Dominic is fourteen years old and needs to go to a decent school.
Aged only four he learnt to ride a Yamaha PW 50. Aged only nine he could drive my Range Rover and now he can drive my truck. He is a demon on a jetski and knows how to handle a rifle safely and can comfortably hit what he aims at. Just today we were discussing the Periodic Table of the Elements. He explained to me that the most abundant element in the universe was iron and that, in fact, all life on earth depended on its iron core the motion of which providing as it did, the magnetic field that protected the planet's surface from solar radiation. He went on to say that iron was the most stable element of the universe and all other elements either side of it on the Periodic Table tended to decay towards it. He'd lost me by now.
'Dad, you did nuclear physics, you know all about decay!' he protested.
No, Son, I am old and sick, that's why I know all about decay I thought but, blimey, I was impressed.
But he is absolutely corrrect, of course. Iron is the most abundant element and if our earth with its elliptical orbit wasn't constantly being massaged by the sun's gravitational pull creating internal friction, our liquid iron core would cool, denuding the magnetic field that so far has protected us from the mother of all storms, a solar one. Solar winds, hitherto deflected would strip our atmosphere away and Earth would resemble Mars in no time.
Regular readers of this blog will know that the only reason I am still here is that I separated from Dominic's mother over ten years ago and, since she was Angolan, lost custody of him. The only way I could have any influence on his development, therefore, was to give up my career and stay in Angola and take any shit job I could and just make the best of a generally bleak situation. I call my blog 'A Hippo on the Lawn' but I subtitle it, 'Diary of an Involuntary Expatriate'. I didn't choose to be here. As far as I am concerned, I could easily do Life in a UK prison. You try doing twenty years in this shithole. The whisky will get me before I get parole. My liver would have been better off had I been in prison all this time but I have a son and even if the law will only allow me to be near him on certain occasions, I have an obligation to him. That's why I taught him to ride a motorcycle aged four. It is why I bought him a telescope so he could look at stars those in the Northern Hemisphere could only dream of. I taught him to fish and got him a microscope so he could study the beasties we collected on our walks together. His English isn't perfect but it is pretty damn good. At fourteen he can drive my truck. It is time for him to go to a decent school.
A few years ago, I put his name down for my old school and since, like so many others, they had embraced the interweb thingy, Dominic could see what was on offer. I could see he wasn't terribly impressed. I have to confess, I wasn't either. There were videos you could download of boys playing Health and Safety Rugby, a game which, as far as I could tell, involved running as far away as one could from the ball. Clearly, a lot has changed in UK and when we got to the Domestic Science bit, both Dominic and I decided to grab our rifles and go and shoot something. Honestly, UK schools are crap. In fact, in a recent survey of First World countries, UK came bottom in Education and bottom on the scale of nice places for children to grow up. You only have to watch Sky News to see what a shithole UK is. I did not go through all this to send my boy somewhere almost as bad as Angola. Frankly, I was stumped.
Dominic wasn't, though. I had bought him and taught him how to use a computer. So he searched the web and found a school he liked the look of.
That was eight months ago. If that is what he wants, I thought, that's what he gets so we applied.
One week from today, at 0900 hrs Saturday, Dominic will sit his entrance exam at the Portuguese Embassy in Luanda. I beg you all to keep your fingers crossed, he really wants this. And if he wants this so badly, so do I. Even though I am estranged from his mother, I know she has had a hand in this and has done an excellent job raising my son (I admit this grudgingly) after all, which father is caught on the hop by a phone call from a fourteen year old wishing to clarify matters pertaining to both chemistry and physics? Sadly, I cannot tutor him. I answered his questions and then advised him to study his notes hard until Thursday night. Friday night, the night before his exam, I told him he should relax, chill out. Eat a good meal and watch some TV. Then, at a decent time, go to bed but place his notes under his pillow but under no circumstances, study. I could not explain to him how this works but it does and I so desperately want him to succeed because I know he wants this.
Is it genetic?
Why do sons invariably follow in their father's footsteps?
Dominic is going for the Portuguese Military Academy.
|'You're next. Remember, first blood doesn't hurt THAT much...'|
|I remember that, Chapel is boring!|
|But Tanks are fun!|
They teach them to ride horses as well and how to dance with a lady. If he passes his exam, I will be saying goodbye to him in just three month's time.