Rosa was a month old yesterday. The summer is here. Normality is returning (can anything be normal with three kids?). I might even get the blog back on track. Watch this space.

(click the little pic for a bigger one of Rosa with her Grandad George. Click here for a page of early pics)

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Hydrogen hopes

A good survey of the emerging hydrogen economy from the FT (you’ll need a subscription or a free trial). The carbon establishment is betting on hydrogen because they think it will allow them to carry over their huge economic clout into the new era. They’re probably right. The transition will be so costly that we’re going to need the oil giants to fund it. I think this is going to happen more quickly than anyone expected. In Wired, Peter Schwartz and Doug Randall (strategy gurus at Global Business Network) advance “a massive, Apollo-scale effort to unlock the potential of hydrogen” and rescue America from unending conflict. Meanwhile, New Scientist reports that Boeing is building a hydrogen-powered aeroplane (you’ll also need a sub or a free trial for this one).

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Retail’s future

Johnnie Boden is a new age retailer with conservative attitudes: “In its celebration of warmth, contentment and pleasure in what one already has, Boden is the polar opposite of fashion’s cold, restless, youth-obsessed hunger for the new” (The Guardian). You may not like his stuff but you’re going to be buying your clothes the Boden way soon enough.

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Why I love chamber music more than orchestral music

I don’t think that anything so tender, tragic or complete as Schubert’s String Quintet in C exists in the orchestral repertoire. And nowhere else will you find such passion, love and involvement as among the musicians who play it. An (unidentified) musician from a Radio 4 documentary about the Quintet:

“The expression also comes, I suppose, from loving the music and loving to play with those particular players enough to give away your personality to what they want to do at any given time. So, if you imagine, in the quintet, all five players have the leading voice at different points and you have to be confident enough and love the other four enough to trust them to take you where they want. You need imagination in the players – something that’s not routine, something that’s not “we’ve done this before. We know this piece”. And yet you have to have done it before, you have to know this piece. And yet you have to have a free mind…”

This is brilliant radio (which will presumably have been overwritten by the next programme in the series by now. How annoying is that?). Update: Sure enough, the Schubert programme has been replaced by a George Formby programme.

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In case you’ve been wondering where I’ve been for a couple of weeks…

Rosa with her big sister BillieRosa with her big brother OllyRosie
Since we reset our clocks to baby time on May 1 we’ve been enjoying the hospitality of Watford General Hospital a little more than we expected. First the nice people in the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU, pronounced ‘scooboo’) and then the equally nice folks on the Hornets children’s ward have been entertaining us while they try to figure out why Rosa wasn’t feeding properly and now why she has a temperature.

Right now, Rosa is with her mother in an isolation room, which makes it sound more dramatic than it really is – I think they put tiny babies in these rooms automatically while they figure out what’s wrong. We expect them home tomorrow (Sunday) so normality can’t be far off now…

(the pics show big brother and big sister Olly and Billie trying hard to be gentle. Click the small pics for bigger ones)


Herself, just bornThe recovery roomA beautiful sky over... er... Watford
(click the little pics for bigger ones)
…Rosa May Bowbrick. Just short of 8 lbs in weight, born at 12.05 pm May 1st at Watford General Hospital under an amazing stormy Spring sky. Juliet and baby are both doing well. I’ve taken about a million pictures – so consider yourself lucky. I’ll put some more up on a page of their own as soon as I get time.