if the line up was worth the inherent pandemic risks. I think I would have decided it wasn’t, but Liam Gallagher might have been one of the acts that could have persuaded me otherwise because, as I’ve divulged in many a previous post, I was a pretty big Oasis fan back in the day. I’m less of a fan of Liam as a solo artist – I don’t hate his solo stuff, I quite like some of it, but neither Mr Gallagher nor I are as young as we used to be and it’s quite hard to find the same levels of enthusiasm for any music as my teenage self was able to. However, the quality of his solo work is rather redundant when considering whether to see him live, as he has the good sense to fill his set with the songs his brother wrote in the nineties. What is weird is that the majority of the audience of the Reading Festival are very much in their teens and early twenties, and seem as enthusiastic about Oasis’ greatest hits as I did, when I saw the band playing them some 21 years ago. Which is a bit strange is it not? Don’t the kids of today have their own music to get enthusiastic about? Then again, I enjoyed watching David Bowie at Glastonbury back in 2000, so maybe I’m judging them too harshly.
Anyway, I’m mainly watching Liam Gallagher’s set, because it doesn’t require me to pay too much attention to the television, which means I can also write this. It’s as close to multi-tasking as I’ll ever get.
It has not been a vintage weekend. Indeed it’s one that is best forgotton, so it seems strange that I’m about to write about it and preserve the horrors for future me to relive again. I do read my old posts from time to time, so I’m likely to re-read this. I don’t know if anyone else re-reads my old posts. My guess would be that they don’t. I’m not sure if anyone really reads them the first time around, but I’m going to naively assume that my blogging stats are proof that people do.
This weekend was a write-off before it started in many respects. For just over two years I have been attempting to complete a post-graduate qualification. I already have a few of these. The main one is my MA, completed in 2019, but I have several certificates detailing professional qualifications that claim to be ‘Level 7’, which is supposedly the same level as my Masters Degree. I don’t really think any of them are, because my MA was quite difficult, whereas most of the other certificates were certainly time consuming but required a similar level of intellectual input as that which I normally reserve for putting together Ikea furniture. This is not to understate the difficulty of these endeavours because I do find Ikea furniture quite hard to put together, but the MA was probably a bit more challenging overall. Anyway my attempt to secure this professional qualification (which serves little purpose other than it will look quite impressive on application forms for jobs I won’t get) has been quite a journey. It was only meant to take a year, but there was a certain amount of practical stuff I had to do within that year and that became impossible due to a certain pandemic. So the course providers gave everyone a six-month extension. I then proceeded to do nothing with that extension, so when it came time, around March, to hand it in, I was unable to do so. Normally this would result in failure, but the kind people who run this course gave me another six-month extension. Given their generosity it would have seemed rude not to submit anything at all, but despite having a full twelve months longer than I should have done, I still managed to leave it all to the last minute to do the final write-up. The ‘last minute’ in question was this weekend, which given that I had just returned to work in the preceding few days, after having had five and a half weeks off, did seem to be a little inconvenient in terms of timing. Why I didn’t use any of the aforementioned five and half weeks to complete the work is anyone’s guess, but I’ve always needed the pressure of an impending deadline to focus my mind.
Anyway, it was all going to be fine, because Mrs Proclaims was more than prepared to occupy Little Proclaims for the entire weekend leaving me to focus on the job in hand. And then on Friday afternoon, as I was finishing off a few tasks at work, prior to heading home for a weekend of furious assignment writing, I got a message from Mrs Proclaims to say that she’d had to call an ambulance for Little Proclaims and they were heading to the hospital.
This is, of course, alarming news for any parent to hear, so I shall go no further with this narrative before I reassure you that Little Proclaims is quite well. Indeed she was running around like a maniac in the very room in which I’m currently writing this, not half an hour ago. Running around like a maniac is Little Proclaims’ modus operandi. But before today she was unwell. The trip to the hospital was more precautionary than anything else. My daughter had been under the weather for a few days prior to her ambulance journey, to the extent that we’d had to have the obligatory Covid test (of which she’s had a few) in order to rule it out. At her age, the very fact she was displaying symptoms would almost be confirmation of a lack of Covid in itself, given that small children tend to be asymptomatic with that particular condition, but it is apparently the done thing to get tested anyway.
As expected, the ailment wasn’t Covid, it was a different, possibly still nameless, virus which afflicted my offspring. On Friday she started having difficulties breathing, which is always an alarm bell in a small child. Hence the ambulance. It turns out that Little Proclaims is what is known as a viral weezer, which is seemingly what they call asthma in those too young to be diagnosed with asthma. And although she was kept in A&E for long enough to be monitored, it wasn’t that late in the evening that I was summoned to pick up my wife and child (I would, of course, have already have been there but Covid restrictions dictated that only one parent could be present and Mrs Proclaims was already there). When I arrived at the hospital, Little Proclaims relieved any concerns I may have had by sprinting towards me and rugby tackling me with a force that belied her years, while announcing excitedly “Daddy, I went in a ambulance!”
So we returned home, but though she had been discharged, Little Proclaims was clearly not well and looking after a sick child is no picnic. Mrs Proclaims did all the heavy lifting so as to allow me to focus on hitting a deadline that, with the benefit of hindsight, I should never have come quite so close to missing, but I could not, in good conscience, remain entirely locked away while my daughter was suffering, and frankly no-one got very much sleep for two nights, which did not aid my academic brinkmanship.
Somehow the assignment was completed and submitted electronically on Saturday afternoon. I’m not sure if I’ll have passed but I’m also not entirely sure if I care. I suspect I will have met the minimum criteria for a passing grade though which is all I need to achieve. I’m good at doing just enough to pass. It’s been my MO on many a course I’ve undertaken over the years.
Little Proclaims has also made a miraculous recovery. She was, seemingly, still very unwell this morning, but by lunchtime things had changed. Specifically Little Proclaims became very angry and upset. Mrs Proclaims took this to be a worrying sign that she had taken a turn for the worse, but I recognised the symptoms she was displaying as I so often experience them myself. After two days of being uninterested in food, Little Proclaims’ appetite had returned with avengeance. She was angry because she was hungry. She was what the cool kids would describe as hangry. Like her father, Little Proclaims has hanger management problems.
Once she’d eaten a not insubstantial lunch, she was much like her old self. Which is exhausting.
Anyway, it was a challenging weekend, but it all seems to have turned out alright in the end.