Monday, January 31, 2005
The naming ceremony went tremendously well: readings were read, cake was cut, sandwiches were eaten, champagne drunk and chit chat chatted. And Maggie was named. She even fit into the christening gown, which successfully hampered her attempts to crawl away mid-ceremony. Despite our best efforts - having it in Scotland in January - the weather was spectacular, with clear blue views over the Forth turning to fiery red skies in the evening.
160 boxes of sea freight have cleared customs so I will be photo-enabled again soon.
Today, sadly, is Cameron's last day off. Tomorrow he is expected to work for a living once again (he will cope: will I?) We picked his car up today, but didn't view the house we had intended viewing while we were down there - the estate agents have lost the keys or something equally inept - then came home so he could white out the flaky paintwork in the porch prior to getting photographed tomorrow. Meanwhile, I rang the tax office and grovelled (successfully!) for an extension on my tax return.
Oh, tomorrow. What will we do? At least while Cameron is home I do get a little time off when Maggie refuses to sleep. I suppose I can just take her to feed the ducks then eat chips for dinner. And she can have rice.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005
We are nearly on the market: estate agent number three came this morning. He was unmistakeably an estate agent: flash car, dark suit, quite pushy...but perhaps pushy is a good thing when trying to sell your house? I don't know. We went back to look at the Welsh one again yesterday - 5 pm to check the road for busy-ness - and still like it very much. The village is a bit charmless, that's all (but only 15 minutes from Chester! 8 from Tescos! 21 from Cameron's work!). Still dithering and three to see tomorrow - the Kelsall one (on the main road) at 9 am to check for busy-ness, and two new ones. One in a lovely village but a bungalow (I am not sure why I don't fancy a bungalow, I am not that fond of stairs) and one enormous house but probably on a main road too. Hey ho. Cameron has been seeing financial people, all of whom for some reason seem to be called Louise.
Both our sisters have sold their houses too - Catherine has bought a new one and Suzanne is still looking. Anyone who is anyone is moving, dontchaknow.
Did you see University Challenge last night? We enjoyed the question about Japanese English (but didn't know any of the answers). We are very keen on our Sky+ box, though it is going to take a bit of getting used to - Cameron still tends to watch whatever is on rather than remembering there is stuff recorded and waiting.
Oh, and we are now a two-focus family, which means we can at last stop the crazy spending. We don't like to admit to having Fords (apparently. I couldn't care less: my last car was a Daewoo and I loved it) because apparently they are a bit rubbish - apart from the Focus, obviously. Mine is lovely and green; Cameron's we pick up on Monday and I haven't seen it yet but he tells me it is silver and (importantly) not as good as mine. Shame they don't do discount for multiple purchases (or, even better, buy one get one free).
And Maggie climbed the stairs today for the first time.

