It’s Been Fur Too Hot for Oli

A bit of early bloggage this week, as I don’t want to be writing this thing at the normal time today as I will be watching the golf.

In the on-going soap opera that is the Williams way, it has been a fairly uneventful week to be honest, with the major events being as exciting as me being away with work for a couple of days, and Oli having a haircut.

With the weather as it has been for while now, what you don’t want to be is an Old English Sheepdog. As cute as he looks with a fuller plume, by the time he had kept Louise awake for three nights panting the hair had to go. I suffered a similar fate back in the late nineties and have never been the same since.

Cute but hot.

A few months ago, we invested in some decent clippers for Oli, as we were fed up of paying enormous fees to dog groomers. Having now shaved him twice, we understand that they are probably underpaid!

The right kit probably helps, as he is a wriggly bugger, and has some real issues with you shaving his legs. So after doing the easy bits on his body he then spends a couple of hours looking like he’s wearing wooly chaps. I can say there end the similarities between Oli and myself. My chaps are leather.

How very dare you.

So it took both Louise and I all of Saturday morning to get him to an acceptable state.  We then had more hair on us than Oli ever did.

Of course now he’s all ready for the heatwave, today it has been overcast and cool and he’s been snuggling up to anything with a temperature to keep warm.  I suspect we are not in his good books.

I’d like to do the same to both cats.  Not because they are hot, I’d just like to.

I timed my night away from home well.  It was officially the hottest day of the year, and to compound matters I was down south in Marlow, where everyone knows it is always at least five degrees hotter then the frozen north.

As I arrived at my hotel on Wednesday evening, it was very hot outside.  However as I opened my door it took me back to that first blast of Florida heat as you first leave the airport.  It appears that the central heating was on, and had been for some time.  With the outside temperature being over thirty degrees, inside it must have been knocking forty.

I wrestled with the radiators for a while to get them off, opened the windows, and stripped down to my undies.  Imagine a sumo wrestler on a single bed watching the telly.

With no breeze coming through the window I had to eventually leave the room and go for a walk as the outside temperature was refreshing compared to my room.  I did a good hours walk, worked up a nice sweat and went back to my room to find the place no better.  I stood in a cold shower for twenty minutes before going to bed where I enjoyed a good half hour or so of uninterrupted sleep.

My walk did allow me to discover a lot more of Marlow than I ever have before, which has pretty much been the office, my hotel room and Pizza Express, and it really is a beautiful place.  I couldn’t however even afford to look in the estate agent’s window.

I was back home Thursday evening, and we’ve been planning Emily’s birthday celebrations since.  We’re all out for a meal on Friday evening (about fifteen of us) once everyone has finished work, and then it will be a “gathering” back at our house for her to open her presents.

No doubt next week’s blog shall share the details with you, plus a few photos.

Right, time for golf.

Till the next time…..

Snot and success in unequal measure

I know that I may have mentioned my illness in semi-jocular stati this week, but bloody hell I have been rough.  The standard cold symptoms randomly brought their great mates heart burn and muscular aches, and just as I was hopeful of waving the bugger off over this weekend it has thrown one hell of a farewell party. Over the past two days I have experienced pain unlike any other.  I’d call it a headache, but it isn’t really.  It is more eye ache!

A searing pressure like pain right in the middle of my eyeballs.  It hurt…like proper big boy pain, and I don’t like it.  As you know I handle pain and illness well so you really wouldn’t have known had you been here.

Today has been a slight improvement with no such repeat of that, and apart from feeling like I have been battered with a big stick, there are signs of recovery.  I have done nothing today which has really helped.  Well, I took Oli out, and had the intention of cutting my toenails, but I haven’t managed that yet!

Being below par has been really frustrating.  I had a heavy week at work, with stuff going on that couldn’t be interrupted by illness so I took my germs to Marlow for two days.  What joy I felt in my deluxe suite in which I stay, wrapped in a blanket hugging the lukewarm radiator watching crap football.  Who says executive travel isn’t glamorous?  By the time I got to Friday I was no good to anyone and crawled home mid afternoon and went straight to bed for a bit.

Still, a productive week, with a key supplier decided upon for a very important project and a key person, with actual technical skills rather than my invented ones, recruited to help me do it.  Snot and success in unequal measure….there was much more snot!

So let’s put all that illness behind us (I hope).  Some regular sleep and less snot will help so fingers crossed.

Affairs of the teenage heart have been in play this week too, with some “stuff” going with Rebecca and her friend who is a boy.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it now, there is nothing harder than watching one of them going through pain and not jumping right in the middle and knocking heads together or off altogether.

I am biting my metaphorical tongue, and hoping it all gets sorted out without too much upset, and the need for me to remove limbs.

Talking about removing limbs, Oli also came pretty close to losing a couple whilst I was away.  It seems that he left a large and damp message all over our bed, and those of you who sees Louise’s facebook updates will have appreciated her slight displeasure at this.

Thursday saw me travelling about in London, and whilst doing so coordinating my parents and a cleaning company to all work together before we got home to make sure we had something clean to sleep on.

