30 November 2007

The End

Well we made it through 30 posts and 30 days once again to the end of NaBloPoMo, so, I think, a break is in order.

Back soon.

29 November 2007

Tag, you're it.


The Count has slept through the past two nights, the FB on the otherhand has not. I feel like I'm in the middle of a tag wresting team. Look at them trying to look innocent and that they weren't discussing strategies until I walked back into the room!
Why, by the way, can I click on and enlarge some of my photos and not others. Is it random?


Learnt a very valuable lesson today. Always make 1oo% sure that there is not a disposable nappy hiding in your dirty laundry just waiting to go into the washing machine. Otherwise it looks like a blizzard has blown up all over your clean, wet clothes.

28 November 2007

The Countdown begins

Three more posts to go. It has been very hard over the past week to write anything and the temptation to jack the whole thing in, blog and NoBloPoMo has been quite strong. The FB has had yet another cold and the Count is still not sleeping, so by yesterday I was so shattered I could barely string a sentence together. Today, fortunately, things are much better. Still I'm really looking forward to the end of November.
My parents' visit was a great success. The meal out, as I posted briefly was fantastic. MrV's company had ordered him to take me out for a meal to thank him for all his hard work, and he was allowed to spend up to £100. After a great deal of selfsacrifice on our part, having to order course after course as well as rather a lot of booze (including a lovely rosè wine) we managed it.
Of course the best thing was being able to go out for a meal by ourselves and converse. The FB is rather hyper at preset so talking is practically impossible while he is awake.
Monday was the Tutankhamon exhibition at the Dome. The Count slept his way around it, and the FB? He was so happy to be able to wear headphones (we had an audio tour) and listen to someone talking, that he was fabulous the whole way round. Perhaps this is the way forward? Maybe if I need to get him to tidy his toys away I should tape record myself asking him to do, and invest in a walkman.
And yesterday they went home again. My mother has since been on the phone trying to book tickets to the other massive exhibition currently in London - The Terracotta Army, but alas it seems as if all the tickets have gone. Ah well

27 November 2007

Day out (with the Egyptians)



The reason for yesterday's trip into town was to visit here




The Millenium Dome, or as it is now called The O2.


And the reason for our trip?


Alas no photos from within the Exhibition as understandably considering the age of the exhibits, photography is banned. But wow! Well worth the convoluted trip home.

26 November 2007

Back tomorrow

Stupid me. I forgot to look at the train times before going into town today and arrived at the trainstation 20 minutes after the last train to the nearest station had left (not that this stopped them from selling me a ticket for it). After a long circular journey round most of South London we got home. Shattered.
Back tomorrow

25 November 2007

On the tiles

Night out last night to a restaurant in Wimbledon Village. Lovely meal, excellent wine, fabulous company. So nice to be able to have a meal with adult conversation and without having to ensure that a certain little bottom remains on its seat and not slide off under the table.
The Count slept through for the third time in the last 6 weeks but his big brother was up instead with a sore throat.
Today, walks in the park as the weather moves slowly but surely out of autumn and onto winter.

24 November 2007

Isabelle's bookmeme

Hardcover or paperback, and why?
Paperback – they fit easier into my bag although admittedly this was only a consideration when I was working and needed a book to read during the commute to Canary Wharf. Cookbooks though should always be hardback.

If I were to own a book shop , I would call it….
I don’t want to own a bookshop. I just want people to give me books for free.

My favourite quote from a book (mention the title) is…
Every time a favourite quote question appears in a meme I forget my favourite quote. So this one will have to do “ The sky above the port was the color of television tuned to a dead channel” (Neuromancer, William Gibson).

The author (alive or deceased) I would love to have lunch with would be… Alexander McCall Smith.

If I was going to a deserted island and could only bring one book, except for the SASsurvival guide, it would be…
It would have to be something that would survive rereading over and over so perhaps The Encyclopaedia Britannica in all x volumes. The sections not currently being read could be put to use as some sort of shelter.

I would love someone to invent a bookish gadget that…
would let me read a book while feeding the Count. I suppose growing an extra pair of arms would do the job but that seems like such hard work.

The smell of an old book reminds me of… the cupboard under the window in the spare room at my grandparents’ home. My grandmother had filled it with all sorts of old hardback children’s books and I spent entire weekends at my grandparents as a teenager reading for there was nought else to do there.

The most overestimated book of all times is… I have to go with Isabelle here and say Ulysees, White Teeth and all of DH Lawrence’s scribblings. I hate it when a book … is predictable. When I was recovering from an operation back in March 2006 I went through a bit of a Katie Fforde phase; after reading a few of her novels I realised that they were all the same – girl is single, girl runs into boy, boy and girl disagree on life, argue constantly but really are falling in love with each other……

If I could be the lead character in a book (mention the title), I would be…. Thursday Next in “The Eyre Affair”

23 November 2007

Friday

It all got done in time. The housework, laundry, etc etc. Parents arrived safely. Father has already examined the livingroom ceiling and agrees with you MrsT that the leakstain is an old one, he's also pointed out the other stains on the ceiling and believes that the room above flooded at one point. Oh and apparently the staircase is coming away from the wall in the loft and this may or may not have been caused by the weight of our bookcases. Bother!

22 November 2007

What I should have done today

  • clean and tidy the house as my parents are arriving tomorrow for a long weekend
  • booked a restaurant for Saturday night - my parents are babysitting the boys so MrV and I can go out for a meal
  • write a letter to Santa on behalf of the FB emphasising his longing for a marble shoot (series of tunnels you can put together to roll marbles down)
  • played music with jars and water

What I did do today

  • did some more of that cross stitch
  • read my book

Guess how flustered and panicked I'll be tomorrow doing all the housework!

21 November 2007

Buses, trams and the tube

Doesn't have the same feel about it as "Trains, Planes and Automobiles" but it will have to do.


Took the FB up to Wandsworth Common today; a trip that involves getting a bus to the tramstop, followed by a tram, then walking a mile or so to the Underground, taking the Northern line north to Clapham South and then finally another mile's walk to the Common.
It would be quicker to take the train directly to the Common but I'm rather lacking the courage to get both boys on a train by myself. There is usually quite a large gap between the train and the platform, and the doors don't stay open for long, so understandably (or not, perhaps I'm being a wimp) we haven't taken this route yet. We will, just give me time.

All in all we walked about 5 miles this afternoon. And his energy levels this evening? Still bouncing off the ceiling!

20 November 2007

Dear Santa

I would really like a tranquiliser gun for my Christmas this year. The FB seems to have a secret stash of energy pills hidden about him and pogos about the house like Zebeedee from Magic Roundabout on speed(until he is asked to help tidy up the mess he's made at which point he collapses on the floor and complains he's run out of energy). It's a bit worrying, not to mention exhausting. This afternoon he was a little out of control as we had guests round. MrsT and the LMT drove the Count and I over to Kingston this morning, then came back for lunch and a natter. The FB, when he was picked up from nursery, thought that this would be a splendid occasion to show off all the fabulous social skills he has been taught. Or perhaps not.

Apologies MrsT. Next time I'll take him on a 5 mile run beforehand and try and tire him out.

19 November 2007

Yippee!

He slept. He slept. He slept. The.Whole.Night. I on the other hand did not. I kept waking up expecting him to wake up and he didn't. I don't know if it was a fluke, or if it was the massive amount of mashed potato he ate for tea, or the bottle of formula he had last thing at night but whatever it was it worked.
So tonight we're doing the same thing all over again.


(Molly, he's actually named the Count after Dracula purely because of his nocturnal habits - he has yet to turn into a bat and swoop through some unsuspecting lass' bedroomwindow but give him time and possibly a slightly warmer time of year; however, when I am composing blogposts in my head he does tend to get referred to as Count Jim Moriarty Grytpype-Thynne - an amalgamation of both villains from The Goon Show)

18 November 2007

The only way is up

After yesterday's tale of woe, you'll be happy to hear that things improved today. The Count is still counting sleep in seconds rather than hours but as MrV took the boys this morning while I had a lie in until 10, I feel much better. I'm not sure what is causing the current disturbance in the Count's sleep patterns. The FB was the same at this age and I kept a very detailed daily diary to see if anything would show up but it didn't matter if he had solids or not, and more or less feeds both bottle and breast, some nights he would sleep through, some nights he wouldn't. We ended up having to go through the horrible "letting him cry himself to sleep" as nothing else worked. I hoped that we would avoid this with the Count as he was such a good sleeper, but I guess not.

17 November 2007

Nothing to see folks

After being up at 2am, 4am, 6am and finally 7.30am I'm absolutely shattered and to compound it, I've sinusitis so haven't been outside at all today. Have instead spent the day sitting shaking and tearful on the couch. The Count has gone from being an excellent sleeper both at night and day to being an insomniac at night and refusing to nap during the day. Please, please just let this be a stage, and a short one at that.

