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When you are: August 2010

28 August 2010

Waste of NHS time & money

Those who ConDemned us to a life of misery post-Labour (isn't it always the case after a Labour government?) are looking for ways to reduce public spending. Well I've got one for you, and that's to remove the completely unnecessary duplication that the NHS has put me through just recently.

There endeth the political angle. Back to the NHS.

It all started a few weeks ago with a visit to the GP...

Who asked some questions. Who got straight answers. Who then asked if I would like to be referred. And got another straight answer. So ran through some information with me, risks etc etc, possible problems, what if I change my mind blah blah blah.

That over, then came the envelope that I'd been waiting for. With some information, some of which the GP had covered already, was my appointment. Alas, I knew in advance it was another "chat", and both MOTS and I had to attend this one.

Watch this DVD, says the nurse. Half an hour watching what the GP had said and I had read in the information sent through. THREE times going over the same stuff. THREE.

And then the nurse comes back in asking questions (to fill in more forms) that the GP had already asked, that I had already filled in on one form. That's an hour of my life my employer will never get back!

All that aside, there was one question that hadn't actually been asked so bluntly before, so it was perhaps only 59 minutes wasted.

And that was "Why do you want a vasectomy?"

Errm, 'cos I just spent money on two number plates for the cars with all four initials on and I don't want to shell out for another pair? Is that a valid answer?

Happy Unoffical Birthday!

As I was completely unprepared to post something in time for the real birthday, here's hoping you have a happy unoffical birthday, son!

If it's good enough for Lizzie, it's good enough for you to have two too. And as today is for having your pals rather than your parents' pals round, then enjoy it.

26 August 2010

[2] Baby's first...solids

Not strictly true as a title, in more ways than one. Two ways, to be precise.

Oh, enough of these inaccuracies, what's the real story?

First isn't a first, he's had solids before. And solid isn't true either, have you seen Heinz baby rice?

Yes, it has started. The wee fella has had foodstuffs other than baby milk. He had his first shot of Heinz baby rice yesterday afternoon, an experience that went down well. Three out of the four of us thinks the stuff is vile. Which is why we hope that the free sample we got is just enough to see us through the two "meals" that Annabel Karmel uses in her weaning regime. Who would buy that in vast quantities is a question that I cannot event begin to work out. It is gloopy horrible stuff akin with a very poor mix of wallpaper paste. But half as tasty.

"How come it's not his FIRST solids/gloop?", I hear you shout. Well, he has been tried with some other tasty stuff over the last week. I hope I have no social workers or health visitors reading this because his first non-baby milk taste was… Walls Cornetto. Just a little bit on the end of Mummy's little finger. Had a double effect, introduced him to another taste AND had a cooling effect on his swelling gums. Oh yeah, they are on their way.

So, here we have scientific proof that ice cream is multi functional. Who needs Calgel, or Bonjella, when Walls make a perfectly good substitute?


A video of this episode is available on YouTube, but unlisted. For the link please email me!

16 August 2010

Careers advice

We've had a proper look tonight at what the big guy wants to do for a career. And after some initial encouragement both parents jumped in, back-tracking, and firmly advised against his chosen career.

The video below is a firm YouTube favourite. A few months ago the big guy would come running whenever he heard the music start up. He loved this video. So much that I think he watched it too much, taking the shine off it.

But it is still listed in my favourites. And tonight, he revisited it. And during the titles told me the bird was coming up with its wings out. And that there were lots of planes, with different colours behind them. Nothing wrong with his memory, as if we needed further evidence of it. Anyway, we watched the video... [enjoy!]

As the planes near the end of their more genteel acrobatics I am informed that the big guy wants to go in that plane. Not any of them, the one second on the right. Want to fly that plane. Wear gloves. And glasses. Pull glasses down like this (using his sunglasses as a prop showing me how to do it).

Well, son, if you want to go in that plane you will need to join the RAF, learn how to fly, and be the best you can be. Sound advice I thought. It was taken on board with a simple "OK".

Crash the planes, Daddy, crash the planes.

We think you may be better suited to an alternative career, son.

07 August 2010

Holestone Four Barns

Just arrived home from our fourth visit to Holestone Moor Barns and shall we say it's been a holiday by numbers. You'd think after 4 visits you'd know what to expect, surely?

Well, we didn't know what to expect. And stop calling me Shirley.

I said it was a holiday by numbers. So I'll go through each number in turn.

Trip on a steam train.
Number of dogs nearly smuggled home in the car.

The number of stops we made on the way down. One for lunch, and one to visit the Bowes crew.
The number of boys we had in the back seat, also the multiplication factor of trouble I had expected on the way down. (1) Want a wee-wee. (2) Whhhaaaaaaaaa (need feeding). But not - everything was synchronised, all bar one lay-by toilet stop all went well.
The number of theme parks visited.

The number of visits to Witworth Hospital after the oldest stubbed his toe to the point of infection. Strictly speaking the first visit didn't count as I wasn't going to make him wait the 2 hours plus, but one visit for a clean up and dressing, the second at their request to see how it was going (it was going badly, so antibiotics given)

Also the number of different types of antibiotics MOTS has been on for a bladder infection. First two were useless as the infection she had was resistant to them, so third ones should do the trick.