My Dad sorted the duvet to the launderette, and Chem Dry turned up to sort the mattress.  Apparently they do a lot of work for hotels, so are used to similar work but I suspect for different fluids!

There are lots of theories about why Oli would do this, as he is superb at doing his stuff only where he should, always has been, so we are a bit baffled.  I wonder if it is connected to me being away, and him marking his territory in some way, but to be safe he isn’t going upstairs again anytime soon.

Just to remind us not to kill him here he is looking cute and lovable.

Oli cute

By the time we did get home on Thursday we were mostly sorted, and even had time to nip to my brother’s for a drink and pie celebration of his birthday.  I had soft drinks and lots of pie, as you need to feed a cold of course.

The other bit of news to share with you this week will hopefully be in the happy to hear category.  After the bitter disappointment in the summer for my Mum & Dad who had to cancel their trip to Florida with us with days to go, they are now booked to go just after Christmas.  Alas, we are not playing host, rather my brother and his family.  The party will be a huge one, nine in total, with his two elder children each taking their partner, so I think they have hired a coach to get them around.  Good luck with that!!

All Aboard!

So I am offering some tips, mainly on where to find a donut burger, which my brother is slightly more interested in that my sister-in-law who I’m guessing won’t be partaking.

So here’s to a week of better health as we hurtle towards December.  Someone might want to tell the telly that it isn’t December yet, cos if I see another version of the same advert from a bloody supermarket in November I might go and wee on their bed.

Why have they all gone for the same advert this year?  A stressed mum being the xmas hero.  I have no beef (or turkey) with the idea, but once you’ve seen it 48 times before December starts a dirty protest is the only solution.  Maybe Oli was ahead of me there?

Till the next time….

Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

Time, they say, is a cruel mistress, a double-edged sword, a swirling maelstrom of contradictions, a thing that can feel the opposite at the same time.  OK, I made the last couple up, but time is a strange thing.  Not as an abstract concept, but more of a thing that can feel to pass so slowly, and yet in the blink of an eye all at the same time.

For example.

The last few weeks have edged along at a pace not seen since I last tried to run anywhere.  With “issues” to resolve, the pace at which the world responds to my efforts to do so has been painful to say the least.  I look into next week and see half a chance of finally sorting stuff out from a work perspective, and also with more than a mild feeling of trepidation that it will somehow be ripped from my grasp at the last moment, and I’ll have to wait yet more time to feel some sort of relief.

On the other hand, time on a grander scale seems to flash before my eyes as if it were nothing but a few seconds.  Two things this week have made think this way.

Firstly, Rebecca has entered the workforce.  It is, in the scheme of things, in a small way, but nevertheless, on Saturday she emerged from work beaming from ear to ear clutching the first £16 she had ever earned and feeling like a millionaire.  She has got herself a Saturday job in a hairdressers.  Said hairdressers is owned by my cousin, and she spent her first day at work shampooing, brewing up and cleaning the loos, thankfully not concurrently.

She seemed to enjoy herself, and was to be seen constantly looking at the sparkly money in her purse for the rest of the day.  But never mind that, how did it come to pass that my little girl became old enough to go into the working world?

This thought had been reinforced by the second point I am making, which is that we are in the process of clearing out all of our cupboards and drawers of all the accumulated pap that we have shoved into drawers and cupboards since we moved in ten years ago.  Much of what we are finding is photographic evidence that I used to have hair, Louise once had a really bad bubble perm and the kids grew up sometime in the last ten minutes to be nearly adults.

Packet after packet of photos bring back to life different stages of our lives, and along with that wistful smile that memories bring (or is it wind?), it has reminded me that I seem to have blinked and missed a decade or so.

I haven’t of course, I was just busy in that decade working hard, and planning for some big thing that never seems to arrive or happen.  At the risk of getting too clawingly sentimental, smelling a rose or two along the way sounds like a plan, until life happens, and the roses whizz by the car window as you drop the girls off at another party or school event for which we are always late, and having a row as we have had to do something at the last-minute as the girls failed to mention that they needed those ingredients, that T-shirt or their PE kit.

Such is life I suppose.  So now I share my house with two almost adult girls who still call me Dad, and when the need arises still rely on me to sort stuff out, but they certainly won’t be going on my shoulders anytime soon, and won’t be needing me to put that stupidly small dress onto their Polly Pocket for the sixth time this hour.

Time is relative.  Immediate issues that need addressing, like my current ones, feel like you are wading through a swamp with lead boots on, and no matter how hard you try, time drags on.  A bit like watching your countdown tick by till your next holiday.

The big picture stuff, which sees you changing nappies one day, and having yours changed the next is something akin to how you find yourself sat on the tarmac in Orlando waiting to head back to greyness and crap weather seemingly about seventeen minutes after landing there in the first place.

Ah well, my latter point proves that I shall no doubt look back on the dark times in the right now, as a small pot hole on the outside lane of life’s motorway when I look back on photos of us now, and remember what was going on.  Then I’ll ask one of the girls to take me to toilet again, and soil myself just before we get there out of spite.

