Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Mountjoy, in Briefs.

Sorry, Dear Reader, but The Package is considerably smaller than that. But as Heir, Spare and Princess have proven, it's plenty potent!

In my post-apocalypse world, I just have not had time to tend to the garden that is Ribbed For Your Pleasure, which saddens me, as it has always been a great release for me.

Blame, TenGrain, but I have spent most of my snarking hours on Twitter.  Well minutes, if I must be truthful.  I enjoy the challenge of a 140 character spitball, and can still fit in my infamous Haikus in that format.

So, please accept my invitation to "follow me" if it so grabs your fancy!

@DonnieMountjoy (where else would I be?)

Sunday, 15 June 2014

It's Ponderous, Man, Ponderous... just Fucking Ponderous

As a music loving pre-teen kid growing up in Sydney in a house with bugger all money, buying records (singles/45's) was a luxury I couldn't afford.  I listened to the radio. It was free.  And on Sunday nights, on AM radio, 2UW I believe, we'd get American Top 40, followed by the Australian Top 40. Or was it vice versa?  No matter. 
I'd sit there and listen, and eventually, when I had saved up enough, was able to afford a Radio Cassette Recorder, and used to record the songs that caught my ear, so I could play them back. Over and over and over and over...  This, kiddies, his what downloading looked like in 1975.
I did that till i was about 16, when I had a job, and was able to buy my own fully fledged stereo - complete with turntable and hi-fi tape deck, and so break free from the chains of radio station music programmers.
However, way back then, like the rest of the kids in school, we all knew who Casey Kasem was. His intros to the songs, and "long distance dedications" were part of the magic.
When I moved to New Jersey in 1986, and started listening to Howard Stern on WXRK, part of Howard's intros was a tape of Casey Kasem, swearing his nuts off at some of the ridiculous back announcements he was asked to make: Syndicated American Top 40 being aired at 2am! Long distance dedications to a dead dog! 
All that stuff can be found on Youtube clips, one of which I present to you, below.
I'm pretty sure if the big man needs a DJ, then he'd be giving Casey Kasem the gig right about now.


Sunday, 4 May 2014

I Learned More From A Three Minute Record Than I Ever Did In School

A redux from RFYP, 2007.   Lest we forget.
Above: "Probably the most important lesson ever learned at an American place of learning" - Neil Young

Don’t ever be fooled into believing rock and roll is good for nothing. Music opened Mountjoy’s mind, and educated me on a universe of subjects I might never have known about. One of the first songs that enlightened me was Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s Ohio. Carried by a haunting guitar wail, the simple lyrics suit the anguished cry of Young’s voice to a tee:

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,

We're finally on our own.

This summer I hear the drumming,

Four dead in Ohio.

Gotta get down to it

Soldiers are cutting us down

Should have been done long ago.

What if you knew her

And found her dead on the ground

How can you run when you know?

If you don’t know the back-story, the song is about an event that occurred 27 34 years ago today, when four students who were anti-war protesters at Kent State University were gunned down by members of The National Guard. The closest victim was almost 100m from the guardsmen, and was unarmed. No one was ever charged, and no one ever took responsibility. The image of Mary Ann Vecchio, a fourteen-year-old runaway and Vietnam War protester, screaming with anguish and kneeling over the dead body of Jeffrey Miller, that illustrates this post, won a Pulitzer prize and is one of a handful of 70’s era photographs that have become iconic symbols of the time.

Apparently written by Neil Young within weeks of the incident, the song fades out to David Crosby’s nasal howls of “Why?” and “How many more?”

Almost three decades later, The West is at war again. Thankfully this time, the students who choose to protest this action are, we should hope, safer than the four causalities from Kent State. Here are their names, lest they remain anonymous:

It could be argued that Neil Young was just cashing in on the incident, but I believe there is enough pain and emotion on hand to nix that theory. And in the end, his work has made millions of people around the world that would otherwise never have known aware of what happened on that May afternoon in Ohio. If you are too young to remember the song, you are probably old enough to go to war. That alone is reason enough for you to go and listen to it today.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Sympathy For The Devil

L'Wren Scott: Painted It Black.

I cannot fathom the pain that someone would feel if their partner took their own life.  Like a separation, magnified 10,000 times perhaps? Therefore, my thoughts go out to Mick Jagger, who has travelled halfway around the world to be told over dinner on his first evening in Perth that his long term girlfriend, L'Wren Scott has apparently committed suicide.

You could forgive Jagger for now having an utter hatred of Perth forever, with the association this city must now carry for him. Not only that, but of course many years ago (1969), his then girlfriend Marianne Faithful overdosed in Sydney and was in a coma for six days.  He'd almost have a reason never to come back to our big brown land, wouldn't he?

