Life with a tiny dictator

Well that was left as a bit of a cliffhanger wasn’t it? Five days until due date and then no word for nine weeks… First of all you can rest assured that I’m not some kind of medical miracle and I haven’t gone nine weeks overdue. I was grumpy enough at five days over and would more than likely have killed someone by now if I was still full of baby.

To cut a long story short and avoid going into too much detail (when you’re pregnant, the simple question “how are you?” elicits a Pavlovian response to hand over a pot of wee and start discussing your, as the daytime telly adverts put it, ‘intimate area’), I had a little ‘encouragement’ from the midwife on Friday morning and labour started that afternoon. I did however, remain in denial about this (convinced that my contractions were Braxton Hicks) until the evening when Ginge pretty much gave me an ultimatum to ring the midwives or else. Eventually I did ring the midwives and (after a warm bath, some paracetamol and a TENS machine) was admitted an hour later.

The birth itself didn’t exactly go according to plan, but I assume that very few people’s plans end up with a set of forceps being wielded by a gentleman that your mum would later refer to as “Doctor Big Hands”… Personally I was well away on the gas and air, so it all flew by for me and it was poor Ginge and my mum who suffered (their hands are still recovering from the Incredible Hulk-like squeezes I gave them).

So from that initial phone call at 7.30pm on Friday, via a birthing pool, a blue-lit ambulance up the M6 (at the slightest hint of risk they transfer from the midwife-led unit to the delivery suite at another hospital), a midwife who broke half the the room, Dr Big Hands, another more fabulous less cack-handed midwife and her student, and Ginge cutting the cord, at 8.34 on Saturday 12th October we became very proud parents to a 6lb 11oz baby boy.

Hal (or as he will be referred to on here, Mini Ginge) is a lovely little chap who is very laid back as long as the milky buffet isn’t too far away. However, although he is only tiny, he completely rules the roost (and quite rightly so).

One of the reasons for my lack of posts is that I was planning to write about his arrival and then at week six, document my triumphant return to running. Unfortunately at week 6 I was being advised by both my GP and my physio that high-impact exercise shouldn’t feature in my life for at least 3-6 months. I shall explain more about this when I have decided how much information is too much information…

This is the run I have been looking for

I cannot begin to explain how rubbish my running has been over the last few weeks. If I start by saying that I’ve gone a full seven days since my last outing… I have mostly been defeated by the old triangle of excuses (it’s been dark/cold/wet), I have been knackered in the morning and ravenous in the evenings and we had a few days off so running took a back seat (while I took a seat in the snug and indulged in both Yorkshire and Lancaster blondes). Also, I have spent the last few days shrouded in a gloomy grey mood that made me question the whole point of me going out running when ultimately both it and I are a bit useless*.

Anyway, the last run I did before my week of laziness/beeriness/gloominess was a lovely one. It wasn’t the fastest, it was all a bit stop/start in places and I have to admit that it didn’t feel particularly easy, but it was completed in daylight (yay!) with frost, crisp blue skies and a low-slung sun. It is the run that I wish I was doing every time I see runners out on gorgeous mornings when I am driving to work.

This was a muddy shortcut with crunchy puddles underfoot. It made me grin.

This was a muddy shortcut with crunchy puddles underfoot. It made me grin.

Crossing the troll bridge

Crossing the troll bridge

Apologies to anyone disturbed by the sight of me squatting in the brambles whilst taking this picture

Apologies to anyone disturbed by the sight of me squatting in the brambles whilst taking this picture

I liked this - it looks a bit alien, but I doubt it is.

I liked this – it looks a bit alien, but I doubt it is.

*I have shaken this one off and am now faced with a five o’clock alarm call in the morning…

Messing about in boats

“Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING – absolute nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing,’ he went on dreamily: ‘messing – about – in – boats….’


So said Ratty to Mole in the Wind in the Willows, and that’s what we spent doing today. On Wednesday, me and Ginge will have been married for four years and what better way to celebrate than on the canal? The canal running was the inspiration for the trip (I’ve said  before, I’m not bloody obsessed) because without it, we never would have known about the Foulridge tunnel and we would never have spotted Tigerlily, the hire boat that we borrowed for the day. We ran this section as our first canal/camping adventure at the end of May; it was grey and miserable on the Saturday, and grey, miserable and wet on the Sunday. Luckily, we were blessed with better weather today.

