Boats and tractors

RNLI Lifeboat launching at Anstruther

RNLI Lifeboat ("Kingdom of Fife") launching at Anstruther

This weekend is the Lifeboat Gala Weekend organised by Anstruther RNLI Lifeboat Station.

We took Reuben and Joshua down to the harbour after their lunchtime sleep today.  I don’t think I’ve heard the words “BOAT!” and “TRACTOR!” used quite so often and with such passion in one afternoon than I did today.

Reuben sitting on a tractor

Reuben sitting on a tractor

Joshua sitting on a tractor

Joshua sitting on a tractor

How to lose an £80 car key …

Renault key card
Renault key card for Mégane — and yes, the image is mirrored because the original was from a left-hand drive car!

A couple of days ago I did something I’ve never done before, and I’m not really proud of this: I lost a car key; an expensive car key too.

The magic key-card

Jane has a Renault Mégane Sport Tourer (the estate version) which has a magic key-card system for locking, unlocking and starting the car.

For my Vauxhall Astra I’ve got a button on the key that will lock and unlock the car from a distance. As I approach the car I press the button and *CLUNK!* the car magically unlocks. You’ve probably got something similar on your car too.

Well, Jane’s key-card is even more impressive than that. You don’t even need to press the button, you just need to have it somewhere on your person and using magic the car senses that you are in the immediate vicinity and the doors unlock when you pop your hand into the handle to open the door.

And it doesn’t stop there!

You don’t even have to slide the key-card into its slot for the engine to start. When you press the START/STOP button the key-card just has to be somewhere inside the car.

Or on the roof, as I discovered.

What happened next?

In fact, lets say that you accidentally left the key-card on the roof and then drove off to … well, an example might be to St Andrews, and while negotiating a right-turn at a roundabout, lets say on the A917, the key-card calmly slid off the roof. What would happen then?

In that situation you might expect the car to make a bit of a fuss about it. You might expect that it sounds an alarm. Or the lights flash a bit. Or the engine comes to an abrupt stop even … although that would be a dangerous option, thinking about it.

But no, it didn’t. The first I knew that something was amiss was when I pulled into a parking space on North Street in St Andrews and was politely invited to press the START/STOP button twice to confirm that I did indeed wish to stop the engine.

“Hmm … that’s a bit odd,” I thought to myself while obliging the car’s seemingly random whim. A few minutes later it all became clear.

So there I was standing beside the car frantically and fruitlessly checking every pocket. Passers-by might have been forgiven for thinking that I was on fire. The anger that I was directing at myself certainly was. I sat back in the car, pressed the START/STOP button and … “Card not detected” flashed the message on the dashboard.

Oh, right! So now you’re happy to flash a warning message!

Jane: the fifth emergency service

I phoned Jane. There was panic in my voice. “I’ve lost the key-card!”

“What key-card?” Jane asked calmly.

Calmly?! This was no time for calm. She clearly didn’t understand the severity of the situation. This was clearly a time for swearing. This was exactly the kind of situation that swearing was invented for.

“THE KEY-CARD!” I said louder, using the same logic that British tourists have employed for years while abroad, that if you say things loud enough people will be forced to understand. “THE KEY-CARD! THE FECKIN’ KEY-CARD!”

Swearing didn’t help Jane understand any quicker, but I like to think that it helped prevent me from crying. At least at that point in the conversation!

Thankfully Jane’s mum and sister had just arrived at our house so they took over Operation Twins Feed and Jane jumped into my car and drove the 10 miles as quickly and safely as she could to St Andrews to deliver me her key-card, while I stood guard and rehearsed over and over how this could possibly have happened. This is not the sort of thing I do.

The simple answer is that it happened because I was over-tired. But at the time, that didn’t seem quite enough to justify losing an £80 key-card. I was really angry with myself.

Lost and found

But thankfully I had scripture to hand to help me. In the New Testament there is more than one parable about losing things and finding them.

When I got back — I’d gone to St Andrews, by the way, to get emergency supplies of nappies and infant formula — I parked on our drive, got out my torch and went searching. I retraced the route on foot, scouring every inch of the road and pavement. In the dark.

I reasoned that if I’d left the key-card on top of the passenger’s side (the left), while loading bags into the car, then it would most easily have come off when I was turning right. I made an extra careful sweep of anywhere that I’d had to turn right.

And then I found it, about half a mile down the road.

To be honest, it was the clack-clack! sound of another car driving over the key-card that alerted me to its location. But praise the Lord! there it was. And when I returned home I was even more delighted to discover that it even worked!

It was lost, but now it’s found. All that was left to do was to kill the fatted calf and celebrate. After I’d unpacked the formula and nappies, of course.

