The great man is he who does not lose his child's heart. (Mencius, Chinese philosopher 372-289 BC)

Sunday, 30 September 2012

The Weekend Picture No. 21

This week has been the first since the dark weeks of May that I have not managed to blog between Weekend Pictures.

I have been struck down by "Man Flu" - exacerbated by a dip in the coldest Lake in Western Europe as part of the Raft Racing experience last week.

Hence, today's Weekend Picture.

I have suffered loudly and extravagantly and made the most of any opportunity to make my symptoms as public as possible.

It has been important to do this because my lovely wife, both of the signs of spring and even the Dubmeister have been suffering too.

Although none of them were as ill as I was and as a result, I was concerned that one of them may get more attention than I did.

Speak soon (hopefully!)


PS This weekend's picture is from

Sunday, 23 September 2012

The Weekend Picture No.20

Cap'n E - ready for the Great Raft Race
We have just come back from a great weekend away with lots of new friends at the PGL Centre at Boreatton Park in Shropshire.

We were spending the weekend with the charity Caring Matters Now which works to support children with a rare condition called Congenital Melanocytic Naevus and raise funds for research into the condition. Our youngest has CMN and she had a great time over the weekend getting to know other boys and girls who have it too.

We built and raced rafts, abseiled impossibly high walls, swung on giant swings, practised archery and quad bike racing and got to know lots of really nice people.

We are looking forward to the next one.

Speak soon

PS As part of our support for Caring Matters Now my lovely wife and I are about to embark upon a gruelling charity challenge - more information to come later this week.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Why Mum Knows Best


In a break with tradition this daddy blogger has been carrying out genuine non-scientific research to prove that despite my protestations to the contrary - mum really does know best!

1. Mums never forget

Mums are born with a brain enhancement called the "store-all" by scientists. This gives them the ability to remember eveything they have ever been told.
  • Want to know when Sabrina's birthday is? Ask mum.
  • Want to know what grade W got for History 2 years ago last November?  Ask mum.
  • Want to know when M's follow-up appointment with the orthodontist is?  Ask mum.
Dads try very hard to develop the store-all - but it just ain't happening.

2. Mums are better at wrapping up

  • Want to give a present that looks good before it is opened?
  • Want to give a present that doesn't look like a monkey has been playing football with it?
Ask mum.
It is a scientific fact that dads can't wrap up - we just can't. Our presents always end up scrunched up rather than wrapped up. Whereas mums know what to do with ribbon and never lose the end of a roll of Sellotape. 

3. Mums have the better fashion sense

Not sure which colours go together?
Worried about making a fashion faux pas?
Ask mum.
Never ever ask dad or you'll end up with your tights outside your pants and/or a blue/brown clothes combination.
They say that outside appearances don't matter but when you have been dressed by dad, believe me they do!

By Liz Clayton. From

4. Mums know that carrots are better for you than chocolate

Looking to fulfill your 5 a day? Want to see in the dark rather than glow in the dark?
Ask mum.
Mums were born knowing that 1 leaf of iceberg lettuce and a glass of Cherry Cola do not constitute 2 of the essential 5.
They know about minerals, fibre and vitamins and do not fear them!

5. Mums smell nicer

This again is a scientific fact. Mums just smell nice.
Ask yourself this question: Who would you prefer to sit next to on a six hour coach journey?
If you possess a sense of smell then you know the answer as the lack of a "stinking after a curry" washed down with a pint of Old Thumper 3 days ago faultline within their genetic mixtape counts very much in a mum's favour.

Ladies, have I missed anything out? Chaps, is this fair?

Speak Soon

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The New E-Bac: What's to Like?

E-Bac anyone?

It's official. GCSEs are on their way out - to be replaced by a shiny new qualification that combines a name that sounds like a virtual tobacco (The E-Bac anyone?), a stonkingly long  3 hour exam and the prospect of 18 year old lads in flannelette shorts sucking their pencils as they try to add an E-Bac to their GCSEs in 6 other subjects at the fourth attempt.

