Adam Bird

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Thursday, 21 December 2006

A Life Changing Experience

Caution: This blog entry may contain sentences of a sentimental nature.

I am sat here now writing this after what has been the longest, most emotional and most rewarding few days of my life.

We were due for inducement at Darent Valley hospital on Wednesday evening at 6:00pm, so I had planned my leave off work to start on the Wednesday and to use the day to do some shopping for Christmas and some pre labour relaxation.

However, over the weekend and on the Monday morning Stephanie had been feeling sporadic contractions, so I decided to bring my leave a day earlier in case she went into labour and I was able to assist her in getting into hospital ASAP.

Despite my initial concerns Tuesday went without incident and I was able to get a few things out of the way paving way for a relaxing Wednesday before going in to get things kick started. Baby Bird had other plans.

I was woken up in the early hours of Wednesday morning by the bedside light being switched on and in my half asleep state I could see Steph breathing sharply and holding her bump.

She said that she had been up for an hour, since 3am, and she had been having sharp contractions every five minutes for the past 60. Yahoo! I shot out of bed, ran into the bathroom, washed my face, styled my hair, brushed my teeth and came back 10 seconds later and started to get dressed.

Steph looked at me and said "what are you doing?", "Getting you to hospital" I replied. "But you need to phone the hospital and I need a bath, and I want a cup of coffee, and maybe some toast."

I was quite shocked! I thought this was it, straight up the hospital, straight into the delivery room, a quick puff on some air, a few painful squeezes and out Baby Bird popped!

As it turned out, I was so far from reality it's scary!

Steph had her bath, and I made her some coffee whilst she soaked, all the time panicking that Baby Bird was going to make an appearance in our tub and I was going to have to deliver him/her whilst receiving instructions from a paramedic on the other end of the phone.

When we arrived finally at Darent Valley hospital at 5.15am and were made to wait whilst the delivery suite was prepared - they had been having a busy night with 8 women in 8 rooms all in labour.

Five minutes after us another lady arrived who was seen before us as her waters had already broken and she was a rightful priority.

5.30am on Wednesday 20th December we arrived in the delivery suite, Steph had been up for two and a half hours, I had been up for an hour and a half.

Steph was examined had some samples and tests done and settled down on the bed and so we waited.

Almost 12 hours later we were still in the room, and Baby Bird had still to make an appearance. In fact the crack in the eggs shell was only 3cm dilated, and still a long way to go!

The doctors then made the decision to manually break the waters themselves, give Steph an epidural and feed her with a drip solution to increase contractions and contraction intensity.

After so long it seemed like we were finally getting started!

With Steph in some pain with her contractions, she was starting to suffer, and I was starting to worry.

When I go to the doctors I get nervous when they look at me. When they talk I start to sweat, when they get out any kind of instrument I threaten to feint, so seeing Steph in pain and seeing things being done to bring her relief that bought the nervous feelings in me to the boil.

With the waters by now having been broken and the contractions starting to become more intense Steph started to suffer a lot more.

The doctors started to prepare for the Epidural, the anaesthetist was starting to scrub down and prepare for what appeared to be major brain surgery. I started to think bad thoughts.

Half way through the procedure, with Steph sat up hunched forward, pillows on her lap, me holding her watching the beads of cold sweat pouring off her head I decided it was time to stand up and be counted.

If she could sit and have this done, into her spine, without even a hint of displeasure then I can put my queasiness to one side and start being there for her. I must have done this subconsciously as it wasn't until later when I started analysing the events that I realised this change in me had taken place.

Once she had finally been made comfortable and another inspection discovered she was 5cm dilated we were advised to wait.

Which we did.

Until it was discovered that her epidural had not been as successful as they thought and she was still in some pain.

The procedure was done again, with the anaesthetist back with his trolley of bits and bobs, Steph was made comfortable again and we were told to wait again.

Which we did.

This must have been around midnight, as I thought to myself I must get some sleep, which Steph was doing now as she was in epidural heaven.

Despite my efforts to make a bed I couldn't make three hard chairs very comfortable. The women next doors was in labour and I could hear her screaming in such pain and agony that I felt like crying myself!

I had a wander about the room, found the TV and was excited to find that it had Internet and Radio, so I went and bought a card, signed into Blogger and left a blog, which I am sure I will be embarrassingly reminded of at some point in the future!

Realised again that I needed sleep and couldn't so gave up.

After my 4,00th Suduku puzzle of the evening and my eyes feeling as though they weighed 4stone Steph started to grumble.

After so many hours and so much pain, two epidurals, pain killer injections and what not it was now time.

To say my respect for Steph is infinite after today’s events would be an understatement, and up until the time she started pushing I was verging on a very respectful place.

After going through what she had gone through up until then to even think about a push was for me a major achievement, but to go on for another two hours, pushing so forcefully that I thought all the blood vessels in her head were going to burst is something that no matter what I do in life will never hold up to what she did.

I have missed out the pushing and the arrival of the baby into the world as it something that is indescribable in words, or at least in words found in my vocabulary. What I will say is that as a man watching his child come into the world, make sure that you do watch, every last bit. It is something I will never ever forget.

And so, at 7.10 or there about we were given a baby boy, a son that completed us, a child that we had watched grow inside Steph's stomach for 9 and half months and on impact caused such feelings inside both of us that I guess only parents can describe.

After 29 hours Baby Bird had finally completed his journey.

Steph had been through the wars, and her ordeal was not quite over as the doctor came along to repair some of her battle wounds, but once that was over we could both hold our son.

For nine months we had an unborn baby whom had affectionately been labelled "Baby Bird", a baby whom had arrived with a small scare as he was whisked straight away from us. He was put in the incubator directly behind me and despite my best efforts not to look he was given a little help to start breathing and given some extra TLC. A baby whom we had decided was to be named Oliver George Bird, a baby whom looks like a Wenham, like Joshua (Steph’s nephew) did when he was a born.

We are both still quite emotional about the last few days and these powerful feelings that ignited on impact as soon as Oliver came into the world will take some time to sink in.

We are looking forward to Christmas as a complete family and can now finally finish our Christmas cards as we have Oliver’s name to add instead of Baby Bird!

Finally a HUGE thank you to everyone who has sent us well wishes we have really been overwhelmed!

Live from Darent Valley

This is by far the saddest thing I have ever done!

At 12:40am nearly 24 hours after arriving at the delivery suite I am here typing this!

Still no Baby Bird, but a day of emotion and high drama! Full report to come just as soon as Baby Bird hatches!

Over and out!

Monday, 18 December 2006

Bridging the Gap *Spoilers*

Here is a link from the Sky One website showing the ten minute prequel for season 6 of 24!

Season 6 Prequel

If the above link does not work use the Sky One website instead!

If you have not yet seen season five, and don't know how it ended - DO NOT WATCH!!!

Patience

Remember that TV ad which showed a guy growing up as music played in the background showcasing the "soundtrack to his life"? Well someone has got the Jukebox spot on with Take That sitting at the top of the singles chart with a song called "Patience", totally apt considering mine and Steph's current situation!

