31 July, 2009

Finks Links #73

And it's Friday! Phew! Let's do a few links just to relax into that weekend feeling -

Starting with an unthinkable (now) ad from 1972 promoting radiation (wtf)...?

Fancy a spy camcorder hidden inside a lighter (what filming/photography ban)? ;)

Some very cunning Dinner party psychology...

Next, some retro cassette tape lamps (look much cooler than they sound)...

See a docked space station and shuttle cross the sun... [pic]

Very interesting now - Danger Room does an interview with a Somali pirate (details how to negotiate a ransom, killing hostages etc)...

...and finally a hilarious patio umbrella fail and a great educational software fail... ;)

More next week...! :)

29 July, 2009


Pregnancy ticker

MJ and I had a midwife appointment today... the good news is that everything is still going well... all my checks are as they should be and I'm still moved to tears every time I hear his/her little heartbeat!

MJ is currently lying across my tummy - in a transverse fashion.. only 1% of babies like to lie this way apparently! The good news about this is that neither head, nor feet are pushing on anything so I'm avoiding a lot of indigestion and continual toilet trips that other ladies at my stage are suffering from. Apparently MJ has started to move a little into a birthing position, but they couldn't tell if it was bottom or head, so i've got to go back in 2 weeks for a check up. If it's still transverse, i'll be sent for a scan ... (Hurray! It would be amazing to see MJ again!) They really don't worry until about 36 weeks about position, so i'm not concerned.. however I will be bouncing on my ball to try and help the process a little (especially as Fink and I pumped it up at the petrol station earlier this week). My only pregnancy gripe is that I've just developed swollen feet, literally yesterday at work... it's not very attractive and I can only just get my feet into my crocs! But then again, this is very normal, is my only real symptom so far and it's forcing me to sit still and relax a little...

I have 7 days left working now, have attended the NCT mummy session and learnt how to bath baby and change nappies and with time whizzing on, I need to start planning my maternity leave and relaxing... currently thinking yoga, aqua natal, bumps n babes, coffee in priory park, catch up with friends, tidy house, prepare final bits in nursery, decide on babies name with Fink and clean! Watch this space!

James May builds a full size Lego House

Oh this is waaaaay too juicy to save for Friday links...James May (of Top Gear fame) is looking for volunteers to help him build a full sized house entirely from Lego Bricks...the kicker? He's building it in Denbies Wine Estate, in Dorking...(about 11 miles from home)...!

Three million Lego bricks were delivered to Denbies last Friday, and building commences *this* Saturday on August 1st... ;)

Think I know what I'm doing on Saturday... ;)

Update - (with pictures) - the Lego house when we went to visit on Sunday...

28 July, 2009

Swine Flu and Pregnancy

Softalind Pure Alcohol Hand Wash
Hrmmm...So that's now seven people from my floor (that I know of) at work who have been sent home with Flu-like symptoms (5 of them yesterday)...so the odds aren't looking terribly good for me to escape totally unscathed (especially as to get here I have to brave the germ-friendly, humid conditions on the Jubilee Line)...in an attempt to combat the danger of infection I have got hold of some alcohol-based hand gel (the same sort of stuff they use in the hospital to keep MRSA at bay) and popped it on my desk, then, whenever I get up and go to the water machine, or pop to the loo (or in fact any opportunity to pick up surface bound agents by touch), I have a little squirt...and I'm not alone, the minute I bought it in, a procession of people started to appear at my desk...(which is a really good thing, as if lots of peoples hands are germ free then I am better off too)...

I can't help but wonder if perhaps the government (or someone) ought to be putting these gel dispensers at the entrance and exit to the tube though, just to try and halt the spread a little bit...all of this is making me start to worry, and for two very good reasons - firstly, I'm aware that this behaviour is becomming increasingly OCD-like (for example I've stopped holding on to the handle on the escalator and I'm opening doors where possible with my elbows or forearm instead of my hands), and secondly (and this is the most worrying) there is some talk that visitors will be banned from hospitals (completely) as the majority of people who have ended up dying from the disease had underlying medical problems...which, if Flyingpops finds herself staying in for a couple of days, could be a rather lonely experience when the baby arrives... :(

27 July, 2009

A bit of a fuzzy head...

