Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I HAVE come into work for a rest

Honestly, hats off to mother's worldwide, four days is all that's it's taken me to want to be in the haven that is the organised chaos of my desk. I don't know how you do it.... Jemima has a pair of lungs on her, I'm not sure whether there's a built in competition warning so that she figures she has to be louder than her sister. She is by some considerable margin! My birthday's in February, 2 sets of ear plugs please.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas relaxed, tired and loud!

With every opened present Elspeth piped up with "I really wanted one of those", once again more toys than you can shake a big sack at.

Highlights for Elspeth are the step on electronic playmat keyboard, not quite the proportions of the one in "Big" [ok I'm showing my age, but didn't you always want a go on the huge keyboard, and to own one if you could?] but as versatile, and it even plays if you crawl down it like a caterpillar. Thank goodness that has a volume switch! And a brilliant book with material, you dress the girl by placing the material over the shape of a girl and then put the facing page down to hold the material in place. Elspeth has quite a flair for design, we may yet see gold Christmas wrapping paper dresses making their mark in the fashion arena.

Jemima too liked her gifts, particular favourites being the soft ball with a bell in the middle and the [poorly untoy titled] "development cube", as well as a funky mobile phone. The toy "not to release", would appear to be a humble wind up frog which kicks his legs and is intended for bath use but seems to appear at the dining table frequently.

As for Sarah and me, well we've got a mountain of grub to eat, booze to drink and films to watch... we've still got the running machine - I know I need to use it but there is no room for it I'll have to content myself with Gym membership... I am not one for resolutions but I must use the gym more often.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

It's not sleep, just a succession of sort naps

For some reason both Jemima and Elspeth are experiencing difficulty sleeping and have been for the last 4-6 weeks. This invariably means that at least one, but often both, of Sarah and Me are bumbling around in a state of semi-consciousness/zombie-like wishing for sleep. A "night's sleep" in the household is a 6 or 7 hour stretch of crying/wailing/screaming puntuated by naps of between 5 and 15 minutes.
In Elspeth's case I think it is just pure excitement about the forthcoming festivities, in Jemima's case something is giving her seriously bad stomach ache [yes, and the nappies to go with it]. She seems most comfortable in a contorted arched position, this usually means she sleeps draped horizontally across one or other parent, [making sleep for the parent difficult for fear of squashing or her rolling off onto the floor]- we've "considered the options" [how legalistic] and put it down to the formula, well regime change, no formula before bed, a snack to try and fill her up and some of natures finest to polish it off. We shall see ho we go... oh yes Merry Christmas to you all!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

So much for the cheap job

Fleeced, that's how we feel.. the cheap job where the "Heating Engineer" [formerly known as plumbers] "fixed"* the heating problem the other week.
Despite being told that the charge out rate was £45 +VAT per half hour, and that a job of this type normally takes an hour and a half, we have been charged £135 +VATm this despite the "Heating Engineer" being in the house about 15-20 minutes and conducting an incomplete "repair". The "Heating Engineer" himself advising Sarah that it was a 1/2 hour job. When refusing to pay the amout the company obviously contacted the "Heating Engineer" who them spoke to Sarah complaining that he would now not get paid his £35... so a job takes 1/2 hour the "Heating Engineer" gets £35 and the company take a whopping £110+VAT - I'm in the wrong job!!
When Sarah mentioned the delay, the "Heating Engineer" said he'd only had the call that afternoon!! So much for customer service and they'll be there before midday!!
So we have offered £45 +VAT for the incomplete "repair", which is more than reasonable.
If we are not satisfied, trading standards and Watchdog are the next call.
*when I say fixed, I mean it in the loosest terms possible - he took a 13 amp fuse from a spare plug in the cellar to replace a fused 3 amp fuse as he hadn't got any spare ones....

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I'm seeing hazy, dreamy lights... no they're just tacky!

Tacky, completely distasteful.... but you'd be sure to miss them or would you?

It is the time of year when normally sane rational people go absolutely stark raving mad... Christmas! Not the stark raving shopping lust that fuels the horrendous financial messes that a large number of people get themselves into every year by trying to ingratiate themselves with family members or heal long standing rifts by buying the most obscenely expensive tat or faddy item which will be discarded within 6 months, and then spending the next 11 months paying for it when the credit card bill plops onto the floor through the letter box, but the madness that seems to be escalating to ozone depleting and arctic ice cap melting proportions that is the Christmas [Seasonal - for the PC out there] lights "sensation".

