Monday, August 28, 2006
Huh. Call yourself a bank holiday? Have been up since 5.30 as C was jetting off to Germany (he has Friday in lieu so I don't mind that but I find 5.30 quite objectionable) and M heard the alarm (what's that in the shower, mummy?). Shut my eyes for 5-minutes-honest around 7, during which time M did a lovely sketch in black biro on our cream sofa. When we went upstairs to get washed and dressed, I discovered the window seat was absolutely soaked through (yet another use for the fantastic underfloor heating): C claims to have heard water dripping in the night but I have no idea where it was dripping from. Suffice it to say that rain inside the bedroom is Bad and that a man will have to be called (who, though - a builder, a damp person, a window person...?)
I have a huge manuscript lurking ominously about EPR and ENDOR (it's similar: trust me, you don't need a link), about which I admit to feeling very hazy (that was the chapter of my thesis I bluffed my way through and if I didn't know it then...). Am mildly concerned but insufficiently so to actually have made a start.
Took M blackberrying this afternoon - got a small bagful but will have to go back in a week or so as they are mostly still green. Odd, as those on our driveway (unpicked due to diesel fumes) are long over. I had intended to make jam (in a bid to avoid thinking about EPR; see above), only we have been recycling so efficiently since our move I have no jars to put it in.

Sunday, August 27, 2006
Have discovered an unforeseen bonus to the underfloor heating: it's great for proving bread! Well, Nigel's blackberry focaccia (yummy, but tricky to get half the berries kneaded in so I gave up - will try harder next time as the few I did manage are particularly delicious). Cameron and Maggie have spent the afternoon making apple crumble (first apples from our trees) - it looks very nice but I am going to cook it very thoroughly as I distinctly heard no! don't spit in it! at one point.
Yesterday we popped in to the village flower and produce show: I am so thrilled to live in a village that stages such events. (It's been an ambition of mine ever since we visited Beeston castle on the day of their village fete just in time to watch the local vicar judge which dog had the most appealing eyes.) Many elderly people milling about admiring Very Large onions and Very Straight runner beans; a children's make-an-animal-from-veg competition; one of Cameron's colleagues, we spotted, had come first for his cucumber and marrow; and Barbara Goode (yes really) had cleaned up in the beans, cabbages and lettuces categories. We also visited a hat-hire shop (we've a wedding next weekend) where the owner's mother was rather too surprised that I was expecting a baby - though my brother in law wisely says better a pregnant girl standing up than a fat girl crying. Possibly because, when I said I needed a good hat to distract from my whale-like midriff, Cameron shouted "she's not pregnant". Ha ha ha. Or perhaps she was just distracted by Maggie's pants, on display at that moment because she had been told she was a big girl. (I a big girl. I wear pants. Look!)

