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Web Log

Below are is my complete weblog:

10 Years On

It is a decade on since I first asked Dr K out on a date standing barefoot in the driveway on Kitchener Road. Now we have a tiny little man who comes out with a torch when I cycle home to welcome me back and guide me to the house chatting away about all the things he has done during the day. It is uplifting to have such a bundle of life in our charge.


The End of the Year

Not a proper post, more just a placeholder to say goodbye to 2017. A year of little personal change but huge development in the little guy. I have been meaning to write more on that, and I hope to still, but suffice to say it has been a total joy and inspiration. I love being a dad. Goodnight year, see you tomorrow.


First Cinema Experience

Being Wednesday and my day off (or on, depending on your point of view) I was kindly invited to the Cinema with the little man's village friends. It was at the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse (a good plus point) and the screening was The Gruffalo. He really enjoyed the experience. I don't think it blew his mind - despite being essentially deprived of almost all screen-time in normal life - but he was transfixed all the way through and asked for anoyher one when it finished. Luckily for him there was - it was a double bill with the second being The Gruffalo's Child. He sat on my lap for that one and just got a tad restless at the very end. But it was a very positive first cinema experience and a bit of a privileged to have been there with him for it. During his bath this evening he did ask to go again, which is a good sign.


The End of 35

Although I like the shape and colour of 36, I'm not so much keen on it being my age. But as with every year I can't halt the progression of time (bloody time) so tomorrow (in fifty eight minutes I'm informed), thirty six it will be.

Thankfully I've found a system which works and that is to celebrate the day before. I've been doing it for a few years now and it is far better than celebrating on the day itself. It's possibly akin to my preference for Christmas Eve over the following day. So today I went to watch the new Star Wars - The Last Jedi while Dr K took care of the little chap. We enjoyed a light lunch of toasted cheese sandwiches in The Indigo Cafe and then a potter around some shops before I parted ways for some cinema me-time. It was most enjoyable, lush I'd describe it as, although I didn't really quite see the point of one of the plot points (no spoilers, quiz me via email/whatsapp).

There was more to come but an ill little boy got in the way - not too ill, he finally went to bed explaining about a monkey and a crocodile and an elephant in some delightful imaginary scenario.


Julia Donaldson

Julia has a lot of tears to answer for. Predominantly mine. I've just read The Paper Dolls to my little boy as he lay curled up in my arms. I began to weep as it talks about the memories we hold from our own childhood and I shared something of mine with him. It's the first time I think I've told him about my dad, my tears dropping onto his head; I clutched him as he fell asleep.


Cycle Ride

I bunked off Church due to it being Remembrance Sunday and took the combined opportunity of being both alone and awake to join my village bicycle club ride. You know, the Histon and Impington Bicycle Club, the one I accidentally helped to found.

It nearly killed me.

Yet it was brilliant.

After a slightly awkward gathering at the Pump on the Green at 08:30 and some bike faff (not mine) we set off towards Wimpole Hall. I quickly realised I was on the wrong bike - or the right bike but the wrong season - as I was that guy who doesn't have mud guards meaning I had to apologise to those behind every time I clipped a puddle. Thankfully the mood was jovial and I felt mostly welcome for a first newbie. Also no one mentioned that in the rush to get out this morning I'd put on my swimming shorts rather than my cycling shorts.

I soon settled into the ride, enjoying the speed of my road bike in comparison to my commuter. However, it was the cycling as a group which was the joy, cycling as a mini peleton, a 4-by-2 group of cyclists cutting through the air like a machine. Damn this is fun. It's also so easy - drafting makes riding so much more enjoyable. As it happened, the tail wind also helped and when I finally took a turn at the front we were heading back north and good lord that was windy resulting in my legs just giving out and forcing me to drop back while Mr Rapha steamed on almost unstoppable. We also encountered some hills - oh the joy! Behold, geography! Turns out I'm pretty good at hills beating everyone up all of them, hehe. Although this, together with my stint at the front and my lack of preparation when it came to brining fluids meant that as we reached back into Histon I was well and truly spent, I couldn't keep up even at the back and had to let them go while I rolled back home.

Exhausted but elated.


Not Quite As Smoothly

Although that's not to say they have gone badly. But indeed, Monday's mantelpiece job was a fluke. The rest of the week has been a mix of sawing, measuring, guessing, and screwing to erect some shelving in the space under the stairs. This wasn't even on my main list of things to do this week, but as is the way with my inability to prioritise at times, I got stuck into it after an accidental pit of light admin which I did on Tuesday morning. That lead to me taking emptying out all the stationery from under the stairs which then led to me thinking "ooh, just give it a look and see" followed by rummaging in the shed for bit of odd wood which all just happened to work together to create these shelved. I'm really pleased with the work - neat, straight, and relatively simple. I suspect it was this accidental combination joy of using odd scraps of wood that I've had lying around waiting for a use and their accidental synergy as my mind pieced together the puzzle of how it would work. Somewhat delicious. And practical. A good combination all round. Just hope that Dr K approves. Also I might now need to order some new Really Useful Storage Boxes in 48 Litres as I've made the shelved to their dimension. Ummm, uniform storage, another satisfactional joy.