Sod the fact that the ice cap is melting, fuel prices are rising and the ozone is [probably] still depleting [not that people seem to give a stuff anymore now that they have factor 50 sun cream]!! Lets face it, they look CHEAP and NASTY!! In the same way that stone cladding will knock 10% off the value of your house "the lights" can bring the largest house down to the same tacky level.... Stop it I say!!

Elspeth of course, thinks they're wonderful. But might I remind everyone SHE IS ONLY 3 1/2!! Everything is wonderful at 3 1/2...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

We present "The Marvellous Flying Elspeth"

The fright of our lives last night - or at least level with the Sarah dropping Elspeth out of the carry cot incident when she was barely 2 weeks old - I was running a bath for Jemima and Elspeth, I grabbed a towel for Jemima and casually asked Elspeth to get her towel which was in her room. The next thing I am aware of is the slow motion sight of Elspeth almost cart wheeling down the stairs.

I saw stairgate and daughter careering down the stairs.

My heart raced as I ran the four steps to the top of the stairs to see Elspeth face down about six steps from the foot of the stair. Dashed down the stairs, to grab her, met almost simultaneously by Sarah as Elsepth wailed...

On hearing Elspeth [and being seemingly suddenly abandoned by her mother, Jemima joined in the crying]. Miraculously Elspeth was a little shaken and briefly shocked, but escaped without a scratch!

It appears the dodgy looking stair gate was entirely so and when Elspeth leaned too firmly against it... the rest is above.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Chatsworth and pizza

We met up with Gregor, mum Gemma and bump at Chatsworth House, Dad Nick was supposed to come only a plasterer or plumber was going to give them a quote for much needed work [as it transpired he didn't show - so not the best Saturday for Nick!!] The adventure playground was what occupied Elspeth and Gregor for almost the whole time we were there, there are fresh water play areas with Sand and Archimedes screws so transfer water - I had a great time... needless to say Elspeth and Gregor were filthy and wet, but much fun was had by all.

Gregor had his face painted

Following Chatsworth we went for Pizza at Fellucini in Bakewell - top nosh. And we even made it home in time for Robin Hood - at least the last 5 minutes anyway.

I have just discovered that they are repeating the man in green on Sunday at tea time so if we miss Saturday we can watch on Sunday...

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Well the heating has been fixed, after a much disrupted day... Sarah called to be told they'd be with her by midday. Still waiting at 4pm when I telephoned the house sounded, well chaotic. I'm sure the prospect of being sat in a cold dark house whilst the engineer prodded around by torchlight was not one that many would enjoy.
As it was it was fixed reasonably quickly as the electrician fitted the control box I bought last night, it should turn out to be a cheap job... a bit galling as it seems that I was in the right place looking for a blasted blown fuse, I didn't look in the fuse box upstairs by the hot water tank!! Could've saved the call out and the two days shivering.
I did try suggesting that as we'd managed quite well in the two days without heat we could economise and turn the heating down.... fortunately nothing was thrown at me as I headed for the car.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It's Chuffing Freezing

Why is it the household appliances all go wrong at the same time? I got a phone call from Sarah this afternoon as I was preparing papers for court:
"The heating doesn't work"
"What do you mean it doesn't work"
"The control box thingy [techincal language] is dead, it doesn't work"
"What do you want me to do about it?"
"Nothing, I just thought you should know..."
[mmm resist the comment that could be made about non male gender and logic] well ok, almost!
So I sped home from work, forsaking the lure of the gym, to return to a very cold house, I fiddled and tweaked [because I am a man and that is what we do best when we have no idea what to do other than call an expert, but for some reason pride (or economics) makes you want to have a go first!] to no avail, I even went to a well known DIY store to buy a new control box for the central heating and water- alas £42 down the toilet at that stage - unless when the expert comes out he decides we need a new one then I suppose it's "money well spent".
So it's still chuffing freezing!! Double duvets and socks all round tonight...

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Twits and the Seal

If you meet Elspeth and she says she'd like a "twit" she means a "twix", of course!!

