Sunday, 1 August 2010

Over and out

Well, the time has finally arrived - our first holiday in two years. I'm not sure taking Emily to a work conference in Ireland for 3 days last year counts as a holiday, even though she did enjoy the pool down in the spa! This is going to be a proper unplugged holiday, spending time with the family and hopefully having time to made reasonable headway in my summer reading of choice, Stephen King's Under The Dome. Better be good, it's taken up half the case. The other half's nappies.

Packing will be sooo much easier once Emily's a bit older - taking a cot sheet, 2 sleeping bags, a booster seat, nappies, baby milk and various food stuffs has taken up a lot of space which, frankly, I could have easily used for more books or pedicure products! I admit to being a slightly neurotic packer, at least on Emily's behalf, and I've put in 2 cans of baked beans and some Weetabix, just so that I know she'll be able to eat something for the first few days at least. Pathetic. Her eating patterns are really most irritating - yesterday we went to Ask, and she not only ate the mush food which I'd brought for her, but also quite a lot of garlic bread, some of Isabel's pasta, a large portion of raspberries and a scoop of chocolate ice cream. And then today she turned her nose up at my roast chicken Sunday dinner, and would only eat it if I pureed it. Grrrrr! I was very tempted to pack the hand blender but didn't in the end, let's hope I don't live to regret it.

So, since this is an unplugged holiday the laptop's staying home. Farewell laptop, I wish I could say I'll miss you, but that would be a lie. But I may miss my faithful readers - back with photos and tales of various escapades in a couple of weeks.....

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Down with the kids

OK, I confess, I am not and have never been down with the kids. Even as a child I used to listen to Capital Gold (a now defunct golden oldies radio station), so sometimes it feels as if I grew up in the 1960s rather than the 1980s - I'm much better on 60s music than 80s! Husbandio will attest that I have terrible taste in music (Chicago, anyone, or a bit of Foreigner?) but I've got to the point of not caring. I like what I like, and I'm not that bothered if other people do or don't.

And one of the things I like is country music. My mum used to play Johnny Cash and others when I was a kid, and it's always stuck with me. One of her other favourites was Kris Kristofferson, and we went to see him play live last night at Cadogan Hall in London. It's the third time we've seen him, and this was without a doubt the best of the bunch. The concert really showcased the man's talent - it was just him, a guitar and a harmonica on stage for two hours, with a short interval. At times you could tell he was 74, but his voice hasn't really changed, like Johnny Cash's did as he got older. The only sign of age was when he occasionally struggled with the lyrics or with someone's name.

I think it's the the sheer poetry of his work which I like. The lyrics are just beautiful in many cases - how about "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose. Nothing ain't worth nothing, but it's free"? And I like the humour as well - The Silver Tongued Devil and I is a clever song, and a funny one, but also one with a real message - people do change when they drink, and we all have more than one side to us. And I always loved the lines "Jesus was a Capricorn, he ate organic food. He believed in love and peace and never wore no shoes. Long hair, beard and sandals and a funky bunch of friends. Reckon they'd just nail him up if He come down again."

I felt sad when we left though since it seems unlikely that we'll see him play again - I wanted to freeze the whole thing in time, so that I could re-visit it whenever I want to. Guess I'll just have to keep listening to the new album to remind me of how much I enjoyed the evening. Thanks Mum, for introducing me to Kris, and taking me to see him one more time!

Friday, 23 July 2010

Two sides to every coin

Many bad things happened today:
  1. I took Emily to nursery, but she threw up half way through the afternoon and had to be collected early.
  2. I put my phone down on the garden table unaware that I'd put it into a puddle of water, and it then stopped working.
  3. I blew up 30 balloons for Isabel's party and now my fingers hurt from tying knots in the tops of them.
  4. I spent 2 hours weeding the front and back gardens so that the house looks nice and tidy for the party, and none of those blinkin' kids is going to appreciate my efforts. Plus I got stung through my gardening gloves by a stinging nettle and it still hurts some 6 hours later. If only some of the weeds had been dock leaves.
  5. I read Isabel a long chapter from the Pippi Longstocking book which was illustrated by Lauren Child, and that amount of reading out loud made my unfeasibly large mouth ulcer really hurt.
But then again:
  1. Emily spent at least some of the day at nursery, enabling me to get on with some jobs like making party bags and wrapping pass the parcel with Isabel, and generally getting ourselves into the party mood.
  2. My phone recovered after a few hours in the airing cupboard.
  3. At least I blew the balloons up with a pump and not by breathing, thereby avoiding hyperventilation.
  4. The garden does look very nice and tidy, and some of the mums and dads might notice, even if the kids don't. And it gave me some exercise, and some time outdoors.
  5. The Pippi Longstocking book is marvellous, and the chapter was so long that Isabel fell asleep reading her own book afterwards, so I could creep in, turn her light out, and give her a sneaky soppy Mummy kiss and an I Love You.
On balance, I think we're even!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

