Monday, 31 December 2007

What a start to a new year

Well well, it's the eve of a new year again and here I am, dosed up on decongestants and paracetamol and enjoying that hour and a half respite from man-flu that they provide. Meh.

This past week has been a rather relaxed affair, as our children have been walloped off their feet with it too. We've nursed them as they sweltered quietly on their couches. Whilst we've fretted that they're ill, I'll admit to enjoying the peace a little, knowing that pretty soon I'd come down with it too.

Miche so far, has avoided this dreadful lurgy.

So, we've had a take out curry tonight to mark the occasion, which tasted like spicy snot, and a bottle of wine which I'm led to believe had quite a nose to it.

Of course, I'm not one for omens and portents, so this inauspicious start to 2008 has no significance. We will recover. Neither am I one for resolutions. If there's a time for sober reflection and serious commitment to change, then new year's eve is hardly the occasion for it frankly.

No, I like to look back over the past year and imagine how we were at the last new year. What I see pleases me - we're still all together for a start. Our kids have grown a little in height and massively in their personalities and abilities.

Miche is as beautiful now as she was back then, and I love her just the same. Which is good enough for me.

We change and grow with the years, though without our pasts what are we? In these uncertain times, and with that existential anxiety that middle age seems to bring, I'm all for a bit of stability.

So here's to the new year. May it be full of challenges, as each one tends to be, but I hope nothing changes too much. Things are nice enough as they are thankoyouverymuch.

Happy New Year.

Friday, 21 December 2007

Back from the brink

Apologies for the hiatus. Let me explain.

It's been somewhat of a mental week.

Meg ran into our bedroom at 2:30 Tuesday morning to tell us she had a sore tummy. Seconds later she barfed all over our bed, the floor and bedside cabinet. Miche got it in her hair. Which was nice.

Since then Meg has sweltered on the couch, refusing all but minute sips of water. Now, she's a lithe creature in the best of circumstances so after only three days fasting, her ribs are showing. Thankfully she rediscovered her appetite with a vengeance this morning.

Wednesday morning circa 1:30, Dom discovered that his Cardia isn't yet as robust as his sister's and he yawned in technicolour over the landing on his way to our bedside. I nursed my son throughout the night so that Miche could sleep the night before her birthday.

Work has been a blurry, bleary eyed carousel of slipping deadlines and half baked decisions. And of course, there have been Christmas preparations to make, so any spare brain cycles have been conserved by watching TV.

Today however, I woke up fresh from eight solid hours kip, our children are clamouring for calories and the office closes at 12pm for our annual Christmas knees-up.

I shall return home when I start to believe I'm a good dancer.

Friday, 14 December 2007


Just so you know, we took delivery of the last remaining Wii console in the UK this morning. Not that I'm bragging or anything.

Neither am I ashamed of buying into the latest consumer craze, as we're all going to have a wii of a time playing with it on Christmas day.

Ner ner ne ner ner.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Santa, is that you?

As I walked through the church yard this evening, on my way to the local boozer for the village lads Xmas get together, the bell ringers were rehearsing. The ground crunched underfoot and my way was lit by the festive lights on the village green trees.

This is how it looked and sounded;

Religion aside, there's nothing better than medieval church bells on a frosty night to get the Christmas spirits flowing.

We've had a few pints of the best Guinness in the village before I had to leave the lads as they went to the Indian. Unfortunately I'm interviewing for a key post tomorrow so had to be boring and come home.

On the way back the ground was slippery underfoot. The hardening ice twinkled under the street lights like tinsel. I didn't pass a soul until the last corner when an old man, somewhat overweight and with a large white beard passed me.

He gave me a big smile and the standard northern greeting of "Alreet?"

And so I feel "christmassy".

Our tree is up, I bought the last of Miche's presents earlier today and our online grocery shop has been ordered...

I wish a happy secular midwinter celebration to one and all!

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Brass Monkey

A rather chilly drive to work this morning.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

A love story

Murph left my first comment on Sans God on the 1st December 2006. His question still reverberates in my head today.

What is consciousness?

Of course, neither of us have come close to answering this question. However, I'd like to think that in debating this and other things, we've become friends. Or as our wives describe us - 'pen pals'. See, Murph lived in Ohio until today and as you know I live in Northumberland, UK.

I met Murph at the same time that he and Holly were enjoying the full on, poetic rush of new love. A love that they were gracious enough to share with the entire world via their blogs - The Candy Store and What the Hell is a Blog. These ephemeral creations were instrumental in them meeting in the first place, as their relationship (as far as I can gather) was borne over the Internet tubes. Which was a good thing, as Holly lives in Canada.

They married on the 10th January 2007.

And now, Murph & Holly are having a baby! Robert Declan Murphy to be precise.

You may not know of the struggle Murph has endured over the past year to secure Canadian residence so that they can be a family together. Suffice to say, it's been a trial and a half. As of today, all the forms have been signed, consulates have been informed, tickets have been bought and Murph is in transit as we speak.

I wish you all the best Holly & Murph & Declan!

Tartan Paint

I came across a glassy eyed, slack jawed student yesterday as she poured over our policies on our intranet. She looked somewhat bemused.

“Are you OK?” I asked, “Anything I can help with?”

“Is it important to have a whistleblowing policy?” She asked me.

“Yes, it’s vital we protect service users from…”

“Ahh yeah, the noise will upset them I bet.”


“Well, you know, the whistles might scare them.”

It was my turn to get glassy eyed and slack jawed.

“Erm, have you read the policy?”

“No, not yet, but I will – it looks really interesting.”

Your life may be in their hands one day…

Friday, 7 December 2007

Buy one soul, get one free

Perhaps Pope (eyes of a murderer) Benedict used to sell carpets. Imagine for a moment, Benedict in a cheap tv ad will you;

"Roll up! Roll up! For one month only, if you visit Lourdes I'll cut your time in purgatory by 20%! Satisfaction guaranteed. (Deposit non-refundable. Terms & Conditions apply. Offer ends 12am 8th December)."

Surely he's taking the piss.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Driving to work

Pretty, but there's something unnatural about driving to work just as the sun rises.