28 August, 2009

Finks Links #74

Yes! I've managed a link post! Things *must* be getting back to normal (a bit)...!! ;)

The ultimate revenge bikini (forewarned is forearmed, ladies)...!

Feral Houses in America... [pics]

Japan invaded by giant jellyfish!

Explore Kariz, Iran (incredible ancient engineering)...

Extremely scary - demolition goes wrong in Turkey, result - real life Katamari Damcy! [video]

How to avoid ads in Gmail (in a way that definitely won't get you flagged up by ECHELON, oh no... ;)

Understocked (cartoon)...

Building Rome in a day (from Flickr Pics)...

Volcano eruptions from space!

LED Throwies...

...and finally a great State law fail, and an amusing sightseeing fail... ;)

More next week (or as intermittently weekly as I can manage, anyway)...! :)

27 August, 2009

Happy 3 Week Birthday Thomas

Can you believe it? Thomas is 3 weeks old today! Time is going very quickly and we are all still trying to adapt to being parents... Thomas is changing all the time, we have good days where he feeds very well (has been an effort to learn how to breast feed, but we've done it) then other days when he'll go hours without waking at all and I dance around the room singing silly songs to wake him up - This doesn't work and we usually have to put him in a bath to wake him up.. cruel, but food is the only way to get him back up to birth weight and get rid of the jaundice. We've had weekly trips to hospital and were referred there last night by the doctor who thought he was too sleepy/floppy and jaundiced. Tests show he is below treatment levels...and the more and more I think about it, he is just like Fink and I...we can go hours without any food, then will have 1/2 big meals! He's a constant worry and being a mum is the hardest job in the world, but we are confident that if we stay calm, persist with the feeding, then he'll be big and strong and I'll be moaning about him not sleeping in no time at all!

Reason for blogging and not getting some sleep now, is to say sorry world if I'm not replying to texts/emails/phone calls. I promise, we'll catch up with you all individually in time...but for now, I'm going to get some breakfast, then sleep as I feel it will be another long day and night.


26 August, 2009

25 August, 2009

Christmas Party bookings in August

Christmas Party bookings in August!
No...it just *can't* be...spotted this the other day outside one of the hostelries of the Wharf, but honestly - in the middle of a summer heatwave, is *anyone* seriously thinking about booking up their office Christmas party??

24 August, 2009

Delivery by c-section, Dad's perspective

...and so that was it, they left us alone to have a little cry and try to get used to the idea that we were about to go through major surgery and much sooner than expected be holding our new baby, but it was abundantly clear that there was some considerable urgency in getting the procedure underway, before we knew it Flyingpops was being rolled down the corridor towards the birthing centre...I had to hurriedly change into some fetching blue surgical attire (the trousers were both way too short on the leg and far too wide at the waist, threatening to fall down all the time as well as make me look quite ridiculous) -
During the c-section
- and then, after a quick trip up the hall to one of the theatres (me scrambling around for camera and the CD Flyingpops had wanted during labour, scuttling after the rapidly vanishing bed), Flyingpops was hooked up to all sorts of machines (during which she managed to convince one of the nurses to let her try a gasp of gas and air - her only go at any of the other forms of pain relief) -
During the c-section
- and the injection of opiate drugs was administered into her spine (they had to stop and wait during contractions as there is danger of paralysis if the patient moves while they are inserting the needle, bit scary!), meanwhile I handed the CD over to one of the other nurses (original cast Joseph)...
During the c-section
I was handed a pair of wellington boots (which were about 3 sizes too small, but were the largest that they had) as I pulled them on I noted with no little amount of alarm that they came pre-blood stained (this had the potential to be quite messy then) and offered a chair...Flyingpops was put into position on the operating table, her lower half gradually loosing it's capacity to move (which she found most odd) and any ability to feel pain (there was still some gentle sensation of touch) which the anesthetist tested using what looked like a lemon flavoured ice lolly...when Flyingpops could feel nothing very much at all a screen was clipped in front of us, so neither of us could see the bump, and the three surgeons got down to work, talking quietly to one another in Doctor's cant...Flyingpops was smiling and happy throughout the procedure, which lasted a shockingly short amount of time before one of the doctors was saying "Congratulations!" and holding up a slimy, grey, blood streaked tangle of arms, legs and loud wails...I *thought* at this stage (as the baby was whisked away to be cleaned) I had spotted some testicles, but I couldn't *quite* be sure...so I told Flyingpops it *might* be a boy, but I would have to check...
During the c-section
I was then invited around the curtain, as I stood up I saw all the tools of the trade (and quite a number of bloody swabs), passing the foot of the bed I couldn't help glance back at the surgeons working (not something I will forget in a hurry, but not as terrible a picture as my mind had been conjuring) and then I was presented to my baby, offered a pair of scissors (which I asked the nurse to confirm were extremely sharp, for some odd reason)...and then, as the nurses shielded their bodies and masks, I cut the cord (which I didn't think I would be able to do)...it's quite a messy process, the blood in there is under a lot of pressure and it sprays out a little like a slightly shaken Coke can...and then I came back to Flyingpops and told her that it was indeed a boy...
During the c-section
Seconds later Mummy and baby were united...phew!

