Had a lovely meet with our new minister who will be with us in Histon from September. Some funk worship could be on the cards. I am excited about the prospect of change, though it could be big for the church. More thoughts another time, but if you are passing on a Sunday do stop by and say hello, we are the big yellow/grey brick church opposite the Barley Now and bike shop. Histon Methodist Church


One minute past midnight and Dr K says she has possibly just had a show. Other than it being perhaps the oddest (and in some way creepiest) medical terminology, it could also mean that I'll be a dad by the end of the day. Am I really ready for this? I haven't got the shelving up yet... Yikes.

Connecting Skype and Facebook - all or nothing.

Somehow it's impossible to link Facebook to Skype without allowing it full access to post to your Facebook. There are two option buttons: "OK" and "Not Now", so I clicked not now as I don't really want Skype to post, but perhaps in the future I might, just not now. Of course this is not an option. Clicking not spits you out and returns you back to the Skype front page. Why is this? Why should it not be possible to link two services but in a limited way? 

Fuck you @Skype.

Solar Eclipse Not

In line with tradition, Britain put on a fabulous show of cloud for the eclipse today. I tweeted that if it had not been for Patrick Moore I would probably have lost interest in astronomy due to the repeated times that cloud got in the way of astronomical events. Meteor showers, eclipses, conjunctions. You name it, thick cloud always made viewing highly impossible.
Today with the eclipse was no different. Cambridge was under cloud all morning. It did at least go gloomy and Dr K and I wandered outside to "watch" the maximum occlusion of 85%. The birds went all funny and started signing and there was a nice odd atmosphere. But no fabulous view to behold. Then about an hour later, just after the eclipse ended what did I spot but a shadow.
Slow hand clap to the clouds there for their almost remarkable timing. A glorious sunny and warm day then unfolded.
The event did remind me fondly of the 1999 eclipse. For that I went to Munich in Germany to view totality. We were having a family holiday in Austria and mum drove me north for the day especially. It was quite exciting as we darted round the roads trying to track breaks in the cloud in which to observe. We met fellow observers lining the route. A totality neared the cloud thickened and we were driving madly around trying desperately to find some visibility. In the end we just had to screech to a halt and enjoy the cloudy moment as totality came and went. It was impressive none the less, but no diamond ring or Bailey's Beads for me. One day perhaps.
Post Exclipse Solar. © Nick Baileywell done clouds, very drole

Soon to be dad.

"More on that story later". How many times have I written that only to not get round to it later. Well, it's later now (not too late, only just gone 11) so perhaps I should pen some of the missing elements that have been on my mind.
First up then: I'm going to be a dad.
Second up: it's a boy.
Dr K is just about to enter her 38th week; this is really it now. The final stage and the closing chapter of our first pregnancy. Why have I only just cared to mention this here on my blog now? A few reasons, firstly I didn't want to let the cat out of the bag too soon. On the day we found out I did write a post ostensibly about the Google '+1' element, but which was really about our discovery. However, I didn't really want people to find out either too soon or have close family and friends to discover via my website rather than being told the news properly. As it happened we ended up simply failing/forgetting to tell anyone, it was all a bit weird. Then there was a consideration about whether or not to post a picture of our first scan and if that somehow infringed on the baby's privacy. Then I began to worry that if I blogged about my real feelings, these are things that he will eventually read. Have I now to write with my future grown child in mind? One of the main points here was in the discovery that he was a he. As I was hoping for a girl, how could I write about this disappointment when he would grow up and find this some day. There were also other worries about not being ready to be a father, generally not feeing excited or connected as I felt I should be. In summation I wouldn't say I was depressed, but things didn't feel as I expected them to do and so, as is often the case, I shut down from sharing.
So what's changed? Quite a lot. One of the biggest things has been the developing relationship I have to his growing bump. This quite surprised me, exceedingly pleasantly I may add, following the early days of the second trimester where there was clearly growth but I almost felt nothing towards it. It was one day a few weeks ago that I kissed it and felt things had changed. He was not some abstract concept, but mine and that I loved him. That was a very nice moment.
The following NCT classes really helped. Up until them I was almost completely unprepared. Partly down to taking the attitude of "it'll be aright on the night", and partly I guess a basic shirking of the responsibility of thinking about it. We attended the classes together with a new American friend of ours. She would come round before to pick us up and also have some dinner which I cooked. This was so very pleasant as were the classes themselves, lead by two lovely women who were very on the ball. Getting informed about the birth was enormously helpful and I stopped feeling overwhelmed by my lack of understanding.
wz2aaZ1§ < a brief interruption from our temporary cat who has been with us for the weekend and is currently trying to sleep on the keyboard.
So in the past two months my emotional state has dramatically shifted from feeling a bit lost and worried about being so (had I made the wrong life choices? Was I ready to be a dad? When did I loose my desire to be so?) to being excited about getting to meet my new son. The birth of my nephew a few weeks ago was another big factor in this improving picture. There have been lots of other births in the wider family, but having my brother go through it was significantly different, I felt a strong immediate connection to him and when we then visited a week later it was even stronger together with a new sense of excitement that we will be having the same too soon. I was almost ready to get on with it (though in the couple of weeks since I have regressed a little).
Oh yes, lets not forget all the mass rennodecoration that's been going on around here. Way back in the summer I heard about a solid wall insulation grant from the government which I enquired about and set an enormous ball of work and worry rolling. We won the grant but then found it needed planning permission. We applied for that (incurring cost & stress) together with the decision to add in an upstairs window (which we had been considering since first viewing the house). In January with Su away in Korea for two weeks I started in earnest getting with window opening cut (mass dust, I mean incredible levels), the new windows installed (inappropriately early as it happened) then the internal dividing wall upstairs removed a new one put up to close off the bedroom. Faff with the floorboards, faff with electrics, faff with the plastering, faff with positioning. Meanwhile outside the before the insulation was clad, I made maximum use of the scaffolding by repairing the chimney and cleaning the flat roof, cleaning the wall and the finishing the window wounds and removing the random assortment of old wiring in preparation. The insulation was then installed but with white roof trim - fail - so I painted it black (so much nicer). Then back inside and painting all the walls and skirting board before (and after) the new carpet was laid (yes, the irony of getting a new carpet before a baby is not lost on us). Then the furniture and I've still not put up my shelving. In a word: madness.
But that is just about all done now; my nest is built. OK, then this weekend I've been hard at work on the garden sowing and potting which has been badly neglected since, since... the summer? However, the most of the pressing issues are completed (dahlias) and I can perhaps now think about the birth and how my whole life is going to change.
Actually I don't really want to think about that yet. Even now that I have built a relationship with this little chap ("Mr Sir" is my current nickname for him, though we have made progress on the real name), the thought that he will soon be with us in body and voice (!) is rather an intimidating prospect and one that I am still very much happy to postpone. Perhaps if you ask Dr K she might have a slightly different point of view due to the internal discomfort and pain. For me, these quiet days are numbered, which is a slightly sad prospect despite the inevitable joy that is to come. Perhaps more on some of these aspects later, but who knows what time I shall find to write.
Thank you for reading.