No, I’m A Celebrity….

Right, you had a week off from Freddie photos last week, so you know what that means.

Having slept for what seems like 90% of his life so far, he is indeed living the dream. As you can see from the above photo, his eyes are open more now and he is starting to take notice of his surroundings.

Tom has gone back to work after his paternity leave and Rebecca has managed her first week alone with him. Louise has been off work, so she has helped out a little, mainly ferrying her off to relatives to show him off.

As things are today, he has already been introduced to the world of filters too.

After his first few days of health worries he’s bounced back nicely, putting on weight in a way which proves he is indeed my Grandson and also now parting with stuff into his nappy that is a mix of chicken Korma and nuclear accident. Rebecca feels the need to share those with us via group chat on a regular basis.

The countdown to Freddie’s first Christmas is officially underway. I’m a Celeb is on, every advert is a festive one and most scarily Louise has started shopping. Speaking of I’m a Celeb, they way it is going, it is only a matter of time until I’m on it due to the fact that I once met Sonia and Big Fun at ITV’s Telethon in the 80’s. Oh, I have also spoken to Gemma Atkinson in the ladies toilets in a Manchester hotel. I’m expecting the call from Ant or Dec within hours.

Oh, and I also worked with the cousin of Howard Donald (Take That bloke) at the NatWest in Manchester in the 90’s… this rate, I am more famous than half of the current camp mates. Thinking about it, a week or so ago I was walking the dogs and bumped into Sam Allardyce who lives close by and at Christmas most years my dog walking route takes me past the house of Danny from McFly’s parent’s house and he is often there.

I have other celebrity encounters and tales which frankly mean that I am more famous than Jamie Vardy’s wife. That, along with my 1100+ Twitter followers means that I will also be getting a book deal to publish a children’s story that somebody else actually wrote. However, when they trawl back through my tweets they will find content that is unacceptable and I shall be disgraced and thrown back into obscurity with only the Daily Star kiss and tell story about my Gemma Atkinson encounter to support me in my old age.

Such is celebrity life in this day and age. It’s a world where unexplained celebrities such as Gok Wan get famous for saying bangers a lot and then for some reason nobody can explain, starts to do cookery and people pay him money to do so. Similarly Kirstie Allsop falls into a TV career about houses and then rinses the general public every year with books and TV programmes about making paper chains and decorations out of used tissues and spit.

Keep your eye out for which minor celeb spent the first half of 2017 putting weight on so that they could then lose it before recording their fitness DVD. You too can lose all your weight. All you need is to do it full-time with your own personal trainer and dietary consultant. Or give them £15 for their DVD which you’ll find a drawer long after their fifteen minutes has passed.

Whilst I’m ranting, there’s a special place in hell for the talent vacuums that exist within The Only Way Is Chelsea Island.

Well, that came from nowhere didn’t it. A few minutes ago when I sat staring at the blank page I had no clue that I would be spewing onto the page in such a manner. I’ll probably feel better for it.

Enjoy your Sundays folks. I’m off for a lie down with a wet flannel.

Till the next time…..

Diary Of A Flabby Kid

As life tends to be, last week has been a glorious mixture of loveliness and joy in the 8lb shape of young Freddie and brutal, bruising shite from other stuff that isn’t for the blog. I think in reaction to the latter, I reached out, as is often the case, to the distant promise of our next Florida adventure for some solace. That took the form of my first serious glance at flights for next August.

I checked them out last when we were picking our dates and booking the villa and despite everything the world is doing to destroy itself, the prices haven’t changed that much. Thomas Cook still seem to be the likely recipient of my hard-earned, as Virgin, as ever, in my experience seem to be asking me to buy the plane rather than hire a seat for a few hours.

For the first time we are in the position of our dates being fixed now with the villa booked, but to be fair they were anyway due to various work commitments, so I know I am at the mercy of the search results as to what we will pay. We’re probably not going to book until January or February unless some price miracle happens before that, but I shall be a slave to Kayak and Skyscanner in the mean time. The losing of myself in holiday planning for a few moments helped and as I have often done over the years in times of stress, upset and objection to everyday life, I brought up our villa’s website and had a walk around. Don’t judge me!

