Thursday, 29 October 2015

Thumbs up for London (and repeat)

After two nights in London, this is our third night back - and it will take a few more yet before normal energy levels are reinstated.

Above you can see Jamie and Charlotte atop the London Eye, our first port of call upon arrival on Sunday afternoon.  In the background you can see the Palace of Westminster where Vanessa and I met more than 18 years ago.  Bloody hell.  We went back for a tour the following morning.

But there was much to do and see before then.

At the head of the list was a date with an old friend - and a meeting with a very new one.

The new face belongs to Josephine who was born in December. Isn't she cute?

And being a female, she's also vicious.  Obviously.

And do you recognise the big head in the foreground?  That's her daddy.

Yup, Uncle John is back.  And Auntie Rosie is a good match for him as you can see.

But fatherhood hasn't changed him that much.  He still has many bad habits, some of which he's already set about passing on.

After hugs and lots of waves, it was off to Chinatown for us tourists.

Jamie wasn't a huge fan of the Oriental culinary offerings, in truth.

I knew we should've gone to the Joy Luck.

But at least there were other attractions on hand before bedtime.

After our early morning Parliamentary visit, we split up along gender lines.  Vanessa took Charlotte off to (unsuccessfully) stalk Princess Namesake at Kensington Palace.

And I dragged Jamie to the Science Museum to stare at a piece of Moon rock (amongst other attractions).

We didn't have time for the Tower of London on this occasion, but thankfully the Crown Jewels were on display in Lego form at Hamley's.

There was time for a couple more novelty pictures in advance of dinner and bed.

And before our Tuesday afternoon departure, we watched the Changing of the Guard.

And stood outside Buck House.  (The Royal Standard indicated that Her Majesty was in residence, but she stayed there. Jeremy Kyle was on).

Yes, all very touristy.  But it has to be done.

And, by the end, so too were him and her.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

London Whites

Good morning and welcome to Retford, which is somewhere between Leeds and that London.  

The reason for our current location is that we Whites are indeed headed to that London on a half-term jaunt.  The jury is as yet unable to reach a decision on whether it can be described as a "break." Speaking on behalf of Mrs White and myself and fully conscious of the presence of our children, I suspect not.

To be fair, her and me must accept much of the blame for the lack of likely downtime over the next two-and-a-bit days.  Because yes, dear friends, we're packing a lot in. 

And we're starting as we foolishly planned to continue. For example, upon arrival at King's Cross, we have less than an hour to get across the city to board that London Eye. After quickly checking into our downmarket digs, Covent Garden is next on the list before dinner in Chinatown. 

Intriguingly, it has been rumoured that Uncle Wee John will be joining us at that point, which should be fun - if the rumours are true.

It's an early start tomorrow with a tour of the Palace of Westminster due to get underway at 9.15. 

After that, we're splitting up on gender lines. Jamie and I are going on a boys' trip to the Cosmonaut exhibition at the Science Museum. Meanwhile, Vanessa has agreed to act as lady-in-waiting whilst Princess Charlotte embarks on a pilgrimage to stand outside the home of the other Princess Charlotte and have a go in her local (posh) playground. (Apparently there isn't a smashed bottle or an empty Special Brew can to be seen. Fancy that).

Other activities will follow, including a visit to a child friendly pub (yet to be identified). And we'll end proceedings with the inevitable trip to Hamley's "which we'll only go to if you BEHAVE!!!"

Vanessa really should cut me some slack once in a while.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Weekend over, moving on

What an awful day.

Seriously.  Ireland lost in the Rugby World Cup (depriving me of the opportunity to misbehave for the next two weekends).  Then Scotland were cheated out of it in their own quarter-final.  And, crushingly, Daniel O'Donnell was ushered off the set of Strictly Come Dancing.  The shame of it all.

I'm not sure how I'll cope, although I have decided to have a drink as I consider potential responses.

Whilst I have you, last night - with me in sole parent charge -  went well.

Vanessa told me to feed them right/healthily.

Which I believe I did.

And then I left them to watch Strictly as I surveyed the All Blacks next door.

Poor Daniel had it coming.

At least our two got something out of it.


Friday, 16 October 2015

Tables turned - tummy full

Good evening friends and I hope your weekend is set fair.

At this early stage, I'm feeling surprisingly positive about mine - despite the odds being against me.

My little jaunt off to Cardiff last weekend is being repaid as Vanessa has this afternoon headed across to the Lake District armed with a magnum of Prosecco.  (She can tell you the rest).  And as far as our children's development between now and Sunday is therefore concerned, I'm in charge.

Well, I say that. Jamie is actually in absentia this evening, on a sleepover - and no doubt having much more fun than I can provide.

So for one night only, it's just Charlotte and me.

Needless to say, Vanessa left me clear instructions - with little expectation that any of my objectives would be delivered.  Top of the list was to make sure him and her eat properly.