It seems as if we now have a seal rather than a younger daughter, her "crawl" has evolved into a drag, largely gone is the stage where she teeters on her knees before throwing herself forward onto her stomach with careless abandon [often ejecting part of the meal/liquid she's just consumed on impact], and the new means of motion is "the drag". For the most part rejecting the use of her legs she places her hands on the ground and drags herself along, even better if there's something to grip onto and pull herself up against.

Most things need to be nailed to the floor or put about 6 inches off the ground out of her reach. I was too late to save the poor speaker and returned home to find it limply laying on it's side - Sarah decided after the 5th or 6th time to just leave it lying forlorny on the ground rather than right it.

Sarah had done some ironing and the ironing board was rescued, rather Jemima was rescued from having the ironing board come crashing down on her head.

She'll have forearms and shoulders like a rugby player if this carries on.

If you've seen any war movie you can probably picture the style of motion...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Jemima crawls... well almost

Not content with rolling to the desired location Jemima has evolved her motion... she starts on all fours, either on her toes or more recently on her knees hands out before her... she shuffles her knees forward a little and then with all the balletic grace of Big Daddy [does that age me?] she belly flops forward arms up as if she is sky diving, this moves her all of 4-6 inches. No wonder she is always a little bit sick, the force on her stomach pushing the food out... might explain the hunger and the table eating....

It's Dark

It's 16.40 and it;s gloomy outside - winter will be here soon - roll on March!!

The extra hour

Well that time of year again when the clocks change... I managed to enjoy the benefit of the extra hour this year, pulling the duvet up over my head and falling asleep. We'd done our best to wear Elspeth out, there's little point wearing Jemima out as she is a law unto herself and would seem to be fitted with super duracels or some form of self perpetuating rechargable battery [like those Kinetic watches] the more she moves the more energy she seems to have.... are straight jackets for babies deemed inhuman and/or degrading treatment?

Elspeth woke, without the benefit of an alarm at what she thought was her normal hour - 6.30, but it was 5.30... singing for a while she eventually shouted "is it time to get up yet".... soon there were 4 in the bed -it's a king size, but really it's not THAT big.

Elspeth was full of beans and doing small jumps on our bed near the headboard, I asked her as politely as you can at nearly 7 o'clock on a Sunday morning to stop, in stepping away from the headboard she planted her size 9's and all her weight squarely where stars shot across my eyes. Doubled in pain I heard a little voice exclaim "that was a surprise"... too right it was a surprise!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Wild sunrise

After my derogatory comment I have to eat humble pie, I got up this morning to a beautiful sunrise, perhaps God's county is [South] Yorkshire afterall...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

God's own county

My Dad, being a true Yorkshireman - I must get him to explain what that is - always told me that Yorkshire was God's own county, how did you know this - well because he sends his rainbows to shine over Yorkshire. Well to all the uninitiated - that'll be all the 1 to 6 year olds! There are so many rainbows - not because it's God's own county [that's another discussion], but because it's mostly RAINING! ok not mostly, just from September until February - still at least it's not 6 feet of snow!!

It's been a while

Well it is difficult to blog every day, I am also neglecting the birds, we're out of peanuts and the seeds are low.
On the up side... Sarah is bringing up our wonderful daughters wonderfully, work is fantastic and is really engaging and Christmas is fast approaching.

Monday, October 02, 2006


Well tomorrow is the day when the Adlards leave these shores, a lump rises in my throat as I lament their departing. I am not one for great long standing lists of friends, I am discerning, at least that's what I tell myself, I guess I make friends very slowly, it takes time to mature and culture; as a consequence I have a handful of friends, most of whom [to my chagrin] I keep in touch with by email because I move away from them... something subliminal there then perhaps... an inability to forge very close friendships....? In James I found someone who had a similar sense of humour who tolerated me and my liking for real ale and single malt, a liking in which we indulged from time to time [not really enough though I fear].

It helped that we are similar ages and both experience the "joys of pregnancy" and the arrival of our respective first born children within a matter of weeks, I have fond memories of being sat outside at dusk on a sultry Summer evening, cigar in hand, enjoying the peace and tranquillity and the novel experience of a Romeo and Julietta... half of which is still in the tube in my sock drawer.

I know that we'll see them again and we'll trade mails and maybe phone calls, but in a world that is made so small by technology, nothing can really ever replace an evening sat around a table sharing a meal or a drink. I look forward to raising a glass or two in the Southern Hemisphere next we meet.

