By benjaminjudge

27th March – 9th July, 2017

We went to Center Parcs for the second and (let’s be honest, seeing as we could only go during school holidays now, and that’s when the prices go waaay up, way past our budget) last time. I remember, as a teenager, being very snotty about Center Parcs. Who would want to go to what was basically a trumped up caravan park with a swimming pool when you could be out exploring the world? Well, it turns out, me. I would. I would want to go to Center Parcs. Teenage me was wrong. (Teenage me was wrong about a whole bunch…

12th December, 2016 – 26th March, 2017

There are not many lessons that can be taught about how to be a parent beyond the scientific and the general. Children need food, water, warmth, oxygen, attention. You know that. Almost everything else you will have to learn for yourself, and will be dependent on the whims of your child, your life, where you live, etc. I have very little to pass on to prospective parents beyond, ‘don’t panic’ and ‘things generally work out for the best’. Do your best and you’ll be ok. If you live anywhere except a city centre, I would suggest avoiding three wheeled pushchairs,…

29th August – 11th December, 2016

The more observant of you will have noticed that the content provided this month is little more than an exercise in me getting back into the routine of blogging. Nothing wrong with that of course, and think how exciting things will get when I am back in the bloggy groove and no longer typing things like bloggy groove. It’s going to be amaztastic to the bloggy groove maximum. Which is another way of saying, I can’t remember what I did during this time either. I went on a train from Manchester to Stafford with Emily and we went first class…

1st February – 15th May, 2016

Holidays, eh? So it turns out I missed a couple. One of the posts last week, when I said I couldn’t remember what we did during those months? We went to Center Parcs… and Edinburgh… Both were really good but it is too late to tell you about them now. Sorry. I can only reiterate how important keeping a diary is. I promise to present better summations of the past in future. Anyway, 2016. It was around this time that Emily first got into dens. The arm chair pushed to the sofa, cushions on the arms, duvet over the top, blanket…

19th October, 2015 – 31st January, 2016

OK, so I made a few notes while drafting this idea of a big catch-up month. For this blog post I have two notes. ‘Made cakes’ and ‘New trainers’. I now have no idea what either of those things mean. So…

6th July – 18th October, 2015

Ah me, oh my, this was a time and a half. Emily having a, quite common in children, phase of being extremely sensitive to noise coincided with us having a new bathroom fitted and I had to take her out all day, every day and I slowly went mad trying not to have anxiety attacks in Eureka or trying not to spend money in Hebden Bridge, or trying to find a reason to be in Brighouse when you went there by mistake. (The answer is buying bubbles in big Tesco by the way. The cafe there is ok too). It…

23rd March – 5th July, 2015

As far as I can tell, spring 2015 was the season when Emily had her first McDonald’s. I love McDonald’s even if nobody else does. They are cheap, and they are in every town, and they don’t assume all children like hummous, which, I can assure you, they don’t, because it is just brown paste. Stop feeding people brown paste. If I had a penny for every time I looked at a children’s menu in a cafe or restaurant and seen three options, each priced at £5.95, and thought, “Well, I guess she’d eat the tomatoes…” I would have, what,…

3rd December, 2014 – 22nd March, 2015

I should have come up with a better way of splitting up the last six years because after the bleak nothing of yesterday’s round-up, today I have way too much. So much that I am going to have to split the next sentence up with semicolons; which may upset those of you who believe, incorrectly, that it can only be used for dividing a sentence in two or something. I don’t care. I; am; unrepentant. Go edit my ass. Anyway, there was… Emily’s second Christmas; a New Year’s walk in Macclesfield that ended on a hill, in a cloud, with…

25th August – 2nd December, 2014

Hello. I’m just here to tell you to keep a diary. It will help you to remember all the cool things you do. That way, should you decide to do a blog post about what you did in, say, oh I don’t know, the autumn of 2014, you will actually have something to write.