One of the bits of last week that was not too pleasant was saying goodbye to one of our cats. Now, I have never been the biggest fan or lover of cats, even our own, but this is never a nice thing to do. She’d been ill on and off for some time and over the last few weeks it had become increasingly clear that all wasn’t well. She was very thin and that was because every time she ate she immediately threw it up again.

Louise had the unenviable task of taking her to the vets and it was the kindest thing to do to let her go.

I will add that the fees involved for the vet to give her that injection and deal with her afterwards are absolute robbery. It wasn’t our prime concern at the time and I’m sure they know that.

In other, mundane every day news, we had a new fireplace fitted. *THIS* is the stuff you come to the blog for I know. Since we moved into the house we’ve had a very naff early nineties fireplace that never worked and looked totally out-of-place in our very old house. It has taken us this long to replace it as we’ve had more pressing matters such as holidays to have (as well as doing the kitchen, bathroom and a million other things). We are on a programme of updates and improvements before our next trip and that was the latest part. Now we need to redecorate our front room. The amount of horror that this filled me with drove me to seek out a professional to save me from it. He comes next Monday and will have it stripped, the paintwork redone and the papering done in 2-3 days when it may have cost me every weekend between now and Christmas, along with my will to live.

I shall share a photo of said fireplace once that’s done as it currently sits on a bare chimney breast as we stripped the wallpaper from that before it was fitted. How will you be able to live with that level of anticipation?

Continuing with the diary element of my ever so exciting existence, last night, Mustard were gigging. We started working for a local agent about a year ago and most of their gigs are in Phoenix Nights places. It is alive and well and exactly as that programme shows it. It hasn’t changed at all. Louise did the club circuit twenty years ago and some of the clubs I am now playing with Mustard are the same ones Louise and I went to back then. The same artiste photos are up in the dressing rooms and the same bingo, open the box and play your cards right have to be avoided between our first and second spot. However, they are lovely places to play with genuine people who take great pride in their clubs and do their utmost to make it a nice place to be for all concerned.

Last night’s gig was only possible due to Louise. Having packed up my car and driven forty minutes to the venue, I immediately realised that I had forgotten a box of stuff that was crucial to our PA working. So I had to phone Louise and ask her to bring it over. I put it down to a stressful week and me being stupid.

In the spirit of rock n roll I got home after the gig at around one in the morning and had four crumpets. Not a euphemism. Now, the rest of the day will be spent doing as little as possible.

Till the next time….

Full Of Freddie

I promise that I will try not to become a grand chlild bore each week bombarding you with nothing but Freddie stuff.  However, this week is not the time for that. It’s felt like a long week, and a tough one for Rebecca and Tom as Freddie was in hospital for pretty much all of it.

He wasn’t feeding too well and was generally taking a while to recover from the trauma that is birth. Frustrated at wanting him home and at the same time worried that he’d be OK, after probably the longest week in the world, Rebecca and Tom were finally able to bring him home on Friday. They were a little naughty and just turned up at our house with him out of the blue having told us earlier that day that they hadn’t heard anything about him coming home.

With him being in special care until this point I hadn’t been able to hold him so this was a special moment which I celebrated by growing an extra chin.

So putting that week of stress and worry behind them, he was taken home so that his parents could then start a whole new phase of stress and worry about important things such as poo, eating and sleeping, which sounds like one of my normal weeks.

That new phase of stress and worry for Rebecca and Tom, I shall needlessly point out, will never end!

There have been lots of gifts and stuff purchased for the new family unit. One thing I gave them was something I wish we had been lucky enough to have. It is free but yet priceless. I set up a YouTube channel for Freddie. I know he won’t be vlogging for a while (if at all) of course, but the idea is that it is somewhere to put as many videos as possible of him, so when his Mum & Dad become middle-aged nostalgia machines they will be able to look back at any given point in his life and watch it all over again.

To make this easier we also got them a vlogging camera. Now, I have no idea if that channel will be made public, that’s up to his parents, but that isn’t the point. Our memories of the kids are scattered across photo albums, trip reports (thankfully) and other stuff crammed into drawers. With technology as it is, this won’t be the case for young Freddie.

