Archive for July, 2008


July 30, 2008

Children are messy eaters. The other day while having breakfast (and none of this is unusual), Ella decided to rub her Weetabix around her face and thence into her hair. I got what I could off her face when we were finished, and she had her usual routine after breakfast, and then went down for a nap. When she woke up I went in and was amused by the mess of her hair, which was sticking up. Hannah, on the other hand, came in and just started up in fits of laughter, she thought it was hilarious. Ella was probably quite confused what all the fuss was about. The photo is of Ella’s crazy, Weetabix-ridden hair that morning.



July 28, 2008

Over the weekend (which was quite hot and sunny) we were engaged in an activity akin to moving house. It’s called ‘getting your house ready for letting it during Cowes Week’. It’s a popular pastime around these parts, when many of the inhabitants of Cowes depart the town for a couple of weeks at the end of July. Unfortunately they miss out on some very good fireworks, but the payback in terms of rent is very good.

As a result lots and lots of our stuff is now towering over me in the study. We still have some chunky items to get in here, namely Ella’s cot, and so I’m a little worried it might not all squeeze in. We’ll find a way. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do: hoisting boxes and bags around with a very sore foot and ankle. I managed it without any serious mishap, though.

We also splashed a reasonable amount of cash over the weekend. Our existing digital camera (Sony DSC-W5) is packing in, with the buttons on it doing different tasks to those they are assigned, such as the zoom out button zooming in; and the zoom in doing nothing. We’ve had it for three years, and as phones are now appearing with 5 megapixel CCDs, it seems like a good excuse to get a new one. A quick bit of research and a directive from Hannah that she wanted something that still fitted in a pocket (ruling out digital SLRs), I chose a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5, which got good reviews and has a 10x zoom, which will be handy. I also think it’s a bargain.

Our spending also continued to Halfords, where we bought a new car seat for Ella. She has become close to being too big for her first seat, so with the trip to France on the horizon, we decided to get a larger seat to make the journeys more comfy for her. The new seat is front facing, and it is quite tempting to watch her while driving, though dangerous. It is meant to last her until she’s around 4, so there is plenty of room for her. It’s an ISOFIX one, so we can swap it out of the Octavia and into my Leon or Barbara’s Micra quite easily. To amuse Ella while we were browsing, Hannah popped her on a bright pink tricyle, and Ella enjoyed being pushed around the shop at great speed.


July 25, 2008

I guess after cruising, standing unsupported is the next big milestone. We’ve been trying to persuade Ella to do this for a couple of months now, as she’s been quite happy hauling herself up on furniture or walking around pushing her buggy or holding our hands for a while. We do what I guess most parents do of trying to let go when haolding their child in a standing position and hoping the child maintains their balance. Mostly trying that Ella has just bumped down on her bottom and crawled off to do something else. She hasn’t shown much interest in standing, because I guess she doesn’t see the point in the standing around in the middle of a room when there are things to explore and do. Over the past week, though, we have seen her stand unsupported while playing at her activity table or the sofa because she has been standing supported and then held an object in each hand and therefore not held onto anything or lent on anything. Also, she has stood up from a kneeling position a couple of times since her birthday. So, overall, she’s just about standing.

Exercise is Bad for You

July 25, 2008

Often on a Monday night I play football in Romsey with folks from work. This Monday was one of those days, and I had a bit of an accident. While chasing after another player and the ball, I tripped over the other player and went flying. I don’t quite know what I did to my ankle, but I did know that I had scrapped my knee across the astroturf and let a good deal of it behind. Plenty of blood flowed. My ankle was quite sore as well, though I didn’t think I had twisted it too badly. I went in goal for a few minutes for the pain to subside and then had a go outfield. After a short while out there, I felt I wasn’t really applying myself properly and was favouring my bleeding knee and sore ankle, so returned to goal. I saw out the game there, and in checking on my foot in the changing room afterwards realised this was going to be very messy. It had ballooned up in the half hour since my fall, and even started to bruise already. Somehow I managed the walk from where I park my car to the ferry, and from the ferry to home. Once home Hannah was rather horrified at the sight of my injuries. I had warned her things weren’t good. I wasn’t expecting much because before playing I had rung home, and Hannah had warned I would have no sympathy if I came home moaning of pain. She did look after me, getting me dinner, ringing the hospital for advice, and dishing out the pain killers she had left over from her operation.

I worked from home the next couple of days. Which was frustrating because one of the members of my project was over from Boston to teach a class on our product to all of the team in Hursley. I missed out on most of that. The day after the fall, one time when Hannah had brought Ella into the study to say hello while I worked, Ella dropped/threw her milk bottle and it landed nicely on my still bleeding knee. That was a rather painful aftershock. Hannah found it quite amusing.

By now, my knee has scabbed over. Astroturf burns take ages to heal up, as anyone who has suffered them knows. My foot is still very swollen and most of it is purple, and the swelling goes halfway up my leg. Hannah remarked that it reminded her of her odema during pregnancy. I’m back to work now, and hopefully it won’t slow down all the work we have to do over the weekend getting the house ready to let for Cowes Week.

Eye Progress

July 25, 2008

Hannah is recovering from her operation last week. For a few days after she was very much under the weather, being very tired and her eyes were much puffier than usual. Now, though, the after effects of the laser is wearing off and she is returning to her pre-op levels of sight.

First Time Companion

July 15, 2008

Hannah had more eye surgery today. For the first time, she allowed me to go with her, rather than Barbara. Rachel came over last night in order to babysit Ella today. Previously Ella had gone to the hospital and Barbara kept her entertained, but now Ella is more mobile it isn’t as fair on her to be couped up in a hospital ward for the best part of a day.

