Friday, December 21, 2012

Norovirus

A fair indication that you may not be having the best night ever: it is 4:21am, you are stood in your baby's bedroom. You are holding your baby, facing away from you, with one arm. Your other arm is covered in vomit. The carpet you are standing on is covered in vomit. The cot you have removed the baby from is covered in vomit. The baby is naked because its clothes were covered in vomit. You are wearing just your pants.

Last Sunday, all of the above applied to me.

Mrs L started feeling a little unwell around lunchtime. By three in the afternoon she was in bed. Apart from when she wasn't in bed because she was doing one of the things that Norovirus makes you do. You know the ones. Erk.

So the 4:21am alarm call (is there a worse alarm call than the sound of a baby doing proper vomiting for the first time in its life? I think not. I haven't changed the alarm sound on my phone to it.) was mostly for me. Mrs L did get up, because she's hardcore, but was soon back in bed.

Seeing your son lying face down in a two foot diameter pool of his own vomit is quite scary. Especially when he's not moving. Sleeps well that boy. Without thinking too much about it, I picked him up and started changing his clothes and nappy.

At the point where he was most naked, the viral invaders resumed their attack on his tummy. I picked him up to comfort him. He vomited over my shoulder onto the carpet.

I stood on the vomity carpet for a bit, feeling lost. I couldn't work out what to do first. Despite Cam's recent stomach and bowel evacuations he was in a ridiculously chipper mood. He certainly wasn't going to sit still while I cleaned up the rest of the room. Especially since Cam is to vomit as a magnet is to ferrous metal: irresistibly attracted.

Being a parent is weird. Things happen on a regular basis that make me think "I don't know what I'm doing", but somehow I muddle through. That's what we all do. There is no definitive manual for parenting (there may be things which THINK they're definitive manuals for parenting, but they're not). There is nothing in a book which will instruct you on how to grow a second pair of arms in order to hold the baby and simultaneously change the bedclothes and clean the carpet.

But we manage.

I don't remember what order I did things in, but somehow he ended up with a new sheet on the bed. A clean nappy, vest and babygrow. A hastily cleaned carpet. A dazed and confused father.

My Christmas wish for all of you is that Norovirus doesn't come to visit.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Justin Bieber and the Apocalypse

I saw an absolutely fantastic tweet this morning. There's a picture of it somewhere in this post. I don't know where because I'm posting from my phone which makes the formatting pure guesswork.

It made me do an actual LOL. I laughed out loud at the idea of Justin Bieber as the saviour. The averter of the apocalypse. Then I laughed at the idea of the apocalypse. Then I laughed at Twitter for giving so many people a platform to spout 140 character snippets of hilarious bullshit.

I'm imagining Justin Bieber standing atop a blackened mountain, his shirt torn open, the sky behind him burning with the fury of a world ending.

His hair is defiant. Immaculate. It is our first clue that he WILL NOT STAND BY AND LET HIS BELIEBERS DOWN.

Apocalypse Now? Apocalypse NO.

Staring into the sulphurous sky The Bieber awaits the arrival of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, or whatever the Mayans (didn't) believe was going to carry out the annihilation.

At the foot of the mountain, practically orgasmic in their froth of fanaticism, stand the Beliebers. Thirty one million, seven hundred and two thousand and nine hundred and fifty five of them; screaming. Not in fear at their imminent doom, but in abundant ecstasy at the sight of their teenage deity.

The ground around them begins to crack, rent asunder by the cosmic forces working to reduce humanity to dust. The Beliebers stand strong. Arms linked, faces set in grim determination.

It is time. Bieber draws breath and prepares to unleash his world saving vocals. Mayans be damned.

He opens his mouth, sings the first word of Baby (baby? Probably) and the mountain collapses. The gaping earth swallows Justin and the hordes of Beliebers. The rest of the world is left unscathed.

Justin Bieber the saviour? Bitch please…


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Preference

Sorry, I know I'm a bit late to this party, but what about that David Davies?

He's a Tory MP, so it should come as little surprise to hear him saying something I disagree with. Par for the course that, and something I can usually bring myself to ignore. Good job really, since if I wasn't able to ignore the blatherings and blusterings of Tory MPs I'd probably collapse in on myself like an imploding star. The resultant black hole would probably be no good for people of any political preference.

Which leads me (sort of) to the specific thing David Davies was going on about which got me wound up enough to blog about it.

Preference.

We all have preferences. It would be a dull old world if we didn't. They're very personal for the most part. Some are less so, driven by a sense of right and wrong. There are also many, many things where people have no preference.

For example: Given the choice of kicking David Davies in the left shin or the right, I would have no preference. They would be equally enjoyable and amusing. There would be, as far as I can reasonably foresee, no advantage to doing one or the other.

Mr Davies told us on the weekend (in the midst of the wider, tedious discussions on gay marriage) that he "thinks most parents would prefer their children not to be gay".

This has been irritating me since I heard it.

He's not being homophobic by saying that you understand. He can't be homophobic, because he once sparred with a gay boxer. Not only that, he LIKES AND RESPECTS said gay boxer. Obviously this is the best argument in the world; I use a similar one when my mum asks why I don't like Brussels Sprouts: I can't dislike them, I ate one when I was seven.