16 November 2007

Timewarp




The postman arrived and with him came a box of Marguerite Patten's recipe cards dating from 1967 (including amongst the starters such delights as Grapefruit, and Prawn Cocktail, and from International Foods - spagbog. I love it!).
Of course this had to be photograped alongside a trio of Persephone novels, and shot in sepia.



15 November 2007

Today I have been mostly

*keeping my eyes open with the help of matchsticks


*begging the Count to nap so I could get some sleep or at least some quiet me time


*wondering if this was truly the best time to start weaning the FB off the TV (he would much rather watch tv than do anything else in the world, not good me thinks)


*getting rather peeved that books I ordered on Sunday have still not arrived and I've almost finished my book (Family Roundabout by Richmal Crompton in case you were wondering. Great book. Recommend it strongly.)


*eating like a horse. As has the Count who polished off part of a carrot, a bit of potato and a whole banana for tea.

14 November 2007

13 November 2007

Roly Poly

The Count is on the move. He worked out how to roll from his back to his stomach a while back and has been able, though rather erratically, to roll the other way. Today I walked into the livingroom and found him 2.5m away from where I left him. Eek!

12 November 2007

Kitten on a rough wooden fence


This is our neighbours' (the other side, not the DJ) kitten. He likes to wander into my backyard and would come into the house if we let him. Unfortunately Frog is more than a little territorial and does not appreciate adorable kittens coming avisiting.

11 November 2007

Things that go bump part 2

It appears that problems with the postal service was not the only thing that followed us when we moved house. I suspect that our friendly poltergeist MrsS has come too. Things are disappearing and then reappearing in places previously searched thoroughly, and these are not things that could be blamed on the cats and their sticky paws. Last night for example, MrV and the FB wanted to set off the last of the sparklers so the FB was asked to go and get his wellies and put them on. Only one could be found. We all searched the hall where both had been but it could not be found. Three hours later I glanced down as I walked past where we had searched and there it was lying brazen as can be on top of a pile of shoes up against my umbrella. I know it wasn't there before.

Fortunately that thing of black evil on my couch hasn't come too, or perhaps it did and has been scared off by the drum and base from next door.

10 November 2007

Good Grief

I was supposed to go to the Stitch and Bitch that was being held in Central London today with MrsT but fate conspired against me. Last Tuesday MrV came down with (yet another) stomach bug, and yesterday whilst I got things prepared for our early morning departure, I congratulated myself on avoiding catching his bug. But no, I spoke too soon and today was spent, not strolling around looking at different kinds of yarn and hopefully being taught how to crochet flowers by Yarnstorm, but instead lying in bed feeling very awful and sorry for myself.

I suspect chronic tiredness doesn't help either. The Count is still keeping up his nocturnal activities and now my fabulous neighbour has kicked in. She's a DJ and has decided that 11pm is the perfect time to practise her skills. The noise (a repetative dob dob dob) can be heard in every single room of the house so there is no escape. Grrrrr

09 November 2007

By Jove she's got it



I had 15 minutes yesterday before I had to shoot off to pick up the FB from nursery when I decided to give this crochet business another go. I found a website that had good step-by-step photos and hey presto. OK there are some dropped stitches, the colour change went a bit wonky (technical term that) and rather than be the square that I meant it to be, it appears to be a pyramid, but well I'm getting there. The bit that is causing the most trouble (apart from lack of time and general exhaustion) is that the stitches seem to be so tight that I struggle to get the hook through when it's time to make the next row.

08 November 2007

My Kingdom for a comfy bed and a good night sleep


At least someone is getting some sleep round here even if it is the person who is rather responsible for my lack of. You won't need a rucksack to carry your stash home on Saturday MrsT you can use the bags under my eyes!

07 November 2007

Aw gee shucks

Thankyou! I turned a rather deep shade of red with all your lovely comments. I am so looking forward to finishing it, and if this blog is still going then, I promise to put a photo of it up. To answer your question Isabelle - I sew in the mornings while the FB is at nursery and the Count is asleep, in the afternoon sometimes while the Count is napping and the FB is playing by himself, and in the evening when both boys have fallen asleep. Meggie, if you lived closer I would be on your doorstep begging for help with crocheting.

Children do say the best things sometimes. My mother-in-law thinks we should write down the FB's utterances and perhaps we should because according to him

  • The First World War took place in Tooting, and the Second in Balham.
  • On asking his father to tuck his teddies in one night he asked if MrV had trouble doing it when he was a child. MrV said he couldn't remember as that was a long time ago, to which the FB responded "Was that during the War daddy?"
  • He has just looked down his pyjama top, sighed and said "I'm growing breasts". He didn't realise that it's not just mummies that have nipples but little boys, girls and even daddies.

Ah my daft boy!

06 November 2007

WIP


My attempts at crocheting are not going well. I can do the starting stitch and the first row of stitches and but when I try anything beyond that my work starts to look less and less like crochet and more like macrame. Which would be great if I was planning on making hanging pot holders for a dolls house but not if I fancy making a ripple blanket.
The photo above is the completed section of the cross stitch that rules my life. I've almost done 10% now! This is the original photo it was taken from.

05 November 2007

What happened to the sun?

Obviously I spoke too soon. Despite how it looks in this photo, the sky today was slate grey and the temperature felt as if it had dropped 200C. The FB still refused to wear coat and jumper. The kitchen floor was so cold this morning that it hurt to walk on it barefoot (unless you are the FB who also scorns such things as socks) so it is time for these to come out

They are gorgeous knitted slippers from Canada. The inside is fleece which keeps your feet very snug and warm. I have a pair, as does the FB (who refuses to wear them) and the Count has two pairs - a titchy pair and the next size up.

04 November 2007

The Great Womble Hunt


To make up for the wet summer we had, we've been blessed with the most beautiful autumn. It's still warm enough to go out in sandals, and if you are the FB, without a coat. Mind you he refuses to wear one in the dead of winter, must be his hardy Scottish blood. Because it was such a glorious day today MrV decided not to do any work but instead take us all on a stomp across Wimbledon Common in search of Wombles.




We hunted and we hunted, but no Wombles could we find. Instead this tree caught MrV's eye. I'm going through a bit of a tree thing so I had to get a photo of it. But still we kept on looking for any sign of the elusive womble...


Eventually we reached the Wimbledon Common windmill and gave up hunting. Unfortunately the museum below the windmill was shut for winter and doesn't open again until the end of March which left a certain young man feeling very sorry for himself.




No, not this one. He's looking a bit astonished because today his menu had a new item on it - the vile gunkness that is babyrice. My baby is growing up!

03 November 2007

Day Three

At 4am (when the Count woke me up) I realised it's not NoBloPoMo but NaBloPoMo. I've been calling it the wrong thing all this time. I thought it stood for November - Blog Posting Month which you have to admit does make sense.

So day three. The FB's been down with one of his headaches today so we've been sitting in a darkened room listening to the radio and reading him stories to try and take his mind off it. Fortunately he feel asleep which seems to be the best cure and is now feeling much better and back to his normal self. This all means though that today's post is very short.

02 November 2007

He's more Blofeld than James Bond really

I'm thinking of renting my boys out to the CIA as specialists in information gathering through techniques made illegal by various international laws.

The Count is currently doing a refresher course in sleep deprivation which he has been attending for a couple of weeks now. One of the main points that he has learnt so far that I can see is to keep the person from whom sleep is being kept guessing when they will be woken up.
And the FB?
He has a line in questioning that would get the most hardened criminal or terrorist begging to surrender information within hours.
Mama - ok we'll walk up to the lights and cross there
FB - why?
Mama- why do you think?
FB - so we can cross the road and go home.
Mama (visibly trying to supress a nervous twitch) - if you knew why did you ask?
FB - I wanted to make sure you knew mummy.

Help!

01 November 2007

And they're off

November 01 2007 a new day, a new month, a new NoBloPoMo. What was I thinking? One month of posting every single day. I doubt that enough happens in a month to cover a week of posts let alone 30 entries. Ah well. Be prepared to be bored ok, and don't say at the end that you weren't warned.
This last year has just zoomed by so quickly. This time last year I was in the first trimester more than slightly concerned that the bump pushing my trousers to their limits was not caused by a baby but more by overindulging in lemon meringue pie. Then there was the whole CVS test and the nervous wait for the results. A year on and the little being at the centre of it all is lying on his babygym grinning at me like a loon. I wonder what the year between this NoBloPoMo and next will bring.
And now I must be off to Asda to buy some soy sauce.

31 October 2007

a short hiatus

spelt wrong no doubt but I'm being nagged to drink coffee which I don't like, by the FB; and the Count is complaining about the terrible service, so I don't have time to go and do a spell check.

