Monday, February 28, 2005
Well that isn't much good, is it. I was all booked in for a fitness assessment tomorrow, with Maggie going to the creche, only the creche just rang and cancelled because they can't open for just one child! Yet I was informed that it was really difficult to get them in in the mornings, when it is oversubscribed. Am beginning to think it wasn't such a great idea after all. And they don't have a centralised booking place so you have to ring to book the fitness assessment or class, then ring the creche and see if they have a space, back and forth and back and forth. Hey ho.
Maggie has a new skill: drinking through a straw, which she thinks is Very Funny. She does need to learn to stop sucking before taking her mouth away, as she and mummy and the carpet end up drenched.
Just sitting here quietly waiting for her to go to sleep (ha ha) so I can get that manuscript finished/move the printer/clean the bathroom/make phonecalls. You're right; I probably could be editing as that isn't much noisier than blogging, but I'm afraid if I go creepy creepy downstairs to get it, she'll hear me and shout. She's sitting nicely in her cot reading a book. Update: just crept in to check and she is fast asleep, bent completely double. Clever girl.
Yesterday we triumphantly unpacked the last box! Hoorah!

Friday, February 25, 2005
1.30 last night and I am reeling. I got more sleep when she was a newborn. Perhaps tonight I will go up with her at 8, get some sleep in before the midnight battle. I confess it is all my fault: she has a feed around 11 so I have decided rather arbitrarily that she shouldn't need to wake up again at midnight and that I am no longer going to meekly feed her back off to sleep when she does (taking approximately 2 quiet, snuggly minutes). At the moment it is taking 45 minutes to get her back off. Delightful. Poor Cameron has an interview today and is in no fit state. I have shower on today's to-do list; that way if I achieve it I can tick it off and feel pleased. High aims indeed.
Right - off to join the gym. Yes, really.

Thursday, February 24, 2005
Back to work
I am out of practice: it never used to faze me, not having a clue what the author was on about. Must just grit my teeth and dive in (I think it might be diabetes). Rather nice having something to do while M sleeps that isn't housework, but I am definitely rusty and word on my lovely new computer (Morris) isn't set up the same as it was on the old laptop. A good excuse to spend half an hour fiddling about (my comments are now a nice bright red) but I am fighting the temptation to ignore the manuscript in favour of setting up the printer and/or transferring files across from said old laptop.
Maggie got herself off to sleep this afternoon! OK it took 90 minutes (including a lunch break) but this is progress indeed. Am quite tempted to go and join her, since I was up until 1 (trying to persuade a wide-awake baby that it was night time) last night.
NCT this morning was non-scary, although M was the oldest baby by far so in the future we will go to NCT proper not 'bumps and babes'. I didn't know it was bumps and babes until I got there. They were a bit over-fond of the dreaded Gina, but generally the people were nice and Maggie had a super time with different toys.
Yawn. Too tired.
I think I have set up a site feed thingummy. Can somebody check? I haven't a clue what it is or how to look at it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Maggie was a puddleduck today. They warned me before that she might be screamy, it being her first time in a swimming pool (we weren't allowed to take her in Japan: no under-threes is the Rule) but she absolutely loved it. Honestly, she was all smiles from beginning to end (with about 2 minutes of being clingy at the start). I couldn't get her to hang onto my back while I swam (like Whalerider), but we bobbed and splashed and jumped in and swam about on floats and sang songs and even put our noses and mouths under! She thought blowing bubbles was just silly though.
NCT coffee morning tomorrow. It's all go.
And, of course, huge congratulations to Lisa on the birth of her whopping baby boy. Can't wait until she is home and settled back onto MSN and the blog to hear all about it.

Monday, February 21, 2005
Maggie just walked! Woohoo!
Only two steps, to be fair, and very wobbly at that. But still.

OK now I think I am about up to speed on the Archers (though can somebody tell me: has Hayley &c left? Where did they go?), can somebody help me out with Shameless? It isn't too tricky to sort out the characters, apart from the twitching chap. He seems to live with them but not be a sibling? Please?
We will never win a pub quiz again: 3 years' worth of popular culture is completely missing.
Whizzed up to Scotland for lunch this weekend. Very very cold indeed. Am crossing things that it doesn't snow as I want to go to Harrogate tomorrow (how can Mia possibly be a year old). Am also crossing things for Lisa, who is undergoing a prolonged induction (ahem. Possibly because the baby doesn't want to come out yet, but what do I know.) as I type. Poor her, I hope it goes smoothly.
Just grabbing 2 minutes to blog as M is playing in her cot. Not sleeping, of course, so she will doubtless start to wail soon - which is why I can blog not tackle my enormous to-do list. (Number 1: sell house. Sigh. Number 2: drink cup of coffee in peace without Maggie dropping bits of toast into it. Number 3: unpack heap of boxes. Sigh louder. Number 4: join fancy gym with creche. Number 5: clean bathroom. Number 6: tax return and child benefit and other financial stuff that scares me. Number 7: forage in freezer for something for tea.)

