Matthew Munson: A busy stay in London with a climb over the O2

Matthew and Bryan

It’s been a busy week in the Munson family. I took Bryan up to London as a belated birthday present for him (at his request; he wanted to do activities rather than have a birthday present to unwrap that he might not make use of). I’d talked through a lot of different options with him, and he settled on “Up at the O2” – literally climbing over the 52km high roof of the O2 building in London.

It’s my fault; I’ve done the climb before, and when I told Bryan about it, he wanted to do the challenge as well. I don’t blame him; he likes adventure, so this was the perfect opportunity. I was a little apprehensive at the final section, where you walked down at quite a sharp angle. Bryan, on the other hand, didn’t seem to care; he charged ahead like he was an old hand. I loved watching his confidence.

We had three lovely days together, and I certainly managed to tire him (and me) out. As I write this, it’s Friday afternoon, and we’ve got home – everything is now calm and going at a slower pace. Going round London for three days is hectic and tiring on our feet, but for Bryan, it’s just him and I – so, as I’m sure you’re able to imagine, he likes other company from time to time; I’m content at the strength of our relationship, and I know he won’t want to spend 24 hours a day with me. So, today, we saw our neighbours, and his nan and granddad (who I call mum and dad, because they’re my mum and dad) were able to spend some time with us as well. That gave Bryan some opportunities to spread his wings a little, which pleases me – he deserves those solid, healthy relationships.

Now we’re sliding back towards our more normal routine; school, work, dance lessons, friends, and making sure we still have time for each other. It’s a privilege to give my son these opportunities; he deserves it.

I’m also starting to develop a hobby for myself; walking. I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago, and it’s practically time for me to do something about it. There’s a little community on Facebook of people who like walking, so I’m hoping to find some like-minded people. In time, I’ll bring in some other hobbies as well – but in the right time. I don’t want to overload myself so that I can’t spend time with Bryan; he’s my priority. Why else would I have become a dad if I didn’t want to spend time with my son? But it’s nice that I can carve out a little time for me as well.

By the by, have you ever studied the Jack the Ripper mystery? I know of it, of course; who was Jack the Ripper? Was it Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, or one of the other candidates who were accused / arrested? I ask because Bryan and I went to the Jack the Ripper museum in London during our sojourn to the capital, and I was fascinated – in a slightly mawkish way – about the mysteries surrounding the case. I hadn’t quite realised how complex it was; that so many people were considered and questioned about the murders. I love knowing more about unusual cases like this, so I was amazed to discover that there was an entire museum dedicated to this strange, cruel murderer.

I’ve also introduced Bryan to Bill Bryson recently; we’re reading “The Body” together, and it’s fascinating. There have been a couple of points when we’ve had to pause and really think about what Bryson has told us; he offers up “Woah …” moments, and you have to approach it two or three times before you can move on. I love fiction, but certain non-fiction authors are an absolute must; I’ll absorb books about politics for the rest of time, but fiction is still very appealing.

I love science fiction and fantasy (hence my predilection for writing in these genres); authors like Terry Pratchett comment on real-life issues through their stories, and I’ve often learnt just as much from clever authors like that as from non-fiction titles. I’d love to know any recommendations …