Posted in I'm the Daddy

A Rose by Any Other Name

I don’t know why but while I was wandering around the park at lunchtime I suddenly started thinking about nicknames. When I was at school I had one of those nicknames you get given after a single joke or conversation with friends and then can never get rid of. Thanks to one of my closest friends (you know who you are) I spent six years of my life being called ‘Haggis’. There is nothing good about being named after a sheep stomach stuffed with offal and I hated it. I made sure I lost this nickname when I went to university but now I can see the funny side. To quote Morrissey ‘I can laugh about it now but at the time it was terrible’.

As an adult I haven’t had a regular nickname and although my twitter alter ego is ‘hitmanharris’ no one actually calls me this. It is based on an old joke and is meant to be a bit tongue in cheek but it probably makes me seem needlessly macho to anyone that doesn’t know me.  This twitter name has led to a couple of my friends calling me ‘Bomber Harris’ as they rightly mock my username.  I should probably change it but I’ve used it for so long that I kind of like it. Occasionally I get called ‘Walter’ after a character in my favourite film, The Big Lebowski, or abbreviations of my name like ‘H’, ‘AH’ or even ‘Ach’ but nothing that sticks.

mr-bumpWhen I originally wrote this post I completely forgot about another nickname I have. I am Godfather to my sister’s beautiful boys, Jack and Ben. Shortly before Jack was born I fractured my skull playing rugby and was still recovering from the injuries when he made his entry into the world. Even though I didn’t have a bandaged head I started signing my cards to Jack as ‘Uncle Bump’ for a joke and as a result this is what he calls me now along with his little brother. I’m sure there will come a point when he decides it is too childish for him but until then I will never tire of my special nick name and the bond between us. 

My newest nickname is my favourite – I’m Daddy so that’s what you call me.   Even though George is a long way off being able to say this name it doesn’t stop me using it all the time I am around him. Even when he has gone to bed I don’t stop referring to myself in the third person – ‘Daddy is having a coffee now’.  It won’t be long before I forget where I am and use it at work (Daddy can put that in a spread sheet) or in a restaurant (Daddy would like steak and chips).  It’s a small price to pay.

What was your nickname at school? Would you like one now? Are you responsible for someone else’s awful nickname? Comments in the usual place.

Posted in Biscuits

Running Away With You

Today is my wedding anniversary so if you are not into schmaltzy, sentimental posts I would look away now.  It is only our third wedding anniversary but already I can’t remember I time when we weren’t together and that is the way I like it.

I only need to close my eyes to remember her walking down the aisle towards me and the way she made me feel.  I still feel the same. She is my partner in crime, my straight man and funny girl rolled into one, if I was the Doctor she would be my greatest companion. It is her eyes I use to see the good in me and her words that can always give me strength.  She is beautiful and I still have no idea why she was attracted to me. All I know is that I want to see the sparkle in her gorgeous green eyes for rest of my life.

Today we will be back at Molesey Boat Club where we held our wedding reception to float paper boats down the Thames as we have done every year. For the first time the will be a third boat for our baby bear, the newest member of Team Harris.  The adventure continues and I am looking forward to every step of our journey together.

I love you my sweet thing x

Posted in I'm the Daddy

No Good Advice

Now that George is five months old I feel like I can cautiously sit back and say that I am getting the hang of this parenting lark. It helps that I am backed by George’s ever lovely Momma who invariably knows the right thing to do for our little bear. She always tells me to trust my instincts (‘use the force Luke’) and because of that I have always been happy to look after him by myself.  I have learnt huge amounts in a short period of time and although I’m sure things will change I feel like I’ve made a good start.

To add to my knowledge I have read blog posts from a variety of interesting and inspiring bloggers, dipped into books/magazines and compared experiences with friends. I’m still mainly bewildered by ‘parenting types’ and have only the vaguest idea what most of them are but I’m starting to think this is a good thing.  Despite all this increased knowledge I still don’t have any good advice for any new parents.

I mentioned this to a friend and she asked ‘is this because you still feel like you are winging it?’ The answer is of course ‘yes’ and I would be surprised if that ever goes away but that isn’t the whole story. The main reason is because I don’t feel anything I do is universal. I just don’t buy the idea that some things work with all children (except possibly ‘In the Night Garden’). It seems that unwelcome advice can be a plague for many parents but I still don’t understand why anyone could have such unshakable belief to want to force their random pearls of wisdom on folk.

George takes a nap

Sleeping seems to be an area that brings out the instinct to interfere. Every time I hear a story from a friend about the patronising suggestions and unhelpful comments they are offered to get their babies to sleep I wonder why they don’t offer a swift smack in the chops in return. I’m aware I may get my own high five in the face for revealing this, but George is a sleeper. Although we give him a routine and somewhere comfy to lay his head we are essentially helping him to do something he wants to do already. I firmly believe you ‘get what you’re given’ and we got a little boy who loves a good snooze.