So we’re all getting used to our new life with another member of the family in place. Even Rebecca said it felt surreal and unreal but within a very short period of time it will feel like he’s always been here I’m sure. We are all absolutely smitten with him and when you look at these photos, you will probably see why. I say that with not one hint of grand parent bias of course!

He’s a sleeper so far, which is a blessing. He’s already doing six hours or so through the night in between feeds. That’s better than I do! That all may change over time, but it sounds very much like Emily who we had to prod whilst asleep to make sure she was still alive. Nothing has changed there to be honest and if left to her own devices would only wake to be fed and then go back to sleep.

So with very few apologies there ends an entire post dedicated to having a Freddie. It may happen again but I will try not to be the online equivalent of that bloke who keeps showing you the photos of his grand kids in his wallet. Maybe….

Till the next time….

Ready Freddie Go

The subject of this week’s blog will come as no surprise. Let me start by thanking everyone who sent their congratulations and lovely thoughts when I posted Freddie’s photo on Facebook earlier this week.

I’m going to try and talk you through the events of the last week but if I’m honest my head is a bit scrambled and I’ll probably get bits wrong. It’s been a heck of a week for all sorts of reasons, not least becoming a Grandad!!

At the start of the week we knew it was likely that he would be coming soon. Rebecca was being monitored daily as she was having a few health issues herself. The main one was Strep B, which I’d never heard of but there was a risk it could be passed on to Freddie so a plan was hatched to kick-start things sooner rather than later.

By Wednesday Rebecca was in hospital knowing that she wouldn’t be going home until he arrived. It took some time and a lot of drugs to start her labour and as much as that was tough for her and Tom, trying to carry on with every day life knowing what was going on and what Rebecca was going through was tricky.

By the end of the working day on Thursday it was clear that he would soon be with us and sure enough at 9.16 that evening he made his entrance at a healthy 7lbs and 14oz. His first few minutes were a little worrying for Rebecca and Tom as he wasn’t doing a great deal when he first popped out and the delivery room soon filled with literally dozens of medical folks all doing their thing to sort him out.

Thankfully all was well but he spent his first night in the intensive care unit just to make sure. He was then quickly moved to special care where he still will be until (fingers crossed) tomorrow when he goes home. He was on a drip for a while just making sure he had no infections but over the next couple of days he’s made steady progress, coming off that and starting to feed etc. The biggest landmark so far was when Rebecca was allowed to dress him. That first outfit had been planned for a long time!

So on Friday we made the trip up to the hospital to meet him. We were all excited and eager to get there which made Louise’s insistence on stopping at several shops to buy a balloon not at all frustrating, making the twenty-minute trip to the hospital last over an hour!

Rebecca was obviously tired but thankfully safe and sound which was a relief after months of privately being terrified about her going through labour. Because they had to speed up her labour dramatically for Freddie’s benefit they put her on some very strong drugs to take her contractions to warp speed. She was told she wouldn’t be able to cope with the pain levels that would bring so they said they would give her an epidural. Unfortunately, they struggled to get that done and it took two hours to administer it during which she was in inhuman amounts of pain. I am a bit glad I didn’t know that until after the event. She has some impressive bruising for her troubles.

We are all incredibly proud of her and also proud of Tom and thankful for supporting her through labour and the last nine months which have not been easy for Rebecca.

One by one, as only two were allowed into the unit at a time, Rebecca took us in to meet him.

With him being in the special care unit in a glass case of emotion it wasn’t possible to hold him, we have that treat to come later today, but it was amazing to have him hold onto my finger and for us to say hello.

Thankfully, after not too long, over the weekend, he was able to be held by his Mum and Dad.

Rebecca was discharged yesterday and if all goes to plan they should be able to bring Freddie home tomorrow but we’re not sure yet.

It all feels a bit surreal at the moment. I’m sure that will change once he’s home and normal life can begin and I can’t wait. The next generation begins, and I’m sure it will be an adventure for all but mostly Rebecca and Tom. There’s a huge sense of relief all round that he’s finally here and everyone is fit and healthy. Here’s to a new chapter signalled by his arrival.

I have to go and get ready now as I have a date with my Grandson during which I’ll hold him for the first time. I shall be starting the Disney indoctrination by talking him through the plan for his first trip!

Till the next time….

Best of Orlando