Man cannot live on curries alone. Or can he?

Last night I dreamed that I was living in some shared, rented accommodation and one of my house mates said “Oh Luke, you've got some post” and it was a cheque from Sky Sports for £328. I wonder what it all means? Does it mean I'm about to come into some money perhaps? Or maybe I'm just subconsciously mourning the recent loss of our sky sports subscription. Lisa cancelled it along with other so-called “non-essential direct debits” whilst ruthlessly streamlining our outgoings

Lazy bones didn't go for a run (again).

In Tesco a woman in front of us in the dairy products aisle who was in her own little world turned around and put a tub of cream into our trolley. Her husband who was over the other side of the aisle said “No, not there, not there!” but he was too late. She turned around wondering what all the fuss was about and he sunk his ashamed face into his hand. We moved swiftly on.
Pineapples were half price in the supermarket (and they were huge) so we bought two which we have heard/read are good for naturally inducing labour.

For tea Lisa made ANOTHER curry. I'm not complaining. I could happily live on curry for the rest of my days. This one was another one from the ultimate curry bible – this time a Lamb Sag.
I devised a short walk route for myself and Lisa this afternoon which happened to be exactly 2 miles and just happened to take in a quick drink in the Royal Oak on the way back. Magic.

And so another year comes to an end. We watched the Billy Connolly DVD Lisa had bought me for xmas and then Noel and Claire called around and we watched the greatest 80's films which culminated in Back to the Future occupying the number one slot. Good film. Well deserved.
I didn't get too drunk:
  • in case Lisa went into labour
  • due to the fact that I didn't want a hangover on New Year's Day this year
  • due to me planning to go running in the morning and being all smug whilst people looked out through the curtains on their alcohol inspired death-beds and wished they were me instead. Just for the record, it didn't happen. I had a lie in and no running happened whatsoever.

I found myself wondering what life would be like in 15 years' time. This baby would be getting very expensive by then I imagine and I laugh at scenes in Jack Dee's Lead Balloon each week where his daughter asks him for money in new inventive ways and he ends up forking out £50 each time. What kind of job am I going to have in 15 years? Am I even going to have a job? Am I going to be able to sustain effective financial support for the family to be? I just can't picture it. I shall have to make a concerted effort, to, hang on, I feel new year's resolutions coming on!

New Year's Resolutions...

1.Make a start on my picture book “I hate it when you make me late” for this will not simply write itself
2.Cut down on the wine drinking. This may require me to stop ordering nice crates of fancy wine
3.Continue to be frugal with my hard-earned cash (I know that's a bit vague, but I'm afraid it'll have to do)
4.Do more running
5.Not moan about the crappy moving irregular floorboards buried beneath the carpets all over this house

Where do you go to buy the perfect diary?

I had planned to go for a run this morning but didn't due to oversleeping. Ah, the joys of the holiday and no alarm clock. With no real plans for the day, we got up and had some breakfast then took off for the park with an entire unopened loaf of stale bread. Ducks don't seem to be that selective when it comes to best before dates. A mother and two kids came along to our normal feeding point so I offered them a couple of slices. The mother hesitated then accepted our offer. After throwing a slice's worth into the lake she said “Are we allowed to do this? I thought they'd stopped us?”. We felt like secret duck-feeding rebels raging against the system. Throwing it despite the severe consequences of being caught supplementing park-based birds' diets.

Afterwards, we proceeded into town to potter around. Suffering from mild caffeine withdrawal symptoms, I insisted we went into Cafe Nero which has taken the place of Chesterfield's old independent bookshop, 'Peak Bookshop'. I got a takeaway Latte and Lisa didn't have anything. She'd been in before with a girlfriend. And she boasted, they'd sat in for it too.

We scoured the shops for a suitable journal/diary which I could fill with the forthcoming year's ramblings. I had very specific criteria which we had great difficulty fulfilling. The diary purchased needed to:
  • look nice
  • be hard-wearing and thus, hard back
  • be spiral bound so you could lie it flat whilst writing in it (I failed miserable on this front. The only spiral bound ones were either too girlie or they had playboy plastered all over them)
  • have lines but not lines that were too close together because that wouldn't give you enough room to write properly

I ended up buying one (the one this is in!) in WHSmith in the sale. I am thinking that I might actually illustrate this diary with photos too to make it extra nice. Watch this space. You have been warned.
After we got back and had some food we popped to Tesco and I bought a printer having decided that I couldn't face looking back at a year's worth of ramblings in my crappy handwriting. Besides I may not even be able to decipher the code in a year's time anyway.

