bairn blog: a tale of three henleys

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Posts from October 2006

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08:22pm Monday, 30th October 2006

il fait mauvais!

west lothian has well and truly entered monsoon season. the sand bags are on their way to keep the elements at bay which seems a suitable time as any for doctor henley to have invested in a folding bicycle for getting to work and back. maybe should have got a pedalo and some water wings!

12:02am Sunday, 29th October 2006

another busy week at henley towers. wednesday was peta’s birthday and saw friend kate come up for a few days to say hello and hang out with p + g. gramps also ‘popped’ over for birthday meal of monster curry carry-out. suffice to say after a daal and prawn curry cole was suffering some on thursday.

well, it is truly winter time. the clocks are changing to officially signal the dearth of summer, the mornings are getting darker and the air colder and wetter. we have masking taped up most of the windows in the pad to keep most of the elements out and the wood burner has been fired up for the first time in a wee while. brrrrr.

clocks going back is quite scary. the feelings of elation that once arose with the thought of an extra hour in bed have been replaced by the knowledge that our boy won’t have a clue about the end of british summer time.

the wee fella has sadly been out of sorts this week, stricken with a nasty dose of man-flu (aka the common cold) meaning much coughing and loss of apetite. a particularly epic episode of coughing culminated in dad getting covered in vomit, literally from head to toe. who’d have thought a bairn belly could contain so much milk. it was quite scary and his peakiness these past couple of days has reminded me of what a friend told me when we found out peta was pregnant: “welcome to a life of worry”. how true this phrase is. since gethin popped out i don’t think a single day has passed (yep, all 208 of them) where i haven’t worried about him not breathing or peta not worried about his feeding, or something that is so trivial.

anyway, sure he will recover from his man-flu shortly – just in time for this third set of jabs on monday! sorry for lack of snaps of late but will try to get some up soon


11:54am Monday, 23rd October 2006

after last week’s extreme adventuring a much more subdued time for henley’s three.

we all benefitted from the gethin-minding prowess (and washing up skills) of moomin for three days whilst peta was at work and had a relaxing week before friday’s night debauchery at kenny and jan’s cocktail housewarmer in airdrie.

peta has always believed as a parent that lost sleep can never be regained. cole is not as wise and whilst peta hit bed at a sensible hour after a handful of cocktails, cole soldiered on for the cause until the wee hours (although 4 hours of which were spent trying to quaff a bunny hug – a beverage comprising one third gin, one third whiskey and one third pernod, and which the Savoy Cocktail Book states “should immediately be poured down the sink before it is too late”). a lovely night was had, despite the bunny hug, although it pains me to say that peta was right – cole spending most of the weekend in a zombie-like state yearning for the sleep which had come so easily in the days pre-geth.

saturday was therefore a lazy day, although poor gethin was by this point quite taken with a cold so not eating anywhere near his usual amount of foodstuffs and generally unhappy with the vase amounts of snot that were attempting to escape his nostrils.

on sunday we all went to brightons to attend the christening of gethin’s friend adam. it was a wee rush to get out the house and there in time but made it we did and gethin soldiered on remarkably through the service before deciding that he too might one day decide to be a minister of some description (a family calling on peta’s side), uttering and gesticulating loudly through all the quiet bits and ably joining in during the singing bits. about half-way through the service, sadly unable to decipher his words of wisdom, we decided it might be best for the congregation to focus on the minister proper rather than the ramblings of the right reverend bairn so cole took him to the creche out back.

after hanging out with the other kids, we all headed to the bonsyde, complete with new lick of paint, for adam’s christening soiree where cole got even more soporific after a tennants shandy. we met some lovely people and gorged on some nice grub but soon had to head for a much needed family siesta.

thus was our lazy weekend. monday sees gethin’s first day with the child-minder so we awoke all panicky about getting everything ready and in a bag for his grand day out. to think what he must be up to now and how much he must be missing his parents. yeah right. a handful of noise-making toys make a suitable substitute for any mother or father and he’ll probably forget about us altogether whilst we chew our nails down to the bone all day long!

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09:58pm Sunday, 15th October 2006

what an extreme weekend. saturday was a magical mystery tour (and then some) for cole and ryan to commemorate our 31st’s. peta and shelley had been uber-scheming for this secretive mission and neither of us had a scooby what was in store. after an hour and a halfs drive we arrived in grandtully near pitlochry, perthshire, but even when we arrived at an adventure centre on the wild banks of the river tay we still had no idea what was about to unfold. even when we were told we were about to go canyoning – in fact, even when we were on the minibus to struan, clad in wetsuit, helmet and life jacket – we didn’t know what was afoot!

canyoning, it transpires, “is a sport popular in several countries. It involves travelling down creeks or streams within a canyon by a variety of means including walking, scrambling, climbing, abseiling, swimming…It requires skills in navigation, ropework, climbing, avoiding hypothermia etc” (source: wikipedia).

For the record, and with the benefit of hindsight, I exhibit none of these skills whatsoever! However, we both had a thoroughly fantastic time!

peta, shelley and gethin stayed safely on dry land whilst cole and ryan abseiled forty or so feet down into the canyon of the river garry, as suitable a location as any for testing ones skills in avoiding hypothermia! before we knew it we were swimming, sliding and scrambling through the cold eddys of the river, skeeting down rock faces and jumping off cliffs – although i lacked the courage (or rather had the common sense not) to jump the higher jumps of thirty or forty feet (calling it quits at fifteen feet). thanks peta and also shelley for your collective conniving. it was a fantastic birthday present and undoubtedly one that i’ll always remember.

afterwards we headed back to lithgay and stocked up on some fish and chips (and some yummy onion rings), capping off a marvellous day before ryan and shelley awayed back to edinburgh.

on sunday, cole – aching some from his previous day’s adventure – went into tasmanian dervish mode to prepare for the arrival of moomin and gramps (moomin staying for a few days to look after gethin), tidying the house and preparing a mighty feast of tadpoles in the hole with roasted veg (and a french onion soup starter). well, we are all pooped from a weekends extreme adventuring and some hearty eating to boot. will try to get some snaps from ryan for you all to marvel at our grand day out!

