The New Year has arrived and I feel it is worth mentioning here, purely for posterity, that it's just as wet as the Old one. If not wetter. The old year did give us a mainly sunny journey home from our holidays on New Year's Eve but 2016 has simply redressed the balance by providing a bit of extra rain. Ay well, come July we'll all be complaining there's too much sun and the mud is showing at the bottom of the reservoirs. Never satisfied. As an old colleague (I should say ex-colleague, he wasn't old really - younger than me in fact) once said about the British: 'Nation of Moaners'. Not far out really.
Anyway, 2015 left us with a few memories in its dying moments, not least that on Christmas Day Isaac took his first steps aged 12 months and 25 days. A bit behind Graham, who walked at 10 months (comparisons are odious sometimes) he is still not progressing much beyond a few wobblesome plods. 7 steps is the record so far all delivered with much effort and general inclination to sit down at the earliest opportunity. At 12 months (more comparisons) Graham was charging around like I-dunno-what, hair fluttering in the breeze. He hasn't slowed down since - rather the reverse actually - and one of these days I feel that my status as family 100-metres champ is going to come under threat. Not quite yet though, ye young upstart!
One feels 'twill be a long time before Isaac is ready for any racing. Slow and Unsteady is the motto right now, with a tendency to take two steps with one foot and then stand straddled in perplexity wondering just how the other leg is ever going to catch up. The solution, always, is to flop gracefully to the ground and begin again a bit later. Sometimes the flop isn't quite so graceful. The other day, falling unexpectedly backwards the poor lad sat down firmly on his wooden Noah's ark. The toy proved to be unyielding and not at all soft. There was a brief moment of shock before Isaac was able to gather his faculties together and decide what to do but the decision, once made, was swiftly acted upon. In short, he howled. I gave him a hug, moved nasty Mr Noah's nasty boat out of the way and plonked Isaac back on the floor again, crisis over. It was, perhaps, a little look into the future. I fancy there will be a few more falls and flops along the road to Toddler-hood but the first steps have been made and there's no looking back now.
A New Year is generally a time for looking forward. What will the coming months bring? Just how will things pan out? Will England actually win Euro 2016? (Answer: no, obviously. They'll go out in the quarter finals on penalties, same as usual.) However, it was the old year, just a few hours before it ticked its last tick, that gave me a most unanticipated glimpse into a possible future. We'd returned home, the kids were tired and Graham had gone into the lounge, the remains of his tea - purchased from a motorway service station - on the sofa beside him. I wandered in and there he was, comfortably ensconced: 4 going on 14. Yikes!