Wednesday, September 28, 2005
While I am, of course, delighted to be the recipient of so many compliments on my new shoes, is it wrong to be worried that they have all, without exception, come from women who are well into their 50s?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Eighteen months. Eighteen months! Happy one-and-a-half birthday, Maggie.
I had intended to mark today with her current vocabulary list, just for the record. Only it has exploded in the past week and I am failing to keep track. She's a right little chatterbox, but here's my attempt*:

Plus the start of various songs (row row row (your boat); all day (long - the wheels on the bus) etc)
*You'll note these aren't all real words. I have included them if she uses them consistently and unprompted, and if we understand - meanings in brackets.
**No idea where this has come from - we don't say it to her, or give her it to drink. But drinks are juice, very clearly.
***Absolutely no idea.
I've had an awful lot of people telling me doesn't she speak well lately; often when they haven't as far as I can tell heard her say anything at all. Very odd. I might be mummy but I am not so rose-tinted that I don't realise that many of these 'words' are not obvious out of context, or to anyone other than us. I think it must be What One Says about toddlers once they are past isn't she alert/doesn't she sit/crawl/stand/walk well. How do people know these things?

Monday, September 26, 2005
Gah. Must post on blog. Must complete website for veggy box people before dreamweaver free trial thingummy runs out this week. Must stop child screaming single-handed (Cameron in France). Must excavate kitchen from beneath heaps of dishes and run dishwasher, say 4 times, to clear. Must do something with leftovers filling fridge (say, put in bin).
Had a very jolly but busy weekend and am now playing catch-up. Cameron's uncle-from-NZ and cousin-thingy (second cousin?) came Friday for two nights which was very nice - they are excellent company and most helpfully stayed in the local hotel rather than at the house. Yummy chinese meal Friday ("don't they speak good English" - they are quite elderly); Cameron and Uncle went to the football on Saturday while the gals stayed home and played with the bairn. Oh, and showed last week's viewers-plus-family (six people!) round the house again. Is it usual to take your family to look round the house you would like to buy even before your own house is on the market?
Sunday we nipped to the Lake District to visit some friends from Tokyo (well, they are from the Lake District but we knew them in Japan). Total house envy, a smashing Sunday roast and a walk round the village.
Playgroup today, waved Cameron off to France (lucky lucky him) then caught up on my fave programmes clogging up the Sky+ box. Supernanny makes me laugh (actually makes me cry quite often too): these programmes are all the same. Family in Trouble; woman filmed coming towards the house, either striding purposefully in heels or (no waste like home) on a bicycle: pushes doorbell. Lurks around house looking shocked and distressed. Sorts them out, goes away. They cock up. She comes back. Bingo!
And Wife Swap. Well. I find it quite amusing but Cameron reckons it isn't nice to laugh at people who are sick - and today I think he perhaps has a point. Cleaning for 15 hours a day (hoovering 5 times a day!) had got to be verging on OCD. That could be me, you know. (Ha ha)

Thursday, September 22, 2005
I love my new cleaner, who reckons I look 20 or 22. (Of course she doesn't really given that we had a conversation about how long we had lived here - 7 years - but full marks for trying.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Fast asleep - does this look comfy to you?! Posted by Picasa

Things are looking up. Maggie seems to have got over her teething/cold/not eating/not sleeping thing and I "only" had to get up three times last night. I have got over my Royal Mail-induced rage (see below). Cameron thinks his toe is not in fact broken (and proved it by playing a left-footed game of football yesterday which he pronounced not too painful) and we have two families who want our house. Neither of whom can do anything until they sell their own: I can't decide if this is more or less annoying than having nobody who wants it.
After ringing to arrange redelivery of a parcel I had missed, I nearly posted a good old meh, it's better in Japan-style post but decided against it. We are in Britain now and must make the best of it. (Though I fail to see why I have to give 48 hours' notice and accept that they can't give any indication of time - not even morning or afternoon - when, in that other country, they can come back the same day, or any day of your choosing, and will come within a 2-hour time slot from 8 am to 10 pm. Oh look, I've done it anyway.) Anyway. I arranged for them to come Monday and duly waited in, missing playgroup and succumbing to a climb-the-walls case of cabin fever ("she won't stop whinging"). At 4 o'clock I decided enough was enough and phoned again, to be told that oh no, they couldn't come today after all, and would be coming Tuesday. Sigh. (Actually I didn't sigh, I got Very Cross and stamped about saying very bad words.)
After I had finished stamping about and slamming things, we whizzed up to the local park for some fresh air and exercise. M couldn't go on the slide because there was a couple sitting on it busy smoking and drinking beer while their small child ran amok, and I didn't want her to run too wildly on the grass because of broken glass and the dog that was playing with a group of pre-teens (I know I am being terribly Shocked of Tunbridge Wells, but who runs a dog off its lead in a kiddies' playground?) I want to go and live somewhere posh. Maggie's stalker turned up too, oddly.
I'll end on a soppy mummy note again. Maggie was playing with my purse yesterday (she likes to take all the cards out and leave them around the house so I don't have them when I need them. I suspect Cameron is bribing her to do so, especially the credit cards.) When she came across my gym membership card, with photo, she said Mama! and gave it a big kiss.

