Sunday, 30 August 2009

Things to do

I have a lot of things to do, which is good because it takes my mind off the fact that I haven't seen my son for three days and won't see him until I get in from work tomorrow. It's the longest I have been without him, but daddy wanted to take him camping and I am sure they are having a lovely time together. As for me, I am working, tidying and car booting. And sitting here on my backside on the settee when I should be cleaning the kitchen. And looking at pictures of my little man and missing his cuddles.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

No child and no work...

Leaf tea, made in the pot. Milk served in a Doidy cup because my milk jug got broken a while ago.

Knitting without anyone trying to grab my needles.

A glass of wine. Nothing special. Except that I've been able to put it down on the floor next to where I'm sitting.

A supermarket ready meal. Not so brilliant, but I couldn't be bothered to cook for one. Eaten on my lap in front of the telly.

Adverts on the telly. We don't watch much telly and I don't like little man to see adverts. I'm sure other people who look after him sometimes are not so scrupulous. Anyway, I haven't seen much telly for ages either and had forgotten how annoying the ads are.

Little man has gone camping in North Wales with daddy.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009


Been meaning to do this for ages: make some play dough. So thanks to Makes Cakes & Bakes for a recipe. It kept him amused for a while. Only once did a little bit approach his mouth and I stopped him in time: the recipe is very heavy on the salt. And sorry mum but you can't play with it, you'd probably explode on contact as the colours are all totally artificial.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009


'Say bee ba Ben.'
'Bee ba Ben.'
'Look, there's a cow.'

'Can you bring parrot to mummy?'
(Brings parrot to mummy.)
'Put the mug back in the cupboard please.'
(Puts the mug back in the cupboard.)
'Would you like cornflakes or hoops?'
(Points to hoops.)
'Kiss for mummy?'
(Looms at mummy's face with slobbery mouth.)

'Muummmee, muuummmmee, maaameee.'
'Yes Ben?'
'Muummmee, muuummmy, maaameee.'
'Yes Ben?'

One day he's going to start talking. And when that happens I don't think he's going to stop.

Monday, 24 August 2009


Join me in a victory dance... I have sold my house. In just four weeks. Well, I've accepted an offer anyway. Fingers crossed it all goes through smoothly and little man and I shall be moving to sunny Cheshire soon. Of course, everyone we know in Lancashire is invited to come down for a cuppa whenever.
One of the properties I have my eye on in Runcorn has been reduced to a ridiculous £59,950 because it's a repossession. But that means it will probably be long gone before I'm in a position to buy it. (The banks give you a deadline of about 21 days between making an offer and exchanging contracts; they also continue to actively market the property in that time increasing the chance of you being gazumped.)
Anyway, we're a step closer to getting settled again, which is brilliant news.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Least favourite things

I've just tried to think of some of Sir W F-P's least favourite things, but they all revolve around me trying to stop him doing things. And I only try to stop him doing things if they are dangerous or there's a significant risk of him damaging something I can't afford to have broken. He doesn't like sitting still, being put in the car seat or being left on the other side of a baby barricade from where the action is. He also dislikes any food that is green, with the exception of peas and olives.

As for my least favourite things, I fear the list could be very long: drivers who appear to be completely unaware of what's going on around them, slugs and snails, coconut, crumbs in the margarine tub, vertical blinds, ridiculous heels, pettiness, romantic films, concrete, crowds, dogs, the bits that appear on laminate flooring seconds after you've vacuumed, loud exhausts, the many shades of grey that one finds in offices, things that break just after you've bought them, British Gas phoning me every month to try to sell me cover for my drains, chick lit, most of what's on TV, everyday life, paperwork.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Favourite activities

Sir W F-P's favourite activities include: counting tractors in the lift-the-flap Usborne Tractors book, feeding fake Cheerios (Tesco's own) to various stuffed toys, waving to his shadow, beeping everyone's noses, signing chicken, distributing sand and stones around the garden and into the house, standing in the driver's seat of the car, cuddling mummy, hunting for breadsticks or blackberries, pressing his belly button, drinking his bathwater, opening and closing the DVD player, brushing up, prodding snail shells, rowing his boat followed by falling in the water upside down (splash), being a tiger.

