Friday, July 28, 2006
Did I say I'd hardly noticed this pregnancy? More fool me; have run full-tilt into the 6-months-pregnant wall this week: Messrs Backache, Pelvic Pain and Sciatica have all come to stay, Miss Heartburn is visiting in the evenings and my afternoons are haunted by the Ghost of Lightheaded Faintiness (only warded off by the twin talismans of coke and ice cream).
Am waiting for the foot-pump fairy to call and blow up my exercise ball so I have something comfy to sit on at the computer.
However, am feeling somewhat perkier today - yesterday was a complete write-off as I couldn't summons the energy to walk from here to the kitchen, let alone leave the house or think of fun toddler games (M protested in the best way she knows: she peed on the floor) - but I got a good 9 hours last night and feel quite ready to go. Even managed a good kitchen dance with M while emptying the dishwasher. Must make the most as today is to be the last day of summer, apparently.

Thursday, July 27, 2006
Mountains of work in and expected. Oodles of it. Very foolishly accepted three new projects from one of my more stress-inducing clients this morning, too, so don't expect any signs of sanity round here until, ooh, September. Am v miffed with myself as she expressed surprise that I hadn't put my rates up since last time we worked together (I hadn't really realised one was allowed to). Missed opportunity, so they are going up in September; having done some asking around I realise how cheap I am selling myself.
Last month's pay cheque was earmarked for toy storage so we are now much more tidy, having three new boxes (morning room, dining room and dressing up) and a basket for jigsaws. Getting there slowly, I might even sort out my desk one of these days and re-connect the speakers. I need my dad to come and visit to fix a leak and do all those other handy dad-jobs.
Not doing much today really, having kept it free for the delivery of Maggie's big-girl bed (which unfortunately didn't come into stock so won't be arriving until after we've been to Scotland now). I have itchy fingers to go to the garden centre but am restraining myself (will go at the weekend when I don't have to toddler-wrangle). Several exciting new projects on the go, all of which are too new to be mentioned yet. I'm not sure I have time for a new baby. Speaking of which, I rang to book on some antenatal classes and was told quite clearly that second-timers weren't really wanted: I suppose I should have noticed that they are all held at 2 pm at venues without childcare or creche, but it's not very friendly, is it!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006
M has (virtually) dropped her daytime nap: I may never blog again. I admit to encouraging it a little - she is now routinely sleeping until 7 am - but also to really missing those hours of peace in the afternoon when I edited, cleaned, cooked and chatted; am now working nights, eating quick-cook rubbish and living in a midden. Sort of. But 7 am is so much more acceptable than 5 and she seems to be taking it in her stride - in fact, she's really very cheery these days and has a (brief) down-time after lunch when we sit and read books quietly and recharge our batteries. ("Mummy, open your eyes!") She's getting very good at amusing herself for ever-longer periods of time, too, and will happily potter about humming to herself while I do exciting things like wash the smashed bottle of Guinness off the kitchen floor (don't ask).
In other exciting childcare news, we've signed her up for a couple of nursery sessions a week. I know "they" say not before 3, but I think she's ready - presumably "they" are taking an average that includes boys (!) and thickos (!). I can't say hand on heart that I really want to send her, but they have a big garden with a veg patch and chickens, the staff are not all teenagers, they employ a chef and I think she'll enjoy it. Plus, better to send her now than when I do feel I need some time, i.e. in november with a new baby on the scene.
Work is busy just now, too: summers always are. With the teaching pressure removed from academics they often knuckle down and churn out some papers. Which is good financially so one mustn't moan, even though it is tempting.
Had a very pleasant do-little weekend with all the girls (6 big girls, 3 little ones and Cameron pottering about too. Not that he is a girl, but he came home from the shops with a new CD player for me to have in the kitchen so he got fed on Saturday night.) Apart from my niece Mia - and consequently my sister Suzanne - who had a bad night on Saturday. Apparently there was a little girl in her cot (I'm not talking to you mummy I'm talking to the girl), so perhaps we are haunted. It is an old house and Cameron and I are the last people who would pick up on such a thing! Or perhaps it was too much barbecued fish before bed.

