28 February 2007

Life on Mars

It is possible, considering the differing rates of planetary revolution and movement around their suns, that yesterday, somewhere in the universe it was Friday 13th. It certainly was here, if not in date then definitely in manner.

  • The FB was in sulk mode, finding it unfair of me even to ask him to try to put his socks on.
  • The rubbish bins had not been provided by the landlord but had been brought home by our downstairs neighbours, and I had graffitied them with our house number. Apology required.
  • It was a rainy and windy day which is never a good combination. The FB's pushchair's raincover can't cope with rain and wind and turns into a smothering layer of plastic so when the FB, after several attempts by me to keep the cover off his face, kicked the raincover off, my limited patience gave out and I stalked off down the road followed by a screaming toddler. Witnessed by another parent from his nursery.
  • etc etc etc

The list is endless and the day cumulated with the FB being sent to his room in disgrace and me sobbing on the couch. All in all a horrible horrible day.

Today, despite the rain, wind and thunder, the sun is shining on our little home. The neighbours were fine with me painting the house number (we share the same house number) on the bins, and although it absolutely bucketed it down as I left to pick the FB up from nursery, by the time I had arrived the sun was shining and another battle with the raincover was avoided.

As for Mars, well the little area of SW London in which we reside has a crater named after it. No Provencal village or adorable hamlet in Tuscany for us, no, we get a lifeless hole in the ground.

26 February 2007


The landlord giveth, and the landlord taketh away (in reverse).

Actually it was his son who wandered off with the wall but last night two rubbish bins appeared in our front yard. As no one else on the street has received any I'm thinking it was the landlord and consequently have painted our house number on them both (I've also painted our downstair neighbour's number on as they have the same landlord as us) before someone takes a liking to them.

Foolish me. Remind me in future not to boast about how much less painful this pregnancy is compared to carrying the FB. The wonderous hormone relaxin has kicked in making me feel like a hippo on top of a particularly wobbly pair of stilts. I'm also thinking of begging Wandsworth Council to install either a ski lift or a Stena stair lift up the hill to the FB's nursery.

23 February 2007

Nancy Drew and the Case of the AWOL Wall

I've written in the past about some of the strange happenings in this flat; our on-site poltergeist MrsS and her penchant for bath plugs and clothes hangers, and the thing in the livingroom but last night took the biscuit...

Our garden wall disappeared.

Yup, that's right, it vanished. A waist high wall built out of roofing tiles that seperated our messy front yard from next door's equally messy yard, was there last night but this morning, all that's left is a tangle of ivy, some rather disgruntled spiders and a trail of dirt leading out of our gate and across the pavement. That last fact rather puts the culprit in the land of the living as the supernatural don't tend to leave dirt behind, ectoplasm yes, dirt no.

(credit for the title must go to Isabelle's student)

21 February 2007

Latest books

Finally finished the last lot of library books (would definately recommend My Father's Notebook and The Kaminsky Cure - Nutmeg I think the latter is right up your street), and got some new ones out. Again a mixed bunch, a couple chicklit, one sort of political, and one from the "A" shelf.

  • Not buying it: my year without shopping by Judith Levine. Levine and her partner decide to opt out of buying anything unessential for a whole year. They are allowed to purchase food, toiletries, medication, and pay bills etc, but no restaurants, cinema, dvd rentals. They do cheat a little I thought by ensuring that their magazine subscriptions are renewed just before they started, but it was an interesting read and has made me think about exactly what I spend MrV's salary on. (finished this one already)
  • Something Borrowed - Tina Reilly
  • Diary of a Married Call Girl - Tracy Quan
  • Minaret - Leila Aboulela

18 February 2007


We took the FB to the Tate Modern today, not, I hasten to add, to introduce him to the wonders of modern art, but because the Turbine Hall has these cool things in it:

They're slides! The FB had a fantastic time on them (he didn't go on either of the two above - they're for slightly taller people) and sobbed his heart out when we left. I was peeved too; I wanted to have a go but they don't let pregnant ladies on, and the exhibition will be over before the Peanut makes his appearance.

