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Day 139 – there isn’t room to swing a cat in here

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Day 139 – Aug 3rd

Rain, rain, endless rain, its like the weather has forgotten what month it is! Thankfully my plan for today involved spending more time in the garage in an attempt to get it into some kind of order. There is only so much I can throw out, regardless of how ruthless I want to be. Its not the most exciting way to spend my time off work, but a necessary task all the same.

It has been four years, almost to the day, since we moved into this house. It was the end of four months of a huge project to modernise it, rewiring it, plastering walls, putting in a new heating system, new kitchen and new bathroom after the wife’s grandparents had lived in it for many years before us. We moved in with just a couple of weeks to spare before Olivia was due to be born, and loved our new home.

In hindsight, we knew the house was a little smaller than we’d have liked, and if we’d been looking at any other house that had no emotional attachment to it we would have almost certainly found something slightly bigger. One of the primary reasons for buying this house was because of the wife’s grandparents having previously owned, but now it was sat empty, and this way it stayed in the family… plus it was on a beautiful tree lined cul-de-sac and we were only a short walk from the in-laws.

At least with this house, even though smaller than we’d have liked, we had a decent sized garage running along the full length of the house. With it being too narrow to actually get a car in, it made for a great storage space for everything else that we couldn’t squeeze into the house or garden. Today was a day to reclaim some of that space back!

If you’re off work over the summer, what plans are you making?

Summer is just around the corner

Its Sunday night and I am hoping I will have time to get this blog started and finished before bed, without it being the middle of the night before I finish!

The weeks are slipping by at quite a rate now, in the big countdown to the summer holidays. We have just five weeks left, and then the whole summer off, and I’m a little excited about this one. Olivia will be a much more fun age, we’ll be able to get out and about and do things and see people, and then of course there is the holiday as well! Four nights away in Cornwall with the family, I really can’t wait! We’ve been given a whole bunch of leaflets from a work colleague who goes there often, to help us plan our time down there. I don’t like to have holidays set in stone, and tick items off on a clipboard as we do them, but I do like to have a vague idea of things to do if its sunny, and things to do if its raining. When you only have a short time away with the family, its no good being sat around for half a day trying to work out what you’re going to do with whats left of the day. All we can really hope for is some nice weather so that we can keep all our options open, but this is Britain in August we’re talking about, the weather is no more guaranteed than the roll of a dice! August may seem like it should be hot and dry, but of all the weddings I have photographed, it is also the most temperamental month!

Thankfully, even though June has proved to be a bit colder than expected so far, at least it has stayed reasonably dry and the rain hasn’t caused too much of an impact on cycling, but when you are cycling home on a Friday knowing you have the weekend stretched out ahead of you then even a downpour wouldn’t really bother me that much! Friday evenings are all about kicking off the shoes, relaxing and letting the stress of the week just drain away. We put a pizza in the oven, poured a drink and put a film on. The latter part is always a gamble, trying to find a film that the wife won’t fall asleep through, or fail to understand. My choice this weekend was called Traffic, three separate story lines, apparently unrelated, all about the american futile war on drugs and how it effects different people. Not necessarily one I’d have normally chosen, but the imdb reviews all looked quite positive, and so I thought it was worth a gamble. It turned out to be quite a good film, interesting and a real eye opener, and the extra bonus is that Clare managed to stay awake through most of it.

