Thursday, June 29, 2006
I am so stressed I can hardly talk (let alone type straight) - just taking 10 minutes for a cup of coffee before I start again. M has gone from using the potty beautifully to weeing on the floor and also seems to be biting her nails: do you think she can tell?
Let's see. I have to pack, load the car (bearing in mind that the opener for my boot is kaput so one has to hold its full weight with one arm while lifting things inside and that my case weighs 25 kg*), and get M and I to Manchester airport via a. cattery and b. estate agent**; get parked, get us and all our luggage checked in and onto a plane.
Cameron is around but has to work today: he's joining us in Scotland direct from a London meeting tomorrow.
Better make the most of it I suppose: imagine doing all this next year with two children. Last time I took M on a plane she was 10 months and small enough to sling while I pushed all the bags in a buggy; plus we had an international business-class baggage allowance and Virgin couldn't have been more helpful. How the mighty have fallen and all. (Economy! The shame!) On the bright side (spacially if not financially) she now gets her own seat so I don't have to have a heffalump on my lap the whole way. And it's a nice short flight.
*What's that phrase again, the one that always makes me laugh like a drain? Oh yes "a delicate condition". Ha ha bloody ha.
**Apparently we are exchanging and completing tomorrow, which is obviously a relief yet I find it very strange that my solicitor had to chase theirs to find this out: don't you think that is the sort of information it is good to share? All of which means I have to take the keys in en route today.

Monday, June 26, 2006
To continue:
  • grams of Lindt intense mint chocolate scoffed in desperation at manuscript's poxiness: 40
  • hours M slept in the afternoon: 2 1/2 (has somebody swapped her?)
  • potatoes baked for tea: 3
  • enormous sneezes, poss. hayfever (mine): about 1000
  • hot drinks made, forgotten about and discovered later when they are cold and have dust floating on top: 2 (not bad)

  • Today's statistics:
  • cats collected from catteries: 1 (boo)
  • potty:floor ratio 2:0 and counting (v.g.)
  • supermarket shops done: 1 (medium-sized)
  • bags of shopping put away:left on the floor ratio 0:4 (not good)
  • neighbours interacted with in a friendly manner: 1
  • manuscripts edited: 1
  • time to which Maggie slept this morning: 7.15 (so I must say a large YAH BOO SUCKS to the doomsayers who insinuated she would never sleep through if we didn't Do Something About It)
  • new friends made on MSN: 1 (yay)
  • friends congratulated on the birth of their lovely new babies: 1, hooray!
  • catteries booked for next weekend: 1
  • cars booked in for service (don't think about the cost): 1
  • loads of laundry washed: 2
  • and dried: 1
  • and ironed: 0
  • dishwashers emptied and refilled: 1
  • stories read: 3
  • hours spent with cbeebies on: 3/4
  • cases unpacked:bags awaiting unpacking ratio 1:5 (v. bad)
  • crossword clues solved and filled in: 4
  • pieces of fruit M persuaded to eat:biscuits allowed ratio 2:1 (v.g.)

  • Wednesday, June 21, 2006

    sheep's horn
    Originally uploaded by Turquoise Lisa.
    We had a brief unscheduled visit to the Cheshire Show this afternoon, when M ran amok (bunnies!! want to touch! goat! meh! want to touch! want ice cream!) and I scoffed strawberries dipped in the chocolate fountain.

    I've sat down to blog several times over the past few days but each time I do the ennui sets in and I have to find something else to do. Sorry. Is all part of being a single mum: C was back in the country for a whopping 36 jetlagged hours before heading off to Germany. I believe on Friday we may eat a simultaneous meal for the first time in nearly 2 weeks. Actually, on Friday we are off to Royal Escet, I may need a het. I am looking forward to it (Cameron in same timezone; Maggie in care of grandparents; civilised day out) apart from the whole attire worry. Mid-sized bump not helping matters and the only shoes I can really wear are quite high (I am given to understand that trainers are not the thing) so might a. cripple me and b. sink into the grass.
    Speaking of bump I am very aware that this poor child has been the attention of virtually no blogging whatsoever (and frankly little thought outside the blog either). I hope it doesn't grow up with a complex when it realises its elder sister had a whole blog all to herself. (Of course it is equally likely that M will be creased with embarrassment and #2 just relieved to have escaped.) Anyway: it's fine, was scanned on Monday and all well. Very obliging - much more cooperative than M who used to flip end over end during scans - it waved its little hand (5 fingers) to Maggie. Am hoping this presages a placid child who sleeps 12 hours a night from, say, 3 days old. Or is that delusional?

