28 December 2008

X marks the spot

The FB was given a treasure map of the Museum of Scotland recently as part of their program to get children interested in what they have to offer apart from the robots on the ground floor and the trains on the fifth. We had nothing better to do today and so we thought we'd follow the map...

Scottish wolves (not the ones from the Meadows that eat cheeky little boys, or so MrV tells the FB)

ghostly Roman horses

a claymore fit for a giant

Bonny Prince Charlie's "Wanted" poster. We were looking for one that said "wanted dead or alive" $400.

Freakly little coffins that were found buried on Arthurs Seat. Noone knows who made them, buried them or why.

Silver egg urns with legs?
You were meant to draw each of the things we found but the FB's not that great at drawing so he borrowed my camera instead and I have to say I'm quite impressed.

27 December 2008

Walks on a cold day

It was a cold day today, and frost covered everything

so we went for a walk

via Germany it seems!

Past waterfalls,

pools of still water,

and under towering bridges until, at last, we found the forest.

Is it me or do you think there should be a grizzly hunting salmon on the banks here?

Were we in Canada, Germany, or the centre of Edinburgh?

22 December 2008

Deck the halls meme

Nabbed from Meggie

Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Neither really. Can I have a glass of rose please?

Does Santa wrap presents or set them under the tree?
They're wrapped and put under the tree, but they won't go under the tree this year because due to the Count and his exploring fingers the tree has had to be put up behind the tv

Colored lights on tree or white?
Neither, but the tree is covered with lots of multicoloured decorations

When do you put your decorations up?
Is this apart from the tree? Hmm when they are finished being made really. Which they haven't yet...

What is your favourite holiday dish?
Roast chicken, roast potatoes, and stuffing. And don't forget the veg

Favorite Holiday memory as a child?
Making plans with my sister about who should wake up who if they were awake first. Oh yes and we also used to "wash" the bathroom walls on Christmas Eve to make sure they were clean in case Santa needed to use the bathroom. My mother used Santa as a great way to make us clean our bedroom (which was so untidy we would have to cut paths into it in the evening so we could get to the bedroom door) - everything had to be sorted out and tidied up completely incase Santa needed to check if we had a particular toy. We fell for it for years.

When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I had my suspicions when one Christmas Eve I heard my rather drunk father stagger into our bedroom (shared a room with my sister) and slur "where shall I put these?" to my mother. My suspicions were confirmed the next year when my sister and I decided to mark the fruit in the fruit bowl to see if any appeared in our stockings.

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
No, not unless you count a bottle of wine as a gift.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
Every year we buy the children a tree decoration each so they go up, as well as any that they have made themselves and then assorted tree decorations we've bought or been given. The tree is tack personified.

Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Love it until it turns to slush then freezes. We were deeply disappointed when a few weeks back the rest of the country got masses of snow and we got nothing.

Can you ice skate?
The last time I tried I could. Mind you that was 16 years ago. Is iceskating something you never forget?

Do you remember your favorite gift?
Sadly no I don't.

What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Spending time with MrV and the boys

What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?

What is your favorite tradition?
Watching a really bad Christmas film on the eve of the 23rd accompanied by biscuits and cheese from M&S

Which do you prefer, Giving or Receiving?
Giving I think.

What is your favorite Christmas Song?
I spend every Christmas singing the few lines of "Santa baby"that I know over and over

Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?
I suspect yuk

Ever recycled a Christmas present?
Not as a grownup but it probably happened as a child. I know duplicate birthday presents were recycled.

21 December 2008

The stars in the bright sky

Two years ago I first talked about making stars for the FB's bedroom, started making them (I think about 15 were cut out and that's all) before the incredible tiredness you get during the first trimester kicked in and I quit. Last year we all had spewmonia (yes it sounds delightful doesn't it) right before Christmas so making stars was again out of the question. But this year? Well I've cut out and decorated 97 stars in either silver or gold glitter - so far 66 in gold, the rest silver. I've another 59 stars waiting to be decorated but have run out of glue, and I've got to draw and cut out another 33 stars to be done in gold. Then they all have to be strung together and hung. By Thursday morning. Cutting it a bit fine amn't it! On top of that I've got a clove orange to make for myself and one that I've promised to make for one of the mums at school. I promise
to take a photo of it all when it's done. But for now I leave you with a photo of another little star.

