Thursday, April 28, 2005
Disaster was narrowly averted today as the nice lady in Principles had found Mr Snowman and put him under the counter. Phew! And I managed to get back to the car with 2 minutes to spare and a fast-approaching warden. Saw another house...if we could take the top two floors and wood-block flooring of today's house and move it to the location and downstairs of the other, all would be perfect. In other news, small progress in my train-an-agent campaign saw him ringing me at ten past nine to point out that our details were still incorrect, saving me a job. I have rung him for that conversation nearly every day for a fortnight. Two weeks to go until we can part company, to great relief on both sides I am sure. (In a way I am tempted to stay with them, just to spite them and spoil their stats by lurking as an unsellable house. But I think that might be cutting off my nose somewhat.)
Off to Ann's now with a jar. She has tadpoles.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005
A great story here (thanks Jo), and one that I am sure Cameron will use to justify hoarding hundreds of magazines. I especially like the comment towards the end his wife also has some plans for the cash. Heh.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Phew! NCT coffee morning here this morning: I had hoped the fabulous weather would continue so I could shoo everyone outside but (of course) it was not to be. Not sure quite how many (I could go and count cups) but around 8 or 9 women plus about 6 toddlers and 3 or 4 babies, all in our little living room. Feeling quite overstimulated and like I want a lie-down; Mag conked out within 10 minutes of them leaving. She was very good and not at all fazed by the invasion.

Monday, April 25, 2005
Glorious, glorious weather here today (so sometimes - occasionally - we have it best in the north). T-shirts and shorts weather, if only all my summer clothes weren't in storage. Took M to the clinic: we were told in January that we needed to have a hearing test (because babies are done at birth here and obviously we missed that). Trouble is, the appointment was so long in coming she told us when we got there today that they can only do it up to 11 months of age! Fantastic. So now we are waiting on another appointment with somebody else with different qualifications. Meanwhile, Maggie appears to hear perfectly well. Health visitor felt a bit bad about it (as well she might) so checked her eyes, weight, height, head measurement, is she bearing weight (me: well, she's walking), is she talking (me: she says bujabujabuja does that count). Great amazement and approval that she is still breastfed: I am a hippy freak but the health visitors round here like hippy freaks. Half-heartedly offered me a leaflet on weaning from the dummy but I think she had realised by then that I wasn't really a dummy person. I didn't mind, actually, despite it being really a waste of time, because they were very admiring of Maggie - I'll forgive anyone anything if they are nice to my daughter. Oh, and they tried to get her to pick up a small ball of paper - testing for the pincer grip - but she is too smart and just looked at them ("what do I want that for?") until I found some small bits of biscuit that she could pick up beautifully.
Had Caroline and Gerwin to stay last night on a flying visit: 4 days off between the end of the ski season and the start of the mountain-biking-and-walking season. From the alps to the Loire via Northwich, where they are going to spend the week learning how to service bikes. Maggie took a real fancy to Caroline, following her round and giving her things (plastic pots, bits of chewed rice cracker, that sort of thing). Remarkably chirpy for a baby who was up for TWO AND A HALF HOURS in the middle of the night. For no apparent reason.

Thursday, April 21, 2005
Maggie seems to be auditioning for a favourite toy. Having carried a string of plush dogs about for the best part of a week, and still returning to them in between, in the past couple of days we have trialled a snowman, a worn sleepsuit, a (clean) pair of my knickers and a puppet cat. I am just hoping she settles on something washable (and not my undies). Meanwhile, she has been in the wars a little: she is currently sporting a fine greeny-yellow bruise on her left cheek (headbutted my knee), a square red one on her right cheek (leapt off the bed); a scrape down her face (headbutted a wall) and a grazed nose (fell flat on her face outside - I think she was trying to save the banana in her hand so didn't put it out to catch herself). I feel too embarrassed to leave the house.
Pulled ourselves together this morning - no organised activity today, hoorah! - and went into town. Mooched round the shops, admired the fountain until the wind changed direction and we got wet, had a lovely coffee. Very civilised. Must leave myself more days without group activities.
No news. Can you tell?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Andrex baby Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Some days I miss Japan so much I want to cry.
But I have made apple turnovers to cheer myself up (cooking apples not available there).