Tomorrow that NoBloPoMo begins which is why I've not written in 2 weeks. That's not to say I'll have much to say everyday for a month but you never know.

see you tomorrow

18 October 2007

I can see a rainbow

The FB and I have been playing with colour a lot this week. We've taken out my shoebox of material squares and laid out lots of quilt patterns. These are the squares that I bought last December and which had to be replaced as the original lot went missing in the post, and they are still waiting to be used. It took laying each one out to see how gorgeously sumptuous some of them are, and conversely how blah others seem, but I suspect that should a quilt ever come into being the dull will definately be lifted by the beautiful.
But no quilt can be made until the marathon cross stitch that is the Wandsworth Common photo is completed and people, that is going to take some time. It is, I calculated, 240,000 stitches in total, and 10 months after starting I have done a mere 17,000..... I think the quilt may have to wait until my next lifetime!
But that brings me to the redecoration that went on here last night. I wanted to find a little tracker so I could monitor how much of the xstitch had been done (7% at the last count) and put it up here as a way of making sure I keep going. I found some out there, but I simply couldn't make them work on my old blog design and well here we are. The html tweaking continues as I try to work out what each bit means by trial and error. The colours are more restrained than I would like but fit in perfectly with the cooling down of the weather as we move slowly but surely into Winter.

15 October 2007

Doesn't time fly?

One year ago MrV bought me "Twelve", a book of Tuscan cooking by Tessa Kiros for a belated birthday present. Some of the recipes have a strange symbol above them but there is nothing in the book to say if it means anything so I googled the author and found PeaSoup's blog. I was hooked instantly. The idea of someone with three boys who had enough time to do all the baking, knitting and creating she does, along side the photos of her home was the impetus I needed to start a blog of my own. And here we are, one year on. A year older, a second son, a new home and lots of new friends from all over the world. I wonder what the next year will bring.

11 October 2007

Up, down and bleugh

We've had a busy week

Wednesday - met MrsT and the adorable LittleMissT for a walk in the park. LittleMissT and the Count appeared to be quite enamoured of each other, and the FB talked MrsT's ear off
Thursday - train to Edinburgh. Was supposed to have dinner with my sis but she, her hubbie and neiceA had a stomachbug
Friday - got haircut, saw a friend for lunch, went to the Museum to see the Millenium Clock (we have to do this at least once per trip to Edin) and had dinner with MrV's family
Saturday - MrV's sister got married
Sunday - nieceE's birthday parties (one with little friends and one at home with the family)
Monday - back to the museum for another round of clock watching and then on to the Meadows to the playground
Tuesday - train to London
Wedneday - I get ill with stomach bug
Thursday - the FB gets ill with the stomach bug and it looks like MrV is coming down with it too now.

service will be resumed when health returns.

01 October 2007

Over-the-Shoulder-Boulder-holder

In short. Am going to a wedding and need an underwired bra to lift and seperate those breasts from the jelly mass that is my abdomen. Got measured by a trained bra lady who told me that my bras are far far too big and got me the correct ones.

This morning I put the new bra on (also bought new nursing bras) only to find that she was wrong, oh so bloody wrong, and I am now in possession of three bras that make me look like I have four squished together breasts....

22 September 2007

I love Amazon (the book meme)

From daysgoby

Total number of books owned
Approximately 2000 but they're not all mine. Some are, some are MrV's and some are books from remainder sales that MrV thought one of us would like to read.

Last book bought
Pippa Longstocking. Oh, you mean for me? Hmmm good question. I think it was "Bend the Rules Sewing" by Amy Carol, but last weekend it was my birthday and I scored a huge amount of Amazon vouchers so will be going on a bookbuying spree shortly

Last book read
I have three books on the go at present. "A Spot of Bother" by Mark Haddon (who wrote "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time)which is in the livingroom. I've only read a little of it but it looks to be a good, easy read; "Storm Front" by Jim Butcher which is in the loft/study. It is very hard to class this book. When MrV told me about it I thought it sounded a bit Douglas Adams, but having read some of it, it's not at all; and "The Story of Art" by EH Gombrich which I dip into occasionally.

Five Books that Mean a Lot to You
"And God Created the Au Pair" by Pascale Smets and Benedicte Newland. I love this book. It is a series of emails between two sisters, one in London, the other in Canada, about their children, husbands, etc etc and is a fantastic antidote to chicklit

"The Kitchen Diaries: A Year in the Kitchen" by Nigel Slater. I have a huge collection of cookbooks as I'm always on the lookout for THE cookbook, the one with mostly veggie recipes that are healthy, easy to cook, don't use a lot of weird ingredients and would appeal to a very picky four year old. OK perhaps the last bit is asking too much.

"The Story of Art" by EH Gombrich. MrV bought it for me shortly after the Count was born. We were in a little bookshop beside Wandsworth Common and I saw it. I've wanted to know more about the history of art for quite a long time, and being me, have done little about it, so MrV knowing me well bought the book. Four months in and I've reached Chapter 5...

"The Windup Bird Chronicles" by Haruki Murakami. First one of his books I read. I had never couldn't heard of him and bought it because I liked the front cover. Then once I had started reading it I stop and had to find more of his work. This was back in the 90s and there wasn't much of his stuff about. I still love his more surreal stuff and mean to host a Murakami dinner party at some point - the menu to be food mentioned in his books and accompanied by music he mentions too. Oh and the book smells fantastic.

"Charlie Brown's Super Book of Questions and Answers" by Charles M. Schulz . My aunt gave this to me for my birthday when I was about 7 or 8 and I loved it. In fact I loved it so much that when the FB was tinier than he currently is, I ordered a copy of the book off Ebay for him.

Five Books That You Just Don't Get
"Ullyses"by James Joyce. I've tried over and over and nope it just doesn't do it for me.

"Sap Rising" by AA Gill. This is probably the worst book I have ever read. I bought it because the Guardian's review was on the front cover "Do not buy this book" and I wanted to see why. I found out pretty fast why.

Shakespeare. We had to study Shakespeare at school, every year a new play apart from a few years when we did "Midsummer Night's Dream" two years in a row. There is nothing that kills a play more than a bunch of 'can't be bothered" children having to read the parts in class. Hamlet to me is a whole class of 16 year olds chanting "tobeornottobethatisthequestionwhetheritisnoblein....." you get the picture.

Chicklit. I read it but it drives me up the wall. Why do all the heroines have to be slim, beautiful but neurotic? It's junkfood for the brain really.

"Effie Briest" by Theodor Storm. Did this in German at uni and loathed it. I couldn't identify with the main protagonist and frankly after a few pages, wanted to slap her and tell her to grow up.

If you fancy doing this meme consider yourself tagged.

20 September 2007

Am I being unreasonable?

There is, within a website called Mumsnet, a section where worldweary mamas can ask if whatever bugbear currently afflicting them is acceptable or if they are being unreasonable. I mean one day to go onto it, but fear that my grumpiness and irrationality would prove too much and crash the website. So instead, dear reader, I shall grump here.

Am I being unreasonable to

1. Expect the postman to deliver MY parcels to me and NOT to my neighbour? Have spotted him wandering away from my frontdoor with a parcel only to have my neighbour bring it round to me later. And while we are on the subject of snail mail, when did first class post start taking 10 days to arrive from Reading (largish town not really that far from London?)

2. Expect the damn moths to bugger off? Have successfully vanquished the little horrors from one cupboard only for them to have moved into the one beside it and I can't find where their pupae are..

3. be a little narked when, after a day of eating a diet that a supermodel would class as austere, I stand on the scales and find I've actually gained weight.

4. to feel a little foolish that I've started a post about being grumpy about so many things and can't actually remember most of what I was grumpy about.

Right I am off to ice a chocolate cake.

09 September 2007

A plague upon your house sir!

I'm feeling very old-testamont right now. First we had the floods back in July and now a plague of moths. The cute, dinky ones I wrote about back in May have followed us across council borders, are infesting one kitchen cupboard and have claimed squatters' rights. When I googled them I found out that they are flour moths and like to eat practically anything they can get their larva jaws into, like my herb & spice collection for example which has had, in the most, to be binned.
Last Saturday I had enough and cleared out all the food cupboards in the kitchen one by one, going through each shelf and binning anything that looked suspect or had cocoons on. Then each cupboard in turn was sprayed in bleach and closed up with what I thought was moth free foodstuff inside. Next day two of the three cupboards had moths in. So did the whole thing again and put things into plastic and glass containers to quarantine them. Next day two of the three cupboards clear of moths! But the third? Still infested! I went through the herbs and spices which are all in their little glass jars. The larva had gotten into them so into the bin went my massive collection. And the cupboard was rebleached and everything left out. This morning I put a few things back in and guess what. A few hours later, there's a moth, and on inspection of the things in the shelfs, I found some cocoons...
I am starting to take this personnally. It feels like there's a war going on between me and the moths and I have to confess, the moths are winning. So now everything is sitting out on the kitchen counters again having being inspected yet again for cocoons and the cupboard is once again seeped in bleach.
So any suggestions? I suspect I have two choices - either to bin everything in the cupboard, firebomb the shelves (or put them through the dishwasher) and hope that that clears the little buggers out, or put things back one at a time and see how it goes.

