A new style of humour

At the weekend, I tried to teach Bernard about “knock, knock” jokes, and made a complete mess of it. So over the last few days, we’ve been hearing a lot of variations on the following themes. Warning: surreal humour follows.

B: Knock knock!
Me: Who’s there?
B: Ah… Mrs Connors!

This last line is delivered in a sing-song voice and with a cheeky smile that leaves you in no doubt that it is intended as the punchline. If you dare to go further, then you’ll be rewarded with something like:

Me: Mrs Connors who?
B: Ah… a blanket!

It’s all my own fault. The problem is, one of the first “knock knock” jokes I tried to tell him was a non-standard one. I tried to teach him to run, before he could fly. See if you can spot exactly which rogue “knock knock” joke it was:

B: Knock knock!
Me: Who’s there?
B: An interrupting cow *(sounds more like “a truptin cow” but we know what he’s trying to say)*
Me: An interrupting cow who?
B: Ah… Mr Connors!

It’s an absurd and surreal brilliance.

Gaming Music Parenting

Too Busy To Blog

Hi, remember me? I’m the guy who hasn’t given you a non-stunt post since early May. It’s probably time I caught up.

Learning songs

I’ve got a couple of party gigs coming up in July, one for my regular band, and one wedding gig for an irregular, ad-hoc band formed expressly for the purpose. I’ve been learning a lot of new cover versions. *Brown-Eyed Girl* is in both sets.

Watching television

Since December, Karen and I have discovered How I Met Your Mother and Hustle, and also embarked on a project of watching Friends and The West Wing “cover to cover”. We’ve actually been watching less television than last year.


Towards the end of March, I started reading the books in the Earth’s Children series by Jean M Auel. I’ve been finding them interesting, hence getting through them at a rate of one book every 2 or 3 weeks. That’s quick, by my standards – I’m a fast reader, but I don’t tend to devote much time to reading. I’m now very close to finishing the fifth (currently the last published) book.


Not much of this actually. I haven’t had as much enthusiasm for it this year. There seems to have been quite a lot of rainfall in the last couple of months, which deters me somewhat. Last year I think that I cycled a lot because the regular exercise helped my mood, but this year my mood seems to be (mostly) just fine without it.

Playing Zelda III

One of the greatest games of all time, in my opinion, was *Zelda IV: Link’s Awakening* on the Game Boy. It’s been a source of sadness to me that there was never a sequel. I once bought a game called Quest For Camelot that looked like it might be similar, but it fell far short. In fact, one of the reasons why I disliked it was that the main character’s sword did, literally, fall far short. She had about half the reach of Link (the main character in *Zelda IV*) which led to much frustration.

Anyway, thanks to the wonder that is emulation, I’ve started playing through *Zelda III* which is the SNES predecessor to *Zelda IV*. Seems to be incredibly CPU-hungry on my computer, but we can live with that. UPDATE: I’ve fixed the CPU problem by experimenting with different display resolutions, and I’ve also improved the sound quality by using the sdl audio driver.

Chilling with the boy

Yesterday we went to Legoland for the afternoon. It was awesome. As you can imagine, not many people go to Legoland on a grey Thursday during term time. As a result, we managed to get on more rides in 3 hours than we usually do in an entire day. Also, packed lunch + annual pass = incredibly cheap day out. I quite wanted to take Bernard onto his first rollercoaster, but he preferred to just watch it go round. He doesn’t like fast rides yet, but he assures me that he will when he is older. Of course, when he’s older, we won’t be able to go to Legoland on grey Thursdays during term time, so we won’t be able to enjoy the benefit of being able to board the rollercoaster without queueing, but I didn’t want to pressure his decision by burdening him with this information.

Parenting Photos

Summer Calendar

We decided it was time to replace the spring calendar.

summer calendar

The tags for the spring calendar were affixed using blu-tack which is not very user-friendly for a two year old. For the summer calendar, I have made little pockets for the tags to slot into. Let’s see if this works better.

Parenting Photos


This afternoon we got all crafty and made a calendar-type thing. The plan being that each day we would change the day tag and weather tag as appropriate.


As you can see, this calendar is very spring-themed, with flowers and a butterfly and a bunch of pink feathers which *I think* is a flamingo that’s been run over with a lawnmower.

Look North

The weather tags, in case you can’t recognise them, are “Cloudy” (currently on the board) and “Sunny”, “Rainy” and “Windy”.

Parenting Photos



Bernard’s been taking quite an interest in photography lately, so Karen has donated her old digital camera. It’s working fairly well, and the absence of complicated features is an advantage, though he still hasn’t quite got to grips with the user interface. I’m really looking forward to seeing the kinds of photos that he takes once he “gets” it.

DIY Gaming Gardening IAMOWIM Music Gear Parenting

What have I been up to lately?

Not blogging, that’s for sure.


I’ve got a couple of new toys, a Squier Vintage Modified fretless Jazz Bass, and a Zoom H2, which is a nifty little recording device that contains 4 internal microphones and records WAV and MP3 files to SD cards in startlingly good quality. It’s loaded with bells and whistles and is just what I’ve been looking for all these years. I’ve also restrung my acoustic guitar and have purchased a set of strings for my Epiphone SG. This happens quite infrequently. I’ve also got my guitars up on wall hangers these days, which means that I have to spend less time picking them up off of the floor and retuning them.


I have a new Krups coffee machine, the XP4020 ((the Krups website is antler-scratchingly bad, so I refuse to link to it)). I’m getting superb espresso out of it but it’s still taking some time to get used to. The grounds are very wet after use (which is supposedly due to the grounds not being tamped down hard enough, but I’ve tried a range of forces between featherly and elephantine and it’s making no difference) and I can’t get a decent foam on my milk. It will come in time, I’m sure. I’m really appreciating how much more quickly I can make a good cup of coffee these days. With the old machine I’d spend a fair amount of time waiting, but now I can do the whole process with no wasted time.


