Category Archives: Baby

Posts about, or including, my baby daughter.


I’m self-publishing, not because it’s a vanity project but because I want a copy for my daughter and don’t care to hawk it round publishers in the forlorn hope of getting it one day, maybe, printed.

It’s a book of rhymes, called “Eleanor Kisses Crocodiles”.  I wrote the rhymes (with able assistance from my wife, especially on the “snake” page) about my daughter, and my Dad has drawn and painted the accompanying pictures.  I got the cover pic from him today.  It is amazing, it’s just beautiful.  I’m uploading the text as I type this, up to, and soon I’ll put together a proper cover, with words and stuff.

I’m actually doing this.  It’s a thing.  It’s going to happen.   I’m going to be published.  YES, BY ME.   I know.  But still.  It’s exciting, however it happens.

New year


So what’s been happening?  Well, I’ve got older (thirty-four now, slowly-increasing-numbers fans), and for my birthday we went to the ZOO!  Yay!  Okay, it was a bit gloomy and a bit cold and there’s nowhere to eat a picnic when it’s winter, but we saw lions (“rarr! rarr!”) walking around, growling, and tigers (“rarrr! rarrr!”) walking around, growling, and gorillas, climbing (not growling), and bugs (just bugs).

Anything else? Jesus had his birthday, too, which is nice for him.  Didn’t get him a card, but he never gets me one, so fuck him.

Almost finished my book – SOON TO BE AVAILABLE ONLINE.  I’m not actually expecting you to BUY A COPY. No-one should have to BUY A COPY, I’m doing it purely to have something to give to E in the future, to say “Look, this was made for you by Dad and Granddad”.

Something of the Night Garden

This is an homage to the awesome Lore Sjoberg’s ratings.

Iggle Piggle

I can’t quite feel anything for Iggle Piggle, much.  I don’t dislike him, but I don’t like him either.  He’s a bit of a blank, isn’t he?  Oh, sure, he likes bridges and dislikes mucky patches, but don’t we all?  He likes Upsy-Daisy, but we never get a sense of how that relationship evolved.  Iggle Piggle lacks depth.  He carries that blanket around as a substitute for a personality, but I’m not fooled. Also his song is a bit of a half-arsed riff on the theme tune. C


I confess, I wasn’t much of a fan of Upsy-Daisy to begin with.  Too much singing and skirt-inflation, not enough… well, anything else.  But a few episodes recently have changed my mind.  She couldn’t decide if she wanted to sing or play with the ball, to ride the Pinky-Ponk or the Ninky-Nonk!  It was a masterful performance, and totally switched me round.  Her song is a pretty solid composition, too, and I frequently find myself singing it to my daughter.  B

The Pontipines/Wottingers

Oh, I really don’t get on with the Pontipines.  They’re kind of difficult.  Wooden, for a start, and so simply animated that it is hard to get any personality from them.  What do we have to go on?  They’re terrible parents and make odd millinery choices.  Mr Pontipine has a large moustache, like a retired colonel, and one can’t help but think the Pontipine children keep running away because he is a terrible authoritarian.  You don’t get that feeling from the Wottingers, who are definitely the happier family.  No moustache clinches it, also Mr Wottinger doesn’t have a hat which looks like a clothes peg.  But you see them about once every fifteen episodes, and those bloody Pontipines turn up all the time C-

The Tombliboos

Now you’re talking.  The Tombliboos live in a hedge, but not in a tramp way.  Their platform-filled, black-as-night house will no doubt be the setting for many a childhood dream, leading some people to wonder if they only dreamed it, did it ever exist?  But, you know, also they lose their trousers.  A lot.  The episode where they kept putting on each other’s trousers, then losing them on the Ninky-Nonk, then having to change behind a rock… I was in tears of laughter.  Genuine comic genius.  Trousers.  And Derek Jacobi’s delivery is perfect – “Tombliboos, are you wearing the right trousers?”  They are also excellent toothbrush advocates/propogandists, with some cracking rhymes (Tombliboos, form a line/Brush your teeth and make them shine)  Okay, not quite a full A because their Pinky-Ponk Juice antics are a bit dull. A-

Makka Pakka

Makka Pakka,
Akka Wakka,
Mikka Makka moo!

