2024

BATH NIGHT

My little kid (now two months from being a not so small four) has gone right off the idea of having a bath at all in recent weeks. It takes two of us to get him in and give him a quick shower every couple of days. To get him into the bath tonight, I tried something new. I got on all fours so he could ride me like a horse into the bathroom while I hummed the theme tune to The Lone Ranger.

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the Biden administration does in fact have tons of leverage it can use to stop the genocidal massacre in Gaza, it just doesn’t want to because it would be “politically unpopular” and because “Biden himself has a personal attachment to Israel.” How has Israel managed to kill some ten thousand Palestinians in Gaza without managing to do any real damage to Hamas if Hamas fighters are hiding amongst all those civilians?

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My kids were more interested in my egg timer app, which cock-a-doodle-doos when the eggs are ready, and bashing the egg’s head in than eating them.

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Viking dress up day.

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LAST WORDS

These are my last words writing from the café at the local leisure centre where I go every Wednesday during term time as a parent volunteer for my son’s swimming class. It’s their final session today. My lad has gone from being so anxious about swimming that he didn’t want to go at all, to wanting to go for swimming lessons now the class sessions are over. The café that was closed has reopened, although I still haven’t bought anything.

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CURRICULUM VITAE (MEMENTO VIVERE)

Having been so bitterly rejected both in love and at work, I started to look around for new opportunities. I don’t remember how I found it, but a nursing home nearer to where I lived at the time (Cleethorpes) was advertising for a Therapeutic Activities Co-ordinator to develop a range of meaningful activities with frail elderly people who also had -iirc - impaired memory, or dementia. Right up my street (well, just around the corner).

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2023

THRIVING?

My son’s school’s Thrive teacher is leaving. She helped transform my lad’s experience of school from being one where he had weekly if not daily challenges with regulating his emotions and his behaviour, to one where he enjoys school every day. She’s going to be very greatly missed. I managed to tell her this today and thank her for her work. It was so sad to hear her story. She has committed ten years of her life to helping our youngsters get the best start in life, and done lots of extra work getting accredited to do so.

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TEACHERS

Yesterday morning, I was sat in the foyer of my little kid’s children’s centre waiting for the staff to arrive so he could start his day. He was eager to get in, banging on the locked doors to the main part of the nursery. In my day, the kids would be trying to get out, not in. Some other parents, younger than me, commented the same. Everyone recounted some particularly, sadistic child-hating teacher who regularly brutalised them or some other poor unfortunate during their formative years.

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CURRICULUM VITAE (AD ABSURDUM)

I spent most of my three years ‘working’ in Manchester down the pub. When I was in my shared smoke-filled office, I was more often than not playing a very early demo of football manager (four free seasons, on repeat), or compiling a regular comedy fanzine for the five-a-side footy team I helped to found and run. They were crazy and fun times. Every other weekend, I got a train back to Lincolnshire for band rehearsals, recordings and occasional gigs.

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TORYBOY

ToryBoy The Movie is the account of filmmaker John Walsh’s disillusionment with what he saw as the corruption, lies, hypocrisy and general incompetence of Blair’s Labour government, and his conversion to the Conservative (Tory) Party general election candidate for Middlesbrough in 2010. Under his own steam and £15,000 of his own money, John found his opponent, Sir Stuart Bell, the serial incumbent Labour MP, invisible and unknown to his local constituents who nevertheless voted him back in every four or five years (albeit with an ever diminishing majority).

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CURRICULUM VITAE (REPETITUM)

Following on from my success delivering the news to my local community, I took a break from the world of (very part-time) work to focus on… playing in my first bands. And learning to play the guitar. Much of which came at the expense of any interest in or motivation to study, or revise for ‘O’ Levels, and later ‘A’ Levels. Living in a small rural market town, some of my friends, and my own younger brother, in fact, had Saturday jobs bush beating - literally (as far as I know) beating bushes to encourage game birds to fly to their sporting deaths.

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The last three movies I watched all had the same ending: a daughter reunited with her father. 🍿 Blader Runner 2049. Blonde. 12 Years A Slave.

