23 March 2016

How time flies

Three years ago I wrote about my awe for families who accomplish tasks whilst pulling out my hair with frustration. We had been in the garden trying to rake up the leaves that had over wintered there, and begin the hell use task of weeding the veg patch.
Fast forward three years to last weekend when MrV, the Count, Ig and myself were once again removing leaves and weeding the veg patch. And once again Ig and the Count were squabbling. But now we have a solution. MrV gave them a warning, and when the bickering continued, set them both to work helping to rake up the masses of leaves. Success!!!!

Very slowly I feel like I'm getting a grip on this thing called life. We are edging forward, by millimetres it's true, with the decorating; we've adopted two cats - Elgar (after Ed Reardon's Week) and Professor McGonagall (aka Fessy or Pestulence) who are sisters. Despite coming to us as teeny wee kittens they seem to have metamorphosised into huge furry things intent only in stalking and killing birds (Fessy) or sponges (Elgar).

Yes sponges. No, I don't know why. But if you live near me and find your cleaning equipment disappears regularly I apologize.

06 March 2013

Time travel

For James Bond and us lesser mortals involves nothing more complicated than driving up the A9. The A9, the most dangerous road in Scotland, goes sort of past us on its way between Perth and Inverness and according to James Bond and M allows you to go back in time. There may be something in that because last week Spring was definitely here. I stood in the Count's bedroom watching the crows bring twigs back to the oak trees for their nests; and delighted in the little clumps of snowdrops scattered about the garden.
But in the last few days it has become decidedly colder, the sky is back to being a steely grey and there is snow forecast for the weekend.
Who knows, maybe next week it will be autumnal again?

05 March 2013

Jam huh?

The paint stripping did not work. Apparently the stuff we have - Polycell's Less Mess - is rubbish and we would be better off using jam. Alas I read this after I had applied the second coat.

We are in the midst of potty training at present. Actually no, the less said about that the better only to note that whilst I admire Ig's incredible willpower I do wish she would just po.......

04 March 2013


I am in awe of parents who get on with things despite having young children about the place. How do they do it? Mine seem intent on sabotaging any act of DIY by either creating such a fuss that the piece of work takes three times as long as it should, or simply by trashing another room so the work is never done.
I'm writing this as someone who spent the weekend practically tearing her hair out in frustration at the impossibility of raking up leaves in the garden without tantrums being thrown and a seemingly never ending stream of demands being issued. Still the leaves did get raked, and the veggie patch partially weeded so it was not the utterly fail that it felt.
Today though this got done

This is our bathroom window in the process of being stripped. It was painted closed some time in the past so it's difficult to get air into the bathroom with the result that mould is beginning to darken the room. Hopefully in stripping it the window will be unsealed.

01 March 2013

Short but sweet

I am rather weary today. I was up at 1am with Ig; then four hours later The Count was awake following a bad dream and wouldn't go back to sleep until I curled up in bed beside him and told him a tale about cross birds and very naughty piggies (he is utterly obsessed with Angry Birds). I am, I confess, a little nervous that he will have a "bad dream" tonight just so he can hear the next part.

28 February 2013

Mum? What's 100 + 100?

The Count is starting to learn addition and subtraction now so we are being bombarded with questions like the one above. He never seems to remember the answers though or he's got his questions on a loop as we get asked the same ones over and over. So this morning I started teaching him how to lay out an addition question and he got it straight away. I thought that might stop the maths quiz but alas no!

Laundry done. A few days ago Ig "decorated" the livingroom with the contents of the ash bucket....
All the couches had to be stripped of their covers which have slowly been making their way into the washing machine. And half a hour ago the last one got hung up to dry hurrah

27 February 2013


It's becoming harder and harder for me to read paper books. MrV bought me a Kindle for my birthday and I love it. It's so much easier to read a book on that and, alas, far too easy for me to buy books for it too.
But I'm reading a paper book at present, one that MrV bought me for Christmas. It's Elanor Dymott's debut novel Every Contact Leaves A Trace. A dark and quite bewitching tale about the husband of a murdered woman and his discovery that perhaps he didn't know his wife as well as he had thought. I'm only half way through so I can't accidentally drop any spoilers and tell you who dunnit but I can, and do recommend it as a very good read

26 February 2013

I love Tuesdays

I truly do, especially this Tuesday. Ig went to playgroup as she does every Tuesday (that we don't have stomach bugs, or the flu, or any other of the many viruses going around at present) and I get two whole hours of peace and quiet.
Today I worked on a pair of fingerless gloves - my hands get quite cold when I'm knitting, but the pattern was flawed and the glove I had knitted was too small. Then I found these on the web. Aren't they beautiful? So now I'm learning to crochet...
And all the time I'm listening to The Navy Lark and giggling.

