Saturday, 29 January 2011

Did Jamie smash it? Of course he did

In common with most two and a half year old boys, Jamie has a well-established reputation for smashing things.

Above you can see his Buzz Lightyear bubble bath holder. 

He only got it on Tuesday, but already he's snapped off poor Buzz's left foot and jammed his helmet (rather Buzz than me). 

Forget infinity, a couple more days of punishment and it'll be the wheelie bin and beyond for him.   

But surely even Jamie couldn't smash his new Buzz and Woody Squashy Washy Bath Sponges, which arrived in the post this morning. 

Could he?

Thursday, 27 January 2011

White Skype

Technology and me aren't the best of friends and, as a result, we tend to avoid each other wherever possible.

But there are occasions when we have to agree to differ and try to get along - normally for the sake of the children.

And, earlier this evening, we did just that.

After a gap of probably two years, I set up a Skype video call between my Mum, partner Derek, Boris the Dog and us Whites.

It was a memorable event for two key reasons:
  1. Charlotte has never Skyped anyone before, and
  2. It worked.
So we'll have to do it again soon.

And, who knows, maybe next time Charlotte will stay awake.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

March of the Yetis

It's been the bizarre day of the disappearing hairy men.

Sky Sports presenter Richard Keys (above left) resigned his job in the wake of in the infamous "sexist row" which had previously claimed the sizable head of Andy Gray for declaring he didn't want to shag a linesman.

And also today, bearded terrorist (there's a novelty) Gerry Adams (above right) stepped down as a proud British Member of Parliament following his appointment by Her Majesty's Treasury as Crown Steward and Baron of the Manor of Northstead

Let's hope, prior to their respective departures, both men hoovered their fluffy office floors.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Too much too young

Charlotte's been a remarkably healthy Baby White in her five and a half weeks of life thus far.

However, over the last few days, she's developed something of a habit of vomiting all over Mummy.   

Initially, we weren't too concerned.  But yesterday, Vanessa gave the midwife a ring to explain what's been happening and ask if there may be a problem.

And there is a problem  - a drink problem. 

In fact, the greedy mare can't get enough of it. 

Rather than take enough milk to do her, it appears she simply keeps going until she pops/barfs/wretches/hueys/spews.

Or, to put it another way, she's a binge drinker. 

I can't describe the family shame. 

Monday, 24 January 2011

The Stig UNMASKED (again)

I'm not a Top Gear watcher, but even I was aware that, last night, the (new) Stig was due to make his debut.

And how did I know?

Well, he told me himself.

Because I am his father.

PS Please don't tell anyone else.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

I give you the double pumper

Parenthood is a never-ending educational experience.

And that includes having to keep up to speed with the evolution of baby equipment (as much it is knowing whether some crank is now advising that sleep is bad for babies, or something similar).

Take breast pumps. 

Above you can see the style of breast pump Vanessa uses to ensure she can continue to have a life/bottle of wine in one sitting.

It is a somewhat crude piece of kit, yes, but it does the job efficiently and with a minimum of mess. 

Now, when I last had a stab at being the father of a newborn baby (that was to Jamie, in case you think I'm a philanderer), I was aware of the existence of electric breast pumps (Vanessa's is a self-milker). 

But I had no idea that they made double pumpers. 

And all I can say is, well, look (if you have the stomach for these things).

The last place I saw a contraption like this was on a farm.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

The camera frequently lies

Look at the idyllic scene above.  And I was in charge.

Vanessa was off getting her hair"styled" so I was handed responsibility for both our children for a whole three hours - the longest period I've had the "honour" yet.

Armed only with a bottle of freshly squeezed breast milk, a loaf, a tin of baked beans and a ginormous bag of nappies, I set about my task. 

And I didn't do that well, to be honest. 

Vanessa had filled Charlotte's tank to over-flowing prior to departure, so at least she stayed quiet for a whole quarter of an hour.  But other than a few minutes here and there - including when I took the picture - she didn't settle at all.

Meanwhile, Jamie didn't like the film I lovingly looked out for him, threw his beans on toast around the house and then refused to sleep - before tiredness finally got him.

But, hey, I didn't break either of them and, if you'd asked me first thing this morning, I'd have settled for that.   

Friday, 21 January 2011

Those (practical) Russians

Sorry if this post is a bit random, but I hope you find the reason for it as amusing as I did when I read the "punchline" last night.

