Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Life in the fast lane... and the bus lane

Last weekend we went to watch George's uncle drive a Ferrari 360 round a race track (a 40th birthday present). When we arrived there were a row of supercars – Lambourghinis, Ferraris, Aston Martins, an Audi R8 and the like. George watched curiously, intrigued more by the throaty roars of the engines than the sleek beauty of the cars' lines.

After George's uncle had been on an orientation lap in a Subaru to familiarise himself with the track layout, we watched him accelerate away on his two Ferrari laps. Well, most of us did – George got excited when he spotted a Chrysler Voyager and happily shouted "van, van, van" (I suppose it's a lot easier than shouting "Lambourghini").

He got even more excited a little later on when, after the "racing" was over, we all boarded a minibus back to the car park. It was like two special days in one – George's uncle got to drive a Ferrari and George got to go in a big white minibus.

Now there's a gap in the market... minibus experience days!

Uncle Matt gets revved up during his briefing
"...and this is the button for the deceleration parachute"

He is going fast... he's just a long way away

"Yes, Ferraris are nice, Grandad, but I think I can see a minibus coming"

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Catalogue time

I don't think I've looked forward to Christmas with this much excitement for about 30 years. I know it's only November and Christmas is five and a half weeks away, but I remember as a child, that one of the best things in the run-up to Christmas was looking through the toys in the catalogues.

My mum used to have the Grattan catalogue which seemed massively bulky and you'd have to turn over hundreds of pages in great wads to get to the toy section at the back, which I'd pore over for hours on end. Then I'd make a list to send to Santa, I'd probably check it twice and revisit the catalogue a few more times to make sure I hadn't missed anything.

I don't know if Grattan catalogues are still around, but we've got the Toys-R-Us catalogue and a good one that came through the post from the Great Little Trading Company, and they have become the reading material of choice in our house.

George will be 19 months old this Christmas, but I've found myself salivating at toys and then getting disappointed when it says 'for age four or five and above'. Still, there's plenty to get excited about for children George's age and plenty to look forward to for future Christmases.

One of the things I would like to do – but mummy says I've got to finish the fence first – is build an outdoor play area with a slide and swing and steps and stuff... you know the sort of thing. The last time I did something like that was before George came along and I built a dovecote. They were £200-£300 in the garden centre and I think I spent about £65 on materials – although it took me about four full weekends to complete.

So, by the time I finish the fence and get on to building a swing and a slide, George will probably be wanting a car and some driving lessons for Christmas.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Simple pleasures

As the saying goes, the best things in life are free, and we enjoyed a lovely, sunny autumn morning at the park at the weekend – kicking up leaves, watching the ducks and spotting squirrels. Car parking (not one of the best things in life) was £3.30.

Anyway, we took a few pictures of George, so this week's blog has more of a photo album feel...

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Beds and a wetting

Mummy changed the bed not so long back. Not that there's anything special about that, after all, whatever you may have heard, it is quite a regular occurrence. Only this time the pillowcases looked decidedly different... yet comfortingly familiar.

On my side was a pillow with a picture of Paddington Bear, sat with his suitcase and marmalade sandwich at Paddington Station. On mummy's side, the pillowcase was decorated with a small woodland scene including hedgehogs, rabbits and owls.

A little bit faded, they were the bedding of choice when I was a toddler and were among the items my mum had saved and returned to me as an adult – and now they have a new purpose in their existence, as every morning George likes to point at Paddington and shout "bear!" into daddy's ear.

I thought this might stop when the sheets got changed back to the ones with the miminalist dot pattern on, but he just points at the dots (which look a bit like chocolate buttons) and shouts "bear!"

One of the other items from my childhood was a porcelain cereal bowl with a Peter Rabbit picture on and a quote around the rim, but after surviving 40 years of life with me, it only made it through another 17 months with my son.

The other day we got caught in the rain and being only a few hundred yards from home decided to make a dash for it. We pulled the canopy of the pushchair over George's head and began to run. It was a matter of seconds before the rain soaked our clothes, drenched our scowling faces and began to trickle down our necks. However, George seemed to quite like the whole experience – I'd have loved to have been able to see his face as he soaked up the excitement of our mad rush – it must have been like being a Formula 1 driver on a wet circuit. Either that or he was just laughing at us because we got wet and he didn't!