And I'm thrilled to report an unexpected development.

I told Miss White she could have whatever she wanted for tea.  Anything at all.  Totally up to her.  As long as she ate up.  I wasn't arsed.  But please eat up.

And in what can only be described as a wasted opportunity on her part, she chose macaroni cheese in Morrisons' cafe. (She's from Yorkshire)


But here's the thing.  She fulfilled her brief.

If you're watching Vanessa, MEH!!!!!!

A great start for Princess Charlotte, even if I do say so myself.  Let's hope she doesn't turn into a pumpkin before Sunday.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

And shortly before tea time, a game of rugby broke out

Well, I made it back from Cardiff after a sporting experience I've not seen the like of before.  80,000 madsters cheering loudly under the roof of the greatest purpose-built rugby stadium in the world.  And Ireland won.  Other than nasty injuries to several heroes on the field, what was not to like?

The fun began on Saturday when I met up with my pal Daniel and five of his ex-work colleagues from the European Commission in Brussels.  There was a Dane, a Frenchman, an Italian, an Austrian and the inevitable Irishman.  All very different and brilliant to a man.

We even went to a disco.

I didn't dance, obviously.

Then to the game on Sunday, starting with the pre-match warm-up in the Walkabout bar.  (I had kangaroo and chips for lunch.  When in, er, Cardiff).

Honestly, some of the sights.

And then we made our way to the ground.

With a few others.

Who weren't all Irish fans.

I mean, really.

And there was plenty of French support inside the stadium too.

This monsieur was sitting two up from me.

Quackers, I know.

And after Ireland's well-deserved victory, the party got truly underway.  I have no idea who those people were, but they were having fun too.

And them.

And them.

It was a genuine privilege to be part of it.  Memories to last until the next time.

Friday, 9 October 2015

A Whiter shade of Gold

Following on from Cllr White's recent electoral success, now Charlotte's got in on the act.

Today her mother and I were invited into school to see Little Missy receive her Gold Award at the end-of-week Celebration Assembly.

Her achievement?  

And I quote:

"Super behaviour and looking after her things really well.  A great start to Reception!" 

Interviewed in front of the whole school, Deputy Headteacher Mr Sheppard probed Charlotte about what sort of  "things" she'd been so skilled at looking after.

"Sort of everything," she replied nonchalantly.

There's no flies on her (unlike our car bonnet).

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

I've (NOT) been a Wild Rover for many a year

So, how's your Rugby World Cup going?

Not brilliantly I would imagine if you're from Uruguay, Fiji, Canada, Tonga, Samoa, Namibia or any of the other nations either out or about to go out of the tournament.  Such as England.

Yes, the dear old chariot came off the rails.

At least the England squad will have a good view of the quarter-finals.

(OK, you may have seen that pic already but, come on, top comedy!)

After the recent thrill of the competition coming to Leeds and the opportunity to watch two games, I still have one more live date on my personal Rugby World Cup fixture calendar.

Ireland take on France in the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff on Sunday afternoon in the Pool D decider, with the unfortunate loser forced to face the All Blacks.  And I'll be there.

Yup, I head down on Saturday morning, arriving just in time to watch Wales play Australia on a random pub telly.   Then my chums and I will have bit of a night out in Cardiff city centre before bedding down for the evening in our cheap hotel.

And the following day/night, it gets really interesting/unpredictable.  The game won't be over until around 6.30, too late for me to get a train back to Leeds.  And there are no hotel rooms available on Sunday.

My friends have booked themselves into somewhere in Bristol, leaving shortly after the final whistle.  But there's no way I'm missing out on all the post-game fun.

I've therefore booked myself onto a train leaving Cardiff at 4.35 on Monday morning, arriving in Leeds (via Manchester) at 9.15am, ready for a day's work.

I reckon a greasy kebab and a strong coffee at around 3.30 should see me right.

But what happens between leaving the stadium and getting that kebab is anyone's guess.  It's about as much excitement as you can get when you're 43½. 

I'll tell you what I can when/if I get back.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Meet Councillor Jamie White

Jamie's been elected to his school council.

As someone who's been involved in politics for almost 20 years, I doubted his wisdom when he came home last week and announced his intention to stand.  It's a rough old business and, as a 7-year-old, I thought he might be better off chasing a football as opposed to chasing votes.

But the boy was not for turning.

So, on Monday evening, we worked on his hustings speech.

This is what he said:

"I am friendly with everyone in my class and would work very hard for them.

"I am confident when speaking in public.

"I like my new school and want to make it even better.

"Please vote for Jamie White!"

And his classmates did, placing him top of the poll.

He headed off for his first meeting this morning, already armed with a big idea.

And he gets free biscuits.

Thankfully his newly-acquired power and status haven't gone to his head.

I'd give it about a week.