If I was a betting man I would have put money on Baby Bird coming early, as witnessed by my bold proclamations earlier on in the pregnancy. However, so far, so not a lot!

We await Wednesday now with the unimaginable thoughts of inducement now a realistic certainty. The doctors make the appointment for you as you approach your due date on the basis of accounting for all possibilities. Steph at the time said something along the lines of "as if I will need to be induced!".

Although we are currently frustrated with the waiting, it has been fun. Going to work each day and people asking me "what am I still doing here", and comments suggesting the baby will be having a shaving kit as a gift for when it's born have been a good way to relax and laugh things off.

On the flip side, we still haven't been able to give people Christmas cards because we don't know who to write them from! Nor have people been giving us Christmas cards as they don't know who to write them too (or at least.... we think!).

Never mind, things could be a lot, lot worse! It is all relative in the scheme of things, and we have been really lucking with a near flawless pregnancy! If the baby is a little lazy it only goes to show it's got it's mother's genes!

Thursday, 7 December 2006

All Blocked Up

Nine months into a trouble free pregnancy we finally hit the skids at the business end of the gestation period.

Not only are we a day late, Steph is really struggling with a sore throat and cold.

I am really hoping that the baby holds on for a little longer, just so Steph can get over the worst of it and enjoy the first hours of motherhood without worrying about dripping snot on the baby or coughing all over the poor thing!

It's been a pretty mad few days at work with some long hours thrown in to meet deadlines (Britain's Best Driver) etc, so I haven't really had a chance to sit and think about the imminent arrival of Baby Bird. I know Steph sitting at home has been frustrated, but with the cold and feeling rough has only added to her worries.

Dad went back to Iran this morning, so I am pretty gutted that he may have to wait six weeks before he gets a chance to meet his fourth grandchild. But he told me this morning that he may in fact be back sooner than expected!

We have a final induction date of the 20th of December, but neither of us fancy a baby that close to Christmas.

I am still hoping for the 8th December, it would be a great way to remember my Nan whose birthday was on the same date!

With Stephs nose stuffed, throat bunged up and birth canal seemingly not interested it really is a case of "All Blocked Up".

Sunday, 3 December 2006

Vegetables

I am sure that the pregnancy advice books write pages and pages about what parents to be ought to be doing a week before the baby is born. I am sure that they prescribe rest, to take things easy, but Steph and I yesterday took the advice a little too literally!

We did... nothing!

Steph woke up at ten and was watching birth tv as per usual, whilst I did some updates for Uncle Matthew on kings-medway.co.uk. Once I had finished that I suggested we watch the last two episodes of 24 (We have been catching up on series four, so we are all up to speed again ready for series five which we brought on DVD last month).

So by the time we had watched those, it was not much point in getting ready to go out anywhere, as we didn't really have anywhere to go, and we had spent so long on the sofa that our bodies had been moulded to it!

We started to watch the beginning of 24 series 5, and before we knew it we had watched the whole of the first dvd (four hours)! At this point it was time for X-Factor and so continuing with our "cannot be bothered" theme, we called for a pizza from the comfort of out sofa. We didn't even bother getting up to check a menu, we interogated the man at the other end instead! Seeing as we had spent the day doing nothing we thought why should we exert ourselves any further, let's stay were we are!

If you needed further evidence of our sloth all you needed to notice was; we hadn't made the bed, undrawn the bedroom curtains, hadn't done any washing up, hadn't been out to see if we had any post, hadn't put on any washing and both of us were still in our pyjamas!

In our defence, it is the very first time we have spent a day like it, we had no premade plans, had no urgent need to go food shopping (that can wait till Sunday!), didn't want to go out spending money this side of the birth. As it got to 3o'clock, we started to make it into a joke, so we kind of knew what we were doing and it became funny rather than lazy.

And anyway, as we said yesterday, it's hardly likely we will be able to have a repeat performance until at least 2024!

Monday, 27 November 2006

A Taste of the High Life

After days of painful soul searching, I decided that I could afford to take the risk and go to Manchester and watch the game vs Chelsea.

As it turned out, the baby is still safe and warm and being incredibly well looked after. If there was any hint of an appearance, I would have course stayed at home!

Despite the long journey, which included a monsoon at Heathrow scaring the bejesus out of me and Reaso, we arrived at Old Trafford at 3.30, dry and in one piece.

Having parked seemingly in Macclesfield, or Altrincham we faced a long walk to the stadium which we could see tantalisingly in the distance. As at Arsenal earlier on in the season we had to walk along a similar looking road, consisting of fried chicken eateries, cab offices and parades of boarded up shops.

I have been to Old Trafford only once and on that occasion I was overwhelmed by the shear amount of people walking to the ground, congregating outside pubs and on corners close to the ground. That was before they added another 9,000 seats, and both sets of supporters were coming in from elsewhere! This time around it was on a much bigger scale. As we approached the South/East stand quadrant where we were due to enter the stadium, a couple of thousand or so people were congregated outside a couple of local pubs drinking cans of beer and singing Man Utd or anti Chelsea songs. There must have been a small ruckus or something as we were passing because a couple of unfit, puffed out Police Officers ran past out looking slightly red faced and worried!

Once inside the ground, we headed straight for our seats. As I have mentioned before the best part of going to any ground is walking out of the concourse and out of the concrete walkway and seeing the stadium bowl for the first time. (Or if it is a Gillingham away game, past the fat bloke eating a pasty, over the dog peeing up the wall, and through the rusty gap in the corrugated sheeting).

The view as you walk out at Old Trafford is amazing, especially now that they have added the two new quadrants, which gives the ground a slightly more "complete" feel to it.

Our timing was impecible, as we arrived just in time to see the players finishing the pre match warm up, so it gave me a chance to take a couple of photographs. Admittedly, the photo's have not come out too well this time around! Must have been the northern air....

I was looking forward to hearing the Manchester Utd fans singing and creating a "wall of noise", but all the way up until they scored the was hardly a song to be heard from the United faithful. When Saha opened the scoring for Man Utd the noise was deafening, almost on the verge of frightening. 73,000 people screaming with delight creates a hell of a noise I can tell you! I was hoping that this would be the beginning of a sustained vocal performance from the Stretford End, but it remained all Chelsea, who were a credit. They never stopped singing, they had quite a good range of songs and there was nothing in terms of malicousness toward United or any Man Utd player - which I was suprised about.

One thing I have noticed, and it happens at Gillingham as well is a lack of imagination when it comes to songs about a player. All the players have the same song sang about them, which consists of the players name sang in the same sort of tune. Not at all inspiring, and can cause sleepiness when repeated more than three times!

The game itself was throughly enjoyable, despite the fact that we had four planks sat infront of us, whom were all drunk, stank of booze, had wind problems and could not decide whether to keep seated or to stand up. It never really bothers me, as I am normally with the Gills and either join in or find it amusing! It wouldn't have been so bad if they had stood all game, as I wouldn't have minded standing up behind them, but at the final whistle I felt as if I had been on a Gareth Rout fitness workout the amount of times I was up and down!

