Jeeze Louise
Thursday, 5th April, 2012 - 08:20
I can't believe that I haven't blogged for so long, considering all the changes which have taken place over the last 5 months.

First and foremost, Anthony George Scrivens-Parry came into this world at around 8pm on Thursday the 17th of November, 2011. Check out the photos in the gallery floating somewhere on this page - he's a little cracker!

It didn't take me long to get into the swing of being a new Dad but the first couple of weeks were hellishly stressful, if I'm honest. Stressful, but at the same time totally awesome. I guess you can't fully explain the experience to anyone who hasn't had kids; those who have probably know what I'm talking about.

We had some feeding issues in the early days, probably bought about by a tongue-tie but we've managed to overcome those and he's happily breast feeding and putting on tons of weight. Looking back over the photos, it's surprising just how tiny he was.

These days, Anthony is doing great. He's gained the hand-to-mouth skills which mean anything and everything in grabbing reach gets gummed to death and he's developing with his sitting/rolling nicely. Oh his vocalisation is coming along too - he loves to yell and gurgle; a few times it's even sounded like he's on the cusp of saying his first words! (That's going to be a monumental event, no doubt).

More big news is that I've left Clevercherry and started working for a Tamworth-based events management company called RefTech. The benefits of switching jobs to somewhere closer are many; I even get to go home for my lunch!

Even though I'm still working as a web developer, I am no longer building individual web sites for external clients. All of the work I'll be doing is for the in-house events management and registration applications. It's a change to the 9-5 which I desperately needed!

Weekend Report
Monday, 7th November, 2011 - 11:38
I spent a big portion of the weekend driving around, buying things we need. It culminated in me picking up a new mattress for little man's cot from Toys R Us. I pre-reserved the mattress on t'internet before venturing out hoping that it'd speed things along... what a mistake to make.

I arrived at Customer Services, stating that I'd reserved an item on the intarwebs to be told that I had to go to collections. I walk over to the collections department and get told that there's a computer over in the bikes section and that an assistant would meet me there to confirm the pick-up. I wait there for 5 minutes and I'm handed a barcode on a piece of paper, which I'm told to take to the checkouts. After going through the checkouts, I'm told to pick the item up from the collections department, where I had a good 10/15 minute wait for my item to come down from the warehouse!

In short, I went to Customer Services who passed me onto Collections who passed me on to a teenager with a computer who passed me onto the checkouts who passed me onto Collections.

Considering that all the checkouts have computerised EPOS systems, why couldn't I just go straight to the checkouts instead of being passed around for 25 minutes? Total, dis-organised madness.

It wasn't all bad, though. On Saturday I bought a big box of fireworks and a couple of boxes of sparklers so that we could have an at-home display for bonfire night, which was great fun. I will have to re-paint a bit of the shed, though, thanks to a malfunctioning catherine wheel - oops!

We were all knackered come dinner time yesterday so we went down to the Grill Inn yet again for some food. They'd changed the menus and Abigail's favourite starter of bread, olives and oil was gone but they very kindly made a plate up off-menu. How's about that for service? I opted for beef en-croute with truffle mash. It was really, really good but my god it was rich. Only downside was that I was tasting truffles for the rest of the evening!

Life Changing Events
Thursday, 3rd November, 2011 - 12:10
Little man is now (hopefully) just a few weeks away from making his entrance into the world. We've got pretty much everything we're going to need and I think that I'm mentally prepared to be a new father.

Well, I say that but I don't think it's possible to fully get my head around how my life is about to change. What I do know is that I'm looking forward to the adventure!

The house move finally went through after a bit of stress and last minute problems. The old place in Fazeley was way too small so we've upgraded to bigger digs out in the country. We're now living in a small village out in the sticks. It's quite possibly the most friendly place I've ever lived. We actually went trick-or-treating with Abigail on Monday night and we didn't get scowled at once!

Moving out was a real chore, though. Getting the old house ready for the next tenants (on my own) was really hard work. It was all worth it, though as I got a call from the letting agent yesterday to say that the house is "in lovely condition" and that the only deduction from our (ridiculously big) security deposit would be £4/5 for a missing Yale key.

After spending weeks off the road, I finally managed to get Clio back up and running. It seems that the lambda sensor was knackered all along. I didn't want to change that myself, so into the garage it went and thankfully came out running beautifully!

The work I did on her was still well-needed and the up-side is that I learned a whole heap in the process. Work I did on her included:

  • Removal of the inlet manifold (twice) to get at and clean out the throttle body.
  • Replaced the coil packs twice (first new set got fried)
  • Replaced spark plugs
  • Replaced coolant temperature sensor

Madras GOOD!
Saturday, 30th July, 2011 - 18:56
We've just epic noms from our awesome local curry house, Fazeley Park. I have dabbled with hotter curries in the past (usually with bad results) but I normally play it safe and have something easy-going like a biryani. I really fancied a Madras tonight, though, and it hasn't disappointed! It was a bit feisty though; might have to put some bog roll in the fridge for the morning.