Erm, anyway, he thinks parents would prefer their kids not to be gay because they want to be grandparents. My sister is gay. She has a four month old baby. For goodness sake David, this is 2012, of course gay people can have children.

But that's not the point. It isn't the role of anyone's child to simply pander to the whims of their parents. Even if Davies' statement is true (and I really, really hope it isn't) it doesn't matter one bit. Just ask the millions of dads who would prefer their sons to become professional footballers. What a parent might prefer and what is actually going to happen can (and probably should) be a world apart.

Among my list of non-preferences is the gender of the people my son ends up doing the naked pentathlon with. I honestly couldn't give a solitary shit. And if I did give a shit, I would hope I'll have raised my son well enough to know that he should tell me to fuck off.

Which is exactly what I'd prefer David Davies to do.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Work, Programme

Imagine for a moment that the sole reason for your existence is to find employment for people who do not have it.

Are you imagining it?

How do you feel? Do you feel like it's probably quite a tough thing to do? I think I'd feel that way.

Now imagine that, in order to facilitate you finding employment for people who do not have it, you have been given £435 million pounds since the middle of 2011.

Wow! That's a whole lot of money isn't it? £435 million buys a lot of Jaffa Cakes. It buys so many Jaffa Cakes that my (non-scientific, natch) calculator CANNOT EVEN CONCEIVE OF THE NUMBER. Fortunately, I am cleverer than the calculator and can tell you that it's 10,440,000,000 Jaffa Cakes.

But you haven't used the money you were given to buy Jaffa Cakes, have you? No. Of course not. You've been using it to find employment for people who do not have it.

Which is good, because no-one's going to have given you £435 million without setting some performance targets. If you'd just gone out and bought all those Jaffa Cakes you'd have definitely fallen short of those targets.

Well guess what?

The (private sector) companies who've ACTUALLY been given all this money might as well have just bought the Jaffa Cakes, because despite being given that enormous sum of money (so far, there's more to come) they have collectively managed to find long term employment for *dramatic pause for effect* 3.5% of the people they have had referred to them.

*prolonged slow hand clap*

The target set by The Department for Work & Pensions, by the way, was 5.5%. It's good to aim high, apparently.

Obviously, as I'm a left leaning believer in all things nice and fluffy, I'm sort of questioning whether throwing enormous piles of cash at private companies is really the best way of going about finding people employment. I'm definitely questioning whether it's a good idea to continue throwing more money at them when they haven't met their targets.

I'll stick my neck out here and make an assumption: A few people are doing really fucking well out of all this, but they're not the supposed beneficiaries of The Work Programme. To me, this stinks of giving money to the private sector when they have no chance of achieving a good return on that investment.

Nearly nine hundred thousand people had been referred to one of these companies in the first year of the scheme, are there even nine hundred thousand job vacancies in the country?

Also, isn't this what the Job Centre is for? What sort of results do they achieve? What would be the results if no action at all had been taken? Or if some of the money had been used to provide grants or loans to people who wanted to start their own small businesses?

Unemployment is shit. Really, really shit. And there's loads of it about. So I understand there's a need to do something about it. I just don't think The Work Programme is the right thing to be doing.

And I really want a Jaffa Cake.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Soft Play

Generally speaking it seems to be considered unacceptable to pass comment on the parenting styles of other people.

I largely agree with this. Want to feed your baby from the breast? Go for it, breastfeeding is ace. Prefer the bottle approach? Dandy, formula feed to your heart's content. Attachment Parenting? Sounds lovely, who doesn't like a cuddle? (I know there's more to it than this, I'm being facetious) Gina Ford disciple? It's not for me, but shit, it isn't my child so I have no say.

Basically, in pretty much whatever circumstance I've come across in my short stint as a parent I've been happy to let other parents do their own thing. Until last Saturday.

You may remember last Saturday. It was wet. Really wet. With actual floods and shit. Dramatic stuff, no mistake.

Because it was wet, we decided to go to the local soft play centre with a couple of friends and their respective small people.

It was busy.

It looked as if every parent within a five mile radius had been brainwashed by Derren Brown at the request of the soft play centre's owners: "when you wake up, you will go to soft play".

I half expected the world to end while we were inside, only for the moustachioed mind-fucker to debrief us all and tell us we were now reprogrammed to lead far better lives.

That didn't happen.

What did happen was I got into a fight with a three year old.

As, I suspect, most soft play centres do, this one features a "babies only" bit. There is a sign there, which says: "babies and crawlers only". Which seems an odd way of putting it, but does at least suggest that three year olds (most of whom can walk, yes? My knowledge of children isn't great) shouldn't be in that area.

So imagine my surprise when Cam and his little friend Daisy, happily playing in the dinky ball pool, with Daisy's dad and me sitting on the floor next to the pool making sure they didn't do any damage to themselves or each other, were suddenly joined by a boisterous bigger boy.

I say joined. I probably mean assaulted. The bigger boy blindsided both parents and did the full superman leap into the pool, scattering balls and only marginally missing the two babies.

