Looking In The Other Direction

Here's a picture of me and G yesterday afternoon, in the centre of our village watching the local brass band doing a free outdoor concert. Something other than the music had clearly caught G's attention at the moment Mrs J took the photo, which makes the image a bit reminiscent of the cover art from The Verve's Urban Hymns album. Not sure which one of us is Richard Ashcroft and which is Nick McCabe, though.

G was still looking in the other direction later in the day, when England played Germany at the World Cup. She seemed singularly disinterested in the first half, and didn't protest when I put her down for a nap during half-time. Perhaps she just couldn't face watching any more of England's terrible defending.

Having lived in England for more than ten years, my old yearning for England to lose every game 10-0 has slowly ebbed away. Now that I've got an English-born daughter, I actually felt obliged yesterday to hope for an England victory. At least I wasn't too disappointed when that hope was crushingly snuffed out by the Germans. Even though she was too young to understand it all this time, I suspect G has plenty more such disappointments ahead of her. Especially if I force her to support Scotland as well as England.

Standing Up

G hasn't been crawling for all that long, but already she's keen to move on to the next thing. In this case, lifting herself up to standing using chairs, tables and anything else within reach. She's still a bit unsteady on her feet, so scenes like this are often followed by her slumping back down, usually with a bump and some inevitable tears.

But even when that happens, as soon as she's stopped crying she starts reaching back up again. Sometimes she's even able to balance on her feet, propping herself up with one hand while she waves the other one around. At this rate I don't think it'll be long before she starts walking, which means she'll find it even easier to get up to no good.


I've been out and about with G during the last couple of days, researching various rural places around Greater Manchester for an article I'm writing. Here she is today at Haigh Hall near Wigan, keeping cool in the pram under her floppy hat. However, under the hat is a patch of reddish sunburn, which I managed to inflict on her when I forgot said hat yesterday.

I quite fancied checking out Gaddings Dam near Todmorden, a disused reservoir at the top of a hill which comes complete with England's highest beach. With G in the back carrier, I started off on the winding footpath. But I quickly got bored, and decided I could take a shortcut by scrambling up a slightly steeper path. This would have been fine without all the extra weight on my back, and by the time I dragged my sorry self to the top I was going a bit pink, and not just because I was out of breath. G, who had been enjoying bobbing along on my back, had also caught the sun.

All of this meant some tutting in my direction from Mrs J when she got home last night. If it happens again, I might suffer some finger wagging too. Best make sure I always remember G's hat in future.

Show Off

We were down in London over the weekend at a wedding. It was our third in five weeks, and once again G was with us to enjoy the day. Shortly after this picture was taken she managed to stick her hand right into my beer, although if anyone from social services is reading I'd like to point out that I wiped her hand clean before she put it in her mouth. Honest, m'lud.

Sometimes people take their babies with them to weddings and other occasions so they can show them off. This isn't necessary with G, who is quite capable of showing off for herself. During the meal she got bored of watching me and Mrs J eat, and I caught her smiling and gurgling at the people on the table on the other side of the room.

In fact, given that she was one of only a few children there, G got quite a lot of attention all day from various strangers, and rewarded everyone with a winning smile. Maybe the beer had gone to her head.


Last week was my birthday, and the three of us went for a short holiday in Pembrokeshire. We were vaguely down that way anyway for a wedding the weekend before, so thought we'd go and see a bit of the country we've not been to before.

Mrs J had made sure we'd got a hotel room with a restaurant close enough for us to go down for a meal while using the baby monitor to make sure G was sleeping soundly. Or at least that's what was supposed to happen. When it was time to put G to sleep for the night, she was uncharacteristically reluctant. She whined, she gurgled, she wanted to play, she cried. We tried all the things we usually do, such as dosing her up on Calpol, but to no effect. If she could talk, G would have been frowning and saying "I'm not tired" in that way sulky eight-year-olds do.

So we got room service instead, and had my birthday tea with the plates perched on the slightly unsteady dressing table. As the photo shows, we gave G a couple of chips to keep her quiet. This could be construed as bad parenting, but seeing as it worked for the duration of the meal, I don't really care.

G eventually drifted off, but was in a foul mood the following morning presumably because, yes, she hadn't had enough sleep. That'll teach her.