Lots and lots…

Lots to catch up on here and, as usual, not much time to write it, so this may be more in the way of a weekend intinerary than a proper update.

Friday we went to Wales for the wedding of my old friend Dr Nick Perham and his lovely lady, Dr Helen Hodgetts.  Nick and I first met at Wolverhampton University back in the early ’90s, and we’ve been good friends ever since, as have so many of the other people I met there.  Nick looks a little bit intimidating when you first meet him, but is actually one of the loveliest, most thoughtful people I’ve ever met, and it was a genuine pleasure to learn that he was getting married to the lovely Helen – I hope they’ll make each other very happy for a very long time. 🙂

So, Friday started, ahem, well when the car hire company rang up to tell us the company we’d actually hired our car from had gone bust a fortnight ago; fortunately, the people phoning us were the company who’d bought up all their business and were just checking we still wanted the car (we did).

They then rang back again two minutes later to check we knew the T&Cs for the hire of a car from them (we did) and to ask whether I wanted a lift to their car hire offices (I did).  The latter was especially welcome as their offices were in Dartford, miles from anywhere!

Car acquired, we only had to wait for Grandma and Granddad to arrive (to look after the girls while we were away) and our friends Mike and Inge with whom we were were driving to Caerphilly.  Amazingly, everyone arrived on time and we left for Wales at midday, reaching Caerphilly just after four o’clock.

The Travelodge in Caerphilly was a bit basic – on top of a hill amidst some building sites and wasteland with only a Lidl and a recycling depot for company – but it did the job, and since we were staying there with lots of other friends it was perfectly adequate.  In the evening, after a lot of faffing about, we went into Cardiff for drinks with everyone.  We played some pool, ate some crisps, drank some beer…

..and I sang Ace Of Spades at karaoke with Nick and another friend of his (I initially started doing it in a lounge style, but quickly gave that up and went for a more straightforward howling bellow, which worked pretty well).

The wedding was lovely, as weddings usually are, and it all took place in Caerphilly Castle, which is a very impressive venue to have a wedding at!  There are lots of photos of it all on Flickr.

There was lots of dancing, too, all of which was considerably improved by lots of ’80s tunes and the improvising of some amazing air guitar solos by all and sundry.  Well, we were a bit drunk…

Sunday, following a fried breakfast in Caerphilly, we headed for home – and what a welcome we got there!  The Lovely Melanie rang the doorbell and we could straightaway hear a near-hysterical Millie rushing to answer it, so we got lots of cuddles and breathless explanations of her weekend from her.  Slightly more surprising, but just as lovely, was Amber’s reaction when we came in.  For a few seconds she only looked at us and seemed to be thinking, but then you could almost hear something go click in her head as she realised just who we were and scrambled to climb off the sofa and come to see us.

Now that absolutely made my day.  I knew Millie would be as overjoyed to see us as we were to see her; but Amber…I thought she’d be a lot more blasé about our return.  However she was obviously overjoyed to see us back, and spent the next hour or so climbing all over us, dribbling profusely and giving both the Lovely Melanie and I lots of sticky cuddles. 😀

She did unfortunately manage to poo all over our bed later, but we put that down to excitement – we’ve all done it, I’m sure: gotten so excited to see our loved ones back that we manage to shit in their bed. 😉

This morning I was stressed because the car needed to be returned to this place in Dartford that I’d only ever been once before in my whole life.  Plus, the girls needed taking to nursery first.  By the time I left nursery my blood pressure was pretty high, and it went even higher when I got lost around the A2…

Fortunately, I done my homework – printing out a map the evening before – and with the judicious application of luck, intelligence,  and good old-fashioned swearing I found my way to the car hire place without having a complete nervousbreakdown.

Sore eyes, Wales

Not much has been happening worth mentioning here the last couple of days – which is just as well since work has gotten so busy I’ve had permanently sore eyes from staring at a screen all day: the last thing I’ve been wanting to do is write on this blog.

And there won’t be much for a few days now, since the Lovely Melanie and I are off to Cardiff for a wedding this weekend.  The girls are staying at home with Grandma and Granddad, and we get a glorious two days and night away.  The Lovely Melanie keeps saying ‘I’m going to miss my girls…‘, to which I reply, ‘Yeah, so am I – but not too much.‘ 😛

I had been thinking about taking my work laptop with me to Cardiff so I could still check email or update here…but I probably won’t.  Although…I have recently figured out how to connect my laptop to the internet via Bluetooth through my ‘phone, so it might be interesting to take that for a test drive in Wales…

And here is a live map of edits on Wikipedia. Surprisingly compelling…

Millie’s uniform!

Millie’s nursery have decided that all the older children shoud wear a uniform; she wore it for the first time this morning and looked justifiably pleased with herself, as you can see.

The uniforms don’t become compulsory for another couple of weeks, but since we’ve got ours, Millie was curious about it and plenty of other children are already wearing theirs it seemed churlish to let my natural dislike of conformity stand in the way.