We asked him nicely to leave the "babies and crawlers" area, said he needed to be a bit careful or he'd hurt the babies, because they're only small.

"I'm a big boy!"

*In my head* "Congratulations, now fuck off. Where are your parents?"

*In reality* "Yes, but these two are only little, there's a big ball pool for big boys like you over there, why don't you go over there?"

No. Instead, he sat back and started throwing the balls. At us, rather than the babies, so perhaps he was listening a little bit.

(Where are your parents?)

Periodic thrashing around near the babies made me decide it was time to remove him from the pool. I wasn't sure about this. But I was sure that I didn't want my seven month old baby to receive a blow to the head from this delightful child.

(Where are your parents?)

So, taking care not to do anything which might have been seen as forceful, I moved him out of the ball pool. Stupidly, I didn't pay enough attention to what his arms were doing, allowing him to grab my glasses from my face. Shitballs.

(WHERE ARE YOUR PARENTS?)

He wasn't about to relinquish the glasses without a fight, which was a bit of a tricky situation, as I didn't much want to deliver a left hook to a three year old (okay, I kind of did, but I NEVER WOULD). I held him in one hand and one arm of my glasses in the other. He had both hands on the rest of my glasses. Stalemate.

(Seriously now, shouldn't your parents have noticed you're having a fight with someone ten times your age? Even if they only wanted to come and cheer the fact you appear to be winning, you'd think they'd notice…)

Cue the arrival of the cavalry: my wife and a member of staff.

Prising his fingers from my glasses, my wife turned the tide. Hell child's spirit was broken, and he was walked over to his parents, who were told what he'd done.

His mother's reaction? She gave him a heavy smack, then returned to her coffee (which, apparently, was deserving of far more attention than her child).

This lovely encounter was how I learned that the time I will judge someone else's parenting is the time that it puts my own child in danger. I think that's fair enough. I wasn't brave enough to say anything to the mother though, she was enormous and looked like a regular from Jeremy Kyle.

Plus, if I couldn't beat her son in a fight, what chance did I have against her?

Have you ever had a run in with a naughty child (apart from your own)? What did you do? What is acceptable? Is a parent smacking their child going to discourage them from behaving violently toward other children? Hit me up in the comments box.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Question Time


A bloke who’s rather good at the blogging game told me once that a meme can be a good way to get out of a blogging slump.

Well, a blogging slump I am most definitely in. So I’m hoping that the tag I’ve got from that finest of pharmaceutical fellows Mr Adam Plum, who blogs at theplumbum.wordpress.com, will help to kick start my brain into producing some more text based fripperies for my readers.

Even if it doesn’t, it will at least give you something to have a look at in a spare five minutes. Don’t say I never give you anything, even if what I give you is rubbish.

I’ve already read a few other responses to this meme, and I’d encourage you to at least check out the two I’ve linked above, as well as the lovely Sunniva Anne’s. It’s legitimised voyeurism; enjoy the insights into people that it gives you.

Where do you do most of your writing/blogging?

A few months back, when I was writing really regularly and thinking blogging was the best thing since cheese on toast, I wrote almost all my post during my lunch breaks at work.

One sad day our internet filtering software was changed. Suddenly, we inhabited a digital prison, trapped behind bars made of proxy servers and site categorisation. Blogger became an unreachable mirage. I turned my attention from writing blog posts, to eating a variety of corn based snacks aimed at children.

My blogging output tumbled, but on the plus side I was rarely more than twenty four hours removed from my last packet of Monster Munch.

Now, when I can be bothered, I write the posts in Word, at my desk, then email them to myself for later posting. Occasionally I write a post at home. To be honest though, I’m pretty sure someone is stealing hours from the day, because there never seems to be time to do that.

So, in short: at my desk. 

What books were your childhood favourites?

This is a bit tricky. 

I was a voracious reader as a child. I loved books. I took to it quickly and was allowed to have my pick of whatever books the school had on offer well before I left infant school.

But I can’t really remember which ones I liked.

All of them?

Hmm.

I did have a particular soft spot for Maurice Sendak’s “In the Night Kitchen”, which is poetic and dramatic and fantastical, and also has the benefit of wonderfully drawn pictures to accompany the words.

I also read a lot of non-fiction. I loved all the books about planes, cars and dinosaurs which I was given. Space too. I often wish someone had pointed out to me that all of the things in these books (well, apart from dinosaurs) were made using MATHS, a subject I loathed and struggled with, but may have put more into had I known how important it was.

Perhaps they did tell me, and I just didn’t listen.

Have you ever Googled yourself and been surprised at what you’ve found?

I have done the old vanity Google, yes.

Surprised? Largely, no. Historically I’ve not been particularly worried about hiding behind aliases online, so most of what pops up is old forum activity (bikes and Peugeot 106s) and some references to the basketball club I play for and helped to run for a few years.

What did surprise me is that there’s another me. I have a relatively unusual surname, combined with a not too common first name. Another me was not expected, especially as I had known for many years that I was the only one of me on the electoral roll.

The other me is younger, has a genuinely impressive six pack, but also appears to be a bit of a chavvy tool. On the whole, I think I win.

