First Person

Ralph Mellon

Ralph Mellon

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With Ralph Mellon

I’m not a terrific fan of change, generally speaking.

In many aspects of life, I tend to prefer things to keep trundling and ticking along just as they are.

I usually find that makes things a bit easier to cope with in this existence we share, if you’re halfway towards knowing what’s going to happen, or at least having an idea of it.

That’s maybe a fanciful approach to modern living but, while it may be comforting, it’s pretty naive.

Things have to change; of course they do. Be it practices at work (if you’re in employment), rules and regulations that govern our lives, and a whole raft of personal circumstances, affecting us and those around us.

In recent months during 2013, and in those to come, a few changes assailed me and a few more will do so – some of which I have control over and some not.

Earlier this summer, myself and Mrs M reached something of a landmark – our silver wedding anniversary.

People say that is something of an accomplishment these days, and I suppose it is. There’s a fair bit of pressure on relationships of most durations, although many more do last a lot longer than 25 years. I remember around my mid-teens some aunts and uncles celebrating their silver weddings but they still seemed so much older, and 25 years was an inconceivably long time.

An early holiday in Krakow was our anniversary present to ourselves, so the summer was spent changing, rearraanging and de-cluttering around the house, gutting out a load of rooms.

The thought of that kind of thing is normally abhorrent to me, so I made sure some self-indulgent pleasure could be mined from it.

I rearranged my book collection and looked through it in detail, creating more space by moving them around different parts of the house.

I love relaxing with a good book (and some music) so this was a perfect chance to reappraise the vast array of titles on the shelves.

I’ve owned many books for years and years which I’ve never got round to reading, so now there’s a priority list piled high on the newly-fashioned book table.

That sort of change is good. It’s hardly the most original advice in the world, but if there are going to be some alterations in your life, try and twist them so that you, at least, get something positive out of it.

Another one which is bound to be a bit peculiar is the departure – this very weekend coming – of son and heir to the world of academia.

Our offspring, having left school, is off to our national capital to study history and English literature at Edinburgh University.

So after almost 18 years of having him around the house, we’ll have to get used to the thick end of four years – maybe more – without him.

A few preparations have already been made with checking out accommodation and exhortations to start looking out clothes and things to pack for the forthcoming pilgrimage.

These have been met with a not entirely unexpected response: “I’ll do it later, dad.”

Many parents will have been in this position before – the thought of a son/daughter leaving and hoping they’ll settle in OK in the new place, etc., but it’s a change that’s about to wash over us, and I’ll bet it’s strange, probably for a while.

There was another change we were anticipating, hopefully for the better, but it transpires the rejoicing will have to wait a little longer.

We’d thought Mellon Manor was going to become a mortgage-free zone later this year, but a missive in that most antiquated form of communciation – a letter by post – told us the monthly payments will have to continue just a little longer. So, some more temporary changes, not necessarily for the better.

Time to get back to chilling with a book and some music.

I’ve been listening obsessively to Roxy Music lately and really enjoying it.

Could be a while before there’s a change there.