Saturday was set to be a busy day for me, starting off first thing with 3 hours looking after J again, which was hampered by the rain, as he is quite energetic and loves getting outside. So it was time for plan B and  some indoor activities. From there I had to shoot home once I was finished and let the wife get ready to go out as she was meeting friends in town, while I took Olivia over to see my nan. As it has been a while since I saw my nan, far too long in fact, and I’d like to get over much more often, but for one reason or another there just doesn’t seem to have been the time recently. I feel a bit bad about it, especially with my nan at her age, as she can’t get about much like she used to and relies on people visiting, and obviously she’s no spring chicken anymore, you just don’t know how long grandparents will be around for when they start creeping towards 90! I really want Olivia to remember seeing her, and not just from photos that she looks at when she’s older. I really must make more of an effort to get over a lot more often. Once I’d left my nan’s it was time to head home and start getting dinner ready as we were feeding my sister and her boyfriend, who would be baby sitting Olivia for us later that evening while we popped out to a quiz. It was a good day, and the only problem with being on the go all day is that the day seems to go so much faster! In fact it actually seems crazy that we are pretty much halfway through the year, we are as close to putting christmas decorations up as we are to the last time we took them down! Where does the time go? Our little lady is two years old soon, and I’d be lying if I said we’d even begun to think about what we’re going to do to mark the occasion! If you want something really depressing to think about, this Sunday marks the longest day of the year, which means every day from them on is going to get shorter and shorter! I know, I really didn’t need to put that out there, but you’d have figured it out soon enough anyway, so don’t blame me for highlighting it! It has been lovely enjoying these lighter evenings though, I was even out tonight doing some gardening at 9:30pm because I could. The wife was in bed early and I never sit around and watch tv anyway, there is rarely anything on that I want to watch, to the point I do actually question why I pay so much for Sky TV each month. I have thought about getting rid of it, but the reality is that we get our phone line and broadband from them anyway, and the TV really isn’t that much extra, plus the wife always has the tv on, she’d never be able to live without it! Combine all this with the fact that we removed the connection from the living room for the tv aerial, meaning we wouldn’t be able to pick up freeview tv even if we did ditch Sky! In a way it feels a little bit like a drug habit, it costs us a small fortune and yet we can’t give it up! While we’re on the subject of Sky, we’ve recently had an upgrade to our broadband and taken up their Sky Fibre offer. They had recently put their price down, and made it a bit more appealing, but in reality I am not feeling the huge benefits from it that I had hoped for. Our line speed on the original broadband would quite often hit 16.5mbps on a speedtest, and the fact that I was promised 40mbps with Fibre would only have been encouraging if it had actually happened, as 40mbps isn’t bad, but still isn’t exactly the leap I’d quite hoped for. Some of my friends with Virgin have exceeded well over 120mbps without any issues! The fact that some of my first speed tests on Fibre gave me speeds of just 15mbps (on a service I am paying extra ££ for don’t forget!) was not encouraging at all. After a little research and playing about with some settings, I am not getting around 30mbps on the speed test, better, but still not great. The real bonus that I am not going to complain about though is the upload speed, which is 9x faster than the original broadband, crucial for times like when I am uploading several hundred wedding photos to the website, a job which frequently means leaving the computer running overnight, and just hoping that I wake up in the morning to the job being done, and not having paused halfway through for some unforeseen error. When I have been uploading stuff previously, it can literally feel like it is taking forever, so this is a huge bonus! Trialling their 25Gb usage cap to try and save a little money was a total waste of time though, as they emailed me within a week of the Fibre going active to say I’d burnt through the 25Gb in less than a week, (although I am still not sure exactly how we managed to do that, 25Gb in six days sounds a bit fishy to me!), but it looks like we’ll end up switching to their ‘unlimited’ Fibre plan instead and having to pay extra for it. Although I do feel a grumpy phone call coming on to complain about the line speeds and see if I can get them to waive the extra monthly fee as compensation. If you don’t ask, you don’t get… right?!

Sunday turned out to be a quieter day, although it did start early, with Olivia deciding that 6:30am was her time to wake up. She woke us both up, but it was Clare’s turn to go back to bed while I took madam downstairs and entertained her for a couple of hours until she’d caught up on her sleep. I wanted to get a few more portrait shots of Olivia in the garden as it was a dry day and it wasn’t too bright with the cloud cover breaking up the light a bit. Getting these weekly portrait shots is something I am keen to try and keep up, and she is changing so much each day, and now that she is on the move I find I am taking much less photos of her, as its harder to get her to keep still and/or look at the camera!