What is your favourite time of day and why?

Depends on the day.

The moment I wake up and realise I’ve done so naturally, and without any baby related interruptions, that’s a good time of day.

The time of day when I finish my battle with the commuting hordes and arrive home to my wife and baby, that’s a good time of day.

The time of day when the quality of light makes me want to grab my camera and run out of the door to try and capture it, that’s a good time of day (unless something stops me running out of the door, as it often does…)

I like all times of day. Apart from 2:30pm when I get my post-lunch slump. That is a shit time of day. 

Who would play me in a movie of my life?

I think I may have answered this in another meme, back in the day. Back then I reckoned on Jason Lee. I stick by that.

One material possession I could not live without.

I think I would be very, very sad if I didn’t have a bike. But I’m also rather fond of my ludicrously enormous barbecue/spaceship.

Hmm.

Actually, could not live without? In the strictest sense? Probably my glasses. I’d trip over something and injure myself, then not be able to see my way to the hospital. So I might ACTUALLY DIE.

Have you ever been naked in public?

I don’t recall ever being naked in public. That’s not to say it definitely hasn’t occurred. But, to be honest, I doubt it.

What/who/where was your first proper kiss?

My first girlfriend (that answers the first two parts of that question, yes?) Outside her parents house. The house which some friends of ours now own and I feel slightly odd about going inside, like it’s a time vortex or something. Even though all the wallpaper’s been changed.

Well, there you go. The meme has been memed. I memed a meme. Now I’d like to invite the following bloggers to do answer the same questions, in order to further memify the internets:


Meme at will ladies and gentleman. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I Spy - S

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

This week the letter is S. Fortunately I recently took a photo of something beginning with S, and here it is:



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



Mum of One

Monday, October 29, 2012

Bike

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

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

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

This is not the bike you're looking for.

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

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

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

You love the bike.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I Spy With My Little Eye - Q

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

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

Here's the pic:


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



Mum of One

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Day at Home Dad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So I decided to go and do a Tesco shop.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 15, 2012

Shit Shop


Do you know what’s shit?

I’ll give you a clue: It’s Argos.

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

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

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

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

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

But, have you tried shopping at Argos ONLINE?

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

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

Amazing!

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

Not so for Argos.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*possibly an exaggeration

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Why

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

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

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

So then, why do I blog?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I Spy with my little eye - M

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

This week the letter is M.

Here's the pic:


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

Mum of One

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cam's War

Sometimes, when he cries, I wake with a jolt. As if I am Frankenstein's monster, my bed is the operating slab, and his cry is the immeasurably powerful lightning strike. Fast asleep to full alert in the 0.014 seconds it takes for the sound to travel from his mouth to my ear.

A fully alert brain doesn't translate to a fully alert body. Several full seconds pass before my limbs and joints can be convinced to join in the party. His lungs are now in full swing, gulping in air and converting it to pure anguish. The sound of being alone, of waking up to a world still so new to him that his brain needs to recalibrate every morning, but mostly the sound of doing battle.

His invisible enemies torment him through the day and through the night. They wriggle, they move, they prod and push, though they don't yet protrude. Dentin Soldiers: milk teeth. Waging war on our tiny boy, whose only defences are copious saliva, chewing on his own hands and those heart wrenching howls of agony.

By the time my recalcitrant hips have been coerced into action my wife is already up and soothing him, the soft shushing is designed to comfort, but to my ears also holds notes of concern and helplessness. What use are we to him? What relief can we give? All the quiet reassurances that he's okay mean nothing to him, or to the tiny incisors moving ever closer to eruption. We can not lull them to sleep any more than we can him. I stay in bed. We are zero help whether we are one or two.

Distraction proves impossible. He is lifted and embraced, held tight in my wife's arms and snuggled to her chest. Rocked and swayed. Regardless, the screams continue, the tears roll and leave their salty trace, the limbs thrash.

He comes into our bed, nestled between us to prevent the rolling over he has recently perfected. A moment's peace as his brain once again recalibrates to his new position, then the crying is back. Was it a moment or an hour? I'm not as alert as I thought. How long have I been asleep and allowing my wife to bear the brunt of this? Too long. Now it is my turn. I pick him up, offer him what I can: the sound of my voice, my finger to chew, my arms and chest to hit in frustration.

My tired brain is convinced he has filled his nappy. We return to his room and begin the changing process. There is no poo. But while I'm changing him from one clean nappy to another he is smiling. We play a little and all seems right for a few minutes. I sense a change which could mean this part of the war is over. I reinsert him in his 2.5 TOG cocoon and lay him back in his cot. Awake but calm I leave him. He is yawning. I am yawning.

Battle recommences within an hour. Feelings of pity and concern for him mix with a notion that we must be doing something wrong. Surely we ought to be able to help him? There is some trick we are missing and we are failing him by doing so. Whatever it is, we can't work it out. So he gets our best shot: 5ml of sugary analgesia poured into his gaping, angry mouth.

I'm given the go ahead to return to sleep. I need to be able to function to some degree when I go to work tomorrow. Today. In three hours. Doggedly, my wife continues to sit with him, singing a lullaby over and over. A statement of her love for him which carries through the air and sends me to sleep.