04 September 2007

XYZZY

Well here we are at the end of the alphabet. We've successfully navigated the twisty little maze of passages, avoided any dwarfs with axes, treasure stealing pirates, and scared off the giant snake in the Hall of the Mountain King.*

Normal service will resume shortly with daring tales of moth-fights; and "Singer, or how I learned to love the sewing machine".



*No, I've not gone mad, it's from Collossal Adventure

31 August 2007

U, V and W

U is for

I have a rather gorgeous blue umbrella with white polka dots scattered across it, and it never gets used. Why? Because

a. it is very hard to hold an umbrella in one hand, push a pushchair with the other and hold the FB's hand in my freakishly missing third hand.
b. umbrellas hate me as much as I hate them, and at the slightest breeze any umbrella I have stupidly tried to use, turns itself inside out. Thus becoming more a raincatcher than a rain protector.

Underwear. Why, when we can send a man to the Moon, can we not invent an underwired nursing bra that doesn't up the risk of developing mastitis? One is desperately in need of something to divide and lift as the whole breast-belly caboodle has slumped together in one squelchy mess. Oh that sounds so appealing doesn't it!

V is for

Volcanoes - the FB's current interest. We are on our second watching of a National Geo programme about predicting volcanic eruptions. I am being bombared with questions on pyroclasic flows, lava types, and why those people (the volcanologists) are wearing funny clothes (so they can go near the volcano without getting burnt)

Voluptuous
which leads us nicely to

W is for

Weight for it...it's not coming off! Help! I have a wedding to attend in just over a month and am pretty much still the same weight as I was after the Count was born. Exercise doesn't work, dieting doesn't work. So much for that rubbish spouted that breastfeeding helps you lose weight fast. Pah! I feel that I look like a young Ann Widdecombe (but without the henious blonde hair or Tory beliefs)

29 August 2007

Turtle Power

My only pet as a child was a tortoise a friend of my parents gave us when I was 4 and my sister was 2. We named it Jip after my grandfather's gun dog. Like all tortoises Jip was very laid back and slow moving, until she wandered into the livingroom. Unfortunately the carpet there was very similar in colour to her shell so there were a few occasions when she was accidentally kicked across the floor. She also had a bad habit of peeing on people when they picked her up to say hello. Possibly a defence mechanism in case she was used as a football who knows, but the smell of tortoise pee is something you don't forget. It's not eyewatering like skunk but just odd.
Then one night my mother awoke to hear a bumping noise coming from under the bed. She thought Jip had wandered off and gotten stuck under there, but curiously everytime she moved the noise stopped. Then to her horror a rat shot out from under the bed. It disappeared out through the bedroom door into the bathroom and down the toilet. So the next day my parents called the National Pest Control who came round and put down rat poison in the drains and the back garden. That evening my parents were having a dinner party. My mother was in the kitchen preparing when the grate in the middle of the kitchen floor (for swishing the dirty water down after washing the floor) popped open and a half dead rat crawled out and started towards my mother who screamed and my father appeared brandishing a broom. Possibly the only time in his life he's actually held one!
The original rat had come in after the tortoise who had been safely asleep in her box. Her feet had been gnawed on by the rat but she was still alive. She became very vocal but refused to eat after the attack and died a few weeks later.

27 August 2007

Queen, Royalty and School

Cheating I know, but I'm also very aware that the end of the month is looming and I've still rather a lot of posts still to go.

So in days of yore when knights were bold and women did....I wrote about studying Latin at school and mentioned having lunch with Brenda. It was the 125 anniversary of that school on the hill in Crieff and so to celebrate 125 years of getting successive generations of parents to part with their money the school invited the Queen and co to visit. A lottery was had to determine who would attend the luncheon held in the Fecky (Refectory which had been repainted especially for the occasion) and I was one of the lucky winners. Only three things stand out about the meal - firstly we had cutlery that you couldn't do a Uri Geller on, we had actual crockery - instead of the plastic molded trays sort of like the ones you find on aircraft, and thirdly, the food was actually edible. I'm sure there were speeches and so on but they have slid into one of the many holes in the sieve of my memory and have yet to work their way back out.

Somewhere amongst my stuff I have still got the offical menu and my invitation to dine. When I find them, I'll put them up here.

24 August 2007

Penguins, Four Legged Furry

Ten years ago I shared a flat in Edinburgh with my sister and a large number of mice. The mice weren't our idea of ideal flatmates and after a mouse ran up my dressing gown and then down my bare leg we decided to get some kittens. One for my sister



(Froggy)



and one for me

(Velcro)
As I've posted before they turned out to be completely useless at catching mice (but rather good at dismembering giant spiders) but the smell of them kept the mice at bay in that flat. As kittens they loved water. It was not uncommon to go into the bathroom and find at least one of them sitting in the bath under the shower (and on one occasion, in the fish tank). And so they were christened the Four Legged Furry Penguins. Froggy will do anything for food - she worked out how to open the fridge in the flat in Edinburgh, and a few weeks back worked out how to get into our rubbish bin. Velcro is quieter, more reserved and very fond of cuddles.
P is also for Peace (and Quiet to follow) of which there is not much in this house. Isabelle to answer your question on how I have time to blog having 2 small children about - the Count sleeps through the night from around midnight till 11am which gives me time to do the housework and things with the FB in the morning, and then in the afternoon while the Count naps (big one for sleeping that boy) and the FB is playing I can blog, sew, read or gaze adoringly at ultraexpensive bags online.

19 August 2007

Oil

When I grow up.... I want to learn to paint using oils. I had a lesson, once, a long long time ago when I was just a wee lassie of 12. My grandfather (not the one who bought the monkey) is an artist in his spare time (as was his wife and as was my other grandmother) and decided to teach me by coping a photo of a flower, I think called an Indian Paintbrush. He kept the finished painting up on the wall in his kitchen for over 20 years and then last year gave it to me.
So here on public display for the very first time I give you...


16 August 2007

Nonsense

We do talk a lot of nonsense to our children, or is that just me? My parents tried to convince me that icecream vans only play their jingle when they've run out of icecream; I'm trying to convince the FB that they don't sell icecreams but cucumbers. Probably with as much success as my parents had with their little tale.
The idea for this post came about after I spent a while this morning trying, but not succeeding, to get the FB to believe me that the crashing sound he had heard while out on a walk was not, as he thought, the sound of someone doing some DIY, but was instead the footstep of an invisible giant who, being shy, had hidden from us. The FB was not having any of it, and said that no, giants are only found in stories.

Missed a few days (Aunty spider mentions below)

M is for

Mother. Of which I am one (if you haven't guess this then where have you been?).

Massive Spiders. My house isn't exactly infested with them but does have slightly more than I would like residing under my roof AND they aren't paying rent. I thought I was ok around spiders but apparently not if they are a certain size; little spiders are fine, tarantulas are fine, giant house spiders that snarl and drip foam from their fangs are not. Fortunately the Penguins think spiders are little toys for them to chase and then their basic dissection procedures on. Now our kitchen floor is littered with abandoned legs. I dread to find the torso.

Monkeys. My grandfather was in the Merchant Navy during and post WWII. On one of his trips away he purchased a monkey and brought it back to Britain with him. Alas it had to be given away to a zoo because it kept escaping from the house and stealing the neighbours' laundry off the washing lines.

Music. Drum and Base, Techno and R&B are NOT music but a form of aural torture.

12 August 2007

Living

I've mentioned before that I've lived in a fair number of places over the years. Since MrV and I got together we have lived in 7 homes in 3 countries over 8 years. And everytime we've moved I've hated the new place until just before we move (again) when I realise that things weren't half as bad as I thought, and then I go on to miss the old place like mad once we have moved and regret moving in the first place. Part of the problem is that I am looking for somewhere where I will fit in, and not be so damn awkward around people. You see I am incredibly shy which has the downside of making me appear to be aloof, and rather stupid as I get very tonguetied with nerves.
My ideal place would be a mixture of Edinburgh (for friends, family and the city itself) and the Netherlands (for its liberal yet grownup society) with the weather of the tropics but without the hurricanes of course. Is that too much to ask?

11 August 2007

Kismet


Is it my fate to have problems with the letter K? After all it is the first letter of my name and MrV's too but still it's a hard one to come up with.


Kismet - the Arabic for fate.




