Weeknotes 027: Love a glove.

It should only be another month until I can touch the floor. Toes.jpg

A week bookended by home cooking. We started on Bank Holiday stuffing Lǎolao's wild garlic dumplings into our faces and finished with Piglet's first foray into the kitchen.

Through the week, I had a pleasingly empty work calendar. Did I fill it with useful projects and a feeling of fulfillment? I did not. Instead I got bored processing data and frustrated by server outages. Yay?

I did get out on my bike to try a bakery slightly further from home. Too much tasty bread for too little exercise.

While I was cycling, Piglet was round Lǎolao's being scared by leaves. She's not great with unexpected animus. When the wind stirred the pile she was playing with, she fled to the consolation of hugs indoors. Leaves studiously avoided from then.

Slightly braver was her performance on returning to nursery. While we got the anticipated tears on first drop-off in 4 months, a slice of toast was enough to placate her. The Chef had a half-day to pick her up early. The intention was for a peaceful pram nap while walking home, which instead involved following a racing toddler around fields.

Friday was less tearful and she stayed for the full day. Charmed everyone with her stream of consciousness and requests for stories. We'll see how long it lasts.

With the reintroduction of strangers, we planned for nothing exciting this weekend. Saturday; two park trips. Picnic and swings in the morning. Looking for newts in the afternoon, but we found the nature reserve trashed. Lockdown has baked the teenagers and drunks and they took it out on the ponds. Aggravating. We taught Piglet her first lesson of civic pride and she helped steer a long stick to fish out empties.

(Speaking of newts, this video took me back 20 years to developmental biology lectures.)

Steak.jpg Saturday night

April snow was flurrying on Sunday and we made no plans to leave the house. Grandma is feeling the hurt of losing a day to nursery and bullied Grandad into helping repair the bath so she could play with Piglet. Repairs took him all of 5 minutes so he didn't miss out on too much playtime. When they'd cleared out, Piglet was free to make the aforementioned chocolate cornflake cakes for us.

Rather than a full album, just a track this week. Little Frogs is a lovely ditty with a heart-warming video. (via Lucy Bellwood).

This might be the last post here on woohooctopus. I'm moving to paul.blot.im. I can publish straight from Dropbox, so who knows, I might get more punctual. I might even do styling.

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Weeknotes 026: Eggs come from chickens

Let's not bury the lede this week. Piglet had her first sleep out. F■■■ yes!

She spent the night at Lǎolao and Lǎoyé's and we were filled with the spirit of teenage rebellion. Takeaway arrived during what would be bath-time. We watched a movie with the sound up. We went to bed late without fear of interruption. We left knives, glasses and TV remote lying in reach when we went to bed. We stomped on the stairs. We unplugged the monitor. You know, the usual old-person teenage stuff.

Earlier in the week I knocked off work early to light our first BBQ of the year. With the guideline relaxations, we could have my parents round. Piglet did her best to kill Grandad with non-stop running. Like the spring day around us, we could see the first shoots of post-pandemic life. My folks repaid in kind with a Sunday Roast for Easter Day.

We snuck out to South Shields beach on Good Friday. It was warmer than when we last met our friends there. They'd brought mini eggs with them. Piglet, on hearing the word chocolate, switched from playing to sidling. She nudged The Chef, coyly curious, to remind us she was still there with a hopeful half-smile.

About par for her new cheekiness. I came downstairs on my lie-in day to find her sat at the table eating blood orange, drinking tea and pointing out the "Blue tits over there". She's not two yet.

The sleep streak is over. Teething again. One night while singing 宝宝贝 (Bǎo bǎobèi to the tune of Brahm's Lullaby) she bolted up to say "kitty cat" and then started singing 猫猫喵 (Māomāo miāo / kitty cat, meow) to the same tune. Which is pretty impressive ad libbing from someone I thought was already asleep.

The morning after that refusal to sleep, Twirlywoos went on while I topped up on coffee. The Twirlywoos were being their usual exasperating selves and taking things too far till the ship, having had enough of their s■■■, blew its horn and stopped the nonsense. I love that ship. It me.

That said, when I do grump at her she'll start crying and saying "everything, everything." I don't think it means what she thinks. At one point she got so stressed she backed away and said "爸爸上班班" (Bàba shàngbān bān / Daddy, go to work) until I left the room.

Better rested we'll read The Lion and the Bird together. There's a bittersweet bit that set me off trying to think of other oxymoronic compounds like bitter/sweet. It's common in beginner's Chinese, but I struggled in English before I cheated. There are only three good words on that list, so I'll stick with my initial conclusion that it's not common in English. And I'm left wondering why.

I missed two days of stretches and I have a bad back. There was no disclaimer that I'd have to do this every day for the rest of my life. Unless the disclaimer is that I'm old.

After a few weeks of disco-adjacent binge listening, a new Nick Cave album will always monopolise. I like the new sound that he and Warren have found for themselves. This morning is amazing and so are you.

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Weeknotes 025: Hello tuppence

  • The Chef got her second vaccine. Fortunately the same week as she had some use-em-or-lose-em holidays to fill with naps.
  • I took a shorter week too and we spent Monday playing on the beach. First coast trip of the year with all the March classics; Fish and chips, ice cream, "cool dude" glasses, five layers, giving the Stella drinkers a wide berth, sandcastles, splodging.
  • Everyone in the immediate family is vaccinated (bar me). We're on for a less worrisome return to nursery after Easter. Even when she licks another child, she shouldn't kill her grandparents.
  • Piglet is ready for it. She's started treating her toys as friends, saying "hello", "I love you" and asking to hold their hands.
  • Less sweet is the Birth of the Tantrum. Puce-faced, tears streaming and riots of, "No no no no no no" at the suggestion that she put clothes on before she goes out.
  • In between those poles, she's a victim to rhythm. If a song comes on the radio that she digs during a meal it's a straight, "Bib off. Dancing"
  • I gave up working from the kitchen cabinet and switched the office and library round. Now we've an office big enough to avoid neck strain and a small enough library to justify calling it a reading nook. We've no chair or shelves, so it looks like a haunted bookshop with a beanbag nestled amidst the piles of literature of dubious quality.
  • Celebrated the switch by taking Friday off too. We went for a very, very cold walk around the Rising Sun. Despite the polar temperatures, we figured ice cream was still in order. There was no ice cream. Then a horse nibbled Piglet. It was time to come home and have pizza instead.
  • I've noticed Piglet's bilingualism has led to a more patient persistence than a typical toddler. If she feels she's not getting attention, she'll switch language and try again.
  • I still can't touch my toes without cheating.
  • We went to A Different Park today. It was almost like going on holiday. They even had a trampoline built into the ground. And I got my ice cream.