Wow, quite a weekend we've just had, probably a few pictures to come, but Saturday was Kipperfrog's wedding, which (apart from one very brief shower) was conducted in blazing sunshine (incredible considering how much rain we have had just lately)...the ceremony was extremely reminiscent of our wedding (last year) for a number of personal reasons, which made it a deeply emotional experience for both of us...but actually, the really amazing thing was the incredible amount of energy that Flyingpops suddenly managed to conjure out of nowhere, to see her running around making sure the wedding dress didn't drag on the floor, and later dancing was *not* the usual picture one has in one's mind of a typical pregnant woman 8 months gone! Still, I think she's paying for it, lots of aches and pains and a bit of a headache today...

Sunday (after popping to the supermarket for essentials) was the first of the NCT Dad's get-togethers, getting off to a slightly confused start when the pub we were supposed to be meeting at (the White Lion in Redhill) turned out to be closed when I arrived there (a handwritten sign stuck to the window, and glasses of beer left half-drunk on the bar making me picture a family emergency or something like that)...we popped back home (Flyingpops was kindly giving me a lift) and called Richard (who had got us all organised) to see if there had been a last minute change of plan, who said we should just meet at his house (as it was conveniently just down the road from the pub)...by the time we had driven back up there the landlord had evidently decided to open back up again, so no harm done, as no-one else had managed to arrive in the interim...

Anyway, I think I can confidently say that a great time was had by all, it's a bit hard to really get to know anyone when you are sat learning about messy gynaecological procedures, and this provided a chance to find out a bit about what we actually do, share a few of our experiences and drink large amounts of beer (all of which everyone embraced with equal amounts of enthusiasm)...when I got home I decided to put my chicken on to cook (for cold cuts during the week), managed the first basting and then at some stage (which I can't recall) I managed to turn the oven off, meaning when Flyingpops went to get it out (I was, by the point, snoozing on the sofa) it wasn't cooked properly...when she rang her mum, she told her to put it in the bin...so apart from a fuzzy head, today I'm not going to have much lunch to eat either...wouldn't have missed it for the world though... ;)

...(and thanks Flyingpops for putting up with me)... ;)

24 July, 2009

Finks Links #72

Okay, here we go, just a couple of the cool things I have found on the internets in the last week -

15 ton robotic arm controlled by wiimote...(a bit scary actually)... :S

Urban Renovation with Lego bricks in Amsterdam...(yep, I'm reading GeekDad already)... ;)

Sticking with the theme - 100 things your kids may never know about...absolutely incredible...

Capillary action ink calendar...very clever... ;)

A brilliant reading lamp that turns itself off when you drape a book over it...

Aw....meet Littledog! (A smaller relative of the extremely spooky bigdog I covered here before)...

Rather a good (in fact probably the best-ever) newspaper correction... ;)

...and finally a cringe-worthy birthday fail (although perhaps not in everyone's opinion)...

More next week...! :)

23 July, 2009

Antenatal Class - The four forms of pain relief

Okay, so here we are in the hospital (not really, this is a follow up to this post here - sorry, just too much been going on to keep these posts concurrent)...the midwives have (hopefully) allocated a room, but we could still be 15+ hours from the baby actually being delivered...during this period Mum is going to be taking long walks around the golf course (trying not to be hit by golf balls), taking more baths, listening to calming music (which Flyingpops is choosing now - Clannad especially seems to be going down well) and most importantly - taking some drugs (contractions are painful)...