Visit from Grannie Rosalie

Grannie Rosalie holding both twins, on the sofa with Gareth and Jane

On Thursday my Mum came up to Anstruther (kindly driven by my brother and family) for an overnight stay and to spend some time with her new grandsons.

It was really lovely to have Mum/Grannie Rosalie here over a couple of days. I found Mum’s support, advice and reassurance absolutely wonderful and exactly what I needed.


I was having a tough day on Thursday. I’d overdone it; we’d had lots of visitors that day and that was the first day since being diagnosed with shingles that I hadn’t gone for a sleep during the day. I certainly learned my lesson by the time the evening had come around.

What’s more exhausting than having shingles? Having twingles! That’s having twins and shingles at the same time.

In the end Mum and Jane sent me to bed, but before then Mum encouraged and coached us through what was quite a tough evening.

Up until that point evenings and nights had been perfect: wake, change, feed, wind, settle, sleep, repeat.

Thursday evening was more like those six activities were printed on a couple of dice and shaken at random every few minutes!

Your trial period of perfect, sleeping babies has expired, please renew your subscription to continue.

Hey! Welcome to the real world of parenting!

Tuition from the world’s best midwife

It was reassuring to be reminded that we’d only been parents for ten days by that point, and that we were still getting to know Reuben and Joshua, and they are still getting to know and trust us.

And Mum was an absolute star, simply reassuring us that we were doing the right thing: are they hungry? windy? too hot? too cold? is their nappy dirty/wet? do they just need some reassurance and a wee cuddle?

Mum gave us some great tuition in how to tell if your baby is still windy after feeding (a blue-ish look around their mouth, and pulling their legs up to their chests) and techniques to help bring up the wind. It was just what we needed, and like all good tutors allowed us to try it out for ourselves rather than taking over. Of course, having twins we could both do it at the same time! Perfect.

“Always go with your gut instincts,” said Mum. “Nobody knows a baby better than their mummy and daddy. No health visitor or midwife.”

“Yeah, but that said in this case, a midwife-trained mother of three trumps me just now!” I joked.

Over the last couple of days I’ve found that invaluable advice. As well as the advice to go for a sleep during the day!

This wasn’t on the birth plan!

I’m going to be honest here, this isn’t exactly how I’d anticipated our twins’ birthday. This morning we woke to:

1. A moose loose aboot the hoose!

Two chests of drawers - one has a mouse underneath!

A live mouse behind — and now underneath — our bedroom furniture, and two cats keenly sitting on guard.

But, of course, when we needed them to catch it … they ran off in search of a bowl of Whiskas! “Thanks humans, it’s your watch now!”

2. Nae water!

Bathroom sink - with no water supply!

… and no water supply. Thanks Scottish Water! That’s <irony>exactly what we need!</irony>

I rang Scottish Water’s emergency hotline — which is a recording, telling you to phone another number if you really need to report a problem with your water supply. The recorded voice told us that KY9 and KY10 (Anstruther, Pittenweem, Elie and Leven) have been taken out in the current water outage (reported at 07:20 this morning).

Imagine if the emergency services were like that!

Operator: Hello, which service do you require?

Caller: Fire Brigade please.

Operator: Please hold one moment while I put you through …

Recorded Voice: Thank you for calling the Fire and Rescue Service, your call is important to us. If you are calling about a fire at one of the following 150 locations throughout the British Isles then please hold, otherwise you will need to call 0800 999 9999 to request assistance.

Happy Birthday

Still, I have already sung happy birthday to Jane’s bump. Join in, if you like:

Happy Birthday to you (plural),
Happy Birthday to you (plural),
Happy Birthday dear currently-unnamed and unborn children,
We’ll see you very soon!

UPDATE: 08:46

Good: Water is back on, with just enough pressure to have a shower.
Bad: Twitter is now down.

Mum’s here!

This is my Mum on

Mum’s visiting us in Anstruther right now, hence the slightly quieter than usual blog. I’m being more sociable than simply sitting in front of my PC all evening … he writes on his PC, with his Mum hovering at his left shoulder!

This evening we took a walk down by the coast at Cellardyke which was lovely. Watching and listening to the waves, counting the flashes from two ‘nearby’ lighthouses and watching a couple of folks throwing stuff out of a boat.

By which I mean fishing lines or something, not like furniture!

My local station

The Trainline - Your local station is Scotland

I got a promotional email from The Trainline today. Just how small do they think Scotland is?

Notice the highlighted text in the top-right (rounded) corner:

your local station is Scotland

Great! Well I’m glad that puts an end to the discussion I was having the other night about whether Cupar or Leuchars railway station is closest to Anstruther. The definitive answer, from the railway ticket company is: Scotland!