Holding the baby

Two photographs of Gareth (that\'s whose blog this is) holding his nephew Owen -- a baby.
Self-portrait of Gareth with Owen. Twice.

Yesterday I travelled down to Selkirk for my Mum’s cousin Jasmine’s 75th birthday. It was a great family event, attended by a great family. I do love our family get-togethers: there is usually a lot of laughter.

As a surprise my brother Eddie and his wife Rebecca and son Owen came down just in time for birthday cake! It was lovely (that they came down, I mean, although the cake was okay too) as it was the first time that most of the family had seen Owen. Which is fair enough, as he was only two weeks old yesterday. Wow! a fourteen day old human being!

After the party, back at Mum’s, I “got a hold” which is where I took the self-portrait photos above — since no one else was taking a photo of us!

And then I managed to send him to sleep (below) singing made-up-lyrics to a tune from the film Shrek:

Baby Owen asleep in Gareth\'s arms.
Look how tiny his hands look compared with mine. (Photo by my sister Jenni.)

It was a game that we’d come up with on Thursday night when Jane and I visited Eddie and Rebecca, and where Jane cooked them dinner. As soon as I had finished dessert Eddie handed me Owen so that he could tuck in with more than just one hand.

Standing in the middle of the kitchen, gently bouncing Owen and trying to keep him amused, Eddie suddenly leapt at me with the challenge, “Sing him the first song that comes into your head NOW!”

Have any of you heard the lullaby version of Angel of Death by American thrash band Slayer? Just goes to show, it’s not what you sing, it’s how you sing it! (Incidentally, Tori Amos‘s version of Slayer’s Reign In Blood is quite, quite special. If you’re into dirge-like piano pieces overlaid with haunting female vocals. Hunt it out on iTunes.)

I also discovered that the opening lyrics for Queen‘s Bohemian Rhapsody take on a totally different feel when you’re singing it gently as a lullaby to a baby. Especially these lines:

Mama, life had just begun,
But now I’ve gone and thrown it all away,
Mama ooooooh,
Didn’t mean to make you cry,
If I’m not back again this time tomorrow,
Carry on, carry on, as if nothing really matters,

Too late, my time has come,
Sends shivers down my spine,
Body’s aching all the time,
Goodbye everybody I’ve got to go,
Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth,
Mama Ooooooh
I don’t want to die,
I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all…

It was at that point I went back to nonsense lyrics to a tune from Shrek. I’ll have to see if I can still find my comedy Shrek ears, I can see that this is going to be a regular gig.

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Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 46 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Latterly, web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall. Currently on sabbatical. I am a priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, and I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir.

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