There are 4 (main) types of pain relief used in delivery -

1 - A TENS unit (TENS = Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)
2 - Entonox (Nitrous Oxide and O2 - otherwise known as laughing gas, used to make drag racing cars go really, really fast - roughly equivalent to 15mg of Morphine)
3 - Pethidine injection (opioid painkiller, according to the midwife they would use Heroin, but the war in Afghanistan has made it too expensive, so Pethidine it is)...
4 - Epidural anesthesia (is capable of killing all sensation below the tummy - may offer a pain-free birth)

There are, of course, the odd occasions where a full general anaesthetic has to be used, but it isn't considered "usual"...

So let's look at each in turn (in a bit more detail)...

TENS Machines
Commonly used for pain relief for muscularskeletal injuries, these machines work by disrupting the normal operation of the nerves...apparently there isn't any sort of research to support the fact that it actually can reduce pain during child birth (although we are getting used to hearing this disclaimer, simply because it's understandably difficult to get large groups of pregnant women to volunteer for medical studies that might risk the health of their unborn children), but it's non-invasive and gives Mum some buttons to fiddle with (the distractive powers of which should not be underestimated)...

Quite a lot of women need go no further than "gas and air", the effects come and go extremely quickly, so mum needs to be inhaling deeply (and that word is operative as, according to our NHS Physio, most women only do so generally in a rather shallow fashion) as soon as each contraction starts and only stop again when the contraction is complete...again, gas and air is completely non-invasive and is out of the system as quickly as it went in...

Delivered by intravenous injection, as well as it's considerable pain killing properties (not quite as good as Morphine, but almost) it also (very rapidly) induces a cocaine-like stimulant rush and an opioid euphoric state (similar to Heroin) which lasts for about 2-2.5 hours - (horrifyingly) some women get so high they actually start to sing...(note to self to remember to pack the ear-plugs)...oh and it must be mentioned here that for a small percentage of women, Pethidine doesn't work at all...

A huge needle (I have held one and they are quite scary) is inserted into the spine, through which a little catheter is fed, this is then used to pour anaesthetic drugs directly into the epidural space - although this can only happen if the midwife can get hold of an anaesthetist (in our NHS class they only said they would *try* and arrange it, if Mum wanted it, there is no guarantee that an anaesthetist will become available)...this procedure *should* numb everything from the bump down, meaning the birth would be pain free (unfortunately we saw a TV show on the weekend where a proud new Mum announced that despite the epidural she was still in a lot of pain, but I'm guessing this is the exception rather than the rule), major downsides are (1) it's impossible to tell when contractions are happening, so Mum can't naturally sense when to push (increased risk of doctor having to manipulate the baby/yank it out with a sink plunger), and (2) Mum isn't going to be moving around at *all*, with all sensation gone from the legs it would be inadvisable... ;)

22 July, 2009

Canary Wharf Crossrail station progress - then and now

Water works
Just a quick update, and a comparison (out of interest), showing how things were when the work first started (and had us scratching our heads wondering what on earth they were doing down there)...
Canary Wharf Crossrail work
...and how things look now, and actually, if you compare it to the concept drawings, it looks like they have got a bit carried away with putting in these metal tubes (and done a bit of a wonky job to boot)...although it is always possible that they are going to drain a larger section than they need initially (just so there is plenty of room to work)...We shall see!

I just hope they have left enough room to get the barge out! ;)

21 July, 2009

Get an instant colour scheme for your blog

Just a bit of fun this one, this little engine lets you enter any search term you like, it then goes off to Yahoo image search (or Flickr in other words) and picks out the most prominent colours from the top 6 matches...