All The Same

That comment about those storage boxes and the joy of having a uniform means of doing something. WHat is that? It's definitely something that other people have, thought I suspect not everyone, perhaps it's a personality type association? But I certainly have it and I've been meaning to write about it for a while now. (So long that podcasts have now become a thing and, had I got my act together, this could have made a good podcast topic).

I've something similar with household cleaning products to which my secret cupboard can attest. I like to have all the same washing up liquid for example. It's not surprising that I like Ecover*, but it might be surprising to know that I have stockpiled about 20 litres of the stuff. There is something in my brain which gets great satisfaction from knowing two things. Firstly that I have found my washing up liquid of choise, and secondly that I'm not going to run out any time soon.

That second point is more obvious and is to do with being secure, it's the animal trait of storing knuts in autumn to survive winter, but in my human context it's storing products when there's an offer on in order to survive until the next offer (thank you Waitrose for Ecover week).

However, it is that first point which I find most intriguing and oddly calming, that sense that my mind is made up on something, I don't need to worry any more. Perhaps for many there is great joy in trying every different type of detergent that gets advertised (clearly they don't stop making "new more advanced formulas" so some people must be buying them), but not me. I like the one that I like and I now don't have any desire to try any different varieties (I also think this is the best as it leaves clothes smelling of nothing more than clothes; no nasty fragrances). This is not limited to cleaning fluids - I've chosen my brand of screws and screwdrivers, my preferred shade of gloss white paint (which is neither white, nor gloss), toilet roll, t-shirt, bicycle tire (see also: inner tube, pump, tyre leaver, handlebar tape). Oh dear, this is endless! Is this just about choise? I don't like choice, or at least too much of the thing, I find it clutters the brain and leaves me paralysed. It's one of the things I don't like about Netflix. Am I simply becoming old? Is this a man thing? Should I take such comfort in having selected my "chosen things"? I guess I don't want to miss out, and I certainly can and do change my preference in the light of new evidence, but also I mostly trust Past Nick to have made some fairly good decisions and that perhaps it's sometimes best (or maybe just easiest) to no question him and stick with what I like.

Hmm, this got all a bit waffly towards the end, perhaps I could have improved this with some editing, but past Nick couldn't be bothered at the time. He was also waying up the idea of leaving the spelling mistakes in.
* Exhibit a - the image in my side bar. Although I have heard that perhaps there are manufacturers with higher environmental credentials (something to do with water fleas?)


A Mantelpiece

Tonight I put up a mantelpiece in the lounge. Having one had been on my mind for quite a while, partly just for the look of it above the fireplace, and practically as a way to encourage more heat to billow into the room, but also as an additional storage space for cards. As luck would have it recently, while foraging for wood, I came across this rather large plank which at first I lamented over the prospect of sawing up for burning, but on second look realised was just about the right size and shape for the space. Win. So this evening I fixed in and popped it on the wall. Actually, it was almost as easy as that - the first wall spike I placed happened to pick the exact centre of mass meaning it was held in place as is - and then I added another dowel rod at either end to stop it spinning. Job done. I wonder if the rest of my week's planned projects will go as smoothly?


A Golden Silence Descend

It helped that it was also sunny this morning, but the when I came down today there was this incredible sense of silence throughout the house. Everywhere was quite. Everywhere was as I'd left it the night before. It was incredibly exhilarating. Even the cat was revelling in it: curled up snug and asleep on the sofa in plain sight. The most similar experience is to the silence felt as a child when our cousins left after coming to visit - though on those occasions the silence was somewhat tinged with sadness as the noise and hubbub of suddenly expanded family vaporised. But this silence today was not. It was joy. Now I love them of course, and I wouldn't want to be without my little bundle of joyful noise, but just occasionally (with the assurance that it will return soon enough making it both a secure time and even more precious) it is a most welcome thing. I think I might have confused some of the folk at Church as I was almost elated as I chatted after the service. Actually, even as I sat there in further, usual silence I had this strange experience of thoughts, having actual thoughts that belonged to me, about who I am and what I like to be. That was quite unusual and reassuring to find that I am still me, that I still exist. So much so that when I visited Tesco this afternoon (to pick up some hash browns - yum) I took the opportunity/risk of returning back home along the A14 just for the shear experience.