The Wandering Earth

Regency Wharf, Worcester and Birmingham Canal

Chinese science fiction hey!, now there’s a thing. What have canal boats in Brum got to do with Chinese science fiction I don’t hear you ask, let me tell you. Nothing … probably. I expect you’re not surprised. I just wanted to put the picture up there because I like it. We went on a canal boat trip recently and i think that was a first for all of us.

Anyway, Chinese science fiction, specifically the Netflix film The Wandering Earth. Spoilers coming up so either go and watch it or don’t. So, they move the Earth and set fire to Jupiter. I enjoyed it and have nothing more to add. Other than, by coincidence (sort of) I’m currently reading an anthology of Chinese science fiction shorts stories — Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation — by Ken Liu that features a great introduction.

Oh yes, one more thing, Ken Liu Liu Cixin wrote the original story that the Netflix Film was based on, which I didn’t know until now, and now it all makes sense (kind of).

[Correction (3 Nov 2019): Deep apologies, I wrongly credited Ken Liu as the original author, it was of course Liu Cixin]

A Slight Return?

Inside the Palm house, Kew Gardens
The Palm House, Kew Gardens

So, it’s been five years, almost to the day, since my last post and nearly a decade since I was last really blogging. It’s an understatement to say that a lot has happened since. My son is older as indeed am I.

We went to Kew Gardens last week for his mother’s birthday, hence the picture above but that’s not really why I’ve put pen to paper, so to speak. But we had a lovely time anyway in case you were wondering.

Back in 2017 I almost wrote a post it was going to be about Brian Cant of all people but I never finished it however I have todo lists (I never used to but seem not to be able to function without them now) and on one of these is start blogging again, as a task. And here we are.

So, what is this post about? Nothing really just dusting off the cobwebs.

Hello Sunshine!


This is a shot of my son, taken in Brittany last summer. We caught the ferry across from Southampton and stayed just a few miles outside Rennes. Unsurprisingly for France the food was delicious even though we had to cook most of it ourselves as the gite we were staying in didn’t come with a built in chef. Having our own car to get around was more than handy as it allowed us to bring a fair few home comforts with us, including jnr here. Oh yes and there was lots and lots of sunshine.

View from the George III, Dolgellau, Wales

During a short break in Mid-Wales we stopped at the George III hotel restaurant just a couple of miles down the road from Dolgellau. Had a well prepared Moules Marinieres at the restaurant and the service was friendly. Best of all was the view of the setting sun from the balcony where many people seemed to be enjoying a drink while looking over the lake.

And why not.

Disruptive Biology

My life changed the day my son was born. I imagine fathers throughout the history of mankind have said much the same thing. But nearly 11 months ago I was the one saying it.

Actually, I’d begun changing before he was born as about this time last year, with a focus and determination never before experienced by yours truly, I looked for and found a new more secure job. I took up this position about a couple of weeks after jnr was born.

But how has jnr changed my life? In the usual ways for a start after all I am writing this post at 6 in the morning on a Saturday and count myself lucky that I had nearly 5 hours sleep last night. Yesterday I was thinking it remarkable that I, a self confessed telly addict, am happy that with the advent of jnr my viewing habits have changed so that I’ll now watch in a week about as much as I sometimes did in a day. That’s definately a change for the better although it means that I no longer know anything about the lives of the desperate celebrities and wannabies occupying airtime singing, dancing and otherwise surviving their way through the schedules. No real loss I think.

I have, however, felt the loss of my old frankenstein pc, which sadly whirred slowly into life for the last time during the great clear out that preceded jnr’s arrival. The loss has been mitigated mostly by my iPhone which is also responsible for my conversion to Apple offerings as the sheer convenience of the OS on their products more than makes up for the nauseating fanboy hagiography that accompanied Steve Jobs passing. The iPhone is also a great hit with the lad as he’s taken to it like a cat to catnip. So much so that he doesn’t understand why he can’t get a tv to change content simply by swiping the screen. His favourite things on the iPhone are the Muppet Show clip featuring Animal and those weird pink cow-like things singing the Manamana song, a delightful little app called Peek-a-boo and the classical Spanish guitar track by John Williams called Asturias. This last favourite of his makes me feel particularly proud and I hope he inherits my love of all things Spanish but not my complete inability to play a guitar after over 20 years of owning one.

This week marks the first time in over a year that jnr’s mom and I have managed to go for a meal together, alone, at a restaurant thanks to ‘Granma Mary’ jnr’s new childminder. Although we talked of nothing else other than the baby as we anxiously and somewhat guiltily munched our way through a couple of delicious ‘Romano’ pizzas.

The main thing I’ve realised about being a dad is probably cliche but that’s because it can never be learned only experienced, that the hardships and sacrifices I necessarily made for my child is no less than was made for me by my own father when I was born. Indeed things were probably harder for him. It’s, therefore, particularly gratifying to be told by several relatives at a family gathering earlier this week that jnr, who we’ve nicknamed Bubu, looks like his grandfather.

Perhaps I’m beginning to understand the poet’s observation that the Child is Father to the Man.