Monday, October 29, 2012


I like bicycles. I like them A LOT. I have five of them at the moment, plus lots of bits and pieces of other ones. I'm a serial bike owner.

I don't think I've ever written a post about a bike before, and I hope you'll bear with me, because it's something I feel really quite strongly about. I'd also like to know your opinions.

The reason I have five bikes is because I reckon there's a bike for every type of riding. If I want to ride off road I need one type of bike. Riding on the road requires another. One of my bikes is almost exclusively for riding to the shops.

This is not the bike you're looking for.

Indulge me for a moment in some fantasy. Imagine the perfect bike. Imagine the bike that could make even someone like me think that no other bikes are necessary. One bike to rule them all.

The snag with the perfect bike is it comes with a contract. When you buy the perfect bike you sign the contract. The contract says you agree that you will never ride another bike again and no other cyclist is allowed to ride the perfect bike. It is for you, and you alone. If you see another bike you like the look of, you CAN NOT RIDE IT. Nope.

But remember, this bike is perfect. You've considered your purchase long and hard. You've had a very thorough test ride. The saddle and your buttocks come together in perfect, pain free, harmony. The handlebars are just the right distance away. It is fast, but at the same time forgiving. It is strong. It will last for as long as you need it to. It will never let you down.

You love the bike.

So you sign the contract. Of course you do. Why wouldn't you?

You sign the contract and you begin a glorious life together, bike and rider as one. Happy.

What would have to happen for you to break that contract just five months later? For you to think that the bike which was perfect just twenty weeks ago could now be bettered? A new bike on the scene perhaps? A bike made of some magical new material, with some magical new perfection-beating properties?

First, you ride that bike in secret, but after a while everyone finds out. The perfect bike falls by the wayside. People think what you're doing is wrong, but you don't seem too bothered about that. The new bike is exciting, and fun.

I don't know. I can't work it out. I just can't fathom how a feeling so strong could change so quickly. Remember how that first perfect bike felt. Remember how you decided you could have that one bike, to the exclusion of all others? What happened to that feeling?

For that to change in five months, well, that's got to be a problem on the part of the rider, hasn't it?

I suppose the fortunate thing about it is that a bike is just a collection of metal, plastic and rubber. You can't hurt a bike. It doesn't feel anything. It is an inanimate object which exists only to serve the needs of the rider. No-one would treat a person that way.

Here endeth the poorly conceived and written metaphor for my brother's failed marriage.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I Spy With My Little Eye - Q

It's Wednesday, it's I Spy time. It works like this: Mum of One tells us the letter for the week, we take the pictures, you all guess what is in there. Simple and fun.

This week the letter is Q. Nothing begins with Q, for goodness sake. What a STUPID letter.

Here's the pic:

Leave your guesses in the comment box, then click on the badge to see who else is playing this week.

Mum of One

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Day at Home Dad

Hard to believe, but in the six months Cam has been on the scene I've never once had to look after him for a whole day on my own.

There was the day when Mrs L went to a friend's wedding, and we decided we didn't want to inflict our noise-mongering son on a congregation of nearly five hundred Hindu wedding guests. But that turned out to be just a half day in the end. Also it was entirely uneventful, so not really worth mentioning.

No, I've been spared the arduous early days of colic-y screaming, the endless hours stranded at home with no company other than Cameron and the inane warblings of daytime television. I've had mixed feelings about it, I'll admit that. Sometimes (when Cam has been sleeping well, and until a reasonable hour) I've bemoaned the early morning hauling of arse from beneath our toasty duvet. The daily routine of traipsing to the office and enduring yet another 450 minutes of work which I have very little love for seemed like a cruel alternative to spending time with my beautiful new son.

Other times, it seemed like going to work was just the break I needed, and I felt bad that Mrs L didn't have the same option.

We're just starting to get into the fine detail of how we'll be arranging childcare and work once Mrs L returns to work in January. We can't afford for either of us to be a full time stay at home parent. Short of a lottery win it just isn't feasible. We're lucky to have one set of Cam's grandparents within walking distance and willing to take him for a couple of days a week. We've booked him into a local nursery for one day a week. The rest of the cover will (hopefully, because neither of us have actually had it formally agreed by our employers yet) be done by us both going from a five day week to a four day one.

