A pre-Saga saga

Hopefully, we should soon be on the little Saga Pearl.  I say “hopefully”, only things haven’t been easy so far – so thanks a bunch Saga.
As always, we called into our local Thomas Cook branch, where their cruise consultant, Judith, knows us extremely well. She told us that Saga don’t take internet bookings, which surprised us, but she phoned them and as a result we booked a guaranteed grade of inside cabin.

In due course Judith recieved our confirmation from Saga, which she posted to us along with a leaflet detailling the tours available at our two ports of call. A note here told us to log on (giving a website address) and enter our booking reference in order to book tours.

So far, so normal. But on logging on I got a message telling me that as we’d booked through a third party (Judith) all communications had to go through her.

Back at Thomas Cook, Judith phoned them (again) and asked if we couldn’t do this sort of thing directly. Apparently not: we’re not Saga’s customers – Judith is. So she booked our tour for us, all of us raising our eyebrows at the process.

Then last week she called us to say our tickets and luggage labels had arrived – with no indication anywhere of our cabin allocation. It seems we’ll only find out where we’ll be sleeping once we get on board. Bonkers.

Not only that, but it seems we won’t be returning to Portsmouth (where we embark), but to Dover. Makes no difference to us, but anyone taking advantage of the offered free parking have problems – they have to drive to Dover on embarkation day and leave their cars there. They’re being bussed from there to Portsmouth between 9.30 and 10.30 that morning, so doubtless many people will have a very early start.

Considering that taking this trip is a chance for us to try out Saga cruises for the first time, none of this encourages us to rush and book with them again. Things can only get better, can’t they?

Free TV Licenses

I apologise if this post annoys or offends people, but this rant and rave is about something rather near to my heart.

One of the news items being announced this week is about television licenses.

In 2020, the government is stopping its subsidy to allow pensioners over the age of 75 to have a free Television license. Instead, the BBC has been asked to foot the cost of these free licenses.

Not surprisingly the BBC is not happy with this idea as it means a huge chunk of the revenue they get from the TV License will have to be spent giving freebies to the old.

Apparently the ‘Powers to be’ are also asking the BBC to focus on young listeners and viewers. So this means more programmes will presumably be more attractive to younger people. If the corporation has to subsidise the free over 75s licenses, there will less money to make programmes.

Running alongside this idea, a train of thought suggests that pensioners in this country are better off than young people, so why should they get free licenses.

Let me give you my thoughts as a pensioner (who pays for a license), and enjoys watching television.

Firstly, the quality and choice of television material on all the channels has gone down over the last couple decades. There are more repeats of all types of programmes, and sometimes a programme is repeated within the same week.

…and it could have already been a repeat of an older programme.

I enjoy a quiz show, but once again I am noticing that quite popular shows such as Pointless and The Chase are repeated. I recognise the contestants quite often, and the questions are rather familiar. I assume the television companies don’t think we take note of the date on the end credits that say when it was made.

or perhaps that is just an older person’s thing.

There are very few films on the free to air channels anymore. I remember a time when the BBC and ITV regularly showed full length films.

There seems to be a policy of cramming wall to wall soap operas, between over hyped reality shows, or fly on the wall series about every possible professional service. And then there are continual talent contests to find new celebrities, from which just a small percentage are still remembered after 12 months.

Hey, hang on there a cotton-picking minute. These programmes filling our schedules appear to already be targeted at the younger generation.

Add on the recent cluster of fringe TV channels where they show new wave alterative comedy shows. I am sorry but very few make me chuckle. In fact, I rarely understand what they are saying let alone where the humour is hiding.

Targeted at young people I believe.

To be honest I am surprised that very few people over 75 find anything they enjoy on the television, unless it is a nostalgic reminder of their lives when they were younger.

OK, let me turn to the idea that older people are financially comfortable.

Yes, Deb and I have a comfortable existence, but we are certainly not able to enjoy the lifestyle of the younger generation who spend more on a night in the pub, or a month’s subscription for their mobile phone, or Sky TV, than we can afford for several weeks of entertainment.

Worse still there are hundreds and thousands of older people who are not financially comfortable and have no option but to rely on their radio or television for entertainment. And many of these people are single and lonely. That free television license means they have something to enjoy on long, lonely nights.