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ERROR 55 - INTERNAL COMMUNICATION PROBLEM

Boss: Can you order a new printer for the office? Me: Sure. orders a new printer for the office Office: Did you order a new printer for the office? It’s arrived. Me: Yes, I’ll come over and set it up. Office: No need, we already moved the printer from the other office. And we have a tech person coming in Monday to set it up.

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BREAK IN TRANSMISSION

Last week’s swimming lesson was cancelled, and the week before that, we went away for half-term. To a very wet and wild north-east Lincolnshire right by the sea (or the Humber Estuary). With no wifi, and very poor data connectivity. In a tin can caravan. But we all had fun, and the kids got to spend time with their grandparents who live nearby. And use their wifi. On the night before we left I met up with a couple of my oldest and best friends, Murray and Aaron, who I hadn’t seen for ten (Aaron) and thirty (!

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FRANK

Frank was my great grandfather on my dad’s side. I only met him a couple of times. One time, me and my brother were made to wear the most ridiculous and embarrassing outfits, and we just felt very uncomfortable and ill-at-ease meeting this very old man from another time. He was born in the early 1901. So he must have been 80 or so when we met him. Not so old these days, but back then he really was like a dinosaur, or a fossil.

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GETTING DRESSED

My three and a half year old is going through that stage where he doesn’t want to get dressed in the morning to go to nursery. I remember with my oldest lad some mornings I used to be in tears trying to get him ready. Fortunately, their mum is now working from home and has taken on this task with the little one. My main job now is to remind my nine year old to “sit at the table and eat your breakfast” every two minutes.

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HAIRCUT

My nine year old had a trim the other day. No one else can really tell, but his massive afro isn’t quite so massive as it was last week, and certainly a little less knotted. Should make it easier to get his swimming cap on. His mum cuts his hair. We took him to a barber’s when he was younger, and I literally had to hold him down while the barber did his work.

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CATWOMAN

Last week, we had a visitor. Catwoman appeared, to save the day! All the way from leafy Surrey, she turned up in her Porsche 4x4 and catsuit to catch our community cats and take them to the vet “because they have cat flu”. With her ten year old assistant, and cat trap, she tried for (what seemed like) hours to catch a cat, or a kitten, to no avail.

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IMPOSSIBLE JOB

Last week, my boss asked me to produce a professional looking ten page job profile for a potential new appointment. He provided me with an example from another employer, and asked me to use the same format. He wanted me to find some suitable photographs “online” to use. This was all outside of his skillset. And mine. He wanted it “by tomorrow” (Wednesday), and gave me the text he’d written for the first page, as well as the headings he wanted to use for the remaining pages.

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COMMUNITY CATS

Just around the corner from my lad’s school by the canal is a cul-de-sac which is home to some “community cats”. Having spoken to a few of the people who live there, it seems that none of the seven or eight cats and kittens have homes or owners, but are looked after by the people who live there. So they’re not strays, but they’re not feral, either. They’re community cats.

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PLAY STREET

We used to play in the street outside our home as kids growing up in the 70s. In rural Lincolnshire. Of course, it wasn’t a main road, it was the road on our council estate. Pretty much everyone had a car, and many of the houses had their own garage. In London, or Greater London, it’s generally not safe for kids to play in the street, although we’re lucky where we are that our little cul-de-sac can double-up as a relatively safe enough play area most of the time.

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CLASS

Thinking about Maths at school, got me thinking about the origin and meaning of class. It’s a classic word, and means so many different things depending on the context in which it’s used. Its Roman origin relates to the dividing up of society, or groups of people for war or military objectives. My Latin teacher at school was obsessed with lining up the desks and chairs at the end of each lesson.

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DISTRACTION

It’s easy to get distracted. My nine year old told his mum last night that he was so distracted by thoughts in his head at school that the teacher gave him a blank piece of paper and a pen to “download” everything in his mind. All he could think about was Super Mario and Nintendo. Well, it was Maths. I always liked Maths at school. Mainly because there was no homework, or writing, or revision to do.