It was nice to get out in the garden, turn off the tv and enjoy some fresh air and natural light. It was also a chance to get a little gardening done. One thing I have learnt from owning a house with a greenhouse in the garden and growing things is that I need to be planning and planting stuff far earlier in the year than I am. I have left some flower seeds until May to plant, which doesn’t really give them much growing time! Being in the garden is definitely therapeutic, gardening and growing things is relaxing, and that is definitely something I need much more of. I don’t feel very relaxed at the moment, like my to-do list is never empty and I am always racing through it to cross things off. I like being busy, but sometimes I can make myself too busy, and that is not good for us. In fact I have just read an article on “The disease of being too busy” and do have my own views on it, but I will share those another time!

IMG_0107After a while in the garden, I thought I felt a drop of water on my hand, and it turns out that rain was most definitely stopping play this afternoon. The gardening equipment was in, the play sand covered up, it was time to head indoors, where we were to stay for the rest of the afternoon. There was a momentary break in the rain where I caught this shot of one of the foxgloxes with droplets of rain on it, and with the colours it made a very beautiful sight! The break in the rain didn’t last long though, and we were resigned to an afternoon indoors, although its never a bad thing when I get to spend an afternoon at home with my two favourite people!

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Just one day left before the weekend leaves me feeling very happy indeed! It has just been one of those weeks that I just can’t seem to get into the groove of. Maybe too many late nights, or a change in the weather, I don’t know what it is but I am genuinely feeling a lack of enthusiasm for most things this week. It hasn’t really helped having the whole summer off with Olivia, I just haven’t got my head back into work mode properly, almost like I am going in each day and faking it. It doesn’t help that we’re in the midst of one of the longest terms I’ve known since starting my job, and yes I know all those NOT working in education won’t have an ounce of sympathy either, but term time is term time and it is one of the few downsides to my job. The sheer lack of flexibility, does get a little frustrating at times, but on a positive note, we are now half way through this one and its payday tomorrow just to make things feel a little bit better this weekend. I’m already looking ahead to the half term holiday and what we can do with it, I have a few ideas!

I am very glad that September has given us such kind weather this year to allow me to be able to cycle to and from work for the last four weeks and only get wet once! This is the time of year when things get a little different though, the time when the mornings feel a lot cooler, when rain is a lot more likely, when the waterproof jackets have to start making an appearance just to keep the cold air off me. Although I am still a long way off the scarf and the insulated hat just yet thankfully, the -3°c mornings are a different beast altogether! It takes some real grit and determination though to keep getting the bike out and jumping on it every morning when its actually warmer inside your fridge than it is outside! I do need to invest in some new kit though, such as new replacement over-shoe rain protectors, some new mud guards, and maybe even a new helmet as my current one is part of Halfords super cheap budget range, plus I’ve owned it for over 10 years now and the cover of it is starting to come away, which is far from ideal, especially as I am still considering purchasing a helmet cam (too many idiots on the road, and it only takes one of them to really ruin your day!) and it needs to be fixed securely to the helmet. I’m already thinking of reasons to not cycle into work during the winter, and so I need to address every single one of those to ensure I don’t quit. Getting on that saddle every morning is a great way to get fit, a great way to save money on diesel, it’s good for the environment and a great way to get to work stress free having not sat in stationary traffic with the threat of being late for work hanging over you! It’s actually surprising how little we actually use the car during the week now! Which is why I’ve planned a nice day out for us on Saturday, we both love driving our new car, and I want to make the most of some time with the family as I seem to have been so busy lately! I did have plans for this evening, which were postponed, meaning I had a bit more time at home, although Clare was busy in the kitchen making cakes and cookies for the Macmillan coffee morning. She’s really good like that, but bless her, she doesn’t need much of an excuse to bake a cake!