Having been to Old Trafford and the Emirates this season I could possibly try to compare the two, but I don't think it would be fair to do so. Manchester Utd were playing Chelsea, and Arsenal were playing an already qualified European game, so atmosphere wise it was chalk and cheese. Plus I was sitting in the home end at Arsenal and with the away fans at Old Trafford.

What Old Trafford does have, and it is evident throughout the walk to the ground and the surrounding areas. History.

You can walk past the "United Café", down "Sir Matt Busby Way", tell the time from the "Munich Clock". Hundreds of people selling memorablia, ranging from George Best t-shirt, Cantona flags, Busby Babe badges and all kinds of other things.

Arsenal have this too, but there is a defined history there, you can feel it, smell it and all the people around you have been part of it. Something Highbury had, and Anfield too, which was evident during the stadium tour and museum. Something that I am afraid will be lost when the new Anfield becomes a reality at the end of the decade.

Having tasted the high life I can safely say that I enjoyed it immensley, and would love to see some more top flight action!

Will I see it with the Gills? Highly unlikely!

Old Trafford is called the Theatre of Dreams.

For ninety minutes on Sunday afternoon that was my dream.

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

Dilemma of a Footballing Tourist

Being a Gillingham fan means that I miss out on the thrills and spills of the Premier League, the Ferrari's, the million pound weekly a salaries and foreign mercenaries.

So when a chance comes along to swap my Priestfield's and Millmoor's for Anfield or Old Trafford I snap it up with gusto.

Having recently received an opportunity, courtesy of good friend (even better now!) Reaso, to watch Manchester Utd v Chelsea I accepted without hesitation.

I had sudden visions of Rooney, Giggs, Carrick, Saha, Shevchenko, Lampard, Ballack and Drogba. 75,000 passionate fans roaring in the "Theatre of Dreams", the smell of a big game, Mourinho's whinging, Fergies red hooter and yet more photo opportunities for the website(!).

Before my fantasies got too out of hand it suddenly dawned on me.... Baby Bird....!

Bugger....

I could possibly be in Manchester whilst Steph goes into labour with my first child! Although not due until the 6th December, there is every possibility she could give birth at anytime now or right up until the 16th!

We have joked throughout the pregnancy about me being at football when the baby is born and an announcement being made over the tannoy "Congratulations to Adam Bird of the Rainham End, his girlfriend has given birth to a baby xxxx".

In all seriousness it has just been in jest. The reality being, if I was at football, and Steph went into labour, I would of course leave my seat immediately and rush off like a mad man straight up to the Darent Valley delivery suite!

However, there is an important reason for me writting this, not just as an excuse to glorify another stroke of football ticket lottery winning.

I am trying to tempt fate.

The Man U v Chelsea game in on the 26th, the same day as Paris's birthday. Laws of average suggest that three things are unlikely to happen all in one day. Ironically my favourite tv programme is 24, and anyone watching that will know a LOT can happen in one day!

So, as politely as I can ask;

Mr Sod,

Author of Sod's law, please will you give me a break on the 26th November so that I can watch the game without worry, have my cake and eat it.

Thank you kindly,

Adam, Stephanie and Baby Bird.

Friday, 10 November 2006

A Touch Anticlimactic

I have just got back from the third scan, and despite my initial excitement the actual event was a bit of a letdown.

Firstly - the result! We only had a third scan to check for giantitis but the baby's growth is on the dollar with nothing to worry about what so ever! I can ever breathe a further sigh of relief as Steph is not even carrying too much water, it must be just the way Mother nature decided Steph would carry her first baby!

The head was measured in diameter and circumference and all was worked out to be fine. The thigh bone was also measured, and again all was as it should be. The next measurement was taken, but I am not too sure what it was they were measuring! We were not actually looking at this point, as whatever was being measured would have given the game away as to the baby's sex! It must have been a strange view for any voyeurs seeing three excited people (my mum came this time) looking away from the monitor with their eyes in their hands!

I was expecting the scan to be a window of opportunity for us, to meet the baby properly! I guess I was hoping the baby would be so developed that it would wave, or give a thumbs up, maybe even see it winking back at us, but we couldn't really see too much in the way of details.

In fact the more the baby develops the harder it is for us to see it!

Just to add further disappointment to our visit we were also unable to get another photograph! Apparently they only issue photographs for the 12 and 21 week scans! Not too sure why... but there we go!

Still, we can rejoice in that there are no further complications. Steph can relax slightly in that an average baby will be passing down her birth canal instead of a six-year old mini-me!

Four weeks and counting!

Monday, 6 November 2006

Raring to go!

As we enter our eight month of pregnancy Steph and I are all ready and waiting!

The nursery is ready (albeit awaiting some blinds - which are on order), we have a baby bath - with a floating duck themometer, we have stacked up on baby shampoo, talcum powder, nappies and all sorts of potions that I don't have a clue what are used for! The only thing we need now is a baby!

In footballing terms, we are entering what Alex Ferguson referred to as "Squeeky Bum Time", that period at the end of the footballing season whereby each game played determines whether or not your team is going to come out on top, win the championship or get pipped at the post. For ninety minutes as a supporter you are sat at the edge of your seat willing your team on.

Steph and I are at the stage now, we have gone nearly to the end of the season, in a position of strength in a flaw free nine months, and we are waiting nervously for the final whistle!

More seriously thought, we are both starting to get a little nervous. Stephanie particularly so, as she is anticipating the actual birth itself. I am particularly nervous as I constantly ponder the problems that I may face as a parent. Unruly behavour, delinquency, poor attititude at school and all sorts of things that I shouldn't be worrying about right now!

We have another scan on Friday, just to monitor the babies growth, as judging by Steph's "bump" we are going to be giving birth to a toddler and not a baby!

The past eight months have flown by, so will the time from now until the baby arrives! It's been a great journey so far, one that is far from over. We are stuck on that rollercoaster where you want to get off to tell everyone all about it, but stuck because your still having a really great time.

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Bauer's Back - SPOILER ALERT!

Yesterday Fox released a trailer for season 6 of 24, which finally answered some of my lingering questions left over after the immense cliff hanger of season 5, but at the same time launched a thousand more!

Having now seen it (3 times!) I can safely say that this season is going to rock! The tag line this year simply being "For America to survive, Jack Bauer must die".

That sentence alone sends a shiver of excitement through my veins, but it also fills me with utter dread. Jack Bauer IS 24! Can they really kill him off? How do they make a series without him? Would I watch it without him? I don't think I would!

The trailer also answers another major question left over from season 5. Who is the new president? I am happy to say that it is none other than Mr Wayne Palmer, brother of the deceased David who was assassinated at the beginning of season 5.

The trailer is available from: http://www.24trailer.com/ take a look! It looks a lot slicker, quicker and damn more 'Hollywood' than earlier season's.

