danieldwilliam: (Curly Wurly)
The weekend was moderately successful. The main business, the seventh birthday of the Captain and associated ceremonials passed off well.

My mum has arrived to help out with getting the holiday let house in good shape. She's a great gardener so she's giving the garden a good once over. She's also doing bit of DIY and generally being on hand to keep tradesmen focused. She also has a job to do exploring the village and surrounds and making friends with the locals.

My daughter came up from university for the weekend arriving on Friday.

I got home from a week of being successfully audited by internal audit fo find my family waiting for me and all well and in good spirits.

Family takeaway from the nice Thai takeaway with mum and dad, MLW, BB and the Captain. All very nice until my dad picked a fight with my mum about the need for more populism in the NHS and I called him a Faragist. (There being in my view a very important distinction between popular engagement and populist engagement.)

Saturday, no early morning football due to the Captain's foot injury. Mum and MLW made an early morning run to B&Q. Then the Rugby. A mass expedition of MLW, the Captain and I, the Captain's Good Friend and his dad, an old school friend of mine, her husband and their rugby mad son to Murrayfield to watch Scotland (still in contention for second) play Italy (still in contention for their first win of the tournament). Sadly for both teams neither was to be. In not great conditions for precision rugby Scotland ran in four tries for a 29-0 victory. This somewhat flattered us as the Italian kicker missed three straightforward kicks at goal and then gave up prompting a ten minute passage of Italy kicking for the corner and having their driving maul not work. So of Scotland's kicking out of hand was of questionable quality and value and the crowd got a bit bored, frustrated and restless. I'm not saying the crowd were unhappy but if not exactly disgruntled they were very far from gruntled. They cheered up after a well attended Mexican wave and the bonus point-winning fourth try. I'm told the game looked better on TV than from the North stand.

Fairwell Vern Cotter, but not I hope adieu to Scotland's more attacking, higher quality style of play.

The Captain had a small nap in the backseat of the car on the way home. He'd been very excited about his birthday, often waking during the night for a visit to our bed and was very, very tired. Happy but tired.

I introduced mum to rugby with the second half of the Wales - France match. Explaining the last 20 minutes put me on my metal but I think I managed to convey some of the game and she picked up on the potential moral hazard of the French doctor. As little as can be said about the England - Ireland game the better. Sadly, the chips did not fall where they needed to for Scotland to finish second, or even third and we ended the Six Nations with a muted 4th. I'd have taken that at the begining of the tournament. We must rue the missed opportunity for a fourth try against England.

Sunday arrived. Early. The Captain's party was at 10am in a massive softplay dome. It's the old Leith water park, now converted in to a muti-story climbing frame. It's definately the best in Edinburgh. He and his friends had a grand time. The event was well run by the venue staff and MLW. Everyone had a lovely time. My son has the sweatiest head in his class.

Home for presents, of which there were many. The quality of toys and co is definately higher than it was ten or twenty years ago. The main big present is a PlayStation 4 with Lego Dimensions. I have no idea what to do. Nor does the Captain. It took me hardly any time to set it up but a while for the controllers to charge up. A short play, then out for tea, then home for some more epic Lego adventuring.

All in all in a fine weekend.
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
Here follows a short and fluffy update on my holiday.

Family Visits

My sister and brother in law were in town for Easter. My youngest brother popped in for the weekend on his way to working offshore. He dropped off his dog for dad and the Captain to look after. Bluebird visisted for her last Easter holiday before the access arrangements expire. Dad had returned from Australia.

So I cooked lunch. Dad cooked lunch. Then I cooked lunch again. Lunch was eaten. One of the lunch was a pre-birthday tea for BB, who turns 18 soon.

Then BB went on a three day Introduction to Cookery course at the New Town Cookery School. It seemed to do the job of introducing her to foundational techniques so she can cook with confidence when at uni. Money well spent if it helps her manage her budget and eat properly, healthily and enjoyably. Judging by the quality of the food that came back she's learnt a lot.


Caught up with some old uni friends and their four children on Sunday. A pleasant lunch and a short walk followed by an ice cream. Four children are ruinously expensive.

Andy nearly joined us for one of the lunches after setting fire to his kitchen.


Enjoyed some wine from Naked Wine and had a Grasshoper now that I've tracked down some white Creme de Cacao. Delicous stuff. Had a delicious bottle of Moet et Chandon 1998 to celebrate BB's birthday. Very delicious.