Mummy's favourite activities include: eating cake, drinking tea or red wine, walking somewhere peaceful and green, paddling in the sea, singing with Sir Whingy, cuddling him, tickling him and generally making him giggle, digging up potatoes, knitting small whimsical objects, cleaning windows, reading half a dozen books at a time ranging from LOTR to The Continuum Concept, baking cakes, collecting eggs from her Plymouth Rock bantams, lying in a tent all cosy while the rain thunders on the flysheet, having a good declutter, gazing absent-mindedly at clouds.

Friday, 21 August 2009

It's (drumroll)... Sir Whingealot

Sir Whingealot Farty-Pants has been busy. Here are his status updates for the day.
Sir W F-P:
  • discovered that his teeth are sharp enough to bite through the packaging of the Tesco cheese with the picture of the cow on it. Moooo.
  • bit mummy's finger too for good measure but she was poking it in his mouth looking for new teeth.
  • helped mummy grate the carrots and tasted the raw onion for her.
  • did some weeding.
  • patted a frog.
  • gave mummy a pretty shell still containing a semi-dessicated snail.
  • let the chickens out.
  • made the dining room look like a beach by bringing several plastic cups full of sand inside.
  • dragged a chair right across the kitchen to get to the Cornflakes on the worktop.
  • found some breadsticks he had hidden inside his jigsaw tin.
  • smeared yoghurt in his hair.
  • decided he liked raw beansprouts but not stir-fried ones.
  • showed off his potty to the people who came to view the house by carrying it to the bathroom and sitting on it fully clothed.
  • slipped in quite a comical fashion in his own wee after bathtime.
  • got very annoyed at the magnetic cars when he tried to get the wrong ends to connect.
  • hid several handfulls of Cornflakes inside the ornamental chick watering can on the kitchen windowledge. Ha ha, mummy will never find those!

Thursday, 20 August 2009


Suspicious damp patches, cracks, dodgy wiring, ancient boilers, rotten window frames, concrete yards you couldn't swing a cat in, missing tiles, gappy laminate floors, stained carpets, holes in walls, interesting Artex, seventies built-in mirrored wardrobes, precipitously steep staircases, large conifers, turquoise/avocado/shell-shaped bathroom suites, bodged this and bodged that.

There was the house where the seller had left an ashtray full of fag butts stinking the place out when they knew someone was coming to look round...

But also the one where, if you stood on tiptoes to look out of the Velux window in the loft, you could see the river (let's ignore the fact that you could also see Widnes)...

Viewing houses is a stark reminder of how people's tastes differ, of how much I value a cosy and welcoming home but not everyone does, of how a little bit of imagination and care can turn a house into a home and how important that is to my emotional health. Also of how important just a little patch of soil is to me.

It wasn't all bad. Although I suppose those people whose repossessed homes I viewed would disagree. But until someone makes me an offer on my place it's all on hold anyway.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009


Salmon, sauteed potatoes with rosemary and courgette and broad beans in garlicky butter. That's what we had for tea. Little man saw me dig up the potatoes and examined them in all their muddy glory. He saw me pick the courgette and he saw me pick and pod the broad beans. Now the theory goes that this means he will be more interested in eating the end product...

While I was cooking he made up a little concoction of his own consisting of the ends of the courgettes, a handful of broad bean skins and a few bits of garlic peel. He stirred these into a mug-full of cold water, then drank the water. He made a grab for the cornflakes, which always happens just before teatime, but luckily was distracted by the discovery that the rock that lives on the kitchen windowledge fits nicely into a ladle.

So we sit down and eat. He stuffs in a load of salmon. He has a second helping of salmon. He puts a piece of courgette in his mouth and immediately spits it out again. Then he tries to get out of his highchair having not touched any of the other food.

'Try some of the potato,' I say. He ignores me. I drag my chair round so I'm next to him instead of facing him and take a piece of his potato. I nibble it. 'Yum yum,' I say. 'These are the potatoes we dug up from the garden.' He takes a piece. He nibbles it. He stuffs it in and proceeds to eat most of the spuds I've given him. I then move on to the broad beans. I eat one. 'Try a bean,' I say, going to eat another one myself. He leans forward and eats the one I'm holding. I proceed to feed him broad beans until they are all gone, at great risk to my fingers now that he has a respectable number of teeth.