The older generation are getting longer in retirement to enjoy themselves, but few are actually able to do anything really special, because it is too expensive.

For the people who say we have superb pensions, just realise that a pension is the only income that some people have.

There is no overtime, or cash bonus for Christmas.

They cannot pay for televisions the size of their living room wall.

They cannot afford the holidays that their grandchildren splash out on, and such holidays weren’t even available when they were young enough to have enjoyed one.

Before I am classed at someone who hates younger people, my rants and moans also apply to young single people and families who are working their socks off to exist on part time and zero contract slave jobs. I cannot envisage how hard and heart-breaking that must be.

It does look like there are groups of young people at one end of the population that are as badly off as the pensioners at the other end of life. Politicians say all the right words, and constantly suggest how they will improve life for everyone, but nothing ever happens. The young poor, and the older poor, are ignored.

Strange as it might seem, I am sure that if the struggling youngsters were paid a proper living wage, and the care services for the elderly were centrally invested in, there would be less stress on hospitals, and almost certainly less mental or depression-based issues eating the National Health budgets.

Statements from ministers assure us that more people are in work, and the average pay rise is higher than it has been for many years, and the standard of living is improving.

There is a flaw with this statement.

Yes, the majority of people in this country are quite well paid, and are enjoying good increases in their salaries. But when they have a ‘2% pay-rise’, that is 2% of a salary which is significantly higher than a state pension, or ‘living wage’ minimum earnings.

I look back, with a smile on my face, to a time when someone was paid a wage that was the same for all workers doing that same job. Each year there was a pay rise of a sum of money, and everyone knew how that stacked up against the cost of living.

e.g. we are spending £3 a week more this year, and we have received a £3.50 a week pay rise.

Now virtually every worker has different salaries that are kept secret. The workforce in a factory might get a 2% pay rise that could appear to be above the rate of inflation. But 2% of £40,000 is £800 per year, while 2% of £17500 (national minimum wage) is just £350, or 2% of £8500 (maximum state pension) is £170.

The cost of food, housing, transport, and entertainment is rising at the same cost for everyone.

Hey, and for a basic pensioner, that £170 annual pay rise would just cover the current television license fee.

This TV License topic is just the latest idea to ‘bash’ those people (young and old) who struggle financially.

The lowest possible measure of rate of inflation is used to calculate pension or benefit increases.

Governments hide behind the curtain of comfort, and pretend not to notice the hundreds of young and old people using soup kitchens, overnight refuges, or food banks. These invisible people are an embarrassment to political messages of success and comfort.

Britain is supposed to be a wealthy, and caring nation. Sadly, this only applies to the pictures and videos of busy highstreets, well dressed bankers and stockbrokers, pubs and clubs full of binge drinkers, and an increasing number of millionaires.

Politicians shut small local hospitals because it is more efficient to have a giant hospital in a central position with superb services. They can perform miracles for sick and injured patients, but they are not economically efficient for hundreds and thousands of mental strugglers, or old people with minor ailments that take longer to repair.

Those forgotten local hospitals with less of the senior consultants, and smaller teams of nurses, used to look after those older people.

We had institutions (horrible name) where depressed, stressed, and mentally poorly people could be looked after.

We had care homes for the long-term elderly that were not used as a profit earner for private or corporate owners.

Remember that state pension of £8500 a year? That will typically pay for about 4 months of care in these places.

I fear for my future. Who will pay for me or my wife if we have to go into care?

Power Shock

We are coming to the end of a 12 month fixed price contract with our electric and gas supplier. For the last 12 months we have had a very good deal, but with the fixed price contract nearing its end, I took a look at what else was on offer.

On Monday I spent a couple of hours creating an excel spreadsheet to let me compare various possible suppliers, and entering data from some of the numerous comparison sites. I had just about decided on a company to use, but this morning I returned to my challenge and checked some other suppliers.

The process requires various bits of information to be entered on their web sites. As I typed in our current provider, a message popped up to say that this company had ceased trading.


After a quick check on a news site, I got confirmation that ‘Extra Energy’ had indeed ceased trading. There was also a message to say that we should not panic as Ofgem will sort out a new supplier to take over our contract.

We wouldn’t be cut off, and I don’t have to find a new supplier myself.

Apparently ‘Extra Energy’ is the sixth power utility company to cease trading this year.