All I have to do now is to wait until February… grrrr.

Thursday, 19 October 2006

An overnight stay and yet more new feelings

Last night I got a call from Steph's mum "Adam, it's Pat, Stephanie is here crying that her stomach hurts, so I am going to the hospital so they can reassure her".

At which point I thought "OK, no worries, probably something over nothing, go see the doctor and he will tell her everything is fine". Which, as it transpired, is exactly what happened.

I received the call at work, just as I was leaving, so I had to endure a half hour walk to Charing Cross, plus an hour train journey to Dartford, in which the only company I had was my imagination.

By the time I had got to Dartford, and flagged a taxi down to take me to Darent Hospital I was full of worse case scenario's and panic!

After I had been briefed by the doctors, Steph and her mum, it became clear to me that the baby was absolutely fine and the problem lay in Steph's "water", which showed signs of an infection - as a precaution they would be keeping her in overnight.

Both of us endured sleepless night's as we struggled to cope without each others company, or in Steph's case a rock hard bed and women arriving through the night after giving birth to their own children!

Bright and early this morning I was back up at Darent to get the overnight latest, and hopefully bring Steph home - which was the plan, but I hadn't banked on the four hour wait for some antibiotics!

All's well that ends well, but sitting in the delivery room last night, I became aware of a sheer feeling of excitement as I took in the machinery and medicinal smell of the room itself. I had mental images in my mind of the baby being born, blood everywhere and me puking politely in the nearest corner.

Another sensation I felt was this morning, sitting in the ward next to Stephanie who was lying in bed was shear frustration! Opposite us was a lady who had just given birth to her first child - a son. Next to her was a lady who had a girl by cesarean section, and finally to Stephs left was another women, with another son. Steph's bed had beside it, a cot, ready for a baby, and a formal sign on the cabinet which read "please place your baby back in it's cot before you go to sleep", all of which were things we should be seeing in six weeks time, not right now!

I sat and watched the women feeding their newborns, Dad's turning up looking like Cheshire Cat's an laden with flowers and balloons, all the time thinking "I want my Baby now!".

Time will fly by, I know, and I will soon be writing all the clichés in the world how wonderful it was etc, but these little stages of realisation, for me, have been the best parts of the pregnancy. The feelings that have grown as the pregnancy has gone on, and the excitement that is now building is quite incredible!

Monday, 16 October 2006

An intriguing discovery and potential dillema

Apparently the length of a pregnant ladies bump should equate in centimetres to the amount of weeks they are pregnant. Any higher or any less and the doctors start wanting to know why.

Stephanie, being 32 weeks pregnant is expected to have a bump 32cm long. She was told today that she is a whopping 36! That would make the baby four weeks away from delivery!

The doctors now want to know if we are having a baby elephant (their words not mine), or if Stephanie is carrying a lot of water! I am actually hoping for a bigger baby because I don't want to be there when the dam that is holding all that water finally breaks! I cannot imagine that it smells particularly nice!

One blessing is that we now get to have another scan, which is great news for both of us, as we had such emotional experiences during out last two visits.

I do however have a slight worry over this third scan.

As the baby is going to be a lot bigger this time around and a lot more developed, I am slightly concerned that we may actually get an accidental glimpse of what sex the baby is, (I know some of my friend's reading this are probably thinking "not if he takes after his Dad!") and that if we do it will spoil the surprise for us both!

What then do we do? Is it possible for the nurse to show our baby without showing off it's distinguishing features, or do we have a scan where only the nurse view's the screen?

I can't see either of us sitting in that room with the baby on the screen and neither of us watching, so I guess we are both reliant on the nurse being cunning with her scanning wand, and hoping that the baby doesn't buck the Bird trend and accidentally reveal itself to us both!
Either way, I will of course keep everyone up to date with all the latest news!

Tuesday, 10 October 2006

Budding Bono or Kelly Jones?

Last night, Steph and I were sitting vegged out on the sofa, as we normally are during the week!

I was telling her about a song I had downloaded on my Ipod and asked her to listen to it!

As she was sitting listening to the music she felt Baby Bird starting to fidget! I was in the kitchen at the time, making sandwiches for work today, but when I came back she asked me to sit and watch!

She started to listen to One by U2, and it was at this point that the baby really started to move! I was watching the ipod balancing on Steph's bump moving up and down - something that was quite freaky as well as exciting!

I decided at this point to conduct an experiment.

Could we determine the babies sex depending on the response to music Steph played on the ipod?

I asked her to play a Spice Girls track (this is only on my ipod because I copied an old dance album and somehow have not got around to deleting it!), just to see what the reaction was. As it was playing the kicking and movement abated, and the ipod was not moving up and down so much. Hmmm.... interesting!

I decided then to play another "masculine" song, 'Billy Davies Daughter' by the Stereophonics!

As soon as the song started to play Steph's stomach started to move like I hadn't seen it before! It was completely amazing! For the duration of the whole track Steph’s bump was pulsating and trembling. I was slightly disturbed at one point and began having visions of a foot or a hand pushing it's way out of Steph's bump like in Alien or some other horror/sci-fi movie!

Steph and I were completely blown away, and spent the rest of the evening debating what our impromptu scientific experiment actually meant! Was the baby moving due to the distress of hearing Kelly Jones and Bono's voices, or was the baby relaxing whilst Ginger Spice and friends butchered Steph’s ears?

I am quite happy to believe that Baby Bird is a rock n roll star in the making and the music was early inspiration for his long and successful career!

Sunday, 8 October 2006

Bird Bonding

I was invited last week to spend the day in France yesterday with my Dad, Granddad and Jessica's boyfriend James.

The itinerary was to spend some time visiting World War I battlefields, having a spot of lunch and visiting the hypermarket for some bargains.

Normally the idea of World War 1 battlefields would have sent me to sleep and I would politely decline, but I thought it would be a great idea to spend the day with my Dad and Gramps, especially as I haven't really spent that much 'quality' time with Dad over the past few years.

As we were only going to be there for a day we would only be paying a flying visit at one battlefield, Vimy Ridge.

When we arrived I was completely awestruck about what I saw.

It was as if I had landed on a lunar landscape that had been turfed over and millions of trees planted on top. I had seriously under prepared myself for what to expect.

My only previous knowledge about the Great War had been gotten from Ben Elton, whom wrote "The First Casualty", a novel hardly scratching the surface of the atrocities that took place.

Having been inspired by what I had seen I suddenly become full of questions and felt a huge sense of awe for the people who had been killed in the very places I was walking.

I discovered that the lunar type landscape had been caused by the shear amount of munitions that had exploded during the course of the war - it really needs to be seen to believed.

The trees I described earlier had been planted by the Canadians, whom lost nearly 15,00 men in the space of a few minutes, a number which I am still struggling to get my head around.

Time was short; we only managed a short walk through the Canadian trenches, a tour of the visitor centre and a visit to the cemetery.

