Archive for June, 2007

Another one bites the dust

Friday, June 29th, 2007

Poor Tamsin now has the pox, and far worse than Maggie did (breastfeeding schmestfeeding: so much for a milder dose). She’s completely covered in spots, has a temperature and is just miserable. Wearing a nappy over the spots can’t be very nice, and calpol makes her sick. Fortunately we’ve got M in for an extra session at preschool – after 2 days at home she was climbing the walls a bit and all the people-free places we might have gone (the back garden, the cycle path) are impossible in this weather. And a kind man from the garage came and collected my car for today’s MOT/service*, saving me from having to drag the children into town and swap carseats around in the middle of the forecourt then do it all in reverse this afternoon.

Currently quiet on my knee. She keep dropping off for a few minutes then waking for a scream, poor little thing. And she’s going to be all scabby for her naming ceremony in a fortnight: I’d better learn photoshop!

*It never rains but it pours. Ha ha ha.

Odds and sods

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

It seems it was not the outside lights filling with water that was shorting out our circuits – although they were filling up – it was the 2″ of water collected under our floorboards and in a junction box. That’s not good, right? Another 2 days of tripping over extension cables and no hot water and then hours and hours of making cups of tea for the electricians today before he sawed through the floor and found it.

Bizarrely and, we think, unrelatedly, our Sky box packed in last night. Or rather, the connection between it and the telly was feeling uncooperative. After switching on and off and on and off and disconnecting and reconnecting several times, Cameron rang Sky. Who suggested he disconnect the scart lead (yes yes we’ve done that), turn it around, and reconnect the other way. Which worked. Which has completely messed with my comprehension of leads and connectors and basic physics: if somebody clever could please explain I would be most grateful.

Ascot was pleasant: I was very glad to be in wedge heels not anything pointy as being stuck fast is not elegant. Drank champagne, chatted pleasantly, ate a lovely lunch, waved at the Queen (she said oh hello how nice of you to come again this year*), won 30 pence, came home to my babies. Cameron stayed on and came home £50 up which is completely unheard of for us and just goes to show I may not be the good-luck talisman I imagine myself to be. Perhaps picking the jockey with the nicest jumper is not the most reliable technique after all.

Saturday afternoon was spent at Bernard‘s first birthday party: very high quality cake and party bags so I recommend everybody tries to wangle an invite to his second.

Trite to mention the weather, I think? Only I was very amused by the hordes of men in cagoules standing about with flashing-light vans yesterday lunchtime, scratching their chins and contemplating the ford that was developing in the main road out of the village. When I returned some hours later it remained, larger if anything, but it was now adorned with a triangular sign reading “flood”. So that is why we pay our taxes**.

*Of course she didn’t.
**That, and so the queen has a nice hat to wear to Ascot.

First harvest

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

Just a few teeny baby spuds and some minute broad beans (I was too impatient to wait while they grew) and some very peppery radishes, but how exciting! The potatoes were fantastic: Maggie went mmmmmmmm and kept asking for more (no, because I only dug up a few) and even Tamsin polished hers off! Growing your own is fantastic. Even if I did have to extract them from a sort of muddy soup rather than digging in the true sense of the word. It’s soggy up there.

I pulled the garlic last week, too, because it was rusty and getting rotten: not an unmitigated success, but I’m drying them out in the kitchen and some will be fine bulbs to be proud of. (The rest will become compost.) I’d intended putting the PSB in its place but I (blush) left it up there in small pots while we had a mini-heatwave and they all dessicated along with a tray of lettuces – had it been this week, they’d have drowned – and slugs ate the artichokes. I do feel a little like King Canute holding back the tide (of weeds) at the moment but I understand that is normal for veg gardening in June – and my modest aim at the beginning of this first year was that I wanted to get out more than I put in.

Thanks to you all for your good wishes: M is now almost completely recovered if quite unsightly. (Old ladies still recoil in horror but as they are the same old ladies who unfailingly tell Tamsin she’s a lovely little man, I don’t care.) She returned to preschool today, thus preventing me from using my planned title based on the fact that it was the longest day ever, groan groan.

We are heading south tomorrow for our trip to Ascot: my outfit is assembled even if I have failed to try the whole lot on simultaneously. No point now as I can’t go shopping again so it will just have to do. There’s enough champagne flowing at these occasions that I will look lovely through everybody’s soft-focus eyes by lunchtime anyway.

Patience of a saint

Friday, June 15th, 2007

M has chickenpox so we are in quarantine until next week. She’s not poorly but full of beans if tending a bit towards the whiny voice.

T has a horrible chesty rattly cough, a runny nose and is Definitely* teething.

10 o’clock this morning, the power went off. No telly. No computer!** No electrician until Monday.*** I’ve managed to get most things back on but no power to most of the sockets and no hot water.

*Bearing in mind that teething is something you can never be sure about until it has happened.

**At 5 in the evening I realised that I could get a really long extension cable and plug it in to the kitchen, the power to which I managed to persuade to come back on.

***I want “our” electrician not an emergency one, because it’s an old house and wires don’t always go where one might expect them to. Switches don’t always operate what you might expect them to. Some do nothing at all, as far as we know. He said he could come if I could swear hand on heart that it was an emergency as he’d have to leave a house half-wired. Fond (addicted) of the web as I am – and desperate for cbeebies as I feel - I could not honestly claim it was life or death.

All quiet on the Western front

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

..and no blogging because I have been suckered into pesky facebook. Hours fly by and nothing is achieved (so no major change from the norm) although I have become quite Zen about the whole thing: in 3 short days I have moved from but what is it for distress to accepting that it just is. And I’ve made other people join me: can you be evangelical and Zen? And a concomitant revival in my twitter account, because let’s face it if you are going to share your inane day to day activities with the world, why not do it on a minute-by-minute basis?

[aside: may I quote from this week’s Observer TV guide? “BBC3…is seemingly staffed by the sort of idiots even an undergraduate would dismiss as unsophisticated…as tragically middle-aged and out-of-touch as all those thirty- and forty-somethings clogging up facebook in a desperate attempt to recapture their lost youth”. Ahem.]

We did have a trip to Worcester last week, home of the family Naan (and she’s put a lovely picture of T and me halfway down); had a lovely time. Bit nervous before as she was one of those friends I have known, like, forever* but never actually met. But within minutes all was fine, even if I was not allowed to look in her fridge.

Spent some time at the allotment over the weekend – Monty says it is now June (and he is correct) and so one is to plant one’s. Um. I am sure he had a proper word for them (but it’s late and I’m tired) – you know, the things that have been in the greenhouse because they will die if the frost gets them. Sweetcorn, squashes and beans, in my particular case: I have a cane wigwam for the beans. I cannot express how proud of myself I was when I constructed it.

*Note teenage facebook-user-type vocabulary.