I had to pop to the supermarket at some point, and put a little diesel in the car at the same time, ready for the weekend, and was immediately annoyed by the amount of fully able people parking in the disabled bays. It seems to have almost been accepted that they’re not really for disabled people any more. It makes me really angry, to the point I have to stop myself saying something. What would it achieve? These people clearly have no conscience already, I’d only end up in an argument I was never going to win, as I can’t do anything to actually make them move anyway. There really should be a way of reporting them and getting tickets on their cars much quicker and easier though, they’d soon respond to a fine much better than they’d respond to me getting annoyed with them. But on reflection, it has been a day of irresponsible and poor driving from most people I have seen. Idiots on the road while I am cycling getting way too close (hence the need for a helmet cam!) and me even catching up and over taking these people in slow traffic, to make a point about their poor driving, only for them to do it again a minute later! How did society become so selfish??

I was never going to let these idiots ruin my day though, I have a gorgeous daughter to come home to after work and a beautiful wife who arrives home not far behind her! Today’s photo was from some flowers I decided to buy the wife to cheer us both up!

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Have we got to a point already where we take the internet for granted? Did we forget what life was like before it. I know for me, it has had some pretty life changing consequences, in terms of meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends, on top of which, like most people virtually everything I do is online now. Today I was catching up with an old school friend, a guy I have known for approaching 30 years now. Like a lot of people, we lost touch for a while after leaving school, in those pre-mobile phone, pre-internet days where keeping in touch with people required you to ring their house phone and risk having to speak to their parents first, or even actually walk round to their house, and that was if they didn’t change their number or move house! Fortunately, and with the added bonus of facebook, I was able to reconncect with faces I hadn’t seen in years, my good friend Richard being one of them. Like myself, he’d waited until his mid 30s to get married and until his late 30s to have his daughter. We have much in common, and it was lovely to catch up for a walk around cannon hill park today with our daughters. As all parents will sympathise, he was running slightly late due to unforeseen circumstances, which was fine, it meant I could first stop at the nearby Aldi and have a nose around. I didn’t even get inside the store before I spotted so outdoor garden plants at reasonable prices by the front entrance, and so I grabbed a couple, paid for them and then jumped in the car to head round the corner to find a parking space at cannon hill park! Richard wasn’t far behind, and so we set off, taking in all the lovely sights of the park that people often miss, the beautiful flower beds and archways. We stopped off at the tea rooms and grabbed a hot drink and a biscuit, where I was really impressed at the price! Most companies are trying to fleece every last penny our of you, and you come to expect the prices to be astronomical in a venue like this, especially where there was little competition, but they weren’t, the prices were surprisingly low, so I’ll always support a local business who is playing fairly, and I’ll definitely be taking the wife back there soon! Starbucks, you could learn a thing or two from this place! Me and Richard had pocket change between us as we’d both forgot to go to a cashpoint, but we still got a drink each and biscuits between us!

After we said our goodbyes and both set off for home, madam managed to nod off in the car, as she was exhausted. She woke up when I got her out of the car, and I took her straight upstairs to bed for a nap, although it took her a while to drift back off. It has been a lovely day, and this mornings rain didn’t put us off, it soon cleared up and left us to enjoy just a small amount of sunshine and blue sky!

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What should have been a wonderful day, with some lovely things planned, ended up being a bit of a disappointment. I woke up aching, thinking maybe a bit of sunburn had done that to me, but it got worse and worse as the day went on, everything started hurting. We went out anyway to make our first visit, which was my sisters new flat. It was lovely to see it, and I just felt really bad that I was spending the whole time trying to stay awake and generally not saying a lot. Next time we go round I’ll be able to appreciate it fully though. Our next visit was to see our friends Tracy & Richard, although we stopped at home on the way first, and came to the decision to cancel and stay at home as I was developing a bit of a temperature as well. It was a real shame as they’d changed their plans at the last minute to put on a bbq as well, but I was feeling dreadful at this point, and didn’t want to pass anything on. I was reluctant, I hate letting people down, but it was the right thing to do. An early night was the only thing that could help at this point. Another of my disappointments today was the fact that I wanted to do so much in the garden now that our new fence was up, but at least it is starting to look brighter and more colourful as some of the flowers have started coming out!