Blue skies were very welcome

It was strange being on the other side of the fence for once, normally it’s me peering at people and saying hello as I plod past them, but today we were the object of people’s greetings and curiosity. It also made a change for there just to be two of us on a boat (we’ve been on narrowboats two years previously, but they’ve been more, ahem, party boats. On one trip, we ended up split into a girls’ boat and a boys boat, and I snuck onto the boys because I will not be defined by gender stereotypes. And the girls’ boat was like a scary floating hen do) and not incurring the wrath of canal dwellers as  a drunken ship of fools passes their moorings.

One mile of darkness...

...being dripped on by stalactites...

...but there was light at the end of the tunnel.

We navigated our way through the mile long tunnel, had a picnic in the sunshine, knitted, listened to Test Match Special, stopped for an ice cream, acquired two head injuries (I’d have to have some kind of helmet if we lived on a boat, I’m short but clumsy) and no one fell in.

Not a bad spot for a picnic

Dinner guests (I always imagine swans to be hollow, but have never tapped one to be sure)

I’ve also had three days knee rest and will be ringing a Twitter recommended physio tomorrow – thank you all for your wise words on my last post.

It’s snow joke

I feel that the gods are conspiring against me. I was well up for a club run tonight, but have been scuppered by the most snow that I ever seen fall round our way.

The day started with a 6.30 phone call from the in-laws telling us that the M6 was shut and then the bbc informed us that most of the roads that me and Ginge need to get to work were also shut, at a standstill or under a snowdrift. He took the day off, I went to my other office; a 20-30 minute journey taking about an hour and a half. Having said that, I did well to get out of the end of the road considering the arse in the bmw who had interpreted winter driving rules as “leave your back windscreen covered in snow and then keep revving your car like your life depends on it”.

Managed to get to work and home safely, but spent the day office-bound  looking out of the window at the snow pelting down. Whilst I wasn’t keen on being out of it, the fields and trees all looked beautiful  and I wish I could have gone out taking more photos.

With temperatures not expected to get above zero tonight and the roads starting to freeze at half four, its fingers crossed for safe journeys tomorrow. Take care people!

First soup of Autumn

Crikey heck it’s wet up North. I’m seriously considering a second career as an ark builder and have started wearing my arm bands when I nip out to the shop. Although we’re not as bad as the Isle of Skye, it’s been somewhat damp this week. I don’t know if it’s the same for everyone, but it was as if someone had flicked a switch on Monday night and turned everything from summer to autumn. I’m a great believe that times and dates are tied into our memories, experiences and beliefs about the world, and that this can manifest itself in how we feel and behave. Maybe it’s too many years in education, but even at 30 I can’t shake off that back to school feeling in September – it makes me incredibly reflective (perhaps more so than New Year, which I just can’t be arsed with) and sometimes a bit gloomy.

To counteract the gloominess, I’m doing a bit of looking on the bright side.

  • Next week it’s exactly a year since I started this running lark and struggled to do my impression of running for even a minute.
  • I’ve talked a colleague into joining the same beginners group that got me started
  • I’m the only person from that beginners group who’s still going to the club (even on my irregular basis)
  • Even though the weather’s a bit ropey, I’ll soon have frosty runs along the canal to look forward to- that means Sunday mornings that smell of bacon, cold and wood burning stoves on the barges
  • It’s Scarecrow Festival in the next village this weekend!
  • I can start making soup again – I refuse to make soup in summer and have already broken my soupfast with a lovely carrot and coriander effort
  • I’ve got two nearly completed knitting projects which means I can start knitting tiny Innocent hats very very soon

Also, it’s the weekend. Which is nice.

In other news, I’ve continued to be a bit crap this week. I’d love to blame the gloominess for my lack of motivation, but I suspect that it’s just that it took my aged carcass three days to recover from Wembley this year. I did however do 4 miles on Thursday and have a long run planned tomorrow and I’m helping out at a 5k on Sunday, which hopefully will motivate rather than drown me.