I'm currently reading a book called "The Tourist" by Dom Joly (he of Trigger Happy TV, I'm A Celebrity etc) in which he spends his time in less than obvious holiday hot spots including Camobodia, Chernobyl and Iran.  

However, it was during his trip to America that he came out with this particular gem:

"When the first missions were underway, NASA realized that their pens didn't work in space because the lack of gravity prevented the ink from flowing normally.

"They spent millions developing a special pen that did write successfully in space; the Russians just used pencils." 

Too good.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Daddy bear and "mummy" bear

A long day today but, thankfully, I was laughing within a minute of walking through our living room door.

I bought Vanessa a pack of trashy mags the other day, including OK! - the one with Elton John, David Furniture and their sprog on the front. 

As I entered the room, Jamie was expressing his admiration for baby Zachary - so I quickly took the pic above on my camera phone. 

And then White Jnr spoke (and I promise I'm not making this up).

"Mummy?" he said, as he pointed at the Elt and Dave pic.

"Which one is the mummy?"

"Erm...he is," replied Vanessa, index finger resting on David Furniture's head.

"But he's not a lady!" said Jamie.

Educating our boy about the modern world should be fun in the years ahead.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

A new window on the world

Well, it's official; the Whites are now an HD family.

Our Sky+HD box arrived today for self-installation.  But, as is common when I'm involved, an immediate problem presented itself - there were no instructions to explain how to actually do it.

So I phoned the Sky man and could barely believe what he told me.

Because multi-billion pound, clear-everything-in-its-path-and-bugger-the-customer BSkyB had run out of self-installation guides and had instead decided to allow punters to have a blind stab at it, just to see how they got on.

Anyway, two hours later (even though it's only supposed to take 15 minutes), and the job was done.  And above, you can see what tonight's ITV News at Ten looked like in glorious HD.

The big question is (and I know you're dying to ask it), does the world look so much different / better in a High Definition?

Er...well...not really, if truth be told.

But the box is nice

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Low point of my year thus far

Last night I referred to my supposedly "dodgy" taste in music. 

But that was only a mere preface to telling you about a particularly embarrassing incident last Friday, at the end of which the Sad Man Police should surely have arrested me. 

My new office is in a shared building and my work colleagues and our neighbours are still getting to know each other. 

As part of this process, I was talking to a lady in the corridor and - for a reason that escapes me - she asked me what music I listened to.  

And, not for the first time, I was thrown. 

I hate this question, you see.  Because I instantly think of those who mock me, and I get paranoid. 

So, over the years, I've developed a bit of a trick. What I do is list the bands or singers I'm planning to see in concert in the months ahead.  And, because the acts are touring, it normally means they're relatively current and I don't look too much of a twonk in front of whoever it is I'm talking to.  That's the theory, anyhow. 

So, back to last Friday, and this lady asking me THAT question. 

"Er, well, I'm going to see Take That in June!" I replied enthusiastically, before panicking after playing what I'd just said (and how I'd just said it) back in my head. 

"Er...I haven't got any other concerts planned as yet...I've seen them saw Robbie Williams live once nice day then." 

And I hope she did. 

Mine never recovered. 

Monday, 17 January 2011

Jamie Cowell

My friends don't respect me for all sorts of reasons. 

But chief amongst them - according to many of them - is my "dodgy" taste in music.  

Now, as you might imagine, I think they're wrong. 

And such is the confidence I have in my position, that yesterday I decided to seek third party endorsement.

That's right; I let Jamie borrow my iPod. 

And do you know what? 

He agreed with me - debate over.

PS  Please be assured that there are no Cheryl Cole songs on there (although maybe one or two from Girls Aloud.  Ahem). 

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Do you know who I am? I'm a "celebrity"

I'm a sad, self-confessed reality TV fan.

But, even for me, tonight's Dancing On Ice was scraping the barrel.

I mean, how can Richard and Judy's daughter Chloe and Frank Lampard's  ex-wench Conchita Prostituto (or something like that) possibly be classed as "celebrities," even by today's standards? 

And, if they are, who can we expect to see strapping on the blades next year?

David Blunkett's dog?  

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Room for a Wee One?

The arrival of a second child has led to the need for a second car seat (we worked that out all by ourselves). 

But given the White Mobile isn't the biggest of vehicles, the question was: would there still be room for a third passenger in the back?

There was only one way to find out: use the smallest man we know as a guinea midget. 

Enter Wee John.

And following our experiment, I can regretfully report that there isn't much scope for another body, no matter how teeny weeny.