The bit that really took the time (as of course it would do), was all the stitching up afterwards, during this, one of the surgeons fainted (fell flat on the floor!) and had to be rescued by colleagues and taken out of the theatre...Flyingpops told me that she could feel them working on her torso, but the sensation felt a little like a washing machine churning around (yes, the drugs I recon)! ;) When they were all done I went around to check what the wound looked like and it was incredible, a barely visible red line, like a scratch from a blackberry plant, not a single stitch was apparent, almost like nothing had happened at all!

And before we knew it I was returning my boots, getting changed back into my civilian clothes and joining Mum and baby in one of the delivery rooms...!

21 August, 2009

Early stages of Delivery - Dad's perspective #2

Anyway, about two hours later, after intermittently waking up to sleepily find the contractions drawing closer and closer together...Flyingpops got out of bed and rang the Hospital and was told to call the Antenatal day unit, despite the fact that our notes (and even the name) suggested that this would be a rather pointless exercise (thanks to the early hour)...However, despite our doubts, they really were there - the advice being to get all our things together and be waiting outside the door at 9am, just because the baby was 5 weeks early...unfortunately after this exact moment, pretty much nothing went according to plan (or previous wishes)...

The first thing that happened was Flyingpops going absolutely crazy about all the baby clothes not being washed, so the line was strung across the garden and the washing machine was turned up to level 11-
Jobs during labour
-next the hospital luggage came under scrutiny and was found sorely lacking...so instead of her taking the prescribed lovely long, warm bath to help reduce the pain, the next couple of hours were spent sticking on (and hanging out) absolutely armfuls of baby vests/grows/blankets/booties/bibs, unpacking and repacking the maternity equipment (checking and charging batteries in mobiles/cameras/blackberry/ CD player/iPod/mini speakers/TENS machine/hand fan/etc.) and then, after doing a handover with her office over the phone (an hour later than we thought, after a very quick bath) we finally manage to turn up to the ADU (dragging bulging bags and heaps of cushions)...

And so, Flyingpops (posing for pictures in the hospital car park, trusting completely our coveted NCT advice here that we were in absolutely no hurry) holding hands, knowing the baby is on the way but thinking we have plenty of time...Flyingpops is popped up onto a trolley for a (rather nasty) examination by the (rather severe) doctor who has arrived, a quick scan is performed, and then the pronouncement is that the baby is definitely breach and should be delivered immediately by c-section as the cervix is already dilated by 4cm and labour is well underway (with not a breath of gas and air, nor a push of a TENS machine button)...! So much for needing pain relief!

But what the hell were we doing at home!!!!

20 August, 2009

Missing you Daddy

Mummy has told me all about your journey into work and i can't wait to go on a train with you! Since you left, i have had breakfast, a wash and a bounce in my chair... now having my second breakfast... see you tonight for cuddles and have a good day.

love you lots

Thomas xxx

ps Mummy still not dressed and learning to type with one hand and feed me!

17 August, 2009

Early stages of Delivery - Dad's perspective

Okay, I know, I know...naughty Daddy hasn't had a lot of time for blogging, even busy Mummy has been telling him off about it... ;)

So let's go back -quickly- (wayback machines powered up please!) to the morning of the birth...Picture, if you will, as your minds-eye cameras do a gentle beauty pass over the very early morning Surrey farmland surrounding our estate (perhaps spotting a fox or badger fleeing before you), tilting suddenly into the air to avoid the large hedgerow ahead to take in the east side of Whitebushes, orange sodium lit, circling in (finally) on the open window of the spare room (where Flyingpops had been sleeping on the harder mattress for comfort)...the intro-music fading gently as the camera focuses in on a clock showing the time - 0459 hours...and then, as the silence grips the audience - suddenly and without warning -


(According to the midwives, to actually hear the waters break is *incredibly* rare, but so began this conclusion to the journey we have travelled together for what seems like such a very long time)...