Thursday, February 17, 2005
I was mid-blog yesterday when I heard a sloshing - I'd forgotten to put the toilet lid down and Maggie was sluicing her clean nappy, all laid out ready for after her bath. So I lost the post: wonder what I was writing about?
We've been keeping moderately busy, pottering about. Maggie had a whole 2-hour nap on Tuesday and the sun was out so I went out in the garden and chopped things. We were lucky in our tenants, in that they seem to have done some weeding at least, but tenants don't prune. I can't say I do, exactly, but I chopped off things that were looking leggy and/or unruly, and did a bit of hoeing, and it made me feel a bit better. Yesterday we had a nice long walk in the sunshine round to visit Fraser and Anita and baby Sally, who is minute but perfectly formed with a little pixie face. But no, I don't want another myself yet (what is that all about? As soon as you have one everybody you meet wants to know when you will have another. Even relative strangers.)
So mundane. Maggie continues bringing odd items upstairs: yesterday, a lemon.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005
I meant to tell you all the other day what it was that had started me feeling homesick (only it isn't home, is it, this is home. Um. Away-sick.), in the interest of never hiding how rubbish I really am. I watched Ground Force. I appreciate this is not the act of a sane woman, but watch it I did; they made a lovely japanese garden for a lovely expat japanese lady and she was just so sweet and overwhelmed and then she wore her kimono and did tea ceremony for them and I just howled! Pathetic, isn't it.
Cameron slipped up last night and said excitedly this time tomorrow I'll be having a night out in Paris. Bah. There had better be presents in his bag when he gets back on Thursday.
Congratulations to Fraser and Anita who have had a baby girl, Sally. I had good intentions of going to visit this afternoon but Maggie has only just gone to sleep so I suspect I will miss visiting hours. She had a 20-minute nap while we took Daddy to work this morning so thought she didn't need any more. Mummy thought differently but it took a long time to persuade her. Her favourite game at the moment is climbing the stairs (we must put that stairgate back on) with random objects. Keys are best, but gloves (one in each hand), socks, bits of paper, are all acceptable. I keep finding them on the top step where she leaves them.

Sunday, February 13, 2005
Sorry I haven't blogged: I've been moping about feeling sorry for myself, which hasnn't left much time for anything else. Warrington just isn't Tokyo (I just noticed). The weather is rubbish - actually, the sun has come out today and I feel much jollier so perhaps that is all it was. Of course, if I am going to be miserable every time it is grey, cold and damp then one might suggest Cheshire is not the best place for me. I have no chums (or, no chums who are home during the day) and went 3 days with Cameron being the only adult I spoke to. There is nothing to do. You have to drive everywhere. There are no lovely lunch places. I don't have a cleaner so I have to scrub my own toilet and iron my own clothes (we all look much more creased than we used to). We are not on an expat budget any more so I can't shop in expensive shops or buy unnecessary things. Bah.
We did a good thing yesterday: reunited a cat with its mummy and daddy. A small, friendly black cat has been visiting for a few weeks. It started miaowing outside the patio door and I fed it once or twice before ringing the cat protection people who told me not to (they also told me to squirt it with a water pistol: I think they had the wrong idea and thought it was a pest whereas in fact I was just concerned it was lost). It didn't look stray and was obviously used to people - it took to creeping in in the evenings and sitting quietly on the fridge so we just pretended it wasn't there, really. And pretended it wasn't eating our cats' biscuits. Too soft-hearted to chase it away, which we would have to do if we acknowledged it. It even spent a couple of evenings quietly in the living room with us pretending not to notice (which was nice; our own cats hide out upstairs most of the time). Anyway, I was intending to catch it and take it to the vet to see if it was microchipped but yesterday, walking (briskly: it was raining) to the Co-op I spotted a 'lost cat' sign on a lamppost and what do you know? It was the same cat. Jezebel. She'd been missing since Boxing Day! Her daddy came and collected her last night. Hooray!
We are absolutely convinced Maggie has said her first word. She says 'Ah-rah' when she sees Islay. And also when she sees Jura, but they do look quite similar. Might have known it would be that - she must hear it more than anything else. And my first word, too, was our cat's name (Brandy, in that case. An incipient boozer, perhaps).
Cameron is off to Brussels and Paris this week; so glamorous. I'm staying here and sulking. And trying to unpack the last few boxes, sigh. Might get off my bum and take Maggie to baby swimming or tumbletots or Jo Jingles or something, anything.
Oh, and I read the most fantastic book: Kate Atkinson's Case Histories. Go! Go!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005
A brief panic on Saturday as we tried to open the garage so the removal men could take 3/4 of our freight away for storage - the main garage door is, apparently, broken (Cameron knew; I didn't) and the boxes were piled up against the back door (I knew; Cameron didn't). Fortunately one of the removal men was very thin and very wriggly and managed to worm his way in through the 6-inch gap we cleared by shoving (I hope the boxes weren't breakable) and clamber through to open the front. Quite embarrassing.
We are down to the last 10 unpacked boxes, hoorah! But rapidly losing enthusiasm. The packing was...well, very Japanese. A lip balm warranted two sheets of brown paper; each of my shoes was carefully and individually wrapped (because they might break?); one huge box contained just 10 well-wrapped glasses and a cat plate wrapped in 6 sheets of paper and one of card.
But no breakages.
I just had to interrupt my typing to go and speak to a man hammering a sign into my lawn. Isn't it usual to ask? Not that I mind enormously, but we do already have one sign up. Mind you, the house has been on the market for a whole week and nobody has wanted to look at it yet (it is very nice) so perhaps more signs is the answer.
Erra, below, asked whether I had noticed England being beautiful and green after Tokyo. I suppose I have, sort of, especially on gorgeous misty sunny winter days like today, but what I have really noticed is the big skies. You just don't see expanses of sky in Tokyo - too many tall buildings - and it really takes your breath away at times. Of course, I would be even happier with it if it was blue not grey.
M teething again.