So as you may guess, I am still somewhat in limbo, as my maudlin ramblings above may suggest.  Progress is slow, and very distracting, but as mentioned earlier, next week suggests that (to quote Lilly Allen) there may be a tunnel with some light at the end, or something like that.  I hope so, as these last few weeks are not ones that I wish to repeat at any time in the future.

Forgive me again for the elusive nature of this here post but I strongly believe that jumping any guns here would jinx the small amount of progress made so far, so, you shall have to return to later bloggings to be bored to tears by the full story, and be very let down by its mundane nature…so it’ll be like every other week’s blog then!

In other news, Oli continues to become fluffy again after his hair cut when it was back in the spring (or was that summer).  He is a cutie.

Oli nose
Oli nose best

We also went to the cinema today for the first time in ages.  Men in Black III was the film of choice, and we enjoyed it.  There were no great surprises, but I wasn’t expecting any, just a good entertaining family film, and that was what we got.  The real surprise of the trip was that for some reason I did not get any Pick n Mix, and instead got a small (yes, I said a small!) popcorn instead.

I tell you, all this stress and bother is causing me some obvious issues.  Fingers crossed that this time next week I can tell you of some resolution and a return to normality, not some crazy world where I order a small of anything.  Madness!

Till the next time……




A Right Royal Driveby

I met the Queen this week.  She came to Manchester on Friday to see me.  See….

It is her!!

Admittedly our conversation was brief and a little one-sided, but we’re both busy people!  In case you are wondering, yes there is writing all over the windows.  It is highly technical gubbins that I draw on the windows to reinforce the perception that I understand what I am doing.  Little do they know I copy it all from Google!

So it is pretty tough to top a visit from Royalty, but there is more important news to report.  I have been ill!!  Yes, I know you will all be shocked, worried and guilty that you were not on hand to nurse me back to health.  That honour fell to Louise.  I completely missed Saturday in a blur of bed, dizziness, escaping liquids and Murder She Wrote.  The latter was the worst.  I was simply too weak and frail to raise the remote and turn the channel!

I have rallied somewhat today, and appear to be somewhere close to match fitness, having just eaten my first meal since Friday night.  You will appreciate now the severity of my condition if it kept me away from food for almost 48 hours!  I hope it only increases your guilt.

Before I was struck down so cruelly by this life threatening condition last week I did manage to write a new article for the WDW Dads site.  It covers (some of) my tip-top tips for a visit to WDW.  All of you buggers with a trip booked should have a read on the off-chance I haven’t bored you with them already.  The pain I went through to write that, knowing a trip for us is anything but imminent was unimaginable.  My hankering for the place is physically painful.

So being as weak as a kitten today, I haven’t done a great deal.  I have enjoyed the sunshine, and I’m told it was sunny yesterday too, but all I saw was the inside of our blinds, the toilet bowl and Angela Lansbury.  Right there is one rock and roll sounding party.

Whilst sat out in the garden today, Louise and I casually arranged the weddings of both the girls.  Don’t worry, you haven’t missed the arrival of new boys into their lives and a proposal each this week.  We were just planning ahead.  It will not surprise you to know that both girls WILL be getting married in Florida.  We checked that this would be OK with Rebecca, and she said yes.  We did ask her about her future husband, and what if he had no desire to get married there.  I can only tell you that he doesn’t know what he’s letting himself in for, and he’d better like Mickey Mouse!

Those of you who are foolish enough to have anything to do with me on Facebook or Twitter will have no doubt seen that Oli has been to the barbers this week.  He did look cute with the long hair, but he was getting a bit luggy and also quite warm, so we took the chance to get him his first close crop.  He did not enjoy the experience one bit, and the lady doing the deed no doubt earned every single penny of her fee.

He went from this…

Oli bath
All nose and hair
oli ice lolly


To this…..

Oli haircut
The expression says it all
Oli with Pumpkin
Cat worrier
Oli's blue eye
Just try that again!

It has been like having a different dog, and it is only his well-known habits, and the look in his eyes that has convinced us we got Oli back.  We’re so glad we had him done though as he would not have survived this mini heat wave over the weekend.

So all this typing has drained my fragile energy levels, and I need to go and lie down in a room that does not contain Angela Lansbury.

Till the next time….

Spring has sprung and inevitable events.

It is always nice to get comments to these posts, and last week I was inundated with a comment, expressing a view that there haven’t been any Oli pictures and videos recently.

It is a difficult one, to know what to drone on about here.  Having said that, I seem to have managed to drone about work for the last few posts (I won’t this week!) so I thought I’d share some recent pictures.  For fans of Oli, I can point you in the direction of Pinterest, which is the latest social media site which has appeared to add to the collection of sites that are a distraction from doing anything productive.  On Pinterest I have a board dedicated to Oli, so if you are feeling the need for a fix of smelly mammoth, that’s your destination.

Anyway, here come the pics….

