The Charleesi Is At University

This time last week, we dropped the Charleesi off at her brand new accomodation at Oxford Brookes. By brand new, I mean that it had literally been finished about a week before.

Oh no, its a confusion of MaidmentsAccompanied by her three parents (myself and the former and current Ladies M), the Charleesi learned she had one of the biggest rooms on the landing (due to an architect’s measuring error), and got to grips with the RFID electronic keys managing security and room access. An initial unpacking, a quick shop for provisions, lunch and some minor parental flapping later, she was free to nest and unpack properly as we got out the way.

And barring a quick resupply of bed linen as the bed was larger than anticipated, we’ve largely left her to enjoy Fresher’s Week.

Small snippets of information have been carefully unpacked in our direction by the Charleesi to reassure us: of being walked home from the pub; of an evening in a speakeasy that required riddle answering to gain entry; of tempting other English students to her room with offers of Prosecco and Guardians of the Galaxy; and of a massive fresher’s foam party last night.

She has described it as a mixed week – of good bits and not so good bits, and that’s largely a function of her introvert nature reacting to the social maelstrom around her – but overall it seems to be a good start.

Oh, and she’s been asked to write an Introvert’s Guide to Fresher’s Week by The Tab – so welcome to the writing profession Charleesi!

Christmas part four or five

I don’t know what it is about this year’s Christmas but its proving rather extended. Between our journeys North and Back Again, we seem to be distributing presents on a daily basis. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun and appeals to that part of me that likes putting smiles on people’s faces. It just doesn’t seem to stop right now.

Today was the turn of the Charleesi and her mother, the ex-Lady M. While handing out presents from us, friends, and family we chatted about those friends and family – and how it is now less than a year until we all go away together to Disney. The ex-Lady M continues to pretend not to be excited yet, while the Charleesi and Lady M are just… plotting…

The big gift for the Charleesi this year was one a whole bunch of us contributed to: an XBox. Being her father’s daughter she joined in our conversations while systematically unpacking the various cables and components. I watched her lay them out, strip off packaging and then quietly wire it all up and into the existing AV equipment before squeeing and clapping her hands as it powered up and started its setup process.

Its moments like that which make me so proud, and which make the extended present deliveries so worthwhile, because I get to share the excitement. And in the case of the Charleesi, as she put it, I can now co-op play Halo5 with her. So there’s a bonus 🙂

Happy Birthday Charleesi

It’s a momentous day: not only is it the last day of the Charleesi’s AS exams, but it’s also her birthday. That’s a double reason therefore to celebrate at tonight’s #Tuesday, as if we really needed the excuse! Knowing the Charleesi, she will continue to give the impression of quiet calm under pressure, matching her teenage scorn of parental emotional displays to a studied serenity of poise as she proceeds through the day.

If I were particularly cruel, I would use this opportunity to present a montage of childhood photos, illustrating her growth from round-cheeked cherub (I’m thinking the Victorian cute babies rather than the biblical multi-headed engines of destruction and wrath) through awkward tween to formidable young lady that she now is.


On the other hand, she is also a Maidment, versed in getting her vengeance in first, and with all the lateral thought and dry wit running through her veins she may wish for; so I won’t do that. Instead, here she is as a fluffy unicorn, which is far more amusing than it really should be.

I’m told that many people who know both myself and the former Lady M are initially struck by how much she looks like me. Then they recognise her mother’s features. Then they have a period of mental confusion while their brains try to reconcile two sets of features before actually starting to see the person in front of them.

From the way she rolls her eyes, it’s a set of reactions that the Charleesi is used to, and she humours people with a modicum of grace while she, in turn, sizes them up. Being the people watcher that I am, this can be hugely entertaining to observe.

So, happy birthday Charleesi; your summer waits to unfold before you, with dragons no doubt anticipating your call. Hope it’s a great day on every level.

Birthday Girl

“She’s how old? Bloody hell…” I was in a bar with W yesterday, catching up and chewing the fat – generally putting the worlds to rights.

“Yeah, 16. Can’t quite believe it.”

“16? Daaaaamn. Really? I remember you coming out and getting wasted with us when you first heard your missus was pregnant.”

“Hmm, sounds about right. But yeah, it’s her birthday, and we’re off to her mum’s for a barbecue tonight.”

“Yeah, that’s really good how that’s all come together, really pleased for you all.”

“Thanks, yeah, lucky I know.”

“I mean my little one’s just starting school and I’m like ‘how did that happen?’ but sixteen! Man…”

“She’s a formidable young lady; proud of her. She’s more focused on her GCSEs than partying right now, and considering the scrapes I’d been getting into by the time I was her age I’m damn pleased about that.”

“Hah… Yeah… It’s been what… nearly twenty years since we first met?” I’d love to say that the rest of the conversation was about my wonderful daughter who today is celebrating her sixteenth birthday, but we then wandered on through to all sorts of other things before we went our separate ways.

The Charleesi is universally acknowledged by all who know her as having inherited the best from both parents: beauty, brains, steely determination, creativity, empathy, and a tendency to roll her eyes at the gormlessness of people who should know better. The calm snark and quiet will to just get on with what she has decided to be the optimum course of action bely a gentleness of spirit that some mistake for docility, until they look into her steely eyes.

Proud father? Absolutely. Happy Birthday Charleesi, now let’s get the exams out the way and get ready to celebrate!