All of which massive preamble leads me to last Thursday: Mrs L's first "Keeping in Touch" day. Which is a grand way of saying "going to work even though you're still on maternity leave" day.

Finally, I would have a taste of the SAHD life!

Which was great, although I'd have preferred it not to start at 3:30am with a scream of teething related pain. Bah.

No matter, we got up properly at about half seven and commenced with all the stuff which goes on in the world of a six month old being looked after by a parent: throwing lumps of spittle infused pear around the living room instead of eating them, being decidedly disinterested in a bottle of milk, vomiting on various textiles around the house. You know. The usual.

Then he had a nap. I had a shower. I felt a little tired from the early start, but this was going well. I'd managed to fit in my own breakfast. I was clean and dressed. I had prepped his next lot of bottles. I was ON FIRE. I was kicking parenting arse. I was winning.

So I decided to go and do a Tesco shop.

The rest of the day is a bit of a blur. We did the shopping. I realised about half way round that getting back in time for his next bottle was going to be pushing it. So I rushed. He had a bottle as soon as we got home.

The shopping stayed in the boot of the car for the duration of the feed, plus its immediate, sicky, shouty aftermath. Some of the food which should have been refrigerated looked a little bit, erm, limp.

Some other stuff happened. I forget. I think probably at least a little bit of my brain had fallen out of my ear by this point in the day. I was certainly having to think pretty hard to accomplish even simple tasks. But I thought I was coping okay.

We took a trip into Bristol to meet up with @jbmumofone. Cam got a bit stroppy after a while. I wasn't sure why. We got in the car and headed home. He napped. I felt pretty good. Mrs L would soon be home and I could tell her all about the day's events.

Which I did. Which is when I discovered that I'd forgotten to give him one of the four bottles he's meant to have in a day. Whoops.

Please, dad, stop taking shit photos. I could do with some food.
So, here's my top tip for anyone having a stab at staying at home with their baby for the first time: don't forget to give the baby 25% of its sustenance for the day, or you'll feel like a bit of a twat, even if you did manage to do everything else right.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Shit Shop

Do you know what’s shit?

I’ll give you a clue: It’s Argos.

That clue probably made it a bit easy didn’t it? But I didn’t want you spending too long thinking about it and coming up with wrong answers, so I was doing you a favour really. You’re welcome.

My little boy is starting to look ever more likely to haul himself up onto hands and knees and commence a life of sprightly mobility. So far he can do a very impressive push up. He can tuck his knees up under his bum. He can balance on his belly and move all four limbs at the same time with a fantastic level of determination. He can not do a combination of more than one of those things at the same time. Phew.

So, for now, the vast quantities of assorted ephemera scattered about our living room are not a danger. But they will be. Soon. So the more organised half of Cam’s parenting team (Mrs L, obviously) made the decision that we needed some new furniture. Furniture in which we could hide the aforementioned assorted ephemera.

We looked at IKEA, but we didn’t want anything from there. Nor did we wish to go there. We looked at Oak Furniture Land, but our wallets whimpered in our pockets. So, being children of the 80s and having fond memories of evenings spent poring over their capitalist bible, we turned to Argos.

I will spare you a detailed description of the Argos shopping “experience”. It has been covered by people far more entertaining than I. Plus, unless you are extremely lucky, you’ve been there. You’ve ham-fistedly scrawled your seven digit reference number on a tiny piece of paper with a tiny little pencil. You’ve waited to have your number called in the queue at the world’s least inspiring deli counter.

But, have you tried shopping at Argos ONLINE?

I have just tried to visit the Argos website. This is what I found. Have they heard about my blog somehow?

I like online shopping. Browse, click, click, spend money you don’t have, feel reassured by the fact that it probably isn’t real money because you haven’t seen it/physically handed it over, wait for goods to arrive in post (without paying for delivery), rejoice at never having left the house!


Online retailers are in fierce competition with one another. The buying public are ever more price conscious and expectant of good service. This tends to ensure a speedy, efficient service, dripping with customer care and good will gestures if something goes wrong.

Not so for Argos.

Ever the innovators, Argos were the first store I can recall who would sell you something online and then ask you to come and collect it. I think they called this “Click and Collect”. I called it “a load of total cock”. Why, if I’m ordering online, would I not want you to deliver it? I have never thought of a reason, perhaps someone will enlighten me?