Makka Pakka,
Appa yakka,
Ikka akka, ooo

Hum dum,
Agga pang,
Ing, ang, ooo

Makka Pakka,
Akka wakka,
Mikka Makka moo

The Ninky-Nonk/Pinky-Ponk

Clearly, the Ninky-Nonk rules.  The Pinky Ponk is just so slow and ponderous, it takes forever for anything to happen and if the Tombliboos get on they’re just going to arse about with Pinky-Ponk Juice.  I do like the Ponk Alarm, though.  Good to have a safety device that goes parp.  The Ninky-Nonk is anarchic, has a lot of attitude for what is basically a bus shaped like a TARDIS being towed by a banana, and can climb trees.  What’s not to love?  Especially the trippy scale-factors.  Is it knee-high?  Is it truck-sized?  Is it small enough to go along a little branch?  It’s all of this!  Okay, Derek is a bit wary of it (“Oh no!  It’s the Ninky-Nonk!”), but he’s an old man, he’s probably worried about whether it’ll accept his Freedom Pass Oyster. Ninky-Nonk B+/Pinky-Ponk C+

Paid Content

So here’s the zoo stuff I promised.

It’s great!  It’s a long walk from Warren Street tube, mind – anyone know any easier way to get there from, say Liverpool Street?  By the time we’d walked up and through Regent’s Park we were quite ready for breakfast, which we got from the GOUGERS at the Zoo’s coffee shop.  This is a recurrent theme.  Paid £20 to get in?  Yes, but what about a photo of you on this MAGICAL day, that’ll be £x?  Raffle ticket?  Donation to the gorilla fund?  £4 for a guide?  £16 for a couple of panini and some coffees?  £5.50 for a frankly YUCK burger?  Okay, you’re a charity, I get it, but it just feels so relentless.

So, yeah.  But fuck it, it’s the ZOO, you’re there for the animals.  And it has them..  I mean, I was expecting a serious scaling-down of zooly ambition, what with people not wanting animals stuffed in tiny cages any more, but no.  Lions, tigers, camels, little hippos (so cute), giraffes, gorillas… yeah, no bears or heffalumps, but they’re all at Whipsnade and when you get zoo membership it’s for both sites.. and we have membership.

The real stars were always going to be the lions, for our daughter.  Her first animal noise was “Rarr!” at pictures of lions, so I was itching for her to get her first glimpse of a real live… oh, they’re asleep.  Apparently they sleep pretty much all the time.  So a no-show, but we noticed in the gougy guide that there was some sort of presentation at about 2.30pm.  Just after E woke up.  So we trundled over, tried to get a good view (impossible, totally packed, so anise took the pushchair and hung back while I pushed through the crown with baby in arms).  Of course, to start with they were still asleep so I just had a slightly restless baby in my arms.  Until the keeper started talking through a PA and a lion raised its head.  A lioness first, at which interest was piqued.

Then the male raised his maned head.  Well, I’ve not seen her react like that before.  A look of pure wonder on her face, her jaw fell open.  Then she started pointing and growling “Rarr!  RARR! RARR!“.  I hoisted her up onto my shoulders, to her immeasurable glee.  She giggled madly as the lion (name: LUCIFER) prowled lazily around his enclosure.  Enraptured the whole time, I think she might be more in love with Lucifer than her parents (which seems a tad ungrateful).  And then he went back to sleep, and we drifted away.

LATER THAT DAY, in the gift shop, what should she spot but a plush lion. “RARR!” she cries, plucking him off the shelves.  Well, we were planning to buy her a gift to commemorate her first zoo visit.  She just made the decision for us.  She instantly bonded to her lion, like glue.  It was even traumatic to hand him over to the cashier for barcode scanning.  This was, what?  Three weeks ago?  More?  She still loves that lion, and it was the first toy she gave a name to (Well, that we took a name from her babbling and gave to the lion, but she was pointing at him and saying the word over and over).