The day surgery unit at St Mary’s is fairly bog standard. We had to be there for 7:30am. Hannah started to be prepped around 8:30, and went into theatre around 9:15 (if I recall). She was in there or the recovery room for around an hour, and then in the ward asleep for three quarters of an hour before the nurse woke her up to find out how things were. I think this is all routine for Hannah these days, as this is about the eighth time she has had the laser surgery. Apparently the eye drops for dialating her pupils were more painful than previously, though. Mr Lochhead, the surgeon, decided to do treatment on both eyes, though the original plan had been to do just one. He must have felt that there was still some activity in the other eye. We did have quite a wait to leave, partly because Hannah did quite a bit of sleeping and then waiting for the nurse to do the discharge. We were back home at around 3. Since then Hannah has mostly slept, which is normal after these events.

In terms of results, we have to wait until Hannah is back for the check up with Mr Lochhead in around a month.

Other Happenings This Weekend

July 15, 2008

Miriam and Mark were visiting through last week. They had lots of good time with Ella, got to make plans and preparations for their upcoming wedding, Miriam performed in two concerts (one with the choir and one with the Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra) and they helped plan the audacious surprise birthday party for Barbara.

This party had been in the planning for a few weeks, involving all three of Barbara’s daughters and Brian, Barbara’s partner. It was happening at Barbara’s house, so she needed to be away from the house on some pretext during Saturday. A fake plan was made that had a family dinner in Cowes on Saturday evening and Barbara in Cowes with us during the day helping prepare our BBQ for Sunday. Hannah threw in a birthday treat of a massage at a local spa as decoy (but real) surprise. Then Brian phoned in the evening to say he wasn’t well and wouldn’t make the dinner and could Barbara come home. I believe his pleading wasn’t quite sufficient and Hannah and Miriam had to persuade Barbara to head home. Myself, Hannah and Mark (Miriam was playing in the IOW Symphony concert on Saturday so missed most of the fun) dashed to Ventnor 20 minutes after Barbara had left. We were trying to get there before Barbara, but didn’t succeed and the party was in full flow when we arrived. Apparently the surprise had been complete for Barbara to discover a bevvy of friends hiding in her house and Brian and Rachel making party food. Hannah did a set of songs with her past partner in music, Ian Reid, playing the piano. All good fun.

An added complication for the weekend was that I broke my glasses on Friday evening, and the only prescription specs I had as backup were sunglasses. Fortunately the broken ones have now been fixed by the optician, but I did look something of a wally at work yesterday looking at my computer monitor with dark glasses.

MHCC End of Year Concert and BBQ

July 15, 2008

The weekend and end of working week were busy for the Medina High Community Choir. On Thursday we had our final concert of the year (a year for a performing group seems to be an academic one). It was in the Medina Theatre, which is attached to Hannah’s school and is quite large, taking over 400 people. We didn’t fill it, but did have a reasonable audience; it must have been around 100. The programme was very similar to that of our previous concert in Ventnor (deliberately), with a repeat of the gospel-ish theme with different solo performances. I don’t believe there were any big mistakes. We had swapped one of Hannah’s sisters for another, with Miriam performing in this concert instead of Rachel. She took on a bit of gospel praise during Shackles, which gave singers around her a shock when she suddenly ad libed during reherseal.

Then on Sunday we held a BBQ for the choir at our house. We had some help on Saturday preparing the site from Mark, who was down with Miriam, who helped me put the gazebo back up. The menu for the BBQ was pretty much a re-run of what we did for Ella’s birthday party, or at least in a similar vein. Indeed, we were using quite a lot of stuff bought for Ella’s party. Our wine cellar grew considerably, as many people brought a bottle but not much was drunk.

I am sure the choir members enjoyed the food and chat, but I think for many of them the highlight was watching the video from the Ventnor concert taken by my Mum, Clare and stepfather, Chris. Their cinematography did leave a bit to be desired, as they admitted afterwards they had taken a while to work out how to start and stop the camera recording, but they caught the vast majority of the concert and it was all in focus etc etc. The choir certainly enjoyed watching themselves and spotting the good bits and bad bits. When singing in a choir you never get the complete picture of the piece because your own part dominates all the others, so it was their first opportunity to experience their own concert and performance. It was noted there wasn’t enough smiling. Some subversives suggested we should ditch the music and do future concerts from memory, which rather has me worried, because I can never remember what I am singing!

Photos from Ella’s Birthday

July 13, 2008

I’ve uploaded a selection of photos from Ella’s first birthday weekend to Facebook. You can see them here.

Medina High Community Choir Concert

July 5, 2008

The choir had a concert last Saturday, the night before the big party above. Rachel helped bolster the strength of the middle section of the choir, and my Mum and Stepdad (Clare and Chris) got to ‘enjoy’ the performance as well. This one was at the Baptist church in Ventnor to help buy aid food called Plumpy Nuts and acted as a warm up for our big concert next Thursday at the Medina Theatre. It maybe wasn’t the best timed in terms of the rush it caused for us the next morning. I think it went well, though it didn’t sound as good when we watched the recording Clare and Chris made on our camcorder afterwards. Strange how video makes things sound different to what they did in real life. I can’t tell, though, because being stood in a choir means you hear the part you are in much louder than the rest, so you get a very unbalanced sound.

If you happen to be in Newport on Thursday, around 7:30pm, do pop into the Theatre and buy a ticket and listen to our Gospel-ish concert.