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Weeknotes 024: How do you want to do tonight?

I guess everyone in my RSS had a quiet Sunday at the same point last week. Weeknotes.jpg

  • We started the week going round the houses dropping off homemade Mother's Day cards to the grandmothers before eating till regret. We texted later to explain what Piglet had drawn.

  • Grandma got so excited to hear of Lǎolao's finger injury that she mandolined the tip of her finger off in homage.

  • After a year in the attic, I figured it would look better with a monitor riser and the laptop shovelled underneath. This kicked off a couple of hours worth of office tarting. The decade-and-a-bit old printer and speakers headed to the recycling. Then I got it into my head that it'd be a better use of space if I was against a different wall and I spent the week working from an Ikea kitchen cabinet to try it out. I'm moderately confident I don't have ADHD.

  • The third time someone mentioned they were trying to touch their toes, I cracked and started too. I've made alright progress for 1 week and I'll make a GIF when I touchdown. You'll all get to see my pyjama bottoms. There's something to look forward to in a few weeks.

  • We're the kind of people who have a butter.

  • Piglet has stopped crawling up the stairs and started walking up like a normal human: one step at a time, holding nothing and muttering "strong" under her breath. Just like Dad. Which is terrifying given my past.

  • She dropped her first C-bomb this week. But then she started wearing her potty as a hat and slept through for 5 nights, so she's forgiven. She also spent a day saying thank you to everyone and everything for anything.

  • When I go into the nursery in the mornings, I get a brain dump as a greeting. I've been told "Giants are really, really big" and asked "Breakfast? Would you like... toast? How about banana?"

  • Unless she's supervised with an apple, she'll eat the lot. Core. Seeds. The lot. It's kind of impressive.

  • We might be raising her as the fun police. On the roundabout when another kid waved to their grandparent, she told her, "Two hands. Hold on tight." It was not well-received. Later, when an older kid hopped on the infant swings before her, she calmly walked round, crossed her arms and gave her best fuck-off-now stare. Yes, the swearing is in the look. Worked too. She's always smug on the swings, but that one was extra.

  • My usual weeknotes process is to remember a load of stuff after publishing and add that to ideas list. On Monday I'll think of something new. Tuesday to Friday get ignored (as they should). But this Tuesday was our 3 year moving in-niversary. Tradition dictates KFC.

  • Is there anything more comforting than when your kid nestles right in when you're reading stories together?

  • Hearing Grant Howitt wax lyrical about Parisian Dream, this week's "new" album is Laura Veirs' 2005 Year of Meteors

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Weeknotes 023: Whispered stories

Blood_orange_cake.jpg

  • I'm prepared to admit dry lent is over.
  • While prepping Sunday dinner last week, we were interrupted by a phonecall to tell us Lǎolao was dying. Turns out she'd cut her fingertip and Lǎoyé was being a flounce.
  • Post-dinner was spent discussing moving Piglet to her Big Girl Room, which was a conversation I don't think I was ready for.
  • Piglet has a routine towards the end of the bath where she'll say goodbye to the water, look up grinning and whisper "stories." She's upped her game by whispering the actual stories to herself in the wee hours. It peaked during a week of teething when The Chef, having thought that she'd escaped the nursery, was stranded on the landing listening to "Cock-a-doodle-do! Sun come up" and the dread understanding that she'd have to turn back.
  • Still pleased in the uptick of the quality in Piglet's stories since we bought a tranche. Four lines of Julia Donaldson is enough to know you're in the hands of a master. And I'm blaming sleep deprivation for how rheumy-eyed I was the first time I read The Little Gardener.
  • We remembered that iPlayer doesn't always have to be In the Night Garden and we're now 30 episodes into Twirlywoos.
  • I've already wished lockdown a happy birthday, so I'll not repeat it here.
  • Finished The Maker of Swans, hunted out the author Paraic O'Donnell and ended up here. Heartbreaking but beautiful.
  • On Wednesday I procrastinated on procrastinating and did a job for someone in the same day. It made all the difference. There remains a hovering angst trying to find purchase, but it's held off with action and improving weather.
  • Following on with my album of the week recommendations I've gone full 6Music and binged Flock by Jane Weaver.

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Weeknotes 022: Chase me!

  • Folks, wild garlic season has started.

Ransom.jpg

  • In case the neighbours were wondering what kind of children they live beside, we've painted the front gate bright yellow.

  • While I dribbled paint on the drive, The Chef attacked our neglected garden. With Piglet settled into a daily 2-hour lunch nap, there's going to be a lot of this over the spring.

  • Had a bit of wobbly work productivity which, as I've co-slept every night while the girls stave off (non-Covid) colds, is OK. I mean, it's always OK. But especially when feeling like a Walking Dead extra.

  • The extra mucus in Piglet proved immiscible with her pear juice. One round of carpet cleaner and one of mopping later and she's still asking for more.

  • Google Photos' creepy but useful face-match feature misidentifies Piglet as me or The Chef reasonably frequently. I guess that means she looks like both of us?

  • Having Piglet around means meeting lots of local doggos. As introverts who like to stroke strange dogs, this is an unforeseen benefit of parenthood.

  • We've gone mad with delight at the prospect of lockdown ending. We're booked in for an outdoor meal for two at Cook House in April. We're meeting up with friends at Träkol in June. We're whittling down campsites for July. AirBnB is booked for the boys away day in August. People are going to get hugged. Maybe even licked. Weeknotes might have #content!

  • This week's new on repeat album has been Magic Mirror by Pearl Charles, courtesy of Lauren Laverne loving it when I do the drop off. Piglet grooves away in her car seat to Only for tonight.

  • Finished the Foundation Trilogy and the idea of the intergalactic future of humanity being 1950s America—but in Space!—hasn't aged well.

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Weeknotes 021: Naughty Monkey Bum Bum

  • Yesterday evening's wine tastes all the sweeter for being in the middle of dry lent.

  • I'd been good before then, sticking to the Nanny State. It's odd to think it's a beer I could drink with breakfast without breaking any social mores.

  • As noted by everyone everywhere, spring has sprung. Two weekends worth of gardening and bike rides have me feeling positively frisky. Which is handy as, after re-reading yearnotes, I realise how close I got to burnout last year. The Christmas holiday couldn't have been better timed.

  • Counter-intuitively, I've staved off the return of burnout by increasing work. Now that I've 2 months of stable productivity, it's time to reintroduce more life into the work-life balance. I'm aiming to couple the nice weather with some bike rides to different cafes.

  • Having inherited a collection of so-so kids books, when I suddenly discovered that Jon Klassen wrote a full hat trilogy I suddenly bought the lot.

