Sunday, October 9, 2016

He Tops Out at Five

The time has come to face the dawning realisation that I have done my bit for pro-creation. Aside from the slower pace of my running, or loss of that all important yard of pace, what really makes one appreciate is he too old for this malarkey, is having a 9 month old baby at the ripe old age of 42. Fortunate, we most certainly are. But also mad mental insane as well - Christ! It's tougher this time around.

Having tried and failed previously to convince MPLST that the dreaded snip was necessary, I found this time less of a challenge. For some inexplicable reason, she not only drove me there but also waited to ensure I was well and truly in the door. I'm sure she'd have signed me in if she could....

So - off I trotted merrily, well, as merrily as one does, when a stranger is about to stick a needle in one's scrotum and burn back the working bits. Seems simple enough you'd think. I followed the (very clear) instructions and headed for surgical ward B, only to find myself in a ward full of wrinkly old dears - I am of course, referring to the patients, though to be fair a few of the nurses might fit this particular bill. Mmm, surely this can't be right he says to himself - so I check with the receptionist. Indeed, she smiles you have found it. Seems only fair I introduce myself as BFS, she asks me why I'm here, and upon hearing the word vasectomy, she seems to beam in the sheer pleasure of the pain I am about to endure. Cow! No need to look so bloody happy about it...'off you trot down that corridor'. And so I went.

I'm then shown to the ward where, along with a few random strangers, we stare silently at each other until someone breaks the bloody ice. It's a six "bed" ward, though we have the comfort of a simple chair where the bed would normally stand. One poor sod has just come back. He assures the rest of us that he can't feel a thing. 'It nips a bit when the injection comes'. He wasn't wrong.

The next fella, directly across from me, is a bit more sheepish, perhaps quieter by nature. Perhaps fecking bricking it! We do look like eejits once trussed up in the NHS gowns, but with our own socks and shoes back in place - it would make good casting for a loony ward. The third bloke, across and to my right, managed to get the NHS gowns on back to front, inside out or up side down. Our very helpful nurse kept him right though, and hence I didn't care about asking "daft" questions so as not to look a plonker as well. Next to me though, was the muppet. Everywhere we go, we attract muppets. Concerts, holidays, you name it. We are the ultimate muppet magnets. Mr Eccentric here made that hour go just a little bit faster....

We actually arrived at the same time. I took the shortest, most direct route into the ward, and consequently was sitting down signing my nuts away before he got there. That didn't matter though, his name was on the list before me, so he went first - great, another half hour on my day. Just as the excitement was peaking too.

So, back to signing the obligatory forms. "Are you happy with your decision BFS?" asks the very cheery nurse, believe it or not, we do get people who change their mind at the last minute. Happy? Not the first adjective that comes to mind. Satisfied it's necessary. Abso-bloody-lutely! I set about removing my watch and chain, and she taped up my ring, because she doesn't like to see wedding rings removed.

Simple questions you'd think, with simple answers. Not for Mr E to my right. Oh, if I need to take that one out, I'm going to need some pliers he says. For a moment, I wonder if he is just warming himself up in some kind of sadistic freak show kind of way. Conversation with Mr E at this point is best avoided I conclude. Fortunately, he is not in my line of vision. I should mention that Mr E turned up wearing a kilt (for easy access perhaps??) and with one of those ridiculous greased up moustaches. The kind of fella one looks at, and one instantly plays a word association game in ones head. Fanny came to mind immediately. Yes, I really am that judgemental.

It seems he had some joy in removing whatever it was from wherever it was. This earned him an extra soppy kiss from Mrs E (who, to the naked eye was much less eccentric, but we'll stick with that). One would be forgiven for thinking he was going on a stag weekend, and every smooch was to remind him not to play away - I guess they were in the early throws of their relationship. Either that, or I best up my game.

So, Mr Unable to Dress Himself returns. He assures me it was fine. He was watching the operation in the reflection of the lights. Perhaps Mr UTDH was a bit simple, but clearly harder than me I conclude sharply. He tells me that the first injection comes under the instruction of ready 1-2-3 and go. Unfortunately, Mr Surgeon was a bit inconsistent with the rules, and almost got a knee in the side of the head with the second injection. Noted says BFS.

So, about an hour and a half after sitting down, they're ready for me. Marvellous. Round I went, again asked if I was happy. Miss Nurse quickly corrected herself to ask me if I was "satisfied". Quick learner that one. So now, I'm handed off to Mrs Old nurse, who's sole mission in life was to distract me with any conversation at all whilst a team of strangers played science with my bollocks. Mr Surgeon talks me through what will happen, whilst at the same time finding the vas hiding right at the back of my scrotum, which now resembled a freshly plucked chicken. He is quite clearly at ease with this, probably does it a dozen times a day, if not more. Me on the other hand - still bricking it.