He's walking

20 December 2008

Hippo on the razz

Earlier in the year I managed to lose 21lbs (10kg) through the Beck diet plan. By the time we moved up here I had gained some of it back through stress eating. I'm too scared to stand on the scales partly because I dread what they'll say and partly because I think I may break them. Oh well January starts soon and it will be time to stop eating so much chocolate and start going back to the gym again.

Tonight I'm going out with some friends for dinner. Not at Kushis or Ricks fortunately as they burnt down last night. My sister used to go to Kushis regularly and loved the place. And Ricks did a killer Eton Mess.

Wanted to put a cartoon of a hippo in sparkly evening wear up but can you believe it I couldn't find one. Darn

19 December 2008

Cool things about Edinburgh

I still can't believe we live in Edinburgh. Every morning I take the FB to school and look out across to see Arthur's Seat. It's an amazing view with the sun rising behind it. On my way home I can see the Castle almost at the end of the road. Still can't believe it though!

We've been bunkered down a lot recently. Partly because we don't know how long MrV's going to have his job for and partly because we seem to be catching every single cold and bug going about. Yesterday my sister called to say that her daughter, the FB's absolute favourite person, has come down with chickenpox... we are on spot watch.

The best thing though is the school playground. I'm not talking from the FB's point of view but from mine. In previous place I was completely ignored while waiting to pick up/drop off the FB but here? Well today after the kids went into school I went to the local coffee shop with a few of the parents for a drink and a natter. It's so so unbelievably nice to be able to do that.

24 September 2008

Three Craws

Obviously "the third craw wisnae there at a"

15 September 2008

Bye bye Cbeebies

Moving house is a bit like New Year in that you take a good look at your life in the run up to the move and decide what you want to keep and what you want to change. For months before we moved MrV and I had the same conversation over and over which would invariably start "when we move up to Edinburgh I want to.." simply because finally after a year that felt like our lives were on hold we had the opportunity to start to live again.
Some of what we decided we've managed to start doing - the FB no longer has access to hours and hours of CBeebies. Apart from his tv addiction noone else in the family really watches that much tv so we're back to five channels again, and really the only thing I miss is the rewatch facility we used to have.
I can't wait to start going to the gym again, to join the library and to finally get my act together and start embroidering again.

10 September 2008

Laundry dilemmas

The FB's school has chosen, with great wisdom and forethought, to use as part of their uniform, white shirts. For four years old. The FB has been at school for 3 weeks, has 3 tops, none of which are unstained. One has a huge mudstain right up the back. It won't come out. Neither will all the tomato stains.

My only solution therefore was to go out and replace them all. Except that the shops have stopped selling school uniforms now.

Pass the valium will you.

(I wanted to post a photo of the FB in his uniform before it was trashed, but the cable for the camera is in one of those boxes over there. You can be assured he looked utterly gorgeous and so so grownup)

07 September 2008

Proper Bread

Thankyou, I think he's pretty cute too. Not however at 1am when he's fighting sleep for all he's worth, but definately at 2am when I rolled over in bed to find him finally fast asleep, bum in the air in that adorable yet surely uncomfortable position that only babies use.

Yesterday evening the FB and I made our very first loaf of bread in our brandnew breadmaking machine my parents gave us as a housewarming present (caused of a bit of an uproar with my sister who was given a potplant when she moved into her new home 5 years ago) and this morning we had it for breakfast with Farmers' Market eggs, and jam. And oh boy it was delicious. The price of bread has skyrocketed here over the last few months and the only bread costing less than £1 is of dubious character. MrV and I are trying to eat by Michael Pollen's rule of eating only what our great grandmothers would recognise as being food which works up until I want a diet coke.

06 September 2008

The Count never took to bottles until he found one that was more to his taste

Was he giving it up? No chance!
I should probably say, incase you're worried, the bottle was unopened and when it was opened he wasn't allowed any. He is after all, still a baby. Currently a grumpy baby with a snotty nose, but a baby nonetheless.

05 September 2008

Home, Home on the Grange

well that was a rather longer break than I meant it to be but there was rather a lot going on in the background which couldn't be written about until now. MrV who is a simply wonderful person, started negotiations with his work to do his job from home, which instead of being in South London would be in Edinburgh. OK they said, but this needs to happen, and this, and this, and this....and so on until at the begining of June they said that we could go ahead. I couldn't write about any of this simply because I didn't want to tempt fate taking it away, in fact we didn't actually start telling people (bar immediate family) about the move until the end of July.

