Monthly Archives: March 2011

Mine’s a Pint

A big part of my growing up in London, happened in pubs. I started to drink, probably around 14 or 15. At that time, it was cheap, low strength lager from the off-license, or cider that my Mum or Dad would let me have at home. I’d had a pint or two in various pubs, but didn’t frequent them too often, other than when I was with my Dad and I’d get a shandy and a pack of crisps.

It was only today, when I was doing a search on Google, which lead to an image search, which led to a picture of the street sign of my Mum and Dad’s Street, and a picture of the Lord Nelson pub, though it’s now residential, having not been a pup since 2002. I began to think of the all the pubs I’ve frequented and the ones I used to call my Local, so thought it would be an interesting exercise. Probably way too much for a single blog entry, so I will split it over several.


I can’t remember my train of thought recently, but an old nickname of someone at school came to mind and it prompted me to think about some of my friends at school and the nicknames names they were called. Here’s a brief list in no particular order:

Barretts (Boiled Beef and Carrots)
Kirby Drill
Big Spud
Little Spud
Nut Nut

That’s about as many as I can remember. One of the things I’ve noticed about that list, is that none of the nicknames are obviously related to surname, I could have included lots of those, but they’re all mostly very obvious. They’re all based on some quirk or idiosyncrasy. The two Spud are still good friends of mine, and to this day, as far as I know, they have no idea how they got their nickname. The other thing I’ve noticed, is that none of them are girls. Now remember I went to an all boys school from 11 to 16, but still, most of those names are from people I went to primary school with.

Need to Get Back on Track

Well my March experiment is flagging as we reach the finishing post. Some of that is down to the March break, which means I’ve not been going to bed at 10pm. This week is getting back into the rhythm, so I imagine the 10pm bedtimes will have to wait till next week.

Spring is in the Air… Sort of.

Today is the first day of Spring, so we decided today would be a good chance to have a tidy up in preparation of saying goodbye to Winter. That meant clearing out the coat closets, removing Winter coats, snow pants and boots, and placing them in the downstairs storage area. It’s been really bright and sunny the last few days and we were really looking forward to sending the kids back to school without having them have to wear snow pants. Or so we thought.

Sherri checked the weather forecast for tomorrow and it looks like we are due 10cm tomorrow morning. That’s a bit of a slap in the face with a wet fish, but not totally unexpected. At least if we do get snow it won’t last long.

One thing I’ve learnt living in Ottawa, is to take weather reports with a pinch of salt. I shall see what tomorrow brings, when I look out of our bedroom window and prepare accordingly.

Family Fun at the Natural History Museum

Oh dear, and so the great blogging experiment of March is faltering a bit, but still, it’s having the intended overall effect of making me write more.

Yesterday I took the day off work, as my Sherri was off and the kids were off for March break. We had intended to have a family day at the Civilization Museum, just over the bridge in Quebec. Unfortunately when we got there, it was pretty clear, the place was jamming, as the only parking we could find was a way, away from the museum. We really wanted to see the iMax movie, so if the place was really busy, it would have been a real pain having to queue.

So instead of that we headed off downtown, to the Natural History museum. Although they have a fairly small car park, we only had to queue for a few minutes, before being ushered through. Why they ushered us through, I don’t know as we did a few laps of the car park, before deciding to just wait for someone to vacate a space. This didn’t go down well with the cars behind us, but stuff’em that’s what I say.

So having parked we went into the museum. We hadn’t been as a family since they were in the midst of renovation, so it was nice to see it finally finished. We started off in the basement with the Animalium, which was basically a basement full of bugs. There was also a great HD movie, with bugs and insects, with voices being provided by English actors. It was pretty gross, but really funny at the same time.

After watching the movie we went back to the ground floor to eat. Finding a free table was a challenge, but we were finally able to sit down. While I watched the kids, Sherri got us some really tasty scoff. The kids had grilled cheese and an apple juice, I had a really nice roast beef ciabata with an orange juice and Sherri had a chicken, bacon wrap. When I saw the receipt for $36, my first thought was “How Much!”. Then I thought about it a little and realised it would have cost us a similar amount, if not more, for McDonalds. Besides which, my sandwich was very tasty.

We then proceeded to the first floor. This is where the Dinosaurs were. I’m always fascinated to see the fossilised remains (or replicas for that matter), but can’t help but get a school boy excitement when I see the replica, full size, or bloody big at least, version that were towards the back of the floor.

Next floor up, it was mammals and water. There were some great polar bears and arctic foxes on display, not real, but they do make great photo opportunities.

Next floor was the Earth. I think the penguins were on this floor as well. I have to admit, by this time I was beginning to flag. Most of my energy was zapped, by Adam running off, wanting to go up and up and up.