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Vanity Fair!

Okay, today I feel old; Very old.  Blame it on Greta Scacchi.

Confession: Sometime around 1990 I rented a video of a movie called The Coca Cola Kid.  Must have been in the $1 shelf at the video store. Well bugger me.  Filmed in 1985, it featured an utterly stunning young woman, with a magical face, and gorgeous body, by the name of Greta Scacchi.  I defy any hetrosexual male to watch that film and not find her attractive - she played a Lolita-esque nymph to playful perfection...

23 years ago, Mountjoy was mesmerised by this face...

In the decade that followed, Ms.Scacchi appeared in a number of films, and a very "European" sensibility to nudity, apparently - having a penchant for getting her kit off in most of them.  And then I guess she suffered the fate of most aging actresses, and the roles available became fewer and fewer, or she chose to slip into the shadows to raise a family.

Fast forward to this weekend, and it turns out Ms.Scacchi is coming to Perth to do some theatre. Her photo appeared in the Perth newspaper, and I was shocked. If I had not seen the caption, I'm sure I would not have recognised her.  

...and in 2014, I may have walked straight past her without realising it.

The slight, of course, is totally on me. My horrible vanity, of admiring an attractive twenty-five year old almost 30 years ago, and in my minds eye, imagining that she would hold those looks forever. People don't.  I certainly haven't. But you don't expect actors to age, I guess - the screen is so timeless.  

So, yes, I am old. But my memory is young.  I will forever be a 14, 15 or 16 year-old boy, trapped in the decaying body of a middle aged man. I am sure Ms.Scacchi is a wonderfully talented actress, and does not need her youthful looks to be a success any more than I do!  But it's an interesting thought as to how those people who do trade on their looks must fare in their autumn years.  It's a sad truth that men, especially, will always be ageist. And I confess that I am as guilty of that as anyone.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

The Power and The Passion

Do I Have To Say His Name?

It's Monday morning, and time to exhale.  After four days of rock and roll madness, the Perth Bruce Springsteen odyssey is over, and normal transmissions must resume.  And so comes the drop down to reality....

..and it's only such a drop because of the highs.  Despite the maelstrom of crap that surrounded me for the last 15 weeks, I can honestly say that these three shows have been 9 hours of freedom; freedom from adultery, freedom from separation, freedom from the uncertainties 2014 is about to throw up at me.  My musical hero delivered for me and 14,999 others in spades, three times in four nights.

Starting with me going solo, and a place in the second row from the stage, on Wednesday night, I followed up with seats in the B reserves with Heir and Spare, both getting their first Baptism at the Church of The Boss.  Heir and I then went on a quest for a place on the floor for Saturday, and our queue numbers of 89/90 were high enough to get us in the front row up against the stage, directly ahead of Nils Lofgren and Tom Morello.  Heir particularly appreciated this, as he is a budding guitarist, and loved watch these two maestros carve up some of his favourite songs! We both held request signs: Heir's was for Fire, and that got a massive smile and nod of approval from Steve Van Zant when he walked over our way, while mine, for Two Faces, had Nils Lofgren give me a huge wink and a thumbs up, when he saw it. That made my night - even though The Boss didn't pick either of them.

This double was a highpoint - reworks Ghost of Tom Joad backed up by Land of Hope and Dreams (the latter my favourite tune of Saturday night, I think):

So, out of 10?  For intimacy - 10/10; the front of the GA section is what I imagine flying First class would do to you ~ why would you ever go back to seats in the stands, or economy?  Song choices? 7/10; I had hoped to hear at least one bucket list song over the three nights, and 57 different tunes got played, but the fan classics like Backstreets, Racing in The Street, Jungleland - or for me, anything from Tunnel of Love - did not get a look in.  Cruelly, Darkness on the Edge of Town was listed but not played.  But that's me being churlish - any Bruce is great Bruce. Those songs would have been cream.

There were people flying east to go to 9 more shows - and I envy them. Perhaps as a newly minted single man, it is something I will aspire to Next Time...

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Freedom of Speech (So long as you say what I want)

Mis-truth, Injustice, and The Liberal Way: The Mad Monk speaks.

Our hapless village idiot leader, Tony Abbott, is all over the newspapers this morning, complaining that the National Broadcaster, the ABC, should be more jingoistic, more partisan and less... well, transparent when it comes to reporting possible violations of human rights, Indonesian maritime boundaries, and other alleged transgressions by our Navy.

''You would like the national broadcaster to have a rigorous commitment to truth and at least some basic affection for the home team,'' he told Macquarie Radio on Wednesday.

