bairn blog: a tale of three henleys

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Posts from September 2006

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10:22pm Thursday, 28th September 2006

note to self. never use a pie dish to make flapjacks. now have a large and largely inedible oat soufle to show for my troubles :(

on the plus side some more snaps for your delectation from the lakes courtesy of oompa. enjoy (sadly a word never likely to be used in association with my flapjacks, sniff)

11:26pm Wednesday, 27th September 2006

poor peta – the strains of carrying about a twenty pound bairn have brought on a bout of tendinitus in her wrist and thumb :(

prior to awaking in some pain this morning peta had been having a marvellous week with geth. on tuesday p and g came into edinburgh with cole and went to a morning showing at the flicks for mums and bairns – peta’s first trip to the cinema since gethin was born and his first trip ever! the film was fine fare apparently and the front of the cinema fully laden with bairns on blankets enjoying the sensory treat (popcorn optional).

apart from web wizardry at work cole has been quite the chef at home this week. on sunday he mustered up his speciality for sunday lunch – tadpoles in the hole (12 half sausages cooked in batter in a muffin cake tin) – followed by home-made apple pie (yummy). peta cooked a marvellous prawn curry on monday evening, and cole served up ouef florentine on tuesday (poached eggs on a bed of spinach grilled with cheese and nutmeg) before bangers with a balsamic vinegar and red onion gravy, broad beans and mashed sweet potato and potato this evening. on friday shall be mustering up a feast of borsch in true rustic peasant stylee! mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, food is good!

08:45pm Monday, 25th September 2006

wHoops. forgot how tough it is to slot some time in to the ol’ bairn blog scribing after a couple of weeks away. Since our return from the lakes the henleys 3 enjoyed a lazy Monday, Cole having the day off work, before a week of sleepless nights for ma, pa and geth and a hectic week at work for dr Henley.

This week we have mostly been introducing gethin to the marvellous world of new, non-bland foodstuffs. He has so far this week supped on apple, banana, peas with potatoes (very green after peta mistook the 1oz of peas specified in the recipe for 10oz) and tomatoes – the latter definitely his favourite. Today he sampled the exotic fruitstuff papaya which thankfully for our wallets he wasn’t especially taken with!

On Monday cole and peta test-drove their, or rather gethin’s, prospective child minder Elaine who is lined up to look after gethin when peta goes back to work next month. We popped over to linzi, neil and adam’s for some coffee and biscuits and left gethin with Elaine for a couple of hours to see how he got on. All was well so when Peta goes back to work part-time we have someone to look after him which is very cool, although we are without someone for the first couple of weeks peta will be back at work so cole might have to take some holiday from work to be a house husband for a couple of weeks – eep!

On thursday peta met up with her fellow mums in Linlithgow after a couple of weeks absence and on Friday p & g popped into e’berg to meet cole and then all popped over to ryan and shelley’s to marvel at their new abode and their beautiful big green thing, sup on some fine home-made fishcakes and play some scrabble – peta a true scrabble hustler triumphing after claiming that she didn’t even like the game.

On Saturday there was some lazy lounging for all three henleys throughout the day with a brief sojourn for a late afternoon supermarket sweep. The exerts of Saturday were so great that even gethin managed an uber-sleep in the evening and after a fair few weeks of troubled slumber the geth star slept through from 8 to 6. Peta was so elated at this extended doze that she completely forgot to wake cole who enjoyed a lie-in of epic proportions, only stirring at half ten in the morning! all this lazing was in preparation for the exertions of Sunday where los henlos went swimming at the local pool. The afternoon swim was marvellous fun for all three and just the tonic from the rainy Sunday that had enveloped west Lothian. Gethin seemed to enjoy the bubbles and balls in the bairn pool, although the aquatic opportunities for the parents were quite limited with the deep end being some 30 cm! barely enough depth to get your ankles wet.

post swim we embarked on a marathon window shop in Livingston with nothing to show for our efforts save a tummy filled with baked potato and a couple of cans of deodorant. Still, gethin discovered the limitless amusement potential of the car seatbelt. Apparently they really are quite funny!