As the dust settles on yet another education reform passed by Britain's most popular Education Minister since Margaret Thatcher (aka the "Milk Snatcher") this is the Dad Etc 5 point take on this major overhaul of England's public examination system.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Weekend Picture No.19

The Signs of Spring on a Roundabout waiting for the Tour of Britain
The streets and roundabouts of Surrey have been packed this afternoon with spectators waiting for a brightly coloured glimpse of the Tour of Britain.

We took our picnic lunch to a local roundabout this afternoon to join the festival and cheer on the lycra clad cyclists as they whizzed past the end of our road.

We camped out at12.45, saw our first motorbike outriders at 1.10pm, the leading cyclists at 1.20 and the rest of the peloton at 1.23pm. Then we came home again.

We continue to have a very sporty summer.

Speak soon

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Do You Speak Your Partner's Love Language?

When I was a student I had the opportunity to spend a year in Spain. I had a fantastic time there but my experience did not have an auspicious start. I turned up in Madrid carrying the largest suitcase my parents could find in the loft with instructions to find one of Madrid's cheapest hotels, in one of Madrid's red lightest of districts. I remember dragging the suitcase along a dark side street, sirens wailing in the distance, desparately trying to find my hotel. I finally found it, blinking in the neon of the cinema across the street and dragged my suitcase up 5 flights of stairs before standing grinning inanely at my hostess as she ran through the rules of the establishment in strong Madrileno Spanish.

I gathered from her hand gestures that I was sharing the room with a stranger and trying to ascertain which bed I was allowed to sleep on I pointed at the one nearest to the window and asked her "Puedo, er, cantar sobre la cama?"

She smiled benignly as if to say "Si, you English idiot" before closing the door and giggling all the way down the corridor.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

The Weekend Picture No.18

The Dubmeister brings a little bit of Cornwall home with him.
 The Dubmeister was away for the last fortnight of August. He was camping with a brilliant Christian boys organisation called Urban Saints.

He went mountain boarding, wave jumping and hiking. He sat around camp fires, ate enormous breakfasts and bundled with his mates.

Mostly he had fun and came back a happier, more confident, and yet slightly dirtier person.

His tent was flooded out one night and he mostly wore flip flops around the sodden camp site so when he came home I just had to take a picture of his feet.

It's great to have him home.

Speak Soon

PS You can read about the Dubmeister's bedroom tidying exploits here

Thursday, 6 September 2012

The Magical Healing Powers of Paddington Bear

One of the Signs of Spring had a horrible urine infection last Friday evening. She was sick, had a temperature and generally felt uncomfortable and horrible. She wouldn't even eat the Lasagne I had made for her tea - she was seriously unwell.

She woke up in the middle of the night feeling bad enough for me to ring the out of hours doctor service at 2.30am. I was expecting a trip to a grimy doctors surgery with a feverish 9 year old dressed in a duvet and clutching her cuddly monkey. But that was reckoning without the magical healing powers of Paddington Bear.

Monday, 3 September 2012

The Weekend Picture No.17

Mounia Gasmi, Sliver Medallist in the Club Throwing
We were there yesterday at "Super Human Saturday" in the Olympic Park, or Paralympic Park as it is known now.

We were moved by displays of extraordinary courage and determination by athletes of outstanding ability.

We saw Oscar Pistorius look imperious in qualification for the 200 meters final, Jason Smyth ease to victory in the 100m and Liu Fuliang break two world records on the way to the triple jump title.

But my favourite sight of the evening was the bundle of smiles that is Mounia Gasmi, the silver medal winning club thrower from Algeria. Her face told you everything you needed to know about the pride, joy and dedication that goes into paralympic sport.

It will remain with me forever.

In the Olympic Stadium
It was a late night!
Speak soon

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