    Friday, June 16, 2006
    Helen's comment made me realise that this is perhaps the only place I haven't put on the record how much I LOVE my new doctor (and yes thank you, M is completely better now). He's Cheshire's answer to Dr Sears: a father of 6, all home births, all breastfed until they self-weaned (some in tandem) and a fan of co-sleeping. Yay! So nice - so unusual - to meet a medical professional on one's wavelength (though I seem to be quite lucky in that respect: my British GP in Tokyo was a home-birthing breast-feeding Dalai-Llama enthusing nutcase.) As predicted, she had "a virus": he did seem to think I was concerned about meningitis, which made me feel a bit bad momentarily (it hadn't crossed my mind) before that small remaining part of rational brain took over and pointed out that had I suspected meningitis we would hardly have waited for a 4 o'clock appointment at the clinic, but would have been at A&E within about 5 minutes (it's a 10-minute drive). He said, approvingly (I think): ah, a laid-back mum. Am I laid back? That's nice, I'd like to think I am.

    Wednesday, June 14, 2006
    I read the most appalling book today, while M was at 'rhyme time' at the library. Please never get it. Coming home, I am now wondering if it was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but it certainly doesn't read that way. I see most of the Amazon reviewers agree with me, which is nice to know. I am now, however, fully aware of Just How Important it is to wear nice knickers to your scan (a good job since I have mine on Monday and would have turned up in any old tat) and to make sure you are waxed and pedicured before your due date (because otherwise what if you get a good looking doctor). But seriously: how can it be a good thing to aspire to be that woman, quoted, who repainted her nails, styled her hair and applied full makeup before being discharged from hospital after giving birth? Shows seriously skewed priorities and some sort of self-image "issues", I would have thought. Yet she was held up as the ideal. Oh, and waterbirth is bad because you come out looking like a prune - and drugs are the only way to give birth (because otherwise you risk smearing your lipstick? I don't know.) Homebirth is an utterly ridiculous idea because you might have to do some laundry afterwards. The only single piece of advice with which I would concur was this: no leggings, no dungarees. I find it very hard to believe that anybody actually finds the time or inclination to give themselves a weekly facial and pedicure after their baby is born (or before, for that matter).
    I am seriously non-yummy. As evidenced by the fact that four (four!) people approached me in town and asked either where I got my hair cut (and not in a good way) or did I want some hair and beauty vouchers (I would, actually, but not for £50 thanks very much). I fear other people interpret my fresh-faced and natural look (and isn't she lucky to get away with it at her age) as unkempt and unruly. That, or today's unusually dangly earrings - a bid to distract from my expanding waistline - misled them into thinking I was much higher maintenance than I actually am.

    Tuesday, June 13, 2006
    I think there's some sort of weirdy voodoo thing going on here. Call me neurotic and overimaginative, but. I have two black-cat figurines that live on a windowsill (with a penguin and and elephant but that's by the by). Now, I know M likes to move them around but I noticed yesterday that one of the black cats is missing. Perhaps if I find it Islay will come home?
    Is raining here, hope she's found somewhere dry to hide.

    Monday, June 12, 2006
    My goodness, what a day. I feel quite wrung-out. M was up (thus, so was I) between 3.30 and 5 for no apparent reason so I was tired to start with. And let's not discount the hormonal turmoil, but when I woke (again) to find that Jura was missing and Cameron hadn't yet called to let me know he was safely in Japan, I lost the plot rather. I managed to track Cameron down by dint of some creative phoning (his hotel claimed never to have heard of him: whether she didn't really understand the question or was being annoyingly Japanesely discreet is anyone's guess) then when I did finally manage to speak to him collapsed in a heap. Juuurrrraaaaaa's nooooot heeeeeeere. Poor Cameron, must feel awful: there's not much he can do from 6000 miles away, is there. Anyway, I settled a little in time for Sinead, Libby and baby Katherine to come and play for the morning - took my mind off things. Ann and Olivia kindly came over this afternoon to sit with M so I could go out shouting round the streets, and I found her!
    She must have heard my voice and started to cry too: I rang the doorbell of the house whose garden I thought she was in and, when I got no reply, went in and stood on her garden bench to see over the hedge. Unfortunately the owner chose that moment to appear from her herbaceous border, wondering what the hell I was doing. She became more accommodating when she heard Jura crying and helped me tempt her through the holly hedge, when I carried her home. Very hungry, very tired and now very disgruntled to not be allowed back outside! I'm still worried at being one cat down, of course, but immensely relieved that we don't seem to have a nutcase stalking the village pets on Sundays, as I was beginning to suspect. A sort of catty Bermuda triangle.
    I almost feel calm enough to clean the kitchen, or would that just be going overboard?!
    My other excitement came last night when I idly checked maternity wear on ebay only to find a top I had tried and failed to buy from (out of stock) there with 40 seconds left to go! I won it, too. Bet the people making real proper not-last-minute bids were cross. He he he.

    Sunday, June 11, 2006
    Aren't kids great? I was just chatting to the little girl next door (5), back from her holiday. I confess I had been hoping Islay would reappear as soon as they came home, having been shut in their house all week - but no such luck. It's OK though because she assured me that Islay had probably been run over - which didn't matter, because I had another cat. I feel so much happier now.