10 August 2007

Jam

When I was young I used to go raspberry picking with my grandfather so my grandmother could make raspberry jam. She was an absolutely hopeless cook. In fact one of my father's siblings bought her a sign as a Christmas present that read "Dinner is served at the sound of the smoke alarm". My uncle blamed my aunt and she in turn blamed my uncle for the present but the sentiment was true, my gran could burn water. Her sausages were legendary, and were nicknamed Granny's Rusty Sausages for she would grill them, put them in the fridge, and then fry them when she wanted to eat them; so their skins were incredibly tough and well, rusty.

But she could make the most delicious jam.

09 August 2007

Impossible

I is proving a little hard to write about. Sure there are numerous words out there that begin with the right letter but the blog muse seems to have wandered off for the evening, perhaps for an icecream? Who knows!

Tomorrow Ikea is coming to deliver some furniture including a shelving rack for the under-the-stairs-cupboard where everything cleaning related is stored on one tiny, overfilled and leaning at an unsafe angle shelf. Is it sad that I am so looking forward to putting up that shelfing rack? Or just natural since an iron has missed hitting me on the head several times as it toppled off the leaning shelf.

08 August 2007

Happiness


We all have our own idea of what makes us happy. For some it's a pair of Manolo Blahniks, for others it's doing something nice for a stranger.

For the Count it's a clean nappy, a full tummy, a convenient thumb and his snuggly blanket.

07 August 2007

Gorgeous and Green

To prevent a reoccurence of yesterday, the FB, the Count and I went for a walk through the parks to a fantastic playground about 2 miles away. Usually at this time of the year the grass is brown and dry, and everything has a sort of brittle, dried out quality to it; but because we've had so much rain, the grass and everything is still lush and green.


This photo was taken about 5 minutes walk from my home; another 2 minutes walk, and the view would have been of a burnt out abandoned car.
We spent 3 hours in the playground while the FB checked out all the climbing frames and slides but as we took a picnic with us, and it was such a beautiful day it didn't matter.




On the way home as we searched for an icecream van we walked through the grounds of this house. I couldn't tell you what it is called just that it is set in one of the parks we walk through and the gardens are lovely.









Then, beside the church where Sir Walter Raleigh's head some believe is buried, we finally found an icecream van.





06 August 2007

F is for ...

Folk of the Faraway Tree - I'm reading that to the FB at present and he seems to love it. We've got an old version from 1972 and the vocab is so completely different ie "queer" gets used a lot

First Born - My plan was to upload a few photos of the FB from birth to present but I can't find any from his 2nd birthday. I suspect they are upstairs on a computer somewhere. Ach I'll put a baby photo up instead..or as Blogger is playing funny buggers, perhaps I won't.


Filofax - the pinnacle of stationary. Is there anything better than the smell of a new leather filofax, its pages pristine and ready for use?

Friends? - The question mark is there because today the preteen was trying to get 2 of his little chums (aged 5 and 7) to fight the FB for his (the FB's) water pistol. After it was pointed out that this was not on they proceeded to send my son to Coventry for the rest of the day. I wish I knew why they had taken against him so and if it could be mended.

05 August 2007

E is for Embroidery





I started to learn how to embroider yesterday with help from a children's website. Kids' websites are much better for these sort of things because their diagrams and instructions are far clear than those written for adults. I read a lot of craft blogs and am always very envious of their skills and the beautiful things they produce. Plus I have loads of thread to use in so many fantastic bright colours



04 August 2007

D is for dead languages, dunces and dropping names

Latin's a dead language
It's as dead as can be.
It killed off the Romans,
and now it's killing me.

Did you have to study Latin in school? I did it for a year when I was 12 and was so bad at it that I was put into the class for pupils too stupid to study Latin. A shame really as I seem to recall rather enjoying it. All I can remember of it now is "amo, amas, amat" and "Ecce, in pictura est puella nomine Falvia" (please excuse my spelling, 12 was a long long time ago). Actually the year that I failed so badly at Latin was also the year in which I had lunch with the Queen, but that's another story and one that may fall under the letter Q if I'm stuck, which I probably will be.

03 August 2007

The ABCs



I feel that my writing has lost a little bit of something recently. This is probably because my life revolves around family, cleaning and the West Wing which is rather limiting for blog entries. So when I read on domesticali that there is a new meme doing the rounds called Encyclopedia of Me which requires a post a day for the month of August I was hopeful that this might get me going again.




A is for Abroad

I've promised this a few times before - where I've lived..
I was born in the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh. My mother worked there as a nurse before I was born so knew the staff and was helping out making beds a few days after I was born.
Middle East
We moved to Doha, Qatar before I started school. Water came to your house in a tanker, minor road were just tracks in the sand, electricity cuts were the norm, rats were everywhere, and then there were (Aunty do NOT look) these.
As well as Qatar, I've lived in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia and Tel Aviv in Israel

North America
When I was 18 I moved to the US (against the expressed wishes of my parents) to Kalamazoo in Michigan and boy was it cold! A few months later I moved across the state to Detroit and within days I left and went up to Ottawa to stay with family in Canada.
Europe
OK let's see, I've lived in Epstein and Bönstadt near Frankfurt am Main, working as an aupair firstly with 18 month old twins, and then with 2 young children; and Maastricht in the Netherlands.
The UK
Apart from those well known centres of culture Edinburgh, Crieff and London, I spent 3 years in Northampton studying at Uni.

B is for Babies Crying and Cooing
The Count has the most adorable cry. He's still got a sort of newborn cry which doesn't have the same lungpower as an older baby and when he's very tired he doesn't bother crying, instead he just lies there saying "mwahhh" which frankly is too cute for words.
When the FB was four months old he stopped sleeping through the night and started waking up every few hours for no discernable reason. We tried everything from moving him into his own room, to taking notes of how often and much he fed, and even, to the disgust of the health visitor, tried Gina Ford but the FB refused to cooperate and nap at the appropriate time. Eventually we had to go the hard way which was to leave him to cry at night. It took a couple of nights of lying in bed listening to him scream himself to sleep (which were horribly hard) but he got over his nightwaking.
Both of them (well the FB doesn't any more but he did when he was a baby) coo, smile and laugh at something that no one else can see.


C is for Cleaning Ovens
When I lived in Tel Aviv I had a job as pot wash in a very popular bar in Tel Aviv port. As jobs go it wasn't bad, the pay was good and the only dangers came from broken glasses the waitresses would put in with the dishes and the unwelcome attention from Benny the greasy cook. He had a weird obsession with wanting to cook me a "white meat" meal. So anyway, one day the bar got a notice saying that they were getting inspected by Environmental Health so the whole kitchen had to be cleaned. A lot of the food served up was fried and the walls above the fryers were caked in grease which meant a special alkelai cleaner needed to be used. I was given rubber gloves to do this but as I was cleaning the walls the stuff was running down my gloves onto my arms, and as I watched little pocks were being burnt/melted into my arms. I remember the weird tingling feeling and looking down as they appeared. I also had a big one burnt into the joint of my thumb where a hole had let the cleaner through.
So oven cleaning??? Well today's Motivated Mum's list had oven cleaning on it, and as it is the first time I've done it since we moved, and I'm still speculating as to whether the house was cleaned before we moved in, I used a seriously strong cleaner on it. As I cleaned I felt a tingling feeling down my right arm but fortunately this time there wasn't anything there. Phew!

01 August 2007

Not thrice but five times unlucky

The landlord must despair of us. Within the first month of us moving into the house we have:

  • lost one set of keys and had to call him out to let us in, just as a thunderstorm arrived
  • locked ourselves out a few days later when the frontdoor was pushed closed with the keys still in it, unfortunately on the inside (the door locks automatically). We had to call a locksmith to come and jimmy the door open
  • had to call out an electrician when we noticed the shaving plug in the bathroom nextdoor to the FB's bedroom was buzzing and getting rather warm.
  • had to have the landlord and two of his workers, come round to sort out the patio not once but twice. First time before the floods and then yesterday they were back taking up the stones and refilling and levelling the ground that was devastated by the waterfall.
  • And now we need a plumber to take a look at the dishwasher which isn't behaving itself.

This is getting ridiculous!

But, the patio is finished, the washingline is back up (just in time as the Count is now in cloth nappies) and the sun is shining (said as the dark clouds begin to roll in....)

(and thank you to all of you who left your commiserations on Monday's news.)

30 July 2007

I've been thinking a lot about a friend recently. There are a lot of things around my home that remind me of her including a wicker basket with a teddybear on the front which she gave me for my birthday; and a copy of karma sutra that she gave me just after she found out that MrV and I were a couple.
I've been thinking about the time she visited us in Maastricht and we sat in a cafe having breakfast and she collapsed with the giggles because trying discarded pieces of wax on as pieces of jewelry was very funny.
I've been thinking about how every Friday after work she would drive us back in to the centre of Edinburgh because a bar we would go to had a free buffet and hell it was cheap way to eat.