Yesterday after I walked him (again)
Oli 2
Looking for *that* toy
Oli 3
Making a mess of the couch

So there you go with your Oli fix.  He’s still behaving himself, unless you happen to be a cat, in which case he is constantly making every waking second a living hell.

There has been a distinct change in the weather over the past week, with the actual appearance of the sun.  Granted, it is still freezing, and there has been some snow in parts of the country, but actual sunshine has an immediate effect on the country and certainly me.  I am self diagnosed with SAD, so the dark cold winter months are not my favourite times, so at the first glimpse of the yellow round thing, inevitable events happen.

These events mean, unfortunately, that I immediately drop into “I want a holiday” mode, and my fingers are drawn inexorably to the keyboard, whereby I find them typing in letters such as K A Y A K.  This is NOT a good thing.  It matters not that I know we can’t go this summer, it simply cannot stop me trying endless configurations of flights, eventually even those via the Ukraine, in the hope of an Easyjet style price for a Trans Atlantic journey.

I also start to make other internet journeys, watching videos of the parks, and drooling over resorts and their fine dining menus.  This really is bordering upon an illness.

This is not one of my usual posts were I moan about flight prices, and then two posts later you discover in a flurry of gloating and guilt that  I have booked anyway.  Alas,unexpected inheritances from long lost relatives or lottery wins aside, we REALLY will not be going this year.  Really, I mean it!

This makes me sad.  I miss Florida, and I am truly sorry that we won’t be going on one of our adventures this year.  There is nothing that beats the thrill and excitement of that early morning at the airport on your way to WDW, when everyone is full of excitement, anticipation and over priced airport food.  The world is literally your lobster as the days ahead of you shine as brightly as your brand new white trainers with endless possibilities and about one million calories.

So as much as I accept our fate, I don’t have to like it!  There will be times a plenty in the future to get over there, and I assure you, we’ll be there as soon as is humanly possible, if not sooner.

I don’t know if we’ll go somewhere else instead to be honest.  This is for two reasons –

  1. I cannot summon any enthusiasm for other destinations
  2. I begrudge spending any cash on other destinations as it means we can’t use that cash to go where I want to go.

Hey ho, musn’t grumble and all that.  There are many worse off than us, who have never experienced the holidays we have, and probably aren’t likely to.  I understand that, but I still want to lie on the floor and kick and scream until I’m sick.

The week ahead has a trip to London in store on Wednesday, and as the streets there are paved with gold, I’ll just dig up a couple of blocks and that should sort us out for the holiday we want!

Till the next time….

The longest break between food has been whilst writing this….

I appear to have blinked and missed Christmas.  I know I am of an age now, but wow, it flashed by in a blur of calories and crap telly.  All of a sudden it is Wednesday, my holiday is half over (or only half gone depending on your outlook on life I suppose) and I am well into my second stone of weight gain.

As brief as it seemed it was very enjoyable, with Christmas Eve Eve spent with a takeaway, my annual Baileys and the new Peter Kay DVD.  He is still one of the few comedians who can make me laugh out loud.  Being more or less exactly the same age, and from the same town some of his references to his childhood etc do strike very close to home.  We did have a very similar childhood!

From that point on, I have never let my belly get any less than half full.

If we thought for one second that now we have very grown up teenagers that the excitement levels would diminish in the run up, we were very wrong.  Rebecca was excited enough for the two of them in the days preceding the big day, and having asked what time she was allowed to get up on Christmas morning, she arrived at our door at exactly 7.00am!  Emily was behind her, doing her level best to cope with the early hour whilst remaining something close to festive.  As usual no-one is allowed in the front room until Dad has been in to “make sure he’s been”, and to switch on the lights.

So, what was months of build up, present planning and buying, came to fruition in thirty second  frenzy of wrapping paper, especially from Rebecca’s side of the room.

Rebecca's presents
All present and correct

She is a full blown force of nature when it comes to opening presents.  Emily is much more measured.  Whether they have been aged fourteen and sixteen or four and six, this has always been the case.

Emily's presents
Ooh my piles!

One thing that has changed is that these piles are getting smaller.  These days they tend to contain fewer more expensive presents, whereas a decade ago, they literally had half of the room each filled with endless dolls and tat that I would then spend all day un-packaging.

This year, the main gifts were an iPhone 4S for Rebecca and a new “proper” camera for Emily, a Nikon D3000.  As ever, the look of proper shock and surprise from both upon opening these was worth the expense.  Yep, Louise and I are a collective soft touch.

We also had a new family member to buy for!

Once he’d got bored with that present, he looked around for entertainment elsewhere.

The day then went like this.

Breakfast was with my Mum and Dad, where once again I bedazzled everyone with the Benediction of some eggs.  They left us around lunch time, to enable us to either start making “the dinner” or sit and watch telly drinking a gin and tonic.  I shall let you draw your own conclusions as to which option I went for.

Louise’s mum joined us mid afternoon, and with a few minutes to go, I ventured into the kitchen to do manly things like carve some meat, and pick the best seat at the table.  The meal itself was a delight, and from our cocktail of prawns (a Grandma tradition), through the traditional turkey fest and onto the unneccessary yet obligatory dessert, I showed great stamina to keep going to the very end, however I fell at the final hurdle made of cheese and crackers.