Was he waiting for me to check that his potatoes weren't poisoned? Does he like the novelty of being fed after a year of baby-led weaning? A year in which I still haven't worked out how to predict what he will or won't eat on any particular day. He's obviously fickle. Just like mummy.

Thanks to my dad for actually planting the potatoes, broad beans and courgettes, which I would probably have never got round to.

And thanks to Cave Mother for giving me an award! Unfortunately I can't work out how to add a picture anywhere other than at the top of the text, so I can't include the 'One Lovely Blog Award' icon here:

Monday, 17 August 2009

A week in the life...

If I had themed days, as some blogs do, they might go like this:

Manic Mondays
Well that's an easy one. I attempt to Get Everything Done on my baby-less morning before going to work.

Terrible Toosdays
In which little man tests my patience to the limit despite him not having even reached the age of two yet and I try to restrain myself from saying 'no, no, no, no, no, no, no...'.

Wild Wednesdays
A heart-warming tale of puddle-splashing, bramble-foraging, frog-poking and mud.

Thunder-thigh Thursdays
In which I eat cake. Although I wouldn't like to give you the impression that this is limited to Thursdays.

Free and funky Fridays
A relaxed day of pottering, pondering, rambling and ambling in which little man dances the funky chicken in the garden with Matilda, Flossie and Gertie.

Single Saturdays
In which I attempt to find a new partner by making a succession of nice-but-not-for-romance guys walk up Rivington Pike with me.

Slummy Sundays
I go back to bed after little man goes off with daddy. I fail to get any more sleep and then wish I'd got up early and gone for a walk.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Nightfall: Part II

I had to put my lights on driving home from work! At 8.30ish! It seems to have crept up from nowhere and now, wham, the evening light is disappearing. I guess it happens like this every year, and yet every year it takes me by surprise. It's like the way that every summer I cannot imagine it ever being cold enough for hats and boots and jumpers. And every winter I cannot imagine it ever being warm enough for a t-shirt, linen trousers and sandals.

I'm so glad I live in temperate climes where there is a real difference between the seasons. And please don't anyone moan that we haven't had a summer; we've had loads of warm, sunny weather as well as lots of rain showers. Well we have here in Lancashire. A typical British summer in other words. (I'm not trying to deny climate change is happening, by the way. It is. And that's not my opinion, it's the conclusion of the vast majority of scientists.)


Little man once again woke up happy this morning. As in he played with his cuddly toys and babbled instead of immediately crying. I think it happens when he wakes up refreshed from a decent night's sleep instead of waking up a bit too early but not being able to get back to sleep. He was crying a bit at 3am but a tummy rub did the job then!

Daddy picked him up this morning and little man gave us both a succession of sloppy kisses before giving me his very cute wave goodbye. I told him to have fun and that I had to go to work. Who knows how much of this he understands?

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Nap time

It's one of those things us parents get our knickers in a twist about: naps. How many, how long, what time, cot/settee/pram/sling/car...?
My little man was a 30-minute catnapper for months. To the minute. But he would need lots of naps. I remember trying to work out how to fit four naps into the day when he would only fall asleep if he was on the move. Anyway, now he is down to one or two and has actually started sleeping for longer if he is busy enough to stay awake all morning.
Today we spent a rare morning at home while I pottered about tidying up for this afternoon's house viewing. I tried to get him to sleep when he looked tired around 11am by playing the Guess How Much I Love You DVD over and over. He was quite content sitting with me on the settee but showed no sign of dropping off. So I gave up, we had lunch and I then bundled him into the car. Two minutes down the road and he was well away.
He slept through the viewing, which was handy. He woke up when some small child ran past slapping his feet on the pavement very loudly. But little man wasn't happy. He obviously hadn't wanted to wake up. I cuddled him and, miracle of miracles, he went back to sleep. I laid him gently on the settee. Obviously not in the position pictured; he got there all by himself.
I drank my tea, read some more of Last Child in the Woods, closed my eyes for ten minutes, brewed another cup of tea, ate a slice of the Victoria sponge I baked this morning, took a picture of little man, emptied the dishwasher, wrote my blog and stared out of the window at the now pouring rain.
And of course, having worried about getting him to sleep I'm now worried about him sleeping too much. But this 'me time' in the middle of the day is so rare and so unexpected that I think I'm willing to sacrifice the 'me time' later on and push his bedtime back a bit.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Time for a cuppa