Sunday, April 17, 2005
oh dear, this week went a bit out of control and left me with no time or energy to do anything, let alone blog. Tuesday: coffee morning (see it is all go), health visitor, supermarket and house viewing. Wednesday: gym (M went to the creche), picnic lunch in the car, swimming class for Maggie, afternoon tea and playdate with Caroline and Charlotte. Thursday: over to Harrogate to see Suzanne and Mia and their nice new house. Unfortunately it rained so we saw rather more of the house than anticipated: we did manage to nip up to the stray (a big fieldy thing) for a quick run about. But that resulted in wet muddy babies, and then it started to rain again. Friday: lay down in a darkened room. No of course not, Friday was the gym then the supermarket then a very uneventful yet well-deserved afternoon off. How did I ever find time to work?
I did, however, find time to fill in an election-inspired questionnaire at netmums, the results of which have now been reported in the times. And there I was thinking I was the only one who got fed up of all this wittering about childcare places and nurseries and blah blah blah when in fact I want to be supported to stay at home. And as for the tories offering to pay grandparents to look after kids: why should my parents be paid to do it when I am not? (Or perhaps I have misunderstood and we will all get paid. I admit to not paying full attention - too busy! The only thing that gets my full attention these days is the archers, especially now Emma has had her baby. Isn't she a right little madam.)
One thing has been troubling me. American Indians. (Native Americans? I can never remember the PC terms.) Presumably they didn't have writing before we arrived. Or not in our letters, anyway. So the names we use for the tribes must be phonetic. Right? So, cherokee, I see. Navaho, Apache, fine*. But Sioux? Haven't they got rather more letters than they need? Even if it is French (which it is, according to my dictionary), what was wrong with Sou? Or Su? Anyone know?
*Actually I am rather embarrassed to realise I can only name 4 tribes. There must be loads more than that. And even more embarrassed to realise that the reason I am thinking about it is Tesco's brand of children's clothes - £3 trousers! - is called Cherokee.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005
All the playgroups round here have a nice sing-song at the end of the session. At which I know nearly all the songs apart from one, which they all do: it goes wind the bobbin up, wind the bobbin up, pull pull clap clap clap. With actions. All the local mummies I have spoken to remember it from when they were little. I have a theory that it is a northern mill-related rhyme that hadn't reached Surrey in the 70s (we were busy singing the stockbroker in his BMW goes buy buy sell) - anyone not from the north-west remember singing this as a child and care to prove me wrong?

Monday, April 11, 2005
A(nother) quiet weekend - is there really any other sort? My night of editing failed miserably due to a screamy baby: she was then up for 3 hours from midnight with a high temperature. I am thinking teeth but wondering just how many one baby needs. The result was a highly stressed household by the time Cameron arrived home on Saturday morning: poor Cameron, tired and a bit hungover (not that he would admit it), found a very lively and excited Maggie, and a teary Mummy who was worn down from no sleep/yet another poxy cold/a looming deadline (who gives Sunday deadlines, damned unreasonable I call it)/the bombsite that we live in/no food despite having made the supermarket list on Wednesday. A quick search through the Thompson found us a weekly cleaner we think (she is supposed to be calling me back today), and Cameron hoovered then took Maggie off to Tescos while I got the manuscript done. Stress-free by 6 pm: hooray!
Despite the 'springlike' forecast, Sunday started out grey and disgustingly damp. Luckily it brightened up by the time Cameron had finished putting all the garden waste in the skip, so we all spent the afternoon in the garden in the glorious sunshine. Maggie pulled at grass, tasted leaves, chased the cats and purposefully moved flowerpots from place to place; Cameron pulled great swathes of ivy (4 years' growth) off the viaduct and left it in a mountain on the lawn; I pottered about doing some light weeding and rediscovering plants that have survived our absence. Delighted to see my seed-raised hostas reappearing (how have they survived 4 years of slugs?) and my three little lily-of-the-valley plants have spread satisfactorily. Then I tried a new recipe for tea - anyone with Nigella's How To Eat, the involtini is rather good.
This morning, we tried a new toddler group. Just a 2-minute walk from home, smaller and more manageable than the horrendous Thursday group. And the peope were really nice and friendly. (Dreadful coffee though, which seems to be par for the course at these things.)
Things I never imagined I would have to say: Jura doesn't want to be hit with a soggy giraffe. Self-evident, you would think.
Oh, and does anyone clever know how I can keep this Tokyo template for the archives (ie when we were in Tokyo) but have a new one from now on? Answers on a postcard...(or in an email, please. Address to your left making sure you remove NOSPAM.)

