Saturday, 31 October 2009

Yes We Can.


Change. It's a frightening and wonderful thing. Please be kind enough to vote on my new survey; having a little direction should help me evolve this little blog of mine and stop me waffling aimlessly on from one entry to the next.

Most kind,

AMK

Thursday, 29 October 2009

It's Not all Work, Work, Work (at Least I Hope Not)

Samuel Johnson once said, apparently, that when a man is tired of London he is tired of life. Today I got my first taste of the Big Smoke and so far I think old Sam was onto something, despite Mummy trying to make it as boring as possible. You see, with all the incredible adventures to be had in our fair capital, all we did was visit Mummy's work and then Daddy's office. Dull, dull, dull.

My first adventure on a train was relatively unremarkable. After Mummy lugged me and my buggy up all the stairs at Hampton Wick we boarded successfully and chugged to Victoria. The train is a funny place during the day - it seems full of college students, old people and the insane.

Once we arrived at Victoria a nice man helped us get down some stairs before we made a dash for Mummy's work where we met her Capita friends. It was nice to meet them all but I think it was strange for Mummy. At least I'll be able to imagine what she's up to once I'm at nursery and she's back earning the pennies. After a nice long natter with the girls, we made a dash along the river to see Daddy.

Daddy works for a bank so I was expecting his work friends to be wearing braces and looking glum. Thankfully they were just the opposite - no braces to be seen and plenty of smiles. Auntie Caroline took me for a stroll round the office; I issued a few suggestions and recommended that one trader move his krugerrands out of lichtenstein before I realised that Daddy works in marketing and isn't a proper banker at all (he does little more then play 'spot the difference' all day long, except when he's got his colouring pens out).

All three of us then wondered back to Waterloo before hopping on the train home. This time it was full of commuters - all silent, surly and sleepy (I prefer the insane and unemployed). I enjoyed my day today and now I know what this "work" thing has in store. But all things considered, it rather gets in the way of enjoying London.

AMK

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

3 Months Old Today


A quarter to one.

AMK

Monday, 26 October 2009

Kingston Junior Book Club

Billy and me joined a book club today. The plan was to act all cultured in order to check out girls. Unfortunately, it was only the two of us so we actually had to read a book. Lorks a lordy.


It was a simple story about a singing farmer. Young Billy seemed to enjoy it, but if you ask me Old MacDonald is nothing short of insane.

AMK

Friday, 23 October 2009

Toy Boy

I've not been on my own for more than the 6 minutes it takes Mummy to get showered and dressed in the morning (unless you count night times in my cot). But it seems that the older you get the more time you need on your own - at least that's what Mummy told Daddy. We left him on his own for a day or two so he could do some work and have a beer with Uncle Phil.

I don't get it. I can't get enough of seeing my chums and meeting new people. Here I am meeting up with my girl Sophie at GG and Grandpa's house. We always have fun, although here's clear evidence she's trying to steal my caterpillar. Sophie is 6 months old now and I'm only just about to be 3; one day I shall remind her that one day she was double my age.

AMK

Monday, 19 October 2009

Flyweight to Featherweight

Daddy's still hanging around the place, but I hear he's going back to work tomorrow to leave Mummy and me in peace. But while he's here I guess it is quite nice to troop around, the three of us.

This afternoon we went to the clinic where the nice ladies strip me off and put me in the big silver dish for the weigh-in. After a slow start it now seems I'm packing on the pounds and am no longer in the runner bean category. Smiles all round.

Everyone there is nice - Mummy always makes friends and I check out the other boys and girls. (Daddy said it's good that only Mummies and babies tend to go to the weigh-in; if it was full of Daddies then it would become ultra competitive.)

This morning wasn't so great. Poor Mummy had to go to the hospital where the doctor told her she's definitely got stones in her tummy and will have to have an operation.

If I'd known they were in there I could have brought them out with me back in July.

AMK

And I Want a Bike and a Monkey and a Friend for the Monkey

When my hair is spikey, old ladies will cross the road to come and touch it. Cars stop in the street, people wave and cheer. I look damn good, what can I say.

But today, just for a moment, I lost my spikes. My hair went floppy and Daddy said I turned into Ralph Wiggum.

Daddy goes back to work tomorrow and I'm glad.

AMK

Sunday, 18 October 2009

We're in Cardigans and Ready to Rock

I felt like Braveheart today: I issued a rallying cry and Clan Kerr descended onto Teddington to ruffle up the locals and to belatedly announce my arrival properly. Nanna and Grandad were the first to arrive but neither were in kilts and I'm pretty certain Grandad hadn't painted his bottom blue. (But he was wearing a cardigan that matched mine, which I thought was cool.)