  • One of the better books was a gift from the work lunch table. An A-Z of maths. Because we're all dweebs. We repaid them for the gift by sending a video of Piglet reading aloud the Matrix and Null Set pages. Her "welcome to dweeb club" badge is on order.

  • Courtesy of that book, she's a decent grasp of numbers and we're moving on to the alphabet. Starting with English. Once she's masters the 26, we'll move on to the few thousand characters needed to read a Chinese newspaper.

  • She's started investigating lying too. If she wants to be picked out of the cot after bedtime she'll claim she's filled her nappy. And when she's bored of food, she'll fake yawn and say, "tired." I've been waiting for this development stage and glad she's artlessly demonstrating her grey matter.

  • This video essay is on needle-drops in films is one hour long. And I watched the whole thing. Both the content of the argument and the constant snippets of great movies kept me hooked.

  • We cooked this beans and chard recipe shared in Nat Buckley's yearnotes and it was delicious. Straight into the cook again pile.

  • I joined an Oh God What Now zoom and it was abundantly clear that no-one's heart was in it. We're all ready for lockdown and zooms to be over.

  • Like every other dad in the UK, I enjoyed listening to the new Mogwai album. While I'm happy that they've got their first number one album, I can't help but feel a competition which is won with other people's cash is biased towards the middle-aged. Pop and football used to be for the young.

  • A roofer visited and, for a very reasonable amount of cash in hand, left us with hope the next storm stays outside the house.

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Weeknotes 020: Plenty of coffee

It took me just 3 days to break the sledge going down a hill. I need to cut back on the Covid snacking.

Shoes.jpg

Having broken the sledge I took my first bath in 7 months. Does this mean I've repaired it? No. The bath was awesome though.

I forgot to mention Piglet's first haircut last week! She'd been taking style tips from the guinea pig, with a fringe so long as to obscure all sight. Lǎoyé was called upon and she's now pixie cutted.

It's not the only thing he's been called upon to do. The Chef showed him a picture from Etsy and after a studious appraisal he set off to the shed. Piglet owns a convertible table/stand to reach the sink to wash her hands after using it for colouring in.

Stand.jpg Grandad skills.

He and Lǎolao celebrated by getting vaccinated. That's half the family done. Once my parents are jabbed, we'll feel much more comfortable sending Piglet to nursery.

She'll definitely have at least one buddy when she returns. The Chef met up with a friend and Piglet spent a disgustingly cute afternoon in the park holding her tiny buddy's hand.

On vaccines, The Chef was offered another one because she's "high-risk". Turns out the GP hadn't updated the gestational part of her gestational diabetes. From Alice Bartlett's weeknotes, she wasn't the only one.

Piglet's spent the last week-and-a-bit giving The Chef an easy time—sleeping through, settling easily—and refusing to sleep for me. Had she not fixed it I was preparing to go on strike. But she's been good this weekend.

Because time is fictional in a lockdown, Pancake day snuck up on us. Fortunately we had the stuff in to bodge through¹. The Chef explained to me afterwards that we've given up alcohol for lent, which was a shock.

I guess I'm going to have to replace alcohol relaxation with calm city builder games. As well as Townscaper I've been playing Islanders and Dorfromantik. This might be my jam in 2021

Google reminded me that today is our one year anniversary of the last time we went to a nice restaurant. I'm looking forward to going back when being indoors with strangers isn't akin to lying in a plague pit.

I've changed the coffee delivery day to Thursday. We no longer run out at the weekend. This is a good life change.

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1: A fun word to watch French people attempt

Weeknotes 019: 新年快乐

This week was Lunar New Year with proper snow and I had a 4 day week to enjoy it all. Magic.

Lǎolao went to town making dumplings for Piglet.

dumplings.jpg

We weren't treated to anything as aesthetically fancy, but by God, did we eat well. I only realised as we were tucking into diǎnxīn, that we'd not eaten any since before lockdown 1. I've missed it.

As well as the food, the other advantage of Lǎolao and Lǎoyé's is that their garden has a decent slope. We picked up a sledge on Amazon and had our own private slope. Piglet enjoyed it almost as much as the adults.

We took turns building snowmen in each garden. The culprit for the wildly variable quality was the type of snow. Honest.

Snowmen.jpg

With the sledding, snowmen and frequent flurries, Piglet has been filled with wonder of snow. She's been circling the snowmen and singing "round and round" to herself as she does it.

Heading round the supermarket with The Chef she alternated shouting out the contents of the shelves and demanding to know "What's this?" Were it not for Covid, there'd have been an army of pensioners crowding her.

Back at home she's been picking up the bluetooth speaker and asking, "Dance?" And in the more avant garde end of her vocabulary, not only do goats say, "WoOoOo" but plants say, "slurp" and lights say "bing."

Fortunately she was out of the room while I watched the rugby, so she's not added that section of the dictionary to her vocabulary.

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Weeknotes 018: So many types of spoons.

I'm writing these after another double nana nap weekend. Not gonna lie, feeling pretty chill right now. The closest we've gotten to doing stuff was playing some Ticket to Ride on Saturday evening. Living the lockdown high-life.

That said, we are shovelling prosecco and cheesecake into our face after The Chef cooked up an awesome Kitchen God Festival feast. Definitely helping with the chill.

Despite Grandad's sterling efforts, the roof is still leaking. We've reached the stage where we've needed to get a man in. He was due this weekend, but something about gale force winds and horizontal snow meant he took a pass.

Just one of the adult jobs this week. Our car has a safety recall on it and is off to the mechanics on Tuesday. And we cancelled our heat pump installation. That was bittersweet. I lost my smugness for getting to the front of the queue by following the council RSS, but they would only install the pump in the garden and not over the garage. And we weren't to be misled by free.

Clarting on with three bits of admin in the same week, would normally be a chew. But I think spending at least 5 hours a day on video-calls has inured me to admin.

Getting to cuddle a rainbow in a den helps. It was everything I'd hoped parenting would be. Piglet must have enjoyed it too. because she's relented from her recent poor form and slept through in 3 of the last 4 nights.

She's spent the week doing a corking Don Logan impression and added some colourful mispronunciations to layer on the effect. "Want climb", "one car" and "blue frog" do not sound nice. She's also taken to expressing displeasure by asking why and then declaring, "naughty Daddy." All in all, she's an extremely cute tiny tyrant.

On the topic despots, it's only been 2 weeks since the tangerine gibbon was evicted. It's felt refreshingly longer. That Amanda Gorman speech is still, just.

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Weeknotes 017: Christmas is over.

Secret Santa gifted The Chef some Irish coffee and it's been hanging around the kitchen since. Generally it's too early for alcohol before midday. And afterwards, too late for caffeine. I guess what I'm trying to say is, 9 am Baileys for the win.

