Friday 17 July 2009

Rising from the Ashes

I belatedly began my paternity leave as Michael and Adrian flew back to Ireland, so that Sharon has a hand with the boys during the early part of the school holidays. Sean and Finn thoroughly enjoyed an Aquavator swim class at Gracemount last week, getting the chance to swim with flipper and snorkels, play on inflatables and generally have a good time in the water. They had both refused point blank to do a SwimEasy camp.

The Ashes have started. I'm fed up watching the re-runs on Sky of the epic 2005 series (which completely glosses over the fact that England were thrashed 5-0 in Australia less than 18 months later) and it was good to have some fresh battles. This is a very inexperienced Aussie team who, despite their defeat of South Africa in SA and their number one ranking, don't inspire the fear (or dislike) of the previous bunch of world-beaters but England faltered after a promising start in the First Test, and it looked like business as usual as they had to try and bat out the fifth day to save the game. Against the odds, however, the last pair batted out the final hour to clinch a very nervy draw which the previous Aussie team wuold never have let happen. At least, after four days of fairly nondescript Ashes cricket, it meant the series sprung into life. My own cricket season hasn't been much to write about. It's been a real struggle to get teams out with no-one keen on doing any organisation. And the return of torrential showers hasn't helped.

I did manage a game of golf with Ian Patterson, although the quality was poor as we thrashed our way around Baberton, my putting especially erratic. Ian and I took Sean, Finn and Ross up to Briarlands Farm on the road to Callendar. After all the heavy rain, the maize maze was rather mucky, with clay soil sticking to everyone's shoes as we tried to find things amongst the maize. Sean and Ross seemed to enjoy it but it was a bit of a slog for Finn. There were big inflatable "pillows" for bouncing on, haystacks for climbing on and chasing around and a lot of space for running around in. Finn was at his usual nagging of Ross on the way home. Finn has a tendency to misbehave towards his and his brothers' friends which is in complete contrast to Sean whose extremely sociable behaviour is one of his merits. Perhaps that's why Finn is, or appears to be, so different, but he'll have to realise that people won't want to play with someone who is always getting in sly cuffs, flicks and bumps or saying things to annoy them.

The last couple of days have been a flurry of tidying and packing as we prepare to house-swap with Sharon's Uncle Pat and Aunt Margaret. Sharon left early yesterday morning with Angus to drive down to Birmingham, picking up Marie from Birmingham Airport to do the international babysitting duties while Sharon attends conference sessions. The latest reports are that Angus is barely to be found as he keeps getting stolen away by lots of different PC ladies all wanting a cuddle. No doubt he's loving the attention!

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