(photo courtsey of my lovely MIL)

15 February 2007

Ahhh so cute and tiny! Did he really wear them once?

We got the FB's baby clothes out of the loft at the weekend in preperation for the arrival of the Peanut. Yes, I know he's not due for another 14 weeks but MrV was prepared to go into the loft on Saturday and who knows the next time he would be willing to go up there. Anyway, the clothes are down and sitting in the corner of the bedroom waiting to be washed and put away except that we don't have anywhere to put them. At present we don't actually even have space to park the Peanut let alone his clothes so I fear that at some point in the next 3 months we are going to have to have another radical clear out. The hard bit is that most of the clutter is infact baby and toddler clothes that have been put aside to be used again and I don' t want to chuck them out and buy new ones. But something has to go, the space under the bed is jampacked, and the top of the wardrobe is so heavily overloaded that it has a rather scary lean now.

It amazes me, almost daily, how different this pregnancy is from the FB's. At this point with him I couldn't walk up hills, found most sleeping positions very painful, and could only walk for very short periods of time. There has been so much less pain this time round not only because my hips failed to do the whole dislocating thing, but also there's been no round ligament pain, pelvic or back pain. Hurrah!

12 February 2007

Whinging Pom alert

I have a dream, admittedly probably not the same as Dr King's as mine involves shopping. I would dearly like it if the apparel I have bought would continue to fit when I get home. In the last 10 days I have purchased
  • 2 pairs of maternity jeans - one just a little on the small side, the other needs drastic hemming
  • 2 maternity tops - both shrunk on their first wash (at 30C), one so badly it had to be taken back, the other only a little. Note to self do not buy any more tops from Next as they always always shrink.
  • a pair of shoes (discovered old ones leak terribly when it snowed) - despite being the same size, brand, colour and style as the old ones, these fit differently and are rather on the large size (I thought your feet were supposed to swell during pregnancy, obviously mine shrink).
  • 2 pairs of maternity bras - normally my downfall; bras usually fit in the shop then, once home, either inexplicably expand so much that each cup can be used to carry several pounds of potatoes, or shrink to the size of eggcups thus creating that four breasted look. Yum sexy! However, this time I got measured so, 3 days later, the bra still fits and the straps don't fall down. Hurrah!

Obviously the weirdness that was in my livingroom last week also affects clothing sizes. Either that or I'm going to have to lay off the chocolate. Or join a blind nudist colony.

08 February 2007

Siehst du den Schnee? (Do you see the snow?)

One thousand abject apologies for keeping you all in the dark about what happened when the door opened. I had an unexpected, all day visit from Mr Braxton Hicks yesterday and contrary to what the pregnancy sites say, it hurts (I strongly suspect that the people who write for these sites are the same people who lie to you about periods, round ligament pain and well everything else). So what I wanted to do was to have some snappy quote from The Eyre Affair (one of the characters is called Braxton Hicks) but as alas I couldn't find a relevant one you've got the one above which works because...today it snowed. Oh it comes from a book called Der Kleine Baer by Else Holmelund Minarik and as a 17 year old au pair I used to read the book every day to a pair of 18month old twin girls over and over and over.

Anyway today we woke up to snow and believe me even this grotty part of town looks good when covered in snow. Now you may recall, as I think I may have mentioned it once or twice, that the FB's nursery is located part the way up the hill, towards the top part alas, which is a workout on its own on non-snowy dry days, but when the path resembles a Christmas cake (decorated in litter, not fortunately today of the plastic, pink, buzzy kind) and your pushchair contains a 3 year old adamantly refusing to walk, the hill starts to take on a kind of mythological status (I'm thinking of the bloke who has to push a ball up a hill for eternity and unfortunately can't remember his name but I'm sure that you all know exactly who I mean). So after the FB was changed (he managed to fall over twice in the snow when he was in the mood to walk) and deposited at nursery there was no way I was going to walk back down the hill especially as the pushchair, or rather my personal zimmerframe as I like to think of it, gets left behind, therefore into a cafe I went. Such a lovely treat you know, going to sit in a cafe by yourself without a little one demanding a never ending stream of biscuits, muffins, cakes, the toilet. Oh nothing happened in there, no crazed gunmen ran in demanding free doughnuts or anything like that; no the worse thing to happen was that, and I admit this with great shame, I discovered that I quite like the new song by Take That "Shine" (it doesn't have Robbie Williams in it which is probably why it is actually good).

