Thursday, 30 August 2012

Stoppit and Tidyup

Meet the new cleaner.  Blurry photos are my stock in trade!

Vacuum Cleaners are great.  There is very little that satisfies me as much as taking a room that is a real tip and tidying it up.  Putting stuff away in their proper place carries quite a thrill for me.  I imagine those of you that have supremely tidy houses with nothing out of place to begin with are bemused by this, but you should really try it.  Let a room get into a complete state and then feel the joy as you restore order from chaos.  Which is where the vacuum cleaner comes in.  It applies the finishing touch, the icing on the cake, the floor has been cleared of the detritus of life; books, coffee mugs, the odd slipper, an occasional hedgehog, all put back and then out comes the vacuum to give a room that just cleaned vacuum sheen.

I have quite the soft spot for vacuum cleaners as you can probably tell, so when the opportunity came up to put one to the test and then write about it, I will admit to having a little shiver of excitement.  Well, maybe not, but I was looking forward to it.  So much, in fact, that when it came to be delivered I forgot to let my wife know that it was coming.  Which meant that when a delivery man tried to foist what was for her a totally unlooked for cleaning device, she was, as you might expect, surprised to say the least.  Once the persistent delivery man had convinced her that the address was hers and that the name was mine and that really there wasn’t anything she could do but take the cleaner we were finally the recipients of a Hoover Globe.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Don't Toy with Me

For a while now I have had a suspicion that has been growing.  I think that children’s toys must be infused with something which makes them irresistibly attractive to people over the age of twenty five and completely unattractive to little girls who are almost two.  This suspicion has been confirmed to me by the visit of two friends this afternoon.

Our little girl has been singularly uninterested in her toys from a very early age.  She will give them barely a glance whilst on her way to a book, or something that she isn’t allowed.  It doesn’t matter how colourful, how much noise or how many moving parts a thing has, she will just totally snub it.  Every now and then a toy will be picked up and examined, as though she has decided that today she is going to learn all about colourful xylophones, and then, once all the information has been sucked out of it, it will be discarded again, cast aside like yesterday’s news.

The only time that she is interested in getting her toys out is when time is running short to get the house tidy for guests.  At that point she will be desperate to get everything out, and sit and play with them as it gathers in a pile around her ruining the effect of serene tidiness that you are trying to portray.

This means that when people come round it tends to be that there are a few toys still out which, having been put away three times already, manage to evade the final sweep and sit, sparklingly tempting, in the middle of the floor.  At which point the guest will, almost inevitably, as demonstrated wonderfully this afternoon, swoop upon the toy, turn it over in their hand a few times and then fall to playing with it.

This applies to guests who are in their twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, sixties or seventies.  It turns out that, in the end, we are all just children.  Drawn to the bright lights and exciting sounds of children’s toys no matter how old we are.  Unless, of course, we are their intended audience, in which case just point me in the direction of the shelves where all the ornaments are.        

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Leading Her Astray

So, it’s the first week in which I am working full time and the schedule has broken down already.  Which is bad when we look forward to the next few weeks.  I am going to be getting used to a new schedule and timetable for quite a while, which means that the blog may well hit a few road blocks on its journey to worldwide fame.  Sorry about this, once I know how things are going to work, I will establish a new routine and there will once more be regular issues of the tales of super girl and her clumsy, doomed to make every parenting mistake there is, father.

Speaking of examples.  I try to be a good example to my daughter.  She is, and has been for a while, capable of watching me and wanting to copy me.  In fact she has seemed to have been aware of what we were doing from much earlier than I had expected.  But now she is just like an eagle.  She doesn’t miss anything.  Which means that you have to be on your guard constantly in case you happen to do something that you might not want her to emulate.  Which, I’m sure, for most of you is simple, but as I have mentioned in the past, I’m not entirely confident that I am responsible enough to be looking after a child, which can lead to some awkward situations.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Match of the Day

I want to tell you about my day so far.  But I’m a bit embarrassed to really, and I don’t think that you’d actually believe me.  Well, here goes, please enjoy my recounting of the first 6 hours of my day.