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THE SWIMMER

My nine year old is on week three of his school swimming lessons. Prior to the first lesson, he was very anxious about getting his hair wet, and getting his nose under the water. This, despite the fact that he absolutely loved the sea and the pool on our holiday last month (and last year, and the year before that). We bought him a swimming cap, which everyone has to wear in any case.

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HUMAN SHIELD

The school asked for a parent to volunteer to accompany the children to their weekly swimming class. They said I could sit in the café and drink coffee. No swimming required. I volunteered. I’m basically a fourth chaperone, in addition to the three teaching staff. I simply accompany the children to their swimming class, and back. The class teacher gave me the two page risk assessment to read on the first morning, and I’ve taken it upon myself to stand either at the back of the line of kids, or in the middle, depending on where there is a gap of supervising adults.

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THE DOOR

The door was old, but it still functioned as a door. It opened and closed, and kept us safe and warm. As it got older, it got a bit cranky and quirky. The spring-loaded closing mechanism no longer worked as it should. If you were a small person, a cat or a delivery driver, you had to beware this big old heavy door slamming shut whether you were in, out, or somewhere in between.

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Signs of the times…

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I learnt a new word today. Big kid complained that little kid “yeeted” his Lego Pikachu. I had to look it up. Yeet: to throw especially with force and without regard for the thing being thrown.

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OPEN LETTER TO PETER MASON

Publishing this as it’s in the public interest and I’ve had no reply to my original email sent on 1st July (Mason has, as far as I know, several personal assistants who read and respond to his emails, even if it’s just a holding acknowledgement response - I’ve had one before, as well as a next day reply, and a ‘no reply at all’). I’ve also now submitted two Freedom of Information requests to get answers to my questions.

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Personalised alarm call at 6:30 this morning as my little kid puked on my back.

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Morning walk, ostensibly to source the kids' favourite ice lollies. Mission unaccomplished.

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Enjoyed plenty of sun and relatively fresh air in our communal garden today. Kids enjoyed the beach tent, but the paddling pool kept deflating (not that we had access to any water to fill it). Cleaned out our tiny “shed”, and put up wooden blinds in the bedroom as well!

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Three year old playing Scrabble for the first time. First word he tries to spell is his brother Zion’s name.

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Little kid turned on his Amazon Fire “Kids” tablet. A game asks him to enter his date of birth to play. He types in “1234”, et voilà!

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Big kid: “Dad! Dad! I killed the Ender Dragon, and I wasn’t even looking!” Me: “What are you doing?” Big kid: “Twerking backwards.”

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First salad of the Sum…, er, Spring.

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UNDER POISONED SKIES

Watched Under Poisoned Skies on BBC iPlayer last night. It’s the sad and shocking story of children in Iraq dying from leukaemia as a result of toxic air pollution from mega rich oil companies burning off excess natural gas in the open air near their homes. Benzene (found in the air) and naphthalene (found in the children’s urine samples) are the main carcinogens. Levels of benzene are between 3 and 9.

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SOUTHALL RESIDENTS TO GIVE BLOOD SAMPLES

After six years of campaigning for justice: “The fact that gas used to be manufactured from coal has been lost to the public consciousness, but the chemical legacy remains.” “These communities already have multiple disadvantages with air pollution, overcrowding and poor housing. This is another burden being placed on them.” Via: Scientists to examine health fears at west London luxury development

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READING FOR PLEASURE

Two years ago my then six year old took what turned out to be a permanent break from the daily fifteen minute Easyread lessons he’d been doing for six months to catch up on his reading. When he started, he couldn’t and wouldn’t read. At the weekend he asked to go to the library where he chose a book by his favourite author. The following two mornings he read a chapter to himself before breakfast instead of watching TV.

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Baked bread with my little kid using my pizza dough recipe (substituted wholemeal flour for white flour). Turned out nice enough that we both ate it.

