About Me

I was born in Luton, known for hat making, Vauxhall cars, London Luton Airport and a great football team who once beat Arsenal at Wembley in a Cup Final, currently languishing in non-league football for the 4th season. I moved to Edinburgh in 1990 and now live in Leith, Edinburgh's 'waterfront'.

Married for 24 years to Louise (who is on day release from Fife), I have 4 children: Holly (aged 28) who's studying medicine at Dundee University, William (aged 26) at the Army Foundation College, Harrogate, Alice (aged 23) and Maddie (aged 16).

We live in a 226 year old Georgian house which we are slowly renovating. We once had a note from an artist posted through the letterbox asking if our semi-derelict house was available to rent as studio space. Things have improved lately; the stonework has been repaired and we have shiny new railings. Just the inside to do now then.

Current CNPS score: 999

Header Image: Richard Bloomfield

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    My work mainly involves putting together dynamic (database driven) websites, based around code which I have been developing. When it came to blogging, I decided to go down the Blogger route initially rather than adapting my own software, just because it was there and didn’t involve me in any work.

    However, I decided it was now time to move on to something better. I looked at the various packages available and reassesed the work involved in adapting my own software and I decided that WordPress is hard to beat. It’s simplicity itself to set up, it’s easy to get at the code and hack it, there are bags of plug-ins which are a doddle to install and I’m not reliant on Blogger. I even managed to import everything from Blogger and from my own comments system in no time at all.

    I know it doesn’t look much different but that’s the next step. And I may even write something in it occassionaly.

    Sweating it out

    We’ve been awaiting some test results for Maddie.

    When she was in the Sick Kids with her recent bottom trouble, we were told that one of the remotely possible causes could be Cystic Fibrosis. This came as a bit of a shock, especially as we’d already had 2 tests done at the pre-natal stage. One involved both Louise and I taking a mouthwash test which they analise to see if we are carriers of the faulty gene, the other is one of the tests done as part of the amniocentisis analysis. You’d think that after being told both tests were clear that the possibility of Cystic Fibrosis was ruled out. Wrong.

    Cystic Fibrosis, we are now told, can be caused by any one of a thousand possible mutations of the gene. Mutations tend to prevail in population masses, i.e. the prominent mutation in Scotland is different to that in England or, say, France. The mouthwash test only looks for the commonest local mutation and therefore doesn’t rule the condition out completely. The amnio test, which I thought was absolute, also appears to test only for the more likely mutations.

    So, back to the recent test. Cystic Fibrosis affects the transport mechanisms for fluids in parts of the body and the main effects are a decrease in excretion of fluids in the lungs and improper function of the pancreas. The symptoms can be quite mild at Maddie’s age, so the main method of testing is called a sweat test. A large patch is stuck across the back and a mild electric current is passed through the skin. The electrolyte levels in the sweat then give a good indication of the presence of the condition. Maddie had this test on Tuesday.

    Yesterday the consultant’s secretary phoned and said the results were ‘reassuringly normal’. This still doesn’t mean she’s definitely clear, just that the odds on her having it are getting less and less. We have a meeting with the consultant on Thursday when I’m sure he’ll explain the situation further but I think we’ve reached the stage where we can stop worrying about it.

    These are my thoughts and perceptions based on our experience with Maddie and there may therefore be things I’ve written here which are not absolutely acurate. A thorough article about CF diagnosis can be found here if anybody wants the full technical stuff.