Lisa concocted another curry for tea. It was a really spicy number with lots of coriander and garlic and ginger and tomato. It was “green coriander chicken” from Madhur Jaffrey's ultimate curry bible. Lisa's thinking of making it for Dad and Vally when they come up on the 4th Jan.

This evening we watched a film which lots of people had recommended. My boss, Frances had said it was really good. I was sceptical since it seemed like another American Pie type film which was just about some American teenager trying 'to get laid'. Anyway, we put our prejudices aside and Lisa rejoined Blockbuster and we hired it. I can't remember the last time we HIRED A VIDEO FROM BLOCKBUSTER. Anyway, it was "Knocked Up"

...and it was pretty entertaining even though it took me most of the film to get over the crippling realisation that the main bloke in it totally reminded me of one of my lazy irresponsible students, Brett (Frances calls him 'Bratt') at work.

2 down, 3 to go

We played with the pram, car seat and baby monitors this morning, taking them apart and familiarising ourselves with the complex but impressive mechanics. We also moved the moses basket (courtesy of Rona and her previous generations) through to sit it by the bed so I could practice getting up in the night and not knocking it over as I stumbled bathroomwards.

We ventured over to Tansley to Christine and Richard Powelly's house. Not only are they morris dancing friends of Mum and Richard Bryant, but also they are parents of Jenn Worthy who is one of the girls from the NCT classes we attended pre-xmas in Chesterfield. In fact, here is a comprehensive list of the 4 couples who came to know eachother...
  • Jenn & Darren (& baby Adam)
  • Gareth & Devina
  • Gareth & Mel (& baby Amelia)
  • Sam & Helen

Jenn and Darren were showcasing their new baby whom they called “Adam”. He was quite happy to just sleep through us 10 chatting away. Gareth and Mel also brought their new addition, "Amelia". Amelia had some nappy action and then became a tearful and cried gently like a sad sheep whilst she was being changed.

Photos were taken of the two little ones being introduced to eachother although for the record they seemed positively disinterested in eachother. So, there are 3 more babies to come over the next fortnight or so. We know that Sam and Helen are having a girl, and so are we, but no-one knows what Gareth and Devina are having. It could just be that 4 of the 5 babies are girls. That would be unusual.

We came home through torrid weather.

Quite alarmingly Tottenham beat Reading 6-4 today. Not alarmingly because they didn't deserve to win, but due to the fact that no fewer than 10 goals went in AND a few weeks ago Reading enduring a similar beating at the hands of Portsmouth (7-4). One emotional Reading fan had posted on a bbc forum something along the lines of “how often can we score 4 goals away from home and still lose? It beggars belief!”

We went for a curry at the Gulab with Claire and Noel in the evening. When we arrived, there was confusion because apparently when I'd rang on friday to book the table they'd assumed we were meaning for friday night. Hence, they hadn't been expecting us. It wasn't a problem though it was very quiet and civilised for once in there... ...until a large table of about 10 noisy blokes piled in on a stag do and forced us lean in to one another and lip-read whilst continuing our discussions.

I woke up in the night and was surprised to find that Louis was NOT on my legs and NOT making me restricted in my sleeping positions and movement. I soon realised this was because he'd decided to experiment with sleeping inside the rather cosy moses basket instead.

Queen's Park. The new Central Park?

Indeed, today we visited Queen's Park, which luckily for us is just a couple of minutes down the road and across the roundabout. I think they had some lottery money or something a couple of years ago because the whole park has been redeveloped and tidied up and is now a very nice place to walk around. There's a lake, complete with ducks, pigeons, geese and seagulls. They must've come a long way! Also, there's a cricket green and a pavilion, lots of swings and stuff for kids and most importantly, a beautifully renovated, airy cafe run by local Italian ice creamers, Fredericksons. And this cafe sells alcohol :)

Lisa's trying to walk everyday now in a bid to help the baby get down into position and prepare to join us. We walked to Queen's Park and threw bits of stale bread to a very grateful flock of assorted birds by the side of the lake. The flappy Canadian geese are very boisterous and the poor little ducks have patiences of saints.

Once all bread had been consumed, we walked around and checked out the cafe. There was an obese man taking his family of dogs out for a walk too. He had a rottweiler and 4 or 5 (I forget the exact number) small well behaved dogs. Lisa had a hot chocolate (it was quite a cold day) and I had a pint of Becks, which I shall mention now, they had on tap. I also noticed they did wine so I'll have to check that out at some point in the future too.

We wandered around the sales in town and bought some gifts to give to the new NCT babies we had arranged to visit tomorrow.