Ig after playgroup, with sticks

25 February 2013

It's a beautiful day in the neighbourhood

It was one of those beautiful Scottish late winter days, all blue skies and brilliant sunshine. Looks warm outside but trust me it's not.

This is the top of one of the fence posts covered in frost. I love the way it follows the circles of the grain.

24 February 2013

Previously on FLFP

Our heroine, Velcro, had moved out of Edinburgh to a small country town somewhere in Scotland. With her went her beloved MrV, and the three etceteras FB, the Count, and Ig, but not, as this cannot be emphasised enough, her nemesis the mice who had plagued her very existence for months.
We moved into a quirky house that needed a lot of work done to it and to be honest, still does. Half of the walls on the main floor have had the woodchip stripped from them but the rest still need to be done. The ceilings are festooned with purple network cables that hang like odd Christmas decorations while awaiting the next step in their installation. And there are giant holes drilled into the ceiling outside the kitchen looking rather alarmingly like evidence of a infestation of giant woodworm (it's not).

But I have learned to knit!

12 July 2012

Lucky or what?

For years I've been searching for the elusive four leaved clover and today on the way home from the leisure centre where the Count and Ig had been bouncing their little hearts out on the bouncy castle (I can't be the only adult who's ever looked at them and wanted a go can I?) I found four clovers each with four leaves! Does that mean four times the luck or do they cancel each other out?

Personally I think the latter, for a few hours later whilst serving up dinner (smoked salmon frittata) I forgot that the frying pan had been in the oven for forty minutes and grabbed the handle.....


30 June 2012

Rolling, rolling, rolling

Why do we move so much? Well to answer your question Isabelle, size. I worked out that in the thirteen years MrV and I have been together we've moved nine times. Admittedly some of those times have been into temporary accommodation when we've moved country but nine is still rather a lot. And most of those moves, especially post children have been for space. This last move was a necessity. We lived in a three bedroom flat infested with mice. Now three bedrooms would ordinarily have been fine - MrV and I would have one, the FB one and the Count and Ig would share but...MrV works from home so nabbed one bedroom as his study leaving three children and numerous mice to share.
So we house hunted and we searched and everything in Edinburgh that was large enough was hideously expensive and so we moved north to where MrV's mother lived. Now we have a four bedroom house with a study and a garden and most importantly of all, NO BLOODY MICE.

29 June 2012

Day Two

I wonder if it's time to start putting my rudimentary woodwork skills to use and build an ark.  We are rather short on animals but we do have a surfeit of spiders which may come in use if we need a sail spun.
I guess that's why it's so green in Perthshire - it rains a lot; and yet I remember when I was a lass in Crieff that we had beautiful summers especially in the run up to Highers but this year it's been ridiculous. On the other hand it makes a very good excuse to light the fire in the evenings, and there's nothing nicer than curling up and reading a good book while the fire crackles and hisses.

26 June 2012

Tomorrow school breaks up for the summer holidays.  The Count finished his last day of nursery today, in August he starts Primary One. And today it started raining. Upstairs in the hall and in the Count's bedroom windows are open; they're top opening outwards at an angle kind of windows and the rain water is gathering on them and forming puddles. When raindrops land in the puddles they make little splashes.

So much has happened since we moved here in September, and so much I have wanted to blog about but found myself unable to begin. Sometimes that happens and the only way to deal with it is to slowly but steadily break through the block.
So here goes .... we have started redecorating, fixing up the garden and we have planted a crop of vegetables - potatoes, onions, beetroot, lettuce, peas and carrots.  Everything is coming up beautifully except the peas. The peas have vanished.

More tomorrow....

18 July 2011


I was going to write that the FB has his best friend round right now so the warring camps (FB v the Count) have declared a temporary peace. It hasn't lasted; and Ig has gotten involved.

