Friday, November 25, 2005

Winter is here... in some places

Well the snow's arrived, it just by passed Doncaster, we got the freezing cold winds and ice, but none of the whitestuff. There's something starnge about "having a blog", I feel compelled to write - even when there's little to add....
Elspeth has had a nasty cold for a few days so Sarah took her to the nurse, unfortunately Elspeth is not too keen on nurses, doctors but only if they're seeing her, she was fine when Sarah went for her check up. I came home last night to a small bundle on the sofa "I'm not well Daddy"... Well after one dose of banana medicine she seems much better, the cough is still there, but she's smiling and eating again.
Bird feeder 1/2 full

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

It's -5 degrees outside

There must be an obscure law somewhere that says you can stay at home on full pay if the ambient temperature dips below -5 degrees C. It's just not normal... I nearly slipped over walking down the steps and as I got to the foot of the drive I slipped about 12 inches on the sole of my right foot, maybe skating to work will be an option if the forecasts about Thursday and Friday ring true. The drive to work was astonishing, the fog so thick that you cuold barely see more than 15 feet ahead. As I drove around the lake I couldn't see the office or the office lights until I reached the gate... the lake looked as though someone had poured the entire contents of a mammoth dry ice machine onto it. The view as the fog cleared and the sun shone on Doncaster gave the whole place a dream spot filter esque effect....

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A weekend in.... Aldeburgh

We went to visit great grandma [Grandma Allard] in Leiston.. the sun shone, the wind blew and on Monday, the fog blew in. The B&B, Dunan House, is recommended, chickens running free, two cats a dog "scruff" as well as the owners Anne and Simon. The house was splendid, the egg shell blue was a taster of the colour inside. Glorious splashes of green, red and orange, interspersed with the hosts own artworks and pottery, it's like a small gallery.
Seeing Grandma Allard was fab, Elspeth had been so looking forward to it as we pulled into Aldeburgh she projectile vomitted over Stuart the Little Mouse [Stuart Little to the uninitiated] which she was watching on DVD, not sure whether it was excitement or just travel sickness, suffice to say on Monday going to Nana's she wasn't ill. Grandma Allard had booked a delicious lunch in one of the many pubs in Leiston, very good lunch. Then back to her house for tea and cakes, and more cakes...
On return home on Monday, bird feeder empty...

Friday, November 18, 2005

I don't mind if there's ice on the car, daddy

The kind words from Elspeth as I picked up both sets of car keys and the can of de-icer. It was freezing, the little trip computer on my dashboard was flashing -4, sitting inside with engine running having squirted about half a can of de-icer on the windows. There were other people de-icing their cars at the same, they were all to a man, well -women... perhaps in Yorkshire the man sits with his toes warm and sends the woman to do the de-icing... must try that [you'll probably hear Sarah's laughing from Scotland], with the laughter ringing in my ears I suppose you'll find me topping up the screenwash and anti-freeze in both cars....
Over the last few evenings Elspeth has become concerned for our safety when venturing out at night, I had to convince her that I was fine when popping out for an important shopping mission last night. Simon, Eve's dad [Elspeth's friend round the corner] was coming round for some violence on the PS2. Sarah was going to spend an evening with Vicky [Eve's mum, Simon's wife - you get the picture]. And I HAD to go to TESCO to get some beer and Doritos. So once I'd convinced Elspeth that I'd be fine in the dark I was allowed to go...
Eve is about 5 weeks younger than Elspeth, Vicky is also pregnant with child 2, due about 5 weeks before our second bundle of joy.
At some point I must get Sarah to fill you in on the relationship between Eve and Elspeth... they want the toy the other has, until they have it and the other has something else...
Simon needs to come again for more practice, it's the controller, he's not used to it.
Bird Feeder 3/5 full, 2/5 empty... now there's another debate....

Thursday, November 17, 2005

First Frost

There's something about scraping the first thick frost off the windscreen in the mornings. The sun is bright in the cloudless sky showing the full moon against a crisp blue background, stunning.

The bird feeder is 4/5 full, although the pesky squirrel appears to have knocked the peanut feeder onto the ground, probably couldn't be bothered with the usual contortions in the cold, hanging upside down and twisiting to his side, and threw it down....