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HORSESHIT PARADE

I visited the Palace of Westminster this week with my big kid on an educational school trip. It was a very cold, wet and windy day, and we were patriotically under-dressed and sans brollies. We took a good lashing from Mother Nature. The tour of the Houses of Parliament was cool, dry and stuffy, and the little radio headphones we were given so we could hear better were sub-optimal. The House of Commons was closed to ordinary commoners like us, but the House of Lords was open as long as we refrained from parking our cold, wet and windy working class bums on our superiors' ‘holier than thou’ red leather benches.

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Finally got around to watching Our Friends In The North. ‘None of the issues the show mines so brilliantly – from inequality, deindustrialisation and the parlous state of Britain’s housing to homelessness and the corruption of our public officials – have gone away.’

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Big kid’s current favourite song.

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My little lad’s current favourite song.

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TOP O' THE MORNIN'

Showing my age this morning. I ‘heard’ my wife say, “My First Vegetables!” as our little boy chose a new TV show to watch. I ‘saw’ a picture of a broccoli on the screen. I got a broccoli from the fridge (along with some carrots and a cauliflower) to show him and keep it real. 🥦🥬🥕 Turns out the show is called “My First Festivals, Series 2: 4. St Patrick’s Day”, and the picture was a shamrock.

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Made pancakes, with assistance from kids. No one liked them except me. Win-Lose-Win.

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Sarnie. White rye bread with caraway seeds, salt beef, celeriac remoulade, pickled gherkins.

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Fronted adverbials excepted, gotta love my kid’s school!

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Solidarity with all teachers today, especially those striking for better pay. Eight year old is at home, and refusing to practice for his spelling test tomorrow because he doesn’t want to be a scab.

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Big kid with the tree he planted at his school.

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Little kid was vomiting every hour from 6pm until midnight last night. Slept until 6am, kept down a piece of toast and a cup of water, then had his breakfast proper. Now has his boots on and ready to go out in sub-zero temperature!

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I hadn’t realised until today that they are building a new park with “viewing mounds” (similar to those at Northala Fields?) beyond Glade Lane park.

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Little lad at the park this morning. He’s had a good day and week, then just before bed tonight started vomiting. Poor little thing. And us.

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Big kid’s school storage units.

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School caretaker this morning gritted the playground before we all arrived, and helpfully marked the still frozen large puddles with hazard cones so that the kids knew exactly where the best ice patches were for skidding practice.

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Big kid woke up with a sore throat and didn’t want to go to school. Gave him paracetamol and told him he should spend the day in bed to recover. Half an hour later he bounced back into the living room with “I’m back”.

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HP sauce in the gravy adds a sweetness and edge to the pie. The carrots and leeks roasted together are sweet and sharp, too. Little kid cried when I gave him some on his plate. He had his favourite chicken pie instead.

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2022

Big kid is worried that the small glass of Baileys (use by date 10/2021) might kill Santa…

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Cut my hair short with clippers today. Big kid said, “Why did you cut your hair? I can see your head!”

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Unpacking grocery delivery without thinking, and big kid asks, “Is that wrapping paper?!”

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Little kid is totally captivated by this delightful story. youtu.be/DPfClnEK3…

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My kid’s teacher gave everyone a book for Xmas, which is an amazing thing to do. According to my lad, everyone’s book was different… I think he’s been well and truly rumbled! Kids' books: Fame! by Alan MacDonald 📚

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THE PROPERTY LOBBY: THE HIDDEN REALITY BEHIND THE HOUSING CRISIS IN EALING

There will be 14,800 new homes in 23 new developments in Southall over the next few years. 14 units over 10 stories high, and 7 over 20 stories high. Up to 40,000 new residents (and their cars)! One third of the total new developments in the whole of Ealing borough (only Acton is getting it worse). So not happening so much in the ‘white’ or richer areas of the borough, for some reason.

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First mince pie of the season!

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SPECIAL XMAS LUNCH MENU

Starter: Seasonal Word Soup Main course: Roast Gobbledegook with all the trimmings including sage and EU stuffing balls Dessert: Traditional lemon biscuit Christmas Lunch Special Diet Option for Non Special Diet Registered Pupils Our catering company is offering a Christmas Lunch and for pupils who do not normally use the service and have an allergy but would like to take part in the Christmas lunch the below options are available.