Took delivery of my new painting station from Hobby Zone of Poland. The painting station itself is superb. Took about an hour to assemble with a little help from MLW. Holds all my paint. It should allow me to do painting in shorter bursts and the tidy up quickly so that I can do more in the evening without MLW feeling like she's living a Warhammer shop.

However, it doesn't fit in the box that I thought it would by about 5mm. I'd clearly measured the internal dimensions of the box incorrectly. This is a bit of a blow but good will triumph over evil. I've found an online bespoke cardboard box shop so I can have a box that fits perfectly in to the space I want to put it, which will contain the painting station and some other things and be out of the way and tiday.


My Lovely Wife and I spent a few days in the garden. Mostly this was tidying up after the winter. The flat is on a corner over looking a park so lots of leaves get blown into it. Excellent mulch but there is a need to clear them away. A bit of pruning. Well quite a lot of pruning. MLW had stern words with the Naughty Clematis and I tackled the Excellent Good Rose. I'm redirecting its energies along the wall. I did manage to get myself entangled in it with a nasty combination of thorns under my arm and in my wrist.

Other pruning and staking and re-shaping happened. Generally the garden looks like someone cares for it now.

We got the trellis for the Corner Clematis up on the wall. This has been a job in the offing for several years. I hope the Corner Clematis now thrives in a it's blowsy purple way. Along side the Corner Clematis went a bird house. Bets are invited on how long this survives being stolen.

We also planted some plants. We have a new flowering cherry with interesting gnarly branches to replace the dead Yellow Broome. A nice white early flowering upright shrub and a striking evergreen perential with bright green and white leaves. Some new wallflowers and some bedding plants for the planters.

Board Games

With my sister and brother in law up there were board games.

I played the following

Power Grid for the first time. Long game but interesting. Put aside three hours or more to play it. We broke our session with dinner.

Blueprint - second time. A game based on architecture. Short game (30 minutes or so). Nice mechanic. Not deep. I feel it's going to be a pleasant warm up game, or one The Captain can join in with.

Camel Up - a short funny betting game based on a camel race. The Captain did really well with the betting and the counting. Particularly when the game is for 8 year olds and older.

Ticket to Ride Europe with the 1912 expansion pack. We tried one of the new sets of card. It worked well and Bluebird through a combination of luck and judgement managed the family highest ever score with a series of about a dozen new route draws towards the end of the game. For a few minutes I thought she was going to top 200 points.

Tsuro came out for some Captain gaming.

Machi Koro with the Harbour and the (new to me) Millionaire's Row Expansion Packs. The game works very well with the Harbour expansion. I consider that the base game. Millionaire's Row changes the ethos of the game. The base game doesn't have many opportunities to agrressively interfere with other players. Millionaire's Row gives you the opportunity to disrupt them in several ways. It makes the game more interactive but sneakier. I liked it, the rest of the family less so.

I return to work having had a good week off.
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)

The now traditional weekender post.

This weekend was the Captain's sixth birthday. That occupied most of the run time.

On Friday night I was pretty tired after work and going to the gym. I watched the last episode of How I Met Your Mother and had an early night.

Saturday, MLW was singing all day. The Captain and I went to football in the park then by bus to Rugbytots.

I'd usually take the bike but after the gym I find I can't carry the Captain that far on the bike. I worrly slightly that I'm losing exercise but I expect as my cardio-vascular fitness improves the bike on the Saturday will start to work again. However, there is a more fundamental problem. The Captain is now pretty much too large to go in the bike seat but can't quite manage the cycle to Rugby on his own. Fortunately the bus service to RugbyTots works well with the timetable. I'll miss the ride.

Rugby was good. The Captain suffered slightly from his reputation as a competitive bruiser. He tripped and landed heavily on a pal of his who was sliding in to score a try. The coach didn't see the trip and gave the Captain a reminder about being gentle. The Captain responded to it well I thought. He'd usually protest his innocence but he shrugged it off this time.

Home via the shops to get some lunch and an early birthday present.

Saturday afternoon - the Captain and I watched the rugby on TV / played with his iPad / built his new lego.

The Wales - Italy game was too much of a blow out to be enjoyable.