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The birds are gathering....

I figure that the lake is a nice place to rest up for them after a heavy day at the local tip picking up tit bits.... my car is filthy....

Hitchcock was onto something

I refilled the bird feeder this morning before leaving for work. As I stepped out I saw movement in the bush, turning to pick up the feed box I heard them twittering behind me. I could feel them sizing me up for a sneak attack. The bush moved and I have visions of being mobbed by starving sparrows, tits - blue and coal, blackbirds and thrushes. Then I noticed that the peanuts hadn't been touched, they can't have been THAT hungry, so I breathed again... It's just that the lake by work changes as the nights draw in.... come 3pm in the afternoon it is teeming with birds, they swarm like killer bees across the surface of the lake. The slightest hint of danger and they're a swarming mass of white... and they poop everywhere!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Sarah's birthday

I realised on returning home last night that the bird feeder situation might become important to some, unfortunately it was too dark to see anything last night. I looked this morning - it was very nearly empty, a job for the girls later....
This morning was a birthday breakfast morning, Sarah's 30something birthday, breakfast :- apple and mango juice, coffee, and scrambled egg with smoked salmon on potato cakes. The breakfast was enjoyed by all, I even had time to wash up before leaving for the office....
Elspeth bought Mummy, well ok, Daddy bought Mummy a bracelet and some hair elastics [all chosen by Elspeth]. And I believe fitting the bill as "something pretty", unfortunately Elspeth was "too tired" to write a really long message in Mummy's card and so Mummy had to make do with Elspeth's name.
I bought Sarah an MP3 player with radio for her to use in the gym... spent Sunday night loading 7 albums onto it- that'll keep her busy for a while I guess.

Monday, November 14, 2005

"Macro Zoom Man"

What is is that possesses photographers to try that macro zoom button? I suppose digital cameras make it easy, next I'll be reaching for the tweed jacket with the suede leather elbows, the pipe and slippers. Am I aging before my time, taking pictures of flowers at the macro level... the heinous crime, I guess, is posting it here. I'm hoping that I can justify posting it as it's an unnatural occurance that needed to be shared... it's just not seasonal [at least in this country] for a passion flower to be in bloom with the thought of Christmas Carols in the back ground....

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The passion flower doesn't know it's November

Nana came to stay this weekend, Elspeth and Daddy went to the gym on Saturday morning whilst Sarah went to the market, very pleased with herself returning with "proper carrots", still with soil!! admittedly they did taste much better than the usual supermarket fare.
Saturday was a gloomy day and threatened rain and lots of it, so we stayed inside in the warm. We were pleasantly surprised that no rain fell, but by the time it had brightened up there was only about an hour's daylight left.
This morning was glorious, crisp and fresh with not a cloud in the sky. We ventured out to walk around Brodsworth again - it's so close! Above is the only section of stained glass in the "Target House" in the gardens.
Whilst wandering we saw some newly planted primulas and some established passion flowers that must believe that it is spring, as they are in full bloom.
And with the off-the shoulder look in the bitterly cold biting wind we had Elspeth.....
Bird Feeder 1/2 full...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Continued amazement

Despite having had the pleasure of my daughter's presence on this planet for 887 days it amazes me how absolutely amazing the brain is, Elspeth's capacity for learning, vocabulary as well as emotions and all that other stuff is bewildering. At what point does our brain decide that there's enough information in there and it'll use what it has stored to date? I suppose if we can be bothered it keeps on absorbing, learning, I suppose the real question is what is it in us that makes us decide to abandon the grey matter?
I say this as this morning Elspeth came out with an absolute gem. I'd got up, leaving Sarah dozing, to my surprise Elspeth was also asleep, she'd been awake around 6.15 and I'd simply placed her duvet over her and tucked her in. I decided to be a little helpful and tidy up the garden implements, toys, tent, and paddling pool which were sat rotting in situ, strewn across the back garden.
I even filled up the bird feeder, the poor neglected birds had probably wondered if we ever would refill it- the last time being the visit of the Perkins family. I walked into the kitchen and there was my little girl in her PJ's and she politely asked me for some warm milk.... anyway cut to the chase, I sat and stole a cuddle from her on the sofa while she was in her post warm milk contentment, saying "hello gorgeous", to which she replied "I'm not gorgeous, I'm hooman"...