Unfortunately, he did not detail his thoughts on which of those tenants should be receiving the higher priority when they are in conflict, although knowing how fast and loose the Mad Monk is with the truth, it's clear the former plays a very weak second fiddle to the latter.

Monday, 27 January 2014

You Don't Want To Go There....

I am resigned to the fact I will never be an Olympic athlete,  despite dreams of maybe being one of those ultra cool guys who looks like he spent half his life downing Duff Beer at Moe's, and then strolled onto the skeet range and and cans till snare Gold in the Trap...

So I have no knowledge of the mystical world of Olympic sports, but even I never suspected that an elite athlete's bowel movements occur at such a pace, that one pan could not keep up.

Exhibit A: Laura Cross Country Skiing and Biathlon centre, Sochi

(not shown: the single toilet roll holder, on the left hand wall.  Wiping if you sit on the right is not an option, apparently).

More on this story here.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

The Two Finger Salute

For all those competitors out there who have ever wanted to slam it to the smug competition, Singkie Knegt, from The Netherlands has delivered:

"Second, Mum! I came second!" Knegt did not say.

Monday, 13 January 2014

That's It From The Archives

Well, for those who you who missed it the first time around - including my much loved children, who, when they are old enough will no doubt find this blog (!) - there are a selection of posts that, when I suspended RFYP almost a decade ago, I thought were worth keeping as a record of my thoughts, feelings and family history. 

I'm glad I did, as there are details there that I would never have remembered - but it was also very sad reading how happy I was, and how in love with my wife I was. One of the allegations thrown up in my face when we separated in October was that I did not really love her, and would one day admit that.

I beg to differ, and offer that history as proof to anyone who says otherwise.

*I do have some other material that The WayBack Machine has preserved, and over time I will inject it into the mix as time permits.

I Think I Love You Too Much

This post originally appeared here on 16th October, 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I Think I Love You Too Much

Above: The Princess Mountjoy. Warning! Saccharin sweet post ahead!
(...and if you click on the photo, you can see the picture full sized. Go on, you know you want to!)
I took a few minutes last week to write about my wonderful sons. As I said, each day they mature into little men, yet hold such unconditional love for Lady Mountjoy and I, is an amazing thing. I have never had the occasion to interact with a little girl (except when I was a little boy, so that doesn’t really count), so every step I take with Princess Mountjoy is something new, and easily as delightful as seeing my sons grow up.

Being an engineer, I am empirical: you can measure everything, can’t you? If you put two “things” next to one another, one is taller, one is darker, one is heavier. My greatest fear when Spare Mountjoy was born was that I would not love him as much as Heir. After all, he is my first son; Heir to the Mountjoy estate, and the wealth that brings with it ($29.95 at last count). How could Spare compare? And I found out the most wonderful thing. He didn’t compare. He was totally and utterly different in almost every way. And while I sense I don’t love each of them in quite the same way, I could not say I love one more (or less) than the other. It’s quite a relief, really.

Enter The Princess Mountjoy. Boy, how do I explain this? I have always wanted a daughter. And an 11-month old baby girl is about the most affectionate thing a grown man could ever want. She is just a wellspring of smiles, and laughter and love. I can come home from work, and be warned she has had a grumpy day, but I seem to never see it. Her little face lights up and for the three or so hours before she is put to bed, she has been getting just more and more playful and happy. No matter how frustrating my day, the sight of that little ball of arms and legs lunging across the space between Lady Mountjoy and me as I walk through the door does not cease to amaze me.

So do I love The Princess more than Heir or Spare? That is a tough call. At less than a year old, she has not had the chance to disappoint me, or do the wrong thing, or misbehave. The unconditional love that this little waif gives her big, hairy, scary mountain of a man her father is, is endless. And of course, my love for her is a very different, much more protective and shielding love than the encouraging and supporting warmth I feel for my boys. But in the end, different still does not mean more or less. I’m not scared of loving my kids too much. For me, love is not a fossil fuel that I feel the need to allocate – it is a renewable resource, and it feels like the more I get, the more I want to give.

Three's Company

This post was originally published on 2nd January, 2007

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Special Delivery? They All Are.

Above: I wouldn't sit there, if I were you, kid...

As has been something of a tradition here at RFYP, the time is now right to share the finer details of the arrival of Princess Mountjoy into the world. I’m sure this stuff is the perfect contraception for those single ladies out there, and guys, well, let’s just say, I consider it a public service to inform you how many lies Hollywood spins about the birth process.

The 29th November started off normally. I had a meeting that took up a lot of the morning and was crunching through paperwork till just before noon. I slipped out to buy lunch – unusual, as I normally bring it, but with Lady Mountjoy 8¾ months gone, I wasn’t too worried that my domestic support had a well earned sleep in.

