Today is warm and sunny

11 degrees.

Oh, I am not talking about the weather.  Earlier this month I came across the BBC News and read about Mr Berry.

“A West Yorkshire lollipop man is studying for his second PhD, on top of 11 degrees.”

To name but a few of his achievements:

  1. MA Linguistics 2000 York University
  2. MA European Languages & Cultural Studies 2003 Bradford University
  3. MA English Literature 2006 Leeds Met University… the list goes on.

And more.  Here is the rest of the news:

“Bruce Berry from Wakefield graduated with his first degree from Manchester University in 1963.

Speaking of his “thirst for knowledge”, 70-year-old Mr Berry said: “I like to keep an open mind – anything which catches my interest, I go for it.”

He retired from the Post Office in 2002 to spend more time on his studies, but began work as Crofton Primary School’s lollipop man to pay for his tuition fees.”

Now you understand.  I have more respect and admiration for the gentleman than you can imagine.  This is the road not taken.  By choice, and not by choice.

I failed my A Level English.  That was not the only reason why I could not proceed to pursue higher education.  I am the eldest of seven and my father was a very hard-working man who sometimes took on two jobs to make ends meet.  Exactly 40 years ago, the day after my final exam I joined a British bank in Hong Kong to start working from the rank and file.  I made myself crystal clear, hey brothers and sisters I’d be going to university by the time I hit 30.  When that day came I had so much ambition piling up in my in-tray I didn’t have time to look back at the dream once there.  I carried on for another five years climbing up the ladder, with some success, and then one day, knock knock.  Not Opportunity Knocks, but someone at the door.   My whole life changed.  I came to England and started a family.  That’s another story for another day.  I can tell you I did leaf through a few prospectus over the years but decided against the idea.  My arms were too weary from holding the baby than to reach for the unreachable star.  Want more excuses?  I can give you more excuses but I’d like to borrow Mr Berry’s open mind, if I were to log on for an application form.

I lied.  I am going to talk about the weather.  It is 14 degree today, not at all sunny, with the odd heavy outbreak somewhere later on in the day.  Welcoming rain.  The farmers will be pleased.  Good for the garden.  However, we still have the hose pipe ban despite the wettest April in over 100 years.  Apparently the heavy spells of rain were not enough to counteract the drought of the last two winters, or the heaven opened just not in the right places.  These things happen.  And, today is not warm either.  It’s May, and the Rayburn is still on, the cooker we turn on in winter that made the kitchen a cosy hub for the family.  It also provides hot water, and warms up the house.  We cannot have it on throughout the year, the bill of feeding it with the soaring oil prices is huge, but it is also too warm in the summer.  The oil prices.  The first full tank, back in 1997 we paid £110.   Three quarter full last Wednesday came to £735.   See, that’s why we love to talk about the weather, one thing leads to another and I surely can hum and haw away the whole day……


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