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11:08pm Wednesday, 11th October 2006

ee gads, it has been a mighty long time since an update of the blog – you may all have been worrying about the result of cole’s first solo mission as lone parent-ranger but we can happily report that both father and son are alive and well.

the training exercise last wednesday – for peta’s first half-day back at work – was a success, although it was more a case of ‘dad about town’ than house husband as cole took gethin into e-berg for some quality window shopping before meeting up with peta for lunch at the modern art gallery. gethin even managed to create a modern masterpiece of his own – a la pollock – with his pureed apple and blueberry.

thursday was back to normal with cole at work and peta as house-mum with geth, enjoying a visit from gramps with great-grandma and great-grandpa who popped in en route to see family in inverness.

friday night cole was uber-monitor minder, peta out in linlithgow with some co-mums and our neighbours out at a wedding in falkirk – the reward was a lovely lie-in on saturday morning. mmmmmm. godparents ryan and shelley, and great-godparents sam and steph, came round at lunchtime so we all had tea and moved the chickens to their new, bigger abode, before heading into linlithgow for a spot of lunch and a wander about town, the henleys stopping off at the nct nearly-new sale to hunt down some bairn bargains (after queueing up for forty minutes ended up with a sole pair of stripey trousers, acquired for a barganinous half pound). we then popped off to have a browse at cairnpapple in all its prehistoric glory and headed back, utterly wind-swept from our hill-top adventure.

in the evening agnes, an old school friend of cole’s, popped round on a break from her training course in the west of scotland and being the ultimate guest (take note future visitors) cooked up a top sprout curry. it really was yummy! time flew and before long agnes and friend headed off into the night.

on sunday our lovely weekend continued with a visit from denise (she of the funky bairn booties) and we had a fab day strolling about the countryside, admiring its scenery and smells. sadly the smashing, sociable weekend came to an end all too shortly but it was just the beginning of the two-and-a-half-day full-time dad-a-thon. we ain’t in kansas anymore gethin!

on monday morning peta embarked to work and cole frantically noted down gethin’s feed times and his duties for the day. what to eat, when to eat, where to eat, how to eat (lest we forget). full-time bairn supervising seems almost exclusively to revolve around eating: breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and supper, with gethin exploring more and more the marvellous world of solid foodstuffs. on monday cole was so preoccupied with gethin’s eating that he completely forgot to feed himself!

we survived monday in-tact and tuesday morning we headed into linlithgow for gethin’s six-monthly check up, which involved much measuring of height, weight and head circumferance ( – “well, mister henley. we can deduce from the fact your son’s head is in the eightieth percentile that he will become a horticulturist”). gethin is, perhaps unsurprisingly, taller than the average bairn at a whopping 74cm! we headed home for some grub before popping off with linzi and adam to an nct meeting with local mums and bairns in linlithgow. it was wierd being the only dad there and couldn’t really join in on the chats about breastfeeding but was fun and discovered caramel chocolate digestives. yummy.

before i knew it was wednesday and the half-week had flown by, although quite shattered from it all. popped into e-berg again with peta and did some more window shopping before meeting up for lunch in the regal setting of the royal museum cafe. then, a moment of high drama as we explored the museum the metal door of the lift we were in decided to shut on gethin’s head as we left! didn’t shut entirely praise be but gave him a nasty knock and he has quite the bump to show for his troubles!

so, after two and two-half-days of crack-fathering i have completed (and survived) my first tour of duty, although with gethin six months old it is maybe a bit late to be bragging about it. i have had a marvellous time. it has been hard and constant work – hats off to peta for her exceptionally efforts these past six months – but also great fun. gethin is quite the wee charmer and we have got on so well together that ‘daaa deee’ is his new favourite word, although it probably means ‘fridge’ in gethin parlance.

10:52pm Tuesday, 3rd October 2006

note to self. when awaken bright and early and eyes do not quite yet function do not try to make your morning coffee with cat food. fortunately came to my senses before a whiskas latte but was a darned close thang.

friday was dr henley’s 31st birthday. in the morning was the world’s biggest coffee morning at work and surprise, surprise the oat soufle was a resounding success! it transpires that cole had foolishly mistaken baking powder for bicarbonate of soda. whoops!

anyway, after a hectic day at work and a fine slap meal of borsch cole spent the latter part of the evening in nearby uphall at a workmates wedding.

on saturday the henleys went on a magical adventure to a car boot sale and ikea, stocking up on some small storage gubbins as well as Gethin sampling his first bought baby food, rather than the yummy peta-made variety. on the diet side of things gethin’s eating habits have been quite variable – not assisted by a stinking cold which seems to have been slowly passing between bairn and mum over the past few weeks. he quite enjoys feeding himself as much as his digital dexterity will allow which isn’t very much so he gets quite frustrated with anything that isn’t finger food. his favourite is buttered toast although when i say favourite not sure how much actually gets devoured given the amount that turns up on the floor, behind his chair, under his chin, etc.

it is peta’s first day back at work tommorow with just a half day to start off with, so after six fleeting months cole gets his first stint at being a house husband without a safety net (a bit late in the day some might say). the past six months really have flown by – am sure that gethin will be a stroppy teenager in no time at all!

wish us all luck tomorrow!!

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