A letter to myself

(with credit to Dooce, who also has a birthday around now, and wrote a post which inspired me to write this one)

Dear me,

Happy birthday! Since I'm not working in an office I've had many telephonic and e-mail and FB birthday greetings, but few in person, so I'm going to count this as one. It's funny, working from home on your birthday. I should have taken the day off I suppose, but instead I managed to arrange a meeting with the bank manager. How? Why?! Mystery to me. Anyhow, I do have a pedicure booked for later on, that's something to look forward to, and then a birthday tea with my nearest and dearest this evening, so perhaps for now I should enjoy the peace, and get some work done so as to be able to properly enjoy my evening.

Which brings me to my main point (and excuse the caps, but sometimes I need to shout at myself to make myself heard above the other voices, the ones which say"don't forget to order that repeat prescription" or "do you have enough hayfever tablets to take away on holiday with you?") - STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES!

Not literally, we don't have roses, and sunflowers aren't renowned for their aroma. No, the metaphorical roses. I need to pause, relax, stop rushing from one task to the next, and just enjoy my lovely children and gorgeous husband. Even my mother's started doing this (not enjoying my gorgeous husband, but counting her blessings!) - if she can learn to at the age of 66 then I can at the age of 38. In fact, if I'm doing it already, then I must be winning. Oh god, I'm competitive even when it comes to relaxing.

Monday, 19 July 2010

The busy dancer

I've been trying to work out how to reduce the number of things Isabel does after school, but she seems to like them all and it's tough working out what to drop. She currently does ballet and tap on Saturday morning, disco and drama on Monday evening, swimming on Wednesday and tennis on Fridays. I think we'll drop tennis, but I'm thinking of taking her to Beavers instead on Fridays, it sounds really fun. It's like a precursor to Cubs and Scouts, and several of her friends do it already. Trouble is, she also wants to do trampolining on Sunday mornings. It's making me knackered just thinking about it!

I'd pretty much decided to let her drop the ballet and disco, but then she had her annual show in our local theatre on Saturday, and it was so good that I think I've changed my mind. She really seemed to enjoy it, and even though she was exhausted by the end it was definitely worth it. It's been a great confidence builder for her - she always skips into her ballet lessons while she's often reluctant to go into school. I think we'll just let the summer go by and see what happens, no real need to decide now. Only two more days of school and then she's off until September - yay! Mind you, we already have lots of plans with a trip to Canada and a couple of weeks going to Supercamps. Wish I had 6 weeks off too.....!

Monday, 12 July 2010

The Green Belt

It won't be called the Green Belt for much longer, it'll soon be the Grey Belt if housing developments go on elsewhere like they do here. Since we moved in there's been a house built in the garden of the house which backs onto our garden , and now there's another one proposed for the garden on the other side of that. Now, granted they were big gardens, but now they're filled with such great big galumphing houses that both houses have tiny gardens.

We protested against the building of the first one but it went ahead anyway, and it's not actually too bad for us. You don't notice it unless you're in the corner of the garden by the veg patch, and you can also see it from our bedroom window. It's worse for our neighbours, who can see it every time they go up and down their stairs - that would drive me potty.

Granted, I suppose building in people's gardens is better than wiping out a few more fields, but one of the things I like about living out here is the sense of space, and that's going to disappear if this keeps on going. Someone told me that there might also be a problem with flooding - it won't affect us, since we're at the top of the hill, but if there's a lot of rain that can't soak into the ground (since the ground's covered in houses!) then it'll flow down the hill and flood the town. Not good. I'd like to say "Well, that's what planning laws are for, I'm sure they've taken account of this", but the cynic in me fears that isn't the case....

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Fete Accompli

There's nothing quite like a local fete for gathering both tat and bargains. We double-feted today, attending first Isabel's school fete, and then my dad's local village fete. Got some real bargains - lovely kids books at the school fete at 20p a pop (and adults' books for £1) = I spent a fiver and we're set for weeks to come. Also some excellent samosas and other Asian food, thanks to the large Asian community at the school, plus delish cakes, and an ice cream van. Who could ask for more?

The village fete also had its attractions - a Puma helicopter which we watched take off and fly away (very cool!) and Isabel managed to get my dad to buy her a doll in its own rocking cot with blankets. For a bargainous £7! The doll's a bit scary to my mind, but Isabel seems to like her. And Husbandio bought me a necklace, how kind - for 10p! We do love a bargain.

The only other thing I managed to get, unfortunately, was a touch of sunburn, so I think I'm off to relax with one of my new books - adieu!