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When you are: June 2008

26 June 2008

Chuffing nora....

Not a line from The Full Monty, but a hint at both the event and the reaction last night. Far too cryptic to solve, so what happened?

I've already posted that the wee fella had his first train set bought by his Daddy when he was about 5 weeks old. As he has a major obsession with all things "toot-toot" I thought it was perhaps time to introduce him properly to his Brio set. So out it came.

17:54 Bed Central
He's got the Brio Flying Scotsman* set plus a few extras - extra track, a Mallard, a diesel freight engine with two flatbed trucks. The small parts were left in the box (mainly scenery) but the track, engines, coaches and trucks came out. As he sat on our bed playing happily with Nemo I managed to set the track up in a figure of 8 with siding without him actually seeing what was going on as he was at the wrong angle on the bed to notice. Not unlike when I was in the room and missed his first three proper steps!

But when he did notice - chuffing nora! What a reaction! And what surprised me was the ability he had to play with it. It must be instinct that all boys want to be train drivers! Pushing the trains on the track,
actually managing o fix the track when it came apart, all without being shown. They have nothing like this at nursery, so it's pure instinct. So while he's given us clues in the past regarding his future career path, this one is a clear winner - train driver. I used to scoff at my schoolmate Ian when he maintained his stance at wanting to drive trains, but with the salaries on offer (and pay rises, it's not long since Scotrail drivers got a 67% rise, sixty-seven, no typo) then it's not a bad choice. Hey, I'll support him, even if he changes his mind and want so be a gigolo!

Bust my buffers! Oh dear, there's a spillage. One dirty nappy right in the middle of the 17:54 Flying Scotsman express service from Bed Central to Rug Town. Anyone would have thought I was trying to murder the child, as I took him for a nappy change he screamed at the highest volume he ever has, real tears too, right until the moment the change was complete and he was on his own two feet on his bedroom floor again.

It's every boys dream to drive a train. It's every father's dream to play with his son's train. It's hereditary law.

* The Flying Scotsman is also available from:
National Railway Museum

16 June 2008

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

Over 20 years since I was last in Blackpool, I'd tried to get MOTS and the boy to go last year but didn't manage it with other things on around the time of the illuminations. We're just back from a couple of days there, after finding a cracking hotel.

We'd been looking at hotels, and MOTS' only stipulation was out of pure snobbery - if we're doing Blackpool she wants a decent hotel. Not a small hotel on the prom full of stag and hen parties, but a more upmarket and hopefully quieter affair. Fair enough request, given the family status and not wanting the little guy woken up by hoards of drunks.

De Vere Heron's Reach
There's a family oriented hotel right next to the Pleasure Beach, looks superb. But at £170/night it was way over budget. Are we staying in a Premier Inn at £65 by the time we've added Breakfast? So I set off in search and found most hoteals at £100+ a night. Until I checked the hotel booking service offered by my packaged bank account, finding the De Vere Heron's Reach at £66.50. Hang on, £1.50 a night more than the budget Premier Inn for a 4* De Vere? OK, let's get the bags packed and don't forget the swimming gear!

The hotel was superb, after an initial panic over whether we'd get a cot or not (no guarantee, allocated at check-in) - sorted out by asking the travel agent to release the booking details to the hotel before their normal 72 hour approach. The rooms were a little dated in terms of furniture, and a modern hotel should really have in-room safes, but the investment in the public areas was second to none. So we made full use of the health suite, over the two night stay we had 3 swims, the boy's introduction to the bubbles (jacuzzi set in one side of the pool), and Daddy managing to squeeze in a couple of saunas. Not bad for an extra £3. Not to mention the walk around the golf course perimeter, the full-on breakfast with every possible combination (except champagne, that's been limited to the Pheonecian in Valetta). My eyes have been opened to private health facilities, it's just not going to be the same going back to our council pool and having the lad looking in vain for his bubbles.

Outside the hotel was slightly different. Blackpool is a sad old girl, there's investment in the promenade with new sea defences going up and new public areas being built into them making the whole front a building site, but the investment seems to be stopping there. A walk along the prom and it was clear that anything not in direct sight of the sea wasn't really attractive. There's a clear lack of love for what was once a premier resort, and the stag & hen destination it's become doesn't help.

But, with plenty to do in close vicintiy, she could be great again, as long as the council invest in attracting more than weekend binge drinkers.

We'd go back just for the hotel. And a tram ride. And the Pleasure Beach. And fish & chips (as we didn't have any this time).

Congratulations to the Bowes!

Congratulations to the Bowes on the birth of their second son last Sunday! Had Mr B sent the text to my personal phone rather than my work phone which has been switched off while I've been on holiday.... That has to be a record though, texts out within 25 minutes!

Hope to see the four of you soon.

09 June 2008

Vocabulary on the up!

At long last, the boy's vocabulary is starting to expand! There's nothing wrong with understanding (mental note of where the "off button" is - the bottom button on the TV), taking words in is fine, it's getting them back out again. We have now mastered the outward "ta", so not only is there a new word it's with manners too.

Although speech has been a recent worry, and he's well behind his peers, the Baby Whisperer suggests around a 10 word vocabulary at 18-24 months. He's comfotably in that, just need to read more to get those words up.

And hopefully something different to "toot-toot", AKA Thomas the Tank Engine!

06 June 2008

Blog: Spam comments on the up

I've recently seen the number of spam comments on the increase, and worryingly a high number getting through the MT plugins. So, as a temporary measure until I look at why the MT plugins are no longer as good at filtering this crap and fix it, I have made the settings a little tighter on what is automatically published. Which means even comments from trusted commenters may be delayed.

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