The price of everything


Juno’s first 100 words

Here’s our 19 month old’s first 100 words. Roughly in order of appearance. She started to speak with any coherence in November and the last two months have been amazing.

It’s interesting (to us at least) that verbs, adjectives and (especially) prepositions are starting to appear –  enabling lovely little sentence fragments such as “legs hot”, “daddy up” and “boobies out”

1. Mummy
2. daddy
3. Doggie
4. Yes
5. No
6. up
7. stop
8. tiger
9. Oops
10. Car
11. Hot
12. Cow
13. Moo
14. Duck
15. Ears
16. Eyes
17. Mouth
18. Nose
19. Teeth
20. Knee
21. Toes
22. Bye
23. Bird
24. Beep
25. More
26. Pop!
27. Bee
28. Mole
29. Step
30. Door
31. Nice
32. Miaow
33. Dark
34. Buzz
35. Ouch
36. Stick
37. Plop
38. Socks
39. Man
40. Shop
41. Lele (ukulele)
42. Snacks
43. Ball
44. Woof
45. Wheels
46. Wee
47. Stick
48. Mouse
49. Doll
50. Shoes
51. Baby
52. Bra
53. Boy
54. Oh no
55. Boobie
56. wash
57. Hand
58. Hat
59. Ham
60. Lid
61. In
62. Out
63. CD
64. down
65. In
66. Off
67. Horse
68. Cheese
69. Whoosh
70. Water
71. Bag
72. Wag
73. Bin
74. Wardrobe
75. Scissors
76. Leaf
77. Lid
78. Box
79. Legs
80. Lucy
81. Nap (nappy)
82. Spoon
83. Walk
84. Zip
85. Lid
86. But = tummy button
87. Lock
88. Wet
89. Pull
90. Push
91. Bag
92. Lila (a friend)
93. Suit (sleep suit)
94. Wag
95. Mud
96. Mag (magnet)
97. Book
98. Bed
99. Scarf
100. Trolley


Juno’s favourite books

A great book for babies/toddlers is one that is fun to read again and again. Here’s a list of the ones our 15 month old seems to enjoy the most – often with smiles of recognition on certain pages, or pointing to favourite images. They’re all board books to handle the chewing era.

In no particular order:

Horton hears a Hoo

I love the rhythm of the words in this. It bounces along quite nicely and is completely hatstand in conceit. His use of the word ‘lad’ makes me feel qiote sure Seuss has (or should have) northern roots.


A Squash and a squeeze

A fun tale that feels like it ought to have been around for centuries. There is an underlying message about not being greedy, but it’s very subtle and not at all hectoring.


Goodnight Moon

A book for bedtime, this is about 60 years old and – I think – better known in North America. The pace always mesmerises our little one and she invariably sits through it without getting fidgety.


Mog the forgetful cat

Again, this one is usually a complete read-through, which is amazing given the images are pretty plain and the text is plentiful. But the story is lovely and there is the always enjoyable appearance of a big, furry, striped tiger in the middle


Brown Bear, brown bear, what do you see

Simple, hypnotic, colourful and enjoyable to chant.


Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy

It won’t be long before you know the names and order of the doggies who go for an adventure. A stone cold classic – and our first exposure to the toughest tom in town.



The #1 best kids book we’ve found so far. It’s read every night without fail. A brilliant story, fun to read and full of imagery and wit.


The very hungry caterpillar

A beautiful tale. It was only on the third reading that I realised I’d had this read to me as a kid.

Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack

More Hairy adventures. The wonderfully cyclical tale of a sensitive dog and a keen, but helpful duck. Some amazing writing too – the pace of the running is brilliantly told.

Slinky Malinki Early Bird

More from the Maclary stable. This time the cameo cat gets a spinoff. A funny early morning tale that all cat owners will identify with


The Paper Dolls

Makes me cry every time. The bittersweet tale of loss and nostalgia. Just amazing.


Spot Loves his dad

Simple and lovely


The tiger who came to tea

A total classic which, I believe anyway, is actually the recounting of Sophie’s dream about a tiger that she’s prompted to tell when she sees a stripey cat in the street.


The snowy day

Didn’t like this at first, but I’ve come to love the flow and wonder of this American tale of a magical snowy day.


Pantone colour books

These are six super simple, short books about colour. Each page has an item in that colour and our one year old loves them every time.


Stick man

More classic Donaldson – with a contrived but clever twist


Room on the broom

I just love doing the witch voice (and not just when reading this book)



Girl power




Beauty without vanity

Near this Spot

are deposited the Remains of one

who possessed Beauty without Vanity,

Strength without Insolence,

Courage without Ferocity,

and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.

This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery

if inscribed over human Ashes,

is but a just tribute to the Memory of

Boatswain, a Dog

who was born in Newfoundland May 1803

and died at Newstead Nov. 18th, 1808

When some proud Son of Man returns to Earth,

Unknown to Glory, but upheld by Birth,

The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,

And storied urns record who rests below.

When all is done, upon the Tomb is seen,

Not what he was, but what he should have been.

But the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend,

The first to welcome, foremost to defend,

Whose honest heart is still his Master’s own,

Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,

Unhonoured falls, unnoticed all his worth,

Denied in heaven the Soul he held on earth –

While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,

And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,

Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power –

Who knows thee well, must quit thee with disgust,

Degraded mass of animated dust!

Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,

Thy tongue hypocrisy, thy heart deceit!

By nature vile, ennobled but by name,

Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.

Ye, who behold perchance this simple urn,

Pass on – it honours none you wish to mourn.

To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;

I never knew but one — and here he lies.


Remain in light

I ought to vote to Leave. In my middle age, I’m sceptical of bureaucracy and a believer in free enterprise. I love the plurality of culture in Europe but I’m wary of hitching our economies together, three-legged race style. 
But I’m also afraid of rising nationalism, isolationism and blaming other people for our problems. Let’s not retreat and hide bitterly indoors, it’s better to contribute to our community and change things for the better. 



Roy of the Rovers lives


St George’s Day

Australia Day, St Patrick’s Day and July 4 all suit their nations’ perfectly. 
And so it is with St George’s Day – we English find it all very awkward and would rather not make a fuss.


The Woodentops

Went to see the Woodentops last night. They were doing a play-through of Giant plus greatest hits. It was lovely nostalgia. I maintain that the first time I saw them in 1988 was the most fun I ever had at a gig.




Sacha Baron Cohen on WTF. Easily one of the most entertaining and jaw dropping podcasts I’ve ever heard. Enjoy.


World’s best train platform view

Blackfriars, platform 1  





Winter is coming

I tell people that my birthday marks the day when it suddenly starts to get cold. I’m not being an old goth – it’s true.   


He saved every one of us


The Beehive

 On an awayday at the original Gatwick main terminal, built in art deco glory in 1935. You can just imagine the cocktails and glamour.   


Handling Halloween

For the front door tonight


Wide woods



Autumnal beauty


Big Ben

Dad visit-27

Handheld 200mm/f2.8 at 1/3200 ISO 100


Sunset from the Shard



Taken using my new Sony A7R II. Loving the dynamic range (that you can see the sun and also the hands of Big Ben)

Dad visit-78


I didn’t get where I am today without loving Reggie Perrin