The warming jacket of booze is sufficient that I'm writing these in the garden on a cold, but sunny, January day while everyone else naps.

Garden.jpg (Yes that is a dusting of snow on the ground)

Yesterday, Grandad came round to fix the roof. Having cut through the floorboards, found the source and put everything back by 11 am, he popped home to get extra stuff. Shortly after lunch he nipped out of the velux, lashed a tow rope over the chimney and started amiably sliding down the roof with flashing tape and tar. He at least consented to using my climbing harness, rather than tying the rope around his foot. We've to wait to for the next downpour to see if he was successful, but it was impressive either way.

The only help I could offer was to cheer-lead. So I repaired the garage slat instead. A short saga this time. Let's look at the bath again.

The Chef was rereading 100 words and had to laugh at our hope that lockdown would all be done before Piglet's first birthday. Ha!

She's had this week off. Excuse enough for Monday night takeaway. Piglet watched us shovel fried cheese balls into our face with disgust. She carried that feeling into the bath. When her face turned purple—a sure sign of impending mess—we whisked her out and plopped her on her potty. She had no choice but to use it as intended. She was not happy about the experience. Still counts though.

Coupled with her big girl bed at Lǎolao and Lǎoyé's, and her correct use of the progressive verb tense, she's really got a grip on the whole "they grow up fast" thing. The Chef even got to have a smug moment in the park as the other parents cooed over her precocious vocabulary. Right before she made a little boy cry in a reverse Georgie Porgie situation.

(That was probably insufferably proud parenting, but I want to celebrate her sometimes.)

Less insufferable but more worrisome is her continued over-enjoyment her squirty bath toys.

The distraction of Piglet and the Chef being around on Monday meant I had a definite dip in productivity at work. Pleasingly, the whole to-do list thing I'm sticking with restricted it to one day. It can't last.

I've been sneaking Turing Tumble into the evenings. The promo video has lots of children playing with it and one massive nerd. And I'm no longer a child. When the cascade works though, it's viscerally satisfying.

Eventually listened to the case of the missing hit. It's good, whilst being a textbook example of well-produced "podcast voice". This "investigation" in to the great bucatini shortage is the analogue in print. Fun, but/and McSweeney's escaped to the wild.

The last bit of tape from the Christmas decorations was peeled off the wall today. It's officially over.

"There she is!"

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Weeknotes 016: What's this?

We started last week with a takeaway so monstrous that we managed 5 meals from it.

Takeaway.jpg

As noted in yearnotes, we're looking to plan a holiday to perk spirits. I like the look of Railbiking. The Chef less so.

When she's not pooh-poohing holiday ideas, The Chef treats me as a live in dictionary. She's looked up from her book this week to ask me, "What's rectitude?", "What's effluvia?", "What's catechism?", "What's crepuscular?" and "What age was I when I was 1 m tall?" One of those was tougher than the rest¹.

Suddenly, we realised that we'd inherited a lot of sub-par kids books and suddenly noticed that each time a book uses suddenly, it loses a star from its rating. We've a book about a polar bear with a negative rating. And a book about a hat with an infinitely positive rating. Now don't ask me any more questions about it.

Not that Piglet minds as long as we're reading with her. There's an unidentified overnight issue that's causing her to eschew sleep. (God I miss sleep). But during the day she's relentlessly sunny. Even more so than usual. She's introduced herself to her potty. Not using it yet, but she's content to sit on it and sing. She can almost do Old MacDonald unaided. Sadly, no sea shanties yet.

When not on her potty, she's been picking things up and demanding to know "What's this?" (Remind you of anyone?) It led to a bathetic moment, when I had the dad-crushing-abyss-of-realisation; that's a human there. And she's already living an internal life, which I can only share part. An an external life which I can only share part.

With lingering sentimentality in my system, I wasn't ready for the pause at 33 seconds in Kae Tempest's People's Faces.

Give me your beautiful, crumbling ... heart

It's just long enough to pour all of humanity into. Like the forever-beat when Chiron and Kevin look to each other in Moonlight or Lee and Clem say their farewell in The Walking Dead game.

In more prosaic media, this video of 90 year old RTE commentator Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh making his perfect ham sandwich is 3 and a bit minutes of pure wholesome delight.

And in humdrum life, Grandad has taken over my various half-bodge DIY. He's fixed my toilet failure and ruled out all my guesses at where the leak in the roof is coming from. He'll be back next weekend to cut through our bedroom floor and look for the actual source. Because he's my dad, he still won't take payment so I'm foisting beer on him instead. I've moved on to the much easier saga of the missing garage slat.

He has managed to impart enough knowledge that, when a friend rang to say his flat had flooded, I could set off with a bag of tools and some confidence that I could be useful. Very much the one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind. Caught up on some good gossip while I was there as an essential handy-man too.

"What's this?"

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1: Who knew crepuscular meant active in the twilight? Aside from Pullman, that is.

Weeknotes 015: Bluffside Crossing

When Piglet doesn't want something she'll say "No" or "不要" (búyào) and we'll typically ask "Why not?" in return. She's interpreted "Why not?" to mean "No means no!" and it's used in times of extreme displeasure.

She's also taken to saying "Mama pump" whenever she farts, which upsets The Chef no end. Toddlers are a lot of fun when they let you sleep.

At work, I'm managing to stick with my analogue to-do lists and weirdly enjoying it. It's led to a productive week. There's even been completed... admin. It won't last.

Being organised has stretched into home life too and I've had food in for lunch most of the week. Instead of heading to the shops, I'm settling in with a double-speed YouTube. The advantage of being a Geordie is that it still sounds a bit slow. (The disadvantage being that everyone else assumes you're slow.) As a sucker for both urban nerdery and seeing a game played to a higher standard than I can manage, watching a City planner plays city builders is catnip.

This week sees the return of a friend from maternity leave. We've a virtual lunch planned for the regular pre-pandemic lunch table. Which is probably healthier adult behaviour.

Had a fun career chat with the boss. After waffling for 30 minutes all about meeeee he gave me a choice: "Switch to a job you don't want to do, but with a reasonable chance of promotion or stay with me and do fun stuff without one." We're OK financially and I spend too many hours at work, so I've agreed with The Chef that I'll go for the second one.

As for weeknotes, Ethan Marcotte has a post about how he's let his website be his worry stone during the pandemic. It made me consider leaving Typehut to set up a personal website. I was pricing domain names when I realised that I like the restrictions. With my own site I'm apt to make the same mistakes as at work and plunge hours into the styling, rather than the content.

I'll persevere throughout 2021 with this. And if writing proves sticky enough, then maybe I'll build a shifting house beside a river.