Mine felt strangely appropriate... ;)

20 July, 2009

Earlswood - Giant Spider on the loose

Earlswood - Giant Spider on the loose
Wonderful...according to the local paper, the chief shed installation technician for our local garden centre opened up a flat packed shed that they had shipped in from China and found a fully grown (and by that I mean the size of a human hand) Huntsman Spider lurking inside...instead of killing it with fire or smashing it to pieces with a shovel, he did what any sane individual would do - he caught it inside a cardboard box and took it home to show his girlfriend...only by the time he had made it back to the house he had "forgotten" that it was in his van...yep, those sort of things just slip the mind so easily! Anyway, when he finally remembered (the next day) he didn't call up environmental health, his local zoo, or even a vet...no, after some consideration they decided that the best course of action would be to put a picture of it up on Facebook (of course!) so all his non-zoologist friends could offer their expert opinion, and off the back of "eventually someone wrote and said it looked like a huntsman" they decided to take it upon themselves to release it into the local community as it was "probably safe"...


A proper expert was later quoted as saying that the next very cold winter would "probably" kill it (unless it takes up residence in a loft, or an under stairs cupboard, or a cosy shed)...

17 July, 2009

St Thomas' Hospital - Antenatal Unit

Sorry for not posting the last couple of days...things have been rather...interesting, shall we say...
St Thomas' Hospital
Looking back, everything actually sort of started on Monday (which seems an awfully long way away now), Flyingpops was complaining that she was in quite a bit of pain, which she was putting down to indigestion, so we self-medicated her with a glug or two of Gaviscon, some deflatine tablets and a warm bath, still managing to get to work on Tuesday (thinking all was well)...the next thing I know, having got almost to home time, I have Flyingpops on the 'phone clearly very upset telling me the pain has got a lot worse and that she had just seen a little blood - she had already rung East Surrey and they had told her not to muck about trying to get home, just get to the nearest hospital as quickly as possible...minutes later (after Flyingpops has managed to get to Guy's hospital and been told that they don't have an antenatal unit (Grrr!), she is referred to St Thomas') we have managed to find each another at a buzzing London Bridge station (just starting to get into rush-hour mode) and score a taxi (which then proceeds to get caught at every single traffic light on the route) and shortly after that we are hurrying towards the Antenatal Triage department on the 7th floor of the North building of St Thomas' hospital (with all sorts of dreadful thoughts running through our heads)...
St Thomas' Hospital
When we *finally* get past the Midwives confusion over the fact that the pregnancy notes are totally different for this health authority (even down to different coloured paper), we have to fill out a bunch more forms (something about blood tests not being possible at this hospital otherwise) and they start running (what will turn out to be) the first of a *lot* of tests...urine comes back normal (that one takes seconds), and then the baby monitor is on, after an agonising few seconds a familiar "whoosh, woosh, woosh" noise emerges from the speaker, Flyingpops looks up at the midwife and says "Is that the baby?", and putting her hand on Flyingpops shoulder, the midwife smiles and nods...

Thank *God* for that...

But the fun isn't over yet, next stop is the antenatal day unit to get the pain/bleeding checked out...again the monitor goes on, and this time some extra blood gets taken (three vials) from Flyingpops left arm at the elbow joint -
St Thomas' Hospital
- during which I point out interesting things happening on the Thames out the window while Flyingpops tries to smile and ignore the needle...a doctor comes and pokes and prods the bump, and pronounces that this pain is extremely unusual...examining the output from the machine, he starts to point out spikes clearly (to him) showing the start of (fairly irregular) contractions...things got a little bit gynaecological at this point, but the net result is that the baby appeared to be trying to be born and was in completely the wrong position to do so (not to mention extremely early)...a hurried conversation overheard between two doctors through the flimsy curtain informs us that a delivery suite was being prepared for us, and that an urgent c-section was definitely on the cards...

Flyingpops is told not to eat or drink anything (part of being prepped for surgery), and before too long we are whipped along to the delivery room, where we meet our midwife for the night shift (and her boss), who between them manage to make a bit of a mess of poor Flyingpops hands -
St Thomas' Hospital
- and then put her on a drip to keep her hydrated, and then we are left to our own devices, knowing that at any minute we could be parents of a very tiny baby, in an incubator...later on that evening Flyingpops is given a steroid injection to super-charge the little one's lung development (that it may very soon be relying on for oxygen)...and then, despite the promise of a mattress which never materialised, I snatch a tiny amount of disturbed sleep curled up on the delivery room floor, a tiny baby towel folded up under my ear to keep my head off the cold ground, and a single sheet which all night long I change my mind about whether draping it over my body or trying to bunch it onto lumps under my body in an attempt to protect my joints is the better approach...neither were much good, and the next day I'm aching all over, feeling very much like I've just taken a red eye flight from the US...bleugh...and Flyingpops hasn't slept a wink...