Dad mentioned coming back again and spending a lot longer looking around the ridge, exploring the underground tunnels that the Allies dug in order to surprise the Germans, and visiting other famous sites such as the Somme.

This time, instead of stifling a yawn I was asking when and nodding enthusiastically at the thought.

I hope that next time I go I will be able to write a better account of what I have seen; it is very hard to write about something that I have such little knowledge about.

My real message today is that if anyone does offer you to opportunity to do something, you may not want to go, or it may not appeal to you, but take it, you never know what you might learn, or discover!


Images



Image: Canadian Cemetery

Canadian Cemetery


Image: Canadian Cemetery: Another View

Canadian Cemetery - Another view


Monday, 25 September 2006

Birdy introduced to the Canaries

Having now been back in the country for two days I am in a better position to look back and write about our week in Fuerterventura, which overall was a resounding success.

I had never been to the Canary Islands before, unlike Steph who had already visited Tenerife and Lanzarote. One of the reasons we chose Fuerterventura was purely because we knew that it would be fairly quiet and sedate, perfect for two parents to be looking for a rest before the excitement of imminent parenthood.

The week did not get off to a perfect start however! Stephanie being the victim of sunburn after the first day, ensuring that she spent the rest of the holiday with bright red legs and applying a cocktail of creams, yogurts and other remedies in order to stop the stinging. Added to that, she spent the most of the week covered up and under an umbrella!

Neither of us were going to let that beat us, after all, we have several years experience of coping with these little pickles!

We were staying in a timeshare accommodation in the resort of Calete de Fuste, which was given to us as a Christmas present from Steph's parents, but it soon became apparent to both of us that the standard of accommodation was not what either of us expected.

The complex in which we were located was on a road halfway up the hill that dominates over the main town of Caleta, and we were staying in a little white bungalow at the end. Both Steph and I made comparisons of the road to Ramsey Street, albeit a smaller version.

The complex itself was lovely, with the 4 pool area's kept immaculate, the bar well decorated and the onsite restaurant serving amazing food. The only downside for us was that within the idyllic looking white bungalow we found so charming from the outside was not so within.

The upkeep of the building had obviously been very poor, and the decor had not been maintained very well at all. For example we found a rusty plug hole in the bath and the oven in the kitchen was nothing short of disgusting!

Despite this disappointment which both of us felt, we decided that it was only the four walls in which we slept and that we wouldn't be hardly 'home' for much anyway. As we both said, the surrounding environment was really so lovely it seemed a minor inconvenience, and so we carried on regardless.

We quickly explored the surrounding area, which being up on the hill meant a walk down and a taxi back!

The walk into Caleta took around twenty minutes, but for a non pregnant couple it would only be ten. Half way between us and the town centre, still on the hill was a small parade of bar's, restaurants and shops which gave us a nice alternative if we didn't want to walk down into the town or if we wanted an early night.

Caleta itself seemed to be a fairly new development of shops and restaurants, certainly newer than some of our neighbours on the hill. From leaving our little white bungalow we could walk on the same path, all the way down the hill, under the main road via an underpass, into the town centre, past the bars and restaurants and straight onto the beach, which itself was fairly wide and very well looked after.

After two days of rest and relaxation our friends Stuart and Aimee arrived from the UK on one of those "accommodation on arrival" holidays, meaning that they could have been placed in the little white bungalow next door, or 30km away on the other side of the island. Luckily for us they were placed 30km away on the other side of the island.

I only say luckily as it opened up an opportunity for Steph and I to explore a little and have a little adventure.

On the Wednesday morning we got up bright eyed and bushy tailed and took the walk down the hill in order to catch the 9.00am bus, which would take us to Puerto de Rosario, the capital. Once there we would catch another bus to take us the rest of the way to Corralejo, where we would meet with Stuart and Aimee.

The bus journey was efficient, on time; the buses were air conditioned and clean of litter and graffiti, although the old aged pensioners still remained! The total journey to Corralejo was roughly 30km (18 miles), and it cost us, for two people £4.50!

The best part of the bus journey was the trip across the national park of Fuerteventura, which consists of miles and miles of sand dunes! The road itself weaved over the middle of it, with sand on either side. To the right-hand side of us we had the ocean literally two metres away from us at places! Slightly surreal, but definitely an experience! I felt quite jealous of people in the cars in front of us who were pulling over at random places to take photos, have a swim or something equally touristy.

Once in Corralejo we met straight away with Stuart and Aimee who walked us back to there apartments, just in time for a sizzling breakfast!

The resort Stuart and Aimee stayed in was amazing, Steph and I felt a little jealous seeing as they had this modern, spacious and well looked after apartment which they had booked blind, and we had the little white bungalow which we spent looking at for ages in the book!

We spent the day relaxing and swimming in the lagoon of a pool and Stuart and I spent a relaxing hour in the Jacuzzi coming up with a battle plan. We decided that we would stay the night at Stuart and Aimee’s apartment, have a meal in Corralejo and hire a car the following day for a drive around the Island and stop off at some random places which took our fancy.

Whilst in the Jacuzzi Stuart and I mentioned the possibility that perhaps two hot bikini clad girls would come and join us, which would have really made our days. Our wish nearly came true, except that the two women who DID join us had a combined age of one hundred and twenty and nearly weighed the same amount in stone! One nearly helped herself to a seat on Stuarts lap - young man indeed!

After a truly excellent meal in the evening and a few drinks in a local karaoke bar we retired to bed after planning a route for the morning which would see us visiting most, if not all of the island.

The following day we set off in earnest for a route across the top left hand side of the island which would follow the coastline all the way to Faro lighthouse which Stuart had read about in one of the guides. We had a slight disadvantage in that we could not actually find the road we were looking for on the map.

We soon worked out that the little wiggly lines on the map in black were actually dirt tracks. The lady in the car hire shop said that we wouldn't be covered by our insurance on roads like this, nor would we be for blown out tyres. The realisation sunk in that we had to change our route!

As it was we picked up a main road and were standing outside the lighthouse within thirty five minutes! It would have been thirty, but we spent five minutes trying to get Aimee out of the back of the car! She had somehow slipped and wedged herself between the driver’s seat and her own!

On final approach to the lighthouse we had a further example of the erratic nature of the Fuerturventurian roads. The main road through the town from which we had come continued across the dry and arid ground and stopped suddenly, but continued in the form of another dirt track. We continued, but only as we were following a car in front whom we presumed was going to the lighthouse too.

We meandered on for a short while, slowly to avoid the rocks and other things likely to puncture our tyres, when suddenly the dirt track became a solid tarmaced road again! Not only was it a road, but it could have potentially carried four lanes of traffic. Result we thought, as Stuart hit the accelerator and continued in earnest. Two miles later, as suddenly as it started the road stopped and turned back into a dirt track! Incredibly bizarre considering we were in the middle of nowhere, the nearest town a further three miles back!