Sunday, January 23, 2005
As expected, I have nothing to write about now we are home. No oddly eccentric shopping experiences; no weirdly amusing English; nobody running away because I am foreign and scary. We have started house-hunting but so far have just looked at 4 houses, all of which are fine (one perfect but on a main road - we fear for the cats; one in a lovely village with a greenhouse (the house, not the village) but just somehow not our thing; one with 6 bedrooms and a turret (I want a turret) but with horrible parking and next to no garden; one that might just be perfect except that it is in Wales. We haven't yet decided if we want to live in Wales. Maggie would have to learn to speak Welsh, although that might be useful if we get lost in the interior.) Our house isn't on the market yet anyway.
The 160 boxes of stuff have, we believe, made it to Felixstowe, but not yet to Warrington. Which is fine as we have nowhere to put them. I am rather enjoying the holiday-home style existance with 4 plates, 4 bowls, 4 forks, etc. The simple life is the way forward. (Remind me of this when I am happily reuniting with my Japanese crockery.)
Other news? None. Maggie is nearly nearly walking: she can stand very well until she notices she is not holding on and can cruise along the furniture at a rate of knots. We are all off to Scotland next weekend for her naming ceremony (what shall we call her) and after that Cameron has to go back to work. Boo. Which means we have to go and buy another car next week. Boo a bit louder. And I will be Billy No Mates (and Maggie will be Maggie No Mates) and we will do a lot of duck-feeding. Boo again. Well, hoorah! for the ducks, which we like, but boo! for having no friends.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005
We've actually got some sunshine today, hoorah. I knew January was a stupid time to come back to the UK: yesterday was so dark we all overslept then Maggie and I had a wonderful time at the outlet village (Cameron went in to work) in horizontal hailstorms. Luckily I found some bargain mittens for £2 before my hands fused permanently to the buggy and Maggie fell asleep in disgust. A good job there are some nice coffee shops to warm up in. Actually, we seem generally to be much better served with nice places for coffees and cakes and snacks than before we went away: Warrington itself used to be impossible (we used to end up with soggy sausage rolls and cartons of ribena from the bakery) but now has a Starbucks and another lovely coffee shop - with highchairs, even, and friendly families; nice coffee, peppermint tea and homemade cakes. Stockton Heath has demolished the dodgy Indian, teeny tiny travel agent and whatever else was on that corner and built a Pizza Express (hooray), a hairdresser and an Italian coffee shop. We're still going to move though. In fact, we are going to view house number 1 tomorrow. Even though we haven't yet decided where we want to go.
It just occurred to me that I intended linking to Helen and congratulating her on her pregnancy. But forgot. But no matter, she's still pregnant.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Maggie has become obsessed with cats. She has always been quite keen but over the past week or two has started getting really excited when she sees them. Our two or any other cats, she isn't fussy. They are all greeted with kicking legs (or a zoom across the floor) and an excited Sha! Sha! or nananananaNANANANA: a warning Islay and Jura have mostly learnt to heed and scoot out of the way before getting fistfuls of fur grabbed or their collars twisted. Last night when Maggie was drifting off to sleep, Jura came for a stroke (they must like her really) and trailed her tail across Maggie's forehead as she wandered back and forth - Maggie was giggling her head off. (Very sweet but didn't help her off to sleep in time for Mummy to see University Challenge.)
While we are on the subject: am I imagining it or has UC's standard really dropped over the last couple of years?

Tsk! Some people are never satisfied.
Maxton wishes it to be known that he and Phil are not a couple.

Monday, January 17, 2005
We've been back a month now and I don't yet seem to have hit the reverse-cultureshock depression that is promised. Cameron says he feels a bit down but I am still revelling in potatoes with every meal and having nice chats with the lady in the Co-op and newspapers and radio 4 and chocolate hobnobs and mothercare and stuff. I love the language: we've spoken slowly and simply for so long I had forgotten about long words. Somebody actually used the phrase rudimentary ocarina on the radio; how wonderful. I am somewhat less keen on the unrelenting grey and damp that is a northwestern January, and we've had to buy a car so fitness levels are already deteriorating.
I am expecting my depression to kick in next month when Cameron returns to work and I resume fulltime nappy and baby-entertaining duties. I must make some friends.
Of course we are not entirely friendless: we nipped to Telford on Saturday for Matt & Nic's housewarming. The famed Max and Phil were in attendance and assured me that the decline in my blog is entirely due to their absence from it. Here's hoping things pick up now.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005
My goodness, where do I start. Moving was utter hell; sleeping in 6 different places in the space of 3 weeks was hell; Christmas was fun. I'll tell you all about it gradually though - at present I have such a long to-do list I really can't stay online for longer than 5 minutes before the guilt kicks in. I am typing turned half sideways with the keyboard hanging off the desk too, so not terribly comfy. And the room is most definitely not baby-safe; wires and bits of card and polystyrene all over the floor which I periodically go and fish out of her mouth. I tried to occupy her with a. Winnie the Pooh and b. a gold lame (how do I do e-acute?) glove but no, wires, card and polystyrene are just so much more fun.
We've been home for 1 1/2 weeks now and bought one car, one microwave, one mobile phone, one computer (with broadband connection of course), one television, one sky connection (yet to be installed due to their incompetance, bah), and various other bits and pieces. We've also had the house valued and unpacked half the loft. Bit fed up of shopping now. Have been to Homebase three times and a bit fed up of that too. Oh, and I had a birthday.
All of you to whom I owe email: I'll get there soon I promise. Those of you in Britain: yes, we must catch up.
And now I have to go and remove the telephone wire from around Maggie's neck.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Is this thing on?