Have I mentioned that my boy is somewhat spirited? Hmm, think I might have once or twice. I shy away from terms such as high-need but at the moment it's me who has a high need to sit down and have five minutes' peace every now and again. He is high-energy, highly determined, high-accident rate, high-climbing, high on the joys of being alive. In old-fashioned terms he is a difficult child. Mischievous. Naughty even. But they are not hugely helpful descriptions or labels to give a small boy who just wants to explore the world and run around and climb everything in sight.

At the same time I am getting fed up of juggling earning a living, organising baby sitting, keeping the house in a saleable condition, hosting viewings, trying to arrange a mortgage when I don't have a job, thinking of what to have for tea every day, feeding the chickens, coming to terms with being single after fourteen years in a relationship, and possibly at some point having just a little bit of time to do something nice, like go for a walk or put my feet up with a book. So occasionally my patience wears a little thin. Just a little.

This morning we went to the GP so I could get a new prescription for anti-depressants. While we were waiting little man repeatedly ran out of the door and down the driveway towards the main road, meaning I had to go with him. I'm talking at least thirty times. Still, he learnt the baby sign for 'stop'. In the GP's room he tried to empty out all the tubs of sample pots, he climbed on a chair then fell off (good job my GP is a sensible sort of woman who didn't see that as a problem), grabbed at all the pens and pencils on her desk and generally made a nuisance of himself. In the pharmacy afterwards he at least settled down to demolish the display of lollipops on a low shelf.

He had a short nap on the way home (note to self: take the trouble to use the Storch as the sleep hood in the Yamo is pretty useless), and is now trying to pull the hot oven door open, get into the drawer with the matches in, smear banana over himself, climb on the dining table, wear a sieve as a hat, grate his fingers and brush up with a broom that is twice as tall as he is.

I've now opened the back door and little man is outside pulling away the piece of Perspex that keeps the chickens in their run and out of the rest of the garden.

Time for a cuppa.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Bag of tricks

Finished this the other day, pattern courtesy of found via Modified slightly by me, as if I knew what I was doing! My first double-pointed needles creation and my first I-cords. In case you can't tell, it's a little pouchy-sort of bag. Now I need to decide what to use it for! And yes I do have a bigger knitting project on the go that I should have been getting on with, a cardi for little man that may or may not fit as I have once again been rather blase about using the correct weight of yarn and checking my tension.
In other news, little man trotted off on a little blackberry hunt at Beacon Country Park this afternoon, promptly tripped over a bramble and now has a thorn stuck in his palm. Any ideas for removing it? Tweezers at bathtime unsuccessful.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Lichen study

Thanks to inspiration from, who apparently has a molten hot bath every single night, I have just had a nice long soak and a read. Just what I needed as I'm feeling a bit run down. Having a whopping great ulcer at the back of my mouth is not helping.

Something to do with the weather has made the motorway louder though and it was quite obtrusive through the bathroom window even though it's about a mile away. It's probably all the spray from the downpour we've had this afternoon. As I was getting dried I was gazing out of the teensy gap in the wide open window at the lichen on the roof of next door's extension. As one does. The extension has only been there about five years and there is yellow and light grey-green lichen along the south-east facing ridge of the roof. For all I know it might also be on the north-west facing side but I can't see that from my bathroom window.

I did a project on lichen a few years ago during my OU degree in environmental studies. And I seem to remember that although the yellow one is tolerant of pollution, the greeny ones are less so. So that's good news for the air quality despite us being so close to the M6. Not sure what the lichen situation will be in certain areas of Runcorn that I'm considering moving to, which are a stone's throw from the chemical works. It's the only place I'll be able to afford a bit of garden. And emissions regulations should be pretty stringent these days.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Monday homecoming

Let me explain: At the moment I tend to work Sundays and Mondays. I'm a casual worker so it could generally be any day. I work for a newspaper so I work a funny shift that ends at 8pm. My STBE husband has gone back to work after long-term sickness but has kept his Mondays off so far so he can look after little man. This weekend, it was his turn to spend longer with little man so he had him from Saturday morning until now, Monday evening. As it happens I also worked Saturday afternoon, which is highly unusual but means I haven't really had much me-time this time round.

