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?

Presents by numbers

Building blocks
I didn’t have any photographs of number blocks only, so these will have to do.

This year Jane and I decided that our Christmas present to one another would be a new mattress for our bed. Our current one we’ve had since we got married in July 1999 and it’s pretty uncomfortable now. I’m sure that’s one reason I don’t go to bed earlier than I ought: I hate lying in bed with springs sticking into me, no matter which way I turn. So this week we’ll head over to Ikea and purchase a new, firm but comfortable kingsize mattress. We may have to buy a new duvet while we’re at it. And a couple of pillows, too, perhaps?

So that we didn’t give one another nothing on Christmas Day we gave ourselves a £20(-ish) limit and … proved just how compatible (or predictable) we are for one another. Early on Christmas morning we handed each other a pile of three presents each. Good start. Here’s what we gave one another:

Gareth to Jane Jane to Gareth
Chocolate: Lindt Lindor Terry’s Chocolate Orange™ Snowball
Media: The Magic Numbers by The Magic Numbers CD Tim Vine Live DVD
Book: Mary, Mary by James Paterson The Acoustic Guitar Bible by Eric Roche

Not bad! Chocolate, media and books. How well suited we are to one another.

I’m so looking forward to getting into Eric Roche‘s Acoustic Guitar Bible. Readers of Steve Lawson’s blog, and those with their fingers on the pulse of the UK guitar scene will know that sadly Eric died this year, after a long and courageous battle with cancer. I’m so pleased that before he did he wrote and published this book, passing on his skills, tips, tricks and advice. A beautiful book by a beautfully gifted guitarist from a beautiful woman.