Last day with the car

On our last day with the car, we took a trip down to Kelso this afternoon. It was lovely and warm when the sun came out, and Kelso is a lovely little town to wander around in. We stopped off at a tiny little tearoom, and B got hovered over and adored by all the women–as usual. He’s just a wee chick magnet.

We also stopped by the new Borders bookstore at Fort Kinnaird on our way back. As expected, we bought a whole heap of books, including Jill Murphy’s wonderful The Last Noo-Noo for B.

Earlier this week (I think it was Wednesday, but time is a bit of a blur right now…) I finally got the rest of the garage cleaned out and finished. The remaining wall is panelled; all the junk is now on our wonderful Ikea shelving; the old wood and other junk has been taken to the dump; and the old carpet from our living room is now in place to create a rather cozy little environment.

The whole purpose of it all is, of course, to allow me to set up my drum kit again now that B has kicked me out of his room 🙂

Sluggy Freelance

Looks like I’ve got another web cartoon to add to my list of daily funnies: Sluggy Freelance

Another busy day today. We had our first visit from the Health Visitor, who turns out to be the only male Health Visitor in the Lothian region. A charming and friendly guy, we had a good long chat about what happens next in the whole baby thing (immunisations, developmental stages, checkups, etc.).

We also had our last midwife visit, from the similarly charming Maureen Benson, who has seen us through the whole pregnancy. Maureen had been on holiday last week, so it was a different community midwife who saw us at home initially, but Maureen took over today. She seemed genuinely delighted to see that we’re getting on so well, and that everything is working out for us.

Either we’ve totally lucked out in the selection of healthcare workers presented to us, or the NHS is filled with totally lovely, hardworking, and caring people. I prefer to think it’s the latter, but maybe my cynical and bitter old heart is being turned all mushy by being a father.

I also took a couple of trips to the dump to recycle/get rid of several years of accumulated files, papers, magazines and other junk. Then I ripped apart an old bookcase that has been with us since Dickson Street, and turned it into a two-piece server rack and storage shelves for our kitchen cupboard.

Cool! With a little imagination we can now claim to have a house with a library (semi-floored attic filled with 2000-odd boxed-up books) and a server room (cum pantry). Sounds much bigger than a three-bedroom semi-detached, doesn’t it?

Bad Temptation. Bad!

Once again, we’ve fought off the temptation to buy a car.

We’ve had a rental car for about a week and a half now, and it has been fantasticaly useful during these first days of new parenthood. So useful, that we started thinking it would be good to have one of our own…

So we got the car magazines, looked through Auto Trader, checked the various web sites, and pretty much got caught up in the idea. On Friday evening we went to see an n-th hand Volvo 440 (listed at £800), but that turned out to be too rough for comfort. On Saturday, we trawled round the car dealerships at Seafield with my parents, and saw a rather tasty Fiat Marea for £5k. We were all ready to head over to a dealiership in Dunfermline on Sunday, on a tip from Mum & Dad’s tame BMW salesman, but Abi and I both caught a severe bout of twitchiness yesterday evening.

So we lay in bed (while feeding B), and tossed the numbers around again. And for the price of that Fiat Marea (depreciated over three years), and taking into account road tax, insurance, MOT, and maintenance (not even looking at the petrol costs), it turns out that we can actually rent a car for a three-day weekend every other weekend.

The thought of having a car is attractive. But for doing shopping, it is just as easy for me to take home bits & pieces on my way back from work. We can plan large shopping trips for the times when we have a rental car. The thought of using the car for taking off into the Borders on a whim is pretty cool, but that’s what we thought we would do when we had the Sunpig, and that never happened, either. Realistically, we would only do stuff like that on a weekend anyway, at which point we’re back into rental territory.

Plus, a rental car is always new, never needs cleaning, and never needs taken in to the garage for a service–this is all done for us in the background.

We may think differently in a few months’ time, after we’ve spent some time with B but without a car; but there will still be a second-hand car market at that point. If we really need one, we’ll be able to get one.