10:07pm Sunday, 17th September 2006

what a lovely, relaxing week away for Henleys 3. we set off to the sunny Lakes last Saturday morning, getting away belatedly after some last-minute packing and cole deciding that the car could really do with a much-needed spit and polish. the journey passed without event and by the early evening we were settled in our new abode for the week near cockermouth.

on sunday we awoke early to a beautiful sunny day. cole popped outside for a spot of watercolour painting before a lazy day about the house – darting off late in the afternoon for a spot of cream tea in a delightfully rural idyll called grange. after a double helping of home-made scones, jam and cream, the henleys and the withers wandered down to the riverside to take some snaps and supp on the rugged beauty of the place, discovering that gethin loves the ‘splonking’ noise made by dropping large stones into the river.

on monday will set off early to do some landscape clambering so the henleys, the withers (minus one), uma, oompa and oompapa set off with buggies on the long stroll down to the river derwent – we stopped in the nearby village of blindcrake for a picnic and beer on the village green, then set off downhill to the quaint hamlet of isel overlooking the derwent. we sat upon the bank of the river and as the sun slowly began to set we splonked some more stones for gethin’s entertainment. a truly lovely day.

on tuesday we set off on a mission to find a swimming pool to accommodate gethin and samuel’s first swims. apparently there was a pool in workington which could accommodate a pair of bairns so we set off only to discover perhaps the most complicated timetable known to man, which when deciphered revealed that we would not be able to squeeze in a swim that day. however, rumour had it that a suitable pool could also be found in keswick so we darted across the lakes to find a lovely pool with family changing rooms and a forty five minute window to accommodate two bairns eager to get their fins wet for the first time. upon changing three withers, three henleys and an uma descended into the shallow pool whilst oompa loitered by the poolside. gethin took an immediate dislike to getting quite wet although soon settled into it and seemed shortly to be quite enjoying the bobbing about, although like daddy would perhaps have preferred the water to be a little warmer. uma invested in an underwater camera so eagerly await the snaps… after half an hour or so we set out for a dry-off before loitering back to base.

on wednesday we all set off on our separate vehicles intending to meet up later at grizedale forest park, home to an extensive sculpture trail and an assualt course which peta, cole and will were hoping to take part in. cole and peta headed in to keswick to find some suitable clothing for the assault course where peta discovered a marvellous pair of plus-fours which cole took an instant shine to. we met up with the others in grizedale but sadly the assault course was fully booked so peta booked cole and herself in for a friday morning jolly. cole, peta, gethin and grandparents set off instead for one of the sculpture trails with some fantastic pieces of art interspersed with the natural woodland setting before an evening in cockermouth for the boys oompa, will and cole heading to the pub for some beers, footy and the much-belated smoking of some cigars peta had bought us last christmas in honour of the forthcoming bairns. better late than never!

thursday was a day quite unlike the others of our holiday and quite untypical for the lakes – bucketing it down all day. it was the withers last day in the lakes so we belatedly left the house (after a lovely lie in for cole and peta with uma and oompa stepping into the breach with some dawn babysitting) and popped into keswick for a soul-warming fish and chips. the withers said their goodbyes and the rest of us headed south to grassmere for a spot of culture (and shelter) at the wordsworth museum at dove house. cultured up we popped over the road to the waterside hotel where cole had dj-ed at a friend’s wedding a couple of summers ago. after some cold hot chocolates and some shortbread-less shortbread we headed back home via a trip to castlerigg stone circle which cole had tried (but failed) to visit on our last trip to the lakes.

on friday we awoke early to beautiful views from the house. the rain clouds had parted but the mist had come in with the sun striving to shine on through for some very atmospheric snaps. we got our stuff together super-promptly and were out of the house for half nine on our way to grizedale for some go-apeing, briefly stopping off again at castlerigg for some more stone circley antics. we got to grizedale for our uber-treetop-aerial-assault-course adventure. cole was filling his shiny new plus-fours on the training course and that was all of a couple of feet off the ground. shortly we were both well into a three-hour long assault course reaching heights of up to sixty feet crossing a variety of aerial challenges from tree to tree. the scariest was the tarzan swing being a swing some twenty feet up across a gap of thirty feet or so to onto a net. both cole and peta finished the course and it was a truly amazing and rewwarding experience, particularly considering cole usually gets the shakes if he goes up a chair to change a light bulb (well, the ground is a lot further away for him than for most).

after swinging from the trees, gethin under the watchful gaze of uma and oompa, we set down for a spot of lunch before setting back off north to cockermouth for a pint at the marvellously named pub – the bitter end – and more fish and chips before a quiet last nights holiday.