4 weeks of holiday left, but will anyone still be alive at the end of it?

12 July 2011


Dear Diary
today the sun shone. Yes you read that correctly, the sun shone here in Edinburgh. The rest of the country, well those bits south of here, according to the Met Office, have had a drought and heatwave, whilst we have taken up swimming as our method of transportation. Last Friday, we - MrV, the FB, the Count, Ig and I, had an appointment in Morningside. It started to rain on our way there, and by the time we were ready to leave we had a fully fledged thunderstorm on our hands complete with torrential rain and hail. It was lovely. Especially when we had to go outside and head home. Crossing Morningside Road was not unlike fording a rather fast running river, and bloody cold too. We ran up the road and headed for Waitrose only to find the staff there desperately mopping the floor as the supermarket started to flood.
But today the sun is shining and it is glorious outside.
I'll miss Edinburgh when we leave. It's been a good three years living here. I'll miss my friends and family, the view in Winter accross the Meadows to Arthur's Seat, the Botanics, the Museum, even the tourists wandering about. I won't miss the mice though. Nope, not at all.

11 July 2011

back or not?

I keep thinking about writing this blog again especially now that we are moving again. I have really good memories of writing it daily in Tooting about the trials and tribulations of living in South London - the wall that vanished, the dildo on the way home from nursery and the evil darkness in the livingroom. And of course the readers whose comments I loved. So I'm hoping to restart the blog and see how it gets on.
Things have changed and not since I stopped in 2009. I have a daughter, Ig who is now 16 months old. She was ill for the first nine months of her life and was hell, screaming all day and refusing to sleep. Then one morning MrV sat her up and that was it. She stopped screaming, learned to crawl and is now learning how to walk. The FB has finished Primary 3 with lots of friends. He had a difficult few years working out how to be properly social and he's got it now just before we move. Hopefully he'll be able to keep going at the new school and he'll be ok. The Count is now 4 years old and is as mad as a bucket of frogs. And MrV well, he still works horrible hours and weekends, frequently cancels holidays at the last minute but he's wonderful. As for me, well the fat squatters are still hanging on in there, I still have days and days where everything seems too hard to cope with but I'm still reading and still sewing and getting there.

18 June 2009

Knees up Mother Brown

As part of my on going battle against my fat squatters I've taken up running and am following
the Couch to 5km plan. It's not going well. Week one was ok, then the Count caught chicken pox and the gym went out the window. Once the Count was over the contagious stage and could be dragged screaming and kicking (honestly) back into the gym's creche I started again, and once more it went well, so I moved on to the next week.... and this is where it all went wrong. I've rather knackered my knees. Fortunately they just need a bit of rest and hopefully that will be them mended and I'll be able to go back to running, week one again.

The FB is now on the mend. He had an awful night last night, no sleep again due to itching but as he's bossing his brother about, arguing about doing his school work and leaping onto furniture I'd say he's over the worse.

For those of you who like books, here's something to drool over

17 June 2009

A pox

Round two of chicken pox at present. The Count had it 2 weeks ago which was fun, and now the FB has it. Fortunately my sister has a spare freeview box which she has very kindly lent us so the FB can watch Cbeebies to his heart's content. He's discovering that chickenpox is not the fun, tv watching, chocolate eating heaven he thought it would be. Oh well, it doesn't last. Unfortunately tomorrow is his class' outing to the Botanics for a Teddy Bear's picnic and he can't go. I think we'll have a little picnic at home tomorrow for lunch, just me, his daddy, the Count and any teddies that fancy attending.

20 May 2009


I wish I knew an electrician who could come round and check out the wiring in this place. Our main lights, the ones that hang from the ceiling, keep blowing. Last night my bedroom light went so now we have no ceiling lights in one bedroom, the livingroom and the kitchen. And they are so a pain to change. Edinburgh ceilings, in old flats (by old I mean over a hundred years old) tend to be pretty high so ladders are needed not chairs when new lightbulbs are required. But this is the second time our bedroom bulb has gone in less than a year which to me is a bit too frequent. Electricity seems to be our curse. In Tooting we had exactly the same problem with lightbulbs, in Wallington it was appliances that kept going on the blink, and here we're back to lightbulbs with the odd flaming shower chucked in.