Thursday, August 24, 2006
Crosby beach photos are now here.
Exciting allotment update - I went down there this afternoon intending to take some 'before' photos as we had a brushcutter booked for the weekend, only to be collared by a chap called Jeff who was fixing the gate. Was I the lady who wants an allotment? I agreed I probably was, and he proceeded to explain his new scheme: they are hoping to divide two long thin east-west plots at the top of the site into three more normally dimensioned north-south ones; would I like one. Fantastic, I said - I'd get a wall and a bit of space for a shed, more space generally (raspberries and rhubarb!); it is flat and already weeded and not at the bottom of a slope. Fingers crossed the chap who has just taken on one of the long thin ones (and JCB'ed the whole site to clear it a couple of weeks ago) is amenable to being moved around: Jeff seems to reckon he's not that serious and might be persuaded. Have cancelled the brushcutter - C asked whether that means he doesn't have to spend the weekend in hard physical labour. His tone would have been easily misinterpreted by anyone else as glee; I know it was intense disappointment.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Collected M from nursery this morning (she had eaten all her lunch and met the chickens) and headed straight to Crosby to examine the Anthony Gormley statues. Despite the doom-mongering on Radio 4 it wasn't wet at all but sunny and quite warm, and M had a glorious time running for miles on the sand and collecting shells. It's a lovely beach, with miles of fine golden sand and the "installation" (for want of more educated terminology) was interesting, if disappointingly hard to photograph. Then we had an ice cream and came home: both exhausted (I also had a 45-minutes walk round the village this morning to drop the allotment key back to its owner), hungry and fingers crossed will sleep well tonight.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Oh dear, I'm not very good at this blogging malarky these days. Too busy washing sheets and tidying and what have you. Had a lovely evening with Wednesday's visitors, even though we had to make up a bed on the floor for the boys who wouldn't sleep in Maggie's TOO PINK bedroom - we braved the cool damp air and managed a barbeque. Quick change of sheets etc then a very pleasant weekend with some of Cameron's old university friends; much alcohol (no silly not me) and antique pop music and debate about the merits of an ipod. We remain luddites in this household, at least for the present: we don't even have a home cinema thingummy. Oh and really ridiculously busy with work: the 200-odd expected slides morphed into >300 and kept my nose to the grindstone until 11 pm. Yuk.
M continues to love nursery: on Sunday we were out for a tour of the village when we saw her little friend Holly in her buggy. Of course Holly's mum and I didn't know each other from Adam; it's very odd when she knows people I don't. And yesterday she did her first whole morning (and stayed for lunch) which was really peculiar for me - not the being on my own thing, but the not knowing what she had done.
One of my schemes has come to fruition and I have some very exciting news: we have taken on an allotment! Well, half an allotment. A very small plot, really. I know it is an utterly ludicrous time to do so (esp as it has weeds up to my elbows) but if we turn it down now we will have to wait for somebody to give up a plot (realistically this means waiting for one of the bold boys to die!) which could take years. So, eek! And hooray! We went up to have a look this afternoon and it's not quite as weed-infested as I first feared - mostly stingers - so now I am planning and scheming and avidly lurking ebay. Any excuse.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Nursery was fantastic; I'm so proud of my clever daughter. I rang the doorbell and lifted her out of the buggy; by the time I had folded it she was in. I then filled in some forms and when I got upstairs after that she was sitting at the table eating toast and chattering to another little girl (they became friends very quickly because they had the same T-shirt!): she then completely ignored me for 2 hours and cried when I said it was time to go. And and I overheard the two women talking to each other saying that her language was good; her colours were excellent and hadn't she settled in well. Apparently they had one last week who screamed for 2 hours even though his mum was there.
I can't imagine what I was worried about. Well, worried is the wrong word - I just wasn't sure whether she would like it or not. Whether she was ready. All doubts have dispersed and I find myself looking forward to my two mornings a week. Whatever will I do with myself.
Oh, and she slept 12 hours straight last night: nursery, trip on the bus to Chester and a walk at Ness gardens is a recipe for a peaceful night (which included her falling out of bed twice but not waking - we just heard a big bang and found her snoozing on the floor!) Not a recipe I can recreate every day without falling down exhausted myself, but one to bear in mind.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

big-girl bed
Originally uploaded by Turquoise Lisa.

Maggie in her new big-girl bed. Very pink. She loves it during the day but there have been a couple of small-voice where's my cot? comments when it's dark.

Ahem. Blush. Did I say we were going away? We were. We did. Just to Scotland, where M built sandcastles with her grandparents, I read four (four!) whole books and slept a lot, and C also slept a lot. And we visited the Pittenweem Art Festival, too - same as always but enjoyable nonetheless. We're back now; my Mum and Dad are here. Mum and I had a "spa day" at the local hotel on Saturday - her birthday present but I could hardly make her go alone, now, could I. That wouldn't be friendly. Was lovely. They leave Tues; Weds we have more friends coming to stay overnight; Saturday another 5 arrive. Is all go. Much washing of sheets.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Had a lovely chat with a very nice old lady on the bus today; she carried Maggie's teddy and remarked what a shame one isn't allowed to smack children these days apropos nothing, or certainly nothing M did; she's been an utter angel today (all beginning when we had to wake her at 8!). Apparently she slapped her daughter once for whinging and she Never Did It Again. This immediately following her telling me that the reason "all those parents" on television had such horrible children was because they were so rude in speaking to them (so, I conclude, it is OK to smack but not OK to raise one's voice?).
I'm being a little snide: she was very well-meaning and really quite kindly. We like going on the bus, you always meet somebody. And we like Chester's farmers' market (farmers'-market moussaka, peas we had to pod - M loves podding peas - and carrots from my garden for tea tonight!) and the library, and I like to go to Starbucks.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Oops! Got to 5 o'clock today before twigging that it was the first of the month: have run about and taken most of my wheel of the year photos in 5 minutes flat. No considered shots this month (what do you mean, again).
Have spent most of the day trying to persuade M to go away and play (in a nice way, of course) because Mummy has a stack of work to do and we are going away on Saturday, but we did get to a coffee morning and manage to find somebody last-minute to come and feed the cat while we are away. Had a walk to the shop to find that their milk delivery hadn't turned up today; called in to the local allotments to make friends on the way home. Now go away and play, I have work to do.