As a result I don’t feel what we do would definitely work with any baby other than George and this is true for most parts of his life. Maybe it is my naivety or lack of experience that makes me think like this. Either way I’m not going to worry, as there isn’t a queue of people at my front door begging me for the secrets of good parenting and not feeling the need to buy a Gina Ford book will save me money.

Do you feel ready to give out your own advice? Is there a secret to good parenting? Do you think I have got away with using a Girls Aloud song to title this post? Comments in the usual place.

Posted in Sport & Fitness

Why I love rugby

After my big long whinge about going off football I have decided to lighten the mood and try to explain why it is I love rugby so much. Those of who know me better will have already realised this is another excuse to post the photo of me with Chris Robshaw and James Haskell. I won’t disappoint you.

My main passion for rugby comes from playing, something I still miss more than four years after quitting. To me it is the ultimate team sport – you attack together, defend together and never hesitate to put your body on the line for team mates. As a spectator there are several other reasons why I love rugby and here are a few of them.

England – I love the Six Nations. I love the anticipation, the tension, the rivalry and most importantly the quality of the rugby. England players look genuinely proud to pull on the shirt and repeatedly run themselves into the ground in their efforts to win. There is mutual respect between players as anyone who saw the footage of Tom Croft swapping shirts with Dan Lydiate after Wales beat England this year will testify. I was lucky enough to meet Chris Robshaw and James Haskell last year *photo alert* and found them incredibly friendly.

There were plenty of negative headlines about England during the world cup last year and although the majority of their problems were on the pitch the media chose to focus on off the field issues. Mike Tindal seemed to get the majority of the roasting but in mind he still has the right attitude. This quote was from a recent interview.

‘A crucial part of rugby is the social aspect: the day it is taken out of the game, it becomes like football. I want to see young players socialising in the bar after a game with fans who pay to watch them. They need to get to know people.’

Harlequins – When I moved ‘dahn Sarf’ I decided I wanted to support a club side and as Harlequins were the nearest I picked them. My first match was a Heineken cup game against Stade Francais which was won deep in injury time with what is a contender for the most dramatic drop goal ever from the glorious Nick Evans.  I was hooked from day one. Last season Quins won the league playing open, attacking rugby with a squad comprised mainly of English players who had come through the youth team. I’ve seen players like prop forward Joe Marler play in front of 50 people on loan at Esher, screamed with delight as he side stepped past a winger to score against Wasps in his first full season and then go on again to get his England call up.  The atmosphere is great, fans are friendly and you can drink beer in the stands. Come on the Quins!

Premiership – The advantages of the rugby premiership are obvious. Skilful players abound, attacking play is rewarded and negative tactics are rare. Games between two close rivals in football are frequently stalemates as the two teams slowly probe for weaknesses without giving too much away. In rugby they usually try and batter each other into submission and score as many trys as possible.

Pundits – Instead of the MOTD old boys act we have Brian Moore and Eddie Butler arguing and ranting their way through a game. At half time you get Guscott and Jiffy having a competition to see who is the most biased and a little intelligent analysis from the likes of Keith Wood. Instead of foreign pundits being treated like talking budgies you get the quick wit of Ibanez or Castaignède. Makes a change from having to turn the sound down to stop you putting your foot through the telly as Lineker looms large.

Fans – Most people have heard the line about rugby being a ‘game for thugs played by gentlemen’ and I think the fans reflect this too. I was on the train back from a Harlequins pre-season game last year when two guys saw my Quins shirt and stopped me to ask about the game. They were both Wasps fans – Harlequins biggest local rivals – and were keen to chat about the coming season. They both predicted a good season for Quins and were full of doubt for their own prospects. The journey ended with them wishing me well and saying they would look out for me at the opening game. When I lived in Manchester I never wore a Liverpool shirt out because I know a fight would have been more likely than a conversation like this.

Another example of the attitude of rugby fans is from a Gloucester fan who sat in a stand full of Harlequins fans at the Stoop. Despite being so isolated he started cheering from the kick off and when it became clear that Gloucester were on the end of a pasting he just cheered louder. This became a source of amusement for the fans surrounding him and before long he was getting cheered every time he got to his feet to start a one man chant of ‘GLAW-STER! GLAW-STER!’

And without further ado here is my final photo of me lifting England captain Chris Robshaw with the help of his England team mate, James Haskell. You even get up and coming London Irish winger, Marlon Yarde randomly waving his arms about for free. In answer to the inevitable questions, yes I am lifting them for real, yes they are fecking heavy and no I don’t think my touching was inappropriate.

Thank you for reading and stick your comments in the usual place.