Tag Archives: basingstoke

The soft play experience

playworld_thumb[1]We went to Jake’s Playworld this weekend. It’s a whole industry I didn’t really know existed before Emily was about six or seven months old when Amanda and Em introduced me to Gymtots in Basingstoke. These large, warehouse like constructs are filled with ball-pools, padded scaffolding, slides and hundreds of kids having all the fun in the world – and they are a fantastic innovation. Of course, parents have to supervise children, and so invariably end up having as much if not more fun making use of the slides etc.!

I don’t have much of a head for investments but I suspect that these sorts of set-ups, if run by people that know what they’re doing, are a good place to put money regardless of the macro-economic environment. On a Sunday afternoon, parents were handing over a fiver per child to let them have a go on the toys, AND paying a premium for sub-average but amusingly child-oriented portions of food.

Em had a wonderful time. As did we – that’s one heck of a slide!

Next time – we go to the bigger one with attached petting zoo!!

Running update

I resolved, at the start of this year, to manage the relatively modest target of 10k per week run – a minimum of two 3 mile runs or so a weekend. Before the sabbatical, I was struggling a bit with that; despite a good january (65k run), February had seen me slow to a miserly 40k. Maybe just on target, but not much more than that.

The sabbatical saw a bit of a refresh; 53.5km in March and 60k in April. Progress, or so it would seem – but I continued eating at sabbatical rates, so my weight hasn’t gone down and that’s contributing to my persisting slowness.

May, to date, has also been a bit better – 30km run so far and its not even midway through the month yet. I’m trying to stick to a routine of two-three 10k runs a week, which is non-trivial as I’m not as limber, fit or light as I was when I was last doing this distance, but the only way to get there is to push along!

So, YTD I’m actually ahead of my target, modestly – 270km odd run. I’m hoping that the newly revised target, as well as the more regimented ITB rolling and stretching routine will see my overall distance rise more significantly. My speed is still poor; the weight affects everything and whilst I’m not ludicrously heavy the extra few kilos feels significant on me at the moment. I haven’t found the will to start the obsessive compulsive diet tracking yet – maybe that should be on my agenda? {sigh}.

Race plans remain thin on the ground. I’ve entered the the Basingstoke half-marathon but I’m still hopeful Ill do a second one at some point this year. Maybe a Northern summer half marathon? We’ll see…

The NCT experience

Was not quite what I expected, in phase 1. A few friends I had spoken to in London intimated that many Dads-to-be slacked substantially in the NCT classes, leaving the mums to make friends and the babies ultimately to socialise. Whilst I had no intention of doing that, I wasn’t quite prepared for what we experienced.

For us, the first class was a welcoming experience. All the dads were incredibly engaged, even those trying very hard to look blas̩ and cool about the whole thing (yes, well, maybe this includes me). The excitement of the life change had taken over us all. A Haynes manual for a baby was lying around and we discussed what spanner rating changing a baby would be, traded pram choices and rationales and tips on how to get Mothercare to pricematch any online store (they do, if you take a printout apparently Рamazing!).

We’d all experienced the same kindness of friends and family that had resulted, broadly speaking, in free stuff and other offers of advice and support. And we were all glad of a room full of people that shared the same hopes, fears and discomfort.

Interestingly, as we were doing the course in our new domain of Basingstoke, half the men in the room had some kind of tech-related job. Thoughts that I was moving to the Silicon Valley of Southeast England were dismissed, though, when I also came to realise that they all, like me, commute into London!

Really good on a number of fronts. Tomorrow I return for the breastfeeding course (!), before the final full day session in a week and a half or so.

In other news, Ricky Bobby is now a dad! To the lovely Megan! And tomorrow, we become homeowners, a month and a week before Hippo is due to join us!!!

It’s all getting incredibly real!