Anyway, finally we then get a bit of good news, brought to us in the hand of an elderly orderly - a breakfast menu - the doctor has announced that the fast is over, Flyingpops can eat(!) - and with it is removed any risk of being suddenly rushed into theatre...*phew*...from here on in, we crept slowly back down the risk scale, moving later that day to one of the regular antenatal wards where Flyingpops was observed regularly, but not quite as often, and there are also a few people to talk to (as a bonus), one lady who was 2 days from delivering twins, and one poor girl who had been stuck in the hospital for 4 *weeks* with high blood pressure...and these are our (sometimes noisy) companions until the last test results come back (yesterday) and Flyingpops is finally allowed to come home...

So we very, very nearly had a picture of a premature baby to show to you this week...and now, if you will excuse me (to quote John Travolta) I'm going to go and have a heart attack... ;)

14 July, 2009

Newborn clothes - Shopping in Crawley

Crawley - Shopping for Baby clothes
Back to Saturday now, we got up really early so we could be there before the ravening new-town horde descended (baying and slavering) scouring every corner of every retail outlet with their particular brand of covetous chaos...arriving just about 9am, we found the car park largely empty (plan going well so far), parked up on the second storey and rode the escalators down into County Mall, first stop was Boots (which we had practically to ourselves), and by some great fluke of luck they had a massive promotion on (loads of extra points and up to 40% off baby goods), so we picked up some new expensive electrical goods, *enormous* pots of hideously expensive creams and lotions and a few items of clothing (earning about £17 in points on the reward card)-
Crawley - Shopping for Baby clothes
- we then hit Pumpkin Patch (where we got 3 lemon-yellow little outfits, with an incredibly cute little hat and matching vest, mittens and booties) - these will be the "visiting time" baby wear, for when the little one has to be all presentable for picture taking -
Crawley - Shopping for Baby clothes
- after this we headed to Primark (me dragging my heels in anticipation of absolute hell), but it too was actually comparatively empty! In there we picked up the majority of the simple, everyday outfits required for the early days, and after a brief stop at Prémaman (another sale) to pick up a bargain cardigan, we finished off in Mothercare (who were *also* having a sale! Talk about the right weekend to go shopping for baby stuff!) but all that meant was they had wheeled all the rails out of the stock room and jumbled everything up (meaning it ended up being a much more confusing shopping experience even than Primark, as newborn was all mixed up with everything else)...not ideal...but anyway, we now have *plenty* of vests, socks, baby grows, etc. etc. and from that direction, at least, we are all ready to go! :)

13 July, 2009

The Fall and Rise of my Nokia N73 Headphones

Nokia N73 Headphones
So, my (semi-hated) headphones for my Nokia N73 finally gave up the ghost...and not in a terribly peaceful way either...early last week I was rushing for my train (minor delays on the tube, caused by the usual congestion) came haring up the escalator at London Bridge, glanced up at the clock to see if I was going to make it, and in that split second two girls cut past me (from left to right) almost whacking me in the chest with an oversize rucksack causing me to twist to avoid them...however, I didn't quite make it...a stupidly positioned umbrella stuffed into one of the rucksack pockets had managed to loop around my headphone cables!

