Archive for November, 2008


November 25, 2008

It’s a busy old time at the moment. Two weekends ago Hannah was away, and I had Ella all weekend, with visits to the indoor soft play area at Monkey Mansion, and then Christmas World at Busy Bee the next day (she enjoyed both). On that Sunday, my Mum, Clare, came down for the week, looking after Ella and covering for the childminder being away on holiday. Then I was away this weekend, and certainly missed Ella and Hannah. I know Hannah very much missed Ella the weekend before, for what was the first time she’d been away from Ella for a couple of consecutive days.

Another thing I missed over this weekend was the Medina High Community Choir (Hannah’s) winning Best Choir at the Ventnor Music for Fun Festival. I was there and taking part on Thursday, when we won the best in class award (second year running), but missed out on the winners’ concert on Saturday when we won the above. Hannah has done very well with this choir, and from a very variable, and sometimes small, membership early on, it has grown and hopefully will become well respected. She does get good performances from a mixed ability group and everyone is improving all the time.

Hannah and I are both very busy with work at the moment. On 12th December the next release of the product I project manage is released, so it’s all go at work with all sorts of big pushes to the end and reviews with execs. Hannah has been doing credit crunch busting tutoring and singing teaching, as well as plenty of hours with the sex ed folks in the council.

Ella is tottering around the place as ever. She has a very red cheek at the moment, where she feel on some Duplo at the weekend. Hannah was worried she’d have a black eye, but that hasn’t happened. Last week she had a trip to the hospital as we continue to try and find out if she has a squint. This trip involved an eye test, which can’t be done in the usual way of reading off some letters, because (you’ll be surprised to know) Ella can’t read. Instead, we had to give her eye drops and the doc shone a light into her eye to measure the refraction. While it was a bit of a wrestle getting the drops into her eyes, Ella was very good once the stinging had stopped. She did cry while it stung, but once that had worn off she was straight back to normal. The result of the trip was that there is isn’t any conclusive sign of a squint.


Weekend in Rochester

November 15, 2008

Last weekend we were all away in Rochester. Not an obvious holiday destination, you’d have to agree. Why were we there, in the badlands of Kent? For a family get-together.

Back in June when we had Ella’s birthday party, we invited my step-father’s parents, Nan and Charlie. As they would be coming down from Edinburgh, they felt that the journey was too far, though they’d very much liked to have come. That gave them an idea of arranging a trip when they could see Ella and her cousins, Aliya and Lucy and I suppose Douglas and I and our wives. Therefore my Mum, Clare, booked up the Holiday Inn in Rochester, as it was convenient for them flying down from Scotland to Gatwick, Douglas’s family coming from East London, and sort of for us coming from the Isle of Wight.

Over the weekend Ella certainly had fun with her cousins and getting lots of attention. We were very surprised by how adventurous she was. During meals when we were all gathered in the dining area, she was quite happy to wander off down corridors exploring. Probably she would have stopped if someone wasn’t following her to make sure she was okay. Her favourite thing was walking into and out of the lift – whenever the lift arrived, she was straight in, and when we got to the destined floor, she was straight out.

There was a swimming pool so we had a session of swimming. As we’d not packed her inflatable ring, I bought some arm bands, but she didn’t like those. That meant she had to be held in the water, giving her less freedom. She liked being thrown through the water between Hannah and I, and climbing in and out of the small baby pool.

On the Saturday night, before dinner, Hannah, Ella and I went for a short trip out to see the arrival of Santa at Dickens World. This involved Santa climbing down from the roof of the establishment. It was a rather strange place, located in the back of a common or garden outdoor shopping mall, the sort of place you get Halfords or Brantano. Anyway, Santa climbed down the roof and abseiled down the front wall. We’ve got some photos of Ella looking mildly interested. She did enthusiastically point to Santa as he appeared lit up by spotlight. While we waited for the crowd to get into Dickens World, Hannah dragged us into an M&S Outlet shop, and then we followed everyone in and saw some carols being sung, and the start of a performance of A Christmas Carol, which we didn’t hang around for, as it would have made no sense to Ella. On returning to the car, we were surprised to discover we’d left the back door open, and the people neighbouring car had called security. Fortunately no-one had nicked the car or anything in it, so maybe Rochester/Chatham is a very low crime area.