Taking a leaf from the Adlards, Sarah and I are exploring the possibility of working overseas before we're too old and decrepit to enjoy ourselves... we'll take the children of course.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Adlards

Well, the time has come for the Adlards to leave these shores and return whence they came [albeit with a couple of extra Adlards and a lot more stuff], we said our farewells as they pack for the return to SA next Tuesday... Sophie, Josie and Elspeth enjoyed themselves. The car sunroof pic is the only way James and I could think of keeping an eye on the two older girls as we loaded up with things for the charity shop drop...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sarah's belly dancing

Sarah starts belly dancing classes tonight, not quite sure she has the stomach for it.....

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Balloons over Bakewell

We went to Bakewell this afternoon and basked in the heat, ate ice cream and Bakewell pudding, on the way back to the car we saw some hot air balloons from inflation to take off....

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Chairs - one for Michelle xx

Following on from the chair story.... the old chairs from the well known national retailer initials "FV" which appear to disintegrate the moment they are 4 years old... well when we went to see the Adlards in August they kindly donated their old chairs, which with some Dylon, now have a new lease of life...

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Jemima shuffle

not a crawl, more like the butterfly on land without the arms - head down and push with the feet. At some rate, Jemima can do the length of the cot in about a minute... I dread the speed when she has the strength in her arms to propel herself and maintain some rudimentary direction.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Post Bank Holiday Blues

Whilst the rain pours it's tempting dwell in the shadow of the clouds... today the weather was foul after a glorious bank holiday, but as I arrived at work I spied a double rainbow, the second was so feint it didn't show on the picture.... perked me up before the dark destructive job of destroying Claimant ideals of spending their compensation on a new kitchen or car....

Friday, August 11, 2006

Ten Years and All that...

Over the weekend 5-6 of August we had a weekend to celebrate the ten years we've been married... so much has happened in that time: some great memories and the arrival of out two beautiful girls. We spent the weekend in St Albans and had a day in the ol' smoke on Saturday, packing the miles in... St Pauls, Tate Modern [via the millenium bridge] and the South Bank to the London Eye and the London Aquarium...

Sunday was a day to relax in St Albans with James, Michelle, Josie and Sophie, they are planning a return to South Africa - boy they'll be missed. We returned on Sunday with the collapsed dining chairs that they'd offered us to replace the rather weak chairs purchased from a certain large retail concern with the initials FV, which appear to have a built in timer so that they disintegrate after 5 years use... the thing is there were only 2 of us using the chairs for the most part and now they are all falling apart, so it's hardly excessive use... the usual 2 hour journey took about 5 thanks to the rubber neckers on the M1.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Stuart's 30

My little brother turned 30 on 15th July, Anna took him away for the weekend and so this weekend there was a family barbecue. So on the first Friday of the school holidays we braved the M18, M1, M42 and M5 with no major hold-ups.
At the BBQ on Saturday were Anna's parents, her grandparents and brother, it was good to meet and we hope it's not the day of Stuart and Anna's wedding in December 2007 before we meet again.
We stayed at Chris's flat which is almost in Southmead in Brstol... OK Chris it's not almost in Southmead...
The flat is very nice, 2 bed with 2 bathrooms, 1 en suite, Elspeth did her usual trick of managing to commandeer the lion's share of the bed, relegating me to the floor and Sarah to the margins... she's just like her mother!
Bristol Zoo on Sunday with Simon and Jacqui - the zoo is brilliant, Elspeth saw the lions sunning themselves and the penguins and the seal pup, Bristol's penguins are in a great enclosure where you can walk beneath them in a clear tube and they feed above you, on a baking day it provided some respite from the heat. After the zoo off to the Boston Tea party for coffee with Stuart and Anna before braving the motorways in reverse... honestly sometimes I just go back to work for a rest...

Ade and Dawn and Colchester Zoo

We spent a great weekend at the end of our Eastern Adventure [ok Southwold] in Colchester with Dawn and Adi, the highlight for Elspeth was Colchester zoo and feeding the Giraffe, or was it the Zeedonk?

To come ---

More pictures

Growing up

It's a cliche I know, but boy don't the little ones grow up quickly... we were at dinner the other evening when Elspeth declared, I'm not 3 I'm 13... the number of white hairs on my head doubled... I've realised it's just as much the realisation that I'll be in my 40's when Elsepth is 13 than the fact that I don't want her to grow up that fast... still Jemima is no longer the small bundle that she once was... She giggles when tickled and always wants to see what is going on around her... it's so strange, I know Elsepth was similar but even at 15 weeks old there are significant differences in her behaviour admittedly I cannot recall a lot of Elspeth's as I was at work but Elspeth seemed quieter...