Although, on the plus side, at least His Weeness had a to endure a particularly uncomfortable 20-minute journey to a do at Dagenham Dave's.

Better still, it was even worse for him on the way back.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Sky, I hate you

I am such a mug. 

Over the course of today, and in the wake of buying my dream telly yesterday, I became convinced that Sky+HD was the thing for me. 

I've been a Sky customer since 2000 and they've never done anything but give me the bare minimum for the highest possible price (and I know I'm obviously not alone).

The low point came a few months ago when I discovered that, for more than two years, I'd been paying for movies I had never asked for (no, not rudies).

When I found out, I phoned up to complain and they said they would no longer charge me for said movies - after I'd paid for another month.

I wasn't pleased, as you might imagine, and I asked the admittedly pleasant call girl (it's Murdoch's money that's paying her) what Sky could do in terms of compensation.

She said she could send me a free Sky+HD box but I would then have to pay a tenner a month in extra subscription. 

I said I didn't have an HD TV so it would be no good to me anyway. And that was that.

Until today, that is, when, as a fully fledged HD TV owner, I researched the pricing arrangements for Sky+HD.  And, in short, as a Sky+ customer, I could have a free box and would then have to pay £10.25 a month in subscription (i.e. the exact same compensatory "offer" I'd been made a few months ago - plus 25p per month).  The only catch was that I'd have to shell out another £15 to have the box delivered.

So, I phoned Sky tonight, told them I now had an HD TV and could I have my box now please.

They said yes.

I said I assume they would not be charging me the £15 delivery charge given previous events.

They said "f*** off."

I said "what?!"

They said "f*** off" again. 

I asked them when I could expect my box to arrive.  

I feel totally unclean.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

32 inches of pleasure

Sometimes you've got to splash out.

Our old telly, which you can see above, was trendy in its day.  But that day is now long gone and something had to be done.

I'd been thinking for some time about bagging us a new one and today - I struck.

This morning I received an e-mail from Argos telling me there was one cut price 32" Hitachi HD Ready TV in their central Bradford store and it would be mine for £249.99. (I think they sent a similar e-mail to everyone else who'd ever bought anything from Argos, but I can't be sure. Plus, in truth, they didn't actually mention Bradford at all but, on doing a search, I discovered there was one there and none in either Leeds or Keighley so, same thing really). 

I wasted little time in reserving the item and, as soon as I'd finished work, jumped on a Bradford-bound fast train.

However, as I got closer and in the midst of my excitement, I began to worry that I might have made an error.  After picking it up, my plan was to head home on the New Pudsey train, including 20 minutes of walking to and from the stations. Carrying my new big TV.

"It'll be alright!" I thought.  "I can manage!"

And I had almost convinced myself - right until the moment when the nice man at Argos plonked the huge box in front of me at Collection Point B, before asking: "Are you you going to be OK with that?!"

"Er, yes...." I whimpered, as I spotted this sticker.

I only made it half way to the train station in the end, before accepting that the bus might be a better - and closer - option.  Particularly as my upper limbs now resembled those of Stretch Armstrong.

And here was me on the number 72 a quarter of an hour later. (Camera phones are so handy).

But the effort was certainly worthwhile.

Charlotte was impressed, before I even managed to unpack my booty. 

And Sceptical Vanessa, after only a minute of her 21st century TV experience, had to admit she was very pleased to have a wonderful new friend to gaze at during her year off. And it is wonderful, trust me.

What's that? Does it have a name? Of course!

Telly Savalas.  After Kojak.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Grim Down Under

A quick mention tonight for my good friend Graham, his wife and my equally good pal Hayley, and their two lovely kids Cleve and Nell. 

Graham texted me this morning after I had enquired about he and his family's well being; he had interrupted a sandbag filling session to do so.

The Readfearns live in Brisbane, see, and as you've no doubt been following on the news, life is a little difficult there at the moment. 

Hayley and I went to university together and, when Vanessa and I moved to Yorkshire, I worked with Graham for a period - and he remains the best writer I've yet encountered.

They were also our near neighbours at that point and Graham was not only an usher at our wedding, he even sang in the church (as I say, he's a man of talent).

But not long after, they emigrated to Australia and they remain deeply missed by their many friends back in the mother country.

This morning Graham reported that the family are as well as they can be, but that Brisbane is clearly not a nice place to be at present whilst residents wait to see what nature delivers. 

As I write, 12 Queenslanders have lost their lives thus far with several dozen reported missing.  Many, many more have lost their homes, their belongings - everything. 