Thursday, July 20, 2006
Tatton was really lovely - extraordinarily hot, but one thing Tokyo has set me up for for life is an ability to handle heat. 36 deg and moderate humidity holds no fears; and as the friend I went with I met in Tokyo and had moved there from Singapore (she now lives in the Lake District) we flagged far less than many people there. Many of whom kindly felt obliged to offer me their seat in the shade: RHS members are Nice People on the whole. I didn't need to stick out my belly or rub my back or anything! I was relatively restrained with my buying* (given that I have no real garden yet I had to keep to seeds and things that would be happy in a pot until next summer at least) but have come home laden with ideas and itching to get going. Hand me that rotovator!
For those who like to be fashionable I noted that agapanthus is this year's plant and rusty terracotta shades the planting schemes of choice: there were also one or two bold returns to Colour which were fantastic to see. No more "prairie planting", of which I am quite delighted to see the back. Grasses are still in use but in a much more restrained manner, and one simply must shoe-horn in a tomato plant or two to show your modern eco credentials.
Maggie and Cameron had a lovely day too; nice for them to spend some concentrated time. I don't know what he did but she slept until 8.20 this morning. EIGHT!!! A.M.! Unheard of. Though to be fair she was up a bit in the night: it was incredibly humid then we had a very noisy (beautifully refreshing) downpour around 5, which I think woke her.
*Agapanthus "enigma" - I am fashionable, a nepalese lily thing, herb seeds including shiso (which I emailed Dan Pearson from the Observer about last week: he said Jekka so I visited Jekka), sweet pea seeds for next year, a gorgeous golden crocosmia, a verbascum for its lovely leaves (I later discovered its flowers would be a manky yellow so I'll have to hide it away) and a nice thing whose name I've forgotten - I'll post a photo later.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Much better. M slept for 12 hours with only two drinks of water required; I got about 8 or 9 hours myself. So much less tension in the house today, despite catering requirements (must go and make a tart). We spent yesterday afternoon in a friend's brand-new garden; last time we visited it was a field with a shed in the middle, but now it has landscaping and plants and vegetables and is generally very conducive to long lazy afternoons sipping cool drinks under the gazebo and watching toddlers jump in and out of the paddling pool.
Cameron is back tonight and I/C childcare all day tomorrow as I'm off to Tatton Park flower show (as seen on the BBC). Am very much looking forward to it even though I will wilt like the flowers in this heat.

Monday, July 17, 2006
Estimated 4 hours sleep last night (M with upset tummy); incoherent and v grumpy; C in, um, away somewhere on a plane; can't manage punctuation. People coming for both lunch and dinner tomorrow; one staying overnight; must sort spare room. Sleepless daze = scarily large amount of money spent at Sainsburys on what looks like enough food for 3 days. Plus kilos of fruit; don't want too eat fruit; too tired. Eating doughnuts. Yum.

Friday, July 14, 2006
Phew! There's nothing like a toddler for getting you up and at it - she kindly slept until 6 rather than her habitual 5 today, which felt like a lie-in: I was so full of energy that by 10 am I had cleaned our bedroom, Maggie's bedroom, the bathroom and the downstairs loo! Maggie did some dusting and sweeping then amused herself beautifully bouncing on our bed trying on hats; when she lost interest in that she made a tent in her cot, crawled in to make a duvet nest with all her toys, and read them stories.
Of course at 11 o'clock it now feels a bit like bedtime: time for a nice sit-down I think.
Gardener's question spot Who knows about courgettes? My plants have gone from last week's gorgeous healthy specimens (see photo) to some sad, mildewy things with yellow leaves. They are well-ventilated and windy so I'm thinking they just need more nutrients (they are in pots) - I am currently giving tomato feed weekly but should I increase the frequency (they are "bulk feeders" I believe) or consider a foliar feed?

