How beautiful is that…?

SpaceShip Two Virgin Galactic

OK, so it’s way behind schedule and NASA has already been doing this for decades, but SpaceShip Two’s first rocket-powered flight earlier today sure is a beautiful sight. 🙂

Now, if I can just persuade the Lovely Melanie to get me a flight for my 50th birthday…

More moodiness

“Oh, jeez, not another post about his bad moods.  I might skip this one.”

Yeah, feel free; I don’t particularly like writing about my moods, definitely don’t enjoy having them, and am mostly documenting them to try and explain to the girls in future years why I was sometimes such a miserable crap dad.

Sorry, girls.  In my defence, it’s not easy managing your own moods.  In many ways, you’re your own worst enemy – the person least equipped to do something about it – but I’m trying as hard as I can.

There are two hurdles to overcome:

  1. You have to be aware of how unpleasant you’re being to people
  2. You have to make the effort to care (it’s far far too easy to think “sod it”)

Fortunately, I’ve got an understanding and caring wife who will tell me in no uncertain terms if I’m doing 1, and do so in a way guaranteed to ensure 2.

Last weekend I was a bloody nightmare.  I woke Saturday morning with a sinking feeling of “Well, nothing to look forward to this weekend.”  Not angry or shouting (well, not much) but deeply intolerant, impatient, and viciously sarcastic.  Basically, a bit of a bastard.

So I would like apologise to my wife and children.  Having a go at you for the slightest silly mistake isn’t helping anyone, in fact, as the Lovely Melanie pointed out, this is quite obviously where Millie is getting her occasionally acid tongue.

Yeah, that brought it home.  Do I want two children who think it’s OK to talk to other people like dirt?

No.  No, I do not.

So keep on telling me if I’m being unpleasant.  Don’t let me get away with it.  Point out the consequences of my crappy temper and nasty retorts.

Because when I’m a little bit nicer and more rational, I do take your advice on board.

And believe me, I am ashamed of myself.

Is it something to do with Trev’s death?  Very probably.

Would I be like this if Trev was still here?  I doubt it.

There’s a slightly morbid part of me that’s fascinated to discover how hard it is to get over his death, get through it carry on as before – and refuses to recognise that there is no getting “past” this or “through” it.

You’re going to be dealing with it every day…forever, basically.  Things never go back to how they were.

Wetherspoons with Millie

Millie and I went out for lunch on Sunday.  The Lovely Melanie and Amber had gone to a birthday party in “lovely” Dartford, so Millie and I were left to amuse ourselves.

“Where would you like to go?” I asked her.  “How about Pizza Express?”


Really?  I thought we’d gotten over this obsession with bad fast food.

“We’re not going to McDonald’s,” I replied.  “We have to go to Bexleyheath to get some bits and pieces anyway – why don’t we go to the Pizza Express there?  Or the Pie Shop?”

“Wetherspoons!  Wetherspoons is my favourite restaurant!”

“You said Wagamama was your favourite, after Mummy took you there.”

“Wagamama is third, after Wetherspoons and McDonald’s.”

“We can go anywhere you like – anywhere – and you want to go to Wetherspoons?”


So, Wetherspoons it was.  I have nothing against Wetherspoons particularly – they don’t play loud music, which, if you’re trying to talk to someone, is a huge bonus, their beer is cheap, and they have a decent selection of drinks usually – but their food is a bit rubbish.

Anyway, we had a perfectly acceptable lunch there, just the two of us, drawing aliens, discussing politics – Millie explained how her class had all written letters to the council about their alleged plans to sell off Danson Park, and I explained a little about how democracy works and how Mummy and Daddy often wrote letters to people in power – and generally having a nice bit of father-daughter time.

While in Bexleyheath we had to buy some extra fencing to block a low part of our garden fence where a fox got in again on Saturday and tried again to have Chicken Licken for lunch.  Dave and Lily were both able to jump over the new gate and ran inside the house for safety, which inexplicably upset Millie and Amber more than Licken’s lucky escape!

Chicken Licken is limping again and refusing to come out of the chicken coop.  Fingers crossed she recovers again, like last time.

The low part of the fence is now blocked in a “rough and ready” fashion, (or “shoddy” as other people call it), and we haven’t seen the fox again; however, let’s not forget that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence – just because we haven’t seen any foxes yet doesn’t mean they can’t get in.

Appropriate clothing

ME: Millie, can you get dressed, please, we need to clean the chickens out.  Oh, and tell Amber to get dressed, too.


Millie comes downstairs in full ballet regalia.

ME (smiling): You look beautiful, my love, but are you really going to clean the chickens out in that?

Millie scampers back upstairs.

Who knows what she’ll change into now.  A pantomime horse with Amber, perhaps?

Nope, she’s come down in a skimpy summer dress.  Again, looking lovely, but it’s 9am on quite a chilly Saturday spring morning.

Led by the holy flowchart

At the recommendation of various bloggers and Facebook friends medical experts, and because I wasn’t feeling any better than yesterday, I agreed this morning to phone 111.

111111, for those that don’t know, is the replacement service for NHS Direct: a free telephone service you can ring when you’re a bit poorly.  Not poorly enough to go to A&E but poorly enough that you don’t want to wait for an appointment with your GP.

111 and NHS Direct differ in just one way: their flowcharts.  One always concludes you should go and see your GP, the other always suggests you should go to A&E.

This is annoying because the whole point of ringing either service is to avoid, if at all possible, visiting a busy GP or A&E department.

Anyway, I rang 111 just before 8 this morning – still coughing and wheezing as I have been since the weekend.  Lo and behold: you should go to A&E.

So I did.

A&E were great – probably helped a little by the fact that 9am on a Thursday isn’t, traditionally, their busiest time.  A very nice nurse swiftly triaged me, sighing heavily at my story of being led here by the holy flowchart of 111.

I was seen – twice! – within less than 30 minutes; diagnosed with a chest infection, given some antibiotics, and sent on my wheezing way.

The effects shouldn’t be evident for a day or two yet, but I’m already feeling quite a lot better.  Which is annoying because tonight I was supposed to be going to not one but two parties, wishing farewell to some old work colleagues.  But my chest infection and antibiotics have put paid to that. 😦

Bit better

Feeling quite a lot better after yesterday’s trials and tribulations.  Still can’t run very far, but I can manage the stairs now without needing to rest at the top or bottom.

Not only that, but it’s warm and sunny and I’m working from home accompanied by birdsong drifting through the open backdoor.

I can just see the chickens asleep in the sunshine at the end of the garden, two blackbirds are collecting nesting materials from our lawn, a robin has popped in, and there are a pair of squirrels who regularly bob by along the fence.

Amber was amazed to see a butterfly in the garden before school today – I assumed she meant the two solar-powered ones, but no, she was enchanted by a genuine one that fluttered hither and thither.

I guess it must be Spring at long last. 😀


Gah!  Not sure what’s wrong with me at the moment; I’m struggling with headaches brought on by a terrible hacking cough brought on by a frighteningly wheezy chest.

Yesterday I struggled into work, but just getting to and from the station left me gasping for breath.  Today, I barely got the kids to school in the morning, then needed a sit-down for five minutes to recover.

Is it an illness or a new form of asthma??  Whatever it may be, it sucks.