We had a very enjoyable weekend, Ella took a shine to her Auntie Joanna, and was disappointed that she couldn’t be picked up by Joanna because Joanna is pregnant (congratulations to Douglas and Joanna). She had some good play time with Aliya and Lucy as well. Thankfully she also dropped off to sleep at night much more easily than during previous hotel stays, presumably because she was quite tired and because she was going to bed late.

The lateness of her bedtime had something to do with the speed of service in the dining room, which was rather slow at all times, except the buffet breakfast. The food was rather unexciting too. Hannah, Clare and Nan spent the weekend complaining, and secured various discounts and a free round of drinks (though that required Hannah to speak to the manager at his home after he’d offered it the night before and reneged).

Christmas is Coming

November 1, 2008

This will be Ella’s first Christmas when she is at all cognisant of what is happening around her. Some of her family are rather encouraging her excitement in anticipation of the actual day. A local garden centre sets up a ‘Christmas World’, the usual combination of displays and selling opportunity. Ella has already been taken a couple of times, and with Hannah not teaching much today, and it being wet and miserable, the three of us made the trip there today. Certainly Ella was very excited by it all. She wandered around pointing at lots of Santas, touching sparkly things and stroking soft toys. She very much likely the display of polar bears, and the animatronic Santa reading a book leads her to want a cuddle while looking at it. Her biggest favourite was an inflated, rotating snowman, and she shreeked in delight everytime the front turned round to face her. Another particular fancy was playing the the smelly tealights, banging them together and even having a chew, so a close eye was needed in the candle section.

All-in-all, she very much enjoyed drinking it all in (and we did buy her a little, fibre optic tree), so-much-so, that as soon as she was in the car, she dropped off to sleep, exhausted.

Birthday Weekend

November 1, 2008

Last weekend was Hannah’s birthday, celebrating the start of a new decade. She had a big meal out with a load of girlie friends on Saturday, and on Sunday, the pair of us stayed the night in the honeymoon suite of the Ryde Castle Hotel, where we had our wedding reception. We had a meal out in Joe’s in Ryde, which was pleasant, although slightly spoilt by Hannah’s chicken supreme not having any sauce (apparently their take on supreme doesn’t) and the chicken itself was too dry to eat. As I say, despite that, we had a lovely evening and a slap up breakfast the next morning. The hotel, even though it has changed management since our wedding, hasn’t changed any. Also as part of her birthday weekend, I agreed to go on a shopping trip to Southampton on Saturday. Hannah loves to shop, but is very restrained when it comes to buying, which I suppose is good. We did cover a lot of distance wandering around West Quay, and Hannah did succeed in finding what she wanted, which was a black dress for her girlie meal out that night. She did look gorgeous in it.

The night away was part of my present to Hannah. I also bought her some earrings. Ella bought her a nice big, and very cool looking, set of frames for photos. I’ll have to print off the pictures Hannah chooses, and exercise my DIY skills to put it up somewhere.

All last week my Mum, Clare, was visiting and did the babysitting duties on the Sunday night while we were away. Both she and Ella had a great week together. They made frequent trips to visit Clare’s camper van, which she’d brought down in advance of visiting her other grand-daughters in London for a trip away with Aliya. I also got to see it, with Clare trying to sell its advantages. Compared to the trailer tent we used in Brittany over summer it is a little bigger, and designed to sleep a couple more people. Apparently it gives rubbish fuel economy (17 mpg). If we go to France with them again next summer, it may make an appearance, so we might see it in action then. Over the weekend, Grandpa came down to join Granny, and Ella also had a great time with him.