No worries, there IS a delivery option. With a minimum charge of just £3.95 it is comfortably undercut by every* other online retailer IN THE WORLD. Magic.

The best thing about the delivery option, is when they want you to pay £25 for it (when, actually, you could go and collect it for much less) and have to stay in for a six hour delivery window.

All of that I could deal with though. I’m a patient sort, and I’m sure Argos (somehow) has my best interests at heart.

The thing that has made me think Argos is shit though, is this: despite ordering our furniture over three weeks ago, we still don’t have it. The delivery date has been rescheduled twice now, due to “supply issues”. Funny that, there was no indication at the point of ordering the furniture that it wasn’t in stock. Most online retailers would mention it. Another example of Argos’ innovation. Perhaps just as innovatively, they’ve seen fit to take the money from my account.

I could be buying sweets and chocolate with that money. Instead, Argos has it. The bastards.

If you hear a cry of desperate disdain on or around the 24th of October (between 12 and 6pm) That will be me. Not receiving my furniture and watching as my son pulls all manner of heavy stuff onto himself.

Tell me, friends, have you experienced the shitness of Argos? Or do you think they are awesome, and some other online retailer raises your ire? Let me know. I’m making a list. 

*possibly an exaggeration

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


One of my favourite bloggers and all round lovely internet sort @SunnivaAnne recently gave her answer to the following question on her blog: Why do you blog?

At the bottom of her post she tagged some other bloggers, requesting that they answer the same question. I was among them, which was really nice.

I feel a tiny smidge fraudulent writing this post. Why do I blog? Well, if you look at the recent history of my corner of web it has all gone a bit quiet. You could knock the first word off the question and it would still be valid. But I am (finally, after quite a delay) writing this post, so I guess that qualifies me as a blogger still. Just one who's been doing a fair bit of navel gazing in recent weeks.

So then, why do I blog?

When I first started doing it, I'll be honest, it was a whim. Cam was two months away from making his ex utero debut and I'd taken a week off work. I was probably meant to be doing some productive, baby preparation type stuff. Instead, I decided to start a blog. 

During the pregnancy, Mrs L had been spending some time on I'm sure you know it. I think it's broadly similar to Mumsnet. Or Netmums. Or NotDadsNet. Or something. Anyway. I had the odd glance at it and didn't really see anything for me (they have a dads section, you can just about see the hyperlinks behind all the rolling clumps of tumbleweed. The last discussion was about Euro '96 I think*). So I thought I'd start writing some stuff from a dad's perspective. Not that I was one. I didn't know who I was writing for. Myself? Probably. Some undiscovered audience of men who wanted to read about babies? Maybe. I really had no idea. But I did think that I would probably have thoughts about being a dad, and it might be nice to have those thoughts written down.

I could have started writing a diary, but the most I can write on paper these days is a birthday card. Even that threatens me with hand cramp. 

I like writing. I always have. In my cockier moments I even think I'm reasonably good at it. Most of the time I think I'm not awful. I genuinely didn't expect to find that other people might read what I put down. It was a pleasant surprise when they did. 

When Cam was born it was an incredible experience for me. I wept in the delivery room as I laid eyes on my son for the first time. I blogged about it because I want to remember how that felt. Every time I sit down and spill some words onto the blog I am recording how I feel about something, at that specific moment. Sometimes it is cathartic. Sometimes it helps me work out how I'm feeling when just thinking about it couldn't do that. Sometimes (often) I'm asking for advice. Sometimes I'm trying to connect with the people who are reading. Sometimes I'm blogging just because.

For the first twelve weeks of Cam's life, when it felt impossible to do anything outside of the house (apart from endless walks around our town with a screaming baby) I blogged because it was a way to still feel like I was part of an outside world. It's no coincidence that I'm blogging less now that Cam is a mostly happy, smiling baby. 

Why do I blog? Because I can. Because I like it. Because I hope I can make someone smile. Because it helps me to smile. Because there are some fantastic people in the blogging community and I want to remain a part of it. Because I'd love to be a writer, but I haven't quite tried that yet.

Would you like to answer the same question? Please consider yourself tagged if you would, and let me know where I can find your post :-)