365 pictures: 81 – 90

We visited Gem’s mum in Welby over Easter, then had the rest of last week off work. Apparently that meant taking time off posting daily photos as well, because I had to do a mammoth catch up today. Fortunately I didn’t stop taking pictures, so my photo a day project lives on. And there are some great snaps in this batch…

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81. Hampden roar
The night Scotland became the first European nation officially out of contention for a 2014 World Cup place. Yes, even San Marino, Lichtenstein and Luxembourg lasted longer than us. Euro 2016 it is then…

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82. Butterfly
Heather loves getting her face painted, and she loved this butterfly she got at a church coffee morning. I’m not so sure about the orange lips, but she liked them too.

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83. Gaslight Anthem
We rounded off a busy weekend with our second gig of the year, the Gaslight Anthem at a jam packed O2 Academy, and a great show it was too.

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84. Shoes
After giving our shoes a long overdue polish I thought I should capture the moment for posterity.

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85. 28,000 feet sunset
A working day in Birmingham meant I got to see the sun set from high above the clouds, which always looks spectacular.

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86. Bubble wrap
Who doesn’t like popping bubble wrap? Certainly not our two girls!

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87. Easter bonnets
Heather needed an Easter Bonnet for her last day at nursery, which meant Megan had to have one too! Don’t they look pretty?

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88. Heathers
I couldn’t resist snapping this. If the plants had been a bit healthier looking I might even have picked some up.

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89. Driving
A pit stop en route to Nana’s house. Megan decided the best way to relax after sitting in the car for a few hours is by, um, sitting in a car. I’ll never understand toddler logic…

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90. Chocolate lolly
An Easter treat from our favourite new landlady, Sarah at the Crown and Anchor in Welby.

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!

I got your name tattooed inside of my arm

Brian Fallon of The Gaslight Anthem

The Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon, courtesy of Last Year’s Girl

Last night Gem and I went to see The Gaslight Anthem at Glasgow’s O2 Academy. The girls, meanwhile, went to Grandma and Grandpa’s for a sleepover, something they absolutely adore. That doesn’t stop them being curious about what Mummy and Daddy will be doing of course.

“We’re going to see a band playing. You like some of their songs. You sing along to them in the car” I said, before breaking out YouTube to show her who I was talking about, and what the experience might look like. What I wasn’t expecting was the question that followed:

“Why does he have so many tattoos?”

Gem and I were talking about this later, and agreed that the chances of either of us having seen a tattoo were slim – in those days they were reserved almost exclusively for sailors, builders and convicts. But that was a long time ago, and times have changed. Just because neither of us have ever felt the urge to get inked, doesn’t mean plenty of our friends haven’t. Among our generation, tattoos are as commonplace as glasses or dyed hair. Or beards.

And, getting back to the story, it’s undeniable that Brian Fallon is a man with a lot of tattoos, including that one on his neck that must have stung a bit. So I answered in a suitably matter-of-fact manner.

“Yes, Heather he does. Some people have lots of tattoos. Do you not like them?”

If we weren’t expecting the initial question, we certainly weren’t expecting her next response, which left the two of us pretty much speechless.

“No, he has too many. I mean, if it was a Hello Kitty…”

Me and Gem just looked at each other, dumbfounded. Here was our little girl discussing the relative merits of different tattoos. I can’t honestly remember how we responded to that. It might even have been at that point that Heather pointed out the 2 guys in the video walking through the Reading Festival crowd, dressed as Mario and Luigi.

But it was certainly an interesting moment, and one which, combined with her being almost word perfect on Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”*, confirms that she’s getting older all the time. Our little girl isn’t so little now, she’s learning more about the world every day, and is more than capable now of holding her own opinions on all sorts of things.

Including tattoos, although I’m not so sure Brian Fallon would agree with her taste.

*Incidentally, Megan also loves a bit of Taylor Swift, and will happily sing “Trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble” whenever she hears it

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!

The song just keeps on repeatin’, drop the needle again

It seems like every time I post something here I’m apologising for the lack of recent activity, and saying it’s going to be different from this point onwards. And this time is no different – it’s almost two months since I wrote anything of my own (borrowing someone else’s press release doesn’t count, does it?).

Now, it has been a busy couple of months, with birthdays, christenings and anniversaries, not to mention two bouts of chickenpox and numerous sniffles. But with two pre-schoolers in the house pretty much EVERY month is busy, or at least feels like it. Plus, they’re not around when I update the blog (at work), so I can’t really blame them. And all of that stuff should really be fuel for writing, not something that gets in the way. Maybe a catch-up post is in order…

But not today. Today I’m talking music, specifically a few things that have excited me in one way or another recently. So, in no particular order…

The Gaslight Anthem – 45

The first release from The Gaslight Anthem’s upcoming album has been on repeat since I first heard it last night. Gem reckons it sounds exactly like a Gaslight Anthem song, and that’s no bad thing. But it sounds like a progression to me – like Brian Fallon and co. have managed to combine the more grown-up sound of their last album with their earlier punk rock sentiments. Hopefully the rest of the album (due for release on July 24) lives up to the promise of this track.

Eddie Vedder – Skipping

This song is simply beautiful, and the sentiment sums up exactly how I feel about being Daddy to my two girls. Shame the charity album it’s featured on – Every Mother Counts 2012 – will only be available in the US and Canada :(

Listen: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/exclusive-stream-eddie-vedders-mellow-solo-tune-skipping-20120430

She Makes War – Little Battles

She Makes War is Laura Kidd, a London-based “multi-instrumentalist, visual artist and digital polymath” who we saw supporting the wonderful Chris T-T at the weekend. Gem was so impressed she snapped up both SMW albums from the merchandise stall. And since Gem almost never gets into things on first listen, you know this is good. I haven’t heard this enough yet to pick out any favourite tracks, so why not listen for yourself here:

Beach Boys – That’s Why God Made the Radio

I got quite excited last year, when I heard the surviving original Beach Boys were reuniting for a 50th anniversary album and tour. But the tour isn’t coming to the UK, at least not this year. And if this first single is anything to go by, the album will probably be a disappointment too. There’s nothing wrong with it, as such, but I guess I was hoping for more than just a re-working of the surf n’ cars n’ girls stuff the band were recording when they actually were boys. 

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!