I was on the second bite of my roll when the phone rang. “It’s started. My water broke. Not as bad as last time”. You cannot describe the feelings you get on hearing that. Nine months of anticipation, all bottled up, and then BANG! It is show time. My head was spinning, but the boring engineer’s logic kicked in before the call was done. No point rushing home – and hours drive – as this was just the first reel. I told Lady M I would finish lunch, close up shop at work, and be down in 90 mins or so. She was fine with that. The Countess, on the other hand, went ape shit: why isn’t he coming straight away? He should get here as soon as he can! (I think The Countess caused Lady M more stress than the water breaking).

It was fun making my way around the office to let a few key people know what was happening – one of those moments in your life that is just like the movies: “I’ve gotta head off, Lady M’s water has just broken”. And the broad grins that statement elicits.

When I got home, all was calm. We even debated if we should swing by and collected Heir from school, as it was approaching 3pm. Common sense prevailed, and we slipped down to the hospital while one of the Mums dropped Heir off. No sign of contractions and it was 4:30 before the midwife smacked on the latex glove to determine just what was (or wasn’t going on). At 5pm, the printout was showing the tiniest of contractions and Lady M was given the choice – go home and come back when things are getting stronger, or admit herself now. I pushed for the latter, knowing Heir, Spare and Countess would not make the waiting very relaxing – a move that proved fortuitous. Settled in her room, and with nothing of note going on, I left Lady M at 5.30pm and went home to feed the kids.
I slipped back in at 7pm, a spring in my step as I rounded the corner to Lady M’s room, only to be greeted with a sight that mirrored her plight when Spare arrived: doubled up in agony, in tears and acute pain. All this 90 mins after I had left!

I went back and grabbed a midwife, and Lady M was ushered into the “birthing suite” (how posh!). The midwife had just come on deck, and so she prepared all the bits and pieces to be used in extracting baby from womb (not very exciting, really – lot is of sterile cloths and containers, a shot of vitamin K).

One of the things we had talked about was how we didn’t get any footage of Lady M while she was in labour, so I was under tacit instructions to film as much of the process as I dared. The admission and contraction monitor stuff was covered, but I soon realised why I never filmed the last two times – tis neither a dignified nor attractive sight, and not one anyone needs to remember. There was no way I could bring myself to film it.

With the process progressed, but stalled around the issue of getting something the size of a grapefruit out something as wide as a plum, it was suggested Lady M may want to try standing through a few contractions (by this point, she was on the Laughing Gas, and the contractions were turning my knuckles white as she cut off the blood supply to my palm). So she stood up, and the midwife reached for a vinyl covered bean bag… it was a very WTF? moment. All became clear when she sat the bag between Lady M’s legs – ahh, it’s there to catch the baby if it should drop right out. Ewwwwww!

Standing up didn’t do it, but back on her back, and a few good shoves, The Princess arrived safe and sound at 8.45pm. The camera went back on, and plenty of footage of 30 second old Princess M resulted, much to the delight of The Countess, whom I was able to share a coffee and a Tim Tam with, while watching the pictures at 10.30pm that night.

For those of you yet to experience parenthood, it is without doubt one of the most satisfying moments of your life. Savour the event, and celebrate it generously.

Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing....

This post previously appeared on 1st December, 2006

Friday, December 01, 2006

Ladies & Gentlemen, introducing...

...Princess Mountjoy.

I'd like to say a HUGE thank you to each of you who have left me kind comments over the past few days ~ it sounds corny, but having such good will from people I haven't (yet) met, and are so far away from, is just great.

I'm tied up getting Heir and Spare to school through the middle of next week, but will try to get some more pictures, and a story or two, up over the weekend (God only knows, The Countess is giving me plenty of material...)

But till then, I'm going to keep on enjoying the endorphin high I am still on, and savouring these special moments with my placid little baby girl.

Thanks again everyone!

Oh, in case you forgot what she looks like (!), here's another photo:


A Princess Arrives...

This post first appeared on 29th November, 2006

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Births, Deaths, Marriages

MOUNTJOY - "One for the country"

Above: When does a full house beat four of a kind? When you have two sons already.
Donnie and Lady Mountjoy are proud to announce the arrival of Princess Mountjoy at 8.45pm last night, sister to Heir and Spare. 8lbs 2oz, 54cm. Mother and baby doing very well, thanks to the incredibly professional care provided by the midwives at the local Health Campus.
The first baby girl in the Mountjoy family tree in three generations, and the only grand-daughter in Lady Mountjoy's clan, she is no doubt destined to be spoiled rotten by the extended family.
Thanks to all of you posters out there for your kind wishes ~ this will without doubt be the early crown to a great Christmas season.