After a spot of photography against the vibrantly coloured lighthouse, some paddling in the rock pools and some hanging out with mad German fisherman telling us his name was "Johann, and his fish's name was 'Beerhaus' ", it was time to turn all the way back again across the dirt-track/motorway/dirt-track combo.

I loved it at the lighthouse, I could have spent the day there, the waves were really impressive, battering against the hard volcanic rocks, it was really rugged and I felt like I was on the edge of the world!

After a quick pause in El Cotillo where we took a quick peek at the harbour, we noticed the words "Virgin de Buen Viaje" written on the side of the cliff face about half way up. I thought at the time 'how strange', but this is apparently well endorsed and means 'Virgin of good travel', which brings me nicely along to the second leg of our adventure.

We couldn't help but notice in the brochures that were floating around in our resorts, the story of the shipwreck lying of the coast. The stricken ship SS American Star had sunk in the late 90's and when looking for a hire car I asked one of the ladies in the ship about it.

She said that it was well worth visiting, but was an hour off road, across a dirt track, but visit now as it won't be there much longer. After hearing her sales pitch, I was sold and wanted to visit this shipwreck, so our itinerary was set out with this in mind. All we needed to do was follow the main road down through the island, driving through the old capital Betancuria on the way, which we thought would give us our cultural fix for the day.

One thing that basic maps don't highlight very well.... mountains, or in this case large hills (when does a hill officially become a mountain?). With Stuart at the control of a small three door Seat with two very scared women in the back, the Virgin of good travel was about to become deflowered.

To say that I was nervous was an understatement! I am sure most people reading this have been on the odd dodgy road abroad, but this one was up there with the best of them. Tight 180 turns with nothing but a piece of flimsy barrier separating you from certain death, manic local drivers who ooze with overconfidence and take the same bends we took in first gear at 10 miles an hour taking them at 60 and leaving us closing our eyes in fear, which is not good when driving!

Aimee was incredibly nervous in the back, Steph felt sick and I kept giggling nervously! When we got to the top of the first hill/mountain/whatever we pulled over at the viewpoint to take a look down at what was quite an impressive view. Amy even said to me “You are going to have a lot to write about when you get home!”

At least from here we were only ever going to go down. Which we did - with gusto!

The former capital lay back at the bottom, which was a slight disappointment as there was nothing there! When I read, former capital I presumed it was recently former, within the past 50 years, but it was nearer 500! We kind of concluded that people must have been too scared to drive there in the olden days over the mountain road which we just came, that they decided to move it somewhere safer!

Once again we were on our way and again the map let us down! The damn thing forgot to mention that there was another hill/mountain and this one was going to be higher. Nor did the map highlight the fact that blocking our path was a low flying cloud ready to burst whatever it was carrying right on top of our shiny but very scary Seat.

However scared, nervous, excited we felt after the first part was now definitely heightened by our journey over the second! Luckily we managed to beat the cloud, or it beat us, either way we scrapped through the edge of it and continued our weaving way, around, over and down the mountain into the village of Pajara, which I am certain roughly translates as "Hallelujah".

Pajara did however mark a landmark on our journey to the SS American Star, as it was from here we needed to look for the dirt track that would lead us there. It was easily found and we started to slowly follow it.

We had to take it slowly and Stuart had to keep his wits about him in order to avoid the many, many rocks or jagged stones that could have punctured our tyres and left us as stranded as the poor ship I was dying to see.

It was this part of the journey which didn't come recommended to us in the NHS 'Parents to be guide'. Poor baby bird sitting in the back in Steph's womb which was bouncing uncontrollably this way and that over the very, very bumpy dirt track, for what was roughly an hour. It also meant that for however long it took us to get there, it would take us the same amount of time for us to get back.

So baby bird, if you suffer from short term amnesia when you’re born, I am sorry, but I really wanted to see a real life shipwreck!

The shipwreck itself was a bit of an anticlimax, but was still worth the effort. The sea has taken its toll and what was left was not how we saw it in the recently published guidebooks. In fact, I don't think it will be there this time next year, although looking around the internet for more information, others have been saying this every year since it sank.

This webpage has a good animation of the decay of the ship, scroll to the bottom and then compare it to the photos in my photo album.

Still, the location couldn't have been better! The beach in which was ideally situated next to the shipwreck had lava formed rocks to one side which Stuart and I were eager to climb over, and the sea was really powerful, with big waves and looked really inviting.

We headed for the rocks and from the walk to them it looked as if there may be a tunnel carved out of the cliff face, and we both wanted to 'check it out'. When we finally got there we both became rather awestruck as these big powerful waves crashed against the other side of the tunnel causing the water inside to crash around and make a ferocious noise. We wouldn't be taken a swim or a walk up there!

We did carry on climbing over at our much 'safer' side, although I was a bit foolish in climbing without anything on my feet! Stuart nearly wet himself when he found a small rock covering a very large crab. Stuart then decided to play a game of catch the crab, but couldn't quite muster the courage to pick it up before it ran to safety. I decided at that point that I prefer the more traditional way of catching crabs.

On our way back to the girls who were waiting patiently at the beach, albeit Steph was rather uncomfortable, having a lifelong displeasure of all things beachy! We headed into the sea, which was really throwing some water about. Steph may hate the beach with a passion that even she cannot explain, but I am not too good in the sea. I think it stems from a deep fear of drowning because of not being a particularly strong swimmer. I was only in the sea for a little while, and did not venture out as far as Duncan Goodhew look-alike Stuart who was out chasing the dolphins and talking gibberish to the whales.

He came out of the wash with a big grin on his face like a little kid who had just had a brilliant time, he wanted to go back in, but Aimee was worried about creatures and losing her bikini, whilst I was a big girl’s blouse. I felt sorry for Stuart really because he had driven all that way and was having such a great time I didn't want to burst his bubble!

By the time we had dried off it was pretty much time to head back onto the dirt track and face the arduous bumps and rock dodging and head for home.

It struck me whilst writing this how very Enid Blyton I have come across! All we needed was some ginger beer and treasure and we would have had an even more jolly adventure!

After the terror and tribulations of our outward journey the home leg was without incident. We arrived back at Ramsey Street and showed Stuart and Aimee out apartments. To be honest both Steph and I were probably slightly embarrassed after viewing their palatial alternative earlier in the day.

After a quick drink in the local Zanzibar it was time to say goodbye. For Steph and I it had been the best day of the holiday, and we would be going back to our relaxation therapy the next day!
The rest of the time we were on the island we spent our days around the pool and Steph was found moving away from the sun all day. In the nights we would either walk into town for a meal and a few drinks in Piero's or another one of the bars, or we would stay more locally in one of the places a few minutes walk away.

Both of us loved Fuerteventura and would definitely recommend it to families or couples looking for a relaxing time with a hint of adventure if it takes your fancy. If we had a bigger budget and Steph wasn't pregnant we would have taken either the quad bike tour of the island, or one of the Jeep safaris, as these would have taken the quick and easy route over one of the many dirt tracks that inhabit the island.

