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That Was The Week That Was – Weeknotes 5

March 20, 2011

This was a lovely big week, spoilt only slightly by the fact I was a bit under the weather for most of it. I had two long drives with my IBS playing up, which wasn’t wasn’t pleasant.

The week started well with a nice cup of tea with Russell Davies, the One-Man Creative Perpetual Motion Machine. Sunday’s a blank – I can’t for the life in me remember what I did. Monday was mad – up early to get my stuff ready and then off to Little Dippers. The Little Tyke got his head dipped under water for the first time – very traumatic. I didn’t enjoy watching that. He hated it at first, then got used to it. Apparently, if you do it before the age of one, the reflex to not breathe underwater is innate, whereas after one they need to relearn the instinct. Something like that. Back from Little Dippers with a Streetcar, we packed and set off on our road trip, Glasgow, Bradford, possibly Newcastle and then back home.

It was the most glorious day for driving, with traffic really thin and a sun that made everything look like a movie set. We stopped twice – the second time at the Tebay/Westmoreland services in Cumbria, which is run by a family rather than a corporation and incorporates a farmshop. The baby care facilities are better than any others I’ve come across, which is a *huge* plus to us these days. I had chicken curry – as fine a meal as I’ve had at a service station. There’s no fast food, which I’m sure counts against them with regard number of customers, but it certainly made the place that little bit pleasanter to be. We’ll call there ever time we drive to Scotland from now on – in fact, we called in on the equivalent Southbound services on the way back. And I had chicken curry again!

Dossed in my in-laws’ house on Tuesday while Fi, Arlo and Maris headed into town. I’ve been trying to write a spec piece for Word magazine about Shel Silverstein, the songwriter, so I nipped at that a little. Someday I’ll finish it, but I must say I’d be lost if I had to work to a deadline.

Wednesday we visited friends John, Heth and their son, whose name I struggle to spell. Ruaraidh, I think it is. Whenever I drive around the Southside of Glasgow, it reaffirms the thought that I could happily live there. Ruaraidh has just turned one, so we were looking at him as a cypher for all the changes Arlo’s going to go through in the next 8 months or so. If Arlo grows up a tenth as lovely as Ruaraidh, we’ll consider ourselves very lucky indeed.

Thursday we hit the West End of Glasgow – always a pleasure. Had coffee and cake in The Tinderbox on Byers Road – just opposite us was the drummer from Franz Ferdinand, with his two young sons. He was asking after you!

Friday we drove down to Bradford in time to catch my niece Erin doing her Gymnastics training. She’s coming up to 14, and can spring and tumble like you see on the Olympics. I’m amazed. They have a pit at the end of the runway filled with foam rubber, so they can land somewhere soft. It looked great fun.

Saturday was a funny one. Fi, Arlo and I took my nephew Charlie and my sister Karen to Maker Faire in Newcastle. It’s the first time I’ve seen my O’Reilly executioners since they chopped me off the payroll, and I was a little worried about it to say the least. But Maker Faire is a fantastic event, and just because me and them have a bit of history doesn’t make the event less fantastic, nor does it negate my right to go. I knew Charlie would love it – he’s 12, so was a cert for wanting to see fire-breathing dragon robots. So we went, and it didn’t take long before I met my former colleagues and it was perfectly civil, if a little distant, as you would expect. It did me good. I told them about my new job.

Maker Faire itself gets stronger and stronger. Last year the big thing was Arduinos, this time it was 3D printing. I met lots of friends, such as Rain Ashford, Adrian Mcewan, Andy Godwin and Tom Scott, as well as the guys from GetItMade, with whom I’ve corresponded but not met. Lovely to meet them.

Sunday I went to watch Charlie play hockey. He’s been called up to play in his age group for West Yorkshire, which I’m thrilled about. Last weekend he was playing for Bradford, and there was a ghosts of touchlines future about it for me. Best overheard line – as a young kid took a corner, his dad yelled “Nothing clever, Matthew.”

Finished the weekend off with lunch with my dad and Merle and Karen’s clan. Wonderful.

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