Friday, June 28, 2013

The Sleep Issue

Sleeping patterns in our house are quite comical at the moment.

Esme and I seem to end up co-sleeping at least twice a night, which could take place in any bed, and Tash seems to spend a chunk of the night awake downstairs only to retire back up with Olive when us other three head down.

Previous techniques to get Esme asleep - even when she is beyond tired - are somewhat hit and miss, and I often find myself cuddled up with her in her bed to get her to drop off.  Now I wouldn't have a problem with that, it's just I swear its a ploy to get me asleep so that she can wreck havoc.  Just the other night she escaped downstairs and emptied Tash's cup of tea all over the floor, which when questioned with 'where the hell were you?' all I had in my defense was 'I must have dropped off'.

And then she might wake in the night.  So we can end up cuddled up again, in either her or my bed.  Sometimes I think I prefer her bed, this photo shows the space she leaves me in my own bed.  And no, its not that enormity of empty mattress behind her, she believes I can levitate for her to be able to lay on her right.

Monday, June 24, 2013


Olive is currently determined to walk the same line that Essie did, a line that basically leads to eating less than you eat.  Not ideal when everyone's looking for her to start piling on the pounds.

Tash is amazing in situations like this, and she never leaves a stone unturned.

So today Olive got a trip out to see Tashs reflexologist who gave her little flippers a gentle rub.  Hopefully this'll be the first step on a road which leads to her discovering her Gibbo genes and chowing down like ... well, like Esme!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

My Weekend - Le Mans 24 Heures

So I finally got with the crowd and bought a tablet the other week.  Losing my phone to Alfie all the time so he could play games was the icing on the cake.

Im left wondering how I managed without for so long.

I've done Le Mans three times, twice for the 24 heures, but this will be the first year I can actually watch it on TV.  Its amazing what an app, a tablet, a cable and a LCD TV can make possible!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Arrival of Olive

Last Friday, on the 14th, Olive joined us in the big wide world.

She was born by 'natural' lotus c-section, and Tash was joined in theatre by our good friend, and Doula, Mel who took this amazing photo of 'the moment' - as well as many others.

It was the first one they had performed at Addenbrookes, and by the sounds of it she was joined by half a class room for the occasion.

As for me, I was at home.  Supposed to be taking care of the kids but actually trying to nap with Esme and recover.  Recover from what I don't really know, but some months ago I woke up feeling run down with a headache and so took some paracetamol.  It sent me all funny, and I had to have a lie down with Esme that morning.  The exact same had happened to me again on Friday, hence me trying to sleep with Esme, but I woke to a text from Mel saying Olive had arrived and I tried to rub my eyes into focus and work out if I could stand.

I have never felt so weird.  Short version of a long story is I got myself together and used what little energy I had to drive to the hospital.  The effort it took wiped me out, I couldn't remember Tash's name when it came to buzz into the ward, and I spent the next few hours laid on the floor waiting for my Dad to arrive to drive me and the kids back home!

As I result I was quite excited about Saturday, it really felt like the first time I was seeing them both since the birth.

She's the sweetest little thing, and it's so lovely to see the kids around her.  Esme thinks its the most wonderful thing ever, as we are always reminded with shouts of "bbbbaaaaaiiiiibbbbeeeeeeeee" followed by cuddles that could break the poor girls tiny bones.  Alfie is a little more select about his affection, but every once in a while he loves to have a hold and a cuddle.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Motorcycle Emptiness

Now this is nothing new, it happens to me every year.  I spend a good number of weeks looking forward to the TT, then a fortnight glued to Manx Radio following the races, and then ....

Just its worse this time, cos we were actually there!

Just generally I like maps, and I thought to myself it would be awesome to have a map of the track or the island amongst the other automotive memorabilia around the house.  And then tonight, whilst Tash was clearing out the bookcase, she stumbled across an old OS map we bought at Hitchin market years ago!  It has absolutely made my day and is dated 1950.  Need to make a trip to the framers now!

Whilst i'm still blathering on about the TT here's a nice documentary made by Aljazeera.  I'd forgotten all about it until I stumbled across it the other day.  I also now need to buy Closer To The Edge, but thats cause Esme is obsessed with it and I'm getting a little tired of the 2 minute trailer on Google Play!

You Can Always Beat Your Dad

Tides looked good, winds were OK, I agreed to take Alfie and so once again WE WERE FISHING!

We must always fish this Saturday each year cos once again I found myself racing the clock to get to Bill's before the delayed Senior TT race started. 

We fished Saturday and I got the first glimpse of that moment when your son starts bearting you.  Well not quite Boyo!  At one point is was Bill 4, Alfie 2 and 1 to me but I rallied to make it 4-2-2.  Catching schoolie bass on his little telescopic was great fun though, he is going to love it once he can master holding a rod AND winding!

All photos from the day are here.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

IOMTT 2013

Wow, what a 'day'!  The proceeding weeks and days had seen my excitement rise to the point of me jumping about the room.  Come Sunday I was positively at bursting point!

We departed at 20:00, and the 230 mile trip to Heysham for our 02:15 ferry began!

After a pitstop to change drivers we arrived at the port a little after 00:00 and were able to board the boat by 01:00.  Having had a bad night at home previously we were now pretty run down and were starting to feel the tiredness hitting hard as we struggled to doze in our seats.  We decided to get some food, were spotted by the customer services chap as we sat on the floor in the main area, and on seeing Tasha's pregnant state said he had rooms available upstairs if we wanted one.  Oh my god, how this changed our day!!  We got settled into our cabin and grabbed a few hours kip before arriving in Douglas.

06:00 and we were off the boat and greeted by a glorious Isle Of Man morning.

We had a vague idea where we were headed, and so took a wander around the bay before heading uphill to arrive at the crossroads at St Ninians.  From here we turned right and followed our nose until we reached the startline and timing boards - still updated in paint, and not an led in sight!

We had passed our Grandstand - which was in Nobles Park, at the top of the return road - and so made our way behind the main grandstand which we knew would lead to the main activity of the pits, traders and most importantly breakfast!  It also took us past the winners enclosure.

This area is connected to Nobles Park so we knew it would just be a short walk to our seat.  It was great to wander around the pits just as everything was starting to happen and hadn't had time to become crammed with fans.  

And so we arrived at our grandstand nice and early.  Seats weren't allocated, and we were the first there and so grabbed the best seats possible.  

Tash took a seat and so I went off for 'breakfast dessert' whilst she watched the morning traffic pass along what would soon become a 180+mph section of racetrack.  Our grandstand was at 90 degrees to the track and faced back up towards the startline.  This was our view back up Glencrutchery Road, you can see the timing boards just in the distance on the left.  The area of lighter 'path' where the two pedestrians are at the bottom of the photo is the start of the return road.

10:45 was the Supersport Race 1.  Michael Dunlop took an early lead and carried it throughout.  Bruce Anstey was second and William Dunlop third.  Here's a few photos from the Supersport race.

Michael Dunlop leading;

 Front garden viewing enclosure;

Dunlop shakes a victory fist;
Cam Donald & Guy Martin finish;

After the Supersport race was a sidecar practice, and I went off to find something for lunch that wasn't of a cooked meat variety. 

Earlier in the week I had said to Tash I wanted to find Cam Donald to congratulate the man on his fine beard.  As I wandered about the pits I heard an Aussie accent and there in front of me was my opportunity!  I made sure I got a photo to prove to Tash my mission was accomplished.

A few years ago the electric 'TT Zero' bikes were a bit of a laughing stock, but they are developing so fast you can't not take notice.  Last year they ran a 100mph lap, and this year came so so close to 110mph!  The bikes sure look the part too, and the engineering involved in very impressive.


14:00 was time for the Superstock flag to drop.  A fierce battle between Gary Johnson and Michael Dunlop unfolded over the four laps, with Michael only taking the lead on the last lap to make it two out of two on the day (3/3 for the TT that far!) and a new lap record too!  When he crossed the line he didn't know who'd won, he was sat by our grandstand asking the crowd ... and pulled a massive burnout when he found out.  He was clearly overjoyed!  Here's a few photos from the Superstock race.

Josh Brookes (fastest ever newcomer) over the rise;

Michael Dunlop waiting for the final results;

Winner!  Moments before destroying his rear tyre;

With the racing done we went for a wander to buy a few souvenirs and then make our way down to the port side.

The Isle of Man is also famous for its Queenie scallops and I'd booked us a 18:00 table at Tanroagan, a fish restaurant down by the water.  I was hoping we might be able to celebrate our NZ Visa, but sadly we are still waiting.  So we celebrated just having some time to ourselves and enjoyed the most amazing meal!  I had a scallop fritter starter, and for main Tash had half a lobster with queenies and I went for a fish gratin loaded with fresh fish and queenies.

Our boat was at 19:30, I think we set sail a little late but by then we'd seen our friendly customer services chap who once again gave us a free cabin!  We slept soundly, waking just to watch the TT Highlights, and arrived in Heysham at 00:00.  By the time I'd paid the car park is was 00:30 and we made steady progress home accompanied by the Radio 1 Rock Show which just happened to be broadcasting an interview with Black Sabbath and playing a load of tracks from the new album.  It was the perfect soundtrack for an early morning drive home ... which saw us arrive home at 04:00 Tuesday.

On reflection, it was amazing.  But instead of feeling like i'd scratched that itch its just made me want to go back!  I want to view from the bottom of Bray Hill, I want to get up on the mountain section, I want to see them over Ballaugh Bridge ... and so on.

Massive thanks to Tashas parents, as our little trip could never have happened without them keeping an eye on the kids.

And to finish, a little video from the Supersport race.  Michael Dunlop leading the rest.