I woke up at 7ish.  I had been inspired to go for a run this morning by my brother who was here last night so I did.  This, however, meant trying to get out of bed and downstairs without waking my wife or disturbing the sleeping daughter.  Not disturbing my wife proved impossible.  I’m sure she could be in the deepest possible sleep but will still wake at the slightest change of my breathing as I wake up.  Or perhaps she’s just got a bit of string tied round her little toe which makes her twitch whenever I wake up.  Whatever it is she was awake as I thought about getting up. 

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Off Topic

As you will all have noticed my daughter is the major player in this blog.  It is driven by her actions and words, and our tired, muddled reactions to them. She is Hamlet to our Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, the Doctor to our Companions, DangerMouse to our Penfold (please say I am not the only person who still, on a fairly regular basis, says ‘Good Grief Penfold’ when things go wrong or someone says something ludicrous, or the only one to say ‘Crumbs Chief’ when it has all gone wrong?).  Basically she is the main character.  So when she comes up with a topic which she would like to see addressed on the blog who am I to refuse?

Gotta love a super hero with an eye patch

Monday, 13 August 2012

You Wait Two Weeks for One

On Sunday the London 2012 Olympic Games, otherwise known as the games of the 30th Olympiad if your name is Jacques Rogge and your sole aim in life is to appear at major sporting events and look solemn and sound portentous, came to an end.  This was a sad moment for those of us who had been engrossed (read obsessed) by the sport that had been happening for the last fortnight, and life post Olympics is going to take some getting used to.  It was also a fairly major event.  On the same day Prime Minister David Cameron, otherwise known as the Prime Minister of the 25th Olympiad (if not, why not, someone should really get on to adding that to his job title. I think it could only be surpassed by the woman we were introduced to in the Olympics opening ceremony as Champion of the Earth, whose name is, Maria Osmarina Marina Silva Vaz de Lima. Surely it’s not really fair for one person to have the most awesome title and the coolest name?)  

Sorry, we seem to have lost our way a bit there, back to the point now.  Sunday was also the day when David Cameron announced his government’s extension of funding for elite sports (by which I think he means specifically the ones that the UK is good at) until the Rio Olympics in 2016.  This is also a fairly major piece of news which commits the government to around £40 million a year for the next 4 years. 

Friday, 10 August 2012

Now with more awards

So, today I am mostly going to be blowing my own trumpet.  For, you see, I have been awarded this



I am very pleased about this.

Quirky Grandma is an excellent blogger who, in her own words is:

"A student of life, a mother and grandmother, [who] writes about her life, her ideas, her family,and anything else that pops into her head."

Also, in news today.  It has been a day of family and friends, and very little time for blogging, but I will be back on Monday with more fun and frolics.  In the meantime I have trophies to polish and prize money to collect.

What's that?  No prize money? Well, I shall just have to enjoy the inevitable fame and fortune that is bound to come my way!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


He had a suspect.  No evidence yet but he was sure that he knew who it was, it was just a matter of proof and he knew that that would only be possible if he caught her red handed.  So he waited.  She’d be back.

It was the quiet that had first tipped him off.  He’d heard it before, and it always meant trouble, less like the calm before the storm, more like that moment of complete silence at a demolition just before the building crumbles in on itself and all that is left is a pile of rubble.  A worrying lack of noise then, but not enough to get him out of bed.  It had been a rough night, and that was just his throat, these late nights and early mornings were not agreeing with him, but he knew it was what he had signed up for, and that it would not last forever.  Would it?

Monday, 6 August 2012

A Moment of Praise

You know how people can just get singularly obsessive and boring over holiday photos.  Even if you haven’t experienced it you can imagine it, sitting on a settee whilst photo after photo is passed before your eyes and a story unfolds which, though you may try as hard as you can, you cannot be interested.  Well this post may be a bit like that, I am about to talk about how great my daughter is.  Just thought I should give you all fair warning.

My daughter is amazing.  I know that as her daddy I am not really entitled to pass judgement, after all, if it was up to me she would have been awarded a Nobel prize in some shape or form by now, if Barack Obama can win it after barely enough to draw breath in the Oval Office, why not N?