Of course, at this moment of great need, I was fast asleep (snuggled in my duvet in the Master bedroom dreaming of sentient plants effortlessly butchering waves of frustrated zombies) immune to any sort of frantic yelling by Flyingpops, in the end, she grabbed her mobile and called the house phone, the shrill report rousing me - eventually, anyway...

When I had rubbed away the sleepy-dust I managed a semi-conversation which ended with me saying something like "Urm, yes, I do think they probably have" and "How about we get you to the bathroom"...?

Some slightly inelegant fluid draining later, we opted to return to bed, this time, Flyingpops consented to be in the main bedroom so I could keep an eye on her...the pains in her back and front were coming quite regularly now (at least every seven minutes) but everything we had learned from NCT told us not to worry, and to just get some rest...

...and so Mummy and Daddy (to be), happy that everything was well, went back to sleep... ;)

12 August, 2009

Being a Mummy...

It's official, Flyingpops is now disorganised...
During the c-section
Since becoming a Mummy, the world has just flown completely into chaos...babies do not obey any sort of schedule, are always late for their appointments and stubbornly refuse to hit required targets until they are quite ready (target weight only just permitted us to come home yesterday)...none-the-less, in an attempt to transpose the world of work into the world of parenthood, Thomas now has a "day book" to detail his feeding patterns, and the mobile phone calendar is now full of reminders to bath, feed and take pain killing drugs...how things have changed...

Last Wednesday, sat on the 1659hrs from London Bridge to Earlswood, I couldn't have ever imagined that my very next journey was going to be an early morning rush into hospital, followed, in extremely short order, by major surgery and then all the responsibilities of motherhood (five weeks before I was ready, not one pregnancy aqua yoga lesson attended)...!

Anyway, there is already so much to tell, and so many pictures to share, but there is a certain little person who seems to be managing to completely monopolise all Mummy and Daddies available time...Daddy will post some more of the pictures really soon, I promise...

We also have a huge pile of gifts on the kitchen table laying at least 50% unopened (surrounded by formula, bottles, nappies and cotton balls), but a few lovely outfits and cuddly bears have made it into the crib, push chair and changing station already - so thank you everyone collectively...

More to follow...now Mummy must go and catch up on her sleep...night night...

Update from Fink, some of the photos - There are more on the Flickr stream over here... -
Thomas Joseph Alan
Some of the Toys
Thomas Joseph Alan - Feet
Thomas Joseph Alan - Hand

06 August, 2009

I have a son!

Woo hoo!! Little Thomas Joseph Alan was born just before one pm, weighing 6 pounds 13 ounces...! Mum and baby both doing well!

More later, just on a very quick shower 'n shave break then back to the hospital... ;)

Waters have broken...!

Waters broke at 5am this morning, contractions are regular, happening about 5 minutes apart...we rang the hospital and they said as the baby is early we are to come in!

So this could well be it...(can't help feeling a bit guilty for my post earlier in the week though, whoops)...!

Oh well...wish us luck!

05 August, 2009

Elderly man 1 - Jack Tweed 0

Redhill Bus Station
So I was on my way home from work the other night, waiting for the 100 bus (having just missed the 435, as I usually do) with a few other people sat in the glass shelter, just minding my own business when I was interrupted from my copy of Edge magazine by the unusual sound of someone or something colliding heavily with one of the shelter walls...looking up with some alarm (in case it was a bus) I was slightly relieved to note that the source of the impact was a confused looking short guy, the spitting image of Jack Tweed (honestly, it could have been he), wearing a smart cardigan and Elvis sunglasses, clutching a can of Tennents Super...he spent some time regarding the wall of glass in front of him as if it had absolutely no right to have halted his movement, wobbled slowly around the side of it, steeled his jaw and then suddenly plunged forward, somehow managing to collapse (with very little dignity) into one of the seats to my right with a triumphant yell of victory...and then another triumphant yell of victory...and then another...and on and on this went (interruped from time to time by the occasional swear word), beer spilling all over the floor from his waving can, until virtually everyone in the shelter found some important reason or other not to be in it any longer...only me, a large African lady, and a slightly infirm looking elderly gentleman remained (and after exchanging slightly concerned/amused glances with my sober companions, I just turned up my headphones and buried my head back into my magazine)...