But here we are in rainy Edinburgh (alas not the Grange though) and it's wonderful. The difference between here and Wallington where we used to live is incredible. There are actually things to do here apart from walking round a park. There are shops, museums, art galleries and cafes. There are libraries and gyms. This is civilisation folks.

The FB got into a good school and has a fantastic teacher and he appears to be enjoying himself - well he waves hello to his school which I take as a good sign. My mother takes the Count to a baby and toddler group every week which he loves, and I love because hell, who wouldn't love a few hours peace and quiet from two noisy children every week!

04 April 2008

Well the visitors have left and the FB is missing his cousin dreadfully. They had a great time together charging about the house, arresting their grandfather and attempting to drag him off to jail, and by the end of their time together had declared everlasting love and decided to get married to one another when they are older. Very sweet! The visit did the FB the world of good too, he watched his beloved cousin intently and consequently both his running and his colouring in have improved no end.

The Terracotta Army was good, in that you could get within a meter of the statues which is apparently closer than you get at the official museum in China; but there were only a few statues, understandable I know, but I was rather expecting it to be bigger. The really interesting bit was about the First Emperor's burial mound which has not been excavated and there is a lot of speculation about what will be found in there when it is dug into. Apparently he was trying to build a miniature version of the universe so he could rule forever, and rivers of mercury and stars of pearls are amongst what is thought to be down there. But they don't think it will be excavated any time soon alas. Children behaved reasonably well, by which I mean that they are allowed back to the British Museum but aren't allowed to touch anything again or jump up and down as they kept setting the alarms off.

Night out was fun. It was a very windy, rainy evening so by the time MrV and I reached our destination we were a little windswept and damp. Restaurant wasn't bad and after the meal we did as most normal people do and went for a wander round Ikea.

Oh and yes I got the storage unit hurrah! Now all my art/craft stuff is in one place.

26 March 2008

To Ikea and beyond

Back to Ikea again. I was there yesterday with MrsT and the LittleMissT (as well as the Count) but the simple storage unit I want was not in stock so back again today to check to see if it is there. And it was. Now, I wonder if it will be by the weekend. My parents are down this weekend because, as my mother puts it, MrV and I need an evening off. Nothing to do with the tickets she has for the Terracota Army at all! This time however it will be a little different as they are bringing a surprise guest with them. My neiceE is coming down for the weekend. She is 3 weeks younger than the FB and they are the bestest of friends. I can't wait to see his face when she walks through the front door.

I'm really glad you all liked the idea of putting a note inside the front of each book. I can't do the one I'm reading at present (Zorro by Isabelle Allende - very good read by the way) because it belongs to our teeny tiny library.

19 March 2008


I'm considering writing a little note inside each new book I buy, sort of like this -

Bought this book on 21st April 2008 from Bolingbroke Bookshop on North Cote Road. We've taken the FB to get his hair cut at Sally's and while he was there I slipped out to the bookshop. It's a grey day today but as we are about to go to Wandsworth Common, fortunately it hasn't rained.

The idea behind this came about because I recently picked a book (30,000 mornings by Hiag Akmakjian) up off one of my bookshelves and could not remember when I bought it. I could swear that I bought it before MrV and I got together but as it was published after then I couldn't have, and because there is no LRT (Lothian Regional Transport) bus ticket tucked inside used as a bookmark from one of my journeys to and from work.

And I like the idea that in 20 years or so I'll open a book and see the little note and that day will come flooding back.

16 March 2008

The downside to rain

I was going to write a post about how lovely it was to go for a walk this afternoon with just MrV's ipod for company. It didn't matter that it was to the supermarket , nor did it matter that it was raining until...

some bloody idiots in their cars drove straight through the puddles on the side of the road and soaked me from head to toe.

Now, I realise I am probably in a minority of one here, not owning a car at all, but tell me, is it really that hard to avoid the puddles? I'm sure it isn't because some lovely drivers on my walk home managed it. So please, people, if you see a person stomping through the rain, have a thought for them while you sit in your cosy warm car and don't drive at full speed through the puddles.