I sign the paper. He elevates the bed using the foot pump and makes some quip about the NHS beds being best of quality. So long as it keeps me where I'm meant to be when you start the burning bit I thought. Off he goes into the ward.

The only operating theatre I have ever seen in real life is the one in which FB1 was brought into this world. It was a horrible place, gave me the creeps in many ways. This one, despite what was coming, much less so. It looked compact, bijou even. Certainly looked sterile. There were two more people in the theatre with Mr Surgeon. Miss Scissors and Mr I Don't Talk. Miss Scissors took great delight in telling me she was nearing my genitals with sharp instruments several times - though I may have brought some of that on myself.

So introductions complete, the bed was tipped backwards so my head is now lower than my feet and my bollocks no longer drop I guess. Comfortable? Nope. Dignifying? Not a chance. Up comes the robes, and Mr S sets about lathering my bollocks in what I guess is some alcohol gel. Comfortable it is not. Next comes my own 3-2-1 as the needle hits the spot. I think it's mentally much, much worse than it is physically. Don't get me wrong, it's not pleasant, but it's a dull lingering pain for 10 secs, which causes a grown man like me to arch my back and tense every bit of my being until it takes hold. "Can you feel anything BFS?" says Mr S. "Trust me Doc, you'll be the first to know - now crack on if you will."

Between us, the conversation actually flowed, and the laughs were fairly constant. Those poor doctors must have had the unenviable view of my big belly laughs giving it some and having a great ripple effect as we cracked and traded jokes throughout. I was no less tense for my second 3-2-1, and a rather disappointed Mr Surgeon told me I should never have found out about the potential knee to the face. Theatres are like stag nights we agree, what goes on in there, stays there. I did try a wee peek in the lights, but the angles just weren't right. Can't say I was overly disappointed.

That's it. Done and dusted. Apart from Mrs Old Nurse crashing me into a couple of walls on the way back, it was all pretty painless. Until I got home that is. Now, 48 hours later, I think my bollocks have reduced back to their original size.

I was last in, so the ward was empty when I got back. A new nurse, we'll call her Mrs Big Nurse, took a little extra care of me. She wouldn't let me get up until I had finished my coffee and biscuit (the other nurse pretty much told the other lads, get dressed and go when you're happy). Perhaps I looked more needy? Perhaps she was just more officious. Who cares?

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Birthday, Camps and Eye Patches

Last week saw our middle loon reach his eighth birthday. In true sports nut style, his cake request was a football, with which mum duly obliged. Yet again, Mrs W has excelled herself, even if from other angles it does look like our youngest loon may have done some of the art work with his own clumsy mitts!

The boy himself on his birthday. Happy as always...

 This week, Campbell also had a visit to the hospital following up on his eye. He's stuck with a patch for a while, but happy to dress as a pirate and as usual, has taken it all in his stride. We'll see what happens when it gets moved to the other eye though. Watch this space...

With 3 boys at school all day, the opportunity has come for dad to get this bad boy out the house again. Yes, the house! It's been in here for about 4 years I think. Needs a little TLC, but it started at the first time of asking. My pirate buddy joined me for a stationary pic - he was a little nervous about actually moving on it!

And to end a very busy week at SH, these two went off to cub camp for the weekend. O has only been to cubs for one night, and technically hasn't started, but is of age, and has the bug after his Beaver camp a couple of weeks ago. Both came home today happy, if a little tired.


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Dad and Lad Day Out

More than a year after bagging our first Munro, big lad and I decided to have a crack at the next nearest to our doorstep, down in picturesque Glen Doll. Number 2 son was meant to join us, but had his first camp with Beavers, leaving the big lads to our own devices. First on our hit list for the day was Mayar, summit, 928 meters, and then onto Driesh, which peaks a tad higher at 947m, and be our highest climb to date (by all of 8 metres!)

We set off early as the forecast was for rain late in the afternoon. The cloud base was low, so we didn't get the reward of the view, but a challenge is a challenge, so of we went. Mrs W had a challenge of her own to contend with - he's 5 and energy sapping in a very different way! His little sister, on the other hand isn't quite so much "high maintenance."

The walk starts off with a gentle walk through the forest, which serves to warm you up well for what lies ahead. There were plenty of signs and info boards to keep a budding geek entertained as we progressed up to the base of the proper climb.

Then there is a little bit of a wow moment as we emerged from the forest into the heart of Corrie Fee. For the uninitiated, a corrie is where a glacier formed and cut out the glens as it moved. The photo doesn't do this one justice. After a quick stop, and an early midgie attack, we decided to press on and stop for eats on higher ground, where the wind would keep the little critters away.
The path fades by the waterfall, and we ended up scrambling up the hill behind the crags on the left of it.