Friday, July 07, 2006

Pick your own

Holidays are times when you forage for yourselves... so we went picking strawberries, we even ventured to pick the raspberries at the bottom of the lines of strawberries, somewhat disappointed at the meagre handful returns for the endeavours [various viscous stinging nettle strikes - I'm sure they didn't sting that much when I was a child!!] on paying we were advised that the rasps wouldn't be ready for a while... that explains it then. Strawberry picking isn't the same as when we were children, the strawberry plants were all in poly tunnels in wide guttering elevated about 3 feet off the ground with their own watering system, not scrabbling around on the ground. I suppose it stops losses due to animals pinching them and saves the backs of the pickers


Well we had a week in Wrentham near Southwold in Suffolk, a cottage with enough room to swing a very large cat and then some more room. Nana came along for the week and on the first weekend we were joined by Liz and Derek and Auntie Dawn and Ade, and there was still plenty of room for the cat. In the garden there was a "cabin" which was basically a large wooden triple garage which had been converted into a huge play area complete with train set, music centre , tv, video and x box. A very spacious retreat.

Southwold beach was a favourite, the sand, the beach huts, Warbleswick was deserted and had Elspeth not run a mile when she saw a crab in her shoe I'm sure we could have "crabbed".... I do need a bigger spade if I'm expected to make sand boats though.

Framlingham Castle on Thursday was a great day out, there was no holding Elspeth back as she scaled the steep steps and walked the walls, decending first with Sarah and then repeating the whole 100 and something steps to the top with me.

Colchester Zoo and a weekend with Ade and Dawn at Ade's parents to follow...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Daddy why do you watch football?

The question posed by Elspeth as I endured another dour England performance... well at least it's not a repeat of wat appears to be her favourite question at the moment "Daddy, why do boys have penises?" for the moment she's satisfied with the answer "because that's the way they're made" but for how much longer can I get away with it?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Daddy, daddy, daddy... I've missed you

One of the sweetest sounds a father returning from work could possibly hear as his eldest daughter bounds up to him, clutches both legs and hugs them... followed by a nuzzling, me asking "Elspeth, what are you doing?" to which she replied "wiping my nose on your trousers..." ah children the joy of ages....

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Just one question

When is Lampard going to score for England?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A princess in her castle

We spent the weekend in Castleton, stayng in the Youth Hostel, a pleassurable and recommended experience. It's about 18 years since I last stayed in the youth Hostel, it's not changed a great deal although they now do food of decent quality and have a bar. Elspeth had a whale of a time, trying each and every one of the bunk beds again and again.
On Sunday a trip up to Peverill Castle was called for, I carried Elspeth on my back in a carrier and Sarah pushed Jemima up in the push chair... making up for our neglecting the gym...
The view was worth the trek, the journey down was.. erm, interesting, towing a push chair with baby...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

England scrape a victory... whilst we baked

We had a very busy weekend, on Saturday whilst England were toiling in the heat of Germany we were enjoying the limited hospitality of Renault and the adventure playground at Chatsworth House. I'd received an invitation to test drive Renaults finest at Chatsworth which included free entry to House and Gardens or Farm and adventure playground... Needless to say, I looked but didn't drive... the Espace is a very well appointed vehicle, it is likely to be out of our price range though. How I'd have loved to ascend the cascade of water in the grounds, instead I made do with a stream of water in the adventure playground. It's great for children big and small, sand pits, water, climbing frames and a huge wooden castle adventure zone on a hill top. We almost had a hysterical child before we got to the top though as there's a tunnel into the hill (which would appear to be concrete sewer pipes) which lead to a latter and you climb up and out and the playground is before you, having navigated the tunnel, about 20 metres long, Elspeth wanted to go it's a 1 way system and there are 4 children behind us.... swiftly picking her up and ascending the ladder... phew! After Chatsworth and ice creams we went to Bakewell and had a good time with Pam and Brian.