His name?  This mini-Lucifer?



“I used to bathe you in that sink”, in my head I turn this phrase over, and I’m saying it to my teenage daughter.  She looks at me as if to say “I didn’t ask, and I don’t care”, exasperation, anger and confusion in one. This hasn’t happened yet and probably never will.  But I understand the person who says this, now.

You used to be this tiny, helpless thing. You needed us to do everything for you, and it just so happens that we would do anything for you. You were ours, we made you. Everything you were was us. And there you are now, my future daughter, the sum of your years, a product of everything else. Sure, we are in there, strongly, but we are voices among many.

But it wasn’t always like that. Once we were everything to you. I used to bathe you in the sink.

Sorry, sorry

Bloody hell, been a while.

So anyway, I had a cough for the longest time.  Like, May. And I vomited a bit, quite violently.  This gave me a pain in me ribs, like bruising.  Not unusual, so I thought little of it.  But it didn’t go away as it should.  Hmm.  Not cool, but still not something to be hugely worried about.  Bruising!  Okay, it hurt when I coughed.  Or sneezed.  Or laughed.  Or, um, breathed.  Or stood up.  Right, right, maybe I’ll see a doctor.  Perhaps it’s a chest infection.

The doctor listened to my chest for a while (much longer than usual! Concerning?), before declaring that my left lung was filling normally, but there were “reduced breath sounds” in my right lung.  It could be an infection, she said, but it is more likely to be a part of the lung having collapsed in on itself.  Go for an X-Ray tomorrow.


Now, a mild bit of the old pneumothorax is actually not massively troubling.  But still, being told you have a partially collapsed lung is kind of startling to a person, you know?  It may be due to blebs, as well, which is a very amusing word to have in your life (though not so much in your lungs).

So, X-Ray.  Not done this before.  Went to Whipp’s Cross, very convenient for me, and dropped in to the open X-Ray clinic.  Seen relatively quickly, like after about half an hour, but then I got there early.  I was expecting to at least have to take my shirt off but no, just turn the collar up.  So I’m stood there with my chin on the top of the plate, my shoulders hunched forward and my collar up like a pound-shop Cantona.  I feel utterly ridiculous and I actually have to stop myself laughing, fighting back giggles because surely that will mess up the picture?  Who knows.  Done and dusted in seconds, I’m back at work before lunch.

On top of all this, baby is sick again.  Sick sick sick.  Since Saturday night, she’s barely eaten or drunk.  We cracked and phoned NHS Direct last night and as ever I felt like a fucking timewaster.  But she was so horribly sleepy and listless.  Not cool.  In fact very worrying, though she seems to be improving.    She has eaten Oatibix, which may be the most disgusting breakfast cereal yet devised by the hellspawn at Kellogg’s.  And held it down!  She’s not vomited for 24 hours.  This is good.  I look forward to tomorrow, when I get to go back to work.

I also get my X-Ray results.


Look how long it’s been!  Eep.

Okay, so what’s happened?  Well, E has had her first birthday!  Yes, it has been a year since she was born, and she’s been lovely ever since.  Just lovely.  Okay, a pain from time to time, but not to the point where she is anything less than adorable.  One year gone, though.  Flown past.  A year of all our lives has gone, never to return.  And she’s a person, you know?  She’s become who she is, this year.  Not who she will always be, you can never know that until you’re looking back, but who she is right now.  She’s funny, and cheeky.  I like her.  She knows what she likes, what she hates, she has taste.  She is fun to spend time with… except when she’s making you read Spot for the fifty billionth time… (I never said she had good taste).

Also: Big Brother has started.  I’ll talk about it from time to time. Maybe I’ll create a post category for it.  You know what?  I just did.  Too early to call so far, but I love the fairground shit.  And I’m sad it’s the last one.  Frowny face.