    Originally uploaded by Turquoise Lisa.
    Went to Arley Hall with Ann and Olivia on Thursday. M and Olivia are friends and had a lovely time together. And we saw a swallow and its nest.

    Friday, June 09, 2006
    Glorious though it is, isn't it just sod's law that we get this weather the week I move some long-established roses (poor things are very droopy indeed) and M goes down with some sort of high-temperature virus thingy. Or I assume it's a virus thingy, they usually are, but I can't say I am entirely fit to judge having had two - count 'em - hours of sleep last night. We're going to see the doctor at 4 (I wouldn't have bothered except it's a Friday so the last chance for 2 days) and he will no doubt tell me to go away and not bother him it's a virus. Though I hope not in so many words.
    No Islay. People are queuing round the block to tell me about their cats who disappeared for weeks and then turned up, which I suppose is very kind but doesn't really stop me fretting. Cameron leafleted the road and closes last night which resulted in two phone calls, but we haven't found her yet.
    I took a poster in to the primary school this morning, thinking mums and kids walking to and from school might keep their eyes open for her. Have come away with a registration form and a copy of their latest Ofsted report (they are very keen) which was absolutely outstanding: surely even in a terribly middle class area of Cheshire such as this, some kids must just be a bit thick? I wonder what they do with them on inspection day.
    C off to Japan on Sunday. I am planning to sulk for the week.

    Wednesday, June 07, 2006
    Good news: the council haven't picked any black cats off the roads. Bad news: Islay still hasn't turned up. Spent the morning making leaflets which I'll put through local doors later today, and received a slightly cheering email from the cats' protection league suggesting we hang our unwashed sheets and stinky trainers outside so she can follow the stench. (Scent. They said scent.)
    Otherwise, have had the sort of day I just know everybody imagines my life consists of. Had a bit of a lie-in as Cameron's family were here, then took the bus to Chester and had a lovely coffee in Costa, where M was an absolute angel. So much so that two people came up and told me she is lovely! Went to the library, produced said leaflets, browsed for new books because my 'to-read' pile is only as tall as the house. Attended rhyme time, where M, still naturally angelic, rather horrified the gang of mums to 6-month-olds: I could just see them thinking my child will never do that as she ran about, climbed up and down, tried to sit on the leader's knee, danced manically to the songs, pulled a poster off the wall, and demanded to be read a story. Of course the other toddlers there were utterly well-behaved and sat on their mums' laps throughout, smiling prettily and waving their shakers in time to the beat.
    A quick whizz about the farmers' market then home on the bus, when M went to bed and I sat in the garden with a magnum ice-cream and a trashy book. Such a hard life.

    Monday, June 05, 2006
    Oh dear, I've been half-blogged all weekend but somehow life gets in the way. Or gardening and sunshine, anyway: got to make the most of it. Spent Thursday running about taking snaps for the wheel of the year project, which you can see here if you would like to admire our new front and back views, and garden. Which no longer looks like that, as I spent the entire weekend digging a tiny strip (about 1 1/2 x 5 ft) as a 'holding bed' for the roses we wanted to bring from the old house - we are gardening on pure compressed clay here, mixed in places with builder's rubble, so it was quite a task. Cameron offered to do it for me "because you're pregnant" if I did the supermarket run on Saturday so off I went, only to find him laid up with a bad back on my return. So I did both jobs (poor me): he stripped half the turf but I removed the rest, dug as deep as I could (only about a spade and a bit), mixed in a couple of bags of manure, dug up the roses, and planted it all up. The bed is going to look quite nice, it now has a nice mixture of plants I had lying about as well as the roses: marigolds, fuschias, columbines, carrots (bizarrely) and sweet peas up cool twisty metal things.
    I also managed to cook Nigella's involtini (OK, C's bad back didn't preclude him cooking the aubergines) and profiteroles as we had friends to dinner. Felt most smug; rather less so when M took off her nappy and wee'd in her cot (Paul and Donna are childless). AND I hit the credit cards and ordered my entire summer wardrobe; busy busy busy.
    Sunday we went back to Grappenhall (via Borders for lunch, naturally) to get the aforementioned roses and take a few cuttings. Looks like a jungle there, but rather a nice one with all our plants looking lovely and lush. And ground you can just slide a fork into.
    Today has been spent mostly fretting as Islay has been AWOL since yesterday morning. No idea if she's lost/making her way back to Warrington/run over/shut in somewhere but am very concerned - it's not like her. Just hope somebody kind who knows about cats finds her and gets her zapped as she is microchipped. Any suggestions, anyone?
    PS: A new entry in the ongoing series "things you never thought you'd have to say": don't spit on your toothbrush then scrub the walls please, it's disgusting.