I’m also quite pleased with the quality of this picture, since it was snapped very quickly with my new phone…


There is so much snot filling my upper body that I’m only surprised my body hasn’t become dehydrated from the effort of producing it all.  No matter how many times and how relentlessly hard I blow my nose it’s always refilled within five minutes.  If my snot had any kind of monetary value then I could be a rich man by now…

And Millie, this morning, was so supine she was almost comatose.  When I came out of the shower and saw her bedroom door was open I popped my head in only to find an absence of Millie.  She was eventually discovered looking rather sorry for herself in my bed.

Despite complaining of a “poorly tummy” an infusion of Cheerios eventually roused her, and further improvements were seen following oral ingestion of a fruit bar on the way to nursery (not the whole fruit bar, however, as a hungry eagle-eyed Bubbah had to be placated with some, too).

Hopefully Millie is just very tired, still recovering from an exhaustingly fun three days at Nanny and Grampy’s house.

The life of Riley

This is the life: I’m working from home today, a bit of a last minute decision, but all of my team is today because we’re working on some pretty dull and long-winded projects at the moment and this is some kind of  compensation.

But I’m not only working from home – I’m working from home in the garden – out in the sun, surrounded by birds, flowers and nature, and toasting the very good health of the inventors of the latop that enable me to do this. 🙂

And, much as the Lovely Melanie and I are missing Millie…it’s lovely and quiet round here. 😉

We spoke briefly to my parents last night on Skype, and a breathless Millie tried to fill us in on what she’d been up to so far, but was too excited and hyper to really do so. 🙂  Which was reassuring, as I was a tiny bit concerned she’d be worried about being there without us (she is only three and a half, remember).

But we needn’t have worried – she seems to be having the time of her life in Swindon.

I have a new phone, too.  Well, it’s new for me, but is second-hand.

My other phone suddenly turned very temperamental about receiving or sending texts and calls (thus making it not really “a phone” at all).  As ever, it was eBay to the rescue however and I now have a battered but perfectly functional Sony-Ericsson K800 model.

And if you can explain to me why this three year old model with only half the megapixelage not only takes vastly superior pictures to the Samsung F480 I recently dumped, but also never loses reception when in our house then I shall be very interested to hear from you.

Oh, and here’s a picture of Amber snapped with the K800 earlier today.

Visiting Swindon

My parents are coming to stay with us this evening, which I’m looking forward to, but the reason for the visit is that Millie’s going to stay with them for a couple of days, which I confess I’m slightly sad about.

My parents have been asking if they can have Millie to stay with them (without us there) for months now, and we’ve only just gotten round to sorting it out.  She’s going back to Swindon with them on the train tomorrow (Thursday) and coming back Saturday afternoon.  Not exactly a month in the country, but despite appearing quite blasé about it – and thinking that Millie will have both a great time as well as gain a little bit more independence – the house is going to be a bit quiet and sad without her. 😦

Fortunately, my parents and Millie are going to catch the same train as me to work tomorrow, so I’ll see Millie for an extra 40 minutes or so.

Anyway, we’ll still have the eBub there with us.  She’s settling in remarkably well at nursery: in fact, one of the aunties there told us they’d never seen a bubbah settle in so quickly and happily as our bubbah has.  Firstly, I’m not sure whether that’s a compliment or not; secondly, I’m equally uncertain whether they might not say that to every parent!

Also, eBub has already made a little friend at nursery.  Most of the children in her class are a bit older – they’re already walking – but there’s another little bubbah there even younger than the eBub (though not smaller – just like her “big” sister, Amber is quite petite) and they apparently have a whale of a time playing together and chasing each other around the nursery on all fours.

I imagine that’s a lovely sight to behold, since eBub leaves you in no doubt when she’s happy – she has an infectious giggle and often squeals with delight – at a remarkably high pitch and volume – when particularly delighted by something (“something” usually being anything Millie does that includes her in it).

Getting both girls to nursery on my own is turning out to be far less stressful than I’d imagined, although I’m glad eBub is eating plain old weetabix now, rather than some special complicated baby food.  Getting both girls actually into nursery is the hard part, what with all the security measures they have in place to stop the omnipresent Filthy Paedos™ from somehow parachuting in or abseiling down the walls.

When we get there, Millie will be pushing the buggy with Amber in it (Millie loves pushing the buggy – I’m worried that passersby think I’m some kind of lazy slave-driving dad!) and first of all we have to ring the bell to get buzzed in to the main nursery.  We take Amber out of the buggy, take her coat off, get her bottle from under the buggy and hand both bottle and Bubbah over to the aunties.

Next, Millie likes to help me put the buggy away so we take the buggy back out the front door, go round the side of the nursery and get buzzed into another separate section where the buggies are kept.  Fold the buggy up, put it away and go back around to the front to get buzzed in again; go upstairs, take Millie’s coat off, hang it up and kiss her goodbye (and often hang around for 30 seconds just to watch her at play with her friends).

The Lovely Melanie suggested there was an easier internal way to cut out all this buzzing rigmarole, but we tried it today and although it’s shorter the process means getting Aunties involved to hold doors open and the like, so I think I’ll stick with the rigmarole we know, thank you.