So perhaps a warning for anyone else about to change suppliers to get a good deal. Be careful if you choose the cheapest, as you might have surprise in a few months time, just like us.

Tregenna Castle Hotel – St Ives

On the North coast of Cornwall less than 40 miles from Lands End is the beautiful small town (or village) of St. Ives. It is one of those popular tourist spots where visitors revel in the narrow streets and on the sea front overlooking the harbour with colourful fishing boats, and golden sand when the tide is out.

High up on the hill above the town is the Tregenna Castle Hotel which has become one of our favoured places to stay when we visit the county. We have just had our fourth break at this hotel, and we enjoyed it again.

Let’s begin my overview of this hotel by confirming that it is in no way a typical castle with a moat, drawbridge, or turrets. It is however a superb Grade 2 Listed building.

Built in 1774 it was the family home of a wealthy local man called Samuel Stephens. It began with just 12 bedrooms and sat in an estate of 72 acres overlooking the Bay of St. Ives. During the 19th century it was extended and eventually bought by another local family called the Bolithos.

This was the beginning of its life as a hotel, and as the decades have passed, it has grown further and now boasts 84 bedrooms, with an 18 hole golf course, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, and features delightful woodland walks.

The granite built building means bedrooms are large, and the sound insulation between rooms is really good. There is a choice of rooms, some with less than spectacular views, others with woodland views, and finally the top of the range sea-view ones.

Our first visit was many years ago when I returned to Cornwall for a reunion party for past workers at Goonhilly Earth Station. We had a quite basic room then, but were so impressed with what we got for our money, and the standard of service, that we came back again. Since then we have splashed out on a sea view room, and the extra cost is worth it for a chance to stare down over the golf course and woods to the town which is almost surrounded by the sea.

OK, to the nitty gritty.

As I said, the rooms are large with bathrooms that are enormous. Our bedroom was made up with twin beds, but they are flexible, and could have been moved into queen format to suit your preference. As a guide to the room size, there was in the region of five feet to either side of the bed, and more at the foot of the bed, with a settee and single armchair to relax and watch the large wall mounted television.

The wardrobe was a built in, and consisted of two double areas with serious amounts of space for clothing. To one side of the bed was a good sized dressing table that had the kettle and tea tray. On the other side of the bed were two almost floor to ceiling sash windows to make the most of the views.

Our bathroom had obviously been modernised recently with a bath long enough, and deep enough, to drown in. It had a large sink and perfectly adequate toilet.

There was an annexe next to the bathroom to hang coats and store suitcases.

The hotel bedrooms are spread over three floors, and there are wide staircases, and a lift between the floors. Because the building is old, the staircases are creaky, but I feel that is a part of the character expected of Grade 2 listed hotel.

If you want something a little different to the standard bedroom, the site has a number of smaller cottage style units, and large alpine style lodges that are available for self catering. Many of the lodges are privately owned and offered to the public when available. They are also currently building new lodges if you fancy a holiday home in Cornwall.

Turning now to exercise opportunities. Neither of us are golfers, and we have never used the large outside swimming pool as our visits have always been out of season, but the indoor pool has been used several times. It is adequately long enough to give your heart a bit of exercise, and it was usually quiet on our visits. The pool complex also has a steam room and sauna plus a reception desk where you can get towels (50p) for your swim, and the lockers in the changing rooms were free. There is also a spa/beauty salon for a those wanting a bit of pampering.

Of course it is good fun to include a walk down through the woods to the town for a look around. There are plenty of shops selling traditional Cornish Pasties, and tasty ice-cream. Even away from the main season there are tourist shops for a souvenir as well.

Just be careful of the sea-gulls. They are scavengers, so don’t feed them! They already attack visitors to grab ice-creams or other unguarded  food.

Back at the hotel, apart from bedrooms, there is a long main corridor with reception, brasserie, lounge bar, lots of comfortable casual seating and two more formal restaurant areas. The smaller of these was not in use on this visit, but we took our breakfast in the large one. It is huge, and able to cater for a full hotel of guests. For those considering a venue, the hotel will perform weddings, and this room is perfect for receptions, or anyone wanting to host dances.

The breakfast choice was wide with a full range of cold and hot food. The majority is laid out as a buffet but some things could be ordered from the waiting staff, including porridge.

