Gosh, I don't know where to start. It's been a while; it seems like an age since I last posted, but in reality it was only a fortnight or so. I'm like some kind of blogging bulimic - I seem to post regularly and with increasing frequency, even daily for a while, then neglect things for a couple of weeks.
'Hey daddio', I hear you ask, 'You been frisking your whiskers, or are you just whipped?' Well, I guess a little of both. Let me tell you...
Firstly, and mainly, Olive. She's growing fast these days, and I like to spend as much of the short amount of weekday time between coming home from work and her bedtime with her as I can. I actually think I'll post separately about her recent progress. Likewise, our increasingly distant trip to Madeira will still benefit from a post of it's very own (which I think might take the form of a photo-journal). So what else has occupied my time?
Well, for one thing, the recent mini-heatwave. If you live almost anywhere in the UK, you can't have failed to notice that last week saw temperatures reaching the high eighties. Of course, the country moaned and groaned as it mainly failed to cope with this altogether predicable weather event. For our part, we helplessly oversaw the temperature in Olive's room reach 29°C on Thursday. It's still only down to 23°C today. Olive didn't seem to mind the heatwave. I guess she must have inherited some kind of tolerance from me - I was born into the summer of 1976.
Another thing that has occupied my time recently has been the task of uploading a six-month backlog of pictures onto my Flickr pages. And I'm pleased to report that I am now mainly up-to-date. You can therefore see my recent efforts here.
The weekend after we got back saw us calling into Venture, a national chain of photography studios that specialise in expensive and contemporary-styled portrait work. Gemma's mum had won a free session and picture, and a significant minority of her family turned up to take advantage of this. The poor photographer was certainly tested, but managed to capture some pretty good shots (which we saw at a viewing session a week later).
After the posing, I dropped Gemma at a pub near Pugneys in Wakefield for an afternoon reunion with some of her university friends (who, due to Gemma's continued maternity leave, have overtaken her and are now qualified as nurses). Olive and I went on to Crofton to meet up with Andrew and Michelle at a 'carnival'. To be honest it was barely a fete, and we stayed only a short while before heading back to the Davies', where we were joined by Gemma for takeaway tea. We slept over and had every intention of going back to Crofton in time for day two of the carnival. A car boot sale was also promised by the posters, but by the time we arrived late morning there was no sign of the carnival and the last couple of cars were packing up. We bussed over to Sandal, where another car boot was happening, but here too the event was packing away as we rounded the corner. You can read more about the weekend over on Michelle and Scarlett's blog.
The last Saturday of the month of June saw Gemma and her sister Neeley heading over to the Old Trafford cricket ground in Manchester, where the popular group Take That were performing. I understand that they enjoyed the show, although Lady Gaga, one of the supports, failed to show, and the crowd received a soaking from a pre-show shower of rain. My weekend was mostly taken up with listening to and watching the BBC's fine Glastonbury coverage. I've never actually been to the Glastonbury Festival; I reckon it's just too big for my liking. But via the excellent broadcasts over the weekend, I was able to catch sets by Neil Young, Franz Ferdinand, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Blur, Fleet Foxes, and The Specials. Over on 6 Music, Adam and Joe were presenting a number of shows. I'm not sure I really left the house at all.
I'm having continued troubles with our car, and Evans Halshaw, the garage from where I bought it as new less than eighteen months ago, are not showing any signs of being able to fix things to our satisfaction. Since last year there has been a leak in the driver's door, whereby heavy rain flows in through the speaker. The car has been into the garage at least five times previously, but the problem has not been resolved (despite promises). Hopefully, following two further days on the ramp, the leak has now been fixed. We'll see. Also, some paint underneath the driver's door as started to flake off. I don't think the two are related, but this second problem requires yet another visit to the bodyshop. I think I'll write to Vauxhall once all the lemon tendencies have been put right.
To Liverpool, for Deb's birthday. For the first time, we stopped with John and Christina, who have a lovely city centre flat, just two minutes walk from the new Liverpool One shopping centre. The weekend was to have featured a picnic. Sadly, the beautiful weather didn't last and unpredictably heavy showers forced us to seek an indoor venue. A lovely little pub called The Railway near to Deb's flat in town was deemed fit for purpose, and there we commandeered a couple of snugs. Olive's bedtime informed an early finishing time for Gemma and me, but we were able to meet up with everyone the next morning for breakfast, before we headed over to the Anglican Cathedral for a look round (we discovered a wonderful graveyard below the cathedral, in the vast pit from which the sandstone that was used to construct this massive house of God was quarried). After the inevitable coffee, we packed up the car and drove back to God's own county.
There now, all up to date. And don't we all feel better for it, as if we've all had a blog enema. A blenema.