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Weeknotes 014: Ghosts say baa-baa in the night.

We started the week with a misunderstanding. Long story short, The Chef evacuated tea out of her nose and goats say, "WoOoOoOoOoo" in our house.

Our understanding of Piglet might improve over the next few weeks. We're keeping her out of nursery while the pandemic rages. They had a positive case on Christmas Eve and anyone that had been in that week got an abrupt heartbreaking change to their festive plans.

I'm holding hypocritical views of Christmas unlockdown. It was delightful to have the family all together to eat and fuss over Piglet. But I still think from a societal level it was the wrong thing to do. To reuse a metaphor from the clowns that run the country, I want to eat my cake and have it.

Not that I'm supposed to eat cake in January. Resolutions to be healthy and all that. I've belatedly realised I can cast my phone to the TV, which means I can Sworkit without having to faff positioning my phone just right. I can even use Piglet's foam squares as a gym mat.

The exercise has been a good start to sleepy days. Piglet has coupled separation anxiety with teething, so I'm in the nursery most nights. I caught myself staring, fascinated, at her hands. They're still small enough to fit in my palm. One day they won't. For now, they hold nothing bigger or smaller than potential. A tonic for the broken sleep and snoring from my armpit area.

This week In the Night Garden, the Pontipines slept in Upsy Daisy's bed. This wasn't a bad thing because Piglet finds the Pontipines hilarious and someone sleeping in the wrong bed is about the limit of enjoyable peril for a toddler. Think Midsommar or Get Out but for developing brains. Igglepiggle losing his blanket was too much though. We needed to cuddle to get through that episode.

We also needed to cuddle after a second-face plant. Still saved the bike.

And after going from chair to floor, via a plant stand. That one hurt enough that she lost a couple of meals.

The toilet saga is over (I hope). We can once again flush without needing to fill a bucket in the shower first. I made sure to tackle it when no-one was home to hear the swearing and tantruming of tools. The roof has had its first of three provisional fixes. Let's see if I guessed right and repaired it. Let the roof saga begin. The suspense.

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Weeknotes 013: Well that was 2020.

Work crawled to a finish with three things left to do. Of which I almost completed one. At least it's January now, so I can get them sorted and start the year with some easy motivation (more on this in yearnotes).

One late addition to the home office was a needlessly over-designed to-do pad. It's shininess, coupled with a nice pen, means I managed my day-to-day life better over the last few weeks. I watched more bullet journal videos. Still haven't cracked.

After work, we've had a marvelously lazy merrineum. We're bubbled with the grandparents for childcare, so it didn't feel like we're risking killing them by spending Christmas Day together. And it meant they got to see Piglet unwrap Too. Many. Toys.

I'm inordinately pleased that one of them looks like Sean Dyche attending a Best Sausage Award ceremony in his formal High-Viz gear though.

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Dinner went hitchless and Scrawl was good tipsy fun till Piglet announced that she was tired and overwhelmed and that everyone should go home now. To be fair, she'd let her auntie know that from arrival.

She's a full blown toddler now and spent Christmas with a corker of a bruise on her chin from trying to pick a book off the floor while on her bike. She saved the bike from harm.

Thankfully, she stayed bruise free when she fell out of the cot. And she can still speak in 2-3 word sentences, so her head can't have been banged too hard. Being able to communicate is making our life easier. She cried in the bath after a cold day out and could shout "Toes. Ow." rather than leaving us confused and helplessly flapping.

I think we've managed to wean her out of a creeping bad habit of co-sleeping for the second half of the night in the day bed. I spent one 2 am being told that each of the In the night garden characters had gone. Then exclaiming "Santa's been, yay!" before switching back to all of the family who've gone and passing out in a puddle of drool.

We've ventured out of the house long enough to walk on South Shield beach with friends, potter around Ignite (fun, but short and at National Trust prices) and guide Piglet away from parked cars on her trike.

On the couch we finished off His Dark Material. Albeit we had to go back to watch the post-credits scene once we found out about it. Four seconds of Roger saying "Lyra, where am I?" Not quite Marvel. Coco made us both rheumy-eyed. And Townscaper is Colouring Book: The Game.

Not being fans of New Year's Eve at the best of times, plague year was a welcome relief. Covid was good for something. Spending it at home boozing sensibly with a stupendous steak was just perfect. Lǎolao turned 60 on New Year's Day, so we spent the majority of the night prepping her a 6 course meal. All she wanted was a Michelin Star dinner. But with the restaurants closed, The Chef had to earn her mantle.

She earned it.

After too long and too much time lying on a cold bathroom floor, the toilet still isn't fixed. I've sanded off all off the plumbers' mait and I'm now trying to wrap sealant tape around a pipe with 3 mm clearance. The tape sticks to itself. While fixing it, the roof started to leak. I might actually cry.

Bye reader. See you soon.

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Weeknotes 012: Dancing in a brewery

  • I saw an Australian stand-up warning people away from $6 bread because you can never go back to cheap (I'd link to it, but Twitter's search engine is very much in beta). Anyway, it's happened to us. We complained that Haagen-Dazs tasted sweet and artificial. Hipster ice cream from here on out.
  • Piglet has graduated to one story on the lap and one in the cot before putting herself down to sleep. Sometimes. It's a glimmer of toddlerhood.
  • She's also started counting to ten (skipping seven), which feels weird this young.
  • Christmas has arrived! We were off on Friday and decorated the tree. I managed a couple more little DIY jobs to keep my marriage intact while The Chef made the house green.
  • Piglet greeted the tree with awe and wonder. She's spent the last few days demanding to see it every hour and saying hi and bye to it.
  • The Chef was working this weekend, so we had our second Daddy-Daughter weekend. The aim was to avoid A&E this time. The closest we got was seeing one of the neighbour's kids getting wiped out by the swinging seesaw in the park. She's fine. But it was a good clonk.
  • We swung via Mushroom Works to pick up some art from their open studios event and, because we were out and needed beer for a sticky ribs recipe, we swung via the nearby brewery. They had Christmas tunes on and Piglet charmed the hearts of everyone there by cracking out her moves.
  • It turns out there are only 20 milk teeth. And now that number 15 is out, we could have a full set before her second birthday.
  • It's the 7th December and we're still not Whamaggedoned

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Weeknotes 011: Decaffeinated

A bullet-pointy update this week. My weekly scribbles are too disjointed to try thread continuously.

