Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Caitlin Della Hill Is Lovely!

For my 250th post, I have fantastic news and, unusually, even pictures. While Richard and I were up north with our parents last week, we got to see my brand-new niece (then just a week old)! Congratulations to my sister Helen and her husband Jay, and little Caitlin is lovely. The evening we arrived, I walked over with Mum to see the new mum. I know it’s wrong of me, but I have to share with you that, while Mum criticised my awkward holding style, Caitlin stopped crying when her uncle rocked her delightedly but not when her granny did. If Mum ever gets round to reading this blog, I’ll suffer for that… Congratulations are also due to my eldest nephew, Sam, who’s my brother’s son and turned fourteen three days after Caitlin was born.

Alex with Helen and Caitlin – awwhhh!
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The following morning, Richard and I went over together on our way to his parents’ fortieth wedding bash (congratulations, June and Tom!). “She’s just been sick all down one side,” said Helen, “so you might not want to hold her right now.” Well, one uncle jumped over, beaming, and took her, while the other stepped back and decided just to take the photos rather than get vomit all over his tie. See if you can guess which was which.

Proud Uncle Alex with Caitlin – awwhhh!
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Yes, all right, Richard has now discovered that I am not immune from babies (awwwwhhh! She’s lovely!) while he definitely is (except for elephants). On the other hand, he’s still very fond of her, and we teamed up to look for early indulgences. As she’s already quite a big girl – eight pounds at birth, half a pound heavier a week later when most babies lose a bit – we’d been warned not to go for the very tiniest little clothes, as not only had she already been given quite a few but several were already too small to fit. So when we looked out for clothes in the 6-9 month range for her to grow into (and not grow very far, at that), it was Richard who spotted the little sun outfit that looked like a miniature Emmapeeler from The Avengers, and the cutest little hoodie. Being us, we worried a bit about the Emmapeeler, because most of it was in vivid pink, and we’d been determined not to buy pink things for a girl. It turned out my sister doesn’t like pink, either, but she loved the outfit – because all the other pink clothes she’s been given are pale, pastel, dainty pinks, while ours was screaming. We didn’t hesitate over the hoodie, though, and Helen liked that, too. Almost equally delightfully, my Mother was a bit wary of it (though I should point out right now that Mum is lovely too, and really not remotely like the Daily Mail. Hello Mum!). I should almost certainly also not point out that my Grandma, Caitlin’s great-granny, sent a card from New Hampshire giving her middle name as “Bela,” which caused her wicked uncle to make swooping motions at her with fingers raised as vampire fangs. Because that would be wrong.

…And this was just on the way there
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Lots of fun was also had at June and Tom’s fortieth wedding anniversary do, where the food was splendid and Richard and I in no way over-indulged in it. We spent a lot of the time entertaining our middle nephew and niece, Jamie and Holly, who are Richard’s sister’s children and very lively. Richard’s much better at the entertaining than I am, in part because he gets the hang of Jamie’s computer games. They’re also big Doctor Who fans – being proper wicked uncles, we’d primed Jamie with lots of Tom Baker DVDs from well before the new series started – and always have plenty of questions. It’s often said that boys just do lists, while girls are interested in the characters. Well, Jamie always wants to know why people do things, while Holly asks “How many Doctors have there been? …How many companions? …How many stories with the Master? …How many monsters?” until even Richard’s head is exploding.

Richard menaced by the Empress of the Racnoss – scary, eh?
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Fortunately, we had a morning with Jamie and Holly which was almost entirely visual, as we made it to the Doctor Who exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester – albeit slightly delayed as their mum and nana went straight into town while Richard picked me up and then hit the joy of A6 roadworks.

There’s a minor spoiler coming up in the last photo you’ll scroll down to, by the way, though it’s already been in all the papers…

The exhibition’s great fun, though take your time going through it, or it’ll all seem over in a flash. Its array of new series costumes and sets is constantly evolving, and much better-laid-out than the more plentiful supply of old series oddments to be found in Blackpool (both are worth a visit, naturally).

Alex and a big old Face
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Highlights include a shattered Big Ben (smaller than you’d think), the Face of Boe himself, the alarmingly huge Empress of the Racnoss, Professor Lazarus’ experimental booth – not spinning – and, of course, the Daleks. Go on, treat yourself.

Do you think someone else was with us in secret…?
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The main museum has some cool science to play with upstairs, too, as we found out with Jamie.

The Beast shall rise from the Pit and make war on his uncles…
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Of course, some highlights may find their own reasons to slip away…

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