I am writing this at just gone 6am in the morning having had to take my little treasure Olivia Jasmine for a walk in the buggy. Not my preferred time for a walk I must admit, but it's actually quite refreshing with the birds singing and the cool air.
Parents always tell you about sleepless nights when you have a child but you never quite realise how little sleep you get until it comes to you. Having dozed off for a good, solid four hours in the evening when the Fat Kid turned up to see her new sis and the Vin Monster his auntie ("What, how can she be? She's a baby", he cried), Olivia decided that the night is her time and that she would not settle for mum and dad to get some rest.
After a number of feeds that turned mum into a walking zombie, and more nappy changes than you can shake a pooh stick at, the only solution in the end was the fresh air. Already, I have the feeling Livvy will be a country girl. The first breath of a breeze on her face, and the first sound of birds tweeting, sends her into an almost serene calm which, having wailed off and on for the previous four hours, is a blessing, I can tell you. Mind you, my pecs are beginning to resemble those of Geoff Capes having had to lug the car seat from pillar to post over these last few days.
On Thursday we registered Livvy for her birth certificate, so she can now get a passport if she wants which, knowing the meagre state of my finances, won't be any time soon.
She has already made a starring appearance in the Bristol Evening Post, too, so is showing a hankering for picture bylines. The reporter rang up and asked what we wanted her to be and I couldn't help thinking, "Anything but a journalist. Get a proper job that actually pays proper money." Then, hopefully, she will be able to look after me in my old age - though by the time she is 30 I'll be 80 and I can't honestly envisage getting there.
Of course, normally in a World Cup year I would be watching every single moment of football on the tv but, what with running around after Mrs Rippers, who still has a way to go on her rehab and can't overdo it after the major surgery she has undergone, and working my magic as the sleep inducer for Little Liv, I have barely seen a moment in the last two weeks.
Must admit, though, I wish I hadn't seen England's dreadful demise. It reminds me of three days before the birth when the sports desk of the Screws descended on Batman (Cape, remember?) to watch the Algeria game.
All the other lads were ordering the beer in bulk but I had to cry off because I feared Mrs R could go into labour and I would have to make the three-hour trip back to Bristol to be there in time for the birth.
Half way through the second half, with everyone's pre-game optimism sinking with the realisation Capello's brave boys were going to be held to a 0-0 draw, boss Macca jabbed me in the shoulder and said: "Hey Rippers, if your wife goes into labour, can I go instead?"
Yeah, British sporting disappointment abounds. England crushed 4-1 by Germany and denied a goal that landed about two feet over the line (the ultimate irony after 1966), though their so-called superstars deserved nothing else, and Andy Murray out of Wimbledon in straight sets. Ever felt it was groundhog day?
Still, pleased with the Gas who have actually made three impressive signings. They are all relatively young and have lots to prove.
I was actually fearing our manager Paul Trollope was going to go and pay out for ageing, lacklustre, care-less players who would just drain our meagre wage bill and show no passion in return... like Lampard, Terry and Gerrard, for instance.