Most notably, baby Anthony's taste buds should now be formed, so he has just had his first proper curry! (Jo's rogan josh). Apparently he's now being quite active so I'll take that as a sign of approval!

In other news, I had the inlet manifold off Clio again today. I noticed that the breather hole was partially blocked, so I cleaned that out, checked all of the plugs and sensors and put everything back together... again.

It didn't fix the problem though; in fact it's worse than ever. The exhaust is now blowing black smoke out, too, which isn't a good sign. Well, I say that but if it was blowing blue or white smoke out it'd be even worse because either can be indicative of a head gasket about to blow.

According to the good folks at the Renault Forums my engine is running rich, which I kind of knew because the black stuff coming out of the exhaust is unburned fuel, not oil; it's quite distinctive. Because I've ruled out other causes such as a sticky throttle body and the HT circuits (new spark plugs AND coil pack have been fitted) it's probable that my lambda sensor is knackered. Oh, car ownership is such fun!

Tuesday, 26th July, 2011 - 21:48
It's been ages since I last blogged blah blah blah. Should update more, waffle waffle waffle.

The Baby
Everything is going great guns. Jo is doing well although she's still suffering with some sickness and reflux, thanks in large to her missing gall-bladder. We were both delighted to find out that we're going to be having a baby boy! We've been thinking of names and Anthony George is looking like a very strong possibility!

All of the scans have gone really well and baby Tony appears to be healthy and growing normally. The first time I saw my child move (during a scan) was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

How're you dealing with becoming a Daddy, Rich?
Thanks for asking, Internet! I'll be totally honest - when we found out that Jo was pregnant there was a great deal of fear on my part. Don't get me wrong, I was over the moon, but yeah, there's nothing more life changing than finding out that a mini-you is incoming!

Jo is a dab-hand at parenting (even though she'll sometimes dispute that) which helped me get over any initial worries. She's a very clued-up, well read woman and I'm totally thankful for that.

I am still at Clevercherry and still enjoying the 9-5 as much as possible. I'm enjoying it even more this week as a bad client of mine who's been a thorn in my side for the last few years has decided we're too expensive. Happy days!

This little house is going to be just too small for the four of us, once Tony is here. Luckily a house is coming up for rent next door to my Aunt. The place is much bigger, has a large garden and is in a great area of Tamworth to raise a family. It's all being sorted between us and the owner directly, so we don't have to piss-arse about with crappy letting agencies... such as our current agents who like to come and inspect the house every 3 months :-/

Clio is a POS, to be blunt. I've had to take the engine apart to clean the throttle body - it's a known fault with my model of Clio that the throttle gets gunked up with crap. Problem is that the fault caused my spark plugs to foul and my coil packs to fail. Also, after rebuilding the engine, I've now got an "exhaust system" warning light which wasn't there before.

I've got a trouble code reader coming in the next day or two which should help to diagnose exactly what's going tits up. Hopefully (and quite likely) I've incorrectly re-attached one of the 500 sensors I had to disconnect.

I might have to look at upgrading once I've got it back on the road. In the mean time, I've had to resort to catching the loser cruiser which is total bum-egg.

Wednesday, 4th May, 2011 - 13:21
Dear Internet,

Guess what? I'm going to be a Dad in... ohh... around 6 months! Jo and I are over the moon with the news.

Proper blogging may or may not start, now that I actually have something to write about :)

Monday, 21st February, 2011 - 12:12
I started watching The Walking Dead this weekend. I can see why it's so popular - I was really impressed!

Richard: 1. BMW Motorbike: 0.
Thursday, 17th February, 2011 - 09:14
A guy on a BMW motorbike ran clipped my left side mirror today while I was sat in traffic on the Aston Expressway. It totally destroyed his side mirror but mine is fine.

Maybe it'll teach the idiot a lesson.

Lamb Shank FTW
Tuesday, 15th February, 2011 - 09:20
I came home to a surprise dinner last night, as it was Valentine's Day. JoJo kept me in suspense until about half 8 when she unveiled braised lamb shanks with new potatoes and veg, all cooked in a fantastic mint and herb sauce. It was delicious!

Jo's new Punto is now working OK which is a relief. We topped the oil up on Sunday afternoon and had a fiddle about with the spark plugs leads (one of which I think may have been loose). We must have done something right because the engine mis-fire has disappeared! I took her for a drive last night while my dinner was cooking and she's purring along nicely.

Random funny link becuase I haven't done one for a while.

Chitting Chat and Chit
Monday, 14th February, 2011 - 13:08
Picked Jo's new Punto up on Friday night. Driving an alien car, (we hadn't fitted Abigail's seat to it then and Jo was nervy about driving so far in a new car), back through Erdington and Sutton was an interesting experience!

Unfortunately the car started missing during the drive back... something which hadn't been happening during the test drive. The previous owners had run the tank to fumes, (the stingy swines), which can cause gunk from the bottom of the fuel tank to enter the engine. Some Redex in a full tank of petrol and a good run seems to have helped, which is a relief.

Everything else about the car is really good. Bodywork is in good shape and it handles really easily. Jo has it booked in for a service later in the week, so we'll know for sure then if we've been lumped with a lemon.
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