Auntie Stephanie came too. I always like seeing my auntie; she makes me chuckle and we have a nice play. But the biggest surprise was meeting Great Auntie Ave and Great Uncle Mike (Nanna said Ave would love to be called Great Auntie).

Daddy cooked a great big feast for everyone (except me, as usual). Ave is very loud and jolly and tells good jokes. I sat on her knee and we had a good old chat before we all took a stroll down to the river.

I like being part of the Kerr Clan. And I'm glad we wear cardigans and not kilts.

AMK

Friday, 16 October 2009

Phileas Fogg has Nothing on Me

According to Giles Whittell writing for The Times "the skies were cleared over much of Colorado yesterday when a homemade flying saucer broke free of its tether and soared for two hours along the edge of the Rockies as rescuers chased it on the ground and in the air, believing a six-year-old boy was inside.

The US Air Force and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) were alerted and two helicopters of the Colorado Air National Guard mobilised to chase the balloon.

The FAA drew up plans to pluck it from the sky with hoists such as those designed during the Cold War for the mid-air recovery of returning space capsules. It also considered using a microlight for a mid-air rescue or even ordering Air National Guard helicopters to try to force the balloon down with the downdraft from their rotors.

The balloon’s 40-mile flight was followed so closely by emergency services that they were on the scene within seconds when it finally touched down. A sheriff’s deputy sprinted across a ploughed field and grabbed a tether to prevent it becoming airborne again. Rescue workers were dreading what they would find inside.

They soon had their answer: nothing. For Falcon Heene had been safe at home all along, hiding in a box in the attic over his father’s garage."

It's uncanny, but our chum Falcon has since been approached by Disney to promote their new 3D animated extravaganza 'Up'. I wonder whether that was the motivation behind Mummy buying me my very own helium balloon?

video

AMK

Hello Bears. Hello Bed. Hello Home.

Norfolk is a jolly old place. I've now seen the sea, trod the boards of Cromer Pier, hitched a ride across Holkham sands and this afternoon I even made friends with the locals in the Vernon Arms.

Sitting next to the roaring fire in an old Chesterfield, I was chatting to Daddy over a pint of Old RumbleGuts when one bearded fellow in work boots asked me for a dose of my gripe water; it seems one of his chums was suffering a little heartburn. A sachet of Gaviscon later and we were all as thick as thieves.

All good things must eventually come to an end though, and today we packed up the car and headed home. We got as far as Hertford and had a stop-over at Auntie Sophie's to see her and Tabitha Toes. Auntie Amy and Ellie were there too, which meant we had enough people to make it a party. There was food and drink flying around the place (literally) and I got to spend some qualiy time with my girls (Ellie, the minx, was wearing a very flirty outfit and wouldn't stop trying to hold my hand).

Just before we left, I couldn't help but over-hear plenty of adult talk about my captain, my weasle, my winky - a pitfall of being the only chap in the gang.

So, here we are, back at home. I will look back on my first holiday with fond, fond memories and I hope to go back to see my friends in the Vernon soon. Now it's off to my own bed, my bears and a good night's sleep.

AMK

Monday, 12 October 2009

AMK is on Vacation. Again.



1 Day, 2 New Friends and 3 New Counties

This time last year M&D were on a big adventure. Exploring sunny San Francisco, pootling through the Napa Valley, driving up into the mountains to gamble in Tahoe and generally having a grand old time state-side.

This year, largely thanks to yours truly, they chose to holiday a little more close to home. After agonising over the options, it finally came down to taking a caravan on the Isle of Wight or a cottage in Norfolk.


So here we are in East Anglia outside the little cottage that will be home for a week.

As previously mentioned, I do have the Rolls Royce of buggies but for some reason Daddy decided to ignore it and strap me to his chest. It was very jolly going for a stroll with him around the village, although it was completely humiliating meeting the locals dressed like a freakin' pixie.

The trip up here was a jolly one. I slept in the car, surrounded by stuff (there wasn't a single cubic centimetre of space not taken up with my things), but we took a pit-stop in Essex to see Auntie Kimbers and young Henry. Us boys got on like a house on fire; we broke the ice by discussing the fluke result of the recent Arsenal/Rovers match (6-2) before playing with his toys and chillaxing in front of the TV. M&D and Auntie K just ate cake. I hope to see them again soon and meet Uncle Phil, but it won't be long before all us boys are going to gigs.

AMK

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Fitness First

It's important to treat one's body with respect: to exercise regularly and to consume good stuff only in moderation. I think it's fair to say that I do both but there are those in my crew who take it to a whole new level.