One thing that struck me whilst we were away was the amount of families and children who were having such great times, kids who were playing in the sea, or in the pools. It really hit home for me what would be happening to Steph and I over the next few months, and I started to get really excited and mentally plan out where we would take baby bird and his/her siblings, what we would be doing during the day and the many adventures we would get up to.

Back home in Britain with the rain and the dark night's at 7.30, the week we had in Fuerteventura seems to have been already such a long time ago! But with this blog, and the photographs hopefully I can keep the memories a little fresher.

If you have read this far I salute you! Leave a comment to prove it!

Thursday, 14 September 2006

The final trimester

Steph and I are now well into our final trimester of her pregnancy, and things are really starting to build up momentum.

On Saturday we are flying out to Fuerteventura, which I have been holding as some kind of benchmark as to where we are within the pregnancy cycle. When we come back it will be the final countdown to welcoming Baby Bird™ into the world!

As we look forward to a week in the sun, things back at home are changing rapidly. The nursery is starting to take shape with all new furniture and furnishings for the baby. Mum and dad very kindly brought the baby some new wheels in which the baby can travel in style and comfort - thank you Nanny and Bampy! Also, lots of little bits and pieces have started to litter the kitchen and elsewhere around the flat.

The week away comes highly recommended in a lot of the pregnancy books I have read (well one!), not only because it is possibly the last chance you will get away with peace and quiet for 18 years, but will be a chance for Steph and I to lay down our "battle plans", meaning that we can talk about parenting and how we are going to be as parents.

One thing is for sure, we are in for an exciting few months the three of us, and speaking for myself, the nerves are already well settled!

Before I sign off for another day, I want to wish Will, Gareth, Stuart, Anthony, Foordy, and Tommy all the best for there row on Saturday. It is for a very worthy cause, but even if they were doing it for a bet I would wish them luck. It is going to be a long slog, but they will be grinning from ear to ear when they (hopefully) cross that finishing line sometime on Tuesday! For more details see the Oarsome 4Some website.

Saturday, 26 August 2006

Emirates and Updates

Is it really only ten days that I posted my last blog? Work has been incredibly busy over the past two weeks, so being able to post a blog during work-time has been impossible, and by the time I get home the last thing I want to do is to switch the computer on!

(If anyone is in interested in what I have been working on check out the Ferrari Panamerican 20,000 tour!)

On Wednesday evening I was lucky enough to have been asked by my friend Stuart to go with him the brand new Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal Football Club. His brother in law was a season ticket holder and had a couple of spares. Keen to keep my tally of football grounds going I could hardly say no!

Having kept an eye on the Arsenal website throughout construction of the stadium I was quite looking forward to actually seeing it in person, even if I was not too fussed about seeing the Gooners themselves, much to the jealously of my Arsenal supporting mother!

We walked to the stadium by going down the Holloway Road from the Highbury and Islington tube station, past various takeaway eateries and boarded up shops, taking a swift right and down a street lined with Victorian three floored houses.

Almost as the street ended it opened up and the Emirates Stadium presented itself; a glowing mass of concrete, shiny smooth lines of metal and neon. It looked as if a space ship had landed and buried itself within a North London Park.

Walking around the ground trying to find our bearings and the elusive block "S", many others were doing the same. I was told of the bloke moaning as he walked past saying how it was a stupid stadium and that at least with Highbury he knew where he was going!

As we entered the "Emirates" I was looking forward to the best part of visiting any new stadium - walking through the doorway from the concourse to the seating area. You get your first look at the pitch (which always looks better under lights), and the mountains of seats that surround the action.

It was without doubt an impressive sight. Old Trafford and Anfield had been the same, but the Emirates was different, which I think was a lack of familiarity. We were not used to seeing the stadium on the television every week, so we were unsure about how the stadium really looked.

The game itself presented me with a few "firsts"; First time I had seen a European Cup game, first European Cup game at the Emirates and the first time Arsenal had played under lights at the Emirates. It was also the first time I had seen a foreign team in action. The support of the Dynamo Zagreb team was amazing. Two thousand people making more noise than the other fifty six thousand Arsenal fans. They chanted non stop for ninety minutes, all clapping simultaneously, all the men with their shirts off and waving scarves around their heads! They must have been knackered by the end of the evening!

Although I was incredibly comfortable in my seat, which was padded, and had more leg room than if I was at home sitting on my sofa, I felt uncomfortable in my mind. It didn't feel quite right, I was watching Arsenal, but I wasn't at Highbury, which to me IS Arsenal. I was in the future, in a ground that was brighter than anywhere I had been before, the pitch was greener, it felt artificial, it didn't feel right. I don't know how the Arsenal fans feel about the new stadium, but for me, some places are sacred, and Highbury was one of those sacred footballing cathedrals.

If and when Liverpool are relocated it is going to be one hundred times worse. Liverpool playing somewhere else other than Anfield, it's not right! It's like blue grass and red oceans, all wrong! Maybe I am just a stick in the mud that cannot move on!

Check out some of the photographs from the night.

Monday, 14 August 2006

In the pipeline

Coming soon to the site (hopefully by the end of the week) will be news on a great event that five of my friends are taken part in.

On Saturday 16th September they will be attempting to row 22 miles down the River Thames in the annual Great River Race event to raise money towards the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society.

More details on the race, including a full description of the "magog", which is the boat they will be rowing, rower profiles, and further information about the Ankylosing Spondylitis Society will be added soon.

They will be rowing under the name of "Oarsome 4Some", (although I preferred "4 oars and a cox"), and Skipper William Buckby will (hopefully) be keeping everyone updated via the newly installed blog which can be found (empty at the moment) at http://www.adambird.co.uk/oarsome.html.

Tuesday, 8 August 2006

Is be One Big Damn Puzzler

Mum started it all off when I was a kid, making sure that I was always reading, encouraging me and giving me different books to read.

One of the best things about my new job is that I can sit on the train for an hour a day (on my way home) and read to my hearts content.

Since starting in April, I have probably read about 12 different books! The Waterstones just outside Charing Cross station is doing a roaring trade out of me!

I have just finished a book called One Big Damn Puzzler which I recommend to anyone reading! It is without doubt the funniest book that I have ever read! Sitting on the train with someone asleep next to you as you are laughing out loud is not a comfortable experience, but I had to do this for total of nearly six hours. The people I sat next to during these times must have thought I was mad!

I won't write a book review as the synopsis on the above link in all the information I had to go on before hand, and sums it up better that I could. But if like me, you like reading, grab a copy of this and I promise you will enjoy it!

There is be one other Big Damn Puzzler too before I go. Gillingham's first game of the season! We actually looked quite good and held a lot of promise for the forthcoming season! I am not going to say too much too soon as it is still incredibly early days, but if we continue to show the effort, commitment, pace and general performance that was evident on Saturday, then we will have a good season.

Friday, 4 August 2006

Return to the promised land?

And so it all begins again!

