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little friends

Life — December 2015
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Moomin and Koala Bear are best friends

Helen has made strong attachments to some of her peers, far stronger than anything I remember from my own early life (though I have very few memories from before school). Reminding her that she'll get to see her friends once she gets to nursery, or that we're going on a playdate, is almost always a big motivation for getting dressed and leaving the house. And having a friend refuse to hold hands with her can be enough to make her burst into tears. more

male carer "tend and befriend"?

Books + Ideas, Life — September 2015

There are many areas in which becoming a father has had surprisingly little effect on me, but caring for Helen has clearly changed my social behaviour and probably my neurochemistry more

NCT class followup

Life — August 2015

Our NCT (National Childbirth Trust) parents' group wasn't so useful in providing an immediate support circle, largely because Helen arrived early, before the classes had even finished, but it did provide the foundation for a longer-term social network. We have made friends with two additional parents with similar aged children, in the same demographic (they have NCT groups of their own): I met Parker's mother through a cycling advocacy mailing list and Frieda's through her blog. But I've also spent many afternoons or mornings with Helen in East Oxford playgrounds, meeting interesting parents who I never saw again. (Though perhaps if I'd had no existing parents' group I'd have got better at asking strangers for their phone numbers or email addresses.) more

the National Childbirth Trust and the class system

Books + Ideas — June 2013

The National Childbirth Trust runs ante-natal classes for prospective parents, which midwives and friends all recommended to us, and we dutifully signed up for one. The classes themselves were vaguely useful, though I only made it to two of the five since Helen arrived early, but the big attraction is not the formal instruction but the chance to get to know a group of new parents with babies of the same age, living in the same area. more

John Edward Aston, practical chimney sweep

Oxford — February 2013
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outside the house, with colleagues
the front aspect hasn't changed in fifty years
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a page from the passbook

One of the things we inherited with our house was a folder of photos and documents of an owner from the 1950s, in one of which the house carries a sign "J. E. ASTON PRACTICAL CHIMNEY SWEEP". more

geeks

Oxford — May 2011

The world is full of geeks! more

The Governor-General, Inspector Morse + Jesuit didactic poetry

Books + Ideas — April 2011

At lunch yesterday I went to a reception at Rhodes House for the Australian Governor-General, Quentin Bryce (presumably in the UK for some minor ceremony or other). This was quite fun once some people I knew turned up, though as always I felt like an impostor when wearing a suit and tie. more

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