Thursday, 21 July 2016

Love is all Around

Its baking hot in the UK right now. The mercury hit 34 degrees on Tuesday afternoon. It was so hot I didn't get to sleep until 05.30. That was only after I had finally skulked off downstairs, pulled all the cushions off my homemade sofa (see blog post How to build a DIY sofa parts 1 and 2) and kipped on the floor of the conservatory. Despite the birds best attempts at a raucous dawn chorus, I finally fell asleep just as I was about to wake up. 

So to all intents and purposes I should be in bed asleep now. 

That was of course until I stumbled onto IVT2 showing "Love Actually" whilst nonchalantly flipping through the TV channels. 

Could it get any better? Yes it can. It was also on ITV2+1.

Bed? Whats that? I have 2 cups of tea on the go and I'm flipping back and forth between ITV2 and ITV2+1. I don't care that I have it on HD DVD upstairs and I don't care that I have to suffer the interminable adverts every 30 minutes - I must watch it - ads and all. 

Ooh and Hugh Grant is just about to do "that" dance ....... 

Quintessentially British and I love it (actually)

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Girls Girls Girls....

Its been a busy year for me – so much so that Id neglected to even notify readers of a very important announcement: The Goodchild Fantastic 4 have become the Goodchild Famous 5. Yes thats right. Whilst I was away wifey has been busy and we now have another addition to the household. Not only that, today is in fact our youngest baby’s first birthday.

That day 1 year ago, was not without its dramas. I missed the birth of account of a dose of the banjo belly. 30 minutes until the op and I was waiting with wifey ready to be scrubbed up when the ward nurse informed me that, contrary to the instructions of the obstetrician, I wasn’t allowed in due to my infectious state. (Being a raging hypochondriac, I was secretly relieved that someone on that ward had the good sense to reach the same obsessive view as me that day – but the bad news was that poor wifey, minutes from C section was told I would have to leave. And she had just had a shave too – bless her). So in a complete about-turn, I had to shoot off to mums to pick her and Hattie up, drive back to hospital to drop her off and then back home to nervously* wait for news.  I don’t know who was more disappointed, wifey coz I couldn’t be there, mum because she had to be there, or me because I’d missed my once a year opportunity for a scrub down.

To be honest, I was glad mum was able to be there at the birth of her granddaughter. If anyone else had to stand in for me she was always going to be the first choice. And  to be honest, a hyperchondiac bombarding the anesthetist and obstetrician with questions as they simultaneously drugged and sliced open by beloved wifey to wrench out my sacred child would probably would not have been the most calm of situations.

* I said ‘nervously’ earlier. The truth is I actually got home, put Peppa Pig on the TV for Hattie and  fired up the laptop for a quick game of Age of Emipres. What else is a man to do? You have to make the most of any situation. I couldnt be at the birth, Hattie was fine and I was having trouble leading Henry IV and his belegured troops into battle against the froggies at Agincourt. Anyway, enough of that - you will doubtless be eager know, that I was victorious

As the battle reached its crescendo, the call came through. Now I should add here that prior to my departure, I had expressly asked both wifey and mum not to tell me if I’d had a boy or a girl. “Oh Steve you have a daughter!. ..... errr....or a could be either!”
Nice one mum.
As soon as wifey was feeling up to it she called me. “Oh Steve...” she cooed  “....she’s lovely.
Nice one wifey.

And so began a 4 day enforced quarantine. The unusual circumstances meant I wasn’t allowed into the ward for at least 48 hours from the last rectal explosion and so for the next 4 days I was unable to even see the new arrival. I was kept in the loop by wifey and the family with regular updates as to how mum and my daughter (or son...) was getting along.

Finally once I had satisfied the 48 hour quarantine rule and the self imposed ‘Goodchild quarantine rules’, I headed off to meet my new girl (or boy...)

Now Im sure we can all guess that our latest arrival was a wee girl. Beautiful, tiny and with the bluest eyes. It was strange to meet her knowing she had been born 4 days earlier and I won’t lie it took a bit of time to make that connection. But now she is my little princess and I love her completely.  We settled on a lovely name - Matilda Mae or Tillie for short and she is doing brilliantly. She has a mop wavy hair and its completely different to Hattie in personality. I guess having an older sibling emboldens you somewhat.

Now , 1 year on and Tillie can play peek-a-boo, stand up and coast along the furniture and has progressed from a commando shuffle to a pretty speedy crawl.  As wifey now has to spend more time with Tillie, Hattie and I have become very close. I feel sad for wifey when Hattie tells her to “Go away Mummy, Daddy and I are talking” or “Im playing with Daddy” but it will balance out as Tillie gets more independent.

Right now, we are all on high alert coz anything Tillie can get hold of goes straight in her mouth. New food. Old food. Mouldy food. Paper, fluff, mud off boots, anything. Her favourite is to pull the phone charger cable out of my laptop and lick it. Or to mash my keyboard as Im trying to play very important Real Time Strategy games on the laptop. Its hard to do battle against your enemies when your command reads “wqz31123eedxweqv”.

The other day she spread an old boiled carrot into my keyboard. This is just going to progress I can tell. Theres no hope either for me – Im too much of a pushover to tell them off. Hattie’s favourite trick right now is to sit on me. Anywhere so long as its on me. She starts on my legs and then gradually she squirms upwards until Im hunkered over the laptop, Hattie spilling over my head and lowly sliding down in front of me and onto my arms as I try to use the keyboard and defend against the 8000 light cavalry decending upon my castle. 

Kids.....youve gotta love ‘em


Thursday, 24 December 2015

Faux Stained Glass Project

I love coloured lights and I don’t care how I get my kicks – Christmas trees, fairy lights and even sweet wrappers fascinate me.

So it’s no surprise to me that I am equally captivated by stained glass. I’m particularly fond of the stained glass panels in old houses but the costs of real stained glass are astronomical and the skill required to lead real glass takes years to master. So after some dogged research, I came upon an alternative. Vitrail Glass Paints and a silicone material called liquid lead.

Here briefly, is how I did it. 

You don’t need any fancy design tool to create a design - I used Microsoft paint. I made this template shape based upon the old ‘compass and circle’ pattern you used to do as school as a kid. I wanted accuracy and so being a circle, I only needed to do ¼ of it and simply flip horizontally then vertically to get the circle design.

I replicated 3 times to get a repeating pattern and scaled to fit my design, sellotaped it to the back of the Perspex and then outlined the pattern with liquid Lead. This stuff sticks to anything - including table cloths, shirts, plates, window sills, doors and babies. The only things that can get it off are scouring pads and teeth – so be warned.  

Once the outline was cured it was just a case of painting the colours. I thinned my paints out with white spirit to make the paints more transparent and a pipette for measuring out ratios. This glass paint will dry to glass so you can bet you sweet mother it will dry on tabletops, window ledges, sinks, taps kettles, kitchen tiles...the list is endless. Blink your eye and a yellow spill on the window sill is now a permanent dried up puddle of cat wee.

The technique I used was flood filling.I needed to do at least 2 coats on each stained glass because each layer dried out totally leaving just a thin veneer of colour. Personal taste I guess but I wanted rich colours.

The Drying time is approx 12 hours between fills and I would advocate only doing one colour at a time just in case you get spillages and leaks. Also, and this is imperative, make sure your glass is on a level floor else the paint will pool on one side.  

The results I think are pretty awesome. It turned out far better than I was expecting. I love the way the rainbow colours dapple across the wall when the sun comes through and at night, the warm glow welcomes me home. I’m keen to continue the theme and I’ve got my eyes on the conservatory now.....