  • I've noted a few times that this is a sleep tracking blog. Having gone back through and added a sleep tag to the 100 words, I'm happy to confirm that I updated the world on how poorly I slept 15% of the time.
  • Piglet's attention span has increased enough to read slightly longer books without demanding a page turn every second. We can follow plots. Me and The Chef now want to know what happened to the 5 currant buns Mrs. Rabbit buys which make no further appearance. We think she troffed them herself between the pages.
  • I use Authy for 2-factor authentication. Every couple of months it checks that I can remember my backup password. A useful design prompt that I'm stealing for some work stuff.
  • Finished If Beale Street Could Talk this week. It's the second book I've read this year—first being No Country for Old Men—where the directors made my imagination redundant. Barry Jenkins has my heart and eyeballs for everything from here on out.
  • Because I'm the type of dweeb to have a RSS-feed for the local council website, we've got an engineer coming round in 2 weeks to see if we're eligible for a free heat pump. Likely we won't get it, but the consultation should be worth it alone.
  • Having already had maskne, I've now got athlete's ear. When's that vaccine due?
  • This excellent nonsense song has been doing the rounds. I can't decide if it better matches Piglet or Grandad's interpretation of songs on the radio.
  • Lockdown II has been more wearying than I'd like. I've been feeling anxious while at work (in the attic), so I tried cutting caffeine out. Day one led to a low-grade headache and concomitant bad mood. Felt better for it a few days down the line and I'll try to keep it to alternate days at most for the foreseeable.
  • If I do backslide, I'll be sure to make no note of it on here. In 10 years I'll read of continuous improvement and wonder why it was always the first jog I was embarking on.
  • I did manage to get at least one job done

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Weeknotes 010: Month Notes

Missed a couple of weeknotes for no more exciting a reason than the new series of His Dark Materials airs in my usual Sunday night write-up slot. We're three episodes in and Piglet hasn't interrupted once.

Having missed a few weeks, there should be plenty to write about. But Lockdown 2: Electric Avenue, innit?

We got out on Sunday for a walk around the Rising Sun. Piglet woke from her nap just in time to perform her full repertoire of animal noises for said animals. The ducks were the most appreciative. In the absence of chickens or elephants, the remaining impressions were shouted at an empty field.

It was our first walk in a couple of weeks. The advent of canines ruined Piglets overnight sleep. She's been fine during the day, so me and The Chef had a 2-hour nana nap on both days of last weekend. Felt pretty damn good on Monday.

The Chef has railed against her moniker and had a fortnight largely off cooking. I'd like to say I've stepped up and taken the slack, but instead we've drastically increased out takeaway intake. Our guts have had aromas and running up the stairs slightly too quickly is enough to leave me worryingly short of breath. Intervention time.

Piglet has been far from breathless. She's attempting to run (with little success) and is nearing the hundred words mark. Her second most impressive piece of rote memorisation is when she 'counts' to ten. Only topped by her ability to recognise and recite the numbers. Keep it up and she could be the next Sesame Count.

She's been all that stands between me and full vegetation. Winter lockdown has slaughtered my motivation. We've a hundred odd jobs that need tackling in the house, but between sleep and play, it's felt like there's not been the time. I've not even managed many books. It's week 11 all over again.

At least one or two jobs will have happened before the next weeknote if I'm to remain married.

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Weeknotes 009: It's quiet. Too quiet?

We've prepped for Lockdown 2: Electric Boogaloo by having an extremely quiet week. Which is OK. Quiet weeks can be fun.

We spent Saturday wandering unpleasantly round town. Too many people. Too few correctly worn masks and misunderstandings of how far 2m is. Piglet had her Hallowe'en costume on though and melted at least 50 hearts.

We spent today chilling around the neighbourhood, which was much more appreciated. Cooked fish and chips again and we're lying under a blanket on the couch listening to 6Music with a drink while Piglet lies in a drug filled sleep.

Quiet.

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Weeknotes 008: Latenotes

Sometimes a Sunday is less than stellar for reasons. And weeknotes appear late.

We didn't get a call from Public Health England. Just a regular toddler bug.

In non-intestinal Piglet news, she's graduating from Daisy to Buttercup room at nursery. It means she's leaving the weak of neck and leg behind, in favour of other loud walkers.

For us, we had the fun of filling out the "Why is your daughter amazing?¹" paperwork and reflecting on who she is.

A few that didnt make the list,but that we're proud of nevertheless:

  • Saying "gentle" has come to mean "pat carefully". If she's being too forward with someone's face and we call out, they end up getting a nice cheek stroke.
  • We taught her to smell flowers. But she's triggered by the word flower. So she'll stop and smell Lego, books, and cauliflowers. Complete with satisfied ah noise when she's done.
  • To encourage her drinking water, we taught her how to do "Cheers".

The clock change knocked our schedule and we've not responded well as a family. We went to see Grandma on Sunday for her birthday. Everyone was groggy. Grandma got nestled into with some Hey Duggee. Which might be the best present I've ever brought her.

Work wise, things have felt more in control of late. Nothing revolutionary, just a few sensible, boring changes. I haven't gone full bullet journal, but I'm at least writing a daily to do list at the end of the day. And I'm doing 5 minute Sworkit sessions. Not enough to shift any fat, but enough to keep my mood up.

It's still fragile and subject to setback—we're still recovering from September—but it could be sustainable.

I've filled the working day with the music of Karine Polwart and even managed a film on one evening. Safe to say I'll watch any and all films of Barry Jenkins when they're released. He can capture all of life in an expression held in frame.


1: A real question from the form.

Weeknotes 007: Is she breathing?

Piglet got an early start on Hallowe'en by shitting blood. Which was certainly something. It meant I got to spend the majority of Daddy-Daughter Saturday in junior A&E. She's apparently fine, but there's a chance we're going to get a call from Public Health England in a couple of days to quarantine the neighbourhood.

More than we're already quarantined.

Well, if we're quarantined. Maybe gyms are open. Unless it's car boot sales. At least our MP, Chi Onwurah is posting sense and we can check that grandparents are allowed, even in tier 3. As for the other lot...

Back to Piglet, she'd not cleared last week's illness. Grandparents had been willing to risk their floors and let her play nappy-less, much to her delight. The GP suggested it might be transient lactose intolerance and she went dairy free for the week. Including an involuntary wean, which wasn't a popular decision.

The upset stomach has meant that the wash loads are split into lights , darks, nappies and things-that-aren't-nappies-but-are-still-covered-in-shit.

With the blood waiting till Saturday to show up, I got to ring 111 instead of the GP. The script they're given isn't the operators fault. But the first question after being on hold for over half an hour; "Is she still breathing?"

I thought,

"No, she's not. That's why I skipped first aid or calling 999 in favour of listening to your hold messages for the afternoon"

But I said,

"Yes"

For all my grousing, she looks to be fine. And her buddy from nursery has Covid. So a few weeks of loose stools is far from the worst thing. And The Chef and I have a library of poo pictures to remember this week by.