The Scotland - Ireland game was strange. Some questionable refereeing. I thought he'd attempted to make a point about fluency and quick ball so eagerly he'd unbalanced the game. Sexton's attempt to fake significant injury in order to have Dunbar sent off was frankly unforgivable. I now fully endorse any and all attempts to physically contain him by any team in all circumstances - including any New Zealand vs Lions games. It was not a classic Scotland performance. We usually lose by a) getting stuck in mid-field and losing to the sole try of the match, b) having a few interception tries or a blatant refereeing error go against us or c) forget how to do any two of the basics of rugby but this time we managed to lose through our own over aggression and ill-discipline. This is what it's like to be French.

England - France - by then I largely didn't care but I enjoyed watching the rugby with MLW and a curry. France are too unfit to win a game let alone the Six Nations.

Overall, I was pretty pleased with Scotland's performance. Some good periods of game management and far, far fewer errors. I'm not sure it's a Six Nations winning team but it is a better team then we've had for a decade.

The Captain had a friend arrive for a sleep over on Saturday night. They did not go to sleep until 10.15. Such is the way of these things.

Sunday was the big day. Up early for some lego fun. The party was at 10 in a trampolining venue south of Edinburgh. The party went well. The kids enjoyed it. The Hurricaine Simulator was a surprise hit. The parents of the children in his class are pleasant. All good and all done by lunch time.

Home with his friend to open presents then an early birthday tea at a Chinese buffet. I got to read the bedtime story - Chapter 18 of Danny the Champion of the World.

A bit of Sunday evening television - catching up with George and Arthur, a dramatisation of the involement of Arthur Conan Doyle in the George Edalji case which lead to the establishment of the Criminal Court of Appeal.

danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
I've had a rather lovely weekend. MLW was away for some it so the Captain and I had some time together.

On Friday MLW and I watched the Wales vs France rugby match. It wasn't a classic but, as Wales are my second favourite Northern Hemisphere team it was good to see them win.

I also managed to slip in a quick call with my mum who is freshly returned from volunteering at Care4Calais. At first I was a bit worried about her. Her voice sounded slurred but once she told me that I'd just woken her up from a nap I relaxed. She sounded tired. I think she's had a rewarding and productive time of it but, as expected, hard work.

MLW left on Saturday morning to visit her aged mother. The Captain and got a lift to Rugbytots with Grandad and Harvey the dog. Harvey loves the Captain. The Captain loves Harvey. Rugbytots went well. Just the one sin-binning for the Captain after he became involved in an over vigorous tagging. The usual tag rugby game was played 8 on 8 and across the width of the long axis of the sports hall. The coach had an emphasis on running straight and passing in to space which the Captain picked up on. Several times I saw him eye up the state of play and then shift himself across in to space. Space was theme of the weekend.

I fancied making a lamb tagine for dinner on Sunday for MLW and I. Grandad dropped us off by the butcher but we'd just missed him. However Co-op had everything we needed, expect dried apricots. The Captain was on good form, pulling along the basket and picking up some hotdogs for his own lunch. He and I had a good conversation about saffron. My claim that is was the most expensive foodstuff in the world was greeted with sceptisim and demand to know how much all the other things we had bought cost. Price per gram is a concept that will have to wait for another day I think.

Grandad took himself off to return Harvey to my brother and then pick up my step-mum to begin their journey to Australia to see my family out there.

We got home just in time for the Scotland vs Italy game. I'd pre-warned the Captain that I would be watching this on the big television and charged up his iPad. He watched the first twenty minutes. We talked about passing in to space. Then he tucked himself up with Beettleborg.

A good game. Some excellent individual efforts from Laidlaw, Seymour, WP Nel and Hogg. Good team effort and some good game management to ensure the win and to score the final try to make the win emphatic. We've been here before, with a Scotland team that promises much, doesn't quite deliver, had a good game and then continues to not deliver but this felt a bit more focused than usual and based on a whole team performance rather than just a few flashes of invidual good play.

The Captain continued to watch Beetleborgs whilst I watched the England vs Ireland game. My two least favourite teams. Unfortunately the hoped for low scoring draw didn't materialise and the wrong team won and the mathematical possibility of Scotland winning the Six Nations disappeared. Hey ho.

