It’s a boy!

Scan of baby
Not having a photograph of the wee man out in the real world this ultrasound scan picture will have to do!

Jane and I were woken this morning by the telephone ringing, shortly after 05:40. It was my brother Edmund on his mobile phone from St John’s Hospital, Livingston to give us the great news that his wife Rebecca had given birth to a healthy boy, Owen Thomas Saunders. He was 8lbs 5oz and born at 03:18.

Owen had to be born by Caesarean Section in the end. Rebecca was nearly three weeks late, having been due around 26 December, and well, frankly, it seems that he didn’t want to come out!

We’re absolutely delighted for Eddie and Rebecca, but for Jane and I it has also been a strange week of mixed emotions as the birth date has drawn closer, reminding us of our current situation of it being apparent that we can’t have children naturally. Which is not to detract from the good news, because we are absolutely delighted for Bec and Eddie, I’m just being honest, as we wonder: will this ever happen to us? We’ll keep praying, and I would say “and keep trying” but that might be too much information for some blog readers.

We’re now looking forward to seeing the proud new father and new mother and their delightfully quiet (so far, I’m told by Eddie) Owen Thomas Saunders.

Home from home

Map of East Neuk of Fife
Map of part of the East Neuk of Fife. Cellardyke and Anstruther are at the bottom right, St Andrews is the big town at the top of the map. (Map from Google Maps.)

Having just returned from the GP (more on that in a moment — depending on how fast you read, I guess) and I’m just about to pack an overnight bag. We’re heading over to Cellardyke essentially just to alter the timed heating, so we’re going to take the opportunity and spend the night there.

Can you believe it, we’ve had the house just over a year now and we’ve not yet been able to spend a whole week there uninterrupted?! I need to return to Edinburgh tomorrow for a Powerpoint band rehearsal; the Powerpoint Christian youth event is on Friday night. Still, it will be nice to get away … and still be able to sleep in our own beds!

So, back to the GP visit. The other night I showed my Mum a bump on my head that’s been there for quite a while now. It’s not really bothered me until now … now that my hair is receeding and I’m now beginning to look like some kind of distant cousin of the Klingons!

I’ve always assumed that it was simply a scar from knocking myself unconscious at a Borders Scripture Union summer camp at Grantshouse in 1984 or 1985. But Mum took a look at it and said, “I think it’s a sebaceous cyst” (Don’t follow that link if you are squeamish! — there are no photographs, but the description isn’t great. :S).

“Great! Another cyst!” (I already have Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ASDPKD).)

“If it was me,” she said, “I’d just stick a needle in it!”

Don’t you just love the DIY attitude of members of the medical profession! (Mum was a Nursing Sister for many years.)

Dr Abushal didn’t think that sticking a needle into it would do any good. “It needs minor surgery,” said he. So they are going to make an appointment for me to see their minor surgery specialist, and if she thinks it needs to be done more neatly then I’ve to be referred to the plastic surgery unit at St John’s Hospital, Livingston.

In the meantime, it appears that I’m still recovering from the virus that floored me last month, and I just need to keep pacing myself, resting and doing some gentle exercise, as I have been doing.

Off to Cellardyke … I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow.

An unexpected day

My nephew Benjamin
My nephew Benjamin, taken on his new camera.

Today I had an unexpected visit from my sister Jenni and her son Benjamin. When I say “unexpected” I mean that I knew that they were going to be in town, and the last I heard Jane and Rebecca (my brother’s wife) were going to meet them in town and bring them to the Gyle shopping centre for lunch.

So imagine my delighted surprise when Jenni phoned at 11:00 am to say that they were nearly finished shopping, and exchanging too-small Christmas gifts — by which I mean Christmas gifts that were too small, not that Christmas itself was diminuitive this year — and did I want to meet up with them? How could I turn them down! So I gave them instructions on which bus to catch and which stop to get off and they came over to our house for lunch.

The rest of the afternoon was spent speaking with Jenni, playing Lego Star Wars with Benjamin and occasionally letting him look for photographs of tiny monkeys on Google.

He also looked for … oh! more pictures of tiny monkeys, a poster for The Lord of the Pugs and ring tones.

All that worry that people have about needing to install Net Nanny software. No need! Ten years only want to search the internet for photographs of tiny monkeys and ring tones.

And pugs, pugs and clocks. Clocks with pugs on them.

Jane and Rebecca arrived, back and shortly after my brother Eddie did and we sat around the table for a Chinese takeaway meal bowl or two of MSG. Which was lovely. By which I mean that it was lovely that we were all sitting around the table together. It’s not often that we get to do that. Very often. By which I mean … shall I just go now?

A good year so far …

My nephew Benjamin pretending to be a Sith Lord, from Star Wars
My nephew Benjamin pretending to be a Sith Lord, from Star Wars

This year has got off to a great start. I was up shortly after 08:00 this morning, and said Morning Prayer — start as I mean to go on, I reckon!

There were only four in the congregation this morning, plus myself and June our faithful server. With no organist and our usual MIDI organ remote-control operator away I had to juggle pressing buttons with leading the service, preaching, praying and singing.

“Our next carol is number 17, Infant Holy…”
[Pick up remote control and point it at the organ]
[Press Load]
[Press 6]
[Wait while disk drive whirrs]
[Press Start]
[Music plays]
# “Infant holy, infant lowly …”

It all went smoothly, and it was rather lovely when the four in the congregation came and stood around the altar for the Eucharistic Prayer, as we asked God to bless the bread and wine for communion. The holy family nativity set are still camped beneath the altar. I’d forgotten that I’m always taken by surprise at this time of year when I genuflect and catch a glimpse of the figures of Mary, Joseph, watching the infant Jesus lying in the straw. There may have been only six of us, but it was no less a celebration, and was a gentle and prayerful entry to 2006.

This afternoon I’ve been carrying out some minor alterations to my blog’s theme. I’ve tweaked the dynamic menus (above) and added an external link to my main website. I’ve added a graphic for the RSS feed and a new page explaining what RSS is, and how to subscribe to the RSS feed for this blog.

In the midst of all that tweaking my nephew phoned me a few times (maybe four?!) to tell me that he was emailing me a few photographs that he’d taken with his new Kodak EasyShare 300 camera, including this one of him above which he edited in Paint Shop Pro to make him look like a Sith Lord!

We’re off now to Jane’s folks for a family gathering. Which is good, because I’m hungry!