Category Archives: Life

Life Web Links

What happens when you give a homeless person a credit card?

Find out here – it’s quite surprising.  It’d be interesting to see how a similar experiment might work in the UK.

Life Random

A weeks holiday: Decorating, family time and future planning

It’s the last week of the summer holidays so me and The Bobster are having a week away from work to relax and get some stuff done.  Today we’re off out to get some paint to decorate children’s bedrooms before they all come home tomorrow – should be a pretty good start to the week (hopefully, as long as they all behave!).

For the rest of the week it’s going to be a good mix of relaxing and me deciding what it is I’m doing with my professional life.  I’ve been developing in Excel, Access and VB for a while but want to take things to the next level, so I’m going to have a week of research and techy-related learning in the hope I can find out what it is I want to do whilst I grow up.  I’m also intending to start a series of new regular posts on the site starting this week, so keep your eyes peeled – I’m hoping to turn the site into something a bit more useful than just my hobby.

Happy weekend.

Life Random Web Links

A little ramble about parenthood

I like this quite a lot, and it certainly reminds me about when I was first handed the task of fatherhood to my little (now not so little – almost 9 year old) boy.  Parenthood in general is such a tricky job, especially in today’s Supernanny society where we are constantly bombarded with a million ‘correct ways of….[add anything child-rearing-related here]’ through books, television and the Internet.

One huge thing which I think comes up more than most is the issue of sleep and how to, or not to put the little angels to bed.  On Tuesday last week I watched ‘Who Knows Best:  Can’t Sleep Kids’ on television, where two families having difficulty getting their kids, and as such themselves to sleep were each given a sleep expert who, at least at the start had differing techniques to get them down.

The two ‘options’, if you like, were either tough love, or a gentler approach.  I have to say I was really quite angry by the end of the show when the lady with the gentler approach (which even involved getting into the cot with your child at some point), changed her tact to the other ‘experts’ more straightforward ‘let them cry until they go to sleep’ approach, but after spending a few weeks tiptoeing around the issue.

Basically, I don’t think there’s a wrong or a right way of doing things as a parent, most of the time anyway.  When getting my boy to sleep I used to make sure either the television was on loud or that there was loud-ish music playing at the same time.  That way I knew we wouldn’t have to walk on eggshells when moving about the house at night in fear of making the tiniest noise which might wake my boy out, and it worked perfectly.

There’s no definitive right or wrong way of doing some things I think, but you always seem to bump into somebody who is eager to tell you that their method is right.  I think personally you just go with what feels right for you and your baby.


A random memory

I’ve just been having a chat with a colleague about things we liked when we were younger and we got onto the subject of books and bookshops.  Suddenly a wave of precious childhood memories came flooding back to me.

One of these enduring memories was visiting my Auntie Annie in Timperley.  Auntie Annie was a lovely old lady with a fondness for good food and vodka.  She could cook some amazing things and the kitchen cupboards were always full of delicious treats.  I spent at least a week of my summer holidays there every year and it was like living in a world where I was the only existing child. Let’s just say I was spoiled rotten, and I loved it.

I remember being taken to Altrincham town centre for a bit of shopping one day and Annie had told me about a bookshop she was going to take me to.  I’ve always been into reading so was already quite excited.  My ‘thing’ back then was programming my Commodore 64 (I know, once a geek always a geek), so I was obsessed with books about BASIC and such.  Thing is, they weren’t particularly easy to find at the time, but Annie was convinced that this shop would have just what I needed, because it had everything.

I can’t remember the name of the shop now, but I remember it being quite disorganised and haphazard.  Books were strewn on rows of shelves in a way which meant they were loosely lumped together by subject, but not in an anal Dewey Decimal fashion – you just had to look for what you wanted, and that was part of the magic, because there was some real gold to be found on those shelves.

As it happens, on that particular day, the bookshop didn’t have what I wanted on those messy shelves, and I was slightly disappointed.  Annie asked if I’d found what I wanted and I forlornly said no.  They had pretty much everything else, but today’s need wasn’t fulfilled.  It was then she spoke to the shopkeeper and asked if he knew if there were any of the books I was looking for.  If there’s nothing on the shelves, he said, then that was that.  Unless, of course I wanted to have a look downstairs?

“It’s a little bit messy, so watch your step”, the man said as I carefully walked down the dimly lit stairs to the basement.  It was a little bit scary, if I remember rightly.  The old, creaky stairs were very steep and there was no light in the basement at all.  The light switch was on the left at the bottom, I pressed it when I got there.

The most vivid memory I have is remembering exactly the feelings I experienced when the lights came on.  The basement was huge, with rows of long, dusty shelves completely full of books, old journals and magazines.  There were books piled high on the floor and in no particular order.  Boxes of books were stacked against the walls and the light cast some really unusual shadows inbetween the shelving.  This place felt magic somehow.  The smell of mothballs, damp and leather filled the air and there was a cool breeze blowing in from somewhere.  It actually did feel like another world and I was free to rummage around to my hearts content.  I’ll never forget it.

Annie went off and did her shopping and left me for about two hours to look around, which I did happily.  Time flew and the man from upstairs brought me down some biscuits whilst I looked.  Nobody else came into the basement whilst I was there, and I felt like I was in a world that nobody else knew about.  It is probably one of the most vivid, happy moments I can remember from childhood.

I left the shop with about five books on programming the Commodore 64 after finding a shelf full of computer manuals and other techy stuff.  I think they cost me about £2.50 for the lot, and I felt like they’d been magically placed there for me to find. I’ve still got them to this day.

I think I went back to the shop a couple more times before Auntie Annie died, but I’ve never been back since.  Almost twenty years have passed since then, so I doubt the bookshop is even there anymore, or whether I could find it if it was.  It’s probably best to leave it where it is, as a magical memory, than to end up disappointed.