My battle is over for tonight.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fickle

Yesterday:

Cam's thoughts: "Oh look, there's daddy! I'll just give him a quick smile. Right, that's enough of that, time for some screaming." *commences screaming for ages*

My thoughts: "Oh wow, I've had a fairly crappy day, I'm really looking forward to seeing that beautiful little boy of mine now I'm back from work! We can have a nice hour and a half together before he needs to go to bed, a cuddle is just what I need. Aww, what a sweet little smile! Oh. Oh dear. Something seems to be bothering him, his bottom lip is sticking out and his chin is quivering. Oh. Now he's screaming his head off. Balls." *continues feeling grumpy* *doesn't like baby very much*

Mrs L's (likely) thoughts (I haven't actually asked her): "I'm so looking forward to handing this baby over to Mr L when he gets home, looking after him all day really is knackering and he's not been in the best of moods. He's usually pretty good at this time of day though, he can have a cuddle and then go off to bed. Ah. He's screaming inconsolably in Mr L's face. I'd better take him back." *Nnnnnnnnnnnnngggghh*

Today:

Cam: "Inexplicably, I'm in a good mood this evening. I'm going to sit in the jumperoo and bounce for ages as if nothing in the world could possibly please me more. I shall bestow my most endearing smiles upon daddy when I see him. Then, when he's getting me ready for bed I'll treat him to some real chuckles, I've not done that in a while."

Me: "Oh Jesus. I bet that baby is going to be as nightmarish today as he was yesterday. I really could do without that. What the funk? He's all cheerful. He's not even needing us to tend to him every five seconds. He thinks the jumperoo is the best thing ever. I'm going to get him ready for bed while he's still smiling. Oh my, now he's laughing at me. I don't think I've ever felt a stronger love than I do right now. This baby is wonderful."

Mrs L: "Oh thank fuck. They're getting on alright tonight."

Babies. Sometimes they're ace. Sometimes you want to go to the pub and forget about them for a bit.

Wonder which it'll be tomorrow.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Curry

Curry's nice isn't it? Most people seem to like it anyway. In my experience, my fellow bloggers are also nice. So I was looking forward to combining those two things at last Friday's South West blogger meet up at the Namaskar Lounge in Bristol.

I've never been in a curry house quite like this. It's all light, open, airy. Loads of glass. Very nice indeed. Had I known this, I may not have decided to cycle there and have just a scruffy t-shirt and pair of shorts to change into once I got there. No worries though, it was all good. The staff looked after us well (the waitress seemed slightly distraught when she missed me finishing a glass of wine and I had to top it up myself) and the food was really good.

Also in attendance were @jbmumofone@purplemum, @adele_jk and @knittymummy, who I had met before, and knew to be lovely. There were two new faces as well, the lovely @medicatedfollower and award winning dad blogger @thefooltweets. All of these people have real names as well, and I even knew all of them, which was a pleasant surprise.

We had some good chat, about blogging (obviously), about the demise of internet chat rooms, about my ridiculous obsession with bicycles, about all sorts of other stuff.

Meeting other bloggy peeps in real life has been one of the best things about starting a blog, I'm really grateful that I'm in an area where there are loads of us about, and that we have someone in Jen who is doing the boring job of making us all get together. If you have the opportunity to get together with some other bloggers and haven't done so, I can't recommend it enough.

Great evening, great people, great curry. Winning.

The Namaskar Lounge gave us a group discount on our food, but all that stuff up there about the place is my own genuine opinion, it was very, very good.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Want

Cameron wants to go to sleep. It has been two hours since his last nap. That's about the time he decides to let you know it's time for another one, in the only way a five month old can.

He's supposed to be having a nap in the car on the way to a lunch we're supposed to be going to. I want to go to the lunch, and so does my wife. No matter that we want to though, we can't. Because, like a twat, I have broken the garage door, and now it won't close.

I WANT the garage door to JUST FUCKING WORK. The garage door, apparently, WANTS to be an ill designed, badly installed, shonky piece of crap which doesn't perform its intended function, which is hardly diffucult. If I was an eight foot square piece of metal I would be an exemplary garage door. But, alas, I'm only six feet tall, a couple wide, and made of squishy flesh.

Whatever. I don't want to be a garage door anyway. But what do I want? What would I say I wanted if I wasn't inhibited by the trappings of adulthood, if I could release the same sort of guttural protest Cam does when he isn't getting what he wants? Thanks to that lovely chap @AdamPlum I now have the perfect excuse to find out. He has tagged me in a meme started by the frankly awesome Lexi over at Mammy Woo.