We have recently rejoined an online DVD rental service and have recently watched the following films:
  • Shooter
  • Transformers
  • Big Nothing

Don't forget the parsnips!

Tuesday, 25th December

Mum volunteered to cook xmas dinner this year, as she often does, however this was the first one in her and Graham's new house. Previous to this year, xmasses were held at Church Street North in Chesterfield and involved a traditional couple of drinks down at “the cock” (the cock and magpie) before staggering back to devour the best dinner of the year.

Me and Lisa opened our presents. She got me a Billy Connolly DVD, a Terry's dark chocolate orange and a dressing gown. I got her some gloves, a hat, some smellies and the new Katie Melua and Michael Buble CD's. We had agreed to be frugal this year, what with the baby just around the corner. We drove over to Mum's. Tom was there. He's staying in Matlock for a few days over xmas then going to see his girlfriend, Charlotte up at her parents in Northumbria before New Year. Tom was also being frugal with presents due to not having a job or any money.

We opened more presents (far too slowly for my liking!) and then when we'd finally finished, Ben and Marie arrived so a new round of present swapping and opening began. At 2pm, or thereabouts, lunch was served. My job was to plate up all the vegetables (and there were so many different types, too many types) but I forgot the parsnips. So, when we'd all sat down at the table I remembered the lonely parsnips still sitting in the oven. Mum rushed through to get them and then rushed back in and threw them all over the carpet. It turns out she'd not anticipated the heat of the parsnip tray. Before I could say “don't put the ones which have landed on the carpet back in the tray with the uninfected ones” her and Graham had thrown all the fugitives back in.

After dinner, we started playing a new game of Ben's which was quite coincidentally called something about Werewolves and Millers. It was a cool game of bluffing and arguing and you got to close your eyes and pretend to be asleep for half the game too. The game required a moderator so Ben stepped up to the challenge. It was just like the old days with him being a games master and us rolling dice obediently. This game as it happened, ended up taking over the day and we spent several hours playing it, stopping only when Uncle John, Uncle Bill, Auntie Margaret and Grandma Padley came over. We all got a drink and sat down. Incidentally, not sure how Mum's smallish new lounge accommodated all 11 of us, but it did, with Lisa bobbing about on her inflatable gym ball too! With everyone sitting comfortably, it wasn't long before I re-instigated the werewolves game. The late comers agreed to play albeit with some half-hearted reluctance but before long we were all loving it. I discovered I could read Mum like a book but I didn't have a chance of sussing out Auntie Margaret. Marie however, proved the most impressive of us all with a highly believable and successful wolf bluff display which went right to the wire before filling each of us townsfolk with doubt and devouring us one by one. “You want to watch her, Ben” Uncle John said.

We came home late, having left the cats alone all day (on xmas day too – what bad, bad owners we must be!) and went to bed. Lisa was sober for obvious reasons, and I'd managed to behave myself despite the temptations of every type of exciting booze under the sun having been on offer all day.

All in all, this was a quiet xmas. Next year it will be quite different. We'll probably be in our own house and we'll have a little person around and also the mystery and excitement that comes with the presence of that fat, hairy present-bringer (that's Santa by the way, not me). Bring it on!

What's in a name?

Monday, 24th December

Yes it was a full moon but more importantly here begins a diary of the first year of mine and Lisa's first child. I'm embarking upon this epic quest with some degree of excitement but also uncertainty and I know not what format this journal will take. Only time will tell
I do however hope to avoid 2 things principally:

  1. to avoid writing things retrospectively Dad-style (e.g. “Bloody 'ell, I'm 8 days behind on mi' diary. Better try and catch up tonight”)
  2. to avoid writing entries quickly and scruffily (normally done whilst catching up writing retrospective entries). My handwriting is chronic at the best of times.
    Luckily, I decided to type up and print out each day's musings so number 2 is already nailed.

So, due to Lisa's due date looming ever closer (15th January) we are both at home over xmas and new year with no plans and are focussing on little 0ther than 'the big day'.
'Experts' at the hospital say we are having a girl and after much deliberation over the best name we have settled on Maisie.

Maisie Miller.


Anyway, here is a list of girls' names we considered but didn't use:

  • Jasmine
  • Amelia
  • Amber
  • Esme
  • Claudia

As for boys' names, we couldn't really come up with any we liked that much for some bizarre reason:

  • Lewis (although this turned out to be like, the current number one boys name in the UK. I blame that Hamilton man)
  • Reuben (not everyone's favourite, it turned out)
  • Toby
  • Logan