Everything sort of went into slow motion (one of those "NooooooooooooooooooooooooooOOOOOO!" moments) as I reached (in slow motion) to try (in vain) to untangle the wires, they suddenly flexed and became taught, my head leaning in towards the rucksack to try and minimise the damage, but it was too little, too late, both earphones flew out, followed by the neck strap snapping in half at it's (designed) break point (like those clever controllers for the original Xbox) and finally the connector at the bottom of the phone was torn out, flicking the whole thing up into the air behind the rest of the flaying cables, spinning a few feet (as it lost energy) in the direction of the vanishing vandals...I skidded to a halt next it it, snatching it up from the floor, my indignant gaze boring a hole into their bulging, receding backsides...but when I plugged it back in the right headphone didn't work any more...

Luckily though, as I told my tale of woe in the office (yes, I had moaned quite a lot about those headphones, but it's actually really nice to listen to music when navigating the crowds on the tube), the guy that sits next to me (Olly) said he had a set of brand new ones in his loft that he had never even used...this morning they were coiled up on my desk...thanks Olly! ;)

10 July, 2009

Finks Links #71

Time marches inexorably onwards, and another week draws to a close...but fear not, for it is time (therefore) for another collection of the amusing, strange and simply interesting from around the world wide internets!

Let's start this week off with some Lego video game classics...

Very spooky - discover Mexico's Isla De Las Muñecas (or island of the dolls)...

What happens when a 13 year old kid gives up his iPod for a generation 1 Sony Walkman...

Hang on, something's not quite right here...

In case of zombies, break glass...

The first hi-res images of the moon... ;)

Fifteen rather odd "vintage" adverts (although creepy is certainly the word for some of them)...

An Octopus shaped USB hub!

...and finally (but not least-ally) a cringe-worthy record breaking fail and a hilarious wildlife photography fail... ;)

More next week...!

09 July, 2009

Art Exhibition Canary Wharf - UEL Fine Art Students

White Rabbit in the Wharf
Just had to share this...spotted it this morning pasted to one of the windows in reception in One Canada Square...really made me smile - "I'm late! I'm late!"... ;)

Will have to have a proper nose around at lunchtime, there seem to be little works of art peppered all over the place by these fine art students, like another person has stuck lithographic lettering just by our security barrier reading "Just passing by"...

Actually some of the more interesting and amusing pieces to have been exhibited here (IMHO... ;)

08 July, 2009

Antenatal Class - Signs that labour has begun!

So after another (one of the rather frequent) breaks to "make a brew" that our tutor Fiona was so fond of, the class then turned to the very late stages of pregnancy, and the signs one should look out for - clues that the little bun might be just about ready to pop out...first up was something that never occurred to me, the fact that as the baby runs out of room, so it won't be able to kick out quite as sharply, this coupled with occasional back ache is a sign to keep a closer eye on things...in preparation, snacks should be switched to high energy ones (again the glucose tablets were mentioned), but essentially it's important to stay active and keep on as normal (keep on with going to the shops, going out for lunch etc.), Mum deliberately spending as much time as possible on her feet, posture while sitting now should be comfortable, but always upright (or slightly leaning forward)...if the back pain gets a bit much, take two paracetamol...

The next most likely thing to happen is for the waters to break, although this is by no means a certainty, it was explained that sometimes just a little will emerge, sometimes a lot will emerge, and sometimes (although rarely) the sac will be born intact with the baby and the midwife will need to cut it open herself...so assuming any water discharges at all, the midwife should be called immediately and told what colour the fluid is and a rough estimate of how much there was...at this point you are anything up to 3 days from the start of labour (believe it or not)...!

Along with the waters (possibly) breaking, another thing that *may* happen is what is known as a "Show" (delivery of a mucus-like plug that resembles watered-down strawberry jam), this again doesn't mean labour has started, it's just another indication that things are moving along in the right direction...

Contractions should now follow (sooner or later)...to start with they will feel like alternating back pain and period pain and will be extremely irregular (perhaps hours apart), but gradually, gradually they will arrive more often...during this stage, it is also important to stay mobile (gravity is labours friend), when sitting stay upright (as before), or leaning gently forwards (to help the baby into the correct position for delivery)...good things to do now are take long, warm baths (which will massively reduce the pain of contractions while still allowing them to continue apace) and sitting on a birthing ball (if you have one) or astride a chair (facing the back) with the head resting (if you don't)...