Thursday, February 03, 2005
I went along to my old book group this evening. Lovely to see old friends again - and nice to see the group has expanded, almost doubled in fact. A very jolly time was had, although an inordinate amount of time was devoted to discussing Dave, an absent member who is clearly quite a character. And we have to read that flipping Owen Meany book for next time. Wonder if I can get away with skimming through to refresh my memory?
I have been surprised many times over the past month, as I reunite with people I haven't seen in 3 years. They all look so much older! Which sadly means I probably do too. (so far they have all been too polite to say so)
I also had my first cup of instant coffee in ages - now I am strictly a one-a-day girl I only drink proper coffee. I was reminded why, it was very nasty. Cake compensated.
A nice thing about my book group is its timing: we finish at about 2 minutes to 7, meaning I am back in my car in time for the Archers, just pulling onto the drive as it finishes. (Assuming I successfully navigate my way through the Runcorn expressway labyrinth. Identical stretches of dual carriageway punctuated by identical roundabouts that fling you off in the most unlikely direction. Get it wrong and you find yourself crossing the bridge and into Widnes neverneverland; trust to luck and keep the Daresbury tower to your right and you might just make it back safely.) Which reminded me of some questions I intended discussing with Cath at lunch today: who is Bruno? Where has he come from? Has Ed really got a girlfriend? Where did she come from? What happened with him and Emma? And why is Pip so miserable?
It has been a while since I've applied myself to the plotlines. After Siobhan left it all got so tedious - milking, horses, cheese, blah blah blah (yes I know if I was a true fan then these would be the episodes I would love) - that I drifted away.

Of all the things I expected to miss about Japan, my washing machine never crossed my mind. Does this make me sound like some sort of dementedly domestic type? It was a top-loader (so you could fling things in as you came across them behind the sofa, even after the wash has started) and took a load about three times bigger than the silly little front-loader I have here. Meaning I could wash a couple of times a week rather than every 5 minutes (of course, the bid to not wash constantly is not helped by us having just a suitcase-worth of clothes each: we keep running out of socks). It was also fantastic for nappies because you could tip the bucket in without having to touch the nasty stinky contents. On the downside, it didn't hypnotise Maggie as well as the new one.
Freight arrives tomorrow. I am looking forward to reuniting with my soup spoons (see demented domesticity, above) and socks but the rest of it can go hang. Or into storage, whatever.
Me n Mag are off to Macclesfield now. North Wales yesterday. It's just a whirlwind.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005
First full day of single-handed mumming in 6 weeks. It has felt Very Long Indeed. What did we used to do to fill our days in Tokyo? Oh yes I remember: we had friends and shops and exhibitions and other babies and playgroups and parks. And we did increase the length of the day today by getting up particularly early: if I don't shower before Cameron leaves for work now, I can't see me getting out of my dressing gown all day. I used to sneak into the shower while M was still in bed - but in the Tokyo house, unlike this one, I could see her cot from my bathroom so it felt OK to do so.
She has been quite disturbed by the day too: she is sitting by my feet banging her head on the wall. I think it makes a nice echoey noise. (That will be the wall, not her head.)
So. Up, dressed (in pyjamas in Maggie's case because Daddy couldn't find her trousers), bye-bye to Daddy, breakfast. Play for a bit while Mummy tidies manically for the estate agent (by the way, we will be on Rightmove by tomorrow. Anyone want a rather lovely semi in Grappenhall?) Watch Balamory and work biscuit crumbs into the carpet while Mummy drinks coffee with said agent and moves toys around to keep them out of the photographs. Refuse to have a nap despite enormous yawns and eye-rubbing. Lunch. Refuse to sleep again but wail every time Mummy goes further than 6 inches away. Fight against being put in the car...but fall asleep before we are off the driveway. A lovely snooze for an hour while Mummy sings along to Elvis (one good thing about Cameron going back to work: my car is now my car. Tommy has been evicted.) then out to look round another not-entirely-suitable-but-kind-of-OK house. Back home for more whinging and wailing before a brisk constitutional - up to the Coop for milk. Now I am entirely out of ideas and Cameron won't be home for 3 more hours.
I have no idea why she has decided never to go to sleep in her cot during the day. I know we have been very busy for the past couple of weeks - such that all naps have been taken on the move - but you'd think the cot would be a welcome respite from the uncomfy car seat. Am I going to spend every afternoon cruising the Cheshire lanes?