Sunday, 16 May 2010

Shredder for sale

Had a relaxing weekend with the family.

Saturday was spent shopping in nearby Milton Keynes before stopping off at the Zen Garden chinese restaurant (pictured below) for lunch, which I strongly recommend if you live in the area.

Sunday was spent making an unholy mess in the kitchen, serving up an extravagant roast dinner for the family which, as always, promised smiley faces for the boys and an upside-down smiley face for Daddy who had to clear up the mountains of mess afterwards.

Talking of chicken, Ciaran has now got chickenpox.

Following fleetingly on from Ben's dabble with this itchy, spotty virus last week, Ciaran's body has now succumbed to its infectious charm, with red spots spreading like wildfire all over his body.

Unlike Ben, he has loads on his face and under his hair. His head is actually looking less and less like a human head by the minute, and more and more like the surface of Mars. And, it's probably going to get worse before it gets better.

However, like Ben, he's a hardy little soul and he's not grumbling too much about it at all.

In fact, Ciaran's daily wrecking routine has continued unabated today, pulling DVDs from their shelves, ripping newspapers and shredding superfluous Council magazines into thin slithers of pulp.

I've put our shredder up for sale on Ebay. We don't need it. We've got Ciaran, The Bedfordshire Ripper.

Changing the subject slightly, Ben has been kicking Mummy an awful lot this weekend. Just randomly walking up to her and giving her a kick in the shin that's right on the boundary between playful and meaningful.

Mummy told him off, and we had to rush an emergency bill through our House this afternoon prohibiting Ben from kicking anyone - apart from Daddy.

I actually volunteered to keep that bit in the new legislation, as I enjoy a bit of rough and tumble with the boys now and again. Sometimes more often than now and again. Sometimes again and again.

So my shins are Ben's to have when he needs them.

I just hope he stops before he's wearing Doctor Martins though.

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Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Death by powerpoint?

Today was a first.

Despite working for the same Council, Ellen and I sit at desks that are roughly 10 miles apart.

This is not unusual in our Council since, serving a largely rural populace of some 250,000, our offices are peppered across several locations throughout the district.

However, today, we had the novelty of being in the same building, in the same room, at the same time, for the same meeting.

We were attending a Council training course, a very well-attended training course it has to be said with some 60 people turning up, although we were sat at different tables for the day so the whole husband and wife thingy didn't crop up much at all in conversation.

I have to say, Ellen behaved very well. She even bought me a coffee.

I'll have to go on some more training courses with her I think.

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Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Everyone's a Cleggservative now

Great speech from Cameron tonight.

No surprise that Brown, aided and abetted by the unelected Mandelson & Campbell, put their self interest before the national interest and left the country (and markets) in limbo for five days before resigning as Prime Minister tonight.

Even his resignation speech was laced with sours grapes - his "at least we denied the opposition a majority" swipe stood out for me.

By way of contrast, just like in all three of the Leader's Debates, Cameron was more than generous in his remarks, paying tribute to the "openness" of the country that Brown has left behind. Maybe he meant our borders.

But one thing is for sure.

Cameron travels ideology-lite, and I think he'll be comfortable in a liberal climate. As Lord Heseltine said on Sky News tonight, his acceptance speech had One Nation Conservatism oozing out of every consonant and vowel.

I still crave for more tough-talking rhetoric on immigration, crime, defence, the workshy and so on, but I'll settle in the short-term for a Con-Lib pact just to get Cameron into Downing Street.

It may well end as most coalition arrangements between polarised political parties do - in tears. But at least he's in office.

Good luck to him. He's going to need it.

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Saturday, 8 May 2010

Little shoplifter in the making?

It's been an exceedingly long time since I posted an update on this blog.

So, in the interests of tackling this massive deficit in information management, I thought I'd better begin with a brief summation of what's being going on recently.

1. Ben is just getting over a bout of chickenpox, although the side-effects weren't as bad as I'd expected. The itchiness only seemed to bother him for one day and the calamine cream seemed to do the trick.

He's still got a few spots on his face and quite a few more elsewhere, but they're beginning to fade and disappear.

2. Ciaran, meanwhile, managed to avoid The Pox completely, and had his first birthday on the 28th April.

He has seven teeth now, an ever-expanding thatch and is a confident crawler, cruiser and climber. He's also becoming an active participant in the toy department of our house, taking on an increasing amount of managerial duties and delegating to his elder brother on a regular basis.

They do have fall-outs occasionally over the 'share' principle. Ben is told to share his toy with Ciaran but Ciaran doesn't always reciprocate.

But on the whole, they both play very happily together.

3. I've been beavering away in my new job in transport strategy, taking on an increasing amount of projects and going to meetings around the East of England fairly frequently.

4. And Ellen has been beavering away in her job too as well as taking on some extra work as a polling clerk at a local polling station in Bedfordshire for GE10.

Coming back to the kiddies though, it does please me to report that Daddy-Ben relations hit an all-time high this month.

Not only has he stopped going beserk when Mummy goes shopping without him, he actively seeks out Daddy time now in rooms in the house unoccupied by Mummy.

Today, he even went one step further. He wanted to go on a walk with Daddy - just Daddy.

We decided to walk to the shops as I'd run out of semi-skimmed milk and it was breakfast time. I got his coat on and we headed out at around 8.30am on the short, 10 minute stroll to Tescos.

When we arrived, Ben was browsing the shelves in no time.

It was becoming immediately apparent to me that all those trips to the shops with Mummy was rubbing off on Ben. He'd definitely picked up a lot of Mummy's shopping traits - like, just throw things in the trolley/basket and worry about the bill later.

Ben was loading up my basket like there was no tomorrow. I was browsing the yoghurts when all of a sudden, Ben threw in some spanish chorizo sausage meat and cheddar cheese. Cheese and chorizo were not on the shopping list. This repeated itself wherever I went.

More worryingly, Ben was also beginning to display some mild shoplifter tendencies.

On two occasions, he tried to make off with customer shopping trolleys full of goods, without the customers' permission. Daddy had to intervene on both occasions.

Then, as I was waiting at the checkout, he made a run for the exit before we'd paid.

Seriously. I was just about to pay when he walked off slowly before stopping about 10 feet away from me..."Ben, come back to Daddy please." (normal voice. No response)...slow walk becomes a run towards the exit and automatic doors fling open..."Ben! Come back here now!" (Extremely loud voice. Other shoppers look around. Daddy abandons shopping basket and sprints to exit to grab Ben).

I'm sure the CCTV department in Tesco were having a field day.

He did eventually return to the store, I did eventually pay for our goods and we left the store as all law-abiding customers should do - with a receipt in the bag.

It's just a matter of time before he slips a packet of sweeties in his back pocket surely.

How will I explain that to the security staff?

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