My friend Billy, for example, celebrated his second birthday by going to the gym. Fanatic! We all rocked up and to 'celebrate' we were put through our paces by a cross between Valerie Singleton (all child-friendly bonhomie) and Rosemary Conley (all ill-fitting spandex and constant under-lying threat of physical violence). I sat out for most of it and eyed-up the cake with Daddy.

But it was all very motivating and it's since encouraged me to join up a local roller-skating club. If you watch closely you can see me throwing some shapes in the background.



And that's just fuelled by water. You should see us after a pint.

AMK

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Bonjour tout le monde!

Apparently it's a small world out there: the entire globe is no more than a village, so they say. Teddington's a village and it feels pretty big to me, so I'm confused. But when the time comes to experience foreign climes I'm going to be prepared - I will become a cosmopolitan man of the world.

It dawned on me today, however, that some of my friends are already well on their way to developing a broader global view. Alice and Harriet, for example, have the benefit of being bought-up bi-lingual. Alice already speaks English and French (sacre bleu!), which is very clever. Harriet, meanwhile, also speaks English and Blackburn. Ask her where the nearest cashpoint is and she'll direct you to the closest ATM and/or the local hole'ith'wall!

CORRECTION: I've been reliably informed that Harriet is tri-lingual. You see, Auntie Karen is teaching her to speak Staines Massif, aye innit.

I will ask Nathalie to teach me how to speak Frenchy so I can read my Nicholas and the Gangbooks as they were written. Mangetout.

AMK

Saturday, 3 October 2009

It's not all Me, Me, Me. (At Least not all of the Time.)

Celebrating one’s birth day is entirely acceptable and something that friends and family should endorse and enjoy. Perhaps to mark a significant milestone, an entire weekend might be set aside for festivities. But Daddy is now into his fourth day of fun and frolics to celebrate an entirely inconsequential age; it all seems rather OTT if you ask me.

Today he disappeared off to play golf with Lauchlan “Hongi” Cameron and Stephen, his friend from work. I didn’t mind too much because it left me to spend a few hours with Mummy, Abi and Charlotte in Kingston (Daddy’s welcome to his sticks and balls!).

We all met up in the afternoon at home for some chow. I got to spend some time with everyone and tried hard not to have a little cry as all the attention got a bit much.

I suppose I should concede that the old boy has some nice friends and I shouldn't really begrudge him some playtime; him and Mummy would become very dull very quickly if it was all about me all of the time.

AMK

P.S. Stephen showed me how to flick up the collar on my polo shirt. He is a very stylish man.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Call me the Weatherman. Here's my Forecast.

Daddy seems to be milking this birthday malarky, but I'm happy to tag along for the ride. You see, Nanna and Grandad came to visit today for a birthday dinner to celebrate Daddy getting even older and they bought mesome funky new threads.

While I didn't fancy digging into their supper, Nanna did give me my night time bottle. Cardiff is a long, long way away but when M&D finally get round to buying a big old house they can come and stay lots.

But that won't be for a while, sadly, if Daddy and Grandad are right (they're always moaning about the economy; they're never happier than when they're having a good moan). You see, according to Fitch, the ratings agency, recent gains in the main UK house price indices is only a temporary respite. The agency continues to expect that UK house prices will fall approximately 30% overall from the October 2007 peak. Prices are currently 13% down from that peak, having dipped as low as 19% down in Q1 2009.

The UK's average house price to income ratio remains significantly higher than the long term average, with the drag of rising unemployment, still yet to peak, and low wage inflation yet to be significantly reflected in house prices.

Furthermore, recent easing in credit availability may also prove to be temporary as Fitch expects lending appetite to be pro-cyclical with the performance of house prices and the credit performance of the underlying borrowers. The deep interest rate cuts of late 2008 have eased affordability for a large proportion of mortgage borrowers. This has in turn led to a stabilisation in major performance indices such as 3-months plus arrears and foreclosure rates. Although Fitch expects the UK base rate to remain at its current low level of 0.5% throughout 2010, rising unemployment could trigger deterioration in these performance indices. It is likely that mortgage lenders would respond by further tightening lending criteria.

Attractively priced funding over 80% loan-to-value (LTV) remains scarce, despite the fact that some lenders have recently increased the LTV limits at which they are prepared to lend. The average UK house price is approximately £162,000. If mortgage availability stabilises at current LTV limits, according to data from the Nationwide Building Society this would necessitate a first time buyer having approximately £32,000 in cash as a deposit to buy a house.

I might have to dip into my savings to help them out. But only if I get the biggest room.

AMK