The evening consisted of a walk of the dog, and a bum on the couch.  I endured as much of Downtown as I could, before making a run for the hills (bed) when I realised it was a two-hour “spectacular”.  There are only so many stiff uppers I can stomach in one go.  So I read my book (a present from Louise) for a while before placing my stomach on the mattress next to me and drifting off to a dream about leftovers.

Muddy Oli
His head was the clean bit....

On Boxing Day, we didn’t do much to be honest, other than take Oli out for a bracing and lengthy walk around a local reservoir.  He got a bit muddy.

So after an hour’s walk, there then followed a bath of around the same length.  From that point on, we’ve pretty much not done a great deal.  Louise did somehow manage to persuade me to go into town yesterday, as she had some vouchers to spend with a 24 hour expiry period (apparently).  We survived, albeit with a very close call on me spending a silly amount of money on a new coat.  It was on the wrong rack, and so the price I thought I’d be paying was almost double that amount when I got to the till.  I declined, almost politely.

Today, alas Louise was back in work (ah the perils of serving the public) so I spent the morning doing a couple of errands, and some washing (yes, I am THAT considerate), before settling in for a lengthy session my newly acquired Modern Warfare 3.  A Christmas tradition for me.

So here I sit, surrounded by sweets of all kinds, having just polished off some cheese and biscuits that I clearly didn’t need, after necking a large tea only a couple of hours before.  Somebody stop me!!!

So I have to go now to plan my outfit for the New Year’s Eve extravaganza celebration which will involve a helicopter arrival at some star-studded do, rubbing shoulders with celebs whilst quaffing expensive bubbly and posh nibbly food that isn’t from Iceland!!  Either that or I’ll be sat on my couch berating the shocking quality of telly on New Year’s Eve whilst increasing my waistline by another belt notch or two.  Don’t be jealous.  I hope your celebrations go well, and your new year even better.

Till the next time….

It turns out, I am not the voice.

Another week filled with medical news and hospital updates for us.  After another four days sat waiting for further scannage, my Mum is finally home.  Hopefully now, she can enjoy a pain-free, non A&E Christmas!!  Let’s hope I need blog of hospitals, doctors or the like for quite some time now.

Oli at 8 weeks
He used to look like this.....

You haven’t had an Oli update for at least a few hours so I’ve done some videos of him for today’s post.  I am aware that I am becoming a bit of a bore when it comes to Oli.  We were out last night (more of that later) and I found myself showing folks photos and videos of him on my phone.  If that was you I apologise, and the search for my life continues!

Yesterday Oli and I ventured out onto the local park in the freezing cold and snow to get him nice and dirty ready for his bath when we got back in.  Post bath, once he’s shaken himself over every inch of the house we then always put the fire on so he can dry off nicely!  It makes him all sleepy!

Once he’d had a little nod and got all nice and fluffy again, he was ready for a roll around on the rug, and if you have the patience to stick with this one till the end, he does like to torment a cat or two when he’s in the mood.

Enough of me being a dog bore!!  Let’s move on to me being a bore about other subjects!

We had a night out last night.  That in itself is quite unusual, but in light of recent events and malcontent, it turned out to be what’s called a “nice change”, even if we were perhaps not the world’s most exciting company.  Our lack of practice at this stuff meant that Louise and I were ready for bed at around 10pm, and had to dig deep for a second wind, which spookily I rediscovered this morning on the loo after too much Guinness!

The evening started off with chatter, some lovely food, and drinkies.  It slid inexorably towards silliness through a Christmas quiz, boys versus girls, in which the male types prevailed (what do you mean I shouldn’t have been Googling for answers on my phone?  that’s called being resourceful), a brief stop at Pass the Parcel, which somehow involved taking shots on board with every layer removed, and then inevitably towards the messy car crash that was SingStar.

Having avoided the microphone quite well for some time, the fickle finger picked me out eventually, and as a decent representation of my luck right now, it was no easy ballad in my key (Wandering Star would have been nice) I was landed with a song that no male on the planet is able to sing without surgical alteration.

Thankfully, by this time, everybody was on the wrong side of sober, and didn’t notice me miming like some sort of slightly flabby, paler Milli Vanilli.  I then bowed out gracefully to witness renditions of true Karaoke classics, rounded off by the loudest version of Never Forget since the last time someone did it on Karaoke.  Somehow it became 2am, and we taxied ourselves home and fell into bed.

So today is one of those lazy days with Christmas films on the telly right now (The Grinch currently), with Emily and her friend Laura regressing from sixteen to six again.  Rebecca has gone back to bed after her night out at a party last night, and Louise also seems to have retreated under the duvet, having told me she doesn’t know why she is hung over!!  I suppose if you get so drunk that you can’t remember you were drunk then that makes sense??