Sunday was a cracking day. The Captain had a lie in until 7.30 (compared to his usual 5.30) and then I got to got to go back to bed until 9.00. He was to have a play date with his best nursery friend in the morning but his friend was poorly so it was postponed until the afternoon. The Captain and I walked down to the shops to buy a toy and some apricots (which, according to the Captain, is mostly what Waitrose is all about, he's been there before and I should prepare myself for disapppointment, in case they didn't have any as mostly that's what people buy there.) We stopped to look at the crocuses and discuss bees and saffron. He spent his pocket money on some goodies. I got some dried apricots (and a lecture about how I shouldn't buy a large packet if I was planning on making my tummy smaller.)

It was a lovely day for a walk. Bright, cold, clear and dry. We walked down the hil and took the bus home.

I dropped the Captain off at his friend's and then returned to make tagine. It was very nice but I'd added one half a teaspoon of harissa paste too much and it was a little spicey. Delcious but perhaps a little hot.

MLW returned mid-afternoon. The Captain likewise. He and I made a large train track in the Train Track Room and then had a bath together.

I slipped in the now traditional few episodes of How I Met Your Mother. I'm now up to Season 5 Episode 10 - so more than halfway through.

Not an epic weekend but a very nice one.
danieldwilliam: (Default)
The Captain has provided two moments of surreal merriment in as many days.

In recent weeks he has become very interested in water. He has always enjoyed baths and helping with the washing up. We’ve started taking him swimming and he now has access to the water play table at nursery. He’s all about water at the moment.

He’s not so keen on showers. He’ll come into the shower with either MLW or me occassionally and he tolerates them when we go swimming but he’s not a huge fan. Pretty much any other water source is of highest excellence.

The fortnight or so we’ve often found him sitting on the spare bed in his room looking up at the ceiling muttering to himself about water. MLW and I were a bit puzzled about his. Water from above happens in the shower or outside but not in his bedroom. I spent twenty minutes or so one bedtime asking him about it. He was adament. Water from the ceiling. No, he wouldn’t like a shower. He was too busy looking for water from the ceiling. Did he want to go outside? No, it was bedtime and time to look for water from the ceiling. He seemed more sad than anything that I didn’t understand. For a few moments I even began to wonder if he’d developed precognition and we were about to be flooded by our upstairs neighbours. (I blame watching Watership Down on the tele earlier.)

I was so puzzled by his behavour that I asked nursery if they had read any stories about a flood. No, they hadn’t. And then we looked up, at the large velux windows in the nursery ceiling where the rain would fall and turn into streaming water. On the ceiling.

If water happens on the ceiling of one nice, safe, happy place, why wouldn’t it happen on the ceiling of other nice, safe, happy, places.

His other moment of genius is about discipline.

The Captain is not allowed to climb onto the table. It is one of the rules.

Once saying No and explaining the rules and the reasons for them has failed our prefered method of discipline is to put the Captain on his back and repeat the rule and then let him get himself up from the floor. It worked very well with his older sister.

Over the weekend he was placed on his back for climbing on the table. Yesterday I got home from work and MLW told me that he had been climbing on the table again. He’d keep doing it despite being picked up and put back on the chair. He then climbed back onto the table, pointed at the floor and then asked to be put on his back on the floor. When he was he made the required sad and contrite face and then bounced off to do Captain business elsewhere.

The world inside the head of a small child must be as strange and wonderful as small children find the world.
danieldwilliam: (Default)
The Capt has broken my glasses. I’m not quite sure how he did it. One second I was wearing them, the next he had them in his hands, a second later he had twisted one arm back on itself, popped the screw holding the frames together and the lens was out.

This is going to be inconvenient. My other glasses are sunglasses or six years old.

I am currently wearing contact lens. They are not working so well in the air conditioned office in which I spend most of my day looking at small numbers on VDU.

I'm already struggling to see and it's only ten o'clock.
danieldwilliam: (Default)

The Captain is a gentle and affectionate little boy. He likes to hold the hands of other babies and he tries to stroke the faces of his parents. I love this about him very much.

He is learning to kiss. So far he has grasped that you do kisses by putting your mouth on someone else’s face. He approaches his new found skill with gusto. His current method of delivering a kiss is to plant his face on your face, with his mouth open and hum. This causes dribble. The Captain also has a cold.  This causes snot. The combination could be used to grease marine engines.

 This morning he was particularly affectionate and gave me a five minute kiss. No exaggeration, five minutes. 

 Today I feel very loved by an elemental little boy.

 Today, I am also going to invest in a kissing cloth.


danieldwilliam: (Default)

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