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Little one is hot and refusing wear clothes. I’m cold and am bundled up in a jumper, and even a dressing gown, which I hardly ever wear normally.

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All the boys are poorly today. No more fevers, but bad coughs, and none of us has an appetite. Should be a fun day!

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Christmas tree and lights up. Boys did most of the tree decorating. Much quicker and less stressful than previous years.

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KIDS' STUFF

I have successfully replicated this study at home, and can attest to its reliability and validity. An ethnographic study in Madrid charted the gradual “take over” by the child (accoutrements like toys, furniture, and special foods, and the removal of “dangerous” or breakable items) of the domicile, leaving less and less “adult” territory (Poveda et al. 2012).' The Anthropology of Childhood: Cherubs, Chattel, Changelings by David F. Lancy 📚

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Both boys are staying at home today. Big kid bounced into school yesterday after recovering from two days of fever, cough and sore throat, but didn’t eat his lunch. Think he’s just tired. Little kid has a raging temperature, but eating ok.

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Both boys are staying at home today. Big kid bounced into school yesterday after recovering from two days of fever, cough and sore throat, but didn’t eat his lunch. Think he’s just tired. Little kid has a raging temperature, but eating ok.

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Got soaked the skin collecting big kid from school (who, it turns out, ate and drank nothing all day…). Last time I got this wet was on my way to record this interview for the BBC… https://youtu.be/CGGyCDAHRt4

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Got soaked the skin collecting big kid from school (who, it turns out, ate and drank nothing all day…). Last time I got this wet was on my way to record this interview for the BBC…

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Big kid better, back at school. Little one sat on my lap chuntering away with a fever. https://davidmarsden.info/2022/11/27/strep-throat-and.html

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Big kid better, back at school. Little one sat on my lap chuntering away with a fever.

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Little one is a good few months behind with his talking. Putting the grocery shopping away this morning, he spotted something*, went over to Mum and said, “Come on!” Took her to the object of interest in the kitchen and said, “What’s that?!” *🍫

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Strep throat and scarlet fever reported at my son’s school. That might explain Kid A’s sore throat, cough and temperature…

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Strep throat and scarlet fever reported at my son’s school. That might explain Kid A’s sore throat, cough and temperature…

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Toddler can now peel his own bananas.

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Kids rearranged all the furniture last night to recreate the space rocket from Wallace and Gromit’s ‘A Grand Day Out’. Zion is wearing his space suit and helmet, and holding some space poop, which can heal wounds

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Little one ate his usual two Weetabix for breakfast. Now he’s sat on my lap helping himself to my cornflakes.

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An hour after both kids are usually asleep, they’re both still up and currently rearranging all the furniture in the living room.

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Religious leader phoned my lad’s school today to feedback on their visit yesterday. I have never met children who were so knowledgeable about my faith.

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Little one went for a blood test at the hospital this morning. Paediatric outpatient ward was lovely - calm and welcoming - and he was seen straight away. Nurse was brilliant and my boy was as good as gold. In and out with no fuss at all. NHS at its best.

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“Once in a generation opportunity to look behind the scenes at the replacement of the lock gates at Lock 94, Grand Union Canal, Ealing. Saturday 26 & Sunday 27 November 2022.” canalrivertrust.org.uk Canalside @ Glade Lane Park UB2 4PG

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Lad has returned safe and sound from a school trip to a religious centre. Asked what he enjoyed most about the day he said: There was no learning!

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These boots were made for splashing.

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WASHED UP

✅ Made breakfast and packed lunch for Kid A. ✅ Dropped Kid B at nursery 😭. ✅ Dropped Kid B at school. ✅ Collected kids' clothes from store. ✅ Listened to the end of The AbsoluteLee podcast and the start of The Prince of Aberystwyth while sitting in traffic. ✅ ☕ and breakfast. ✅ Prepared chilli con carne. ✅ Work call. ✅ Unblocked bath drain. ✅ Received grocery delivery. ✅ ☕.