The final floor was where the kids got a chance to colour and make a ball in the cup toy. Lucy at first was more interested in playing with the other kids, but finally settled down to do her toy not long before we left.

We did see a lot more than I’ve detailed here, but you get the general gist. I have to say it kind of reminded me of all the time I used to spend in the Science and Natural History museums in London. As a kid, my friends and I would spend a good part of our school summer holidays there.

Overall a fun day out. When we got home I was pretty knackered. Sherri ended up putting the kids to bed and by the time she came downstairs, I was fast asleep. I finally peeled myself off the chair at about 11:30pm and left Sherri watching a TV dramatisation of Anna Karinina, but now with less noise (me snoring)

Another Day

It’s funny, I’d just written the below post, but as soon as I entered the title I was reminded of the Paul McCartney song of the same name. Always was one of my favourites. Anyway I digress.

OK, so going to bed at 10:00pm is harder than it sounds. Sherri went out last night and I found myself sitting on the computer, going through Indie Launchpad submissions. I looked at my watch and it was 11:00pm. I finally slipped into bed just after midnight, but was still up at 6:30am. Maybe this week wasn’t the best one to start my new regime, as Sherri is now off for the rest of the week, so she’s not too worried about getting up the next morning.

I’m off Friday, as the kids are on March break and I wanted to at least do something with them. Lots of photo opportunities I’m sure.

Nearly There

So last night I went to bed just after the allotted 10pm, unfortunately although the alarm clock went off at 4:30am, I didn’t surface from bed until 6:30am. It kind of reminds me of a Seinfeld episode, where he goes to pick up a hire car for, which he’s made a reservation, only to find out it’s not there. “You know how to take the reservation” he says, “You just don’t know how to hold the reservation”. For me it was a matter of, I know how to go to bed at the alloted time, I just don’t know how to get out of bed at the alloted time. Not to be so hard on myself though, I was actually awake at 4:30am, but it was kind of nice just to lay there thinking, or more often as not, for us men, just staring into space, in the blank vegetative state, that us men know so well.

Anyway the plan has partially worked, I’m writing this after all and it’s not even 7:00am. Oh well, we shall see how I get on tomorrow morning.

And So it Begins

In a little over an hour, I shall be in bed. And so the experiment begins. I’ve set my alarm for 4:30am. With the wind behind me I shall be showered, dressed and raring to go. Time will tell.

Vini, Vidi, Velcro

I Came, I Saw, I Stuck Around.

Reclaiming Productivity

Time is a precious commodity, especially when you have kids. Let me quantify that a little better. I love spending time with my kids, but once they go to bed, it’s time for my wife and I to have some time for ourselves. The smaller kids generally go to bed around 7:30pm on a school night, although sleeping is often something that is far from their minds.

The kids usually get up about 6:30am, but sometimes, the klaxon call of Dad is not enough. If I can get them up, dressed and finished their breakfast by 7am, I’m pretty much on track. During the winter, it’s snow pants and boots on at 7:30am. Hats, mitts and coats on at 8:00am and then out of the door at 8:10am. Now that may sound like military precision, but it’s a system that works great and so far we have never been late for school.

I usually get home from work at 5:30pm, after having picked up Adam at school on the way. Sherri gets home a little after me, as she takes the bus to and from work, downtown. So once homework, dinner, and preparation for the following day is done, there’s usually not much time left, before it’s time for the kids to go to bed. As you can imagine, once they are finally in bed, it’s time to exhale and relax.

With this experiment to blog every day, I’ve come to realise that in the evenings I am knackered. Writing a blog takes a reasonable amount of energy, so I’ve come up with a plan.

With my birthday over and the last of my beers finished (or they will be this weekend), it’s time to cleanse the temple that I call my body. I’ve pretty much been lax since Christmas time, having beer and various other things that aren’t conducive to keep a svelte, trim body. So as of Monday morning, all of that is out of the window.

I’m also going to try to adjust my sleeping pattern. I’m fortunate that I only need about 5-6 hours sleep a night, with a well earned lie in, thoroughly looked forward too on Sundays. Sherri on the other hand could really use 8-9 hours sleep, though try telling her to go to bed at 10pm, is another thing. So what I’m going to try to do, is go to bed at 10am and then try to get up about 4:30am. This means that Sherri will have a good sleep and I will be able to write for a couple of hours in the morning, before the kids get up.

It will be interesting to see how quickly it takes my body to acclimatise, but I don’t imagine it will take too long. Hopefully this will help me to become much more productive and prevent me from being absorbed into the couch at night. Time will tell.