Millions of football supporters at work today will be sharing the anticipation and excitement that comes on the dawn of a new footballing season, every fan expecting this season to be the one that their team gets promotion, wins a cup or gets into Europe.

For me as a Gillingham fan I am dreaming of a promotion campaign back to the so called 'promised land' (which most people know as the Championship). The 'promised land' was so called because Gillingham had spent all of there first 100 years of existence playing in the bottom two division and only nearly making the step up on a couple of occasions.

After our five season stay, which the first three were magic (13th, 12th and 11th placed finishes), we find ourselves facing our second campaign plotting out return.

As a club we find now ourselves fairly settled after a chaotic and sometimes shambolic 'transitional' period. Ronnie Jepson is now the man at the helm and for me, so far so good.

I have been impressed with his comments in the media and on the official Gillingham Website, and think that he is the type of manager we need right now.

So dreaming of a promotion campaign, but what of the reality? The reality is that Gillingham are a club on a very tight budget and a small squad of young and hard working players who are capable of a top half finish. Ronnie Jepson will make sure that we are a tough team to beat this season, and not many teams will enjoy coming down to Priestfield.

I can see Bristol City and Nottingham Forest having a good season, and one of the promoted teams from League Two will continue the momentum they built up last year.

My only worry is a lack of goals in the side, Mulligan works incredibly hard and the new lad McDonald looks quite tricky, but neither have 'goal poacher' written all over them.

However, still imbedded in the back of my mind is this Wembley theory of mine! My friend Glyn joked with me at the end of the season by saying, "Ad, you know why Wembley is still not ready? The Gills weren't. Next year, when they are, so will Wembley!".

Que Sara Sara

Thursday, 3 August 2006

One for Reaso

Anybody watching the F Word last night with Gordon Ramsey would have seen the feature with the giant Jaffa Cake.

Giles Coren, the "posh food critic" had stumbled across a website called Pimpthatsnack.com, whereby people had been attempting to make extreme sized replicas of famous snacks or sweets. We were then shown the efforts he went to in order to produce a huge Jaffa Cake, which he had given the name "Jaffa Quake".

On the website itself you can see how people have tirelessly replicated a giant custard cream, a giant scotch egg and a huge cola bottle just to name a few!

I thought that this would be a perfect challenge for Reaso, who famously ate a desert made for four people in order to secure a discount off the final bill! Incidentally he was ill for hours afterwards and felt the effects of the sugar rush for at least three days.

Tuesday, 1 August 2006

Firefox CSS Problem - Solved!

I posted a blog on the 21st July about problems I had been having making sure that the blog feature looks the same in Firefox as it does in Internet Explorer.

This is one of the big problems right now facing website designer/developers. The reason being is that Firefox adheres to strict conventions as laid out by the W3C and Internet Explorer doesn't!

Anyhows, after days of trying various things, the problem has now been fixed, thanks to finding posts on forums across the web from people posting similar questions to the one I had!

Thursday, 27 July 2006

From tiny Shrimps, healthy babies grow...

One of the most exciting times of any pregnancy is the 20 week scan.

Today Steph and I went up to Darenth to have ours.

We were both really looking forward to this, especially Steph. She has been feeling a little depressed about the fact that she had the first scan so early, hence the "Shrimp" moniker, but we can finally lay that to rest!

Both of us were really quite nervous, although we never mentioned it to each other before hand! I could see Steph breathing quickly when she was laying on the bed waiting for the machine to kick in and for the baby to reveal itself!

It was definitely worth the 21 week, (and 1 day) wait as we caught glimpses of the babies face as it yawned and it's arms waved as it fidgeted in the warmth of Steph's womb.

It was interesting to see the nurse use the high tech equipment measuring the babies head, and body making sure all was as it should be - so far so good.

We could have been told whether we were expecting a baby boy or a baby girl, but we (or should that be I) decided to keep it all a surprise for later.

Most amazingly for me, is that even at the babies tender age we saw that the he/she had a podgy belly taking after the father and yawned throughout, quite seemingly following in his or her mother's footsteps.

Wednesday, 26 July 2006

26 Years and Counting

Another year, another birthday!

I don't feel particularly 26ish today, but the grey hair is starting to show!

Never mind - only four more years until I am 30!

Monday, 24 July 2006

Beach and Babies

Every so often Stephanie will get a full weekend off, which is great for the pair of us as we don't really see each other very often nowadays! It may seem a crazy thing to say, but for the pair of us it definitely seems that way!

We decided therefore we would take advantage of the gorgeous weather and head for the coast for the day!

I wasn't sure where we ought to go. I remember as a kid we always used to go to Margate with my grandparents on my Mum's side of the family, whilst my Dad's parents always seemed to take us to Dymchurch!

So naturally I thought to go to either of those places, and opted for Margate, purely because of the whole Dreamland experience - even though it is experiencing difficult times at the moment! (This website is an interesting read if anyone feels like reminiscing!).

So how we ended up in Herne Bay was a mystery to me! I guess I had a last minute change of mind as we driving down there or something!

I always remember the most exciting part of going to the seaside when I was a kid was driving along and catching your first glimpse of the sea from in between houses or through the trees, I am quite ashamed to admit that I still haven't lost that feeling, which was a surprise to me!

Herne Bay hadn't changed that much from what I remember of it, although I cannot say I am overly familiar with it in the first place. I was impressed with the cleanliness of the water, which wouldn't be out of place in some Mediterranean resorts, and it was certainly a lot warmer too!

As we sat there people watching, both Steph and I agreed that we were both looking forward to the day when we take the baby to the beach and see him/her playing in the sand and having as much fun we did when we were kids!

We have our second scan on Thursday, which we are both looking forward to! Me because it will be the first time I see, or hear the babies heartbeat, and Steph because she is wants to get the vision of a shrimp/prawn/seahorse out of her head!

Friday, 21 July 2006

Firefox CSS Problem

For those people who are viewing this blog in Internet Explorer you will probably not know what I am talking about, but I am after some help!

If you view this page in Firefox you will see that the red and black background is missing, and only appears as a small rectangle at the top of the page!

Somehow I need to fix the stylesheet code or <div> tags, but have tried everything (except the thing that fixes it) and still no luck!

I would appreciate any advice!

Thursday, 20 July 2006

Welcome to my Blog

I may well be behind millions of other people in the world who have been "blogging" or creating online diaries since the start of the internet, but I am glad to say that I have now finally managed to introduce a decent blogging "plugin" to my website.

My website has been live now for just over two years, and in that time I have tried to work out just how to introduce a blog facility to the site. The discussion forum didn't really work, as it wasn't very well syndicated, but now after months of exploring different methods I am hopeful that I have succeeded!

Using the excellent Blogger.com I have created an account which allows me to use my own template and host my own blog on my own site - what more could a webgeek want (they would probably want to build the whole progamme by themselves...)?

Anyway, I will hopefully be posting on here now whenever I can, and whenever I feel like writing. I certainly have stuff to write about, what with learning new things at work, Stephanie and I having our baby and everyone seemingly getting married next year!
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