We also ate one evening in the brasserie, where the menu has steaks, burgers, pizzas, plus popular favourites and local fish dishes. The food was not cheap, but the quality was good, and the service efficient and friendly.

Outside, as well as the golf course, there are several perfect spots for wedding ceremonies and photo opportunities. Or you could just sit on the benches and make the most of the tranquillity and warm sunshine.

Ok, so there must be some bad points, but there are not many things that annoyed or upset me.

  • The creaky stairs and bedroom floors will certainly upset some people.
  • There is adequate parking, but it is a bit of a trek over rough areas to drag suitcases, and at night the external lighting isn’t brilliant.
  • It is an old building, and one weakness is the plumbing with very low water pressure in the rooms we have been in. The huge bath took a long time to fill, but hot water was always available.
  • The bedroom windows might be a little heavy for some people to open and close, and only allow a limited opening. This is a standard issue now with Health and Safety restrictions for hotel windows.
  • And I wish they wouldn’t try to save money with cheap toilet paper.

These weaknesses are not serious, and overall I believe the Tregenna Castle is a really comfortable good quality hotel with lots of character.

So if you fancy something a bit special, rather than a standard corporate hotel chain, or bijou hotel, then I recommend the Tregenna Castle. As well as a superb location, it has a choice of large and comfortable bedrooms, good food, and lots of extras.

Finally a suggestion for anyone planning to go there. After you have checked prices or offers with online comparison sites, and with the hotel’s own web site, make a final phone call direct to the hotel and ask for a price. We have regularly got a better deal with the reception staff.

Of course, I must warn you that this revue is based on my personal views.
As accurate as I try to be, it may not always reflect the thoughts of other people, and actual experiences can be different from one occasion to another.

St. Ives – Part 3

After breakfast on our third day at the Tregenna Castle Hotel we sat with our tablets to catch up on the news for a while. It allowed the hotel to wake up, and for us to digest our morning meal.

At about 9:30 we set off for the village of Tregony to the east of Truro. It was getting a little critical to find some petrol on the way as the alarm was bleeping to us. We tried one petrol station just after we began our journey, but they were charging ridiculous prices. Fortunately our route passed by Sainsburys in Truro where the prices were similar to those at home.

Fifteen minutes early we arrived at the Retirement Village in Tregony, and after a welcoming cup of coffee we spent an hour looking around the site, and some of the apartments available to buy.

Deb and I had no intention of going beyond looking and see what a typical retirement village looks like, so we weren’t having any kind of hard sell tactics.

Anyway to spare the detail, we were suitably impressed with the site and the facilities. The apartments we saw were very pleasant and perhaps surprised us with what we could expect for our money. This village is unusual as it also has a nursing home, and a respite centre as well as the apartments. Hence it can deal with changing circumstances from the fully able, through to end of life situations.

We came away with a bundle of information to consider over the next few months, and maybe we will look at some other sites to compare what is on offer.

From Tregony we retraced our journey to Truro, and as it was well after midday by now, we stopped for a snack in Sainsburys.

Our last stop of the day was in Matalan to look for some new clothes, and while I couldn’t find anything interesting, Deb came away with a few bits for her wardrobe.

Back at the hotel Deb had a swim. I couldn’t face it with my legs still complaining about the walking we have done this week, and especially the climb up from the village of St. Ives to our hotel that is high up above it.

After Deb had returned, and woken me up, she had a shower, and then I lay in the bath. The room has a huge bathroom, and an enormous bath tub that allows me to lie virtually flat in the water with room to roll around. The problem of course is waiting for the water to fill it.

It is our last night of our break, and we are eating in the hotel this evening. A part of the deal we purchased is a bottle of wine with our meal, so tonight we can both drink as we eat.

Well, the meal was delicious. We both had pizza and mine was crispy duck and various oriental flavours, whilst Deb’s was BBQ chicken. For desserts we both had sticky toffee pudding, and once again absolutely lovely. Our free bottle of wine was only a House Red but it went down very smoothly.

From dinner we returned to our room, and the packing was begun. It was just dumping in the basics into the cases before we finish it properly in the morning. Then it was time to lay on the bed and let our stomachs recover after a really nice meal. I am sure there will be something on the TV to watch.

Maybe we will go and have a final drink later.