An official portrait will be posted in due course (I may be a touch biased, but I must say she is seriously cute!).

Spare Parts

The following post was previously published June 8th, 2007

Friday, June 08, 2007

Got Any Spare Change?

Above: Perfecting the Elvis snarl... 
Last week’s photos of the Mountjoy Spawn, and in particular, Spare Mountjoy, reminded me of what a remarkable little person my younger son is, and as a result, here is a profile of the little bloke, punctuated by lots of oh-ah worthy photos for gawk at.

Spare is the black sheep of my family. He possesses athletic skill and co-ordination that neither my, nor Lady Mountjoy’s bloodlines have any history of. Until a year ago, Spare was an avowed carnivore, devouring meat on his dinner plate in copious quantities. To the Spare, all meat is “chicken”. This is a side effect of life in Taiwan, where almost all flesh servings larger than a matchbox was chicken. Recently, he has gone off meat, preferring to eat, well… nothing. I am amazed that a growing child eats so little. The scrawny little bastard is almost Belsen-like, with visible ribs, and stick arms and legs. I went to pick him up and sit him on the kitchen bench this week, and he weighs barely more then the princess. Or at least it seems that way.

Spare has an ear for music. His nursery in Taiwan was our Japanese room (a common feature over there: a room that has paper walls and a table in the floor that you can sit around), and as a two-year old, he would, after being put into his cot and the lights turned off, regularly respond “No, No!” each time he heard the phrase “Won’t Get Fooled Again” at the start of CSI Miami through his paper walls. These days, he has a taste for dinosaur rock, with The Police (Message in a Bottle) and Cheap Trick (Dream Police) having captured his imagination.

Renowned for embarrassing questions, it was Spare, not Heir, who kept asking to see “the hole where they took [Princess Mountjoy] out of mummy’s tummy?”, or who reefed his genitalia tight and exclaimed “look how purple my penis is!” as he left the shower recently. Another party trick (untaught) was for him to emerge from the toilet, naked from the waist down, enter the room, stop and turn around, bend over as though to touch his toes, but pull his cheeks apart and ask “Is my bottom clean?”

In as much as Heir is a Mini-Me of Mountjoy, Spare seems to have fallen not far from his mother. Thankfully he has not displayed any “middle child” symptoms yet, he is in love with his little sister – who loves him back with interest, possibly because his facial features resembles his mother’s. With a wicked grin, and big brown eyes, Spare Mountjoy is anything but spare, and has helped me learn that despite the huge love you feel for your first born, you will love your second and third just the same.

Heard On Mountjoy's Car Stereo: Steely Dan - Do It Again

Yummy Mummy

The following post first appeared here on 6th November, 2006

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Glowing Lady Mountjoy

The expectation is reaching a peak at Chez Mountjoy. I’d have said “a climax”, but that was eight months ago, and look where it got me. The wonderfully robust Lady M is looking a million bucks in the last four weeks of her pregnancy, and I am spending my days trying to tell her to savour a moment she will never have again (unless that vasectomy goes horribly wrong).

I am almost envious of her. It must be amazing having the sensation of a living being inside you, one you have no control over. Like eating a goldfish, only bigger. MJ:III is a violent bastard of a child already – the kicking and punching are very different to either Heir or Spare’s development (Spare still gets the “I am gestating an Alien” award for the way his elbow stuck out about an inch, and slowly traced an 18” arc right around Lady M’s belly one afternoon late in his time in-utero – truly grotesque).

Lady M cannot get over the fact I find her sexy while she is pregnant. I know she doesn’t feel sexy. I mean, who would? Three months of vomiting. A huge belly. Indigestion. And that’s just me. There is something magical about the way a baby protrudes – it is not “fat”, but it a pointed growth, and the skin is all lovely and taut, so you see the baby moving. She has been a real trooper – Heir and Spare don’t give her a lot of respite, but she is still soldiering on taking them all over the place to swimming, gym and all the little things that mothers do that dads don’t see.

All the plans are now in place; The Countess of Mountjoy arrives in a fortnight for her shift of foetus watch. If we get a call to action before then, there are charts, notes, and tables of things I have to do to keep domestic life ticking over for Heir and Spare while Lady M is ensconced in the Maternity Ward (in reality, it will be one of her tribe that will cover the immediate 24 hours, while I am with Lady M welcoming MJ:III into the world).

And all we can do is wait.

Two For The Road

The following post originally appeared here on 21st August 2006.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Spare Change, Mister?

