Another trip to the eye doctor…

But don’t panic, it was purely routine. Millie’s eyes are still fine, although they have now recommended she should wear her glasses for any distance viewing, such as TV (although, she doesn’t actually watch much TV, preferring reading, colouring-in, dancing and computer games) and for reading.

Apparently “it won’t do any harm, and will probably help,” although I’m not entirely certain what it will help.  I’m surprised they didn’t say to use them for computer games, but I guess you sit a lot closer to a computer screen than you do to a TV.

The Lovely Melanie was complaining that the hospital took ages to see them when they went for the check-up; that’s not so bad, but it was also desperately hot in the waiting room.  She had nothing but praise for Millie, however, who didn’t complain or whinge once.  Instead, she read every single book they had in the waiting room from start to finish, and then read them again to some of the other (more elderly) people also waiting, and who thought it was just too cute!

Good old ‘Lays – making the waiting experience better for everyone! 🙂

In redundancy news, I’m awaiting some hopeful news from my current job – not that I’ve had a reprieve but there’s the possibility of a similar job with EF, the big company that owns Hult, my employer.  I’ve spoken to all the relevant people, submitted all the relevant documents and shown all the relevant enthusiasm, and things look hopeful.

But I don’t have a new job yet.

Pining for the sea

Mel, Millie & Amber sat by the ThamesHaving spent a lovely weekend with my family – exploring London’s bustling South Bank (again) and paddling in the river at Foots Cray – I really really want to be at the beach today.

Which is a little unusual for me.  But the smell of the Thames on Saturday (pic) and the feel of the cool river yesterday (another pic) has me pining for the ocean.

Unfortunately, today I am mostly editing faculty bios at work.


I’m sat at work editing a seemingly endless list of faculty biographies, but on my desktop I have open the live feed of SpaceX‘s Dragon capsule docking with the International Space Station.

Dragon capsule in orbit above EarthEvery time I look at it I smile. SpaceX is doing an incredible thing in pushing humanity towards space and a proper science-fictional future with all the jet packs and moonbases and stuff.  Congratulations to Elon Musk for having the vision to attempt something like this, rather than investing his fortune in something drab and financial.

But docking in space is painfully slow, a bit like watching the hands of a clock: you only notice they’ve moved when you look away and then look back a bit later.

And for all that Dragon is an amazing achievement, what’s truly mesmerising is our Earth spinning by underneath it all – galloping by in comparison to the Dragon capsule!

Over-planning for a picnic

At breakfast this morning…

ME: If the weather’s nice this weekend, girls, we could go to Foots Cray for a picnic and a paddle in the river. Would you like that?

GIRLS: Yeah!!

ME: We’ll take some towels and flip-flops so you can go paddling.

AMBER: Yeah. And a blanket to sit on.

ME: Yes, good idea, Amb.

AMBER: And some food.

ME: Yep, obviously.

AMBER: And something to drink.

ME: Yes.

AMBER: In a flask.

ME: In a flask, yes.

AMBER: And our dollies.

ME: Well, if you like.

AMBER: And some bubbles.

ME: Yep.

AMBER: And a hat.

ME: Hats, yes.

AMBER: And we could do some running!

ME: We could.

AMBER: And jumping.

ME: Mm-hm.

AMBER:And chase each other.

ME: Mmm.

AMBER: And pick some flowers.

ME: …

AMBER: And catch fishes!

ME: …

AMBER: And have a sleep!

ME: Hmm…

AMBER: And…and…our dollies could have a sleep, too.

ME: (nothing, because I’ve left the room)

AMBER: And look at the clouds. And eat some crisps. And jump. And…

MILLIE: (wanders in, shouts to me): Dids! What is Amber talking about?!

ME: Hm? Oh, I’m not sure. Amb, what are you talking about?!

AMBER: ..And we could take some crayons and do some drawing, and some dancing, and bananas and fruit bars and a ball and…

The Sundance Kid

I’m not expecting this to be everyone’s cup of tea, but I LOVE this song at the moment.

It’s over 18 minutes long, has no singing, no chorus and includes jazz saxophone, but it’s such a quirky, happy little number I just can’t help but love it.

And when (at around 11 minutes) a couple of guys start talking about the Sundance Kid and how he’s going to dance around…well, that just puts a big stupid old grin on my face. 🙂

I have no idea who Food Pyramid are, but if you like this track then there are two albums, Plateaus and Mango Sunrise, both of which I highly recommend.

Ants and red beetles

My brother has posted a nice blog entry about his holiday in Weymouth with his little girl, Izzy (apparently some other people went, too, but it’s hard to tell).  It reminded me an awful lot of our first seaside trip with Millie, which was also to Weymouth, and where Millie was nervous of the sand and terrified of the sea.

Must be a Carter girls thing. 🙂

It also reminded me of some Dad stuff I’ve been up to lately, and how it was the kind of “Dad Stuff” I always love to do – namely, pointing out interesting stuff to the girls – making sure they’ve got a healthy sense of curiousity and aren’t scared of things that don’t merit a healthy dose of fear/respect.

The past couple of weeks the girls have been acting as security on the peace lily out front of our house.  We’ve had it for a while now, and about three years ago it got eaten alive by red beetles.  All the leaves were literally stripped abre, leaving just some forlorn sticks with some weedy-looking flowers on top.

Peace lily red beetle
Peace lily beetle, eggs and large poo

The last couple of years I’ve tried spraying it with pesticide (which worked, but made me nervous that the girls might somehow eat some), and last year I simply kept a close eye on the thing during spring time.  That worked a treat, so this year – working on the premise that three pairs of eyes are better than one – I’ve trained the girls to watch for red beetles, too, as well as red beetle poo and red beetle eggs.

And what a magnificent job they’ve done!

Not a single red beetle gets past their eagle-eyes.  They’re out there every morning before school and (I’m told) every evening after school.  They’re the scourge of the red beetles! 🙂

So, I hope we’ll have a magnificent array of peace lilies this year.

There are also some unusual ant colonies that have sprung up along the paths round our way.  They’re obviously set up home under the paving slabs, and between many of the slabs a small sand dune has sprung up with a hole next to it.

There’s a particularly large one on the path near our house, which I pointed out to the girls: showing them the ants coming out, each carrying a grain of sand or mud in their jaws. I explained how the ants had excavated a nest under the paving slabs and that each time we saw one of these little “dunes” it meant there was an ant’s nest underneath.

Amber, in particular, has been counting ant’s nests ever since!

Sadly, it probably won’t be long before they’re both going “Whatever! Boring!” but for now it’s great to see the fascination on their faces as we crowd round this little growing pile of sand and watch the ants scurrying to and fro.

This is what I became a dad for – to pass on my curiousity and love of the world around me to my children; to explain to an appreciative audience how stuff works. 🙂

The only time you’ll ever hear me say “Ask your mother,” in our house is in regard to an occasional clothing issue (I’m inclined to say “Go for it!” whereas the Lovely Melanie will most likely say “Whatever do you look like?!”)

“ANOTHER new job?”

This morning, on the way to school.

ME: I’ve got to meet a lady to talk about a new job tonight.


ME: Well, if I’m going to work for her we both want to see if we like each other.

MILLIE: You’re getting another new job?  How many jobs have you had?  Mummy’s got the same job, but you’re always getting a new job!

ME: Yeah, well…

MILLIE: You get a new job every day!

ME: Is that a badger over there?  I’m sure I saw a badger…