Thursday, August 25, 2011

A babe is born

And all is well. Susan delivered her husband Paul a 7lb baby boy: Matthew Clifford. Both names being ancestral, as is traditional.

Paul ensured that his son was born at a private hospital with an expert obstetrician present and it is a good thing that he did. There were two serious complications to the birth that could have been dangerous or even fatal without immediate expert attention. The baby had that attention so came to no harm.

He was born with the cord around his neck and that is far too often fatal. Jenny's mother lost a baby that way. He also had what is technically termed a "meconium" problem: Meaning that the baby passes feces into the amniotic fluid before he is born and can either ingest or inhale some of that.

When Joe was born there was that problem but Joe neither ingested nor inhaled any of it so was unharmed. Inhaling it is however a very serious problem that can lead to serious disability or death. And it is only in the last few years that a good method has evolved for the obstetrician to deal with and fix the problem before any harm is done.

Knowing what had happened with Joe, I alerted Paul to the problem and he raised it with the obstetrician so that the problem could be immediately dealt with. And it was a good thing that he did. The baby DID have a meconium problem and at the last moment ingested some of it. But the obstetrician promptly sucked it out again and the babe is already fine.

So since Joe and Matthew both had that problem it would seem to come from Jenny's side -- meaning that all her children from now on should be alert for that problem and should have an obstetrician present at the birth who is prepared for it and aware of the latest method.

Matthew is a very lucky boy -- with the luck that comes from foresight.

Just hours after the birth

Bub with mother

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bacon butties

I must be entering my second childhood, as Shakespeare would have it. For roughly the last 35 years I have been buying multigrain bread (invented long ago by the Germans as Vollkorn bread) with the view that it was an improvement over the white bread of my youth. But lately I have reverted to white bread.

To me white bread seems to go well in making up a bacon butty. I get a couple of slices of short-cut bacom, whizz them in the microwave for about 30 seconds and slap them between a couple of well-buttered slices of white bread. That has been my late supper for a little while now - "late" as in around midnight.

Although eminently satisfactory, that is of course a very simple repast so I call it a "butty", in honour of a famous food item well known North of Watford -- where chip butties seem to be a mainstay. I have never had a chip butty and they seem to be just about unknown in Australia but I think my repast has similar stark simplicity.

The "u" in butty is pronounced as in "bully" -- from "butter" as pronounced in both Northern England and Germany. Germans in fact would call the same thing a "Butterbrot", where "Brot" is bread.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Not all change is for the better

As any old fogey (such as myself) will tell you.

A rather crazy instance of that which has finally intruded into my consciousness is that my modern 3-in-1 printer only takes about a quire of paper at a time.

Whereas in the "good old days" of continuous stationery you would go through about 4 reams before you had to add paper. It's a big difference and the limited feed of my current printer does sometimes catch me out because of that

I guess I have old habits that die hard

(For those who have forgotten their school lessons: 24 sheets = 1 quire; 20 quires = 1 ream)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Poetry night

It has recently become clear to me that Paul is at least as sentimental as I am: He has a real feeling for things of the past. So I thought that he would enjoy it if I introduced him to canonical English poetry -- which, sadly, is almost totally neglected in the schools these days.

So we got together for a curry dinner at my place, with Susan and Anne very kindly going to fetch the curry for us from my usual curry place.

The canon is of course enormous -- probably best defined by Arthur Quiller Couch's 1912 "Oxford book of English verse" -- which OUP have recently brought back into print after futile efforts to revise it -- sadly for the rare book trade.

So what I tried to do was pick out just a few personal favourites: Wordsworth's Daffodils; Donne's Death; Coleridge's Ancient Mariner; Grey's Elegy; Hunt's Abou ben Adhem; Blakes's Tiger etc. -- and of course the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

It was almost entirely new to Paul and Susan but they both got a heap out of it and I enjoyed reading it to the assembled company. A relevant picture below. Note my Namatjiras in the background!

At my request Susan made us a Spotted Dick for dessert, and produced a gourmet version of it, of course. Last time I heard Paul was on his third helping! Those who know Paul will not be surprised by that.

Videos here

Ode to a tablecloth

This is undoubtedly a bit mad but I thought I should mention the role of my "miracle tablecloth" in our dinners at my place. It is a very fancy white lacy tablecloth made of some synthetic material of Chinese origin. And it is IMPERVIOUS to curry stains -- which can be pretty serious stains. And by the time of my poetry night everybody was quite used to it. So while there were quite a few curry spills onto the tablecloth on the night, nobody paid that any heed. They knew that I just toss the cloth in the washing machine and it comes out as bright as ever. Susan tried to buy one like it but could not so it is a bit of a rarity.