Sunday morning was weird, we'd packed so much into Saturday I woke feeling that it was Monday... Church on Sunday was with the Salvation Army in Doncaster, not sure about the uniforms, God was there and we were in fellowship. After church we went to the Peaks, Ladybower reservoir for a pic nic and a walk, then to Castleton for a not entirely successful cuppa. My banoffee appeared to be offee - tasty, but could do with some ban, and Sarah's "moist" carrot cake was like a brick, what with Sarah attempting to feed Jemima and the darling throwing up all over her.. hey the joys of parenthood.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The first little one is now three....

Well [again] it's been a while... a lot has happened... before you know it the small screaming bundle [ok not so screamy] is growing up fast and is having yet another birthday, Elspeth was 3 on the 7th June, and we had a party on the Sunday beforehand, lots of little friends with their parents, the sun shone, games were played and food enjoyed.
Many thanks to family and friends for the many gifts, I had briefly entertained the idea of putting Elspeth's wish list on the blog, but it was very long and a little girl doesn't need all the things that she said she'd like...

The sunny and very warm evenings are proving quite difficult to get the little darlings off to sleep, the other evening Elspeth asked "when will it be dark?", I answered saying "about 10 o'clock" to which Elspeth replied "when it's really my bed time?"

Elspeth was very pleased with all her gifts on Wednesday, the easel was a huge success and the prolific artist keeps churning them out... Window pens were the best gift though I feel, everyday on returning home there are fresh window pictures for me to see.
Elspeth has decided on her and Jemima's nick names... Elspeth prefers munchkin, Jemima is mini munchkin...

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Some pictures

two pictures of the girls... Jemima asleep and Elspeth pulling faces in the mirror at John Lewis in Sheffield whilst mummy shops, the last bank holiday we were in York, yes it rained, but we had a great day at the Railway Museum, we have a wheel in Yorkshire... ok it's not as grand as London and the pod we went in leaked so consequently Sarah had a wet bum.. You can probably guess that Sarah's not too good with heights, even more when the wind blows and the cradle rocks... Elspeth on the other hand had a great time.

I'm sure there's a good view on a sunny day... the sun did come out later as you can see...

It's been a while...

An age in fact, since the last blog... Since then we've had sunshine and lots and lots of rain.

With the first feel of Summer came the influx onto the roads of the fair weather motorcyclists, you know the ones, they forget how big fast and heavy their machines are and spend the first few weeks of use re learning all those skills whilst everyone else tries not to be killed by them, the bikers appear oblivious, thinking that a) they're cool riding around in t-shirts and shorts 'cos it's just too hot and inconvenient to squeeze yourself into leathers on a hot day, and b) they're immortal... if helmet wearing wasn't mandatory I'm sure they'd go without. Hey stupid!! It's not as if the leathers have any other reason... I got off the soapbox when the sun disappeared and the rain came down as the fairweather bikers seemed to evaporate.

I am starting to think the birds have a collective eating disorder... They have been busy, the feeder has been empty and refilled every so often... I am so bad at keeping it topped up it often sits for days with the dregs at the bottom and then I fill it and it seems to go in 3 days, when I was regularly topping it up when it got empty it never seemed to be devoured so quickly. Surely they're not bingeing and then starving themselves waiting for me to refill the feeder...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Summer makes an appearance

Could it be that Summer has arrived, or at least sent a messenger on ahead? The drive into Sheffield was pleasant in the misty summer/ late spring morning, the warmth bringing out the worst of some drivers, although from recent experience the weather has nothing to do with cr** driving.
The warm air had collided with cold at around 4 am so a thunderstorn rumbled around to the accompanyment of brief crying of a hungry baby, by 10 the sun was breaking through so that by 12 I was sweltering in a supposedly air conditioned office.
I hope it lasts into the weekend...

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Ticket to ride

A few weeks ago we went to visit my Aunt and Uncle in Bakewell, we had a great day, as ever more food than you could shake a big stick at. The river at the back of the house was very full and fast flowing so we weren't able to paddle and I and Brian failed miserably at the Krypton factor test of trying to re fold on of these childrens pop up tents that is made from some memory metal that springs out of a matchbox [well ok I exaggerate...] Why is is these things never pack down as small as when you first buy them. You purchas what appears to be a space saver but after one use it's just never packs down again...

Anyway, the highlight for Elspeth was the scooter ride, and not just any old scooter, an ELECTRIC ONE...

Summer madness, art in the Garden

It's started - the summer madness... I got the washing off the line, took the basket into the house and came out to find Elspeth pegging the tulips...?