Thursday, July 13, 2006
I've been a bit absent this week: just not been in a bloggy frame of mind. Am a de facto single mum again and feeling quite fed up, though it is something I feel I must put up and shut up given that poor Cameron doesn't love it either and "they" do pay him rather well to travel like he does. So I decided to graciously stay away until I was a bit chirpier and could type without it turning into a big poor me whinge. However, Cameron has bravely and very kindly arranged to miss half a London meeting next week and is flying back early to do a day of childcare and allow me to go to Tatton Park Flower Show. It's been a long-drawn-out saga, with meetings on and off and parents on standby to come: 2 days ago I thought I was going to have to take her with me and was not looking forward to it one bit. Much as I love her company, childminding a toddler who is far too big to spend a whole day in a pushchair, and bored by plants, around a large RHS flower show at which, let's face it, I will be purchasing plenty, did not sound like a fun stress-free day out. So a big hoorah that that bridge was crossed well in advance and can be retreated back over, and I find myself looking forward to it immensely. I don't get out much.
Which is where I find myself today: quite chirpy. Glorious weather and, despite rising at the unhodly hour of 5, a jolly tot. We went to Walton Hall this morning to see the animals ("pigs and peacocks" as M calls it). Am considering taking over the catering franchise (well, more wishing somebody else would): it's a nice large house - not quite stately but approaching in that direction - with a small children's zoo, a playground, some nice gardens, a big space for ball games etc...and the most abysmal coffee and pre-packaged cakes you can imagine. It simply isn't the National Trust, darling.
Came back and hung out in the garden all afternoon. This stay-at-home-mumming is OK really you know, despite appalling hours, pay and conditions: M alternated between paddling pool, lounging under a blanket and playing with her ball while I read in the sun, pruned my very sad-looking roses (which are, against all odds, showing some signs of revival), pottered about tying in/pinching out/chatting up various other plants, replaced M's blanket approximately every 2.35 minutes and occasionally provided cold drink, plum or pea. (Ahem. We shelled peas for our tea, too, and weren't left with an awful lot to cook. Which is absolutely fine: I care that she eat veg not whether it is cooked, raw or in between.)

Friday, July 07, 2006

Originally uploaded by Turquoise Lisa.
Taken a couple of weeks ago when M was feeling amenable: this week we heard I am not going under there and I don't need a woggle. You can see how much she loves the water though.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006
We survived, and had a nice time too once we got there. Journey up unbelievably stressful due to the rudeness and lack of consideration from our fellow travellers (worst offenders were men with briefcases who were clearly in such a hurry that waiting 2 minutes to allow a pregnant woman and her toddler to get themselves, a large suitcase, a buggy and assorted items of hand luggage off the bus was incredibly taxing: wouldn't you think, if they were in such a genuine rush, that the most effective thing would be to give me a hand? Which of course I didn't expect, so I didn't mind - much - that they didn't, but I did mind rather being sighed at and pushed out of the way.) The only person who was even slightly above neutral in the helpfulness stakes was one air stewardess who held M's hand so I could use both hands to lift the buggy and five bags (without losing teddy) up three flights of stairs. And then there was some nonsense about my suitcase...but it's past now, breathe deeply. Good things: M loved the plane (it had a propellor!) and was an angel on board; the car-hire firm upgraded us because they had nothing in the class I requested; our first night away from Maggie went very smoothly. Oh, and Dylan Moran might have been on the flight but I am hopeless at celebrity faces so couldn't swear to it. It was lovely to be back in Edinburgh so many years on (though I am sure it didn't used to be such a mecca for hen parties) and we had enough sunshine to sit outside in the grassmarket and drink Kir. Am glad we made the most of it because it rained the rest of the time we were away: the rest of you were basking in glorious sunshine, wittering on the radio about how to handle the heat (to which, having lived in Tokyo, I can only say a quiet pah - until I remember the ubiquitous air conditioning in that civilised city) while we shivered damply in our summer clothes.
Back yesterday: much more pleasant journey with several people smiling sympathetically if not actually being terribly helpful. I honestly don't mind not being helped as long as they are patient and don't shut the door in my face.
Today my car has gone for a service so we bussed into town for the usual: library, bank, market, coffee. And now I really must go and take those wheel of the year photos that are 5 days overdue.
PS House sold. Hoorah.