Day dreaming about 19 year old Huw four years later – in March 2015
As far as I know, this is the last photo of Huw – taken on Friday 4th March 2011 at Ella’s surprise fancy dress 15th birthday party, dressed as a cowboy. At the party he didn’t have an alcoholic drink (which was agreed beforehand as a result of what had happened at the last party he went to hahaha.) Huw gave Ella a box of Heroes chocolates for her birthday and had a great night. Just before I picked him up at midnight he jumped out in front of a friend’s stationary car to surprise the driver……..in the Cowboy’s outfit……apparently it had the desired effect.
What would he be doing 4 years later? This is what I day dream about Huw these days.
Huw has taken to life in his first year at the University of Nottingham – taking a joint degree in European History and German. He has the same girlfriend from Holmfirth he started going out with in summer 2013 – he’s had a few girlfriends before but gets on great with this one who’s at another nearby Uni and they spend every other weekend with each other – alternating between each of their Uni Towns – and obviously spending time together in the holidays back in Holmfirth.
He is 6’3” and gone is the slight stoop he had as a 15 and 16 year old when he was getting used to his new height. A well built guy who has done incredibly well to establish himself in the University football 2nd XI in just his first year, with a bright future in the first team ahead of him in his second and third years.
The loves of his life are his Mum, sister, Dad and girlfriend – and his wider family and friends. Add to that playing footie, and a bit of cricket and tennis, the band he joined at Nottingham as drummer, and his ongoing love affair with Cardiff City.
He works at a small restaurant in the holidays in Holmfirth and loves the food preparation side as well as being a waiter. He’s got into a few scrapes over the last few months – messing about at work over the Christmas holidays and getting into trouble making a noise and the usual stuff in halls at Nottingham. What I hear about this sounds hilarious – Huw and I laugh out loud about it sometimes but I don’t always laugh about it – not because I don’t find it funny but because I don’t want to encourage him too much! He manages to steer clear of getting into anything other than superficial trouble, mainly because he always apologises after an indiscretion and because he charms his way out of trouble with a smile, some well chosen words, and because……………….just because he’s Huw.
I love watching him play footie and wonder how he got such a beautiful left foot and a sure first touch in contrast to my modest sporting achievements. However he does recognise my endeavour and effort to achieve anything in sport – even though it comes so naturally to him. He doesn’t have time for both tennis and cricket and has concentrated on tennis some summers and cricket in others. He loves the tennis and finds the time commitment of cricket difficult because he has so much else to do. But it’s cricket he’s better at – he is a decent tennis player but he excels at cricket. A number 4 batsman who can change a match in the space of a few overs, he tied a place down in the Upperthong first team last summer and played a number of match winning innings, sometimes against good, experienced bowlers. He has the respect of everyone at the cricket club and loves playing up at Upperthong where he remembers summer galas back when he was a toddler!
Huw seems most at home when he’s with his old friends from Holmfirth and he’s been to Newcastle, Manchester and Sheffield for parties – I always knew he’d stay close to his Holmfirth friends. He’s known some of them since he can remember and lots of them since he was in junior school or playing junior football.
19 year old Huw still loves to tease his Mum, Dad and sister although the days of wrestling with his Dad have long gone (at his Dad’s request!) That can’t be said of the position with his sister however, who learned to stand up for herself years ago.
He still calls his female grandparents ‘little Granny’ and ‘little Grandma’ and refers to his Mum as his ‘little Mummy’. They all dote on him as much as he does on them, and he really spoils ‘little Mummy’ at special times like Mothers’ Day.
He loves all his cousins and despite his social confidence he is still comforted by having his sister at his side (and she him) when they meet up with cousins or friends having not seen them for a while. Everyone seems to love Huw – he’s a real centre of attention in his friendship group and is developing a similar reputation in Nottingham. He’s got so many female friends as well as the lads. He is sometimes whacky – just mad – with a hilarious and sometimes off-the-wall sense of humour. But the best thing about him is he’s always got time for people – he has so much going for him but is unassuming and such a kind guy to anyone who’s struggling or needs a shoulder to cry on – he’s always been like that.
As he’s grown up over the last few years, he’s worked hard at studies when he’s had to, and got some great results at GCSE and A level. But he’s basically the same as he was when he was younger – cheeky, funny, great company, a genuinely kind guy, but with a wicked side. He has a great smile and looks the part whether he’s dressed up smart to go out, or just finished 90 minutes on the football pitch.
When I see the parents of Huw’s friends, they tell me how he always has the time, confidence and manners to stop and speak to them; they comment to me on how he still has the same winning smile, beaming out from the stubble on his chin. Many of them remember him as a little boy, and a young teenager but they say he is the same beautiful guy as he always had been.
At home he still likes cooking and it’s funny sorting out food with him – he always wants to know what’s in the fridge and claims he’s persistently hungry even just after a meal. You always notice when Huw’s around – not least because Carys and I are relegated to the small settee as Huw spreads himself out on the big one. He has de-cluttered his room at Spring Lane, so it can accommodate a double bed – that’s fair enough because he was so squashed up in a single bed until we changed it on his 16th birthday.
Even the most mundane things can be funny with Huw – but that’s always been the case – look at him here as a 7 year old and the tomatoes his eyes! And it was hilarious in the weeks before he went to Nottingham trying to tell him about the domestic chores he would now have to do. He wouldn’t take any culinary advice (which is fair enough given his job and his existing abilities in this area) but he thought it was ridiculous to even bother thinking about such things as cleaning and ironing although he did show a bit more interest in things like security and managing his finances. He thinks I’m such an ‘old fart’ talking about these things, and we both cracked up when we had the discussion. Huw takes things seriously when he has to, but I love his laid back approach to life – I wish I was more like him in that respect sometimes. Carys was watching on with amusement, just like she always has when Huw has been starting something new – taking it all in ready for her own purposes the following year. Carys is so independent though, that I know she’d be absolutely fine if it was her going first without the benefit of Huw’s experience. That said she loves seeing her big brother go through all these experiences first – even if its just for the entertainment value!
I miss him so much when he’s away at Nottingham but I know he’ll be back again soon, to tell me about his new life, to come to see Cardiff City play, to see his Mum and sister, to get his washing done, to get some cash from his parents. What makes me happiest though is that he knows where his home is and loves his time at home at his Mum’s or at my house. When he was last home 2 weeks ago he was so happy that we booked a long weekend in Woolacombe, Devon, for him, Carys, me and Jennny – for old times’ sake. We did it in summer 2009, 2011, 2013 and now we’re doing it again in 2015 – it’ll be amazing to take the trip down memory lane again – remembering fantastic holidays when Huw and Carys were young children. It’ll be a close thing whether Huw considers this trip, the weekend at Centreparcs with his cousins, or a trip to T in the Park with his friends as his best summer weekend.
Huw is set on doing a gap year when he finishes in Nottingham – before he gets a ‘proper’ job. He talks about doing something adventurous like hitch hiking across the States, and then going to work on a local project in Namibia (where a lot of German is spoken). He comments on what it will be like when he has to get up early every day for work and how hard that must be – we talk about how we’ve learnt ever since his Uncle Mark got so ill in 2008 – to try and enjoy the present and not to worry too much about the future.
I sit and watch him on the occasions when I’m lucky enough to see him interacting with his sister, friends and cousins. I stand and watch him show his class on the football pitch. I talk to him, help him, love him and admire him – wondering what the future will hold and feeling so proud.
Back to reality now, and I couldn’t be prouder of Huw today, 13th March 2015. I know many other people feel the same, as we wonder what might have been…………………what should have been……………………