With Lady Mountjoy’s bun doing ever so nicely in the oven, and 15 weeks of pregnancy left to go, it’s time for the second instalment of “The Fuck I’m Going Through That Again!”

If you remember back, Lady M had third stage complications delivering Heir Mountjoy, and so embarked upon the journey of expelling Spare Mountjoy from her womb with some trepidation. Inconveniently conceived to deliver on 24th December, Spare decided that it would be great fun to mess up his mother’s Christmas and New Year celebrations by arriving late. Xmas 2001 was a dry one for Lady M, and as the days passed, a visit to the GP brought with it the news that come Monday, if not knocking on the door by Monday, Lady M would be induced. As the only contraction being felt was the size of Lady M’s pooper valve clamming up at the thought of delivering this ever-growing belly full of 7-day-overdue arms and legs, we were invited to book in to our hospital on the Sunday night, ready for some chemically induced fireworks Monday AM.

I drove Lady M down, and she settled in with a cup of tea and a bikkie by 8pm. With an application of (I think) prostaglandin gel strategically administered, we were told I may as well shuffle off home as the main event would not be till morning (using Heir Mountjoy’s 13 hour journey as a benchmark, I guess). So, with two sets of grandparents domicile (having arrived the day before, expecting a week old baby to be their entertainment focus) and 25 month old Heir M on the loose, I decamped to Casa Del Mountjoy for a nightcap and a sleep. Lady M had checked all the boxes for gas, epidural, analgesic, narcotic and whatever the hell other pain relief was possible. There was no way she was having another masochistic marathon for this child.

Somewhere a mile of so away the phone was ringing. I woke and looked at the clock radio: 11:45pm. What the? “Is that Mr Mountjoy?” Oui. “If you’d like to come down to the hospital, your wife has gone into labour”. So I am thinking to myself “Yeah, yeah. We got half a night and the morning before it’s show time luv” as I showered, and threw a change of clothes on. I walked in the door 12.05am (we are 5 mins from the hospital), at the same time Lady Mountjoy was led, stumbling into the delivery suite.

It was then that I figured something wasn’t so casual – she was in agony. Less than 3 hours ago she was fine. What The? indeed. Up on the bed, the midwife buried her arm wristwatch deep (you check your dignity at the door during childbirth, ladies) and reported “Oh, goodness, you are at 9cm. This baby is coming now!” So it was straight on the laughing gas, and no time for serious pain relief. Our GP had been called at the same time as me, and he strolled in - looking like he was ready for a midnight tennis match - with about 10 minutes to spare. Obviously Heir Mountjoy’s oversized bonce had done one good thing in nearly tearing Lady M asunder two years previous, because Spare shot out like champagne cork at 12:30am, to the midwife’s astute observation that he would be having “quite a 21st party” (by that time, the calendar read 31st December). 25 minutes of labour – what a greyhound!

With all the formalities dealt with by 1:30am, Lady Mountjoy was settled back into her room and dozing, so I headed home. It was a busy night for staff – I was told later there were six other babies born that night. I walked through the kitchen door and was met with the grandparents all bug eyed and asking “Was it a false alarm?” I was able to show them some video of the 15 minute old Spare, nestled in his Mum’s arms. By 3am all the cooing was all over and we were back in bed.

It is still quite a way to go, but November can’t come soon enough for Lady M and I. We are hoping for a girl – a Princess Mountjoy! and a “full house” (3+2) to boot – but a boy will make our “hand” (4+1) four of a kind: Testosterone Central. Either way, the knowledge that this is going to be the last baby we will have, makes it a melancholy moment for us, but one that nothing else can hold a candle to.

My blog trawling this morning reminded me that I have been remiss in delivering Haiku to the masses of late. In particular, the gentleman over at 123Iloveyou has been an inspriation, with multiple Haikuage about having a "dry spell" as it were. So, as a nod to the man's greatness, Mountjoy, Resident Haikuist™, brings back the Haiku accompaniment to my daily blog.

Semen injection;
Mountjoy's genetic gamble.
Perchance, a Princess?

Heir, Apparently.

The following post was previously published here on 4th of July, 2006.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

For those about to pop, we salute you....

The following account is true, and has in no way been embellished by the author (well okay, maybe a little – but this is what I think I saw that day)

A lifetime ago, Lady Mountjoy and I were visiting the local hospital to book her in for the delivery of our first child. With all of the technicalities out of the way, and some niceties passed, the admitting nurse smiled at us, and asked if we had any questions. Lady M, a somewhat shy girl, offered: “You hear so many stories, and see so many things… how much does it really hurt?” The gentle smile washed away from the midwife, and she turned to face Lady Mountjoy directly: “Just remember, it is only one day in your life. Your child will bring you a lifetime of happiness…” At that point, I crossed my legs and thought, “Ouch, it must be bad”.