We're finishing the week off with another of Anna Del Conte's tasty meals, some questionable North Macedonian wine and an attempt to tally Piglet's vocabulary.

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Weeknotes 006: Secondhand mooncups

This week, I've been aiming to live as joyfully as a toddler with the plastic frame from a broken cafetiere and some balls in a box.

Her joy has been even more admirable as she's ill again. She's been going to nursery since August and only completed both days once. This time the call was for diarrhea and temperature. It's still rumbling on four days later. We've had the heating on full blast and she's been playing pantless on some puppy training matts. It's meant a lot of disinfecting the floor, but she needed time out of a nappy.

Prior to having the heating on full blast, we've felt the chill this week. We've not got round to switching from summer to winter duvet, so we stole the bedding from the spare room and had two blankets instead. It's like having one of those expensive anxiety blankets, but for the cost of not having guests around. Which we can't do anyway.

The personal positive of Piglet's illness, is that she's softened her stance on the point of Dad. Earlier in the week she'd taken against me and there were tantrums if I picked her up or asked for a cuddle. I'm not going to pretend that didn't smart.

Whilst it's mostly been Hey Duggee on during the convalescence, national treasure Michael Rosen is getting daily outings. The Chef has a theory that, because the mam isn't illustrated in We're Going on a Bear Hunt, it's all allegorical and the bear is the mam, woken too early on a Sunday.

Michael Rosen beat Piglet to our house. He was first invited through his Sad Book. As the title suggests, it's one of the most heartbreaking books I've ever read. Quentin Blake is on hand to do justice to the words. I need to buy a new copy having sent it out on forever loan to a friend.

The other national treasure in our house is Margaret. Better than any instruction manual, she's responsible for our car seat being fitted safely. We love a sensible lady around here. She instigated another round of introspective awe that our parents managed to raise us without any internet.

Speaking of the internet, this Tom Waits thread is lovely. Full of charm, insight and humour. I'd already commented and it felt indulgent to add a story from a dream, but these are weeknotes and are all about self-indulgence. It was in the before times of 2019. I dreamt that Tom Waits and Bon Jovi did an arena tour together, but they would only sing each other's songs. It was terrible, even in a dream. But it's the reason my Tom Waits covers playlist is called Bon Waits & Tom Jovi.

The other pleasant modern living thing—now that piglet is 15 month old—is the constant delight from the "1 year ago today" notifications on our phones.

Crossed wires meant The Chef had the car on the day I was to pick up a balance bike christmas present. Cycling with a bike strapped to your back is not recommended in Newcastle. A faded painted line was all that was between me and cars doing fifty. It led to me filling out half a dozen feedback forms on cycling improvement schemes.

In Facebook marketplace news, the secondhand mooncup has some interest. Pregnancy tests are on there too. I'm assuming unused.

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Weeknotes 005: Gravity is a habit that is hard to shake off

You know that gif from Avengers where Bruce Banner explains his secret is that he's always angry? That. But for our dishwasher needing to go on.

* * *

We've been co-sleeping over the last fortnight while teeth break. But, after two solid weeks of pain and effort, Piglet is now the proud owner of a full, extra half of a tooth.

Just 17.5 more teeth.

At this pace, that's 8 months' worth of calpol.

* * *

Months ago we bought a secondhand high chair and gave it a paint. Unfortunately, being hipsters we chose a chalk finish that Piglet could peel off and eat. On Sunday I eventually got round to stripping it so we can use it again.

Feeling pumped from all the grass I'd killed with white spirits, I went to collect and fit a bike seat for her. We took a pedal across the moor and ended in an unplanned beer garden visit. First time in a pub since February.

* * *

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Living with a toddler means living with misadventure. I've started a mental clock for when I'm going to step on deadly Duplo and plunge back down the stairs.

Barely had I started the clock when I was beaten to it by Piglet. She wanted to play on the stairs unsupervised and reaching out to restrain her led to her pulling away and missing a step. The second from top step.

Two things will stay with me. Her pleading expression of confused terror as she fell, thudding to the floor. And the break in my own mythology that I can save her from these things.

I'm a disgustingly self-confident optimist. Even nightmares can normally be turned around with a bit of impudent cheek. In the dream where Piglet is falling, I always catch her. But real life punctured that with pinwheeling gravity.

Being small and mostly made of fat, the extent of the damage was a barely perceptible egg on her head from the stone floor. Which didn't lessen the panic while trying to discover broken bones in an inconsolable toddler.

The next day was spent at Lǎolao and Lǎoyé's. The stream of photos of her enjoyment calmed my fretting. I can't save her from life, but we can surround her with love and kindness. Which is about the best we can hope for.

* * *

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We feasted through mid-autumn festival and marked the passing of time by packing away Piglet's baby toys. No more rattles or Fisher Price Circle of Neglect®. Replaced with puddle-jumping wellies and a rocking chair. Our living room—for one night only—is free of her stuff.

* * *

I sneezed while wearing a facemask. It was deeply unpleasant.

Weeknotes 004: Too nice a notebook to sully

On a crisp afternoon walk, The Chef was eulogising her love of autumn. "It's that the sky feels further away." Which makes no sense. Except that it kind of does. It's the quality of the blue.

Back in the summer I got a notebook for my birthday that I've still not written in. It's just too nice. I even searched Bullet Journals to see if I was worthy enough to keep one. I'm not. The search for a use continues.

Robert Heaton's I got married and had kids so you don't have to was a swirling, circling, rambling essay on being a new-ish Dad (specifically a Dad and not just parenting) in Covid times.

[He's] started to become more fun since I last wrote about him. He’s always been fun of sorts, but it was usually fun like cooking, not actual fun like playing PlayStation.

...

My hot take on baby science is that humanity knows an enormous amount about what is good for children, but this knowledge is so baked in to our lives that we don’t notice it.

It's a good read. It reminded me of Paul Mucur's weeknotes. Both invited parenting on themselves a month or two after me, but are going through the same experiences. It's reassuring, while the world is busy being everything, to hear secondhand accounts which rhyme with my own. And I get to laugh at things like protest bananas.

At 15 months, Piglet has already broken my Spotify recommendations. After a concerted effort, I've wrestled about a third of the weekly recommendations back to twee indie, with the rest being made of relaxing nursery piano music and ambient noises. I think this might be my high-water mark for non-kid recommendations until 2040. I did get round to collating a Piglet bedtime playlist with this lot on there.

Rather than starting with the planned crumble, we followed Jane Pikett's Lemon and blackberry clafoutis recipe for our first forage. Delicious and disgustingly simple to make. It'll definitely get a replay this autumn.

