Proud of my not-so-little soldier

Goodmorning on this thawing Sunday!

An hour ago, my son came down from his pit and shuffled around the butchers block a couple of times, his size 13 hobbit feet at the end of hairy legs missing the furniture by centimetres.

‘I don’t know what to have for breakfast’ comes the plaintiff voice to my ears as I sit in front of the computer in the hallway at the bottom of the stairs, failing totally in my attempts to learn how to make a CONTACT ME form for my blog.

‘Pancakes? Dippy eggs?’ I idly suggest back through the open doorway. I must stress this son is very capable in the kitchen and mostly throws together a perfectly decent meal for himself at any time of the day or night as I am not one of those efficient mothers/wives who attach themselves to the kitchen often.

In fact we came down to find him frying an egg once, very small and possibly even nappy-wearing age, stood on a chair with his one egg safely under a glass lid, in small pan ‘so it doesn’t splash mummy’ …. god, he was cute.

But sometimes, that need for a mummy moment suits us both. He wants to be spoiled, and I want to treat. So I closed the YouTube demo page that I couldn’t follow and went through to the kitchen.

He is 6’4″, eighteen and eats like a horse (actually I’ve never understood that analogy. Horses graze, left to their own devices. Ponies guzzle, but not horses). My son consumes vast quantities of various foodstuffs depending on what level of training he’s doing.

Small side note – the monk told me to pop the butter dish into the dishwasher and I’m loving the result. He was right because looking at the stainless steel so clean calms me ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ


When my son was pre-school I spent that time developing his interest in the world outside the farm. On purpose. Because life on a farm can become very blinkered, intense and isolating even though programs would have you believe it is a romantic way of life.

My husband didn’t own a passport until last year; he’s never needed one, he said. Why would he want to go anywhere else, he asked. Even when one of his sisters moved to America, and I took the children over to see her, he refused to partake. She can visit me, he would state.

My son always enjoyed our trips out after we had delivered his sister to school. He was a friendly toddler and would smile at old ladies from his pushchair, who leaned in to say hello when we paused in cafes; he climbed and jumped off the padded coloured shapes in the children’s section of libraries while I kept one eye on him and the other on my next book choices (where IS that library card I wonder) and in the summer we would often drive to our nearest shingly beach and he would hurl stones accurately into the brown choppy waters of the North Sea, bending at the knees to get the skimming angle just so. Two years old I tell you!

He played rugby locally for eight years, and cricket for three (and once – but only once – threw a ball from the boundary and hit the stump!). His natural athleticism leant itself rather well to these sports and he followed rules, to the letter. ‘When you grab a tag boys’ the rugby coaches would repeat frequently, ‘hold it up so we can see you’ve tagged the opposition.’ So many boys grabbed and dropped the tag immediately causing mayhem for referees and players.

Then he swapped rugby – following a few months of discussions and weighing up – for that of javelin when in year 8 at the local High School, he discovered he could throw one about 23m when the average distance for his year group came in between 13-17m.

I took him to the local town’s athletics club and the javelin coach agreed to see him that night at one of their twice weekly training sessions. Within a handful of throws, he had learnt there was far more to the technique than the PE teacher had led them to believe. By the end of that session he was comfortably throwing 27m with a 600g spear.

Sidenote; I sometimes attempt to consume health drink options. Need a straw for this lemon water ideally, to save the teeth enamel. Did you know monks eat and drink in silence, to fully appreciate the gift of food and fuel for our bodies.

The last 3 years has seen this young man in the top ranked javelin throwers in ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ฅ๓ ฎ๓ ง๓ ฟ! Seriously cool, but he’s not a show off and neither am I, so I’ve not mentioned it before. I feel closer to you now and wanted to share my pride. It is a positive feeling and I like sharing positive thoughts with you.

He has earnt his place in the rankings through hard work, determination, dedication, coming home early and sober from parties, understanding nutrition and somehow managing college work, girlfriends (one at a time; he’s a good lad) and farmwork. The throw below won him a silver medal at a big athletics competition last June.

Competitive, quietly driven, always up for a laugh, yet laidback, he has the right mix of character traits to make it to the top of his game, if he stays focused.

Last summer he travelled to the Bahamas with elite young athletes from all over the UK. 33 went out from Heathrow altogether with trainers, physios, a Team Manager and we, the parents and families were allowed to say goodbye and good luck over a buffet lunch in a hotel near the airport.

Our little farm boy had been selected to represent England in the Commonwealth Youth Games throwing his javelin. Can you believe that? I still get goosebumps when I think back to him opening that selection letter.

When the euphoria died down, we passed on the landing and he quietly said ‘I know it’s a long way, but will you come and watch?’

I had never missed one pitchside vigil in eight years of rugby (my husband came to many but not all as tractor work took priority), stood in snow and driving sleet to watch that boy put his all into his sport. When he asked this, my heart melted.

No one and nothing would stop me from going. I’d have sold the family silver to go. But luckily I have my business to prop me up, so in the middle of harvest – the very time when wives should be at the homestead supporting their husbands, I flew to the Bahamas for 3 days, taking daughter too.

We were not allowed to see him; we knew these rules before they left the UK and respected them. 14-17 year olds are susceptible to homesickness, even big burly tough ones behind closed doors, and the support team who flew out with them have many years experience.

Daughter and I travelled by local bus from our hotel to the stadium to watch him train the day before his big throw day and as friendly locals got on the bus too, we smelt the warm salt-filled air of the coastal road through the open windows and listened to the rawcous laughs of big mamas who shared fabulous cheeky banter with the generous bus drivers. This relaxed approach is the fabric of the way of life in the Bahamas.

We passed a sign on one roundabout advertising the Games and the towns were buzzing that athletics had come to their corner of the world…..

To be continued ….

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