It's simple, a list of wants, so here's mine:


  • I want to wake up without a feeling of dread in my stomach every morning. Whatever the job is that will give me that, I want to find it. Alternatively, more likely, whatever the change that has to happen in me for that feeling to go away is, I want to happen. 
  • I want Cam to be happy. Simple. Whatever it takes, and whatever it means, that's what I want.
  • As above, but for Mrs L.
  • I want to believe that one day someone far cleverer than me will work out what the sustainable, workable alternative to capitalism is and start to convince everyone else to take it up.
  • Until then, I want more money. We may be working within the rules of a broken system, but money is the cornerstone of that system for as long as it remains. More money means more freedom, more security, more options. It also, in my case, is likely to mean more bicycles and more shoes.
  • I want to either be, or feel like, I'm a real person. At the moment I spend most of my time wondering when the world is going to call me out as a fraud. I'm not confident that I'm doing life right.
  • I want to have less of an appetite for junk food and booze. Just a little less.
  • I want there to be a Caterham in my garage.
  • I want (without wishing to be all Miss World) everyone to get along. It's not that hard really. Or, if it is, just don't be a dick about not getting on with people. There's lots of other people you will get along with, so why not just leave the ones you don't alone?
There. Wants. Now, who's going to give me that Caterham so I don't have to start bawling my eyes out and thrashing around like a monkey whose tail's been set on fire? I may also need a new garage door, so it doesn't get stolen.

As this is a meme type post, there just remains the need to tag a few other bloggers to hear their own list. Here we go:

@Glosswitch, because I don't think she'll do it, but I know I'd find it interesting if she did.
@tricky_customer, because she's ace and I'm nosey.
@jbmumofone, because she's super lovely and hasn't even shouted at me for not doing the meme she tagged me in ages ago...
@ageingmatron, because she'll make me laugh (no pressure)

Thanks for reading, if you got this far.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Re:shuffle

Dear son of mine, how nice it must be to be a baby. When you wake up singing every morning one or other parent (usually your mum, I'm not going to lie) comes into your room and is treated to a beaming smile. You are a happy little soul. Your only care in the world is the array of teeth jostling for position beneath your gums.

I envy you.

Soon enough you will wake up and watch the news. If you had done that this morning you'd have heard that a man in London, a man who shares your name but, with luck, nothing else, had made some changes to his team of Cabinet ministers which he'd be announcing later in the day.

You could have gone to work, wondering whether Mr Cameron had decided that the policies his government have pursued since their (sort of) election in 2010, the policies which caused his Chancellor to be booed by eighty thousand spectators at the London Paralympic Games last night, policies I believe are designed to alienate and demonise the disadvantaged people in our society in order to make the rest of the electorate think it's okay to remove the support the state gives them.

Deep down, you'd probably know that was unlikely. That Cameron wouldn't be changing his mind about the correctness of any of his party's policies. That the next two years will just feature more of the same.

More of DavCam's smug-faced, earnest assurances that everything they do is for the greater good. More of George Osborne's unbearable smirk in response to any questioning of his methods.

Actually, that's not strictly true. The changes to the Cabinet mean the next two years might be EVEN WORSE. Yay! The appointment of Jeremy Hunt to replace Andrew Lansley as Health Secretary could have implications for abortion rights (he doesn't like the idea of them being allowed more than twelve weeks into a pregnancy, okay ladies? I'm sure you'll understand). Not only that, Mr Hunt voted in favour of homeopathy hospitals. Maybe it's this vote that got him the job; infinitesimally small quantities of dubiously effective ingredients dissolved into lots of water are probably a cheaper treatment for cancer than the latest drugs, and we all know how important it is to reduce the deficit (it is, but is it really so hard to find some ways to do it that don't involve fucking over everyone on the way?)

There are other appointments, but, to be honest, I stopped paying too much attention. I already know I don't like the way the Tories vote on a wide range of issues. Putting a different, equally unqualified, Tory into a new role doesn't really mean anything more than a furtherance of the nastiness already happening. Same shits, different day.

The silver lining, I suppose, is that surely after another two years of this there won't be too many swing voters ticking the Tory box on their ballot? Labour may be (are) far from perfect, and I may never forgive the Liberal Democrats for looking like a real alternative and then capitulating to almost every Tory whim, but this current lot make my skin crawl. Make me want to divorce myself from the whole system, so low is my belief in it.

This isn't the first Tory government I've lived through, but it's the first I'll remember. I'm happy that you won't remember it Cam, because I want you to have whatever perfect happy thoughts are in your head now for as long as possible, and I'm pretty sure you're not dreaming about your namesake.

Monday, September 3, 2012

IKEA

On Saturday I had a truly lovely day. My brother drove from Nottingham to visit us, arriving early. We went cycling. Lovely. We came back and had a barbecue. Lovely. Some friends came over for chat, some Paralympic watching and drinks. LOVELY.

Yes, Saturday was a day to savour.

I know how the world works. Cruel bastard that it is, the world ensures you pay for your lovely day with one not so lovely. It must be excruciating. It must make you question your continued existence. It must, therefore, include a visit to IKEA.

The last time we went to IKEA was the day before Cam was born. This time we were hoping we'd just come back with a highchair. Plus the obligatory tea lights.

When you drive to IKEA there is always a traffic jam. This is because everybody else is going to IKEA. Everybody else is always going to IKEA, because they put crack cocaine in the meatballs so that you feel strangely compelled to return, even though the meatballs aren't very nice. The chips are soggy and the cola tastes like it was made by carbonating some toilet water and adding some non-specific brown from somewhere. Possibly the same toilet.