Boyo clearly not feeling any pace as yet...

Dad, on the other hand was starting to feel every one of those 40 something years as the climb became evermore vertical... (by the way, what age is considered reasonable for the boy to carry the rucksack I wonder?)

At the point below, R declared that this was much more fun that Mount Keen. I was sensing a pattern - where we walked on a path, he generally lagged behind by about ten paces, in a very similar way to that of a good Muslim wife in some cultures would. But this was different, with was thick grass, with lots of holes, waterways and rocks, and he was in his element. In hindsight, we should have stuck on waterproof trousers as we ended up soaked from the knees down, but the weather was forgiving, so we got away with it. I think I was using the photo opportunity as an excuse to rest on this one. My legs were now working harder than they have done in some months.

We got to the top, about 3 hrs after parking up and stuck a stone each on the cairn. The quick photo was actually taken after we'd sheltered for lunch just off the top. As anticipated, he found the pace in his legs to get there before me, having lagged behind for a while as the walk wasn't so steep (or fun I suppose!)

After a quick lunch for us and Lexi Loo, it was back off across the summit and onwards to Driesh. We'd done the hard work for the day, the rest was much easier by comparison.

Just a few minutes off the peak, the clouds left enough gaps for us to see what we were missing out in the background. It's fair to say that 9 year old boys don't get it though.

That's the peak of Mayar behind him as came off the other side towards our second hill of the day.

Before we started up towards Driesh, a quick look at the route we'd be taking back - down on the left below, you can just about make out the path. I think by now boyo was needing the loo, but neglected to say. More of that later.

4hrs in, and back up in the cloud we managed to shelter in the rocks and rewarded ourselves with more food, including mums home made flapjack.

The decent was only eventful in so much as boyo declared he really needed a poo and had been holding it for hours. After a comical hillside effort, of which I'll spare you the details, he commented "I'll be able to keep up no problem now, that was really holding me back." That proved true, as in no time at all, he'd fallen and landed heavily on his knee in his rush down the hill. No real harm done though, and we were back at the car in a little more than 6 hours. We beat the rain and he is now plotting his next Munro feat - I just have to get O off the mark so he can join us.

3 Down - 1 To Go

The new school year saw CWDD (Campbell Wambell Doo Da) join the ranks with his brothers at Primary School. Fortunately this year, we've hit the magic number and secured an additional teacher, so his brothers are in the composite P4-7 class, and he is in the P1-3 class. Looking at that particular group, I think all the parents will empathise with Teach, and despite her years of experience, I'm sure C will test her patience each and every day in one way or another!

The poor loon only did a couple of hours on day one though - a follow up appointment for his eyes indicates he might need to wear a patch. Watch this space, he's got one more test first. He's not phased though, I think it just means he can be a pirate every day in his world.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Salobrena 16

It's fair to say that the amount of photos on a blog entry are directly proportional to the time since the last one! It's been a while again, so I thought I'd capture some of the holiday snaps for posterity.
We decided to opt for the tried and tested holiday with small children again this year, so returned to what we know in Salobrena.

It didn't take dad & daughter long to get into the holiday mood...

 First day pool action for the lads...

This time we ventured out a bit more to keep big boys amused. We went for a week twice before, this time, 2 full weeks, with bigger boys that need off to the caves at Nerja, before stopping for some play at the beach.

Back to the villa, Little Miss Z seems to approve...

Recapturing some dad and lad antics from our last visit. He's much heavier now!

She'll tell you all she did was cook. Photos say otherwise!

A very caring big brother keeping his littlest sibling happy.

A day well spent at the Science Centre in Granada - good choice dad.

Back to the pool - it's not easy relaxing with this lot - I gave it a good go though...

Clearly, the cooking was taking it's toll!

A tug o war with the dad as the rope...

We drove into Malaga for a day out. The lovely Dutch girl at the Segway tours place bent the rules a little to let O take a turn. Turned out to be another brilliant day out, Segway tour, followed by lunch and big wheel, then off to the motor and fashion museum, and dinner before the hit home.

The definition of irony?

We watch Andy Murray win Wimbledon, which inspired the eldest to declare he is going to be a tennis player. Free use of the hard court for an hour a day came too late in the trip, but we gave it a couple of goes.

Clearly, we are a family that take ourselves very seriously...

Underwater baby in action....

Someone turned 6 months just before we left for home...she seems pleased about that.

Last night out before home was to a new (to us) restaurant up on the hill. Big boy likes his meat - now eating from the adult menu, dad best start getting the overtime in.

Last night before home - this might be our last time here. A lovely part of the world, full of great memories for our young family. Our house was up on that hill to the left of the picture below.