Thursday, 22 September 2016

Manual control

I'm exhausted.

Yes, it's night three of Vanessa's foreign jaunt and I'm beginning to flag.  But at least I have my instruction manual.

What you see above is a genuine typed document, prepared by Mrs White, which details how I get the kids (and myself) through the week of her absence.

And thank goodness she has so little faith in me.

For example, tonight was Jamie's Tae Kwon-Do class.

And thankfully we made it (mainly because the instructor was late).  But had it not been for Vanessa's helpful aide memoire, he might've ended up at Charlotte's modern dance class (which is tomorrow, according to page 237 paragraph 4 of the manual).  

Let's hope my run of accurate efficiency continues.

But first, I have some ironing to do.

She'd better bring me back a present.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Upstairs, downstairs

With Vanessa off on a girlie bender for the rest of the week, Charlotte is now the lady of the manor.  And she's making her female presence felt.

We don't live in a particularly big house, but we do have two toilets.

So Miss White has introduced gender segregation.

The picture you can see above was drawn by Charlotte and pinned to the door of the downstairs convenience.

Jamie has no great problem with that.

And upstairs, opposite Charlotte's bedroom door, we have this.

Yes, in Vanessa's absence, this is now her private pisser.

Or so she thinks.

But what Charlotte doesn't know can't annoy her.

So don't be telling.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Ode to Aireborough

I've had a wonderful rugby-themed weekend, which is always a good thing (if you're me).

Prior to the season getting underway, I did have concerns that Jamie might not take kindly to full contact at Aireborough Lions.  It comes in at Under 9 level.

But check this out.

That's Jamie closest to the camera during this morning's training session. (Thank you lovely Sarah for the pic).

His new-found enthusiasm for the game is a very pleasant surprise.

He even got a medal as one of two players of the week,

A proud dad indeed.  But also a proud "coach."

Yes, it was also team photo day today.

As you can see, we have more coaches than Ulsterbus (which is why I get to be one).

That was all today.

Yesterday, I went to see the Aireborough first team strut their stuff.

They'd already won their first two games in Yorkshire Division Three.  And they made it a hat trick of victories yesterday, beating Harrogate Pythons by 10 points to go top of the table.

It's great to have such fun and camaraderie right on our doorstep.

If you live in Guiseley, Yeadon or somewhere else nearby, do please get involved.  I can guarantee  you'll be made to feel every but as welcome as I've been (unless England are playing Ireland on the big screen, naturally).

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Thank pod it's over

For (what seems like) the 173rd time this year, we went camping again this weekend.

We were there to celebrate the 50th birthday of my dopey brother-in-law, Dagenham Dave.  He's the postman who never delivers.

Studfold near Pateley Bridge was the venue, and it was a little different.

Yes, a big field was involved.

But if you thought Charlotte was going to spend another night sleeping under canvas, you don't know our Charlotte.

Because three pods were available.

So we bagged the one on the left.

It was "The Wise Pod."

More importantly, it had a door, windows and a roof.

That was all on Saturday.  Come Sunday, it was time for the adventure trail.

With cousin Holly joining us, we encountered a giant dragonfly.

A big bird on a big spade.

We built a boys' den.

(Sadly, the girls' den was better).

And we sniffed a smelly box.

What an appropriate way to bring another never-ending camping season to an end.

Bring on the winter snow.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Dobok rocks

Look at him.  Hard as nails these days.  Just like his dad (COUGH!!!)

Yes, as all parents will be very well aware, it's that time of the year when new school uniforms are not your child's sole additional wardrobe requirement.  Hell no.

Jamie's new rugby kit is already somewhere between the supplier and our house.

Charlotte has just decided to become an international gymnast so we'll have to shell out for whatever the modern term is for a leotard.

And as well as playing for the GB sevens rugby team, Jamie has chosen to double up at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by going for gold in Tae Kwon-Do.

To be fair, he went to classes for a few months prior to the summer break and loved it.  But we didn't get the outfit straight away in case he had a tiff with his new sport.  And they're not robes - or even pyjamas. It's called a dobok.  It's foreign, you see.

I learnt quite a lot about Tae Kwon-Do during the Rio Olympics.  (In fact, I probably developed a clearer understanding of what was going on than the befuddled BBC commentators on a junket).

There's lots of kicking and punching.  There's a bit of bowing.  And whether it's ladies or gents involved in the scrap, there's always a high frequency of shrieking at high frequency.

But I like it and, more importantly, so does Crusher White, yellow-striped belt having already been earned .

So don't even think about stealing my dinner money - or I'll send him round.  

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Prancing in the dark

Despite my every-increasing list of crippling injuries, I have accepted another challenge.

A friend of mine got in touch a couple of nights ago to ask if I fancied joining him in running around the streets of Belfast under pitch black skies.

This might once have sounded foolhardy.  But not any longer.  Plus, it's not quite as random as that.

