TODAY I accompanied Mrs Rippers to a physio session for mums to be and I must admit it was a bit of an eye opener.
There were about 20 mums there in all and we sat around in a big circle and listened to the physio recommending all sorts of weird and wonderful things to take the pressure off the ligaments as the bump starts to grow.
Mrs R is showing quite proudly now, and the one thing this little session did was appease her anxieties and make her realise that some people are in a lot more discomfort than she is. She still has her bad days of feeling a bit nauseous and very tired, but she certainly hasn't been succumbing to any of the aches and pains that some of the other mums have been experiencing.
Still, it was interesting to learn all the information about posture and ways to sit, sleep and generally change your approach to cope with the growing sprog inside her.
While at the class, two of the mums felt a bit feint and had to go and lie down. Mrs R, though, trooper that she is, battled through and took in all the information available.
I have to admit, too, that the whole thing was a bit of an eye opener for me, particularly the section about Pelvic Floor Exercises.
Now, whenever I had heard that phrase before I had an image of a big mat being put out and the expectant mum having to do handstands, headstands and back flips across the mat from one corner to the other, with varying degrees of difficulty, in the manner of a rather weighty version of Olga Korbut. In short, I thought they were floor exercises done, rather like in the Olympics, to improve the strength of the pelvis. How wrong I could be.
For the pelvic floor isn't actually a mat placed on the floor, but the section of the body linking all a woman's personal bits, and the exercises are actually a case of relaxing and contracting muscles to make life a bit easier when it comes to the final push when baby is finally catapulted out into the world. I feel much wiser after the event, but as none of this takes place outside the body, I am wondering exactly how I can mark my missus for degree of difficulty, merit and artistic impression when I can't see what is going on.
Still, for conscientiousness alone, and following rigid disciplines to make sure the birth goes swimmingly (including packing up those two old pals of alcohol and nicotine), I think she deserves a perfect 10. Then again, I am probably a wee bit like the old iron curtain judges... biased to the extreme.
The council have been back with more poison and more advice... but Ridsdale seems to be going from strength to strength. The amount of excavating our rat has done - and I now consider him a bit of a pet, to be truthful - I fully expect he will have built a new conservatory for our property within a couple of months.
The man from the council thinks he is trying to get out, burrowing away in the manner of Michael Scofield and Lincoln Burrows (perhaps Burrows being the more appropriate) in that wonderful series Prison Break. I have my doubts because I have now unblocked the hole I originally blocked up in order to give him an escape route but, as yet, he hasn't taken the option. In fact, the council ratman thinks that is the reason Ridsdale has managed to chew a sizeable chunk out of the coconut matting by the back door - because he can sense the draught and is atttempting to dig his way out from there.
But it also serves another purpose. Apparently our indestructable rodent is quite partial to a bit of coconut matting for his supper.
The council man has now put some giant rat trap by the back door. It looks like one of those archaic torture devices found in the London dungeon. I am actually willing Ridsdale to find another way out, because I don't really want to find him decapitated in the kitchen on rising in the morning. Might put Mrs R off her porridge, too - and she LOVES her porridge.
Still, with his knack of defeating all previous efforts to get rid of Ridsdale I doubt he is going to fall for a big metal contraption parked on our back mat. More likely, I'll have a few drinks, tread on it by mistake, and find myself missing a little toe.