Monday, September 19, 2005
A note to door-to-door salesmen who turn up out of the blue when I am having a Big Stress and demand to know what service provider we use. You are never going to get my business if, when I look momentarily befuddled (due to aforementioned out-of-the-blueness and Big-Stressicity) you say does hubby deal with it all?

Another viewing tonight! Things are definitely picking up. Let's just hope that this one wants to buy the house - I know she has driven past and likes the look of it so we shouldn't have any nonsense about being put off by the viaduct (we love our viaduct) or being too close to the road*. I do know she hasn't yet sold her house, but am still hopeful. Even more so given that I buckled and viewed the Dream Home last week - and liked it so much I took Cameron back on Sunday. And he likes it too. The only fault I can possibly find is that you can hear the motorway (if I was being super-picky I would like a larger garden, larger master bedroom and perhaps an en-suite. But we are way past being super picky.)
*Just to put this in context, we live at the very bottom of a cul-de-sac, so quiet that kids play in the street. We are removed even from that quiet street by a drive that is long enough to park seven cars (yes, we have done so). There are million-pound country mansions that are closer to the road than us.**
**I admit I might be (deliberately) misunderstanding: there is a road that runs past the end of the garden. But it is very much a B-road, only running to the Spar and Thelwall.
Enormous congratulations to our friends Eiji and Yuko, in Japan, on the birth of their daughter Shoko-chan. Well done chaps!
We had a pleasant if uneventful weekend: trekked into deeper Cheshire on Saturday morning to investigate the farmers' market. It was smaller than I imagined (I think I had, like, Covent Garden in my head) but we came away with a good haul. Am slightly regretting passing up the chance to buy goat for an interesting stew so we might have to return next month. Saturday night we went for a curry and discovered that Maggie isn't very keen on biryani though she'll pick out the chicken chunks. Is hard work taking toddlers out for dinner.

Friday, September 16, 2005
I am utterly utterly pathetic. I had to go and get my next-door neighbour to deal with a spider! It was approximately the size of a house-brick and sitting on my curtain. As if that wasn't humiliating enough, I then backed away whimpering when he tried to give it to me (all squashed up in a bit of kitchen roll) for disposal and made him put it in the outside bin. Which I will be unable to open now until the binmen have been and gone.
I am better than I used to be: small ones (say up to the size of a thumbnail) I can ignore (if I am allowed to define "ignore" as not actually dealing with it but staring fixedly at it in case it makes threatening advances. But I can be in the same room.) But this one...ew, it makes me shudder and feel physically sick even thinking about it. I really don't want Maggie to grow up afraid of spiders but am unequipped to pretend they are nothing. Eek!
My mother claims she hid her fears from us: it might have worked with thunderstorms (which don't trouble me in the least) but I have very clear memories of her standing squealing on the piano stool as dad removed a spider - so she didn't try that hard in my book. Of course, dad then trying to show it to us when he'd caught it wasn't terribly helpful either.
Anyway. Maggie was a messy monster this morning and made a lovely painting, which was lots of fun (am now all painty - next week, will wear old clothes myself not just put them on her.) There was a truly dreadful mummy there who was absolutely convinced her child was the most special and interesting toddler there has ever been. Of course we all think that but most are sensible enough to realise that and not try to convert everyone to their own way of thinking (Maggie is clearly so head and shoulders above the others I think it would be crass to point it out). She wanted me to admit that boys are better than girls because you don't have to worry about what they wear (right). Her son was running about wildly and she was obviously secretly proud of this and kept on about how it was because he was a boy. I wanted to point out that Maggie, despite being female, is quite capable of raising hell (when she has had some sleep) and that messing with paints at an art session was not necessarily a sign that she is dull. And that in fact they are just toddlers and all do their own thing, regardless of their Mummy's influence.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Saw a lovely optician yesterday who tells me I can wear my 'fortnightly' lenses 14 times before throwing them away - in complete contrast to the previous optician who was adamant they were to be thrown after 2 weeks regardless. I like the former idea better as it will make one set of lenses last me about 6 weeks. Am unsure whether they are to be thrown for bacterial buildup (as I had assumed, and which would be a good reason to ditch them after the prescribed time) or lens deterioration (in which case I'll hang on to them). But am tight enough to give it a go. He also complimented me on the good state of my corneas; what a nice man. I haven't had my hair cut in months, makeup is a thing of my past and I usually have biscuit smeared on my clothes, but at least I have nice corneas.
Am dithering about whether to renew my gym membership, which expires at the end of the month. It seems a lot of money for 45 minutes a week, but on the other hand Maggie likes the creche, they like Maggie, it gets me an hour off...I think the trouble is I have to join for 6 months and I am very loath to admit to myself that we will still be here in 6 months' time. Similarly, I want to plant daffodils because I love them but I don't want to consider the fact that I might still be here to see them flower.
Actually I am going to the gym twice this week (I am such a fitness fanatic): I have signed up for a beginners' tai chi class. I quite fancy that whole wearing white and slowly waving limbs about in the park thing, and Saturday-morning yoga was just not happening (too early). Maybe I'll reconsider that when and if Maggie sleeps a whole night through, because I do enjoy yoga. Say in 17 years' time.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005
I'm not sure it gets any better than having your face gently touched by a sleepy baby practising her words: ahs (eyes), nuz (nose), ehs (ears). (For some reason she has started with a deep south accent.) So sweet.
Feel all back-to-schoolish this week, with playgroups and a distinct autumnal snap to the air. We have harvested all the apples and my tomatoes have finally deigned to develop a hint of red. Is lovely. There are even a few courgettes developing - better late than never. I might have to have a quick chorus of we plough the fields and scatter or that one about blackberries in the hedgerows in honour of our own private harvest festival. Am determined to get to our local farmers' market this Saturday, and last Saturday I at long last made it to the Unicorn grocery, so we are all seasonal organic right-on yadda yadda yadda just now. Might have to have a backlash takeaway curry for tea.
However, don't mention the H word - Friday night's viewers hadn't even put their house on the market yet, though they seemed very enthusiastic about ours. What a waste of good tidying: I am not running an exhibition here. Still haven't been to visit the Dream House (too dangerous). Am feeling very despondant and wondering whether we will have to live here forever, my lovely belongings all rotting in storage.