Being a dad is strange.

It’s so easy to slip into the physical routine of changing nappies, disrupted sleep patterns, and the constant hum of the washing machine and tumble drier. It’s so difficult to focus on the emotional facts of having a son, and the fact that he will grow up to be a whole new person, without coming over all dizzy.

I suppose we just have to take it an hour and a day at a time. (Kind of hard, though, when B seems to be changing and growing so much on a daily basis!)

Today he was spending a lot of time playing with his favourite new toy: neck muscles. Lift head up—bonk back down again. Lift head up–bonk down. Then rest for a while, floppy-necked, while he gathers his strength again. I worry about him hurting his little face, but he doesn’t seem to have suffered any adverse effects so far…

Not much I can add to this

Alexander Beowulf Sutherland

Not much I can say that isn’t probably said better in pictures on B’s pages. I might be able to string together a few coherent thoughts by the time the weekend rolls around…

Abi is recovering hugely well, and we’re hoping that she may even be able to come home on Saturday!

I bought myself a copy

I bought myself a copy of the game Black & White on Friday. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get it up & running on Friday evening. Although the systems requirements insert in the box of the game said that it supported the Voodoo Banshee chipset, this turns out not to be the case. I found this out–much to my disgust– when I started scouring the web for info on Saturday morning.

An angry letter to EA followed.

(But then later in the day we went out, and I got myself a nice new ATI Radeon with 64Mb of DDR memory. Very tasty.)

After the computer shopping, we took the bus to Kinnaird Park, and bought a pram at Mothercare. The, we indulged ourselves with a final evening out before B arrives. We had dinner at “Frankie and Bennie’s” (which used to be the Deep Pan Pizza Company), and then saw 15 Minutes at the Cinema.

It still doesn’t seem quite real that we won’t be able to just do that kind of thing, without any forethought and planning, any more.

Yesterday evening’s Barenaked Ladies concert

Yesterday evening’s Barenaked Ladies concert was amazing

Support act: The Lilac Time (Stephen (formerly “TinTin”) Duffy). He started off playing a slow song on his own, with just an acoustic guitar. For the next one, Steve from the BNL joined him on backing vocals, then a few songs later, Jim, Kevin, and Tyler came on stage, too. Ed was the last to fall in, and they kicked the whole thing up a gear with an up-tempo version of Duffy’s 1985 hit “Kiss Me.” There was a break of about 25 minutes before the BNL came back on, all dressed in simple patterned shirts and black trousers.

Main Set:

  • Too Little Too late5
  • Alcohol4
  • Life, In a Nutshell2
  • Falling For The First Time5
  • In The Car4
  • Pinch Me5
  • The Old Apartment3
  • It’s All Been Done4
  • Light Up My Room4
  • Humour Of The Situation5
  • Tonight Is The Night I Fell Asleep At The Wheel5
  • Jane2
  • Off The Hook5
  • Medley: All the BNL songs ever! (Well, not really…only about fifteen of them, each one lasting only a few bars)
  • One Week4
  • Never Do Anything5
  • If I had $1,000,0001
  • Medley: Some recent hits by other artists in the BNL style, including “The Real Slim Shady”, “Clint Eastwood”, “I’m Like A Bird” (again, just a few bars of each)

Encore 1:

  • Shoe Box3
  • Brian Wilson1

Encore 2:

  • Call And Answer (with Stephen Duffy on backing vocals/guitar)4

Plus, of course, lots of little snippets of (semi-)improvised lunacy, such as “Steve’s Cock/It’s A Family Show (We’re Just A Messed Up Family)”, the Darth Vader version of Britney Spears‘ “Oops!…I Did It Again“, “34? 36? Do my Thighs Look Big In This?” and the “Canadian Blues”

The guys had an absolute blast on stage. You could see they were genuinely enjoying themselves. This is the first time I’ve seen them live, but it won’t be the last!

1: Gordon
2: Maybe You Should Drive
3: Born On A Pirate Ship
4: Stunt
5: Maroon