Was it yesterday I mentioned the mice? Or the day before? Doesn't matter because I was gropping about in the kitchen last night looking for the under cabinet over sink light when I heard skitter skitter skiddddd crash as a mouse shot across the floor, skidded round the corner into the wine cellar and crashed into something. Grrrr!

19 May 2009

day three and things are still going well. Our bathroom has a very old enamelled bath which currently sports a not so pleasant ripple pattern on it. The bath didn't start out with this pattern, it gained it over many years of sloppy cleaning, and I am trying to get rid of it. Unfortunately the blasted stuff seems impervious to all bar one cleaning product and the one exception so far only fades the marks rather than remove them. But we shall continue and maybe one day it will be gone, probably in time for us to move out.

Spent the afternoon with a friend and her children. One is in the FB's class and the other a few years ahead. Was good to sit and talk about books, politics and organic vegetables and not discuss children and the usual stuff for a change.

18 May 2009

crash, bang, smash, waaaaaaahh

such was the theme tune of my day. It's Victoria day today in Edinburgh which means the schools have a day off to give the teachers a break from their little horrors and the parents a few more grey hairs. The FB's school has got inservice days for part of this week as well and MrV has a very well timed (purely coincidental he swears) business trip to London. It therefore seemed like the perfect time to start getting the house under control. I've cleaned, tidied, retidied, further tidied the livingroom, bathroom, hall and both bedrooms but despite the children's best attempts to keep us living in a tumble of brightly coloured plastic debris they have been thwarted and the place is tidy.

As for the mice, well as I type there's a very suspicious rustling sound coming from inside the wall to my left. I'm still finding droppings, but not in the kitchen any more and we're not actually seeing them running about either. I suspect that word of MrV's amazing mouse catching skills are making their way round the rodent population.

17 May 2009

beige continued but with a hint of sunshine

Well after a walk to the playground, a stroll to Blackwells for a book of Burns poetry, and then a trip to Black Medicine for a chocolate milkshake I'm feeling a bit more upbeat. I've got to get this malaise beat otherwise I'm never going to get anything I want done and we'll all end up wearing filthy clothes and living on takeaways. So I decided that I'm going to make myself do one thing a day towards one of my personal goals, and a couple of things for the housework.
We also came up with a few rules for the boys which will be stuck up on the kitchen wall. They're simple rules like only one toy out at a time, no hitting, you know the sort of thing.

So my thing for today was to put my list of books to read onto the excel spreadsheet where I'm currently inventorying the books. Eventually that spreadsheet will go back onto my phone and when I'm in a bookshop or library and pondering whether or not to get something I'll know if I've got it or not. Next step is to go through the pile of magazines and look at their book suggestions.
Housework front? Dishes done, laundry will go on tonight, boys' room tidy as is the hall and livingroom.

beige beige and more beige

Things are getting on top of me again. The house is a pig sty, the laundry is piling up and I'm getting absolutely nowhere on any of my freetime stuff. When we were in Wallington I had a routine and it worked, and since moving up here I just can't get a routine in place. I try but it just doesn't work and so nothing gets done and I am getting so frustrated by it all. I think that was (apart from the Ikea coffee mornings with MrsT) the only good thing about Wallington, the bad things are too many to list! So any suggestions on how to get over this?

On a daily basis I have to do the following
get myself and the boys up, dressed etc
take the FB to school
do the housework
go to the gym
do laundry
cook dinner
have playtime with the Count
do something of my hobbies

not much huh but none of it (bar getting the FB to school and cooking dinner) actually ever gets done. I have a fantastic book called Time Management for Manic Mums that tells you how to get your life in order and do things not just that you have to do but also stuff that you want to do; and I follow it and make lists of what I want to do and then never actually do it. Its very frustrating and infuriating and many other words meaning exactly the same thing

Any suggestions very welcome!

26 March 2009

Smiley days again

Much better today. Last night I cleared all the sides in the kitchen so the only things left out were the kettle, breadmaker and microwave, put the Count's highchair in the middle of the floor with nothing around it, and put all the other chairs on top of the table. This morning no poo, and all the mouse poison has gone. We heard a couple of squeaks from the kitchen but there's been no sign that they've crossed the floor or been on the sides at all. Hurrah! Tonight I've done the same thing and put out more poison so hopefully they'll be gone soon.