Because there's always a traffic jam, there's a sense of triumph just in arriving at IKEA. It's nice, because it masks the fact that IKEA is full of EVERYONE IN THE WORLD, all clammering after tea lights.

Everything in IKEA has a ridiculous name. Ostensibly this is because IKEA is Swedish, and apparently everything in Sweden is given a hilarious moniker. Maybe they just have a good sense of humour. 

Would you like a kitchen utensil called BIIG KOK? IKEA can help you out. A beanbag named LAJ TITZ? No problem. 

We bought some bibs for when we start to wean Cam. They are actually called KLADD PRICKAR. I haven't made that up. Their name suggests that they are an item in which you would clad a prick. Most people call that a condom.

The bibs weren't the main event though, the ANTILOP (what?) highchair was. Everyone buys their highchair from IKEA. It's cheap, functional, has the look of a bakelite telephone from the 80s. It's the one thing that made our trip to IKEA worthwhile.

That and the 50p hotdog.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Saturdoodle is Caption Dizzle...

What up y'all? It's the weekend here. Probably everywhere else too. Which is nice.

Fancy throwing your wit or observations at the below pic? Well you can, because Saturday is caption day. Mammasaurus says so.


See bajillions of other, probably better, pictures by shuffling over to Mammasaurus' blog and seeing who else has joined in today.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sparse

Hello. Been a while hasn't it? *checks when last post was* Almost a week. My goodness. There's no excuse for that really, is there? I haven't even done the usual thing of throwing in a couple of photo based memes to make it look like I'm still posting.

Thing is, that baby of mine, he's started taking up a bit more time recently. He got all vocal a while back. Likes to have a little sing song. I'm thinking I might enter him for next year's X Factor. He's already better than any of the shite that the North East managed to come up with over the weekend. Even the one at the end, with the wanky back story and over egged emo-tastic version of Tulisa's song. For goodness sake, if you're going to do a cover, why not cover something good? Anyway, I figure if I send Cam in it's a win-win situation: they either love him and put him through, or I get to storm on stage and batter Mel B with a microphone stand.

Aside from singing, he's also started doing this thing:


Yes, the days of leaving Cam unattended while we go to another room are over. He is mobile. It's not too desperate just yet; though he's very proficient at rolling from back to front he seems to have forgotten he can roll the other way, so the sequence tends to go:

1. Roll from back to front
2. Look pleased with self
3. Look around a bit
4. Get frustrated/bored with being on front
5. Cry until someone comes and places you back on your back
6. Repeat steps 1-5 ad infinitum

It is, of course, bloody amazing to watch him develop. Doing things each day that he couldn't do the day before. Truly magical. Way better than that hyped up arsehole David Blain. Sitting in a perspex box above the Thames David? Really? That's not magic, it's just shit. Let me know when you've learned to fly and I'll start paying attention.

Erm, yeah. Magical baby development stuff. It makes you proud. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. That some of your genetic coding has managed to not only be in another real life human being, but that it is also somehow magically learning to do stuff. It truly is wonderful. Which is why, every night when I dream feed the little guy I find myself looking into his peaceful, sleeping face and holding back tears.

Occasionally though, he throws a bit of a curve ball. All the books tell you about babies learning to coo, laugh, gurgle, roll over, sit up, grip things. So far, none of them have told me about Cam's latest trick: blowing raspberries.

All. The. Time.

Left in his room to drop off to sleep, we hear him perfecting this new ability. Fifteen minutes of raspberries. He doesn't seem to find it funny, but he certainly likes doing it. We, on the other hand, find it very funny. Unless we're directly above him at the time, when little droplets of his spittle are catapulted up into our faces. That's a bit gross.

Tell me, what unexpected developmental delights have your own little ones come up with? I don't want anything that would grace the pages of a book, tell me your children's weird and wonderful quirks. I need to know what to expect.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fiction

I've written a story, here it is:

In the distance, I see a frail old man. He looks like he's trying to be sure no-one's watching. He's not doing a good job of it. He just looks suspicious. Furtive. Like he's doing something he shouldn't be.

The next moment he is definitely doing something he shouldn't be; he clambers through a small gap in the roadside barrier and into the undergrowth beyond. There's no reason to go back there, and plenty of reasons not to. The Colleagues don't like people trying to leave the roads. The Co owns the roads, and lets us use them. It owns everything else too, but we're not allowed into most of it.

It would probably be in my best interests not to be watching this old guy. It's always best not to pay too much attention to anything you think the Colleagues might view with suspicion. That doesn't leave a lot, which is probably why so many people seem to be getting in trouble with them these days.

But it's always the old ones who get in the most trouble. The ones who can remember a time before all this. Before democracy gave way to whatever it is we have now. A country run by a corporation. A corporation the public cried out for, when it became impossible for the politicians to hide how much they'd been fucking everything up.