Fast forward five months: Lady M’s water has broken, she has been in labour for 7 hours. The epidural (which gets plunged into your spine with a resounding “click”) has long worn off. “Oh, it’ll be here soon” says the nurse. Hour ten arrives, and Mountjoy Junior is showing no signs of wanting to leave his warm, wet home. Out comes the king vac. Now this wasn’t talked about in the pre-game: a rubber cup, about 10cm diameter, that is placed on the child head, while the hose that is attached is put on a vacuum. The suction supposedly holds the cup in place, allowing the doctor to pull the baby out by the head during a contraction. Well that’s the theory. The reality is that after eight attempts, the GP gives up and calls for a specialist.

So at hour 12, “The Specialist” arrives. Think milkman. Knee high white rubber boots, white lab coat. Like an extra from the Ponds Institute. He takes one look down over the plate at home base, and calls for the forceps. In the mean time, an episiotomy is performed. “Geesh, that sounds bad…” Well from what I saw, it’s using a knife where no man should take a knife, to allow a bowling ball to pass through a hole the size of your coffee mug rim. "They slice you so it looks like the top of a Wet Ones dispenser" was one of my wife's friends useful prenatal descriptions. That’s only after he takes a very long needle and injects local anaesthetic in places only your mother has washed you. A half dozen times.

The forceps are just another in a long line of horrors. “Forceps” – the things you used in high school science, right? Uh-uh. These suckers come in a sterilised bag, almost a metre long. Now they are a three-piece bit of gear, and in case you hadn’t thought it through, let me plant this seed in your head: for forceps to pull a baby out, they have to be assembled around the baby’s head i.e. inside the uterus. So you get to watch one half of this workshop tool inserted a testicle raising length inside your wife, the hinge bolt attached, then the other piece similarly positioned.

This lead to the true spectacle of the day – which had started at 11pm the pervious night, but was now in the early minutes of the following afternoon: The Specialist took a forcep handle in each hand, lifted his knee, bracing his foot on the frame of the bed and gave Mountjoy Junior’s head an almighty tug. This is the most diabolical thing I had ever seen. I would have sworn the child’s head would be pulled clean off. It was utterly grotesque.

But it worked. And my eldest son arrived safe and happy into the world. Childbirth is an incredible experience – and not just for the mother. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I will never know my wife’s pain, but I did feel it. And yet, the mid-wife was right: it was just one day.

Lady Mountjoy is enceinte, due at the end of November.

A Parisian Proposal

The following post was originally published here on 26th April, 2007.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Mountjoy's Best Laid Plans

I got lucky, eleven years ago today. Down on bended knee, in the Jardin Du Trocadero, across the River Siene, Mountjoy asked for my Fair Lady’s hand in marriage. And for reasons that will forever be a mystery to me, Lady Mountjoy accepted my proposal, and has accompanied me on the first decade in a long journey of married life.

The proposal did not quite go as planned – these things never do. We were on a month long circuit of Western Europe, and there had been a number of places I thought of surrendering my bachelorhood; Venice, Burano, Lake Como, and in a week or so’s time we would be staying at a castle in Scotland. But my own heart was set on Paris; I’d been there before, and for all the clichĂ©s, had enjoyed the natural elegance and style of the city (something I will never have).

Having locked in Paris, Eddie, my plan was to escort Lady Mountjoy to the top of the Eiffel Tower after dinner, and do the Layton Hewitt, as the city of lights glittered away. Boring! I hear you cry. Maybe. But you know what? It was, and is I think, something not too many women would not be thrilled with. So on Anzac Day, having dined at a non descript but interesting restaurant in the middle of the left bank tourist mecca, I was set to head for the Tower. Unfortunately, Lady M was not. Try as I could (without being too obvious) I could not convince her to make a detour to see the Tower, and Paris by night. She was tired (we were in week three of a fairly hectic schedule) and it was late, and Lady M had not been as mesmorised by Paris as I was. So, the trip was aborted. Fuckety-Fuck-Fuck-Fuck!