She died on Saturday night after a long fight with cancer. RIP my friend.

26 July 2007

Did I tell you I'm a rain god?

What did we do to anger nature and get all this rain Meggie? Well, we moved house that's all. For 4 1/2 years we lived in a flat with no garden, and for 4 1/2 years we've had beautiful summers. This summer we move to a house with a garden and as I put the key into the lock for the first time the raindrops begin to fall.

I'm thinking of advertising our services to drought regions. They just need to provide us with a house and garden.....

25 July 2007

Organise me, please!

So my quest to become organised continues. Another home, another plan; this one is called Motivated Moms. Basically it's a calendar which a list for each day of stuff that has to be done. Some of it isn't relevant like coupon clipping, and some needed translation from US Eng to UK Eng ie the weekly purse clean out which I completely misunderstood, but it has got me doing things that I wouldn't previously have even thought about such as washing the front of the dishwasher. Ok I've never had a dishwasher before (note drinking straws do not cope well being washed in a dishwasher) but even if I had I doubt I would have thought of doing it.
Today one of my chores was to clean the bathroom windows. Inside is fine, I can reach them but the outside ones pose a bit of a problem as the windows either open outwards or upwards.

The whole thing with the neighbouring children is still ongoing. The older child is here at present playing with the FB. In fairness to him he is very good with little kids and seems to have limitless patience for playing with playdough and duplo. The other little boy is avoiding here like the plague after I had words with him yesterday. Ah well.

And still it rains.

20 July 2007

"S all right for ducks!



this morning it rained, and rained and rained. And then it rained some more. And just when we thought it couldn't rain anymore it showed us how wrong we could be. That is a waterfall coming down into our backyard from the field above.



(the river opposite flooded its banks)


gorgeous sunshine now though

19 July 2007

The fly in the ointment

Of course there has to be one.

We share a back field with the neighbours on either side, both of whom have children. They all play together (including a preteen boy who is very fond of playing with the FB which does feel a bit weird) in the back field but also in our back yard which is meant to be private. Now it is fine that they all are in there when the FB is out, but they've taken to using it as a shortcut when he isn't there, and being an intensely private person I'm not happy about that. There is also a problem with one of the children who has taken an immediate dislike to the FB (not enough of a dislike for him not to come round and play with all the FB's toys), calling him names and trying to isolate the FB from the other children. I don't know how to handle all this. I don't want to appear standoffish and therefore cause problems for the FB but I also don't want my backyard to become their playground and I certainly don't want the name calling etc to continue.

Any suggestions?

13 July 2007

Back

Woohoo we've got internet (and television too) AND it's stopped raining. We've still not finished unpacking. There are boxes of stuff lying about, but not that many, and none of the book boxes have been unpacked as the bookcases are still lying in pieces in the loft.


I promised a photo of the books and here it is. This is only 2/3s of them. The rest were still safely sitting on their bookcases waiting to be taken off so the shelves could be dismantled.




That's Froggy by the way wandering in and wondering what on earth we are up to.


My mother in law found us a gorgeous park near us complete with cricket grounds. It is like being in a little village somewhere in England when you see the cricketters in their whites. The difference between our old home in Tooting (twinned with a crater on Mars) and this place is incredible.


I give you - the view from my kitchen window. There are, to my father's disappointment, no fish in the stream opposite.

06 July 2007

Very Quickly Then

Am at my parents in Edinburgh for a few days while MrV does his stint as best man up north...

Move went pretty well. Finished dismantling bookcases at 3am last Thursday - photo of pile of books to follow. I wish I had a photo of the packers faces when they saw them! 60 boxes of books had to be moved.
Mother in law arrived on Sunday just in time for MrV and I to come down with a stomach bug!

Oh and well if you've been watching Wimbledon you'll know how the weather has been. I swear, we move into a place with a garden for the first time in over 4 years and what happens as soon as I put the keys in the front door, it starts bloody raining and doesn't stop! Arghhh

But the view from my kitchen window (yes I'll post a photo) is fantastic.

I'll be back sometime after the 12th when Tiscali finally get round to switching the tv and internet service back on.

21 June 2007

4 Years

Today it's our wedding anniversary(flowers, fruit, linen or electrical appliances depending on what website you read). Actually the electrical appliances one is quite fitting as MrV bought me the second series of West Wing. I got series one for Christmas and only really started watching it at the beginning of the week but am very much hooked.

Preperations for the move are going pretty well. Ok the house now resembles a very badly organised charity shop (specialising to my shame in diet coke cans and bottles) but all the relevant utilities companies have been contacted.

The Count has been rather naughty of late and refusing to sleep all day until the early hours of the morning; he feels he would much rather stay awake and scream for hours on end. Where is the mute button when you need it?

18 June 2007

Ohmmm

Imagine if you will a calm, collected space. Perhaps there is a bubbling stream, some willow trees, all very green, very calm, very peaceful. Ok, now imagine a more jaggedy space, the stream has become a roaring river full of rapids and violent waterfalls, and the trees have that winter look - the one that makes their branches look like witches fingers grasping for the sky. I currently inhabit the latter, but with the help of my cross stitch (works like meditation I find), lorryloads of chocolate, and Miami Ink I am working on leaving that land and moving into the more peaceful one. And it does work, until I remember that we are moving house in less than 2 weeks and the list of things to be done now takes up 5 pages in my notebook. However, and we must be Pollyanna in these situations (though I must confess to loathing the book as a child) and look at the positives..

1. The packers have been booked so at least we don't have to try and pack our over cluttered flat (including 2000 books)
2. Stress is very good for losing weight.
3. The house has a dishwasher. Have I told you that already? And a dryer! Utter bliss.

Now I shall pick up my needle and cotton and return to the lotus position. Ohmm

16 June 2007

All Change

So we get the Count sorted out sleepwise - that allnighter was a oneoff but he's been pretty good only waking up at 3.30 and again at 6, and what happens? The FB comes down with something and is up all night crying because of stomach cramps until eventually at 7am we take him to A&E to have him checked out. Of course as soon as we enter the hospital grounds he cheers up and is back to his normal self by the time any medical people see him. And he's fine..all day until half an hour ago when the Count fell asleep and the FB started crying in pain in his sleep again..

I'm off to print out a copy of the Geneva Convention which I shall then read to both boys emphasising the illegality of sleep deprivation.

(there is a plus side to this though, the FB has finally started taking calpol at home. In the past the only way to get him to take it was either to have nurses administer it, or disguise it in yogurt or pink milk)

14 June 2007

10 till 5

He slept through the night!

13 June 2007

Liz's Meme

One-Word Responses

1. Where is your cell phone? couch
2. Relationship? closeness
3. Your hair? messy
4. Work? householdishnesses
5. Your sister? strong
6. Your favourite thing? sleep
7. Your dream last night? HAH!
8. Your favourite drink? coke
9. Your dream car? chauffeured
10. The room you're in? living
11. Your shoes? birkenstocks
12. Your fears? many
13. What do you want to be in 10 years? resolved
14. Who did you hang out with this weekend? parents
15. What are you not good at? loads
16. Muffin? chocolate
17. Wish list item? servants/sleep
18. Where you grew up? world
19. The last thing you did? laundry
20. What are you wearing? clothes!
21. What are you not wearing? shoes
22. Your pet? penguins
23. Your computer? annoying
24. Your life? wonky
25. Your mood? calm
26. Missing? chocolate
27. What are you thinking about? nothing
28. Your car? feet
29. Your kitchen? cluttered
30. Your summer? PIMMS
31. Your favourite colour? depends
32. Last time you laughed? forgot
33. Last time you cried? forgot
34. School? done
35. Love? yup


Tagging anyone not done it.

11 June 2007

D-Day

We have been abandoned. My parents left 2 days ago to return to Edinburgh so now I have sole care of two little boys during the day. Truth be told though, it's not been that bad. The FB has made it to nursery for the last couple of days practically on time, has attended a birthday party and gotten into his first fight in Soft Play (he actually stuck up for himself hurrah!); the Count on the other hand is determined to watch the effects of sleep deprivation on a 30something woman up close.

But who cares because....we have a new home (pending references of course). It's huge with a garden and loads of storage and we move at the end of the month. And yes Angelfeet it's still south of the river.

(and Caramaena I am so glad I wasn't the only one who found that episode of Dr Who scary!)