Friday, September 09, 2005
Very exciting news: remember I sacked my cleaner? I thought we had been forgotten about but the agency boss called yesterday to say she'd found me someone new if I still wanted her. Hooray! Have just cleaned the entire house (more viewers tonight) for hopefully the last time: will be back as a lady of (ha ha) leisure just doing the odd spot of light recreational dusting as of next week. Of course, if there was any justice in the world, the house would be sold by then. I feel it is our turn now.
My old lab partner from uni (complete with boob job, will have to try not to stare!) is coming to see us today en route to a party in Manchester (she leads such an exciting life). Looking forward to it but a bit puzzled about how to manage to feed Maggie, feed us, get Maggie to bed yet still have a sparkly house at 6.30 for the viewer. I clearly just don't have enough to worry about these days, but it has been on my mind for 2 days.
Not enough to worry about. Ha ha. Am editing a more-poxy-than-average manuscript and supposedly sorting out my veg suppliers' website (in exchange, I hope, for free veg). Am still doing fulltime childcare (all those people who say how lucky I am to work at home? Pffffft to you. Well, I mean, I do feel lucky to work from home - I was never much cop in an office as I expect Cath to verify - but simultaneously working and toddler-wrangling? Bit tricky.)
Took M for a swim this morning; we were sitting in the cafe afterwards when a child I have never seen before said hello Maggie! She has friends I don't know.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Clearly the first week of school: the gym, which has been lovely and quiet all summer, was full of frantically exercising mummies; the creche was packed; the pool was virtually empty. All baby activities start again next week - we have one a day this term which I suspect is going to be way too much for my sanity (I need one day off in which to go to the bank, the post office, tidy up, sit on my bum drinking coffee).
No news on the house: this weekend's viewer (again) liked the house but wasn't sure about the location. I think it's in a great location and she should get a grip. But I knew she didn't like it, she was just way too effusive about how lovely it all was. A dead giveaway. Am a bit miffed because I have spotted my Dream House on the market (well, I think it is my DH. Of course I haven't been to look round - way too dangerous given that we can't afford it without selling this. But I have driven past the outside. Twice. And it is very lovely.)

Monday, September 05, 2005
Hands up who knows where they were and what they were doing 7 years ago today? Now those of you who were mournfully marking one-year-since-Diana's-funeral can put their hands right back down and go to the bottom of the class. Those who (correctly) said 'at your wedding', take a gold star.
Seven years. Wow.
It rained then, too.
We spent much of our weekend trying to catch a mouse that Islay kindly released in the lounge. The cats took shifts staring fixedly behind the tansu; we periodically did the same (having spent until midnight on Friday hefting sofas and things and trying to grab it. Mice are significantly harder to catch than birds.) Finally, around 11 o'clock Saturday night after we had constructed a mouse-run from the dining table and some books but failed to persuade the mouse to run along it, Jura grabbed it and we managed to save it.
Last night, we staged an action replay (different mouse).

Friday, September 02, 2005
I know it is the last day of the school holidays, which (sort of) explains the clowns, men on stilts, balloon sculpters, 6-foot-tall talking, moving remote control dragon and scary mimey people, but I have no idea why Warrington today is busier than I have ever seen it. The entire world and his wife, plus buggy and whinging tot, was in My cafe at lunchtime, My queue in the shops and returning items in My M&S. Feel very overstimulated and have come home where it is nice and quiet for a cup of tea and a sit down. Have got two enterprising pre-teens washing my car and Maggie is singing in her cot; I might just manage it.