When contractions are perfectly regular, lasting 1 minute, and are happening every 3-4 minutes (and mum can't talk during them), it's time for Dad to throw the bags in the back of the car while Mum calls the midwife...

Next stop is (almost certainly) the hospital... :0

07 July, 2009

NHS Antenatal Class, East Surrey Hospital

I have to say, I was completely confident that attending NCT classes was the best approach we could take (as prospective parents), I was pretty adamant that the NHS one-day class couldn't possibly offer us anything that we wouldn't already have covered (and covered in more depth)...but I was wrong...and I was very glad I did (in the end) decide to attend (despite resenting the lost weekend time)...

Those four hours on Saturday last (considering we have already spent over 6 hours in NCT classes) actually answered more of my nagging, half-formed questions than all of the NCT sessions put together - although in fairness, we do still have a number of NCT sessions left (during which they may well fully redeem themselves)...I think my point here is that this class (in a nutshell) fully covers the *essentials*...

I'll sum up here the very important things they went through, just as a personal aide-mémoire (if nothing else), but you never know, someone out there might find this useful too... ;)

Facts and figures first of all - East Surrey hospital is a teaching hospital with 100 midwives on their books, in the ordinary labour ward (they told us not to use the term "high risk", as it simply isn't the case) there are 9 beds, each in it's own room with en-suite facilities (bath, toilet etc.) plus a further 6 beds for those needing to be induced (which are just normal rooms)...this area is a normal hospital environment (i.e. 100% clinical, perhaps a bit scary for a first time mum and dad)...next there is the birthing centre where things are rather different - only three rooms this time, but each has a mattress on the floor, birthing mats, large bouncy balls (for sitting on), sofas and even a flat panel TV, lighting is subdued - the whole environment is about as far as you can remove yourself from "ER" or "Casualty"...they also have a birthing pool, calm music is encouraged and lights tend to have dimmer switches...if there are no complications at all (and the rooms are available) then anyone can use this area...the nice thing being, if anything does start to concern the midwives, within 2 minutes you are in a clinical environment with all the tools and staff at hand to deal with any emergencies...it really does have the best of both worlds...

The next thing they took us through was all the (critical) things to pack...

So here, the definitive list of "What to take to hospital" (from a senior Midwife's point of view) -

2 large towels
3 baby vests
3 baby grows
A pot of barrier cream (Sudacrem)
An infinite supply of muslin cloths (you can never have too many)
A selection of cool clothes for mum (suitable for long, refreshing constitionals around the golf course)
A large selection of high energy snacks (up to 6,500 calories (that's 1,500 more than NCT estimates!) can be burnt up during childbirth)
Glucose tablets (same reason, plus quick and easy to imbibe)
Lip balm (the gas, if taken, tends to dry out the mouth)
A baby blanket (not white, or the orderlies might take it down to the dungeons to be washed, never to be seen again)
A full pack of nappies
2 pillows (the hospital is low at the moment - again though , not white pillow cases!)
1 (must be brand new and boxed, or you won't be allowed to plug it in for health and safety reasons) electric desk fan (it is deliberately kept warm on the wards to reduce shock to the newborns, and it's going to be hot anyway)!

...and in a *separate* carrier bag (ready to hand to the midwife when requested) -
1 disposable nappy
1 basic vest
1 basic baby grow (don't bother with a posh one at this stage, by all accounts it will be covered in sick by visiting time, switch to the posh one 2 minutes before the door opens to admit relatives)
1 basic hat
1 basic cardigan

Next up, I'll cover the signs they told us to keep an eye on as the due date approaches, getting to hospital, and what happens during the first stage of pregnancy...but that is for another post (as this one is already quite long enough... ;)

06 July, 2009

Wimbledon Rain...

