Matthew Munson: New experiences, a special memory and back to school

Matthew and Bryan

Half-Term is nearly over, and it’s been lovely. We’ve had some time in London with Bryan’s amazing siblings and their family, and I very much enjoy giving Bryan new experiences; visiting the capital is a lovely opportunity, although I’m often as glad to leave and come home as I am getting there in the first place.

I went to London as a child (like a lot of people) to visit the museums, although I didn’t travel with any degree of confidence – and, indeed, by myself – until I was an adult. I’d agreed to meet a friend at Victoria train station, which was a first for me; I was in my mid-twenties, and I don’t mind admitting that I’d never travelled outside of Kent by myself. I was nervous about this, but I liked the idea of pushing myself a little bit.

Through no fault of her own, my friend was delayed by a lot – we’re talking hours here. I had just arrived at Victoria, so was left with a dilemma; do I wait for my friend, knowing that it would be a number of hours before she arrived, or do I turn around and head home? I briefly contemplated going home, as I was in a city I didn’t know, but then thought of something else; I’d paid for my train ticket, and had spent two hours on a train (this was in the days before high speed existed) to get into London; was I just going to turn around and give up?

So I decided to try and figure out how to entertain myself. I took a stroll around the train station, and then noticed a sign for the Houses of Parliament. Smart phones were in their infancy then, so Google Maps wasn’t really up to the job, but I remember thinking how much I wanted to see the building in real life. So off I went and, before long, I found myself staring in awe at Parliament. They had tours going on (it was a Saturday), so – wiping my sweating palms to calm my anxiety – I decided to go ahead and get on a tour. Just like that; before then, I wasn’t much of a traveller, and found the idea of all this stuff stressful – so this was a big deal.

When I finally met up with my pal Barbara, I was on a high because of what I had accomplished – a great monument for me, and the emotions are still evoked in my head even now at the thought of that moment. I want to introduce Bryan to the thrill of experiencing new things, and hopefully teach him that you don’t stop trying new things when you become an adult … or you shouldn’t do, in any case. I’d hate to never have another new experience in my life. My passport ran out a few years ago, so travel abroad will take a little more planning … and money.

Bryan going back to school next week means that I can go back to my usual routine of work. I absolutely adore spending time with my son, and I also look forward to a sustained few weeks of routine and order. Some people – maybe even some of you reading this – can just wing it. I am not one of these people; I like a certain amount of structure to my week. I don’t try and plan every minute (I’m a parent, I’ve learnt my lesson), but I do like to have a plan of action. So I can spread my workload over a more orderly week, rather than trying to find time to work in between all the other things a dad does during the day – washing, cleaning, doing dinner, talking to my son and playing with him (those last two are the fun things). To all of you who just wing it with such ease, you both scare me and teach me valuable lessons every single day.

I had post-it notes on every surface this weekend, to make sure that I changed the clocks; if you’re reading this and wondering what I’m talking about, you might well be living an hour in the future to the rest of us. I once worked with someone who refused to do it one year (I’m still not clear why, even after all this time), and ended up being late for everything – work included, which caused him some problems, to put it mildly.

I would like lighter evenings all year round, but I’m focused on sticking this out until Spring time, then it’ll be good again. I think I’ll be getting Bryan to learn how to change all the clocks – it’ll set him in good stead for when he’s older, and it’s a chore I won’t have to do for a while. Now you’re talking …