The event in question is called Run in the Dark and, before Tuesday, I'd never heard of it.  So let me explain.

At various hours of darkness on Wednesday 16 November, thousands of runners wearing flashing red armbands will huddle together in 50 cities around the world.  They will then set off on either a 5k or 10k night time run, "becoming part of a living light show through the streets like lava." (Major Tim Peake will be gutted that he'll have to watch from ground level).

And it's all in aid of raising a bit of cash to speed up a cure for paralysis.  Sounds like a mighty fine idea to me.

Alongside a growing number of "pop up" venues, there are five official Run in the Dark Cities across the British Isles: Manchester and London on this side of the Irish Sea; and Cork, Dublin and Belfast over the water.

To add to the novelty, the Belfast event starts and ends in the grounds of Parliament Buildings, Stormont.  In fact, right on the self-same stretch of steep tarmac I trained on 20 years ago when I played rugby for the Northern Ireland Civil Service before tearing my leg up and being forced to retire.  Happy times - perversely, I grant you.

But it sounds like a laugh so my flights are booked and I'm officially registered to run.  All I need now are my flashing armbands, a little bit of training and the guarantee of a few pints afterwards.

If you fancy joining me and my pal in the run, you can sign up HERE.    

Or if you just think you might also be thirsty that night and expect to be in or around the city a little later on, you'll probably know how to get in touch with me.

I eagerly await your excuses.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Kids in school uniforms - exclusive pic

It's First Day Back At School Photo Day, and here's our effort.

You might recognise them, they've lived with Vanessa and me for years.  

And there isn't a loose-fitting jumper or baggy trouser in sight.

Given the warm weather, they're actually dressed in their school's traditional summer attire - just as they were on the last day of term in July.  And they've only aged six weeks in between.  But still, I've done my duty and no one can complain - you clicked onto the link after all.

Now then, as you were (just like them).

Monday, 5 September 2016

Oh Balls

Ex-Shadow Chancellor Ed "Glitter" Balls made something of an impact on his Strictly Come Dancing debut on Saturday night whilst dressed as a darts player.

He later admitted, with commendably good grace, that he'd signed up for the programme principally because he was going through something of a midlife crisis.

And he's not alone.

Earlier in the summer I damaged my arm after propelling myself into a shallow foam pit at CarFest North.

It's still far from healed and, prior to going to Portugal, a doctor's visit was planned.

Indeed, the continuing pain persuaded me not to join Jamie on an artificial "bodyboard experience" during our last full day in the Algarve last Thursday.

Until I changed my mind.

And two cracked ribs later, I came to regret my decision.

That's Jamie hiding behind his board through sheer embarrassment.

I hope Ed Balls has better luck in the weeks ahead.        

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Lions' call

This morning marked the first day of the new rugby season at Aireborough Lions, and parents and players were queued up in big numbers to sign-up and be part of it.

This will be Jamie's fourth season as a player and my third as a coach.  Thankfully, he's made a lot more progress than I have.

And he's not alone in the Under 9s.

Brilliantly guided by Head Coach Kris (I'm proud to be his Cone Man), each of them has the chance to progress in the sport and share in its joys in the years ahead.

And the big news is that full contact is being introduced this season and they're taking to it like hard-assed ducklings to water.

Not. A. Problem.

And the club as a whole has really upped its game this season, as this welcome pack illustrates better than any words I could muster.  

We have teams from four-year olds at Micros level through to the Under 16s.

Here are our friends in the Under 8s in action today.

They play tag rugby and are stars in the making.

So, if you live anywhere near Nunroyd Park and your offspring fancies a try (do you see what I did there?) then feel free to get in touch with me or club chairman Jim Dolan.  I'm on 07787 514324, Jim is on 07870 610356.

We'll even feed them afterwards.

And there's a bar.

Roll up people.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

And now the end is beer

Good morning one last time from the White family holiday where all things Portugese will shortly come to an end (despite almost everyone else here appearing to be French).

However, as we don't actually fly until tomorrow evening, there's still plenty of time to collect a few more novel memories. And pieces of tat.

Charlotte has added another yappy dog - Flora - to the one she already owned - Laura.

And Jamie has bought himself a string puppet - Darren.

Oh, and Charlotte has added a flashing Minnie Mouse bow to her pile of things never to be used ever again when she gets back home.

To be fair, Vanessa treated me to a backscratcher which I'm admittedly very pleased about.

As I tap this out, Charlotte is back in the art studio creating another masterpiece.

Whilst behind the tree, Jamie is having a go at "soft" archery.

It'll never catch on in Yorkshire.

And that's about the height of it.

We're planning a wave-jumping trip to the beach this afternoon.

There will be our last irresponsible all-inclusive dinner tonight, possibly followed by dad dancing.

And then tomorrow it's a trip to the Old Town for a wander, some food and the emptying of the Euro wallet.

Midnight should see us home and my "tan" will be safely gone by Monday.

Thanks for sharing in our little adventure. See you soon.