Haven’t been doing much of this, though on a couple of occasions lately the three of us have cycled round to some nearby brambles and gathered up kilos of blackberries. That’s damn good fun.

Playing Tomb Raider 2

As mentioned recently. Ah, they don’t make them like they used to. I’m playing in little bursts, half an hour or so every other day, and I’m currently a short way into the 40 Fathoms level.

Watching CSI, 3rd Rock From The Sun and Sapphire and Steel

Thanks to Mr Hg for the latter. We’re currently half way through season 5 of CSI, and we’re working our way through them at a rate of approximately one season every month. I think that we’ve seen most of seasons 6 and 7 already but we’ll enjoy re-watching them, and we’re definitely looking forward to season 8 which we haven’t yet seen. And I’m watching 3rd Rock in order too – I’ve just started season 4 and I think that for the most part I haven’t seen any episodes in seasons 4 to 6.


I’ve actually been reading more recently, getting through about a book per week. It’s not the most readious period of my life to date, but it’s definitely well above average.


Wandering around parks and playgrounds, taking photos of things and sharing mischievous smiles with Bernard. His language development is currently at a stage which I would describe as “explosive” with new words being added to his vocabulary daily. I’ve also organised all my photos from the last few weeks, so there will be a photo-based post on this site every evening for the next week.

Gardening and DIY

A little of this, but not too much. The occasional carefully-chosen task, selected for optimal benefit:time ratio. That said, the garden and allotment are both in reasonable condition. So it must be a case of working smarter, not harder.

Contemplating felines

We’re pretty much decided on this one, actually. We’re intending to go round to the rescue shelter tomorrow to see who is around. All three of us are cat lovers, so we’re unanimous on this one.

Complaining about my wrist

10 days ago I woke up with a very sore wrist. I wore a support bandage quite a lot over the next few days. People would put on concerned faces and ask me what happened, and I had to sheepishly respond that actually I just slept on it a bit funny. Karen thought that it was RSI from all the Tomb Raider I’ve been playing. After 5 days, it was not getting better. As an experiment, I took the bandage off, and kept it off. It’s been getting better ever since. I’ve decided to attribute the persistence of the discomfort to muscle atrophy, and what the injury needed was not rest, but exercise.



Last night was my turn to put Bernard to bed. After reading him his stories, I tucked him up in bed and sat down to read mine.

This is a process that takes at least an hour. Initially. he’ll spend a few minutes doing some dances in bed. Then he’ll lie there for a while. Then he’ll request mama’s presence. Then he’ll ask for some water. Then he’ll throw his duvet out of bed. Then he’ll twist and squirm for a while. And eventually he’ll get out of bed, come over, and lie down on top of me.

There was a moment last night when he was lying on his back on my chest, the side of his face pressed against mine, counting occurrences of the letter C on the page that I was reading. For those few minutes, I had a sensation of unreality, like I’d been transported into someone else’s world. If life is a rollercoaster ((just gotta ride it (all night long) )), then the carriage had briefly lost contact with the tracks. It struck me with a great force that this is my son, his face pressed against mine. That he has grown so much already, and will continue to grow so much more. That he adores and admires me, and that I adore and admire him.

Yesterday we flew a kite. Bernard wanted to hold the handle, and I wanted him to as well. Yeah, he let go of it and the kite went soaring across the field and into the allotments from where it had to be rescued by Karen. Doesn’t matter. Sure, next time I’ll be a bit smarter and I’ll have some secondary anchoring system as a fallback. But for those few seconds he was feeling the pull of the kite up in the sky for the first time, and there was no way that I was going to deny him that.

(The strong winds meant that my hands took a couple of minor injuries whilst being battered about by the chunky handle. The thumb on my left hand is still a little sore, and still bears a small scab. Occasionally Bernard will ask to see “daddy bump kite” and has a look at my scab)


Bernard:English Dictionary

While on holiday last week, I had the idea of composing a Bernard-to-English dictionary. With these useful hints, you too might be able to hold a conversation with him.

Bernard English
ack-tutta helicopter
bapple apple (and, indeed, most other fruit)
bappy happy
bigduddle big cuddle
bobot robot
boobar rhubarb
buttflyer butterfly
buch (with a German-sounding ‘ch’) bus
ceeeeereal cereal
dack-doo cock-a-doodle-doo
jamb jam/chutney
man-boat canoe
man-song The Grand Old Duke Of York (song)
oh-day okay
puh-puh puzzle/jigsaw
sish (with a soft ‘s’) fish
tick-tock peacock
tractor? play tractor? play train? man? bike? play train? play man tractor? I would like to play some GTA San Andreas now please.
Parenting Photos

Block Tower


They don’t tend to last for very long…


Gaming Parenting


Bernard has now spent the past six nights in a bed. Well, with the exception of the time that he’s spent on the floor next to his bed, or on one occasion, underneath his bed.

He seems to be much happier without bars. When he wakes in the morning, he doesn’t have to wail at ever-increasing volume until someone comes to rescue him. Instead, he can just slide out of bed and waddle around upstairs to his heart’s content.

A consequence of this change is that the POÄNG has been returned to the sitting room, and a bean bag moved upstairs to replace it. The POÄNG is a most adequate gaming chair, and certainly beats sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the television. Ironically, on Sunday I completed Tomb Raider Anniversary ((which I’ve been playing since mid-January)) and so now I have a lovely gaming chair, but no games to play while sitting in it.

On an unrelated note, you see that “YOU ARE HERE” thing at the top-left of the page? What are your thoughts on the usefulness of that? Many thanks.