We apologise for the delay…

Bit of a long lay-off there – last post was after the Samos holiday! Phew… Well, there have been happenins since then, so don’t worry – I’m still alive!

So what’s been happenin’ with me? Well, July was a quietish month, with highlights at both ends. The beginning of the month marked my first ever visit to Wimbledon for the quarter finals, to watch Andy Murray and Roger Federer do their stuff. Given that I lived in Wimbledon years ago, it seems a tad bizarre that I never visited the tennis, but then I wasn’t especially interested. Not that I’m an avid fan now, but the attraction of Centre Court debenture tickets (courtesy of Fi’s boss, who has a batch of them every year) was too much to resist. And I learned a bit about tennis, and enjoyed myself immensely. Although the sun was shining directly onto our side of the court and the heat was intense – we had to extricate ourselves and go back to the bar to dry out in between matches!

The rest of the month was a mass of baby-related stuff, which I guess is practice for the experience of parenthood proper – i.e. no personal time or space whatsoever. That said, I’m very much looking forward to the wee mite’s arrival – and I guess (s)he is too, given the amount of break-dancing going on in Fi’s tummy over the past couple of weeks! When I heard about the phenomenon before, I thought it was the occasional ‘kick’ – but this one is getting on down, spinning around and generally boogying the night away. Very excitable – no doubt we’ll have plenty of sleepless nights from December onwards… 🙂

All this prospective parental stuff is sometimes a little overwhelming, to be honest. I suspect I’m finding myself in the same boat as any expectant father – certainly in the current day and age, where it’s no longer just the mother’s job to raise and look after the kids. Now, Dad has to be just as involved. And that raises questions: am I responsible enough? There are many more, but that one looms large. I guess this is the only way to find out; once the ball is set rolling, les jeux sont fait, as the roulette croupiers would say in the movies. And then I’ll find out what I’m made of. I hope I’m up to it!

End of July was our visit to France; what has become an annual ‘road trip’ event. This one was a little more stressful than last year’s, partly because it didn’t have the novelty value. And also partly because I opted to follow our Garmin sat-nav blindly via Paris. I realised the error of my ways as we were sitting in traffic on the north bank of the Seine, heading for La Défense – ‘something’s gone wrong here’, I thought. So some extra time got knocked on to our trip as a result. Still, we arrived in Plaisance to a warm welcome, sunny weather and a fine meal. All worthwhile. The following day we stocked up on wine and goodies to bring home with us, then settled in to a routine of lazing by (and dipping into) the pool. I love visiting there; the welcome is always wonderful, the neighbours friendly, the wine fine and the weather (mostly) excellent. Saturday night saw something like a month’s rainfall, which diluted the fun slightly, but such is life. Returning to the Eurotunnel, we went the far less taxing route through Dreux, Evreux and Rouen – and arrived an hour and a half before our train was scheduled. So we caught an early train, and got home in time to catch Waitrose for some essentials – winners all round…

But the exhaustion of a trip like that had me sleeping like a stone on Monday night. I don’t think we’ll be doing that trip for another year, he he. But this weekend sees another visit happening – this time to Westport in the west of Ireland, to visit my brother, his girlfriend and whatever members of my family will be able to make the trip. Then next weekend I’ve got the Three Peaks event again – up at the crack of dawn Friday to drive to Fort William, only returning Monday evening after doing Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon – knackered again! I’ll be travelling sans femme, unhappily – Fi’s chilling and enjoying her space here. But my sis Kathy is coming over from Ireland to join me for it, which should be a lot of fun. We’re looking at a posse of 25 or more this year, so should be a good crowd. Here’s hoping my knees hold up this time!

My mate Ben and his lovely wife Brooke are over from Australia visiting just now; hopefully I’ll get to meet them before they go back. They fly out on the Friday I head for Fort William, so time is limited. Fingers crossed we get something sorted; it’s a little rough only catching up with him for a few hours each year, but worse again not to catch up at all! We’ll get something sorted. Tentative plans are afoot to head to Australia with youngster in tow, probably in 2011 – we’ll see how that pans out.

Right now, Synthetix-wise, I’m working hard on our new product offering: an intelligent FAQ system which should find the answer you’re looking for on a website WITHOUT having to trawl through a never-ending list of them. Hopefully we’ll have something to roll out in the coming months; watch this space.

And for now, I’ll sign off. Happenins out.