20160512_162351 (Large)

A week in Turkey

We stayed with family-of-family near Izmir, which had some interesting shops:

20160510_125505 (Large) 20160510_152141 (Large)

And took a boat ride from Turgut, a 3h drive away, and swam in clear turquoise sea.

20160511_142326 (Large)

On the way back we stopped at Ephesos, famous to me for being one of the 7 Wonders in the boardgame “7 Wonders”.

20160513_151621 (Large)

The nearby tourist tat shops were entertaining:

20160513_154314 (Large)

 

Our parenting style

We’re in the enviable position of both of us being able to take at least six months off with the baby — as IT contractors we can choose when we work, and programming is very much a seller’s market at the moment.

That’s landed me in an odd position within the dads of my NCT group in that I appear to be doing more childcare and chores than the rest of them; not just because there’s 9 hours in the middle of the day I have to be out of the house, but sleep-wise it doesn’t matter too much if it takes us 14 hours to get 8 hours of sleep each.

We’re trying to be “equal partner parents”, which means handling the job not necessarily as equally as possible – I can’t do the breastfeeding! – but at least make sure that we both feel that we are both contributing equally. I still do all the cooking, but that’s no change. Also some of the laundry (although E does the baby stuff). I do all the nappy changes I’m awake for. E does more of the tidying up. I cut the grass. Neither of us, currently, does the cleaning! Good job her mum has been staying for a while!

Dad blogging

I’ve looked around for dad blogs to read myself, in the run-up to our baby arriving, and I could really only find American blogs that were full of shilling for various products, often in the most distasteful way of writing an effective emotional piece that segues mid-way into “AND THAT’S WHY SUPER-COLA FLAVOURED CO-SLEEPING CAR SEATS ARE JUST THE BEST“.

So I’ve given myself the ambitious task of writing something parenting-related here every two weeks. I say ambitious because typing one-handed while a baby sleeps on you isn’t so easy.

Arsenal 1 – 3 Man City

On the way home from picking some stuff up for a friend we were just in time to call in to see Man City Women’s visit to Arsenal Ladies at Meadow Park.

We weren’t the only visitors:

P1060026 (Medium) P1060028 (Medium)

In the top photo, ¬†Chelsea winger Gemma Davison – sent off earlier in the day in a 4-0 win over Birmingham.¬†I walked past Davison at halftime as she chatted to some friends in the sunshine in her dayglo orange shorty shorts, big sunglasses and grey top and noticed that the necklace that she was oh-so-casually wearing was actually her FA Cup winner’s medal!

In the lower picture, former England GK and regular TV pundit Rachel Brown-Finnis.

On the pitch, the namesake of my England shirt, Lucy Bronze:

P1060033 (Medium)

She had a cracking battle going on against Arsenal forward Ubogagu.

Here are the teams after the match, in the sunset, with the new stand at Borehamwood in the background:

P1060037 (Medium)

And here’s another lovely thing about that day:

P1060038 (Medium)

 

Thoughts on WWC2015, Euro2017, WWC2019

A completely new topic today: womens’ football, which I’ve been following for a while.

It occurs to me that this semi-final run in the WWC2015 is going to pay dividends for years to come: at worst, England is going to move up to #5 in the world rankings, and the #3 ranked team in Europe.

That means that at Netherlands Euro 2017, England should be a group seed, along with Netherlands, Germany and France (it’s a 4-group, 16-team tournament). That in turn means that we should face a group runner-up in the QFs, meaning that with a bit of luck we should wind up in the semis for that too (Hope Powell-style self-destruction aside).

In France in 2019 if we maintain our position we should again get seeded, because France are the hosts and it’s an 8-group tournament, and there will be at least 3 European seeds.

And all of that is a good thing, because by 2019, Fara Williams probably won’t be playing. Jill Scott, Aluko, Jodie Taylor, Alex Scott will all have aged out of the squad. Houghton, Bassett and Carney will all be 30.

So Mark Sampson’s challenge for the next 4 years must be to develop the next generation of talent such that the 19- and 21-year-olds playing today can start to fill those skills gaps.

Jess Clarke and Fran Kirby must surely play their parts in Euro qualifying. The FA needs to spread some of those central contracts around to younger, good-looking players to allow them to develop in time for the next tournament. Who looks like a great player for the next generation in your team?

P1050887 (Medium)

Nin, Croatia

We took a day-trip on the bus out to the tiny island-village of Nin, a medieval centre for salt production, which still continues today. It’s also host to some of the only sandy beaches in the area.

E Nin

There’s a low bridge from the mainland, guarded over by this guy:

P1050874 (Medium) P1050878 (Medium)

Here are a few pics from the centre of the village, now dominated by a church and a few restaurants and tourist shops:

P1050879 (Medium) P1050880 (Medium) P1050889 (Medium)

And here’s the view from the island towards the beach, which is part of a protective harbour wall, and the water is really shallow – we went 100m out and were still only damp up to the knees. In the distance you can see the mountains that separate Dalmatia from the rest of Croatia.

P1050881 (Large)

greeting to the sun 1

Zadar – The Sea Organ and Greetings To The Sun

The tip of the Zadar peninsula holds two lovely works of modern art. The first is “The Sea Organ”, a set of hollow pipes connected to the sea below so that as waves run across the seafront, ghostly hums reverberate through the area. Here’s a taste.

 

As the sun sets, the second artwork starts up. A large disc of solar panels and LEDs makes up “Greeting To The Sun”:

zadar greetings to the sun

 

E in Zadar

Zadar, Croatia

As a pre-baby break we took a trip to Zadar in Croatia. It should have been for a week but we missed the outbound flight and had to get the next one!

Here’s the centre of town:

Zadar square

Zadar cathedral

 

Here’s the one remaining Roman column standing on the tiny peninsula that houses the city centre:

 

Zadar pillar

 

Tucked into a hillside by the pillar there’s an outdoor bar:

 

 

zadar outdoor bar

 

This is the apparently-unremarkable restaurant we ate in the first night. What’s special about it?

 

P1050841 (Medium)

 

bacon-wrapped pork

Yes, that’s pork. Wrapped in bacon. Well done, Zadar, well done.

AJ’s Stag Do

Highlights of the stag party in Bristol last week…

And here are some videos — first “rage buggies”, overpowered, rear-wheel drive jobs with low traction, leading to a slippy driving experience. This is AJ doing a half-lap:

And here’s something closer to the end of the night — in the Bavarian beer hall. I spotted a “vodka sherbet mixed drink” on the menu, which for me sounded a lot nicer than huge volumes of stinky beer! This turned out to be a drink that you had to mix yourself, as AJ will now demonstrate: