Wednesday, 28 July 2010

In hiding

Normal service will be resumed soon... for now I have pre-menstrual mood swings, preoccupations, decisions, ditherings, sleeplessness, obsessive musical listenings, cross-stitching and courgette chutney making.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Little blue book

I've lost it, my little blue book with cutesy white spots. I've lost my to-do list. The one I often ignore for weeks on end but usually glance at just in time to avert major financial disaster. I've lost my shopping wishlist. This is the one that tells me the Stuff I think little man or I could do with so that when I get the urge to spend money I spend it on something that might actually be useful and not a pile of pointless junk. And not more tunes from a well-known digital music store where it is far too easy to splash the cash without really noticing. I've lost my list of crafty projects I'd like to do, or should do - like the curtains that I haven't made for seven months now.

Other things in our lives right now:
  • The boy has purple nail varnish on his toes.
  • I can't stop listening to Biffy Clyro.
  • We've had so much torrential rain it has been impossible to even think about doing any work at the allotment.
  • My courgettes are turning into marrows.
  • I once again have library fines to pay, exacerbated by the fact that my nearest library doesn't open on a Wednesday, a fact I discovered after walking there with all the books and boy in tow.
  • I am becoming increasingly bothered by the hideousness of my gas fire.
  • This is a three cups of tea morning.
  • I am not that keen on runner beans.
  • I am being politely requested (read: bashed over the head with the magnetic drawing board thingy to wails of pig, pig, pig) to draw a picture of Peppa Pig so had better go and get on with it.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Holidaying with a two-year-old

So here are my top tips for taking a two-year-old on holiday alone, albeit to a friend's house:
  • Borrow a portable DVD player then don't actually use it because you never got round to working out how and you manage to entertain the child with a Peppa Pig magnetic doodle board thingy, books and a colouring book.
  • Prepare to stop at unexpected times or places on the journey, such as the most depressing service station on the planet (Happenden, just south of Glasgow) or the shores of Loch Lomond.
  • Don't bother to plan where the child will sleep or take any kind of blow-up toddler bed because the child will be sleeping in your bed.
  • Remember to have a stock of oatcakes, rice cakes, bananas, satsumas, sultanas, breadsticks and those expensive but handy organic oaty fruity bars about your person at all times.
  • If you think you should take the buggy on an outing, take the sling, and if you think you should take the sling, take the buggy.
  • Expect to spend a long time doing things that may become tedious to you, such as walking into the edge of the sea and out again. And in, and out again. And in, and out again.
  • Do not take a toddler into a pottery shop regardless of how much you like pottery.
  • Do not leave your wallet on top of the car at a petrol station and drive off 30 miles to a campsite before realising and returning to find that all your cards have been run over and strewn across the carriageway of a busy A road.
  • Try to avoid having to erect a tent in a thunderstorm and torrential rain.
  • Remember that the child will be more interested in muddy puddles and toadstools than sitting in the pub, even if people are playing music in the pub and he briefly wants to join in.
  • Try to bypass all ice cream signs and work out how to explain that you don't carry ice cream in your pockets and one does not generally have ice cream for breakfast.
  • Do have a nice time and do some of the things you want to do regardless of  how much harder they are going to be with the company of the small person.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Little man's holiday report

I forgot to mention our holiday for the benefit of non-facebookers. The boy and mummy have been to Oban in Scotland to stay with a friend for five nights, followed by a night's camping at Moffat on the way back down. So here's some of little man's holiday experiences, once more in the style of the facebook status update. Little man:
  • stirred Loch Lomond with a stick.
  • held a starfish and stroked a hermit crab's shell at the Sea Life Centre.
  • sounded quite tuneful on mummy's friend's piano and quite liked playing the dulcimer and the tin whistles too.
  • joined in playing folk music at the pub on the tambourine.
  • got drenched splashing in muddy puddles outside the pub.
  • paddled in the sea and collected pretty shells.
  • got very excited on the boat trip to the island of Kerrera.
  • but was frightened by the langoustines at the restaurant on Kerrera, even after they had been cooked.
  • liked scaring mummy by insisting on walking up and down the floating jetties past all the posh boats.
  • became very attached to the 'truck' at the park.
  • climbed a mountain the easy way, by cable car, and was underwhelmed by the views but impressed with stepping stones over a stream.
  • wouldn't move off the top step of the baby pool at the leisure centre.
  • kept noticing poisonous-looking toadstools.
  • thought thunder sounded like wind in the trees.
  • stayed awake til after half past ten on the night of camping.
  • kept telling mummy to go into cafes for cups of tea, but didn't really want to stay put while she drank them.
  • likes the word 'boots', especially when referring to wellie boots and big puddles after torrential rain.
  • enjoyed the adventure play area at Westmoreland Services but was fed up of being in the car by the time he got home.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

