D’ya hear yer man

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New addition

Early next year a new addition is due to arrive in the Cousins household.

The new member of the family will have a thirst for milk, will look good in dungarees and is likely to leave a trail of destruction wherever they go.

That’s right, we’re adopting BA Baracus.

I’m kidding of course. We’re having another baby.

Karen will be 13 weeks pregnant on Thursday so she’s roughly a third of the way there. By the start of April when the new baby is due Lucy will be a year and four months and more than capable of taking on her share of babysitting duties.

I’m not great with keeping secrets so I’m giving myself a pat on the back for having kept quiet for so long. I’m told 12 weeks is generally the time when it’s socially acceptable to let people know. I can’t remember when I went public with the news Lucy was on the way - probably earlier than I should have - but I make no apologies for my excitement.

I’m equally excited about number two, but this time round I have the gift of experience, the benefit of hindsight and the distraction of number one to curb my desire to gossip.

Our parents have known for a good while, which goes without saying, and we’ve also shared the good news with the majority of our friends.

A few people have reacted by suggesting we must be hoping for a boy to which my standard response, with my tongue firmly in my cheek, is, “Yes, we will only accept a boy. If it’s another girl I’ll be asking the doctor for a redraw.”

The truth is we’re not fussy what we get. All we’re hoping for is that he or she is healthy and happy.

Additional essential qualities include the ability to walk by the age of three months, to recite the Greek alphabet by six months, and to be eating with chopsticks by a year. Desirable qualities are listed as in-built night vision, a minimum of seven senses and a degree in Economics.

It would also be really nice if they grew up to be an Olympic Gold medalist, set foot on the moon or discover a cure for cancer but if they only manage two out of three we’ll not fall out over it. There’s nothing worse than a parent who puts unreasonable pressure on their child.

Alone Partridge

Last Friday night I went out on my own. It wasn’t what I’d planned to do but fate conspired to send me walking along the Ormeau embankment with only the moon for company.

When I woke up on Friday morning I was to be part of a quiz team taking part in a specialist Alan Partridge quiz in Belfast’s Menagerie bar. By tea time I was the only team member left standing.

I thought about giving it a miss considering I was going to be on my own, but then I asked myself, “What would Alan Gordon Partridge do?”

He’d go it alone and finish in a very respectable fifth place was the answer I decided upon.

After drinking a Partridge-based carry-out of half a bottle of Blue Nun, I donned my sports jacket and headed out on a moonlight stroll to the venue. I was pleased to be greeted by a friendly face on my arrival. It turns out one of the guys running the quiz was from Lurgan.

I found a spot at the bar and ordered a drink in anticipation of the quiz starting. The first round set the benchmark very high, but my score of eight points put me in joint first place. Back of the net!

During round two I was joined at the bar by three latecomers who offered me help and by round three I’d accepted their assistance and they’d become associate members of my team. By round four it was established that two of my new team mates were from Lurgan. A small world indeed. By round five the coincidences got even more uncanny when they revealed that in my capacity as a Lurgan Mail reporter I’d interviewed one of their family members for the paper that very week.

A great night was concluded by toasting our fifth place finish with a round of black and vile-tasting shots.

I had been nervous about going out alone, but it turned out to be a cracking night.

One thing I’ve learnt from the experience is: aim for the bar and you’ll never be too far away from another Lurgan man.

Weekly teaser

Last week’s answer was: There are only two pears in the pear tree. When the wind blows there are neither pears on the tree nor pears on the ground because one singular pear is in the tree and one is on the ground.

Here’s this week’s teaser: What is special about the following sequence of numbers?

8 5 4 9 1 7 6 10 3 2 0