Monday, November 07, 2005


Some pictures taken in the last month or so.... the first is Elspeth at Brodsworth, the second Sarah and her sister Dawn.

One of those days to forget

Well it started last night... Elspeth had been asleep for about an hour and a half when she woke screaming, having a bad dream. The dream so awful that daddy alone wasn't good enough, no sooner had mummy arrived then the whole street [well ok the road as far as we could see] were plunged into darkness by a power cut. As you can imagine, Elspeth was not impressed by this turn of events and so we opened the curtains [what good it did] to explain that there was simply a power cut, there was nothing we could do to turn the light back on. stumbling downstairs, we found the torch, a wind up job. I'm not sure whether it is faulty or if i simply need to sit for a few hours winding to charge it, but you have to keep winding to get illumination - no good if you're on your own and want light to be able to see to do something - great arm excercise though. Whilst I wound, Sarah clutched Elspeth and rooted around for the candles, we knew where they were, the difficulty was knowing where the matches were. After a few minutes a book of matches was found and the first candles were lit, much to Elspeth's relief, about 5 minutes later the lights returned.
It was at this point we discovered that my glasses were on the floor, in pieces, in the mad stampede to rescue Elspeth, they'd fallen off and in the dark had been trodden on. So I had a whole day of thumping headaches and not a glass of red wine passed my lips. The opticians say my new glasses will be ready on Friday, because my prescription has changed I need to go for a contact lens fitting tomorrow.... and I just thought they came out of the packet and you stuck them on your eyeball.... Obviously there's something more to this than my simplistic approach.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Habits and the lies we tell to ourselves

It's definately a habit and not an anomaly, this morning I woke with the alarm (first time for a while) which was moments before being prodded by a small hand... "wake up Daddy" were the first words I heard this morning. I'm not sure whether this was an order or a request, suffice to say that she's more like her mum everyday... This morning there was no dilly dallying, Elspeth woke, got up, looked out of her window, saw an equally [insane] awake person walking their dog, and decided to get up...
Elspeth has the memory of a small elephant, I'd mentioned that I needed to shave this morning, so as I stumbled to the bathroom, to that which most men must on waking, she trailed in my wake saying she wanted to sit on the toilet to watch me shave.
Sarah was feigning sleep in the other room as I lathered up. As I shaved Elspeth declared that I was making lines on my face and that she definately didn't want a kiss from me with shaving cream on my face. Once shaved and clean she kindly pointed out that my hairs would grow back.
Last night the fireworks were popping and fizzing, Elspeth was sat on the sofa, when I suggested we go outside to see them, she retorted that she could see them fine from where she was, she tells tales like Bill Clinton, there was no way [m'lud] that she could see them from where she was sat. Almost got into a cross examination, but resisted the urge. Sometimes I wonder what having a lawyer father will do to my children...
Given the state of the diary, Sarah and I are going shopping tomorrow for Elspeth's Christmas presents - still we might beat the rush, and it will give me a chance to get something for Sarah's birthday on the 15th. I spoke to Elspeth about this the other day, she simply declared that we'd get mummy "something pretty" for her birthday....

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I'm here

I thought yesterday morning was a one off, an anomaly for a well-behaved little girl. I have my doubts as there is a pattern of behaviour emerging... I was awoken for the second morning by a little girl's face pressed into mine as I lay on my bed, followed swiftly, once my eyes opened, by the declaration "I'm here". Yes I can see that, now it's 6.50 a.m. go back to bed, were the immediate thoughts flashing in red across my mind.
Instead I lay there as Elspeth hoisted herself up and shuffled across my face to place herself in the middle of the bed, the thought of "that nappy needs changing" lingered, but only for as long as she slid over my nose.
It later transpired over breakfast that Elspeth had been awake for a while and so looked out of her bedroom window, saw it was light and so decided to get up. I'm wondering whether I should go out this weekend and buy some black paint to paint over her window... extreme?
Apparently I was coughing again last night, the last vestiges of this cold hanging on for the duration. Sarah didn't sleep, I did. I'll be glad when it's gone for good, if only to be free from the comments over breakfast....