Anyway, I get home on Monday evenings to find my dinner cooked (fish pie today) and little fella fast asleep in his cot. It's odd but it works for us all at the moment. Sorry the pic is blurry but I wasn't hanging round to get a better one, particularly as I needed to use the flash. That's why it looks so bright when it's actually dusk. Little man is exhibiting classic bum-in-the-air pose. He had a little fidget when I went in and actually turned his face towards me, but his eyes remained closed, thank goodness. As I tried to hold the door open with one foot I vowed to stick something on those damn hinges to stop them creaking.

Another viewing of the house today, but they were in and out inside of five minutes. I tried to talk to my current lender about mortgages but they failed to phone me back. So now it'll probably be next Monday morning before I get chance to call them again. I still haven't felted the mushrooms and I think the camping trip will have to be postponed as I'm now working more days than I originally thought.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Today's discoveries

  • that the path past the dilapidated cottage and smashed-up car at the edge of Yarrow Valley Country Park actually follows the river for another couple of miles and is lovely.

  • that my new walking shoes are very comfy.

  • that I am still not built for running however exuberant I feel about skipping along a riverbank without a twenty-something pound toddler on my back.

  • that Cono Sur Pinot Noir is currently half-price in Somerfield.

  • that it is impossible to drive slowly whilst listening to Hungarian Gypsy music.

  • that knitted mushroom stems look quite rude.

  • that someone has made a sculpture of Angelina Jolie breastfeeding her twins. No idea if she actually does.

  • that sometimes I am quite lucky, like when I leave my camera on the garden bench all afternoon while I am in work and the weather stays dry, which also means that my sheets on the line are nice and dry.

  • that Sunday night can be pasta night as well as pizza night.

  • that scruffy-looking nerf herder is probably the best insult ever invented.
  • that although I am perfectly capable of changing a lightbulb it is very tiresome having to do everything myself.
  • that the layout of these blog thingies can be very frustrating at times. Give me Quark XPress any time.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Five-minute snapshot

In the last five minutes I have:
  • seen two tractors (one green, one red) on the way home from work and felt sad that little man wasn't there to see them too.
  • Finished listening to my new Romanian Gypsy music CD and decided it's not as good as the Hungarian one.
  • opened a bottle of Jacob's Creek Grenache Shiraz I quickly grabbed at Asda without having time to think earlier after getting stuck in Lake District/Scotland traffic on the way to work in Preston.
  • put the oven on for a pizza, which is usually my Sunday night ritual. I have most unusually worked Saturday though, which leaves me wondering what I'm going to do tomorrow night.
  • pulled all the cables out of the back of the DVD player and put them in the video player instead.
  • removed a CD case and half a wooden green pepper from the video slot.
  • put on Star Wars (IV) as I've been discussing it with a guy on
  • half heartedly put away a couple of baby jigsaws and that damned Tractor book.
  • stepped over the half packet of crackers little man dropped on the kitchen floor earlier.
  • taken my sandals off and settled on the settee with the laptop but realised the pizza isn't actually in the oven yet.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Middle-of-the-night mothering

I've mostly stopped looking at the time if and when he wakes up in the night. It doesn't matter. These days he's not waking through hunger; I know this because he never eats much breakfast. But last night I know when he woke up because it was around 10.20pm and I was just about to put my book down, switch the light off and go to sleep. Maybe it's teething, which seems to be going on at a low-level all the time at the moment. Maybe he was too hot. Maybe he just wanted a cuddle.

My strategy at the moment is to grab him out of his cot and go back to bed. Yes, that's it. I've given up on the pacing about with him to get him back to sleep so I can gingerly place him back in his cot and hang over the side rubbing his back for what feels like hours before creeping out of the room only to have my knees crack from standing still for so long and him to wake up again. Sometimes I might stick some Bonjela on his gums. Last night he went straight back to sleep. Think he must have just wanted a cuddle, because when I tried to slide him over to the other side of the bed he deftly rolled right back into my arms.

