Grandpa In My Pocket

Cbeebies is full of very strange programmes. Take Numberjacks for example. This appears to be a remake of spooky 70s show Sapphire & Steele albeit with the eponymous heroes replaced with CGI talking numbers that live inside a sofa. Then of course there’s Waybaloo a show about dwarfish Buddhists with speech and learning difficulties, which tries very hard to be representative and fill each episode with a group of children of every hue that means the production company is very likely to exhaust Canada’s supply of Chinese children pretty soon.

One of the oddest shows is Grandpa In My Pocket. Here James Bolam, slumming it from grown-ups’ telly, plays the titular Grandpa. Now don’t get worried – grandpa’s excursions into “my” pocket are not of the Daily Mail-baiting “I’ll give you a Werthers original sonny if I can have a rummage” kind1. Oh no, instead it refers to Grandpa’s ability to shrink to a pocket size when wearing his “magical shrinking cap”.


The Magic Heliclopter

One of the great joys of being a parent of a three year old is the mad stream off chatter emerging from them. Granted if you’re not in the right mood it can be tiring – our daughter readily admits “I can’t stop talking daddy” – but on the whole it’s hugely entertaining hearing the thoughts of bonkers pre-schoolers.

Having twins makes that even more entertaining because you can overhear conversations they have with each other. Take the following for example – I was driving them back from school along the back road, where one often sees military helicopters flying to and from RNAS Yeovilton. I’ve retained their pronunciation of helicopter and other words.

[Pat] Oooh I’ve just seen a heliclopter.
[Kitty] Did you Pat?
[Pat] Yes Ditty, it was very fast.
[Kitty] It was an airlaplane.
[Pat] No Ditty, not an airlaplane, it was a heliclopter.
[Kitty] Well I can’t see a heliclopter.
[Pat] That’s cause it disappeared.
[Kitty] Ooh, was it a magic heliclopter Pat?
[Pat] No Ditty, it just flew away.

[Kitty] Daddy why are you laughing?

I just about kept control of the car.

Our days of chopping cucumber are over

The Channel Four programme Bringing Up Baby (open in a new window/tab) has been a real hit in our household, bringing much merriment for four weeks here to our family.

The show featured several families all trying to look after their newborn babies following one of three childcare philosophies. These were the 1960s “mummy knows best” approach of Doctor Benjamin Spock, a 1950s strict routine method and a strange 1970s hippy approach based on some tribe in the arse-end of nowhere.

I should first explain our own philosophy on childcare before I share with you our views on the TV show. Looking after twins is hard work and Patrick and Kitty do keep us rushed off our feet, the only way we really manage to cope is by sticking as much as possible to a routine. This means meals at eight am, midday, four pm and seven pm – and now the babes sleep through every single night.

This process took time though – time for us to learn what was best and time for the twins to show us what was comfortable for them. Neither Jo or I are fans of Gina Ford’s Das Kinder Reich view of childcare – we like to choose when we’ll have a cup of tea and a biscuit thanks very much, but that’s not stopped us admiring the 1950s approach in the TV show – which differs from Ford’s in that it doesn’t seem to control the parents.


Lancaster Reunion 2001

An account of the epic journey of one James and one Harry.

Their quest, to return to Lancaster University in autumn 2001 and see what fun could be had by a pair of ex-students in their former stomping ground.

An account of the epic journey of one James and one Harry. Their quest, to return to Lancaster University in autumn 2001 and see what fun could be had by a pair of ex-students in their former stomping ground.

Although the reunion involved just Harry and me, it was so say the least a superb weekend. (more…)

Bagpuss – The Chocolate Biscuit Episode

Remembering a childhood classic now, in the form of my rant about the political ideas behind a certain episode of Bagpus.

Well as you remember, Emily, the little girl who seemed to have somehow become a shop owner, goodness knows how, judging by the Victorian setting she should have been up a chimney somewhere, or losing fingers under a Spinning Jenny. But I’m digressing. Erm… so Emily would bring broken object d’art along to her shop and her demon possessed toys would renovate them so she could sell the items at hugely inflated prices. Great scam isn’t it? The junior necromancer conjures forth life from an organ, some stuffed toys, and a bookend and uses them for her own nefarious capitalist means. And some Christians complain about Harry Potter. At least he didn’t breath life into a wooden bookend to give it a superiority complex and to oppress working class possessed mice.