Matthew Munson: Appreciating both new experiences and the familiar

Matthew and Bryan

We’ve had something of a busy couple of days this weekend, my son and I. His siblings have come for a visit, which has been lovely – Bryan was able to introduce them to his dance school, we took them to Pete’s Fish Factory for dinner, and then to Elev8 on Sunday to explore their new, expanded venue. We might even pop down to the Ellington Park fair, but that depends on how much energy we’ve got left by the end of it all.

I like the simple life, it has to be said. I’m not one for fancy or expensive things, and neither is Bryan. We appreciate family life and, while we push ourselves every now and then with new experiences, the familiar is also lovely – film night on a Saturday, chilled Sundays, and opportunities to be creative through dance (for Bryan) and writing (for me).

I will find out my poetry module result on Thursday, so if there’s no column next weekend, I’ve fallen into a deep depression. I won’t, of course. I know that I won’t have lit the world on fire with my attempt at a collection of poetry, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for enough for a half-decent pass. Then I wait until October to continue with the second half of my first year, with different students this time around.

Actually, the next two weeks are going to be pretty busy. I went into the office twice this week, which is unusual for me. Some weeks are entirely spent working at home, and when I do go in, it’s usually just for one day. But for various reasons, I needed to go in for two, and being a slight introvert, I was eager to have some peace and quiet on the walk down to the station. So this coming week, I’m staying home to work – I have a lot to get done, as I have the following week off, and I’m taking Bryan up to London for a few days.

He’s at the age where Christmas and birthday experiences are more exciting, so Bryan’s got a few experiences all together in a trip with me up to the capital. I’m looking forward to the trip as much as he is, although given that one of his experiences (from his nan and granddad) is Go Ape – and I am very much of the “No Way, No How, No Thank You” view of it. I will be cheering Bryan on from the ground and taking lots of photos while I watch him fly across the zip line with a whoop of joy, no doubt. Getting a week with a new opportunity is going to be lovely, and spending it with my son (who is still willing to spend time with me in public, as long as I don’t embarrass him) is always welcome.

I’d like to take Bryan to other parts of the UK over the next few years, to give him some other experiences. I’ve never been to Wales or Ireland (North or South) and have spent all of 24 hours in Scotland. Yes, an entire day.

Some years ago, a friend of mine and one of her sons were going up to Scotland to watch Richard Ashcroft (of the Verve fame) at the Glasgow 02. A friend who was going with them had to pull out, so they asked if I’d like to go instead, and I jumped at the chance. We travelled up on an overnight coach from London Victoria to Glasgow, and spent the day mooching around the city. My friend had prepared an excellent itinerary, and I dutifully (and appreciatively) followed her lead and was glad I did – it was a lot of fun.

In the evening, we got into the 02 in good time, as there was hope to grab particular seats at the very front of the upper level – although I rather nixed the idea when I was suddenly gripped with how terrifying the drop was. I offered to sit further back to avoid everyone else missing out on their preferred view, but they generously sat with me anyway, which just shows what decent people they are. We managed to catch the last train back from Glasgow station with minutes to spare and spent the night speeding back down to London Euston. 5.30am at Euston is very peaceful, let me tell you.

Like I say, I like new experiences from time to time – it’s a lot of fun.

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