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Web Log

Below are is my complete weblog:

Bedtime Offering

The little guy has a bit of a habit of taking odd things to bed with him. It's typically something random that is selected at the last moment before going upstairs. A last grasp of fun before bed. Things have included balls, wooden tools, a Duplo road sweeper. Tonight it was a pine cone and made as a special request for Mum to fetch before I took him to read a book. Tonight has been a bit later than usual probably because of the unfortunately timed nap 2/3 way through our buggy-less broomstick walk to the field in search of a tractor - I ended up carrying him home as he fell asleep on my shoulder, his first nap in about a week of this new napless regime. So far he's come out about 10 times (I think, as I write this, for the last time) and on a number of these we've had to search for the pine cone in the bedding before he's happy for me to leave. The last time I put him back down I secured the cone in his little hand and then he turned to kiss me goodnight. He is such a delight.


Ely, Winchester of the East

I've been discovering the delights of Ely with my little boy on our Wednesdays together. Having sampled most of the swimming pools in the area I seem to have settled on Ely as having about the best. The water in the learner pool is warm (I think they have underfloor heating throughout) and the pool slopes gently from zero to about one metre meaning there is a great shallow area for playing and building up confidence. The changing facilities are also quite nice and clean (and bright unlike Abbey Pool). The only down side was that when we went a fortnight ago the lifeguard was falling asleep in his chair - I was alerted by this little voice saying "Daddy, that man's sleeping" - not what you want to see from a lifeguard of a learner pool. This week he seemed well awake and we had a great time playing in the water with the floaty tube things and these armband cakes that a friend lent to us. Thinking of buying a set. After swimming we went to Waitrose for a little shop and a coffee (another key advantage of Ely over Cambridge!) and then took our picnic in the grounds of the Cathedral. We popped inside and the little guy was well impressed with the height of the ceiling and that it was painted. So much so that he was commenting on this as we talked through our day at bedtime. With warm weather we also managed some gardening time, cooking together - made a tofu stroganoff - and then a night time walk round the village.



We were home in Cheltenham for the weekend and in church when I popped out to the train station with the little chap to greet his cousin and family at the station. We got to see the trains going off, but due to the annoying ticket barriers you can no longer go and stand on the platform (greedy money grabbing privatized railway companies). We then bundled everyone in the car and returned to church for the service. I was sitting behind them both and watched this gorgeous and quite hilarious display of copying commenced. His cousin is older by just a few weeks and whatever it was he did - moving hands, shuffling forwards on the seat, arms back, lying down, coughing - he copied instantly. The coughing was particularly funny as it was instigated by Nana's real cough and then went on and on reverberating between the two like an echo. The rest of the day was spent playing together nicely including a lovely spell in the garden thinning the hazel and damson trees before processing all the branches into logs for the fire, cutting them with the help of the two boys in between bouts of zooming round on the longer pieces as makeshift brooms.[2017-10-08]

Final Farewell

Today my little boy waved me off to work from the bottom of the driveway again. It doesn't happen every day and each time it happens I think it might be his last time. Recently he's been not wanting to give me a hug or kiss before I leave for work until I actually leave the door and then he'll come running out for one. The times he joins me walking up to the shed, unlocking my bike and then walking back down the driveway are little magical gems that I don't mind being late to work for. But today was a little different. Normally he would stand and wait until he lost sight of me as I rode off (at which point I'd circle back and just check that he did wonder back up the driveway and home - which he always does). Today, however, he gave me a kiss, waved good by as I cycled away but then turned and walked back up the driveway before I disappeared. Just these little things which are signs that he's growing up.[2017-10-02]


Today marks the end of Nasa's Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn. I wanted to mark this day with a blog post as this mission is a little special to me. The reason being that it is the one I most remember being launched and subsequently when it finally first reached Saturn I remember being shocked that it was something like 7 years since launch - by then I was in university looking back on the launch day, a day in my senior school when I was being taught by the frankly amazing physics teacher - Rob Crack. I remember being in the physics classroom and thinking forward about this launch to Saturn which would take so many years (an incomprehensible span back then) before delivering it's payload probe/lander to the moon of Titan, before sending back all this new information about Saturn. And today, that mission has finally ended after 20 years - a span which increasingly seems somewhat fleeting. Literally how time flies, even more so in the field of interplanetary space exploration. Thank you Cassini.