I’m biased is what I’m saying, and therefore my analysis in this area is not really to be trusted, however, she really is pretty awesome, despite the impression that you may have been given by reading what I have already written.  So let me try to redress the balance just a little with this, very short, but incredibly positive, post about my little girl.  Perhaps I’m going soft?

We read together quite a lot.  We have been incredibly blessed to have received many many children’s books from some very generous people.  I love books (which has led to some quarrels with my wife as I desperately and jealously try to guard the book shelf space that I have against incursions by other things.  I think I must have lost the battle when the exercise bike ended up in the study though.)  I really, really love books, which seems to have rubbed off onto N because she also really loves them.  Her attention span is sometimes not quite as long as mine, although Lord of the Rings was probably the wrong place to start her off, and so we do occasionally find ourselves, despite the one book off one book back rule, surrounded by a pile of discarded books as she tries to work her way through all the books one by one. 

At least I thought it was her attention span.  Until recently when I discovered that she could just be getting bored with the selection.  You see, we have a bit of a game with a particular set of books.  The Usborne Farmyard Tales books, (fabulous, entertaining, colourful, just right for our little girl.  It also turns out, I found out tonight, that you can follow the little yellow duck, who is hidden on every page of the books, on Twitter, brilliant.)  With these books, as we read I will pause as we come up to the people’s names at the beginning of the books, which all start the same, and N will fill in the blanks.  We do this because the first page is always the same and she really enjoys shouting the names, especially Rusty the dog.  It was only these books though, I had never even thought to try it with any of the others we read. 

But then, one evening last week, Nana came round.  Which was great as it took the pressure off me and she got to read N books all evening instead.  And suddenly, N was filling in all sorts of words for her.  Nana would get to the end of a line and leave off the last word which N would dutifully and fairly consistently supply.  Both my wife and I were stunned, which led to a round of testing to find out just how many books N had committed to memory, it turns out a fair chunk of the library is now stored securely in our little girl’s brain.  Incredible.  I’m sure it’s a fairly commonplace sort of a thing which is unlikely to garner international press attention, especially not during the Olympics, but it impressed me.

You see, clearly destined for great things, even if I do say so myself.  Now I will probably go back to writing about the infuriating, maddening, impossibly difficult things that she does to drive both me and my wife mad, but just for a little while it has been nice to be able to bore you all with how great my daughter is, perhaps you’d like to stick around?  I’m sure there are some holiday photos here somewhere I can talk to you about, there was this really great one of a caterpillar I just know you’d love.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Polar Peril

Special Extra post time!!

It’s Sunday, but here is a blog post.  I know, I’m excited too!  And in keeping with the theme of last week it is full of charming self deprecation, or something.

I tend to be quite exuberant about sports, and hurling myself around in general.  I have managed to break a bed in one of our old flats by diving onto it whilst practising my penalty saves.  That was quite the experience, although it was capped off by B laughing hysterically whilst filming my attempts to fix the bed which went progressively from bad to really quite bad to total failure.  In the end the bed was held up by me piling books underneath it.  Probably not quite conforming to manufacturer’s instructions, but a solution nonetheless.  Oh and that film, it vanished mysteriously and will never, ever, be seen by anyone.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Another Intermissory missive

There will be no regular parenting posting today.  Today has been a day when I actually had to practice the art of parenting which has left me with very little time to write about it.  Hopefully there will be a spectacular post concerning my deficiencies as a person on Sunday. 

Until then amuse yourself with this fantastic little doohickey that the BBC have kindly created for our enjoyment.  Check your body against Olympic Athletes.  It's pretty self explanatory, all you have to do is pop in your height and weight and it will match you up to athletes currently taking part in the Olympics.


Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Poorly Hair

I have a constant battle with my hair.  There is a sweet spot of about a day and a half after my hair has been cut when I am happy with it.  For the rest of the time, it is just a nightmare.  Which wouldn’t really bother me too much, after all I don’t have to look at it for the majority of the time, except that it doesn’t just not look good, it looks like a total mess.  I have hair which is very similar to a guinea pig’s, all swirls and sticky up bits.  Unfortunately for me there aren’t any rosettes available for humans who have wild hair.

What my hair looks like in the morning, and afternoon, and evening.