I finish for Christmas on Thursday and never have I been so happy to not be at work, as I will be at that time.  I continue to work on my escape plan.  Next Sunday is the big day, and that means there shall be no bloggage on that day.  I warn you of that fact as I know you’d all be rushing to your computers to read it otherwise, sacrificing the Queen’s Speech for Mkingdon nonsense.  What else would you be doing?

As I’m going to be off work for the duration, you will never know when one of these inane posts will appear over the festive period.  It shall be like some unwelcome relative turning up on your doorstep unannounced.  You have been warned.

Till the next time….

I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll photograph your door!

How’s your Sunday been?  I have spent mine taking photos of doors.  No, worse than that, I have spent mine watching someone take photos of doors!!

I’ve been driving Emily around trying to find her interesting doors to take photos off.  This isn’t some sort of Jim Morrison pilgrimage, no, it is for her Photography course.  Her first project is on the subject of doors.  You would not imagine the numerous ways, angles, scenarios and locations in which one can photograph a door.  I do.

I have had to explain several times to worried looking residents/park keepers/pub owners that we are not casing the joint in any way.  We are not some sort of Kick Ass style father and daughter crime team.  Instead, I have a daughter lucky enough to be able to study something she likes.

Anyway, here are a couple of my favourites.  I have no idea if they are any good from a technical point of view, but I like them.

Emily door 1

Emily Project 2

There are 136 others that I shall not share!!  By the way, both of those were taken at the local church were Louise and I were married!  Cute innit?  It was a new build back then.

Emily’s interest in photography is going to cost me, literally.  She feels she now needs to progress onto to a “proper camera” and get an SLR, rather than the bridge she has right now.  That’s her Christmas sorted out then.

For those of a photographic bent, she is probably going to get a Nikon D3000.  I’ve spent most of this week consulting with my vast army of photographic expert friends….both of them!!  The chances of me blowing one of my xmas gifts on something for school back in the day would have been nil.  This is mainly as I took History, Economics and English Lit!!  These new fandangled subjects!!

Rebecca is much more traditional in her giftage.  Yep, quite predictable really.  Just an iPhone 4S please Dad!!  Nice.

Oli’s growth continues in Digby style progress.  He doesn’t like going for baths, as evidenced by the look in his eyes here, which says, just wait until I’m bigger than you!!

Oli after bath
Revenge shall be mine!!

He really has become part of the family now.  I shall take a chance and declare him fully house trained!!  He has been for a good few weeks now, but the real proof was that we woke on Friday morning to find him lay at the side of our bed fast asleep.  Some idiot had left one of his cage doors open (dunno who that might have been!!) and he had at some point in the night wandered out and settled down in our bedroom.

Not one piddle or poop was had until we got up and let him out the back door.  He shall be allowed to stay after all.

Later tonight, the reality TV trilogy is complete with the arrival of the Jungle thing.  With Strictly, X Shambles and I’m a Celeb, there shall not be one inch of TV between now and Christmas without some celeb gyrating or eating something unmentionable or a celeb wannabe making something their own.  As you may have noticed, my tolerance for X Factor is very low, but now I am officially middle-aged I can tolerate Strictly most weeks, and, not that I will have a choice, but I can watch most of the Jungle stuff without poking my eyes out with a rusty fork.

I already know who we shall be supporting.  In our house it goes off who is “fit” and therefore Emily has declared that the Williams household shall be team Poynter.  For those who don’t know (yet) who he is, he plays bass in McFly.  It would seem that McFly have decided to embrace reality TV in a big way whilst still actually in the middle of their careers rather than after them.

Without getting too analytical about this (I don’t wish to appear sad!) but this is quite astute really.  As they mature, and leave behind some of the tweens they built their careers on, they now need to establish a wider fan base, who will buy their albums for the next ten years or so.  You may not remember that Danny off of McFly did the Popstar to Opera Star thing, Harry is currently in Strictly having to dance with that ugly bird with the bright coloured hair(!!), and now Dougie does the Jungle.

At the risk of extending this image of being a sad git, I quite like McFly.  They write some “proper songs” with  melodies and choruses, like in the good old days.  We are almost related too, as Danny’s Mum & Dad live around the corner from Louise’s Mum!!  I’m not one to name drop of course.  See, I can be in touch with the kid’s music in some instances.  However, in other instances, I can only shake my head at the ludicrous nature of the music industry, as evidenced best by the mere existence of Professor Green and his comedy rap accent.  He’s like a character off a comedy sketch show!!

As someone once said, Pop will eat itself.

Till the Next Time……

A party, and people looking at a pair of puppies.

So as I come to fill another blank post with nonsense, I am on the couch, with Emily sat three feet from the TV, watching Peter Pan for the gabillionth time.  Her crush on the actor playing Peter is beyond measure.  The fact that he’s now 37, bald, and sixteen stone is something that I will keep from her for a little longer.

peter pan
and she hates Wendy!

I think that watching the same thing over and over is something that the generation younger than me have perfected.  It is only in the last ten to fifteen years that it has seemingly become acceptable to watch the same things again and again.  I suppose with advent of 24 hour TV and hundreds of channels, there would never be enough content to fill them all with unique stuff.  I admit to watching the odd episode of Champion the Wonder Horse more than once in my youth, but really, my girls have seen some films literally dozens of times, and still seem  happy to sit through them again.