06 June 2007

Interview with a couple of mini vampires



the FB impersonating Tom Cruise in the Great Cherry Massacre



The Count, exhausted after a night of grumping and pooing

05 June 2007

Oh so very wrong

I don't know what Tom Hanks or Steve Martin were on about; life is not a box of chocolates, nor can it be compared to a merry-go-round or a rollercoaster. Life is, in my opinion, one of those wheels in a hamster's cage - you run and run and run as fast as you can and don't get anywhere. The Red Queen said it best in either Alice in Wonderland or Alice Through the Looking Glass "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!" That is exactly how I feel about life at present, AND I have assistance in the form of my dearest Mama who is down staying with us until next Monday then she returns back to the Frozen North (aka Edinburgh). And that scares me. How on earth am I going to
  • look after one rather contrary, argumentative and stubborn 3 year old
  • look after the Count Sir Grumpalot
  • look for a new house (becoming more and more pressing as our deadline of the end of the month looms)
  • look after the housework and the laundry
  • stay reasonably sane and pretend to be a togetherish type of person.

Any ideas? It feels like no matter how much housework and laundry I do there always seems to be more, especially with the housework. And then there is the actual packing and moving. I'm in denial over them (of course I need to find somewhere to live first). I think I may have to beg MrV to pay a moving company to come and do that bit.

So after Monday, if you're looking for me, I'll be sitting in the corner, rocking backwards and forwards holding on tightly to a very large bottle of booze.

31 May 2007

I need a new changing bag.

The house is strangely quiet. The FB is out somewhere with my mother (who is staying with us for 2 weeks to help out), the Count is (as to be expected for it is daylight) asleep in his moses basket, and I have given up searching for a new house for today and am reading "The Secret Life of a Slummy Mummy", I should be hanging up the laundry and getting dinner ready.

Over the last few days I've written so many posts in my head, most of them about life with a baby and all of them have been relegated to the rubbishbin in my brain.

Instead possibly a flow of consciousness (I can not spell today at all)...

stitches have pretty much healed hurrah! The FB is behaving much better (he became incredibly disobedient for a few days and moped and whined whenever told off), the Count has worked out how to breastfeed (I do so wish that La Lerche or whatever they are called would admit that it takes time to learn how to do this) and last night slept from 1.30 to 6.30. The flat hunt is going terribly - it seems if we want to own our own home (in a size slightly larger than a matchbox) then the best we can hope for is living in a crackden which is what we were offered today! And renting a 3 bedroom well if we can afford the rent then the travel costs are astronomical and if we can afford the travel then the rent is thousands per month. So I have no idea what we are going to do and we are running out of time, and as MrV has a. loads of freelance and b. a wedding that he has got to attend, he hasn't got time to look. I think what I need is a glass, no make that a jug, of pimms and a PA.
As for me, well I am reading 3 books at the same time, and cross stitching this picture of Wandsworth Common. Maybe by the time the Count starts school I'll have it finished.

26 May 2007

Well that was fun!

first flat - tiny, dingy, badly decorated and miles away from public transport
second flat - gorgeously decorated with a huge kitchen but in a council estate with some rather dodgy characters hanging about.
we gave up on the third.

plus sides? Well the FB was fantastic. We had to walk for several hours and he was incredibly patient about it all and only occasionally complained that he was running short of energy. The Count screamed throughout the first viewing but slept through the second, and best of all - let me have a good night's sleep last night.

So back to searching again.

25 May 2007

The House of Moths and other stories

I'm fairly sure that we are currently sharing our flat with most of the moth population of South London. From cute, dinky, little ones up to the big, furrybodied monster moths, they are all flapping about our place giving the cats a well earned workout. Shame we can't put up notices and declare ourselves a butterfly and moth farm, and thus open to the public (at a small fee of course).

The Count has settled into a nighttime routine. Unfortunately this routine seems to be: sleep fantastically and silently during the evening, wake up for a feed around 10 - 11pm, go back to sleep (again silently)then wake up as soon as parents go to bed, fill three nappies in quick succession, demand more food, then sleep making as much noise as possible so parents don't sleep fearing that the Vampire Baby is about to wake, until dawn when silence descends and the FB wakes up. Repeat until parents are nervous wrecks. This is a slight improvement on his first week of life I think though I could be hallucinating from sleep deprivation. We've taken to having a radio playing all night on Radio 7 (BBC radio station with plays, etc running all the time) in case the Count was unnerved by the sound of silence. Was Bela Lugosi this demanding I wonder?

And tomorrow we go to look at some flats. One in Dulwich and two in Sydenham. And like most of you I have no idea where these places are or what they are like. We shall have to wait and see.

17 May 2007

Tory MPs and Vampires

Thank you all for your lovely congratulations, and yeah you're right perhaps Peanut isn't such a good name for him anymore. The only thing that I can come up with is Boris purely because of the hair, the Peanut, as far as I know, has not insulted Liverpool or anyother town since his arrival though give him time.
It's been a wonky few days. He was born late Saturday night and we escaped hospital on Sunday (hence why I could post) and since coming home he has shown his true colours - he's a vampire. Sleeps all day then as soon as his parents think about going to bed he wakes up and that's it until the small hours when he crashes for another nap that Garfield would be proud of.
And the FB? He's coping remarkably well with all the changes. Actually far better than I am I think. He's been a bit clingy and whiney but hasn't turned in the grump from hell that his mother has become.

Ah the Count has awoken, I must be off to await on his every shriek.

13 May 2007

Introducing.....



the Peanut


arrived late last night, measuring 54cm long and weighed in at a whopping 9lb14oz

09 May 2007

Anguish

The FB has taken to screaming hysterically when his father leaves in the morning, holding on to the gate at the top of the stairs and screaming "daddy come back" at the top of his lungs while sobbing desperately. He repeats it at nursery with yours truly, hanging on to me and crying to go home. But his father has to go to work, and I have to leave him at nursery - for his sake - it's not much fun at home with a mummy who can't do anything, so everyday I have to walk out and leave behind a desperate little boy and it does horrible things to my heart strings. I know it only lasts a few minutes and then he is back to his usual self but it is hard not to turn round, go back in and take him home. At least he has people around him to give him cuddles and he knows that I'll always come back for him.

06 May 2007

The Week that Was

During the last week we have

  • Had two stomach bugs (MrV and the FB). Despite being vomited on I managed not to catch it.
  • Got one eviction notice - Landlords are selling up and moving on and we have until the end of June to find a new home.
  • Washed lots of baby clothes, sheets and towels.
  • Almost put the pushchair together
  • Spent a large portion of each morning sitting in a cafe in Tooting Bec waiting to pick the FB up from nursery - saves walking home and then back up that Hill again you see, and they serve rather yummy cookies.
  • Thought that every single ache, pain and Braxton Hicks was "it" starting. It hasn't. Am still roughly the same size as the average aircraft carrier (even MrV has taken to calling me HMS Karen, you can imagine how well that went down!)

26 April 2007

Sitting at home waiting for John

Yesterday my beloved John Lewis made a little booboo. They delivered the pushchair to us as agreed and several other things I had purchased at the same time, and then delivered the several other things again later on in the day. It is very tempting to keep the second delivery and sell it all on Ebay (alas they didn't duplicate the pushchair order) but no, so now I am stuck at home waiting for them to call back and arrange to pick up the box in the kitchen, hopefully before one of the cats mistakes it for the litter tray.

25 April 2007

Well things are a bit blahh here at present, hence the lack of posting. There isn't much to talk about really not unless you are interested in the four things going through my head

  • how on earth do I get this place clean and tidy before the Peanut makes his appearance and how am I going to keep it that way afterwards?
  • Changing bag decision needs to be made (pushchair was sorted, and was delivered this morning in two giant boxes). Was considering a Pink Lining one but it is out of stock everywhere grrr.
  • When I started writing this post a few days ago I was becoming not a little fixated on the missing wooden pram toys and the stuff under the bed. Well I am happy to announce that two days ago the FB and I mounted an expedition to the Caverns Under the Bed and have come back victorious. The toys have been found AND all the baby clothes sorted out by age and rebagged. It's quite incredible but the Peanut hasn't been born yet and already he has more clothes than both his father and myself put together.
  • the bump is now so colossal that none of my clothes will cover it. They fit everywhere else just not over Mount Everest. And yet despite this guess how many people have offered me a seat on the Underground recently. I'll give you a clue - it is the exact number of shoes owned by the average butterfly.

You see, not very exciting. My brain seems to be just not interested in anything right now except the few things above, Terry Pratchett novels, chocolate and the fact that I seem to be suffering elephantitis of the feet.

Oh and the sewing machine debacle.. I have to send it back to get the sewing needle out and the self threader looked at. It was very tempting MrsT to open it up and get it out myself but I just know that if I had done, something else would have gone wrong! It was one of those days.

17 April 2007

When it's good not to be an elephant

1. Pregnancy lasts for 22 months. If humans had pregnancies as long we'd have morning sickness for 7 months.
and
2. They give birth to calves weighing in at 120kg (265lb). OUCH!

There wasn't any kind of zen motive behind all of that; it just occured to me that I'm actually quite lucky and that if I was an elephant (ok am currently roughly the same size as one but that's beside the point) I would really have cause to complain.