saturday morning was frantic, packing up the wee panda with all the bairn stuff before heading off to the small town of egremont for the annual crab fair and the world gurning championship. sadly, we had missed the gurning but along with some nice vintage tractors we did get there in good time to espy some particularly inbred natives getting steadily more inebriated. having promptly had our fill of such revelries we decided that a trip to the beach might be a more suitable way to end our holiday. we set off for st bees and after a cup of tea strolled down to the sea for gethin’s first marine paddle, suitably prepped after his midweek pool swim. sadly we were shortly on our way to Scotland, our hols at an end. It has been a fantastic week and just the tonic the 3 Henleys needed. a mundo thanks to uma for the invite.

also, a great big thank you to peta. a week of part-time helping to look after gethin (ably assisted by uma and oompa) has made me realise how much effort peta has had to put in every day for the past six months without a single day or night off. i have the utmost respect and gratitude for your unfaltering patience and compassion in raising our wee bairn and all the time and energy you have given him in these formative months.

finally, for those that are interested i have posted some more snaps from our holiday along at flickr (bairn blog is hemorrhaging bytes at a rate of knots so trying to keep the snaps here restricted to those of the bairn variety!)

11:31pm Friday, 8th September 2006

what ho everybody. it has indeed been sometime since the last post. not from lack of desire but after a hectic weekend last in southern climes for all three henleys cole buggered off to the wireless-less west of wales with the laptop so neither henleys could post an update (and gethin just hasn’t quite got the manual dexterity yet).

last friday we set off in the yellow bairn-mobile for royal leamington spa. we stayed the eve with sister, will and samuel before a saturday drive to and cross londinium for peta’s cousin’s wedding. the journey to london was fine but driving across the big smoke proved quite annoying, although we had an amusing interlude when we cut up a car only to find out later that not only were the occupants of said vehicle attending the same wedding but also sharing a table with us at the wedding breakfast. what a small world the cut-throat world of cross-city driving is!

anyhoo, the wedding was a splendid affair and after a lovely ceremony in east dulwich all popped down the road to the horniman (horney man?) museum for some smashing grub and entertaining speeches in the delightful surrounds of a grade II listed 19th century conservatory. marvellous. sadly we had to make an early exit to get gethin – sporting a marvellous new pixie hat (hand-crafted by cole and peta) – to his bed so we set off for more cross-london shenanigans on our way to epsom to stay with peta’s aunt, thankfully ably guided by moomin (in turn ably guided by sat-nav).

on sunday we arose at a leisurely pace to a monsterous fry-up care of gethin’s great-uncle jerry. yummy. all replete, we set off back for leamington spa and before long henley’s 3 met up with withers 3 in town for some scran before an evening meal at ooma and oompas (definitely a weekend revolving around food). sadly, henley’s 3 then had to go their separate ways – peta and gethin back up to scotland and cole off west for a three day meet with his welsh colleagues in aberystwyth.

it was lovely to be back in wales hearing the accents and language, although cole’s command of the language is poor at best (restricted to bore da (good morning), prynhawn da (good afternoon), nos da (good evening) and diolch (thank you)). on monday, after the long train ride, cole met up with the people at rcahmw, who he has been developing a website for over the past six months, before heading to his hotel to book in and put some tired feet up. the hotel was quite bizarre – definitely a place that had seen better days, clinging to a bye-gone era when sea-side holidaying was all the rage. economising to the max cole had booked a single room which was located in the first floor of a newly built extension, with patio doors overlooking an unfinished roof and the occasional power cut.

the next few days were spent conflabbing over web-site visuals, leading to a late night working session on wednesday night (though only after a late night drinking session on the tuesday), before a long train journey on thursday back to linlithgow – an eventful journey (aren’t they always) with a security scare at birmingham new st knocking most trains out of kilter. ho hum, another late train ride home.

sorry, not much about bairn but have been apart for the best part of a week, although peta is delighted to report that gethin has started to eat his feet and is slowly mastering the art of crawling though, apparently just like his uncle marty did, has started by going backwards. he has also taken well to pouring water down himself in a concerted bid to drink from his cup thingy unassisted.

so concludes another week. we are all offski to the lakes tomorrow for round two of holiday with the henley’s after june’s exploits. lets just hope oompa henley can steer clear of hazardous bird tables and the like!

Images from September 2006

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