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“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” –Anne Frank

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So todays photo, a simple flower, significant though for two reasons. Firstly this flower was photographed where I work, which for those of you who don’t know is a school (I’ve not noticed them anywhere else!), and it is one of several bushes that has flowered in our playground and the smell is beautiful, it takes me way back to when I was a child as I haven’t smelt that significant scent since I wore shorts and a tie and carried a little satchel and walked past identical bushes on the way into my junior school. Its funny how certain smells can immediately bring certain memories back to life and make us think about things and people and how we felt at the time in a way that sounds or photos just can’t! Yet always seem to remember certain rooms, individuals (did your nan ever wear strong perfume and never change it?) or even peoples houses having a certain scent about them. Well these flowers smelt lovely and I suddenly felt seven years old again for the briefest of moments! The other significant thing about todays photo, for me, is the level of detail in it, bearing in mind that I wasn’t using a big SLR camera with some fancy schmancy lens on it… I shot this on my iPhone! Yup, just my iPhone! I can’t lie, I’m quite impressed with it!

Today is Friday, and this time I am definitely looking forward to the weekend, although the weather forecast isn’t great, but at least today the sun is shining and it is warm and definitely feeling more like a day in June should do! The mother in law is looking after Olivia again for us today, but I have planned to visit the nursery closest to us as soon as I get home. Olivia was asleep when I got back, but woke up shortly after I got in, which was great timing, and so with the mother in law on her way, I got Olivia ready to go out for a walk to the nursery with me. Clare had visited two yesterday, and both were good, but she got a particular good feeling from the one, which also happens to be the closest and easiest to get to for us as a bonus, so I decided to go and have a look. I could have waited until next week, but with more people interested than they have places for, I decided against hanging around as there was no benefit in it. I didn’t want to create my own list of potential nurseries and then battle with the wife as to which one we should send Olivia to, obviously the closer to home the better for us, and with Clare trusting her mothers instinct to guide her, I had to trust her feelings. For me, the visit was just to go and make sure nothing stood out as a concern and to meet the staff and make sure I got the same feeling, which I did. Maing sure we discuss it this weekend, as long as we we are both singing from the same hymn sheet then there is no reason to hang about with getting Olivia’s name down and securing a place for her, and thereby taking the worry of how the future will look away from us. It was a warm afternoon, and after cycling home at speed, uphill, I was struggling to cool myself down after getting off the bike, especially as our little princess had woken up in a funny mood and didn’t want to go in her buggy for the walk, and so daddy, already a little sweaty, had to carry madam whilst pushing her buggy at the same time. I must have looked a right state when I got to the nursery! It was much bigger than I imagined from having driven past it previously, but it was very welcoming inside and the staff were lovely. It was an even more pleasant surprise when Clare turned up after getting off the bus from work just outside, and so was able to walk home with us!

Tonight we’d decided on pizza for tea, and while I was out picking some up, I also grabbed myself a few beers, it was Friday after all! Sadly, after our 5am baby alarm call, I was shattered and got through a whole two beers before I was falling asleep to a film downstairs. I tapped out and threw in the towel. Midnight on a Friday and I was in bed, oh the rock and roll life of a parent!

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“Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.”