There was another "unexpected event" that took place last weekend - I tried out my sewing machine and discovered that the self-threading thingy doesn't work no matter what I do. Tried to fix it and made matters worse by unscrewing the needle and then dropping it into the machine (by accident honestly). It won't come out. Any suggestions or is it ok to leave it in there?

14 April 2007

The Unexpected

I think I've mentioned once before that my best friend and I (so high schoolish sounding I know) had a huge argument back in October and haven't spoken since. It was a pretty horrible fight, lots of harsh words were said and at the time meant. But I read a post by Sarcastic Journalist and it made me think, so a few weeks back I emailed her to say hello. Heard nothing back and assumed that that was it, she didn't want to talk to me.
Then on Thursday night someone knocked on the door and it was my friend. She was outside London on business and had hired a car and driven for an hour to see me and sort things out! I can't say that things are the same as they were before we fought but I hope that we can salvage something from the mess.

MrV was supposed to go to up to Edinburgh this weekend for a stag party but backed out because of me and my crutches only for the groom to cancel the whole party because he's not particularly well. So instead of it just being the FB and myself squabbling at home we got to go on a gorgeous long walk through Regents Park in the sunshine.

12 April 2007

Two faces of motherhood

What are you? A Yummy Mummy or a Slummy Mummy

Find out here

10 April 2007

Still Here

Alas the expedition to the Caverns under the Bed failed to take place last Thursday. I did my chores, made some phone calls then stood up to begin the task ahead of me and CRAACKK my hip went. Since then it has been very touchy and quick to take offense at the slightest hint of walking or indeed spelunking (fab word that).

Oh and no baby yet. He's turned himself around into starting position but nothing happening there either. Never mind eh, 6 weeks to go

05 April 2007

Ranulph Fiennes eat your heart out

Over the past two days I have accomplished feats of great daring do that Ranulph Fiennes would scarse believe possible...

Firstly I scaled Mount Wardrobe's eastern side equipped only with a chair. At the summit I was set upon by numerous dust bunnies and lint imps but fought them off uncovering a vast treasure of toddler clothes, christmas decorations and the prize - a bracket to attach a CD rack to the wall in the livingroom. Now MrV has something to keep him occupied over the long Easter weekend. An avalanche was neatly avoided when the stand for the moses basket disappeared down the western slope of Mount Wardrobe and then lodged itself firmly in a cervice between the mountain and bedroom wall.

Yesterday I took on the Great Sideboard of Junk and cleared out masses of stuff. Admittedly a lot of it is sitting in plastic bags in the corner but once the baby clothes and nappies, wraps, liners etc are out from under the bed the older clothes can slot neatly or messily under.

Today it is the turn of The Caverns beneath the Bed, a place to where only the most intrepid of explorers dare descend.

02 April 2007

List of Entirely Unconnected Thoughts

1. Back in the mists of time I said something about not wanting to gain as much weight with this pregnancy as I did with the FB - 6 stone it was, which is, according to Google, 38kg. Ladies, and Gent (drum roll please) I have, with just over 7 weeks to go, only gained 3 stone (19kg) making me lighter than I was at this time the last time. And yet my clothing size says the opposite. Why?

2. The cats are being ultra-nice to me since I threatened to send them sea-mail to Australia. The main culprit is sitting to my right purring like mad and making "oh so cute" eyes at me. I am not fooled.

3. The FB is finally getting over his cold, which is good as we were drowning in a sea of white and green tissues. He has also learnt to share, not so good.

4. Back to square one on the whole pushchair front. Original plan was to get a Bugaboo Chameleon but we are saving up for MrV to go freelance so.....any suggestions? I'd like it to have a carrycot, extendable handles and a shopping bag thingy slung underneath.

5. Am very aware that I've been tagged for this real woman/mother meme thingy and it is sort of under construction. The problem is that my brain has eroded and is spewing forth a bunch of rubbish. When I have it back under control (some time in the next decade) I may be able to make a little more sense of my rambling. And possibly learn to spell.

6. The much awaited decluttering failed to happen this weekend. Am starting to wonder if I can do it myself. This however involves climbing onto a chair and I'm not sure the wardrobe is strong enough to be used as a pulley system. We shall experiment tomorrow. If I don't post for while it is because the whole thing has collapsed on me and I am buried under a pile of Ladybird books from the 70s. Please send a search and rescue team with lots of chocolate.

7. Doc has referred me to physio for hip/pelvic/leg pain. Hurrah!

28 March 2007

Penguins Grrr!

The fourleggeds have just eaten our dinner (chicken risotto) and then puked it all over the flat. Frankly they could at least have had the decency to keep it down. Now I have to clean cat vomit off the carpet, yeah!

Anybody looking for two cats, useless at mousing and with a habit of refusing to use the littertray when miffed about something? Oh and one of them "nags" for Scotland.

27 March 2007

Varying Shades of Beige

Things have been a little blah around here recently. The FB has come down with yet another cold so he is feeling very sorry for himself, and MrV and myself are suffering from sleep deprivation. It is not fun sharing your bed with a three year old but it's that or get up every ten minutes to give him cuddles when he cries. And we're on the lookout for spots - chickenpox has invaded his nursery oh joy!

And when we do manage to get the FB to sleep in his own bed my mind won't shut up long enough to let me sleep, instead it insists on partying all night with my bladder. Grrrrrr

So some thoughts that come to me in the middle of the night

This pregnancy feels like it has gone on for a year already and I'm starting to worry that it isn't going to end. That the Peanut will just stay on in there and I really really want my sense of smell and taste back, not to mention being able to roll over in bed without the pops and cracks of my pelvis and subdued gasps of pain to accompany me.

This weekend we are decluttering. I want rid of the rubbish in our bedroom now. I'm fed up with things piled on top of other things and just want to get stuck in.

Koalas - Isabelle you genius. I could have used this word in my list. My Grandfather brought me back a koala from Australia (they must have stopped off en route to the UK from New Zealand where they lived) which if I remember correctly, and family lore is to be believed, was made of real koala fur. It was incredibly soft but wasn't very appealing to a small child.

The other word I could have used was Kin. I come from a very small immediate family but have a huge extended family spread out all over the world. At one point there was at least one familial member on every continent bar Antartica - travel is in our blood. I'll do a post at some point on all the places I've lived I promise.

23 March 2007

Brought to you by the letter K

I won the letter K in Peasoup's scrabble meme, and I believe (haven't checked mind) that you are supposed to list 10 things beginning with your letter with either a photo or a paragraph to accompany each one. Perhaps I should read the instructions first.

Anyway

1. MrV. My favourite K. Yes I know. MrV, three letters, none of which is the kicking k. But, MrV is not his real name, which does begin with a K so hah! Definitely my favourite K. I should post my reasons but I won't. He reads my blog and if I did list his best atributes he would either blush with embarrassment or gently point out which ones I had missed

2. Kindergarten. Most kindergartens and nurseries have an official pet whether it be a hamster, some goldfish, or in the case of the FB's, a tank of giant snails. Mine was a little different. We had a camel. OK he didn't actually belong to the kindergarten but he lived in the scrap of desert behind the kindergarten and spent his days with his head peaking over the wall watching us play. We called him Rudolf. Guess why.

3. Klutz, or to possibly invent a word, klűtzlich (to mean impossibly clumsy). I once split my right elbow open whilst shaving my legs. Need I say more?

4 and 5. When I was 18 I lived in Kalamazoo in Michigan with my then boyfriend. Alas, actually not alas, hurrah, things didn't work out and I ended up living with some of my family in Kanata in Canada.

6. Kitchens. MrV and I plan on building our own home one day. So far the only room I have planned out in my head is the kitchen. I dream of having a kitchen with enough storage, and sensibly planned too. One of the many downsides to renting is that landlords often have a very odd idea of how much storage to put in a kitchen and how to plan where the cupboards should be. Mine has also very kindly built in a catproof mouserun. I can only imagine he lies awake at night worried about the amount of exercise mice should be getting and can't because of our pesky cats.

7. karma. I have a strong belief in karma, though like most people I get the basics wrong. I believe that if you do something good in this life you are rewarded in this life, do something bad and well you get the picture. But it's not like that. Your reward or punishment comes in the next life or so they say, which is a little late I think.

8. Kan't get it out of my head (sorry I'm cheating a little) - David Bowie's Life on Mars. MrV and I have been watching the first series of the BBC program of the same name and the song is stuck going round and round in my head. Good show though. Worth watching if it comes to a tv screen near you

9. Kűchen (cakes) preferably chocolate, though not German. Am not a big fan of German cakes they are a little too heavy for me, and not nearly chocolatey icing enough. But yum cakes. and doughnuts. and well just call me Homer.

10. Kurses, it's after midnight and time for me to go to bed with my bump pillow. Goodnight all.