I'm heading toward the gap in the barrier now. I want to know why the old man is going back there. I should leave him to it, but curiosity is getting the better of me. At the back of my mind I don't think I'll get there in time to see where he's gone, then I can carry on walking, pretend I never saw him. As I get closer to the spot I saw him in just a few minutes ago, that feeling grows. Until I get there, and I see him, still there, just a few metres past the barrier, his already ragged and dirty trousers tangled up in some Co branded razor wire. He's fallen, twisted into a position which a young man would find uncomfortable. It must be practically unbearable for him.

My sensible side is screaming in my ear: "keep walking. Ignore him. Ignore him and go home. No-one will know. Go. Go. Go."

I can't. The old man has seen me. His eyes are full of desperation. They send a silent plea for my assistance. I do my own version of the man's guilty scan of the area for unwanted observers. I see no-one, but then, he didn't see me either. I leap into the densely packed foliage, feeling the unfamiliar sensation of plants brushing against my legs. Most people my age don't get the chance to experience nature beyond the officially sanctioned parklands, where the grass is kept short and the flowers and bushes are for looking at, not touching.

Without exchanging words, I reach down and pull him free. There's some blood around, but he's not seriously injured. He gets to his feet, thanks me and gestures for me to follow him further. That sensible voice is back, but I already know I'm going to ignore it. I'm excited. Nervous too, but nervous is good when you're used to every day being the same. No strength to anything you feel. No variety in your actions. Your life prescribed by the will of the Co, even down to the bland excuses for food they put in front of you three times a day. Brown food. Always brown.

The man starts to stride through the plants. Perhaps the razor wire was new, he certainly seems confident he's not going to run into any more. He seems driven by some invisible force. Pulled forward by his desire for whatever we're heading toward. Suddenly, he stops, crouches, pulls a plant from the ground and bites into it. His face lights up, seems to lose ten years of age in an instant. He pulls up another plant and hands it to me. Putting a plant in my mouth seems completely unnatural. I've never eaten anything green before. I remember the films we were all shown in school: people eating plants, animals, grains that were nothing to do with the Co and being struck ill. The Co made sure the food we were given was safe, free from contamination. It was cheap too, and no-one went without.

But now the man's smiling face means I can't resist. I open my mouth and raise the freshly picked plant to my face. Before I can savour the taste, I hear the rustle of bodies moving toward us, I turn to face the sound just in time for a Colleague's baton swing to connect with my eye socket. I can still see, but I wish I couldn't. An unhappy team of Colleagues stands above me and I know my decision to follow the old man was a bad one. The last thing I see is a Co logo, on the sole of a hard boot heading straight for my face.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Assange

Julian Assange, he's in the news quite a bit at the moment isn't he? I remember hearing about Wikileaks for the first time and thinking "hmm, that sounds good, a website that wants to expose a lot of the nasty shit that's going on in the world". I also thought "shit name", but that's beside the point.

I didn't pay much attention to Julian Assange, because what his website was doing seemed rather more important than him.

Now, that Mr Assange is in the news not because of the website he founded, but because of him. Him, Julian Assange. Not Wikileaks. Not even Julian Assange: Founder of Wikileaks.

Julian Assange is in the news because he's facing extradition from the UK. He's facing extradition from the UK because he has been charged, in Sweden, with sexual assault. Instead of saying "okay, I'll face those allegations" he appears to be hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Yesterday he appeared on the first floor balcony of the embassy and made a speech. The part of the speech which the UK media seems to be mostly reporting on is JA's desire to be left alone by the USA who, he says, are witch-hunting him.

So, wait, what? He's trying to get Ecuador to provide him asylum so that the USA can't bring him in for a bollocking about Wikileaks? That's what it's all about?

No. No Julian Assange. You may be right. It may be that if you're extradited to Sweden you'll be more likely to end up in the hands of a chap from the CIA (not Cardiff International Arena, the other one). But you know what this looks like to me? It looks like someone hiding from allegations of sexual assault by using his work as Guardian Protector of Freedom of Speech to deflect attention away from things he may or may not have been up to which are somewhat less noble.

He may currently be innocent (and remains so until proven guilty, regardless of what evidence the shouty inhabitants of Twitter drag up which suggests otherwise) but by shying away from facing the consequences he's doing a damn good job of making himself look guilty. I think, were I in this position (centre of an enormous media furore, holed up with a country whose track record on freedom of speech seems somewhat at odds with the ideals of Wikileaks) I'd want to clear my name. Even if it may lead to some more problems for him and nasty treatment post-trial.

I haven't watched the balcony speech, but the way it's been reported makes it sound like Assange either can't separate himself from Wikileaks (which is disconcerting) or doesn't want to (which is also disconcerting, but not for the same reason).

Either way, in the hierarchy of balcony speeches, I don't think Mr Assange's is one that's gone too well. I look forward to the UK finding a way to get him over to Sweden, and hopefully to Sweden sticking to their word and not letting the USA get their hands on him.

Freedom of speech is important, but it's not worth protecting an alleged rapist over, isn't that obvious?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I Spy with my little eye...G

It's Wednesday, it's far later than I intended to post this. But goodness, doesn't real life do a great job of getting in the way sometimes?

Anyway. as it is Wednesday it is time to join in with @jbmumofone's game of I Spy.

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

This week, the letter is G. Here is my photo:



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

Mum of One