Santa, Keanu, and the art of the dab

December 24th, 2017

I am told that to remain relevant on social media, you must post at least once a week. Considering I haven’t posted for over a year, that makes me a fossil.

But it’s Christmas Eve, I’m enjoying a take-away coffee and excellent steak pie (that breakfast of champions) as I type and it seems like an appropriate time to look back on the year. The take-away coffee is important, but that comes later.

For me, the year has brought changes. Mostly subtle, but one irrevocable in that my mother passed away in March aged 93. That she was able to stay at home until her final weeks is testament to the care she received from all the carers at Southcare and from Jenny,Gloria,Adita and Mirna. Cathy, one of her principal carers, only felt able to retire when my mother and other long-term clients passed away.

Through the year too. we lost three dear friends and clients: Clive, Rusty and Lucy. Every time I think of Clive and Rusty I think of the scene in “My Fair Lady” where Audrey Hepburn takes down Rex Harrison by explaining why his Professor Henry Higgins is not a gentleman and Wifrid Hyde-White’s Colonel Pickering is (this may be getting a bit obscure for readers under fifty who aren’t film buffs but I’m getting to the point).

As she tells him, a gentleman is not a reflection of status in life or an accident of birth, but is determined by how you treat other people. By this measure, as by any other, Clive and Rusty were gentlemen. Lucy’s warmth and generosity of spirit was reflected in the temperament of her cats because, I believe, she poured love into them.

Perhaps because of all the above, this year has made me reflect. And one of my first stops on that journey of reflection was that, at the age of fifty-seven, the present generation of pups and kittens entrusted to my care will be the last I follow all through their lives. After thirty-three and a half years as a vet that brought me up short, because being a vet in general practice, helping my patients (and through them, their people) has been all I’ve ever wanted to do and, as an adult, all I’ve ever known.

Thankfully retirement is still, I hope, at least a decade away so I can leave you with three anecdotes that will, I trust, make you smile.

For the first, we must retrace our steps to the take-away coffee from the cafe where the lovely, highly-skilled, and generally all-round good bloke of a barista told me unprompted (promise) that he and his gorgeous, charming partner referred to me as Keanu Reeves’ Dad. As you may imagine I was pretty chuffed, and the cares of the day receded far away. So far away I was moved to txt my lovely wife and very best mate about it. Denise, with the good sense that is her trademark was, prudently, non committal. Not so my bestie who fired back one of those txts that leap out of the screen to inform the recipient that, for the record, Keanu Reeves himself is now 53!

Recently, in the same week, a really delightful client suggested I should dress up in a Santa suit and have my picture taken at the practice with my patients. After a little while to establish the merits of her argument (well, the beard is snow white now and it would mean I could let it grow from September without risking spousal disapproval) I reckon, for a small fee and with all proceeds to charity, I might be in this next year. Let me know if there is popular demand.

Third and finally, I have to take you to school drop-off for my youngest son, the family comedian and now a teenager (how did that happen). He’s a good sportsman but his summer sport of basketball is not his main one, so as a regular B-teamer guesting for the As on this day I thought he may be a little nervous.”Good luck, mate” I said as he got out of the car. “Dab on the haters!” came the reply.

Well,that cracked me up. After wondering where that came from (not unusual as far as this almost-always good natured young fellow is concerned) it struck me how useful that phrase can be. Firstly, it makes me smile always, every time. But secondly it is very useful for dissolving the frustrations of everyday life. Stuck in a Christmas queue at the shops behind someone who insists on using the slowest means of payment possible including, but not necessarily limited to, multiple different kinds of gift vouchers that have to be entered into the computer system manually; dab away mentally and feel the calm return. It does work. And if you’re not sure what a dab is, follow my boys’ sporting allegiance and search for : “Paul Pogba dabbing” on You Tube. Memo to parents – turn the volume down low and screen first for any bad language on the sound track. But you’ll get the idea.

So,from my family and everyone at Millpoint, we wish you and your loved ones (which includes of course all the furry members of the family) a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful and Happy 2018! And may all your haters be dabbed!






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