March 2006

March 9th

Joanne has a very round tummy still; novelty of being on maternity leave has not yet worn off. The coal merchant was concerned that she might be running off with a sack under her jumper.

The boat refurbishment is largely completed... well these projects never fully end, (I can see 2 days of electrics & 2 days of joinery that need doing). Some soft furnishing to worry about too; but we do have a flush loo now, and a separate bed for guests / children.

Paul making an effort to create some paternity leave; some services have been passed back to franchisor to cover, whilst an additional operator is being trained for East & West Yorkshire.


March 19th

Still no sign of a little one. Joanne starting to be impatient; she even agreed to visit a model railway exhibition in Keighley today, so must be bored.

The joinery & electronics have been done; amazingly only a day for each. New mattress ordered, most the curtains up, freezer working... This isn’t the end, not even the beginning of the end, but we can safely consider it the end of the beginning.

Paul’s efforts to reduce workload seem to have worked a bit, now just a rush to finish the VAT return.

A hard life...
A view on one of my regular work journeys. Taken on the Hebden Bridge Road above Oxenhope, with the snow capped Yorkshire Dales in the background. March 2006

March 29th

Young one still made no appearance, now more than a week late. Joanne finding the wait tedious. At least we’ve been able to make progress with a few more chores:

Staining & varnishing the bed
Painting a board to be used for nappy changing
Carpeting the sitting area
Buying a new mattress for the crib
Organizing a new larder space
Installing an extra speaker for the radio

Some of these seem to be things which ought to have been done before this late stage.

Our Christmas cutlery arrived at last! We’ve also just got our replacement cushions & mattress (under 2 weeks from ordering, so at least something has come in early). I’ve stocked up after a visit to our local bottled beer specialist... so many nice things, must be a birthday?

Other calendar dates I’ve watched this week:

Mothers Day: I missed postal deadlines, but managed a phone call on the day: overall an only just hit
VAT return deadline: Met the post man as he was emptying the late collection at the local sorting office, but I was posting a day early: a hit by a modest margin
Credit card bill: spotted it was due when sorting through accounts, paid on line: probably a close shave
MOT for car: didn’t spot it had run out a few weeks back, done now: wide miss.
Work appointments this week: Two of them arrived to the minute on time, despite hour drives to get to them, a third I returned the finished job same day: 3 Bulls eyes

As a rare treat, I managed to stop for lunch today, rather than eating a sandwich on the move. I’d spent the morning north of Lancaster, and so was driving back past Ingleton at lunch time, chance to eat an all day breakfast & chips at Bernies. As I walk in, Steve Round greets me “Congratulations, I hear you are a father”. “News to me, I’d not even heard that yet. Better check my voicemail.” Oh well, there is only one thing worse than being talked about...

The curious incident of the boy in the wheely bin

I’ve been greeted in many ways, but I encoutered a novel one this week.

It is customary to place a means of identification upon your abode, particularly if you live on a long street where houses are named rather than numbered. But I’m not too formal about these things, so having driven up and down three times (as must any man before asking for directions), I sought assistance from the post man. Having only partly listened to the response (in compliance with a sub clause of the “man shalt not read the instructions first” commandment), I drove tentatively up a likely looking driveway. Not wishing to be as presumptuous as to park right up against the property as if I planned to stay the week, I stopped a few feet short, ensuring that I had the driveway blocked. I killed the engine, climbed out, and just as I was ascertaining whether this establishment preferred ringing or knocking the door opened and the agent appeared. As a child I remember Mr Ben, where at the appropriate moment (presumably 4 minutes 32 seconds into any plot, saving the need for hard editing and a coherent story line) the tailor would appear, say “step this way sir”, and you knew that a safe ending had been reached. Well, so it seemed for me, I knew I had safely arrived. I could now position my chariot a little more snugly, gather my work bag, and check the two voice messages left whilst I was driving. This done, we were only now about 4 minutes and 32 seconds into the episode, and so maybe I should have anticipated the next twist. The green wheely bin had until now been a fairly innocuous prop to the whole proceedings; typical furniture of any house side entrance. It had always been visible, and it’s only moment of note might have been as I pulled forwards - perhaps if my foot had slipped off the clutch the car would have lurched forward, pinning the dull object against the house... but that moment had passed. But now the lid flew open, and out popped a teenage lad. He looked at me as if to say “what are you doing there”, then climbed out, and walked off into the house. In the ensuing two hours, no further mention of this curious incident was made.


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