The Paynes Blog

A blog about our life


Catherine pregnant with Toby

This must have been right before Toby’s birth as Nonny is in this video, and she came to stay for a few weeks before Toby was due. Mike is filming; Anthony feels Catherine’s tummy, Louise came with Wallace; Abi and Alex are in the video too. (1 minute)…

Here I’m playing with Alexander. (1.5 minutes)…


Uncle Mike’s message to Toby on his 15th birthday

My brother Mike wrote this to Toby on his 15th birthday…

I hope you have a great birthday and to let you know I am thinking about you especially today. I can’t quite believe that you’re already 15 years old. You easily look that age and you act a lot older too. If I look back at the time I was your age (a long time ago, eh?? ;-)) I was just into my 5th year and would do my GCSEs the following summer. I was at boarding school in Leicestershire and I’d just gone from the shittiest dormitory into a room with 2 of my best mates. Finally we were out of a cold, draughty dormitory with no privacy. I think I enjoyed my 5th year at school. Only another year and I’d be in the 6th form when we were allowed to have a drink a couple of nights a week – and even smoke in our common room! Can you believe that? We now had more girls in our year which also made it more interesting! I actually had a serious girlfriend by now but it probably didn’t do me any good as I could only think about her and I just wasn’t interested in my studies. I did OK academically but not brilliantly (and to think I always used to be in the top 3 in my classes). I sometimes look back at those times and regret that I didn’t go to a better university or do something I really loved (I did a business studies degree like your Dad but I hated it). But once you get to my age you hopefully realise you shouldn’t have regrets: just try and make sensible decisions, listen to advice – but make your own mind up. I love my life now: I’ve had ups and downs – and no doubt I’ll have many more in years to come (but that’s life). When I have regrets I think about what I have today and I try and remember to be grateful.


Anyway, there’s some advice for you… 🙂 People older than you will always try and do that (remember these words when you’re my age doing the same thing – maybe to Robin!).

One other thing: your Dad is just awesome. He’s my big brother and yet he’s one of my best mates. He’s one of the wisest, smartest people I know. He’s also one of the weirdest people I know (but Marie thinks even I’m a bit odd!)! You know, he thinks the world of you and he’s really proud of you (as am I!).

Have a great day, Tobes.

Love you loads,
Uncle Mike x

A little later, Mike sent Toby this email… Read More


Photos with Robin

Uncle Mike took some awesome photos of me and Felix in their make-shift studio, they turned out awesome!


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Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood

July 25th 2013

Toby writes… We took the tube into London, and called to visit Uncle Mike at lunchtime.

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Click ‘Read More’ to see 7 other photos.

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Photo Shoot at Uncle Mike’s house

19th June 2013

We went to our Uncle Mike’s house for dinner and to leave Felix with them so me and Dad could watch a late showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

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Click ‘Read More’ to see three more photographs.

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Toby aged 8 months (videos)

My parents came back to the UK in March 2010 when Toby was seven months old. My brother Mike filmed this on Sunday, April 23 2000 when Toby was 8 months and crawling around.

Click on Read More to see a video of Alexander, one of Toby’s cousins…

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Toby is born (videos)

Here are some videos from long ago.

This first one is of Catherine and her mother, Barbara, on August 18, 1999, the day before Toby was born, several hours after her contractions had started. We had recently come back from a shopping trip to a local department store called John Lewis, where Catherine and walked around while she was wired up to a TENS unit to reduce pain. Catherine is sitting on the window ledge in the upstairs living room in our home in Stockport, England, at the time. You can hear Catherine’s mother in the background, before you see her towards the end of this clip…

See videos from just after Toby was born by clicking on Read More!…


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FaceTime on Anthony’s 50th birthday weekend

At the end of November 2011, my brother Anthony celebrated his 50th birthday. The extended family booked a cottage for the weekend. My brother Mike took along his iPhone 4S and Apple TV, and plugged this into the television there, so he could set up a FaceTime video call with me on his iPhone 4S which would throw the video onto the TV…

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