12th May, 2014 – 24th August, 2014

This was when Emily and I got really into Duplo, or maybe just I did, or maybe we both enjoyed playing with Duplo but I took it a little more seriously. I did a half decent solar system, and a kinda-to-scale Beetham Tower, but my finest creation was probably my Duplo version of René Magritte’s…

27th January, 2014 – 11th May, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is released Emily starts to walk and talk Russia annexes Crimea Harold Ramis dies I’m enormously sceptical of the idea of ‘first words’. Children make sounds that over time become words and some of us pick one of those sounds and decide it was probably a word. Except for your child of course. They definitely said an actual word. I wouldn’t dream of questioning that. No, no, no. That isn’t to suggest this isn’t a ridiculously exciting time. Emily taking her first steps, then staggering around her great grandmother’s house carrying a set of car…

14th October, 2013 – 26th January, 2014

India launch the Mars Orbiter Mission, becoming the first Asian country to reach another planet China land a robot on the moon I buy the Lexx boxset and then realised it wasn’t anywhere as good as I thought it was when I was a teenager I sell the Lexx boxset Latvia adopts the Euro You never forget your child’s first Christmas. Honestly. There’s no way you forget what happened. I could give you details of Emily’s first Christmas that would blow your mind… I could give you so many details… so many… I’m just not going to because… you know……

1st July, 2013 – 13th October, 2013

President Morsi is deposed in a military coup My sister, her husband, and their daughter visit Manchester for the day Andy Murray wins Wimbledon Peter Capaldi becomes the new Doctor Who To be honest, I’m drawing a blank on this one. According to Amazon, I bought a kettle.

18th March, 2013 – 30th June, 2013

Rebel forces capture the capital of the Central African Republic Jo goes back to work and I become a stay-at-home parent Chinua Achebe dies I start entering competitions during nap time. I win a few things Wigan win the FA Cup On the first day I was alone with Emily she managed to take one of the fake coals from the fireplace and eat most of it. Neighbours, now friends, helped me fish bits of black out of her mouth, ring NHS Direct, and google the toxicity of artificial coal. She was fine, not bothered, unchanged. They make the coals…

5th November, 2012 – 17th March, 2013

Barack Obama wins a second term I get an MA in Creative Writing The Mayans are wrong about the world ending American scientists print an ear, in 3D, using actual ear materials like collagen and that I become a parent. The first weather I showed to my daughter through the window of the hospital was snow but it had changed to rain by the time we ran out of babygrows and I had to walk to ASDA to buy more. I got so wet I had to buy myself a complete change of clothes as well. I’m not sure why…

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September, 2018

  I have been thinking about me, and you, and this blog. What is a blog for, in 2018, when all people want is shouts and swears and fake news? No one reads blogs any more. They’re too long. People got upset when Tweets went up to 280 characters. Who has time for more than a sentence nowadays? Not me. Not you. But, as I can’t see myself ever setting up a podcast or a youtube channel or anything like that, a blog is all I have. And I think I might be ok with that. I think I can…

The Truth About Snow Leopards

You might not have heard, but earlier this week, ITV’s This Morning hosted a debate about whether or not the moon was solid. One person, a cosmologist, thought the moon was solid. Another person, a bloke, reckoned the moon wasn’t solid. It’s just opinions. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Cosmologist or bloke? The truth probably exists somewhere in the middle. Is society dumbing down? Maybe. But perhaps the really stupid people are not the ones who think the moon is translucent but the ones who aren’t spotting the money making opportunities that widespread gullibility presents. You know the old…

Midlife Niceness

OK, so I’m beginning to suspect I’m not going to have a midlife crisis. No sports cars for me. I’m quite pleased about it. And yet… Is it not slightly irresponsible to move into middle age without some grand futile gesture of resistance to the idea of mortality? I should do something. After all, the urge to recapture something lost is not completely alien to me. I get it. I’m old now. I was never going to buy that sports car I always wanted because I have never wanted a sports car. I’m not going to take up a dangerous…

How to Write a Novel: lesson one, giving it a fancy title.

Look, there is no right or wrong way to name your novel. Don’t worry about it. Chances are somebody will make you change it anyway. But if you can come up with something fancy, go you! Everyone likes a fancy title. When a reader spots a particularly sexy title on a bookshelf it can be like eyes meeting across a crowded ballroom. Hello, they think, I like the look of you. Of course, relationships built on a foundation of nothing more than mutual physical attraction are almost always doomed from the start, but you don’t need to worry about that.…