Okay, Mountjoy, what is plan B? You’ve been up the tower during the day two days ago, so you can’t scam her back up there again - and it is not the same in the daytime, anyway. Just have to play it by ear. We explored the city in the morning, and by lunch had loaded up with the brie and camembert baguettes, and were scoffing them in a quiet little square somewhere around Palais Galliera. Do it now? Nah. Nice, but not memorable. We worked our way up to Trocadero, and the classic view across to the Eiffel Tower. Okay, now we are close. But too open, too many people. I need intimacy. So I lead the way down toward the river, and we head through one of the green groves that shoulder the broadway. I spot a shady area, off to the left, and like a bungee jumper, know now is The Time, and that is The Spot. I take her hand, lead her off the pathway, stop to face her, and drop to my left knee…

The moment will always be special. She shed a tear. We kissed. As we walked back to the main thoroughfare, a homeless woman passed us, and veered off the path to our secluded glen. We both turned in time to see her stop, hitch up her skirt, and pee all over the grass for what seemed an eternity. How elegant and stylish. How Parisian! A worthy omen.

We had opted to take the Eurostar back to London, so said goodbye to our tour group that morning. I felt incredibly proud to tell our tour guide (who then announced it to the group) that Lady Mountjoy had learned a new French word the day before: Fiancé. Quite a few of the group were surprised - they had assumed we were aleady married.

As luck would have it, Dalhousie Castle near Edinburgh turned out to be a much more romantic option; a huge suite, the over the top snobbery of a library room for us to take drinks before dining, and a restaurant filled with armour and styled as The Dungeon Room made a bigger impression on both of us than many of the sights of Classic Europe. Walking through the grounds there, it would have made the perfect backdrop to a wedding proposal. But the deal was done, and history had already been made. You can’t have regrets about that sort of thing. Not when she said “yes”.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Memory Lane and the Dead End Street

While I use the resuscitated RFYP to repost some important milestones I had archived privately, over on my new blog, How Much Do You Know?, I am reporting and recording the descent from domestic harmony into a divided family, as I spearate and divorce my wife and partner of 18 years
Together, they will form some sort of record that one day, my children can discover and make up thier own minds as to the reasons behind the events of 2013 in our family.

Buckle up, beacuse I think it is going to be a bumpy ride.

Ladies and Gentlemen, May I Introduce...

The following post originally appeared here on 19th September 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen, May I Introduce...

She was the daughter of the foreman, just out of university. He had given her (and her friends) summer jobs as “lollypop ladies” – stop/go sign attendants on a railway crossing we were working on. The first thing I noticed about her were her legs. She wore shiny black leggings, and they made her legs ~ and her bum! ~ look great. It was a week or so before I got to talk to her for the first time. She took of her sunglasses, and revealed her eyes… I’d seen eyes like that before, and I even had a name for them: Spanish Eyes. So brown they were almost black: Dark pools of mystery, expressive and fiery (I was most amused to find some years later, that Bruce Springsteen had also come to the same conclusion – an outtake from his Darkness On The Edge of Town album is a track called “Spanish Eyes”, a wonderful “Here Comes The Night” by Them sound-alike). They flashed at me from behind her cascading brown hair. I was in love.

The timing was exquisite. I walked into our office a couple of Mondays later, and described the running around I had done for my then girlfriend, who lived out of town. Running around I had been doing for months, but had just not found the courage or the occasion to say “enough” to. The boss’s secretary looked me squarely in the eyes, and told me I was mad, and that I could do so much better. It was all I needed. The first phone call I made that evening was to my girlfriend, telling her I would meet up with her on Saturday. The second was to the dark eyed beauty, asking her out on Friday night. She accepted. The stage was set.

Friday night was like a blur. Dinner was amazing. I felt like a shroud had been lifted from me. Here was a woman who shared so many of my thoughts and ideas, but was prepared to challenge me and speak her mind when we were not in synchronization. For two years, I had been sinking into a relationship where my partner was a blancmange, where she did not want to do the thinking, and every decision, big or small, was mine. What at first seemed a perfect foil for my larger-than-life personality had become stale and unchallenging, and ultimately unrewarding. It was a revelation, and an amazing feeling of meeting a woman I did not feel I was talking down to, but who was my equal, who I could share any aspect of my life with. With a soft kiss on her cheek, I dropped her home around
2am, and drove home for a short sleep before heading out of the city for the messier of my two engagements that weekend.

Blindsiding someone with the end of a relationship is not pleasant. I took the blame, although I knew my decision was a reaction, not an action. There were tears, and I felt like shit, but at the end of the day, it was something I had been needing to do for six months. It took an outsider to spell out how terminal we were. But I awoke on Sunday morning, a single man.

And the dark-eyed beauty? Well after more than a little pursuing, she became Lady Mountjoy, of course! Our first date was about a dozen years ago now, but ten years ago tomorrow, that wonderfully smart, good looking, and confident woman became Mrs. Mountjoy, my companion, my best friend, and mother to our three wonderful children. She brings out the best in me, and I am a better person because of her. I love you, darling.