Friday, April 08, 2005
It's a small (and freaky) world after all
It's a small (and freaky) world after all
It's a small (and freaky) world after all
It's a small and freaky world

Ok. So I got chatting to a woman at my readers' group last night: we bonded over a shared inability to get through A Suitable Boy due to its enormity (why don't they publish it in 4 small books that would be possible to carry about in your bag? Short of taking a breadknife to it - which I noticed to my amazement and horror one lady on the train had done - you can only ever read it at home) and the realised we both have babies of similar age who were born overseas, thus leaving us without the convenient gang of antenatal-group friends. I came over all stalkeresque and non-British and insisted we swapped numbers (I have become so brave since living abroad) and didn't think much of it. This morning, I went to Borders to meet a woman I had only chatted to online (see how brave I am! Though I admit to feeling a bit scared a) in case she was actually a weirdo old man, or b) because she seems quite...angry. But that is another story.) Anyway, she was meeting up with another friend (who she also hadn't actually met in person before). Guess who her friend was? That's right, the lady from the book group. Da da da da da (that's the twilight zone thingummy, if you didn't recognise it).
Snowing here. Cameron out in Liverpool tonight while I stay home with the bairn and edit a manuscript. Oh joy.

Thursday, April 07, 2005
First shoes Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Cheeky sod. The chap in the newsagent observed that I don't look much like a punk rocker (I was buying Mojo as part of Cameron's bid to own all music magazines ever published). I suppose he is probably right (and Cameron pointed out that this month's cover is post-punk anyway. What does that mean, post-punk?) but I still felt vaguely insulted. I can do edgy and modern. Or edgy and 30-years-out-of-date.

Monday, April 04, 2005
Radio silence
Sorry about that, chaps. The Magster and I just nipped south for a few days and I see I forgot to mention that we were off. Mind you, Blogger has been playing silly buggers recently so there is no guarantee you would have known, even if I had tried to tell you. You might not see this one, either.
We went and visited the lovely Sarah and Tom, home from Tokyo for 2 weeks. An ulterior motive: I had her bring me some delicious black sesame spread. I had on my toast this morning. Yummy. I do miss Tokyo. The M25 is hell on earth and it took me an hour to get from junction 3 to junction 2 while Maggie watched the lorry drivers. We also popped up into the big smoke to see Kavitha (remember Kavitha?) who is now living it up as an expat in London while getting articles published in the Telegraph. Lucky her. I only realised yesterday that I hadn't seen her since Maggie was 2 weeks old: she was much larger last time I saw her and now has a 10-month-old son. Great to catch up, we went for a slap-up lunch in swish St John's Wood (rather nicer than Warrington, it has to be said), then sat in Regent's Park in the sunshine and watched children on the lake. The trains were a pleasant surprise - OK, they had a head start after the previous day's motorway horror, but still. Clean, efficient, on time. The staff were polite and helpful and people offered to help with the buggy everywhere I needed it.
And while we are talking about the underground: nicked from Jo, this made me laugh. A lot.