Nine times out of ten my oh-so sophisticated strategy works. If it doesn't I assume something is wrong and give him some paracetamol and maybe a bit of milk to settle him. It's true that I don't sleep as well with him alongside me. But I sleep better than if he was awake and crying. I wish I hadn't taken so much notice of the spirit of the cot death literature, which is to make you think that if you fall asleep in bed with your baby you will kill them. I could really have done with the extra sleep it would have brought in the early days. In fact, research by Dr James McKenna suggests sleeping with your baby means they're actually safer from cot death than they would be in a cot. Check out But I got little man used to sleeping in a cot early on and I don't think I could get used to co-sleeping all the time now.

I'm sure that you could argue against many of the things contained in the co-sleeping literature from a strict scientific point of view. But when faced with all the contradictory theories of childcare that us modern parents have to negotiate I tend to think: what would I do if I lived in a small hut in the middle of a forest with no TV and no baby books?

Thursday, 6 August 2009

World Breastfeeding Week

It's this week. So here's my 'what went wrong?' story:

Straight after birth, little man was whisked off to the resuscitaire (I'm still not sure what was happening there) so we missed the immediate skin to skin. I tried latching him on after that but he didn't seem interested. We then got into a cycle of him crying with hunger, struggling to latch him on, when he did get latched on he would either just lie there not suckling or bob off again crying. Cue four horrible days when I was stuck in hospital against my wishes and having to ring for a midwife every time I wanted to try to feed him. Four days of getting a different opinion from every midwife or nurse who came to help, who would see him latch on then disappear and not see that he wasn't actually feeding. Being told to express to stimulate the supply, being manhandled, being told to position him this way, then that way, being told to be firmer in shoving him on, being told to be gentler and let him find his way. Little man was crying all the time and one exhausted night I gave in to the suggestion that they take him to the 'nursery' for a couple of hours and give him a bottle of formula.

I insisted on leaving hospital despite not having got it sorted and carried on struggling at home with yet more suggestions from the community midwives. They decided I had a low milk supply. But thinking about it now that doesn't explain why little man didn't really ever suckle at all; that would have shown up more in low weight gain.

In a panic I sent STBE husband out to buy the most expensive breast pump he could find and I started expressing. We entered a cycle of: try to breastfeed baby, give up and give bottle, try again halfway through in the hope he will be calmer, finish bottle feed, express milk for next time. Using the pump after every feed I only ever expressed about half of what he actually drank although this isn't a reliable measure of supply; baby should be much more efficient at getting the milk out than a pump is.

I was too tired and stressed out to get round to phoning an NCT counsellor until a couple of weeks down the line. The local one didn't have time to come and see me but suggested I go along to her support group on the far side of Wigan. I did this and little man, totally against his usual nature, stayed fast asleep the whole time. The counsellor pointed out that if I wanted to carry on expressing then it was important to do one session at night to keep up supply. So there I am expressing at 3am while STBE husband is giving little man a bottle.

If I had had one of those quiet placid babies who lies in a cot all day cooing I might have expressed for longer. I gave up after four weeks because every time I sat down to express little man would cry to be picked up. Poor chap had reflux and was a bit 'colicky'.

So I still don't know why it didn't happen. But I do know that bottle feeding formula was not only nowhere near as good for little man but also a complete pain in the arse. Sterilising bottles, boiling water, cooling water, chilling bottle, warming bottle, all even more hassle when you're out and about. Oh, and I'm still convinced that taking formula powder out in a container to add to a bottle of boiled, cooled water at feeding time is risky because the formula powder isn't sterile and needs to be added to very hot water.

Thank goodness I don't have to bottle feed him in public any more. Some of the friends I've met through Sling Meet agree that we are much more embarrassed at getting a bottle out in a public place than we would be flopping our boobs out.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

So busy

Still to do: mortgage, mushrooms, campsite. Cottage booked (in Dumfries and Galloway, from Sep 26 for a week if anyone's interested...)