When I next glanced up (reacting to corner-of-the-eye movement), Jack Tweed was back on his feet, and had managed to stagger half way across the bus shelter towards the old guy - his arms open wide as if to give him a hug! I had one of those "Oh shit!" moments, not knowing quite what to do (apart from quickly mute my music), and managed to get about half way up out of my seat when all of a sudden the old guy's face formed up into an *extremely* stern (almost School Teacher level) glare - stopping Jack Tweed in his tracks - and then firmly pointed to the chair Jack had been sitting on (a quick jabbing motion) - at which (I was staggered to see) he sheepishly uttered a quiet "righto", turned around and collapsed back into his seat looking thoroughly downhearted...the last I saw of him, he was almost run over by the 461 while falling across the road towards the railway (after the driver of the 405 refused to let him get on)...

Elderly man 1 - Jack Tweed 0

04 August, 2009

Ready for the Baby...

Baby Clothes on the line
Okay, that's it now...I'm very, *very* ready for this baby to arrive...I've had *quite* enough of Flyingpops being pregnant (and I know, very definitely, so has she) and it's still five weeks to go...at the start of the pregnancy (16,348 years ago) I can distantly recall life being equally difficult with all the sickness and mood swings (but tempered with excitement and novelty), in the middle of term it was actually a pleasure (smiling to one another listening to the baby monitor, or sitting quietly trying to feel tiny little kicks too weak to make it out through the skin), but now, all the actual fun seems to have drained out of the experience and it's just sheer effort of will that seems to be keeping both of us going...thank goodness (though) at least one part of this particular chapter is drawing to a close as Flyingpops officially finishes working this Friday - firstly to take a little bit of holiday (not actually going anywhere, just stopping the commute into London) and then to formally start her maternity leave...the baby is just about full term now, so it could safely be born pretty much immediately, but I get a funny feeling that MJ is going to hang on in there until the very last possible minute (although I would be thrilled to be proven wrong)...

Anyway, nervous exhaustion aside, I'm not sure we could be much more ready...As you can see in the picture above, we've even run a number of the new baby clothes through the washing machine (and dried them on the line) in readiness...Flyingpops (two) hospital bags are packed, we've got the crisp new pillows and the still-sealed desk fan (etc.) recommended by the NHS antenatal tutor, we've got the TENS machine, we've got a play mat, we've got a steriliser...and the nursery has been ready for weeks...!

All that is missing is the 5lb 8oz awkwardly positioned bundle of kicks currently making it impossible for Flyingpops to breath, digest food, sleep, walk, carry anything, bend down, drive or get in and out of the bath...

Come to your Daddy MJ...

03 August, 2009

James May Lego House update

So we went over to Denbies in Dorking on Sunday (didn't bother going on Saturday as it was pretty stinky weather for most of the day) -
Denbies Lego House James May
- to check out the Lego house...we found some evidence of what had been going on right away, plenty of signs directing people to various car parks around the place-
Denbies Lego House James May
- and to the location of the build itself (a rather small area just outside the farm shop) and apart from a couple of guys busy packing up tables and chairs, the *only* sign of real Lego we found when we got there was that was a small donation bucket by the entrance...
Denbies Lego House James May
Not sure how helpful the tiny Lego men and women are going to be in constructing a house, but it was very kind of whoever donated them to think they might be... ;)

Anyway, while Flyingpops and Nanjan sensibly sat down and waited in the sunshine for someone they could ask about what was going on (this chap wasn't terribly helpful)-
Denbies Lego House James May
- I ran around the place to see if I could find any evidence of the house itself, spotting what certainly looked like some very interesting potential walks in the process (and rather a lot of grapes for that matter)-
Denbies Lego House James May
Denbies Lego House James May
- the site being crisscrossed by public footpaths, but failing miserably, I returned to the others to discover that there really wasn't anything to see at this stage - speaking to the guys moving the tables had revealed that apparently all they had done on Saturday was arrange volunteers to build a selection of slightly larger blocks out of the smaller ones (which had then been put carefully in storage) and lay a large concrete foundation (as the house was reckoned to end up weighing quite a considerable amount upon completion)...they had further been told that it could take anything up to three weeks(!) to get to the stage where there's anything close to an actual house to photograph...so my advice? Don't go rushing over there like we did...it'll be much more exciting in a couple of weeks time...

I'm just glad we didn't have to drive very far to find out that there wasn't anything to see...! We were pretty far from the only ones trying their luck too, the place was absolutely full of curious people nosing around - Denbies really missed a trick there - not even the coffee shop was open to take advantage of all that passing trade!

Update - We have had another visit, lots more to see here...!