I had my first pilates class in wow over 6 years today. I've been doing a home class called yogalaties for a few years on and off but as much as I liked it it's not the same as having a proper instructor who can make sure you're doing things correctly. It was good but hard work, might be able to get those fat cells moving.

And then nieceA came round for lunch and a play with the Count. She's 3 & 1/2 (she says she'll be 4 in 5 minutes) and the Count is 22 months, and they are pretty much the same height! But the best bit, was while she was here, the estate agents' maintenance guys came and fitted a new shower. No more trecking off down to the gym for a shower.

Alas since then the Count has started running a temperature and has thrown up, but we have to look on the bright side - we have a shower!

25 March 2009


I am not in a good mood today at all.

1. Walked into the kitchen last night to find a mouse on the side. When it escaped it ran across my oven gloves then down the clothes airer through the clean clothes. Prior to me walking in it had visited the Count's highchair (I know this because of the mouse poo I found there)
This morning more poo.

2. The Count has taken to screaming every time he is thwarted in his evil plans. It is not a nice scream but one that sounds like all the demons in hell are trying to sing "These are a few of my favourite things" backwards whilst sucking down hellium.

3. The recession is getting to me, am fed up with worrying if MrV will have a job at the end of the month or not and, and even the news that Fred Goodwin's house was vandalised last night barely brings a happy smile to my face.

23 March 2009

Smoke across the water

Yesterday was Mother's Day and, to make sure that it was definately one not to forget, MrV had four fire-engines, and crew, pull up outside our main door! At 8am.

Our shower went up in flames. (Electrical fire inside the shower unit, not very big fire, not much smoke damage, horrid smell though - rather glad I've caught a cold really).

10 February 2009

Best Friends Forever

I have very friendly fat I've decided. Very friendly and very persistant, to the point that you wonder if it has some sort of condition because it continues to stick around even after you've dropped several very pointed hints about why it should leave. And yet there it is, wobbling away happily to itself while I eat salads for lunch, in Scotland, in winter. It is also very good at making friends - if for example I stupidly and absentmindedly look at a bar of chocolate in a shop I can hear all the little fat cells in my body shouting out "hello, welcome, come for a visit" and hey presto their little friends move in. So really I'm being invaded by tiny little friendly squatters.
This would all be fine if I could eat a normal diet without incurring more squatters but in order to stabilise, not lose, my weight I have the following

muesli & skimmed milk for breakfast
salad for lunch
soup or small dinner


27 January 2009


Obviously as well as being able to steal bait from traps without springing them, the damn creatures have learnt to read. Within a few hours of posting last night who should appear scurrying across the livingroom floor? Yup, that's right. And who did I hear scrabbling away in the corner of my bedroom last night?

Mind you last night was freaky weird anyway. At 12.40 I got woken up by the sound of music playing very loudly in our flat and when I got up to investigate I found the radio on in MrV's study and a cd playing in the stereo in the livingroom. Everyone else was in bed. Three hours later and it happened again only this time it was just the radio going on. I figure we must have been having very small powercuts because the FB's clock beside his bed was flashing the wrong time.

I'm not going the change the name of the blog. I like it and it will always remind me of my two little penguins. It was a hard hard decision to make and it was one that I had been putting off for a long time but it was also the right decision to make.

26 January 2009

Ode to a mouse

go away.

pack your bags.

there's no food for you here so please, just, leave


We have a mouse (did you guess?) of the free range sort. It appeared a few months ago in the bathroom while I was sitting on the toilet . We saw it a few more times and then it vanished. A few weeks ago it came back and now it's so brave that it runs into and out of the livingroom in broad daylight while someone is sitting in there. We've put traps down, and poison, and the little bugger is still about.

Wait a minute, I hear you say. What about your cats? Well, we had a few weeks apart back in August when we first moved up here, and I noticed that for the first time the Count's nose wasn't running. Within a day of the cats returning his nose was back to being blocked and his eyes had swollen up. So the cats had to go.

Fast forward 2 weeks.....

We put down poison 2 weeks ago, and a mousetrap which is still waiting to be sprung. The original mouse has gone, is probably an ex-mouse now, and has been replaced by its identical twin. The only difference is that mouse a wasn't afraid to run into the livingroom of an evening, and mouse b is and hasn't ventured out of the kitchen. Although, he hasn't been seen recently either.