St. Ives visit part 2

After a reasonable night’s sleep (not brilliant) we were up and having breakfast by just after 8:00. The hotel offers a good breakfast choice, and we found plenty to top us up for the day to come.

Mid-morning we set off towards Cury to take some flowers to my parents’ grave. They were only a couple of bunches from a supermarket but we do our best to pay respect whenever we visit the area. The quiet graveyard is the resting place for many of my family, but mainly those on my mother’s side.

From Cury we set off across country to get to where I worked for over 20 years. This was Goonhilly Earth Station and although closed to the public there is a nature walk path around the site that allowed me to get near to the antenna where satellite communications began in this country.

It is so sad now that the once busy site is no longer doing what I experienced, but at least it appears to have a new role in space communications, so at least some of the history is preserved.

With a few photos to remind me of the day we drove back to Helston for yet another nostalgic walk around the town that was where I grew up. Once again I was sad to see what was a vibrant market town as a child, with crowded streets and shoppers bustling from shop to shop, but which is becoming run down like so many others in this country. Now it is typical of many towns with an abundance of charity shops, estate agents and small businesses that will rarely stay solvent for very long.

We did spend 15 minutes looking around the museum, but soon gave up on the town and made our way back towards St Ives.

For lunch we stopped at a Wyevale Garden Centre to get a snack. It was packed, and we realised it was Wednesday with the over 60s lunch special. They even had a sign up warning there was a 30 minute delay for food orders.

We were in no rush.

Back at the hotel before 3:00 we changed into scruff and went to the pool for a swim. The pool has very warm water, and this creates a foggy atmosphere in the conservatory style room. I worked my legs and shoulder quite hard, and I came away with quite an achy shoulder, and tired slightly cramped legs.

It was time for a relax now before we go out again later. Tonight we are meeting up with my brothers at the same chain of restaurants as last night. I already have an idea of what I will order.

My turn to drive tonight so that Deb can have a drink with my sister in law (Joyce) who enjoys having Deb around as an excuse for a few extra glasses of wine.

It was a lovely evening with the three brothers and our wives catching up on the family gossip. As expected, the menu was the same as last night, although in a physically different layout. I think we all enjoyed what we chose, and a special offer code reduced the bill considerably. The waitress worked really hard for us, and deserved the tip.

Back at the hotel by about 9:30 we had a final glass of wine before climbing the creaky stairs to our room on the second floor. All being well we will get a good night’s sleep before a busy day tomorrow.

Our plans include a visit to a retirement village on the outskirts of Truro. This doesn’t mean we are ready for that style of living yet, but a chance to find out what they are like, and the pros and cons.

Ice Cream pirates and a Reunion

Deb and I arrived at the Tregenna Castle hotel in St Ives early in the afternoon. We were far too early to check in, so quickly set off down the hillside walk through the woods of this lovely hotel towards the beautiful fishing village. By the time we reached the road, I had cramp in my legs but it wasn’t going to stop me looking around St Ives.

It was out of season, but there were still quite a good number of tourists investigating the seafront and staring out over the sandy beach at the sea. It as if they were mesmerised by the scene. Once full of this view they wandered into the narrow streets and the numerous tourist shops that were still open and attempting to tempt people to buy a picture, or a bit of pottery to remind them of a day in this quite special Cornish village.

Of course most people had a pasty, or an ice-cream, and we were no different. The pasty was delicious as we sat on a bench and watched the harbour activities. The ice-cream however was not so good. It tasted delicious, but in that mesmerised state I mentioned earlier, Deb was caught out by a seagull that swooped down over my shoulder and put its claws into her salted caramel ice-cream. The  screeching seagull never won its trophy, but Deb missed out on the sweet delight and binned the remainder.

She was just one of the hundreds, or possibly thousands, that get mugged by the flying blaggards.

Annoyed, but satisfied with our visit, we climbed back up the hillside streets and then through the woods to the hotel. After sitting and dozing with our books (perhaps the dozing was just me) the bedroom was ready and we unpacked for our short stay.

The room was huge and had a view out over the sea and the village below. We had been in a similar room twice before, and knew just how wonderful the view would be.

The evening was approaching, and after quick baths in the huge swimming pool of a bath, we got ready to drive to Helston where we would be meeting up with some of my childhood friends.