Out on a Limb

This evening, as the sun was setting on a Friday evening I took the opportunity of being back home in Cheltenham with the little guy naked and splashing happily in a paddling pool to pick some of the last few remaining damsons left on the tree. As I did this, initially up a ladder, then half climbing up the tree and finally climbing on top of the fence, I remembered quite viscerally how I used to do exactly this as a child. Picking damsons was my formative fruit picking experience. I'd forgotten how much I used to enjoy doing it, plastic bag slung over my arm or hung off a handy stump, I'd scramble between the twisted boughs receiving piercing stabs from the spiny branches often balanced on the high fence stretching out to reach the farthest purple fruits. Eating them too, this time of year the last of the fruits become just palatable to be able to snack on while picking, but not delicious enough to gorge yourself. Many wonderful memory feelings swept back over me. It was just divine. Then, as I was about to pop on a Hello Internet podcast and take advantage of the solo time, I was called out of the tree by my little boy. He's had a great day playing cup-of-tea in a tent in the garden, the paddling pool, pram bear, slide, and of course the endless fascination of Nana and Grandpa. He also had a superb day in regards to toilet training, waking me up at half six to ask to do a poo, and then four more through the day. Quite impressive. In the evening he even tried on his first pair of pants, and I think he enjoyed it. He's certainly growing up.


Sunset Walk

Due to a late nap, late working by me and thus a late dinner we decided to go for a little walk after eating to help digestion of a massive quantity of watermelon. We walked past the church and to the secret Elm wood catching the last rays of the sun. I made a mad climb of the ancient tree which was nearly a mistake before we emerged into the freshly ploughed fields to the west of the village. In the end we walked all the way round the field and then home with the little guy also walking the entire way (other than a few swings on the arm). We were amazed and well impressed. As we reached home the stars were out and the calm evening cooling. A lovely time.


Bedtime is Changing

His bedtime behaviour changed tonight. This time, rather than coming out and waiting for me to walk him back into bed (from where I'm sitting which is on the chairs on the landing) he came out, told me to read a book and that he was "planning" (whatever that meant), then he walked back into his room. This happened a couple of times, first time he brought me Horrible Histories to read, and then he selected Noma Chomsky's Power Systems. But each time he wondered back into bed on his own and eventually didn't come out after his last time popping his head round the door just to confirm he, or possibly I, was definitely doing the "planning". It is so glorious to watch him grow and develop like he is, even though each of these little steps is tinged with sadness.


Ten Years Barefoot

I see my blog from 10 years ago today and I was recovering from a migraine on a Sunday evening and decided to go for a wonder on Southampton Common. Today, a decade later I was wondering through Histon hughstreet making my way to the park with my son. Both of us were barefoot. Lovely.


Village Funfair

I'm not much one for funfairs. Not sure what it is about them, but I find them faintly creepy places. But this weekend the Histon Green has been given over for a funfair which routinely visits the village.. The little man has been seeing it slowly erected over the past few days and calling out its presence, in particular the "roundandround" which he loves. So this afternoon, when he returned from a friends birthday party, I took him off to have a look round. He walked there really well - certainly improving in his walking now - and he was quite excited to see the round and round up close. Actually that was all he wanted to see, so 2.50 later I sat him in the tiny emergency vehicle and off he went, up and down and round and round. He did the same waving and saying "bye bye" that he did on his birthday when we went to Willows Farm which gave him his first experience of merry-go-rounds. Afterwards I managed to distract him from his persistent call for more roundandround by taking him on the dogems. Perhaps that was a mistake, but for the first half of our ride he was loving it and doing most of the steering. Then things got a bit rough as we joined the fray of other cars. At this point we had our first bump, hitting another car square on the side. The collision resulted in a face-on-wheel impact and left the little guy clutching his upper lip and crying (largely obscured by the general noise of the fair) plus a dab of blood. Sadly we only just regained composure as the ride came to an end and it was time to head home for tea. He moaned most of the way home to go again on the roundandround, but I managed to ignore it and we enjoyed a dinner of garden veg spaghetti outside in the garden. Later, as we recounted our visit to the fair, the mention of the dogems was immediately described in terms of the pain caused. Oh dear, it's another case of the helmet clip when talking about Berty the pony.