Sir Whingealot's to-do list:
  • Make sure I wake up and start crying before 7am. Check.
  • Decide to like dry muesli and scatter it around grandma and grandad's living room. Check.
  • Drive my tractor without any trousers on. Check.
  • Count frogs. Check.
  • Scoop soil. Check.
  • Get very upset when my small friend from shows an interest in toys that are his but that I am playing with. Check.
  • Develop obsession with allgrownup's cat-shaped doormat. Check.
  • Eat chalk. Check.
  • Come up with a new game that involves climbing the steps of the Little Tikes slide then holding my arms out until mummy lifts me off and cuddles me. Check.
  • Grab bottle of wine off shelf in Somerfield while mummy is perusing the Italian whites with me in a hastily grabbed ring sling. Check.
  • Help mummy make risotto by eating lots of raw diced onion. Check.
  • Decide to feed euphorbia to chickens, despite the fact that mummy keeps telling me it will irritate my skin if I keep picking it. What is she on about now? Check.
  • Eat the last few ripe blackcurrants straight off the bushes. Check.
  • Eat large quantities of risotto, surprising mummy, then fromage frais, then melon, then raid cornflake box, then drink lots of milk at bedtime. Check.
  • Examine toes in bath. Check.
  • Flake out at bedtime exhausted from such a busy day in which I have achieved exactly what I wanted to. Check.

Monday, 3 August 2009


Still to do: mortgage, tyres, mushrooms, cottage, campsite. Oh, and pick the courgettes that are threatening to turn into marrows.

I've just been out to the garage to put some washing on. The washing machine is out there to make room in the kitchen for a dishwasher. Don't look at me like that: it's AAA rated. Anyway, it's the fact that it's 9.20pm and the light is failing that I wanted to talk about.

There's just something special that starts happening at this time of year. It's a turning point marked by the pagan festival of Lammas or Lughnasadh, the first harvest. You really start to notice the nights drawing in; it's actually dark when you go to bed. You start to see all your Boris house spiders appearing. I don't know where they go the rest of the year. Although you will have harvested some things from the veggie patch already the real glut starts. The annual flying ant infestation occurs.

I like it. I like to know that autumn is on its way and it won't be long before we get misty, dewy mornings and cool nights when you want to burn something to stay cosy. When I move house I am going to treat myself to a wood-burning stove and I hope it's going to be before autumn gets too far under way.

About half an hour ago I was out clearing some junk from my car, before it went dark, and in banging the bin lid I disturbed a wren. I've noticed one a few times lately - today it was desperately trying to catch a very large moth - and I wonder if they're nesting in the ivy.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

To-do list

I have one morning to achieve the following:
  • Persuade someone to give me a mortgage, which may be difficult as I don't have what would normally be considered to be a 'job', but which I need to sort out as people actually seem interested in buying my house.
  • Tidy and clean house ready for the couple who are coming for a second viewing.
  • Check I have sheets to put on the fake bed STBE husband is going to create for the back bedroom to make it look like it really is a double bedroom. By fake I mean a hastily put together frame with an airbed on top.
  • Tidy out car ready for trip to Llandudno to see Great Nana on Tuesday in case little man is asleep between our house and Grandma and Grandad's house and I don't want to transfer him to Grandad's car.
  • Pump up tyres on said car as there is some kind of dodgy seal between tyre and wheel which means they need pumping up all the time.
  • Felt mushrooms knitted from lovely undyed eco wool, which will be the first time I have ever felted anything.
  • Find details to make a holiday pay claim at work.
  • Book holiday cottage for September.
  • Call campsite to see if they have any pitches free in a couple of weeks.
  • Call estate agent to find out whether they can show people round if I run away to a campsite with little man in a couple of weeks.
  • Clean out chickens and provide fresh wood shavings for the nest area.
  • Realise that Monday morning should mean Sling Meet if only my little man didn't keep ending up with daddy on a Monday morning.

I should probably be in bed right now ready for an early morning, but I am still in the middle of my Sunday night pizza and red wine ritual. I leave for work tomorrow at about 1.20pm so I will need to be super woman in the morning to get everything done, but I figure that I am super woman most of the time anyway ;-)