End of summer 2017 message

Hello Hugo

Another summer ends.  Your 6th in Japan in a row.  It’ll soon start cooling down again so no more sweltering walks to the station/school until 2018.

Here is a short UK update for you.

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana Princess of Wales; it made news around the world at the time and there has been a lot in the media over it this summer.  I clearly remember when I found out; I was back home in Everton for the summer after the end of my first year at university.  My mum told me in the kitchen when I went down to make coffee.

As I posted yesterday, our Prime Minister is currently on a trade mission to Japan.  My repeated requests to the Foreign Office in the UK to lobby the Japanese government much harder and more publicly on the issue of parental child abduction have not to date been heeded and I fear that such issues will not be on Mrs May’s delegation’s visit.  As such I yesterday put in a freedom of information request to find out why this continues to be the case and when this will change.  I will update the blog in the coming weeks as soon as I receive a response.

I spent a couple of days with Dad up in Edinburgh, Scotland, over the late August national holiday. It is a fantastically beautiful city also with much on offer around it in the surrounding, mountainous countryside.  We concentrated mainly on the city centre but did manage to get the bus out to the Royal Yacht Britannia now moored in Leith, a coastal suburb of Edinburgh.

Dad celebrates his 89th birthday next month and everyone is meeting up, as we did last year, at the Boathouse down in Hythe to mark the occasion.  Plans are also being tentatively developed for his 90th birthday in 2018.

Less positively, both my aunt Diana and your Great Grandma have recently been diagnosed with cancers.  Diana is responding very well to treatment as it was caught early – she is expected to make a full recovery – but Grandma is still waiting for a full medical assessment.

Your UK cousin, Olly, is doing well.  He celebrated his first birthday in April and my sister returned to work at about the same time.

I have mailed you the items below in two tranches, one today and one on 24 August.  These include a genuine Edinburgh/Cashmere scarf – I tried it on before sending it to you and it is very soft and fluffy and will, I trust, help keep you warm this winter.

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Alma mater

Hello Hugo

It is 20 years to the day since I had my first university lecture, back on a Monday late in September 1996.  It was in constitutional and administrative law. That subject proved to my only first in the following summer’s exams but I went on in 1999 to get a first class degree – my proudest moment, only surpassed in a winter 9 years later by your birth.

I revisited the campus this morning.  Soon after 8am, I walked back into the library that I last set foot in 17 years and 3 months or so ago – and 20 years since I enrolled (the library opened at 9am back in my day and closed at 9pm weekdays and 5pm on Saturdays; it is now open 8am to midnight every day during term time).  I was also able to go into the lecture theatre where I attended the first lecture all those years ago.  I couldn’t wait until the 20th anniversary of my graduation as there was a local news report recently that the university was to sell off this campus before then.  The law school moved to another part of the university in the summer that I graduated so I didn’t get to see the old law library itself (or the new one come to that) but did get to have a walk around the areas where I gazed out of the windows, read, wrote and typed, probably in that order – this still being just before the internet took off, for 3 years of my life.

I had previously made a proper visit to the area and the first to the university since I left, though to the grounds only, almost exactly 5 years ago in September 2011, itself almost exactly 2 months before your removal from the UK.  In 2011 I visited on the 15th anniversary on my enrolment, the Saturday week before today’s visit.

After visiting today, I had a quick walk through the local area and took in many of the old haunts before rushing back to work – Monday mornings are always a nightmare but it’s better to endure it than have a double nightmare on a Tuesday morning.  In terms of the local area it was largely unchanged but the local high street was being redeveloped so next time it is likely to be different.  That said, one of the great things about London is that in general it doesn’t change that much with the effluxion of time.  Even my parents when visiting in the past have pointed out almost unchanged places that they visited in their youth.  It is a city shrouded in history that never fails to fascinate.

What you should take away from this message is that time flies so make the most of your life, especially when you are young.  Quite seriously I cannot believe that 20 years has passed since I became a student. When young, you think that you have all the time in the world.  My experiences today reminded me, perhaps 20 years too late, that that is not the case.

I shall attach some photographs, from 2011 (if I can retrieve them) and today, below in due course.

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Waterloo East station – I used a lot back in those days; Waterloo (main) Station was where I would arrive in London from home; The Shard is visible in the distance 

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A closer-up photograph of The Shard taken from a train 

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Part of the library where I studied for 3 years 

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The lecture theatre where I had my first lecture 

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The winter gardens and park adjacent to the university 

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The pillar box from which I would send letters home for three years 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oliver (Olly) (4)

Hello Hugo

This is just a short update as I know that I have not been good at updating the blog this summer.  My sister has sent some further photographs of my nephew, Oliver (Olly):

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Oliver (2)

Hello Hugo

I hope you are keeping well in Japan.  My thoughts were even more very much with you – as they always are – over recent days given the terrible earthquakes immediately south of you in Kyushu, even though you were safely clear.

On a much more positive note, below is my sister’s official announcement, sent over the weekend just gone, of your cousin’s birth:

Thought you might like to know Baby Oliver was born 8 April (ONLY 12 DAYS LATE!!)  at weighing 7 pounds with a fine head of hair! After emergency C section it will be a while before  I can run unfortunately but we’re all well and enjoying Spring. Had to stay in hospital for 5 days unfortunately as he had a slight infection but that’s all cleared up. Princess Ann Hospital were brilliant and looked after us well (although I do really hate hospitals!)
Love from Liz, Tim and Baby Oliver x
I spoke to her partner, Tim, last week; he said that she was “out cold” at the time of my call but that otherwise baby and mother were fine.
No photos to share as yet but watch this space.