Where was I? Oh yes the door..... are you all sitting comfortably? OK well standing in the doorway was nothing. Nope, that's right, there was nothing there. Still I didn't go to sleep that night or many nights after until the first call to prayer sounded (at dawn).

06 February 2007

Things that go bump

I had a really bad night last night. I woke up somewhere around 2am with a feeling that there was something not right in my home. The feeling was so strong that it took me quite some time to pluck up enough courage to get out of bed to do a walkaround. All the rooms were pitch black except for the living room where the blue glow from the button on the front of the TV cable box gave off enough light for the outlines of the furniture to be seen. The middle of the couch that I usually sit on (and where I am sitting at present) was in darkness and giving off vibes of simply pure evil. I turned round and walked out, went to check on the FB and then returned to bed to lie wide awake for another couple of hours. Every once in a while the FB's door would thump as if someone was pushing it from the inside but each time it happened I would check on him and nothing was there.

This morning the creepy feeling in the flat is still there, and MrV told me that he has felt a bit odd walking around in the middle of the night.

But it put me in mind of a night about 14 years ago. I had watched, stupidly, Amityville 1992 which revolves around a living room clock taken from the original house. When the clock struck 3 (am and pm) horrible things happened. Now when I watched the film I was in Saudi visiting my parents and had forgotten to bring my watch, so my mother kindly lent me her little travelling clock which unfortunately had the same sounding tick as the clock in the film. One night I was feeling particularly creeped out and couldn't sleep so at 3am I was wide awake with the lights on in my room with one eye half on the clock when the bedroom door opened.

05 February 2007

Random acts of typing

It's Monday again and frankly this morning's walk to and from nursery lacked a little something. Maybe it was because no alleged killers ran past us covered in blood, perhaps it was the lack of sex toys lying about in the street or maybe it was just because the sky promised snow but gave out nothing. This, ladies and gent, is just not on. I want our walks to be, well I was going to say stimulating, because otherwise I'll have nothing else to tell you.

In the interest of bank accounts, and spousal nerves I'll give you a quick public announcement. If you are in any way tempted by art supplies DO NOT read Victoria Finlay's Colour. She dots her book with mentions of Winsor and Newton who I googled. Don't do that either. You may find yourself drooling over one of these .

The fairies have exchanged the children back again. The FB is back to his normal adorable self. He probably asked "why" just one too many times.

03 February 2007

The Changeling Boy

Once upon a time there lived a little boy who was the personification of sweetness, goodness and all things that parents wish their children to be. Then one morning he woke up and decided that that was that. He had had enough of being nice and now it was time to be a three year old. He argued that black was white and vice versa, dictated the terms under which his family would live, developed personality quirks that would keep psychiatrists in jobs for years, demanded, sulked, refused and whined at everything and everyone in his path. Until one day his parents had enough and shipped him off to his grandparents.
I wish!

01 February 2007

How do you keep the damn things up?

Bought a pair of maternity jeans today. They sit under the bump and have the elastic stretchy bit at the side and they keep falling down. My only xxl belt (bought to keep trousers up after the FB was born) barely fits round the bump and digs in whenever I sit down.
Any suggestions?

I realise I usually post about all the horrible things that happen in our neck of the woods, but something wonderful is happening.... We are getting a Cafe Nero. Does this mean that we are going to be dragged kicking and screaming into the enlightened, cafe culture age away from the greasy spoon? The best thing about Cafe Nero is that they usually have a toilet complete with nappy changing facilities which as the supermarket still hasn't opened theirs, and the library requires you to be accompanied by a librarian to unlock their facilities, this can only be seen as a good thing. I give them one week before they close it for “renovations".