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Sundays plans didn’t exactly come together in the end. One of the things about having children is that you quickly need to learn to adapt and be flexible. Plans are no longer written in ink, but instead written in pencil with an eraser close by! We had a birthday buffet and drinks to attend and the postponed bbq still an option. Clare was going to the buffet regardless and I was undecided, but had asked my mom to look after Olivia for a couple of hours anyway. Olivia herself has had a cold for a few days, not a huge concern for us, but it has also brought a cough along with it, and Olivia has been quite chesty and rattly with it, especially at night. We didn’t want to worry and gave it a few days to improve, although not much seemed to change, and with the doctors closed over the weekend and bank holiday we had little choice but to take her to the walk in medical centre, which was not surprisingly packed out when we walked in, and resulted in a two hour wait for us. The plus side, Olivia was an angel, smiling and waving at everyone and putting a smile on a lot of peoples faces. She got a little bored towards the end, but taking her for a walk around to satisfy her nosey nature soon fixed that. On the negative side, we missed both the buffet AND the bbq, and so lunch totally went out of the window for us! When we were done, I dropped Clare into town to catch up with her friends so she could at least have a couple of drinks with them, even though she missed the food, while I went over to see my mother, and let her see Olivia for a bit. I picked up Clare on the way home and sat down to watch the F1 Monaco Grand Prix that I had recorded along with a couple of beers and snacks as compensation for missing lunch! By the time the race was over I couldn’t keep my eyes open, and all hopes of blogging had gone out of the window, I was just grateful to crawl into my bed and be able to turn the alarm clock off! I did manage to capture this shot before I dragged myself upstair, a low light macro shot of a flower illuminated only by a lamp, and taken with the ISO pushed up to 3200 to see if I could get away with it.

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“Temptation is the feeling we get when encountered by an opportunity to do what we innately know we shouldn’t.”

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Saturday nights visit to the pub was a good balance of spending the majority of the evening with the wife and then popping out for a couple of pints just before she went to bed so I didn’t feel like I had totally deserted her. The benefits of having one of my best mates and the pub all within a few minutes walking distance! The downside of all this is that a drink with him never means having an early night, especially as the local is open until midnight. I could have done with one, but I haven’t seen him for a couple of weeks!

This morning I wanted to get up and get out to the NEC to see the supposedly brand new Photography Show, which was replacing the Focus On Imaging event that has been running for over 30 years and finished last year, although truth be told I couldn’t really tell much of a difference. Still, there was plenty to see and it was nice to actually go alone this time, so I could browse the stands properly instead of having to worry about other people. I got a chance to see and say hello to some great photographers whose books I have on my shelf and have read from cover to cover more than once, such as Mark Cleghorn and Damien Lovegrove, although sadly I won’t get to see Jeff Ascough as he’s not there until Tuesday. All very talented people though, and very inspiring. I have recently considered making a move from weddings over to newborn photography, although this will take a bit of planning and the need to buy some props. I did look into some training, but the one stand offering it was wanting a four figure sum… I have to say, I nearly fell over. I always knew there was good money to be made in training, and its somewhere I’d love to be in a few years, having sufficient skills and knowledge to actually be teaching people and be making money from it myself, but never have I seen courses for that kind of money before! I have ordered tickets for a newborn photography show in a couple of months time, so I’ll hopefully pick up some more inspiration there! Just before I headed away from the NEC I spotted the International Garden Photographer Of The Year stand with a whole bunch of pretty plants being photographed by an assortment of cameras, and so I thought I’d join in and try to get something for todays photo.

I left the NEC after just a few hours while everyone was still busy inside, as being on my own I’d managed to pretty much get round and see everything that I wanted to, and so the car park was quiet, making for a speedy exit. This meant I was round to meet the wife and Olivia at the in-laws for lunch, although they’d already had theirs by the time I got there. A few cups of tea and watching Olivia with her grandparents is a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon, although I just wish my mom lived a little closer so she could get to see Olivia a bit more often.

Sadly though, Sunday night has rolled around yet again and Olivia has had her last bottle of the night and is in now bed and asleep for the evening, Monday morning is pretty much knocking at the door. Another weekend is done and dusted, but it has been another thoroughly enjoyable one.

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“Something for the weekend, sir?”

