It’s that time of year to celebrate the spirits of the dead and tonight will be the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day, also known as All Saints’ Day – Happy Halloween. Unfortunately it falls on a Tuesday so my kids are well unhappy normally they get to go to bed on Halloween at 22.00 but today it will be 21.00….bummer they will really be missing out on eating all that sugar and sweets. WoooOOooo! Witches, ghosts, spirits, zombies, vampires, big spiders, cobwebs, hollowed out pumpkins and tons of sweets for kids all my dentist friends are delighted as they can feel their wallet grow in the next quarter…their American Express Platinum is warming up for some nice expenditure in 2018…..kids listen to your parents so you will never have to hear “I told you so” in a patronising and annoying voice eat less sweets on Halloween.
Bizarrely enough when I grew up in Denmark in the 1970’s and 80’s Halloween wasn’t on the radar as we didn’t pray for evil spirits to stay away from our crop and my family hadn’t been in farming since the 18th century but now with American culture having spread like a wildfire it’s a big deal in most of the world. My kids just love it and even my friends in Scandinavia, Germany, France and Italy now celebrate Halloween with their kids. I am thinking about showing my kids 5 mins of the horror film Halloween to get them to not like Halloween but this strategy could backfire and I don’t want to run the risk of them coming to our bedroom with nightmares for the next 2 months.
In our neighbourhood Halloween really shows where the American’s live in London you don’t just have to look for who is wearing white socks and sandals. In front of a British person’s home you see the odd sorry Pumpkin and 1 or 2 decorations where the British parent felt obliged to make their kids raise an eyebrow, whereas walking past a US residents home it’s like being at Disneyworld for lights, costumes and decorations it is like comparing European defence budgets with the US……well there really isn’t any comparison as the US one is 1000% bigger and the same goes for Halloween party budgets.
You know since turning 40 a few years ago I have been battling middle age and trying to run away from it, but I am constantly reminded by my two girls and wife. Look at daddy’s round belly, see his little moon appearing and a forehead the size of Denmark but in August I finally felt the nail of realisation hit my middle aged coffin. I bought a Miami Vice lookalike speedboat to feel young, and quickly I realised only a young nutcase would buy a boat like that. When I start the beast Shell Oil prices in Nigeria go up by 2.5%, when I cruise along at 30-40 knots I might as well stop at a petrol station and take the nearest pump to a hole in the ground and leave pump running for an hour. I have calculated it does 1.5 mpg – People that drive Lamborghini are having a laugh it’s like an economical hybrid prius next to a speed boat. Towards end of summer the family and I decided to sail across from Beaulieu River (Bucklers Hard) to Cowes on Isle of Wight. My god boats are so unreliable, I am just glad they don’t fly…on our 11 outings it broke down twice. When we arrived at Cowes after a 20 min crossing some water had entered the engine and I had to quickly moor it along a Marine Engineer’s workshop. I took the family for some lovely tapas but I wanted to go back to make sure I had tied the ropes properly. When I got to within 5 meters of boat I saw two young mechanics (Marine Engineer) most likely in their 20’s looking at the boat having the following conversation and they didn’t notice me standing near them:
Marine Engineer 1: who would own a boat like this….was it some football hooligan from Portsmouth or a slum landlord from Southampton?
Marine Engineer 2: No you wouldn’t believe it mate, it was some middle aged guy with a young Asian bird and two small kids.
Marine Engineer 1: No way, I don’t believe you mate!!!!! You got to be joking!
I stood frozen in time behind them feeling my belly flop in the wind and my thin hair blowing in the wrong direction….. they didn’t know I was the owner of the boat, I quickly faded away anonymously in the background knowing full well that was the reality of my existence. Inside I still feel 28 and somehow I still see that young person in the mirror but it is all a delusion. Since then I am hitting the badminton court hard, going on a plant based diet, seeing hair specialist, whitening my teeth, I mean if I don’t look like Wayne Newton by Christmas I will be disappointed. Such a natural healthy ageing look he doesn’t at all look worried about ageing!
So here we are in the 21st century where everything is about speed, efficiency, agile delivery everyone is in a rush to keep track of their busy lives. But is it really progress? See photo of speedometer from my wife’s city car.
4300 miles over 375 hours gives us an average speed of 12 mph. Now in 1970 so almost half a century ago even with bell bottoms, huge hair and old cars in other words not at all aerodynamic with a fraction of the horse power of today’s vehicles people moved around London 25% faster. You could fly to New York in 2 hours and 45 mins, today it takes 7 hours. Check-in the airport was only 45 mins before a flight and you still had time for a drink and smoke in the lounge, today you will need 2 to 3 hours before departure to make it through security in time. At work I was told that people would go to each other’s desk and talk about things and resolve problems quickly. Today we need endless emails and a ton of conference calls to even get some form of agreement even though we are in the same building. Oh dear I sound like my grand dad – what is it with ageing why do we always complain about changes and the current status quo and reminisce about a past that no doubt was pretty awful. I will now take off those rose tinted spectacles and head out into the cold to enjoy trick and treat with the kids.
Have a wonderful autumn with family and friends……