Elspeth was playing

In the kitchen today with the letters of her name and she spelled the word "help"... I wonder if there's something subconscious we cannot fathom out....

Friday, April 28, 2006

Against the old firm

No, not a Glasweigan encounter, today was the first [no doubt of many] trials against the old firm for one of the files I had taken over. It was with a great deal of hesitancy that I had handled these files, I had emailed the Law Society Ethics helpline to clarify the point [believe it or not lawyers di have ethics!] turned out that as long as I had not personally dealt with the matter it was fine for me to handle...

Anyway I had read the papers and briefed counsel, even spoken to the ex-colleague who I would be up against only to have the claim taken from my grasp by my boss as she didn't think it was fair... and to check out the barrister we'd instructed. It was his first job for us, so I suppose part curiousity on the management's part.. oh yes the result, the judge kicked out the Claimant's claim, so we won. Wonder if I'm black balled there now!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Congratulations - New Parents

There's clearly something in the water... New parents in the park today, very proud showing off their offspring - congratulations to the Black Swans

Thursday, April 13, 2006

It's a mad house....

One visitor leaves and another or that's the way it seems... a procession of family, as if one interloper to the daily routine isn't enough [me]...

Jemima has only been here 4 days but the sleep pattern is as if she's been on a long haul flight, she tends to lie blissfully asleep -waking only to snack from the hostess until about 4pm when she perks up and just will not rest, last night was better than the night before, I think I got 4 hours sleep...

Elspeth has coped admirably with the new arrival and the guests, she really has enjoyed her sister, especially the funny noises she makes - although there was an episode in the bath last night that is best left, although I must say that if the reaction of Elspeth to the incident can be a guage for the future I'll put her down for the high jump and the sprints as she jumped high and moved very fast. Perhaps a joint bath was a bit optimistic so soon.

The joint bath idea was purely to get them both into bed in good order so that we could have an early night... I'm sure we'll crack it soon...

Sunday, April 09, 2006

We are now four

In the middle of the night Sarah woke with stomach ache... it'll pass.. I'm just going to walk around... minutes later "Mark can you get dressed and take me to the Hospital?" Barely 20 minutes on the Maternity suite and three became four. Jemima Grace weighing in at a healthy 7lb 14oz 13 days earlier than [meticulously*] planned and at a semi dignified 1.40 a.m.... just so long as she doesn't become accustomed to such times of the night as she enters the mid and latter teens it'll be fine!!
*by Sarah

Monday, March 20, 2006

The last week of

1) individuals as client’s rather than corporations
2)haggling for a few pence more to help offset the interest the Claimant will be paying on the interest on their legal expenses insurance loan
3)driving claims forward and being proactive rather than reactive
4)objecting to so called experts who always come down on the side of the Defendant
5)fighting the injustice of the system
6)nagging clients pestering me for their money

I might be proved wrong of course…

Saturday, March 18, 2006


Not an exclamation of revelation but a children's museum in Halifax. Travelling on the clearest day for a while the views down the valleys from the M62 were stunning.

Wow, fun galore, a little over priced, although perhaps this impression was only formed after Elspeth was muscled out of doing a lot of the activities by some boisterous and frankly rude, beavers, cubs and brownies. 1st Cottam somewhere in Lancashire, so much for “Akela we’ll do our best”….

What little Elspeth could do before the swarm of light blue jumper brigade squeezed, pushed and bullied their way en masse like a plague of locusts through each zone she enjoyed. Multiple pictures of her and Michael playing in the garage area, sat in cars merrily turning the steering wheel on stationary vehicles.

I don’t recall being so badly behaved as a cub…

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Snow in the Garden

It’s been a while since blogging… it snowed on Friday evening and so on Saturday we tried to fashion a snow man in the garden. I’m not a snow expert but the snow wouldn’t stick together. Elspeth suggested using sellotape and glue, she accepted that it wouldn’t work so we just made a few small snowballs and threw them at Sarah and played on the slippery climbing frame.

The birds can now eat their fill as the feeder is refilled.

Friday, February 24, 2006

I need my coat I'm going to the pub

No, not me before I slip out, or in fact Sarah, these were the words of Elspeth this afternoon. Whilst I was at work she put on her Christmas pink fluffy dressing up shoes and her coat, grabbed her bag as she was going to the pub to have a drink with Josie.