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It’s obviously good that David Baddiel has finally apologised in person for his racist abuse of footballer Jason Lee twenty-five years ago. That he did it on his new TV show should boost viewing figures substantially with a helpful knock on effect for sales of his book.

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Five hours sleep is enough for my two and a half year old, for now at least, so he’s sat on my lap chitter-chattering away while eating hot buttered toast and drinking cold milk.

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Making pizza today, so defrosting some fresh yeast. Meantime, it’s breakfast. Egg and home fries for me. Weetabix for the little one, and bagel for the big one. Big one is in the bathroom feeling nauseous because of the smell of smoked paprika.

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Wife is eating fish and chips while watching Korean soap on her tablet, while our little one sits on my knee eating chips and watching Sesame Street on TV. Big one is fully immersed in Minecraft.

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Kids did these paintings with Mum this morning while I had a lie-in.

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Early lunch with my little one. Pie, chips and mushy peas!

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My eight year old has watched so many US kids' TV shows that he now self-identifies as American.

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2020

HIGH TRAFFIC NEIGHBOURHOOD

Took me an hour (as opposed to 10 minutes) to drive my lad home from school this afternoon, thanks in part to the High Traffic Neighbourhood (‘Improving access for HGVs’) in Southall ‘Green’. Like a rat, I tried the side streets and back roads option and found those to be jammed, too, and Scotts Road - although confusingly still two-way throughout - is now No Entry from the eastern end.

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A SUCCESSFUL HOME DELIVERY AND THE LOCKDOWN/LOCK-IN.

My second son was born late Saturday night (what would normally have been my beer night) two weeks ago, after a short, but intense, labour. He was delivered at home by two brilliant midwives, who were fully protected courtesy of customised #tinap bin bag aprons, unused clean air protest dust masks, and disposable gloves my wife stocked up on back in February when – without any scientific advice whatsoever – she somehow accurately foresaw the current coronavirus global pandemic somehow reaching the UK’s shores (and airports).

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2018

INCONSIDERATE CONSTRUCTOR

Lorry driver on his phone while leaving ‘Southall Village’ building site, right next to school entrance during school run. Got a load more verbals from the driver and his colleagues on site - ‘Did he hit anyone?’, ‘He doesn’t work for us!’ All part of the Considerate Constructors Scheme, aka Couldn’t Care Less Scam.

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2014

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO... JIMMY CARTER?

A little under three years ago I eulogised about Jimmy Carter (the footballer, not the peanut farmer) in a musical response to 20lb Sounds eulogising about Jimmy Carter (the peanut farmer, not the footballer). I wondered why Dan, the band’s Liverpool-supporting singer-songwriter, had neglected the opportunity to write about a player who is widely acknowledged (from a cursory search of fan forums) as one of Liverpool’s worst ever signings? Two years later (thanks to the wonder of the internet, and possibly also the wonder of Doug Whitfield and his Music Manumit Podcast), I received a reply:

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2009

UNITED, BORN AND BRED: SUPER GLUE MACARI

The only United match I’ve been to in recent years was last season’s FA Cup tie at home to Spurs, courtesy of E.on’s sponsorship and their Family Football initiative. I went with a couple of my ‘clients’ from work, had a great road trip and fantastic all-round experience. One’s a Spurs fan, and I know he felt a mixture of joy and anxiety sat in amongst all the United fans (even in the Family stand) when Spurs went 1-0 up.

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2006

RED MISSED: HOW STEWART HOUSTON AND GORDON HILL MADE ME ANGRY AND DEPRESSED

United’s FA Cup tie with Wolves last weekend and Auntie’s ‘flashback’ (Rio Ferdinand?), reminded me to finally get around to posting a few of my own memories, originally prompted by George Best’s sad demise in November. George had quit United long before I can first remember watching them. But Best remained an important part of my United life - the school chant was “Georgie Best, Superstar, He walks like a woman and he wears a bra!

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