A little spot of paradise... and the pit of doom

Sorry about the gloominess of this shot. I'm sure if I had Photowotsit or some such I could lighten it. But hey, let's keep it real - I took it at dusk, therefore it's gloomy. But still it shows off the newly cleaned-up and stained decking, the lilac painted back wall, my cheery flowers and herbs and my newly retrieved table and chairs. I did have to drive around with the table in the back of my car for three days because it wouldn't fit through my front door or down the side alley. Then I mentioned it to the ex by text. I thought his reply was calling me a spanner. Actually, he was telling me I needed a spanner to take the top off. Oh, right.

There is more to the yard round to the left, down the side of the kitchen, although it's still considerably smaller than the garden I had pre-marital breakdown.

Ah yes, the pit of doom. And this is just the easily visible bit. Underneath the decking there is more junk, including what looks like an old toilet bowl. Nice. Sorting all this out is somewhere further down my to-do list. Anyone want two tatty white plastic garden chairs?

Monday, 5 July 2010

Gym'll fix it

I joined a gym a couple of months ago. I've been most weeks. (That was my aim since I have just two mornings a week when I can actually go to a gym as well as getting a million and one toddler-incompatible things done.) It goes against a lot of what I value and enjoy. Such as being outdoors amidst greenery and fresh air. Shunning daft machinery designed to do something you could do outdoors amidst the greenery and fresh air, like run, climb hills, cycle or row. Avoiding dance music at all costs. Not spending money on special clobber just to look good whilst prancing about on said machinery.

However. It's hard to get such an intensive hit of exercise out in the fresh air. Especially when running is out of the question. I am simply not built for it. I always feel better for spending an hour in the gym. I have energy despite the teething toddler sleep deprivation. I can even tolerate the music; it helps alleviate the boredom associated with repetitive movements. I even think I look quite good in black Lycra. I now weigh 11 stone despite eating the odd cake and slurping the odd glass (bottle) of wine. That's about 24 lbs less than I weighed at the beginning of the year.

There are a few factors that make going to the gym work and if they weren't in place I probably wouldn't even consider it. It's the council gym, so it's cheap, basic and friendly. I'm usually the youngest person in there by about thirty years. It's three minutes' walk away from my house. My membership also covers my weekly swim and my yoga class at two other leisure centres in the borough. I have a certain discount designer store in my vicinity so I can get decent clobber at bargain prices.

And I've been out climbing hills too, so I've had a big dose of fresh air, rocks, scenery and the odd bit of adrenaline provoked by steep drops:

Friday, 2 July 2010

Right now...

...I'm in need of a second cuppa to wake me up. And probably a third.
...I've realised my jam set too hard despite my efforts with cold saucers.
...The boy is whining because he's tired and teething, although he's quite happy that he found a pile of loose change and I've given him a little knitted bag to put it in.
...I'm glad it rained overnight as it means I don't have to water my pots today.
...I'm trying to remember if I fed the fish when we first came downstairs a mere half an hour ago.
...I'm looking forward to trying on my new walking trousers.
...I'm wondering whether to do my usual Friday swim, boy in creche, or to go to the woods instead.
...I'm devising a plan that will let me have a lunchtime nap with the boy.
...I'm looking at my guitar and realising I haven't picked it up to play since I replaced the broken string (the one I broke about a week after changing all the strings).
...I'm wondering if there are enough out-of-date dried beans in my cupboards to make a set of beanbags, and if there is suitable fabric in my stash.
...I'm wondering where the handles of the cupboards where the fabric stash is stored have gone since they were all unscrewed by the boy.
...The boy is whining because he's trying to slot pennies between his toes and they keep falling out.
...I'm remembering there are onions lying on a bench at the allotment supposedly drying out that have in fact just been rained on.
...The boy is whining because a pound coin rolled away.
...I'm looking at all the toys and crumbs on the floor in despair.
...The boy is whining because his coins won't stack.
...I'm going to put the kettle on.

Thursday, 1 July 2010


Another hour or so of picking and feeling like I was playing twister whilst getting scratched by raspberry canes and nettled... and I had another 1.4kg of strawberries. There was only one thing for it. I think I've made jam before although I don't have a distinct memory of it so I wasn't entirely sure what I was doing. The result is very dark, but the strawberries were very ripe and they took a while to reach setting point so they were very well boiled.