Earlswood Rain
So the whole of Wimbledon fortnight (during which I confidently predicted it was going to piss it down) manages to go by with barely a spot of rain, the very *day* after it finishes (as if with deliberate malice), we walk out the front door to a few spits and spots (pausing to pick up the one small umbrella we can find, just in case) by the time we have parked the car in Earlswood the heavens have absolutely torn themselves open (having saved up the full two weeks worth ready to dump upon us all in one go), soaking us both to the skin...even on the platform (the sound deafening as the torrent pounded the corrugated roof) the clunky guttering completely overwhelmed, directing water everywhere except down into the drains...

By the time we got to Redhill (90 seconds later), it was blue skies again...

03 July, 2009

Watching Andy Murray at Canary Wharf

Watching Andy Murray at Canary Wharf
Originally uploaded by finkangel.

Wow, just one or two people on the green watching proceedings on the big screen then! :0

Finks Links #70

Another week closer to parenthood, and this time, thankfully, there have been just a few minutes to collect some decent links! So, do please enjoy -

Someone has spent the last two years building a reproduction 1851 Tempest Prognosticator (oddly enough in Okehampton) which predicts storms using live fresh water leeches! Looks like I'll be popping along next time I'm in the area!

Check out falseexpense.com...honestly, will the wonders never cease?

Find out how laptop manufacturers get such good battery life when they are performing the benchmarking...(not terribly surprising)!

Carnivorous robots to be introduced into English homes... ;)

Bagel to go...(a very novel use for an empty DVD "cake tin")...

In case of Earthquake... ;)

WWIII propaganda...

A real life Spiderman (check out the flip)!

A nice urban exploration summary piece...

...and finally, an excellent bulletin board win and a hilarious sign fail... ;)

More next week...!

02 July, 2009

Automatic Tourist Remover!

Wow, this has the potential to save a *lot* of time if you are hunting for that perfect shot (and can't be bothered to wait behind the lens until the view is clear), simply take a selection of shots (using roughly the same angle) and this free web app will work out which bits of the picture have moved (i.e. the annoying tourists) and crop them out using chunks from the other shots you took! Awesome!

Check out the automatic tourist remover...

01 July, 2009

Commuting in a Heatwave

Sun Clipper
I do hate commuting in this heat but beyond the absolutely obvious (i.e. carrying a bottle of water), there are a few things that I have discovered to maximise comfort (although admittedly it's never going to be a pleasure)...first off (and I haven't got to this stage yet) commute in shorts, packing your smart trousers to change into later...on Southern trains (probably applies to other train operators too), if you happen to walk into a carriage and the air conditioning is off, don't just sit down, cursing the conductor for his (or her) inattentiveness - try moving carriages - chances are you have just been unlucky and stumbled on one where the system is broken, yesterday this happened to me but when I checked, the aircon was working fine in the carriage next door, my solution (so I still got a seat) was to prop my trusty rucksack in the gap keeping the cool breeze flowing...next, pick up a Metro as early as possible in the journey (London Bridge for me), once you have read it, it doubles up as an excellent fan... ;)

Jubilee line specific hack here, but it may well work on other lines - when queuing for a door, make sure you go for either the front or back of the carriage (never the middle two doors), as the train windows generate a terrific breeze (from the front during acceleration, from the back during braking), either is good (front is slightly better though, as the train usually spends more time accelerating than slowing down)...if you absolutely can't get into either of these positions, take the middle doors but stay as close to them as you can, a gentler (but still welcome) breeze blows through here all the time through the gaps at the side while the train is moving (and of course when the train stops you can poke your head out to gulp a few fresh breaths of fresh air)...however the ultimate Jubilee line hack (which I saved for last) is (of course) not to even use it at all...the Thames Clippers' new Canary Wharf Express from London Bridge takes about the same amount of time as the tube and yesterday I sat outside (by the engines) getting deliciously sprayed with cool water the whole way...

I actually arrived in the office with a smile on my face... ;)