It all started with Barney for us.  Every breakfast time, we were subjected to that overly sweet subject matter, and by the time they were ready to progress onto something slightly more mature, we’d seen every episode a good twenty times each.  As for episodes of stuff like The Suite Life of Hannah McGuire or whatever gets played on the Disney Channel, well, there are several episodes of those that I know all the words to.

We’ve just sat through most of Open Season, and all of the Grinch, as it seems today has been a relative day of rest following a very busy Saturday, and last few weeks.  This is because yesterday we hosted the party for Louise’s Mum’s 80th.  This involved over 40 folk cramming into our house for several hours.  It also involved about three weeks solid prep, and about six hours of the hardest work I’ve done in a while.  Constantly topping up everyone’s glass, warming and serving food, all whilst navigating a house made for four not forty is bloody hard work!

Mary's 80th party
See if you can spot me...

It all went very well to be honest, and the birthday girl was delighted.  All the guests seemed to enjoy themselves, and we kicked the last ones out (politely) at around 8pm, having opened the doors just after 1pm.  We were absolutely shattered!!

As you can imagine, this morning consisted of much tidying of all varieties.  We escaped with a small amount of collateral damage to the house it seems, and I’ll be ready to do it all again in another 80 years or so.

Today then, having reconstructed the house, returned the glasses we hired, and undertaken the big shop, the day has been quite restful.  This afternoon we went to a local park with Oli, and met up with my brother and his family, so that Oli could meet his cousin, Baxter.  He is a couple of weeks younger than Oli, and if Oli had a pocket, Baxter would quite easily fit inside it.

Still, they seemed to get on OK, after an initial bit of timidness on both sides.  Oli is a big softie, and when out for walks will sit down and wait for a car to pass as he isn’t keen on the noise.  This can make walks last about two weeks each.

Anyway, he doesn’t mind actually riding in a car, and here is about to set off for the park.  Ignore my hand showing at the top of the pic, I was trying to block out the low winter sun which was coming in right down the camera.

Oli at car
Mondeo Mutt

Once we got to the park, this is the calm, sedate way in which Oli and Baxter introduced themselves!!

With two little cuties with us, our walk around the park was constantly interrupted with folks wanting to have a look at the puppies and have a stroke.  Louise, and my sister-in-law Paula got very bored and quite chilly, and so declined most requests!!

So with my thanks to Ronnie Corbett for that last gag, I shall leave you again.  Frankly, I’m just too knackered to keep pressing these keys all the way down.  Luckily, work swings around again tomorrow, so that will make everything alright again.

Till the next time…..


Woah, what a feeling, when I’m rollering the ceiling!!

If you are likely to be bored by updates on the growth of Oli, then this week’s bloggage may not be for you.

I’m taking photos and video to track his growth, as this is something we didn’t have with Henry our last dog. This was because the technology was much clunkier back then in the good old days of 1997, and at the time we had a new-born baby and an eighteen month old. So add a new puppy to that and we barely had time for our nervous breakdowns.

Here is the little (big) chap playing on Saturday afternoon. All the female folk were out clothes shopping. Rebecca needed a new winter coat and Emily yet more jeans. I stayed home with the big fella and watched the footy with him.

I keep telling myself, that it is too early to say what I’m about to, as it will surely bite me on the arse, but he does seem to be house trained now. We have to still make sure we have him outside regularly, but he knows to wait until we do, so as silly as it might be to assume the worst it over, it looks like it might be.

Again, at the risk of premature announciation, he is also very good generally. He’s fairly calm for a puppy, doesn’t mind spending time alone in his crate when he needs to, and generally is pretty chilled. Cue the next week being the one where he destroys the house and undertakes some sort of dirty protest!

Thursday sees him being walkable. I know of course that I’ll be the idiot out with him at 6am every day once the novelty of day three has worn off, but it will make it easier all round.

The decorating of the kitchen has continued this weekend, and my contribution has been to paint the ceiling. I have a sore neck and a desire never to paint again. Louise has worked really hard on the rest, and it needs just the finishing touches now. It looks lots better of course, but nothing will ever justify the living hell of undertaking any decorating whatsoever. What do you mean that may be an over exaggeration??

Poor Emily is ill. She’s got tonsils like space hoppers and a snot filled nose. She is rubbish at being ill though as she struggles to swallow tablets. Anyway, she’s been to the doctors and got some antibiotics. She is gutted though as normally (since she was a toddler) she has had banana flavoured medicine. For some reason this time it is strawberry and tastes, and I quote, “grim”. Yes, she is 16!!

Sunday has seen me finally put the 2011 trip report to bed. It is a relief to be honest. My oft mentioned OCD about stuff being an incomplete state has not made this easy. To return from holiday on the 13th of August, and not complete the trippie until mid October is something of a new record, but hey, I’m busy!!

