Time to get a little emotional. Today my baby starts junior school, which is a surreal sentence to write. I don’t see how she can be that big, yet she is off to begin the next chapter of her education and start the next chapter of her life. My baby is not a baby, not anymore.

Such is the way of life. We can only move forward with time, though sometimes, wouldn’t it be nice for time to move more slowly?

The other day I posted a call to ask me questions. Well, I already have quite a few! The first of these asks ‘how I met my wife?’

The year was 1889… actually it was July 2004. England had not long made their customary hurried exit from a major football tournament. The Cassini-Huygens probe entered orbit around Saturn. If we want to get technical, I’d started talking to the lady who would become my wife a few weeks before, online and on the phone, but I didn’t actually meet her until the 10th of July, 2004.

It was a hot day. I made my way from King’s Cross station to Fenchurch Street (previously completely unknown to me), and met her as she got off a train. Straight away I thought she was beautiful, but we were meeting as friends (in fact, the original plan was for a group meet-up via a web forum, that everyone blew out), and I wasn’t going to presume anything. I just wanted to have a nice day that would be different from the usual weekend fare, and if that led anywhere…

So, what did we do? My memories aren’t 100% anymore, but I recall visiting an art gallery, and having lunch at Planet Hollywood, which included an amazing chocolate brownie dessert thingy, that I took a photo of, and still had until recently. We wandered around Covent Garden and Leicester Square. I felt myself wanting to get to know this woman more. I was a little guarded back then – a few bad experiences made me wary of opening up – but she put me at ease. I could relax with her. By the end of the day, we were kissing, cuddling, and I knew I had to see her again. We parted ways, but that night, I could still feel her arms wrapped around me. It was the strangest sensation, the warmest and happiest feeling, and one I’d never felt before. Since then, we’ve had our ups and downs, as all couples have, but it didn’t take me long to decide I wanted to marry her, even if the proposal wasn’t the most elegant proposal! I don’t remember exactly how long it had been, but I knew I wouldn’t find anyone who would understand me quite like she did.

The rest, as they say, is history! Here we are, thirteen years later, and we’ve been married for nearly eight of those. We have a beautiful daughter, a happy home, and I have found my place in this crazy world.

As my wife and I walked home after sorting out some stuff in town today, we spied something in the bushes that we hadn’t expected to find – a moped, that had been dumped there, right by a path near our house, partially embedded in the greenery. Once inside, I phoned the police, who advised me they’d send someone to check it out. In the meantime, we went back out to collect our daughter from school.

Shortly after getting back, I happened to look out the window, to notice this:

imageThe very same moped that had been ‘parked’ in the bushes was now alight, and the blaze took hold quite quickly and ferociously. I phoned the fire services (who, it turns out, had already been phoned) and waited as the blaze grew stronger. Thankfully, a fire engine showed up shortly after I’d phoned, and the fire was dealt with.

My wife and I were suspicious when we first found the moped. It’s rather hasty placement made us think it had been stolen, and this was confirmed when the owner actually knocked, asking if we knew anything (sadly, we didn’t witness anything, so can’t be of much help there).

What’s worrying about this entire saga is that A: it took place virtually on our doorstep (as you can see from the picture) and that B: the perpetrator(s) had absolutely no regard for the owner’s property, nor the safety of anyone in the vicinity. It’s possible that the fire was accidental (the result of the engine being left running in a state of panic as they fled the scene, or something along those lines). The cynic in me believes it was a deliberate act, either by the same people who stole it or by equally callous individuals who thought it would be ‘fun’ to set it alight, and damn anyone who happened to live nearby.

The worst part is, there is probably no evidence of who took it, so no one is likely to be taken to task for this, even though my family and several others were potentially in serious danger.

In my previous post I was quite reflective on taking the time to notice things and learn about the world around us – after the frightful events in Belgium earlier today, this takes on greater significance.

We don’t know what’s around the corner. We take too much for granted and we move through life with too much haste and not enough appreciation. Anything can happen, to any one of us, at any time, so please, to anyone reading this, tell your loved ones you love them, go for a walk and admire the scenery, take the time to play games with your kids, phone your parents and siblings, go down the pub with your mates, and really talk – laugh, cry, scream, run, leap, and live.

I shouldn’t be writing this post. I should be walking away from it and saying ‘it’s really not worth it’. Really, for the most part, it’s not worth it. It’s a silly little dig that’s irritated me, made by someone who has (in my humble view) a warped sense of reality and priorities. I should not be giving them my time or effort. Yet, I also know that I will be doing exactly that.

Why, I hear you ask? Because that’s how I’m wired. I don’t like letting ignorant remarks go unchallenged – especially when it comes to the subject of parenting, and the remark in question has come from someone who is not a parent.

What’s the remark in question you say?

3) TPM is barely violent and it is largely kid-friendly.  Titan A.E. on the other hand is extremely violent and is even much more violent than Independence Day!  Titan A.E. is NOT AT ALL kid friendly yet some stupid parents let their tots watch Titan A.E. between the ages of 4 and 7!

I spied it on a long-winded rant someone had written on Deviant Art about Jar Jar Binks and a character called Cale Tucker from a film called Titan A.E. The article’s author has a passionate and (in my view) thoroughly misguided hatred of Titan A.E, to the point where he writes about how the film will be killed by other films (yes, he really does put it in such language.

wpid-wp-1446741446606.jpg(is it even possible to hate a film so much you want it ‘dead’?)

In the link above, I mentioned how I would be happy to let my daughter (four at the time of writing) see Titan A.E. It is not explicitly violent or sexualised, and does not contain bad language. It is far tamer than say, Independence Day (which has people fleeing for their lives in a state of mass fear and panic, not to mention millions killed, whereas it is never established that earth is still heavily populated in Titan A.E, and in fact, the presence of many large colony ships at the end of the film would point to an earlier mass evacuation, whilst the film’s prologue strongly supports a successful large-scale evacuation taking place). It is arguably less violent (if we define violence by sheer body count) than Star Wars, which has featured planetary destruction and large wars throughout the franchise, and even less violent than Star Trek (the Dominion War after all, involved untold millions killed, and the Borg gave billions of not trillions of beings a fate worse than death).

Timon7(wait, my daughter will want to blow up earth because she saw it in a film? Riiiight…)

I am digressing slightly. I for one have no trouble with my daughter watching Titan A.E. I have no problem with her watching Revenge of the Sith (in fact, she quite enjoys it, and she enjoyed The Force Awakens too). She is not about to become a megalomaniac bent on mass murder because of any of those films. Why? Because she is grounded by my wife and I, who are teaching her right from wrong. She is also not daft enough to confuse obviously fantastical films with real life, and can separate film action from the real world already (something most of us can do). If anyone out there is crazy enough to believe that the average kid will confuse sci-fi with reality, that’s down to their own skewed sense of the world, and I would advise them that they are using their anger toward a movie to mask something more profound that they are burying.

Whether they read this or not, I have no idea. If they do, I hope they stop to consider that unless they are a parent too, they are in no way qualified to judge me or any other parent. I know my little girl. I know what the right messages are for her and how to deliver those messages.