While I write these, The Chef has just found someone selling a secondhand mooncup on Facebook. So that's a thing. No takers yet.

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Weeknotes 003: That does not smell nice

This week has been a restorative tonic for the soul. The prosaic hiccoughs of a regular week interspersed throughout fun adventures.

It started at 5 am on Sunday. You know that gif from Avengers where Bruce Banner explains his secret is that he's always angry? That. But for Piglet being awake.

Once downstairs she flipped herself headfirst off the couch onto the wooden floor. While calming her, I heard a bang from the utility room.

I can't stress this enough. Always vent your worm tea. Especially if there's a couple of dead ones in there. They ferment. Unless you want your child to be raised by The Clangers while you wipe stinky dead worm compost off the walls.

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We had holiday booked and paying £1000 to stay in a cottage less than an hour from home was off the cards, so we filled the week with day trips.

We started in Bamburgh on Monday. Fitting the new car seat took longer than expected and we were late setting off. When we got there, it was cold. No one was happy. Piglet stopped speaking Clanger long enough to crap on her clothes (which we thought at the time was bad, but oh ho ho). All in all, a far from auspicious start.

Tuesday's trip to Vindolanda went better. I realised I've radicalised The Chef when she asked the really rather sweet archaeologist if "Anyone else had taken the finds from the site?" I've long had a bee in my bonnet that London gets to have anything of note from up North. We got the reply that "They'd sold the original tablets to the British Museum because they didn't have the capability to store and present them safely. But that they're up to scratch now and we can go read some of them in the museum."

That's right: read Roman tablets. They're on wood and ended up in an anaerobic bog and are preserved well enough to read today.

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We had to be quiet talking to the archaeologist because Hugh Dennis was on site filming. (New series of Great British Countryside?) Once we find out what the programme is, we'll have to watch find out if we can hear Piglet mooing in the background.

Heading home showed us how wrong we were about Monday's poo. We thought it was the smell from nearby sheep. But it didn't dissipate. If anything it was getting worse. We pulled in to a lay-by to find that she'd enjoyed lunch so much that she was eating it a second time, post processing. Panicked we stripped her on the verge, damped her dress and wiped her off as trucks rolled past. Unphased, Piglet was asleep 5 minutes after setting off. The brand new carseat is already stripped and in the washing machine.

We went to visit friends near Durham on Wednesday. Inside their house. Which I hope is legal. If it's not, rather than incriminate myself, let's say this bit is fictional. Piglet had her usual panic on entering a strange building, but by the end was leaping out of our arms for cuddles with her new besties. Seeing friends is always lovely, but in the 'rona times, there's a keener edge on the joy.

Thursday was The Chef's birthday. We ditched Piglet at nursery and headed out for some delicious food at Rileys.

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It's a 4G blackspot, so we were almost back at the car before we found out about the local lockdown kicking in at midnight. A few calls to the grandparents and everyone was round for another bout of farewells.

The local council had included an exception for informal family care, which has been refused by the clowns. Our house "doesn't have track and trace like a pub." Despite me knowing the addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth and favourite foods of the four people. If it doesn't have a till, it's not important.

Northumberland Country Zoo does have a till, so we went there on Friday. If we're honest, it's just a big farm. But they've got Lemurs, so they get to call themselves a zoo.

Piglet was nonplussed by the more exotic animals, favouring a stand off with a duck and trying to feed her fingers to a goat.

So excited was she by the duck, that we took a trip out the Havannah Park on Saturday. It's another wildlife reserve within 10 minutes of the house that we didn't know about. We filled our first bag of blackberries, ready for a crumble. Ah, autumn.

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Weeknotes 002: Loss

This week we suffered a miscarriage.

The early pregnancy signs were similar to the last time we miscarried. We were anxious and refused to allow ourselves to expect too much. To calm our minds, I cooked up a theory of dates that would mean there's no reason to worry. It was all explainable and sensible.

I was downstairs with Piglet when H called down, "I'm bleeding."

She rested the rest of the day in the hope that it was just a scare. But it got heavier.

We hadn't yet spoken to the GP or midwife. The first call was to book a scan to confirm everything had gone wrong.

The first time we miscarried—Blueberry—we were distraught in the hospital, trying to find somewhere private enough to hug in tears. After I called my Mam to tell her, I lay on the kitchen floor and bawled. When I rang work I could only manage to choke out that I couldn't come in. But this time, because we hadn't let ourselves open up fully to hope, it hasn't been possible to open up fully to grief.

I stilled cried when I had to tell Mam. And that's the only time I've cried. It feels easier and harder at the same time. Some of it must be because we already have Piglet. Sadness, but without the sharp edge of fear of, "What if we can't ever?" And some must be from the hard shell of fear that encased our hope. Our future child.

After the scan, H and I walked through a park, talking through the numbness we were feeling, trying to articulate and describe it so we could release it.

I'd thought that I'll end up with the same amount of sadness, spread out for longer without the release of the peak. But I can't avoid the callous belief that that's not true. I haven't wanted to admit it to myself and face my own judgment, but maybe this time I won't feel as much loss.

Importantly, H is OK and the scan has shown no lasting effects. Piglet will just have to wait a little longer for a sibling.

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Weeknotes 001: What the blimp?

The 100 words, 100 days challenge is over. I don't think I achieved my set out aim of improving my writing, but it's been a nice way to capture life in what otherwise would have been the loop and repeat of lockdown.

Now that it's done, I've decided to keep up with some form of blogging. I've made mention of weeknotes a couple of times and I'm giving them a shot.

So, without further ado, weeknote one.


I bought some pen plotter art from Rev Dan Catt's season of the ghost. I only bought a single silver on black postcard and look what he generously bundled in! A full haunted envelope. It's made my frame purchase more involved.

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Jeremy Keith—the inspiration for the 100 words, 100 days—was kind enough to link to my efforts on his blog, Adactio. It's been a staple of my RSS feed for years for a constant stream of interesting thought (the link to here excepted). He has an excellent collection of design principles. And it was pleasant to bookmark something written by a stranger linking to something I wrote.

In Piglet news, she got a handy-down Duplo train set. Which is to say, me and The Chef got a handy-down Duplo train set and we let her play with it too. Lǎolao and Lǎoyé visited and, while we prepped Piglets lunch, they argued over the right way to build an over-track arch.

One night we even got her to sleep early enough to watch a movie. We plumped for The Farewell having missed it in cinemas, courtesy of having a baby. It was both enjoyable in its own right and in being worryingly close to being a biopic for The Chef.

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Buying frames is hard. In the meantime I've posted the ghosts on the door of the home office. It'll make for a talking piece in one of the hundred video calls in the next week.

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