The number of different NHS establishments visited.

The number of big projects Steve & Vicki have been working on since last time we were there. Drainage (forgot to ask Steve about that one), wind turbine and new access road.

The number of times round the Pirate Adventure ride at Drayton Manor Park. In succession.
The number of times on the Log Flume at Gulliver's Kingdom. Not in succession.
The number of people in the family portrait drawn by the big fella.

Number of stars Steve & Vicki proudly display. After 4 visits that's 20 we've had the pleasure of!
Number of hours (to the minute) the engine was running from pulling off our drive to going down the new road.

Total number of times I've been an ambulance driver for the big boy or for MOTS.
The number of times I can go on the Pirate Ship at Gulliver's Kingdom before feeling ill. Big fella was still going strong.

The number of hours the big fella can run around Drayton Manor Park / Thomas Land and not get bored. Only closing time called a halt to it.

The number of eggs left in the cupboard. Yum yum, breakfast sorted then!

The number of eggs we've brought home. I know the food miles for them is normally measured in feet, and this officially counts as an export, but they are fantastic on toast so it had to be done.

MOTS' peak temperature.

The number of weeks until the next visit.

Degree incline at Gullivers (Estimate). Feels more like 45 degrees, looks more like 90 degrees.

Average mpg in the Sunderwagon on the way home, door to door.

The number of minutes it took to get out of Smiths Island car park in Bakewell on Monday afternoon. Never, ever, EVER again...

The number of Airmiles it cost us to get into Gulliver's Kingdom. Cash equivalent zilch, nowt, nada, zip.

Miles driven this week.

As you may have gathered the week was centred around MOTS and the big fella both needing medical attention. MOTS for an infection she picked up before we left, and with that hitting her hard last weekend and her test results coming back to show the antibiotics she had been on were no good that meant a third lot for her. With the big fella stubbing his toe after already breaking his nail he got an infection there too, so I felt like an ambulance driver up to and including Tuesday. Vicki was superb though, almost insisting I took MOTS to the out of hours surgery without the boys, so poor Steve's tea was late because we took the offer up. Thanks, Vicki. Sorry, Steve.

But, it was a holiday nonetheless. Steve & Vicki's hospitality is second to none, so despite three days of the six being taken over with medical needs the three we did have made up for it. Well, almost. I had planned on a nice pub lunch (there's no shortage of proper pubs) and had made sure Vicki was under orders to make sure Steve lost his wallet. But, alas, as MOTS was well off anything other than water by that point we called off. I'm sure we'll do it next year though.

Drayton Manor Park was a first for us. The main attraction for a family of our age was Thomas Land. Hmm, mixed feelings on this one. Sure, the kids get excited. But to get on the main man himself is a one-way trip to the other end of the park which involves a lengthy wait. Most rides there involved a lengthy wait, and mainly down to lack of staff. Only one person seemed to be operating most rides, with the same person manning the controls, doing the safety checks, locking / unlocking the cars / safety belts. This greatly increases the turnaround time. Alton Towers it certainly is not, where the staffing levels are much higher with separation of duties being apparent. The whole thing was slowed down far too much, not ideal when you have kids that don't normally wait that long for anything. A tad disappointing, until we wandered into the "big boys" rides. Some shorter queues for bigger rides, and more thrills too. Looks like we have an adrenalin junkie on our hands, which is no surprise really.

Gulliver's Kingdom was a hit with the big guy too, although I think he may have outgrown it by next year. At his height he could do all but 2 rides, so in terms of accessibility it was spot on. Great value too, especially as we got tickets from Airmiles. But a little tired and dated in parts, but still a good day out. I can imagine the boardroom meeting when some senior manager walked in saying he'd bought a plot at Matlock Bath for a new park. I wonder what job he's doing now, because he would have been laughed out of the room. Whoever thought it would be a great idea to build a park on a hill that steep must have been seriously mentally ill. It defeats all logic just thinking how they got some of the kit in there without the use of military grade helicopters. And I'm talking about the food deliveries, not just the steel and timber. It was scary going up there in a car, so delivery wagons....?

I hope Peak Rail win in their bid to reopen the line between Rowsley and Bakewell, that would save us from that hell again! We will go back to Bakewell, it's a lovely town, but that car park is off limits. It was unbelievable how badly organised it was, lack of staff to direct, police only interested if there was any physical violence) it was brewing, one guy out of his car to kick the car behind him for being too close). My top tip is to avoid Bakewell during show week when the showground car park is closed. But don't avoid Bakewell, we found a great baker and have stuck with it. The lamb and leek pies are fantastic. Not 105 minutes trying to leave a car park fantastic, granted. Maybe 99 minutes though.

A holiday nonetheless. And a great one despite the inconveniences, as we can see the big fella growing into things, so we know we have many years left yet. Well, maybe one or two, depends on when our welcome is outstayed!

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