She did just have an apple juice while Josie had Blackcurrant, I'm beginning to dread her teenage years....

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The inner workings of a nearly three year old...

Who knows what thought strings are being manipulated and interlinked in Elspeth’s head. She’s missing Josie [Adlard], whenever she has a moment she’s either talking to Josie on the phone or picking up Sarah’s car keys and driving to St Albans to see her – doesn’t bode well when she is actually able to drive [must remember in 14 years to keep my car keys in pocket – will we still be using keys?].

I walked into the lounge last night and before I caught her eye was able to eavesdrop on Elspeth in “conversation” with the nursery “Hello is that the nursery, would I be able to come when I’m three on June 7th to be with Josie?” I was stunned… I walked into the kitchen and told Sarah what I’d just heard, not only does she actually want to go to nursery [although I’m not sure whether she just thinks she’ll get to see Josie, or whether she genuinely wants to go], but she also knows precisely when her birthday is.

Sarah is planning to “release” Elspeth to nursery in September, I say release because I fear it will be difficult for Sarah, before then Elspeth may feel a little like a caged lion, and once out she may never look back.

Sarah has a fear that Elspeth will be the ringleader who manages to be yards away from danger when the scheme falls apart, she has that “butter wouldn’t melt in the mouth” face and the sweetest “innocent eyes”. Now which parent she takes after… well I’m not going to say who got in trouble the most at school [although that could be who got caught the most at school…]

She’s going to be a real handful when she starts to really answer back and argue.

Freedom of speech

This place is not one where I generally vent any pent up rage and ranting and raving is not something that I am very practiced at but there are two particular news items which are annoying me at the moment.

Whilst it is hard to ignore the greater racial issues of the “Danish Cartoons”. Where has common decency and regard for people’s opinions gone? The furore over Mel Gibson’s “Passion of Christ” was just as heated, a particular distinguishing factor was that the film was in a somewhat closed environment, you would chose to see the film, paying to see it - a discrete and definite choice, [with many walking out in disgust]. For a Moslem there are no images of the prophet, it is simply not acceptable for the prophet Mohammed to be represented in human form, Christ is represented in human form, Christ taking human form was the point [“his” actions in the film were the cause of the indignation]. To print images in the general press in full knowledge of this is simply disrespectful and wrong. To reprint them crosses the boundary, there is no defence to such actions by waving the “Freedom of Speech” banner.

The other “news” story which has raised my hackles today is that of David Irving. I admit, I have visited his website and I am appalled. It seems incredible to me that the small minded/pig headed and arrogant can, in the face of the incontrovertible evidence in testimony and written form, deny the holocaust. Arrogance is no excuse, because you don’t want to agree something doesn’t mean it didn’t happen… I can recommend the Judgment of Justice Charles Gray, who described Irving as an anti-Semite, a racist and a neo-Nazi sympathiser who “persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence.”

Whilst the notion of “Freedom of Speech” being an absolute “freedom” is utopian, it simply cannot be the case that it could be a reality in society. Obviously if we were in a utopian society as a notion it wouldn’t be objectionable. Society has tensions; racial, ethnic, class, amongst others and to maintain the fabric of its own existence; must set rules and boundaries. In the same way that you say thank you when someone holds a door open for you there are common courtesies which we should extend to all.

We owe each other a “duty of care”, in the same way that it is assumed that car drivers owe a duty not to drive into other drivers’ society has obligations to protect and to limit disclosure which may be harmful/ distasteful. Whilst Mr Irving and his opinions may be as disrespectful to the Jewish Community [and other victims of the Nazis], as the “Danish Cartoons” are to the Moslem faith, I feel there is a distinction; comment and discussion is fair it is open and transparent, but to simply do something that is not acceptable is simply unconscionable.

I am not seeking to make any comment on the subsequent protests, simply the act of printing the images.

Freedom of speech is not a valid argument for portraying offensive images and/or opinions without fetter, censorship can be good,

So long as speech does not directly incite racial hatred, it must remain free. Without censorship, those minority interests best limited by the “family filter” would be open on the internet [like the cinema and choosing to see a particular film we choose to censor these elements through engaging the filter.]

Spleen vented….

Bird feeder refilled, they’ve been going after the peanuts this week.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

More pictures

having problems with the pictures not adding to the site, so here's a selection from The Deep...