Thursday, 30 March 2017

Goosh! Champion of the invertebrate world!

Homeless snails -The “Ugly Duckling” of the invertebrate world -Phlegm of the Devil and sworn enemy of the gardener. Someone has to stand up for those poor saps. As the days lengthen and warm up, a daily desperate struggle for life starts anew. Slugs frantically race across the tarmac pavements trying to reach the safety of the grass verge before they are baked alive on the tarmac.
Poor bastards.

And as for why birds haven’t cottoned onto this probably explains why they are where they are on the evolutionary pyramid.

Knowing these slithering gastropods are facing a hideous end and that I, with a nonchalant flip of my wrist, have the power over slug life or death weighs heavy on my mind. Shall ye live….? Or shall ye die? Thumb up….? Thumb Down? As Spiderman’s dad said – “With Great power comes great responsibility” So armed with my un-used flexi gym card, it isn’t uncommon for me to have to stop several times on my walk into work to quickly stoop down and flip these critters into the long grass.
Enter Goosh – Slug Warrior.

During the summer last year I forewent my passion for pretty flowers at the front of the house to allow cabbage white caterpillars to strip my nasturtiums to the ground. As each plant was steadily eaten from leaf to stalk, the little wrigglers would wait patiently and the bottom of the stem for me to return home each evening and then carefully pick them off and carry them to the back garden so they could continue destroying my nasturtiums in the back garden as well.
Enter Goosh – Caterpillar Champion.

Slugs....bees..worms ...anything really that's a bit close to death and down on it's uppers. And so , let me take those of you still awake and reading on a journey of a rescued bee.

I was wandering home from work one summers evening when I happened upon a huge bumble bee struggling through the grass, totally out of bee fuel. I immediately went into ‘Bee Rescue’ mode. I put the bee inside my laptop case and carried it home. I burst through the front door and paused momentarily, fists on my hips, superman style. Back off you excited children running to greet me! back off wifey desperate for some manly loving! I have an emergency here!

The kids were shooed out of ‘theatre’ whilst I used a pair of salad tongs to take the bee out of my laptop bag and put it into the ‘Recovery unit’ (aka a Chinese takeaway box with some honey and water in a jam jar lid) and left her to convalesce in peace.

Next morning my patient was vastly improved - buzzing about and looking eager to return to her honey making duties. A quick brew of tea and we both went outside ready for discharge. I put my tea on the window sill and the takeaway box on the patio.... Lets just step back out of the way against the conservator…..splat!!! No more gentle buzz - just silence. I had only gone and stepped backwards and trodden on the poor soul with my size nines. One squashed and very definitely dead bee.

Moral of the story? Dont waste your time with the bees, they are too needy. Not like those street-wise cousins the wasps who are a little bit exciting and well hard. Hey! Bees! Be more like the wasps you big saps!

Wifeys hand rested gently on my shoulder as I washed my hands silently at the kitchen sink staring blankly out of the window.
‘If you work with bees long enough something like this is bound to happen'.
'It's not your fault.... '
You're the best God-damned Bee King I know!’

My fingertips met hers…..
Hattie crept into the room… ‘Is the bee ok Daddy?’

‘Yes’. I said. ‘Yes'.
The bee is fine’

(queue the ‘Casualty' theme music)

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