Elsie’s second birthday today – yes – it has flown by a bit hasn’t it. It generally does really, but newborn-to-two seems especially fast in children. Katie and I decided that a Very Hungry Caterpillar theme was appropriate given the fave-book status and Elsie’s hobby; eating things. Continue reading “Elsie turns two”
Ace day on Saturday – we took Lily and Elsie into ‘The Great Indoors‘ a wonderful collection of children’s creative activities and performances all over the insides of Manchester’s Town Hall, as part of the Manchester International Festival.
We had our first overnight stopover at mum’s house in ages this weekend. It’s been an odd year with the sleep patterns of a baby and going to someone’s house has generally represented hassle for me since Elsie came along, but she’s been sleeping so well for the last few weeks and Katie & I wanted to get oursleves out for a meal without children – so going to see mum was a really ace opportunity to kill a whole flock of birds with a very small stone.
On top of it all, the sun shone despite a dreadful forecast.
Well… after three gruelling trips to car showrooms and a load of time spent looking on the web at prices, deals, dealers, and cycling (well – some pleasure was needed), we settled on a sensible, comfy, safe option (read: “Unimaginative, square”). It’s fun to see a clean car in our driveway though, and one without internal baby sick smells is a unique experience bound to change our lives for a good few days!
I’m being over cynical – I must admit I like the tinted child windows (so roadside onlookers can’t see vomiting) and the alloy wheels make it look a good deal more blingy than any Vauxhall Safira can be. I also love driving an automatic after wanting one ever since I first drove one.
We spent ages weighing up the pros and cons of a big holiday with a little baby. It’s a big deal really trying to get things right because we wanted to get on with things and have some fun – for Lily, Katie and I – but to have a bit of sanity / settled, relaxed homeliness for Elsie (now nine months). Continue reading “Our half term hols… Peebles and Edinburgh”
We made a pretty spontaneous trip up to Greame and Fiona’s farm on Saturday to catch up with Katie’s branch of the family, meaning that Lily and Elsie had seen all of their six cousins and all their aunties, uncles and grandparents in the space of 24 hours. Great trip to the farm including all the normal animal chaos (no inpromptu lambing this time but some taming of a frisky horse to be done).
We had Phil (my brother) and Anne with their three children and my mum to stay on Xmas day and had a brill time. So much went on my head’s a whizz but we seemed to cram a million little memories into 26ish hours.
A load of photos here. My own personal favourite moments were Angus saying “I can bite my own toe uncle Dave and it well hurts” and the fairy hunting going on on the lovely walk through Redisher woods in idyllic Boxing Day sunshine.
Today was a Baker day at Lily’s school so we took full advantage of the quietness by going off to Blackpool Zoo. Unlike Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom, who went there with young Albert, their son, we returned en masse, and a very happy family after a really great day out.
Factor one was the weather – a real ‘steal’ – not expecting it at all but it was clear and sunny almost all afternoon there. The Zoo itself was a great size; I’ve found London and Chester Zoos to be a bit sprawling, but we managed to see as much a variety of animals in a smaller space without the animals feeling cramped. Okay, there were no hippos or rhinos, but the relative space they take up is not really needed. They’re pretty dull when all’s said and done.
Highlights for me were
the sea lions, who were in the process of being trained. They seemed to be really getting into it in the same way Labradors do.
The Pelicans and their ever-stretchy beak rubber at tea time (“Eeeh – it’s like feeding time at the zoo round here”).
The lowlight for the day was driving on to catch Blackpool Illuminations as the sun went down. The lights had been switched off the evening before for the year (!!). Will have to get to the illuminations next year though.
I’m a bit late in blogging this; I should apologise really – I’ve been working… a truly dreadful thing and I really ought to get my priorities right.
The 2008 national trophy series got underway in really bad style the other week in Abergavenny as documented; I was determined that the next round – with the three peaks out of the way – was going to make amends. Bicton Arena was a really long travel and necessitated the only cycling night away from the family, which is a bit of a chore, and I spent all of the run-up to the event thinking that it better bloody well be worth the travelling and expoense for a one hour race.
It was. The course was just great – a true mix of most good things in cyclocross barring some stepped run ups and a sand pit! The sandy mud dried out as we raced and after 40 minutes it started to really get sticky, so I needed to change the bike once. The change was worth it and I put in a big spurt towards the last two laps as a result of the clean gears.
I finished 25th overall which, with two good foreign riders, meant pretty much near my best in any National Tropy race. This is a relief after the Three Peaks which has previously left me a bit flat in the faster traditional cyclocross races.
To add to the day being overall worthwhile, it was brill to see Phil’s whole family and have the boys cheer on uncle Dave and Phil advising me to pull my finger out. Great to have some support – it really boosts you. Add to this the fact that Phil took some really ace pics of my and the whole race, and it was a great day with a great momento to boot.