There was seven of us, and I was taken back to the first half of my life with Perry, John, Keith and two of their wives. Deb and I laughed the evening away with stories, memories, and simple observations about our lives. In the 25 years Deb and I have been away, so much has changed but the four of us who grew up together were just the same. Yes there were a few medical issues that have got to us, and a few new parts in our legs, but we hadn’t really changed, and we all had a good head of hair still.

We eventually got up to go, with the restaurant virtually empty, and out in the car park we said our goodbyes. Hopefully we will meet up again soon, and perhaps a few others will come along as well.

Thanks to you all for a fantastic evening.

Early Morning Gardening Session

I was dressed in my scruffs this morning, and out in the garden before 9:00. It was dry so I dug over the last little bit of the vegetable patch. The patch was a small raised area with wood planks around it. It was used for root vegetables from seed, and could be covered to protect the crop from the pesky carrot fly, and slugs. We have been eating some delicious carrots for a few weeks, but now empty of veg, the little patch grew a terrific crop of perennial weeds.

Anyway, it is dug over now and ready to rest until next spring.

This was the first serious time in the garden for two or three weeks. The wind, rain, and decidedly cooler temperatures meant outside work had been abandoned. But when I was out there last, I dug over two borders where I had soft fruit bushes and rhubarb. When cleared and flat, I decided to experiment and sprinkled some grass seed in the hope that it might grow over the winter. I was not confident, especially with the way the weather went, but this morning I could see the little green spikes of grass.

With confidence boosted I decided to experiment further, and turned my attention to the raspberry bushes.

Next year’s canes have already grown and are waving around above the highest of my support wires. Rather than cut the tops off, I decided to bend the shoots over and wrapped them horizontally around the wires as if they were apple or peak cordons. I have no idea if this will be successful, but it is better than letting the wind snap the shuts.

I was outside for about 30 minutes, and then my body screamed at me to stop being physical, and go inside.

Even with the cool temperatures outside, I was sweating from the digging so it was time to change my clothes, but first I leapt onto my trusty exercise bike to give my knees a workout.

Over the last fortnight I have pushed my routine up to ten minutes, and includes a period of heavy loading, and sprints. Today I managed four kilometres (according to the computer) and burnt off 60 calories. I doubt if the computer is very accurate, but I can confirm I was breathing very hard, and my pulse was beating at quite a fast disco rate.

Time for fresh clothes and a cup of coffee. As I sat and relaxed, I checked my blood pressure, and the measurement confirmed I was alive, and reasonably healthy.

The exercise bike is actually having quite a positive effect on my fitness, and the knee is certainly feeling better…

… or maybe that could be the new pain killers

Tuesday 6th November

It is five days on from the steroid injection in my shoulder.

The initial local anaesthetic has worn off, and the stiffness from the bruising seems to be going away as well. So now I am at the point where the steroid ‘gunk’ squeezed into my shoulder can begin reducing the inflammation and hopefully make my shoulder pain free, or at least better.

I have been careful not to do anything strenuous, or lifting things, and I am perhaps just beginning to notice an improvement. My problem of course, is that when I stop being careful, and begin using my arm properly again, will it continue to improve.

As well as the injection, I also had new painkillers from my doctor. Once again, without being over excited, they do appear to be making me feel more comfortable, and without side effects.

Other news is that we survived having our daughter and grandson visiting us. He is a lovely little man, and growing physically, and loving his school. He no longer needs to be supervised when going up stairs, and managed to survive the visit without banging into anything, or injuring himself.

Goodness he is boisterous though!

He enjoyed himself with different toys to play with, and didn’t need constant attention, and continual input from us with his games. We could sit and do our own thing for most of the time while listening to his chatter and laughing at his fun and games.

When they left on Saturday afternoon, it was sad to see them go, but Deb and I did collapse from exhaustion…probably mental exhaustion.

I am getting to the end of my patience with the coverage of Brexit. It really seems as if every television news reader, political correspondent, or guest pundit, is predicting mayhem and Armageddon after we leave the EU. They also make the public aware that virtually every piece of bad news is because of Brexit.

Maybe if it does prove to be a shambles, and Britain becomes a third world country, our children will blame their parents for voting to leave the EU. But perhaps it will turn out alright, and the sky doesn’t fall on us, we still get sufficient food, and there are sufficient medicines to survive.

Will those TV presenters, political analysts, correspondents, and pundits then apologise to our children?