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Anyone who has known me long enough will know that I took a change in career some years ago, and left my classroom assistant job in a special needs school to chase a career in retail management with a major supermarket, needless to say it reached a point where I knew I had made a bad decision and I really regretted my choice. Retail was not for me, and the company I was with clearly were all about the numbers, not the names. It got to a point where the daily stress was too much, I knew that if I did not leave it was going to start affecting my health, and so I gave up the desire to earn the big bucks and headed back to my old job where I knew I could be happy again. One of the things I had really missed during my time in retail was the weekend, that good old Friday feeling. It became very important to me when I started to photograph weddings and I realised how inflexible retail would be with letting me take occasional Saturdays off. Now I would be lost without my weekends off, and with tomorrow being Friday, I am very happy to have this first week after the half term holiday out of the way already. I am hoping that this weekend I can have another attempt at taking my daughter swimming on Saturday without her falling asleep before we leave the house, and then on Sunday I’ll be off to the NEC for the debut of The Photography Show, which is replacing the Focus On Imaging show that has been there for the last 25 years or so. It is total geek heaven, and requires a will of steel to walk out empty handed! I am as yet undecided on how to get there as it is £10 to park a car, regardless of how short you stay for! I may consider getting the train in, its a little bit too far to cycle!

The other thing I want to give some consideration to this weekend, is the allotment. I have probably mentioned this before, but with the weather being a bit mental, I still haven’t got around to planting any seeds and the weeks are just ticking by! My big concern is that I will plant the seeds and we will end up getting a late frost, and maybe even snow, just to make it a bit more fun! The last couple of years we have seen some late snow that has ruined some peoples allotments, and killed off numerous plant shoots. Thankfully I have a green house that I can get the seeds started in, I just need an hour to sort it! Our daughter is now starting to eat blended vegetables, and I can think of nothing better than her eating home grown food, free, organic, fresh and extra tasty! I just hope I can get some tomatoes on the go this year, I made had some wonderful soup the last time we had a big batch of tomatoes! Olivia has spent about a week now eating sweet potatoes, but the wife has just blended up some carrots, butternut squash and some parsnips for her to try as well. Jars of baby food?… Pfftt who needs them?! It really is very exciting watching all the changes in my little girl, and she is so close to sitting up now, and is also on the verge of rolling over onto her tummy! It makes me one proud daddy! I do try to imagine what life would be like if I couldn’t see her, and wonder how some fathers cope when the marriage/relationship breaks down. Without going into too much detail, I’m not totally unfamiliar with this situation as my own father walked out on me and my sister when I was three, and his alcohol problem put a massive strain on the relationship as we were growing up. Many people had lots of good things to say about my dad when he hadn’t been drinking, sadly it just wasn’t all that often. One of my big worries as I grew up was that I would start to see myself making the same mistakes that he had made. Still, I think I did okay in the end! I’d like to think he’s looking down and proud of me!

Right then, lets do this! Its Photography Show weekend, the Formula 1 Grand Prix season starts in 14 days, and it all starts with Friday night… come on Friday, lets have a piece of you!!

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“If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”

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I should have known better than to hope for a lie in this morning, little madam was awake at the crack of dawn and sadly stuck in our room again, in her moses basket, while the smell of gloss paint disappears from her room, so there was no escaping the noise of a gurgling, cooing baby first thing this morning!

Clare finished decorating some cakes for a surprise baby shower, a very american tradition that seems to be working its way over here slowly, and left me looking after Olivia for the afternoon. I had a simple plan, I was going to feed her at 2pm and then take her swimming again for the second time, but a few yawns and a bit of eye rubbing from madam by 1:30pm had me casting doubts on the success of this plan. I tried her with the baby rice first, as we are continuing to try and wean her, but this was a disaster. She clearly hasn’t connected the baby rice with not feeling hungry in the same way that she has with the milk yet, and so only wanted her bottle. I may have to dip into the weaning books I bought from Amazon recently for some advice. Once the bottle was finished with, it was clear she wanted to sleep, and with Saturdays swim session at the local pool finished at 4pm, there was no way I was going to get her there. Swimming is officially cancelled for today!

Right now I am shattered and needing a bit of a power nap, although I know that if I put my head down I am unlikely to actually get to sleep. I could really do with a bit of extra energy tonight as I am heading out up town to celebrate my friends birthday this evening, and all I actually want to do is go to bed early! I won’t, obviously, but I do need to be back at a sensible time and watch what I am drinking as I really need to make the most of tomorrow so I have a reasonably clear head to prepare for Monday morning.

Where has a whole week off work gone??

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