My wife Kate gave birth to a beautiful baby girl last Monday – and what a momentous day it was.
Indiana Nell Sidebottom weighed in at 5 pounds 7oz, which is tiny considering the size of the rest of my family!
We went in at 6.30am, but did not move into theatre until 4.30pm and, at one point, we thought we were going to have to come back the next day.
My mum and dad spent the afternoon waiting for news in a Nottingham pub, ringing me at 30-minute intervals.
I was just on the phone when the midwife ran over and told me that this was it.
Indiana was born at 4.50pm. It was very hectic and at the same time overwhelming. My dad, who has always prided himself on being a tough Yorkshireman, was crying – and that set me off!
I was absolutely chuffed to bits and loved the five days I got to spend at home. It is all that I imagined it would be.
It was obviously a big wrench to then leave for South Africa and that is something that people don’t always realise professional sportsmen have to deal with.
Sometimes players cannot see their families for months. It is the same for all the guys out here.
People have had a go at Steve Harmison about his commitment in the past, but he has got four kids, so you can’t blame him for wanting to look after them.
It will be about five weeks until my family will come out to South Africa for a family holiday.
The ECB are pretty good like that and look after us. You certainly need that kind of support and if things aren’t going well from a cricketing point of view it can be just the lift you need.
Indiana was born in Nottingham – unfortunately we didn’t manage to get up the road into Yorkshire!
But I can’t see her being a bowler for the county anyway - her dad won’t let her!
I HAVE just about acclimatised now after flying out on Saturday, but I did not enjoy our first full day of training on Tuesday – I was shattered and certainly slept pretty well that night.
It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, that first one never gets any better and always ‘kills’ you.
It can make you as stiff as a board and then comes the dreaded ice bath, which is probably even worse than the training!
You have to make sure you have three or four layers on because there are certain parts of the body that don’t take too kindly to the ice!
At the same time, though, they do play an important part in helping us to recover from any aches and pains you may have, so it is very much a necessary evil.
After the three weeks I had at Loughborough before flying out, I now have two more weeks of intensive training and then we will be into the Test matches.
There is not much time to rest and recover in between, so if you have niggles you can sometimes miss two or three games. With the way tours are packed together it can be quite hard being a cricketer away from home.
At the moment I am training with the young Lions squad and it’s great to see at first hand some of the next generation of players that are coming through.
The first Test starts on December 14 and we meet up on December 5. I could have come out as cover for the one-dayers that are taking place now, but obviously that was not going to happen with what has been going on at home.
But once I join up with the senior squad, I’ll be giving it my all to force my way into the side.
I GOT in a last bit of television before I went away. Yes, you guessed it, the rugby league Four-Nations final, Question of Sport and some Strictly Come Dancing!
Of course, the rugger was the serious one and I thought the England lads did well, even if they couldn’t quite make it a double ‘Ashes’ win after our success in the summer.
They played really well in the first half but then in the second the Australians moved up a gear and took the game away from us.
As a Bradford Bulls fan I will be sad to see Sam Burgess leave for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, but I think he showed he can do well over there.
Tony Smith is returning to Warrington after coaching the national team, but I think they still have a bright future because there are some good young players coming through.
I was one of the answers on last week’s Question of Sport – who was the 11th and last England player to take a hat-trick in a Test – and I was horrified that Jimmy Anderson, guesting on the show, only just got it in the end!
Wait ‘til I see him when I meet up with him for the Test series…
Then there was Tuffers (Phil Tufnell), on Strictly, who has finally been voted off.
Speaking to him when I was on Question of Sport, he told me he expected to get knocked out in the first couple of weeks – he would certainly have been surprised to get as far as he did.
It turned out he could shake the hips after all, though not as well as that man Mark Ramprakash.
IT’S tough on the Notts boys, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann, that they have missed out on the start of the one-day series for England.
But the nature of international cricket and the fact there is so much of it now means it is inevitable every player is going to have their injury problems from time to time – I know that better than anyone.
Whether you are a fast bowler, spinner or even a batsman, the fact we are training and practicing a lot of the days we don’t play can take its toll eventually.
As a player, all you can do is take it on the chin and try to get back into the action as soon as possible.
I’m not sure exactly when they’ll be back, but I’m sure they’ll be fine for the start of the Test series, even if they don’t make the one-dayers.
If the physios fix them up like my new kitchen was before I flew out to South Africa then they’ll definitely be in safe hands.
I had the help of Princess Kitchens, just next to Trent Bridge on Radcliffe Road, and they have done a fantastic job.
Being cricket fans, they more than deserve a couple of complimentary tickets when the Notts season gets under way again next summer.
Ryan Sidebottom writes for the Nottingham Evening Post every Thursday.