As you might expect, a major appeal has been launched to assist those affected, and you can make your own contribution by clicking here.

I'll keep you informed on how Mr and Mrs R plus offspring are faring.   

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Spot The Baby II

As I sought to illustrate last night, Charlotte can often be very difficult to spot. 

And, compared to Jamie at the same stage in his existence, she can be as quiet as a teeny, tiny mouse. 

Added to this is the fact - particularly when her brother is kicking off in another part of the house - that it is occasionally necessary to leave her somewhere random in order to deal with a "Jamie moment."

The key to success is remembering where the **** it was.   

Monday, 10 January 2011

Anyone seen a baby around here?

Charlotte's arrival into White World has obviously necessitated a lot of changes, especially on the practical side of things.

Take transport, for example.

I'll come on to our car another time, but we'll start with the pram.

A few months ago - being a forward-thinking kind of gal - Vanessa made me agree to her shelling out a huge pile of cash to buy a double buggy. 

And until his sister appeared, Jamie was delighted with his new wheels.

But how would he react when he was made to share? 

The answer is very well, for two good reasons. 

First, when we altered the buggy to make room for two, he got to sit higher up than previously, which made him feel particularly pleased with himself.

And second, he had absolutely no idea she was there.

In fact, can you see her?  No?  Me neither.

Oh hold on, what's that?

Thank goodness. For a moment there, I thought we'd left her in the house.  

Sunday, 9 January 2011

A watched kettle does boil

I tell you what, I had no idea how time consuming a second baby could be - hence no update here for a while.

I've barely had time to visit the toilet over the last few days.  Meanwhile, Jamie and Charlotte continue to go where they stand, sit or lie.  What an easy/lazy life they have.

You'll no doubt be relieved to learn that you haven't missed anything.  Actually, that's not true.  I bought a new kettle on Friday, which you can see above.  Isn't she a beauty?(!)

Jamie was especially pleased by the new addition to our kitchen and insisted I boil it up twice whilst he stood back and applauded.

Perhaps the week ahead will offer a little more in the way of genuine excitement for us all.  No, really. 

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Pride and pink (shoes)

A landmark day today as Vanessa and I went to register Charlotte's birth.

For me, it was a moment of immense pride; but for Vanessa, it was more a sense of huge relief.

Were you aware that if you don't register the birth of your child within six weeks of its arrival, it has to go back where it came from?  I certainly didn't. And having made all the effort to push her out, Mrs W really didn't fancy that.

Plus, Charlotte has grown quite a bit over the last 17 days and might have had a job getting back up there. Anyway, job done.

After signing on the dotted line, I nipped into Leeds to do a bit of last-day-of-paternity-leave-before-going-back-to-work sales shopping.

And to my horror, I managed not to return home without anything for myself.  At all.  Gutted.

But more positively, I did manage to pick up newborn shoes for Charlotte.

Some smart footwear for the daytime...

...and a pair of sparklers should she decide to go dancing of an evening.

She must be the only female on Earth whose wardrobe is now complete.    

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Who needs Santa Claus?

I haven't updated this guff for a few days because, quite frankly, I hate this time of year and didn't want to inflict my misery and darkness on the rest of you. 

But, the sun has now come out, I'm still on leave today and tomorrow, I'm planning to check out what's left of the sales in the morning and so I might as well just get on with it.

Which brings me to Batman who, yesterday morning, took a break from fighting the criminals of Pudsey to drop by at our house.

At first, Jamie was a little startled to see his latest (super) hero come in the back gate.

And his tension levels had increased still further by the time the Caped Crusader reached our living room.

So much so, that Batman had little option but to reveal his true identity... Wee John...

...who, shortly afterwards, returned to his Wee Bat Cave in Cardiff.

We expect to see him again next month. 

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Here's one

It's "New Year's Night" and it's late, so I don't intend to detain you long.  But I've got to tell you this. 

Wee John and I went to Headingley today to watch some rugby.

Meanwhile, Jamie had his tea at home. And whilst he feasted, he mused (according to Vanessa), as Patrick Kielty rambled away in the background on Radio 2.

During a break in dining, Jamie pointed at the radio and bellowed: "He sounds like Daddy!"

Aw, how perceptive!

But here's the thing.

Mr Kielty was interviewing Cilla Black at the time, who then took it upon herself to mutter something of (no doubt) great interest to listeners across the land.

"He sounds like John!" announced White Junior.

Sometimes I really love that boy.