Happy Father’s Day (yesterday)

I was going to post this last night, but I got (a) too tired, and (b) too upset, so I went to bed. Which was fair enough.

Keith Saunders with Gareth Saunders, at the BGHI felt quite at odds yesterday, and it was only in the afternoon as I was thinking about it that I began to pin-point that it had something to do with it being Father’s Day. And obviously my Dad is not alive now; he died in January 1998, after nearly 15 years of illness following three brain haemorrhages on the Ides of March 1983.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that it also had something to do with the disappointing news we received the week after last about our non-progress on the IVF route. It’s taken a while to sink in, a while to process. It’s big news.

After all that effort, all that worry, all that pondering, and hoping, and praying we were finally placed on a waiting list. Our name was in the system. We just had to be patient little patients. And now we’re off the list thanks to the wonderful world of bureaucrazy (sic), and on another waiting list, waiting to go onto a waiting list. Like a real-life game of snakes and ladders.

And yesterday it finally hit me: what if I never become a father? I’m already a priestly, spiritual father according to some; “Fr Gareth” I was called in Inverness and in parts of Edinburgh. But what about a biological father? It’s all well and good believing in a wonderful God who performs miracles, I’ve been musing, but it would be pretty cool if we could have children to share that amazing God with. I will keep hoping.

And back to my own Dad, Keith John Saunders. After he died I wanted only one thing from his estate. I wanted a copy of his signature:

Signature reads K.J.Saunders

I have it blutaked to my monitor here at home. “K J Saunders” it reads. It was the most personal thing that I could think of. Something that he created, that somehow reflected something of who he was.

And one day as Mum and I were going through papers to bin I came across it and kept it. I can’t remember what it was from, some financial papers perhaps? I obviously didn’t have anything that he’d sent to me because he always signed things “Dad” and not his given name.

Saunders is a difficult name to sign well. I spent hours as a child working out how best to sign Gareth. That bit was easy. I became bold in my presentation of my name. Gareth is a solid name. “Strong spear” it means seemingly. Incidentally, I also spent much of my childhood trying to convince the kids at school that that didn’t mean big prick!

I came up with something like this:


But whenever I sign “Saunders” it always looks like an unfinished, squiggly afterthought: Gareth buwulalala.

Maybe that’s what I need to do to prepare for children: I need to concentrate on working out how to sign Saunders in a more convincing and bold manner. Then I can pass that signature on to my own children.

A4 paper

A Japanese diagram showing the size of an A4 sheet of paper

I love conferences (okay IWMW 2006 wasn’t a conference it was a workshop!) where you come away with little facts like the ratio of the long side of a sheet of A4 paper to the short side is 1:1.4142, which is 1:√2 (one to the square root of two).

A4 paper is genius! It’s an international standard (if someone could please tell the Americans, with their Letter size nonsense!) defined by ISO 216.

Here is what the lovely Wikipedia has to say on the matter of ISO A4:

A4 is a standard paper size, defined by the international standard ISO 216 as 210—297 mm (roughly 8.27—11.69 in). It is the normal size of paper for both domestic and business purposes in all countries except the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Philippines, Chile and other American countries. See paper size standards in North America.

An A4 sheet cut in half along the long side produces two A5 sheets. An A3 sheet is double the area of an A4. All the A paper sizes are similar to each other. The ratio between the long side and short side is the square root of 2 (i.e. the short side * √2 (which is approximately 1.414)). This ratio remains the same when the sheet is cut in half along the long side.

But does it stop there? No siree. Look, there’s a whole page about other paper sizes, like A0, A1, A2, A3, A5, A6, A7 and A8. And it’s not just A4 that has that groovy 1:1.4142 ratio, they all do! Wikipedia again:

ISO paper sizes are all based on a single aspect ratio of the square root of two, or approximately 1:1.4142. Basing paper upon this ratio was conceived by the German scientist Georg Lichtenberg in 1786

Just thought I’d share that with you…