I do need to thank everyone (again) for the reading of the trip reports and these ramblings. As much as keeping up with stuff is a pain, I do enjoy writing, and would, given any sort of chance, like to have a go at it for a living of course, but I suspect that turtle head jokes and knob gags are slightly less in demand than whatever it is I currently get paid for. Anyway, having folk read what I come out with is welcome, so thank you.

The posting of the last day is often greeted with questions around another trip. Well, as ever, right now, we’re going nowhere, and look unlikely to do so by next summer. However I am long enough in the tooth to know that these things change, so we’ll see.

In the mean time, I have teeth to grit and endless working weeks to endure, which currently mean lovely twelve-hour days, and working some of the weekend too. It’s a good job I love what I do so much isn’t it? I’m knackered and I must look it, as Louise refused to let me do any more of the decorating as I “looked like crap”. Well, every cloud has a silver lining then eh?

Oh look, the X Factor is on now. Must go and throw things at the telly.

Till the next time….

And Oli makes five.

I still haven’t managed to mow the back lawn.

I trust you have all been enjoying the wonderful British autumn?  What was it that some famous poet bloke once said (I got an A at English Literature O level you know), it is the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness?  My arse.  Once we get into September it is just one long grey miserable drizzle filled mess until the snow comes.  I am sick to death of everything just being moist, dank and grey.

There are rumours of an Indian summer to come this week, which probably means a half day break in the drizzle.

There is only one topic this week to blog about and that would be the new arrival into the Williams household.  After four weeks of waiting, Tuesday evening crept around, and with the girls more excited than a hundred Christmases combined, we set off to the darkest recesses of East Lancashire to collect our new Old English Sheepdog.  The four weeks since we had seen him had resulted in him doubling in both size and cuteness.  His name has been settled since before we even chose him.  Emily had decided upon Oli.  Not Ollie, or Olly, certainly not Oliver but Oli.  This is important, as he is named after someone called Oli Sykes.  I include a photo so you can get some appreciation of what Emily’s bedrooms walls are like!

Oli Sykes
Our Oli is cuter

With a nervy drive home behind us (no-one wants a wee soaked Mondeo), we introduced him to this new house, and to be honest, he settled in straight away.  We were all ready for an interrupted night’s sleep, well, Louise was, as she had taken a few days off to help him get used to us, we did not hear a peep out of him all night.

This was partly due to the fact that Louise and I were not in for most of it.  Louise had been suffering with a painful foot for a day or two, and it chose tonight to flare up into what turned out to be a severe bout of tendonitis.  At around 2.30am, I joined Louise in being awake, and we toddled off to receive the necessary medical attention, in the form of an xray and medication.  If you do need to go to A&E, I would recommend 3.00am on a Wednesday morning as we were seen straight away, and with not one drunk in sight.

After getting a luxurious hour or so of sleep on our return, I zombied my way to work and somehow ambled through the day.  Louise began the constant supervision of Oli.  To be fair to Emily she was up at 6.30am that morning to look after him, and has been every day since.  Her body is in shock, and this can’t last forever!!

My main fear in getting a new puppy (I say main, as I had a few) was the horror of house training.  We’re still under a week in, so I don’t want to jinx anything, but the little fella is doing alright.  We are extremely vigilant in making sure he is taken outside at all the right times, but he is getting the hang of knowing when and where to do stuff.  He is also doing fine during the night in his crate.  All in all it could be a lot worse!

Aside from the chores of looking after him, it is safe to say we have all fallen for him, along with the extended family, and we’ve never had so many visitors as we’ve had in the past few days.  As you can see from the photos he is so cute that he doesn’t look real, and in real life he is all that cute and more.

My Dad in particular seems smitten, mainly as it brings back lovely memories of Kelly, the Old English we had when I was still at school.  I, like Emily, promised to look after her, and so by default, she became my Dad’s dog!!

Dad came round to see Oli, and brought with him a photo of Kelly, with my niece Sarah, who is now twenty years old by the way!!

Kelly and Sarah

The red fridge magnet is a recent addition, as that is where the photo now lives!!  Standby for Oli overload!

Oli 1
First night photo
Oli 2
Oli 3
He's found his spot
Oli sat
He IS real

Louise’s foot has improved a little during the week so she’s been able to chase after him well enough.  I’ve spent more time on our decking in the past week than in the previous several years since we had it built.  It has been drizzling for every single minute of that, and applauding and cheering at every “movement” could be viewed as a little odd, but it is, so I read, a key process in the training of your puppy!  I’ve also learnt that drizzle covered decking allows me to put on my own Bolero most evenings, as I skate around the thing, trying not to triple salco into the latest pile of “Success”.

Today is my turn to settle him in, so I have booked a day off work.  It is amazing how something as simple as that can change your whole Sunday!!  The retribution for that is on Tuesday in the form of a flying visit to London for a meeting.  Yes, four hours on a train, for one meeting….at 4pm!!

I shall leave you with even more Oli, this time in video form.  I will warn you that my camera technique may leave you feeling sea sick, and our decking is a wet mossy mess!  Enjoy

Till the next time…..