15 March 2008

Clouds of Rain (and cake)

I might have guessed it would rain yesterday even without Louiz's weather forecast. Since moving house 8 months ago I would estimate there have been a mere handful of Fridays without rain and the majority of them fell during the period between my outdoor broom disappearing and MrV replacing it. "Que ¿" you say. One of my chores for Friday, you see, is to sweep the patio and it rarely gets done because it is raining, except when the broom went missing and then we had glorious sunshine.

So instead the FB and I baked a cake. A chocolate cloud cake. And it was delicious, very very delicious. I would offer you a slice, but we ate it all. Sorry.

(recipe from Nigella Bites, but with milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate)

14 March 2008

Upon the weighty issues of babies

I took the Count to see the Health Visitor yesterday. We missed his 8 month checkup because the doctor was running 40 minutes late and I couldn't wait any longer and had to pick the FB up from nursery. But it doesn't seem to have mattered anyway. He is fine. Weight is a bit on the low side and he's tall for his age but he takes after his mother in that respect (or perhaps I've got that round the wrong way and his mother is on the small side and weight is a bit high...). Actually he weighs less than I thought he would considering how much the boy can put away.
But what the visit highlighted was the difference between the FB's health visitor and the Count's. The health visitor I saw yesterday knew that the charts they use to plot the baby's weight on are based on formula fed babies, that breast fed babies weight gain slows around 4 months and even knew about baby led weaning. In contrast the health visitor in Tooting was as useful as an icecream in the Arctic.
The winds, may I call them zephyrs, have blown themselves out. The sky is no longer full of racing clouds and sudden showers, and is now a gentle shade of blue with puffy white clouds. The tree on the backfield has stopped its dance and has returned to its dignified upright stance; and there is a ladybird climbing up my windowpane again.

13 March 2008

Still standing

Well despite the strong breezes we've been experiencing over the past few days the house, miraculously, is still standing. The staircase has yet to collapse as I stomp upstairs carrying yet another pile of clean laundry and the front of the house has failed to peel off into the street (suspect that all that rain in the summer and the waterfall down the steps into our backyard undermined the foundations a little) so all well on the domestic front. The landlord still hasn't fixed the livingroom despite promises to have it sorted, and now the estate agents are making the same empty promises. Grr!

29 January 2008

That shouldn't really happen should it?

Do you remember many months ago, in November, I wrote about how the staircase was coming away from the wall? Well that seems to have halted, possibly because I got freaked out at 3am one night and shifted around 100 books; but now the centre of the shelf that runs along the side of the staircase as it reaches the loft, has sunken in...

If I was a landlord there is no way I'd rent a property to me, not unless it was being flattened afterwards.

(Taxes filed and paid. Hurrah!)

25 January 2008

Not sharing with you Mr Darling*

I know no man is an island, but could they be a taxhaven I wonder; and if so, how do you claim such a status? It's the end of the tax year here in the sunny UK and I am rapidly losing patience with the Inland Revenue and their complete inability to write their "helpful" notes in anything close to understandable English. As far as I can make out it is a competition between them and us; they want to get as much money from us as they can to spend on little luxuries - starting wars for instance, and we want to keep as much money from them to spend on our little luxuries like electricity, gas and rent. They use babble as their tool to confuse and bewilder the poor layman into paying more, and we lie, I mean claim deductables, to pay less. And so, year after year the battle rages on.

*Alistair Darling is the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Gordon Brown's old job)

23 January 2008

Our house seems to be full of these little flies at present. They appeared after the ceiling came down and are everywhere. They're like little black versions of greenfly, but I've no idea what they are. Don't seem to bite nor leap so I'm assuming they're not fleas.
Time just seems to be flying past and I'm sure that it was only yesterday that I posted last but I guess not, and it is not like our lives are full of exciting things either. Really the only exciting thing that has happened recently is the constant speculation if the people next door are our new neighbours or builders & decorators. Yup our lives are that dull!

09 January 2008


Wow that was almost a sabbatical! My break wasn't meant to be that long but a series of stomach bugs (yup more), the flu which knocked the stuffing out of all of us, and then a leak in our livingroom ceiling over New Year has made it harder than normal to get to a computer. However we are looking at the bright side of all this (is there one you ask?) well the bug and flu caused me to lose weight and keep most of it off over Christmas, and frankly anything that shifts the stubborn fat off me can only be a good thing in my opinion.

What else? Oh oh oh the noisy neighbour with the creepy 12 year old has moved out. Hurrah!

Happy New Year to you all