Archive for July, 2007

Unclean, unclean

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

My poor little tomato plants have blight. My potatoes succumbed some time ago (though the actual tubers seem OK so far touch wood). Blight loves it warm and wet so I don’t expect to be the only one hit (expect chip prices to rise this autumn). My cucumbers are starting to show signs of powdery mildew, which scuppered my courgette crop last summer (it likes it hot and dry: we’ve had no rain for a mammoth 4 days).

Tomorrow I must go to the allotment and find something undiseased to cheer myself up.

Getting my mojo back

Monday, July 30th, 2007

Maggie was 8 months and a bit the first time I went out and left her for an evening – I was absolutely ready to do so and had a fabulous time. Tamsin is 8 1/2 months (already!) and, although I have yet to have a lovely dinner out, I am starting to feel like me again. I’m sure all women have their own recovery period: 8 months, give or take, seems to be it for me. I’m reading again; I’m starting to think a haircut might be a good idea; I “need” some clothes; and I am at (very) long last starting to sort out the house. Items that were assigned temporary homes when we moved in over a year ago are slowly being allocated more appropriate locations, and I am even keeping on top of the tidying (mostly). I’m still spending more time online than is strictly sane but hey, baby steps.

Actually: I wonder if I am just feeling better for 3 days with hardly any rain? SAD in July was bad news.

In other news, had a lovely weekend with The Girls, all of whom (plus offspring) squeezed into my house on Saturday. There were people sleeping on almost every available surface while Cameron, Maggie, Tamsin and I occupied the front dorm. For a child who likes to visit at 1 am and again at 6ish, Maggie was strangely unimpressed with being put in our bed.

Please make it stop

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

Gah! This weather! Feels even worse because we had two reasonably nice days this week, on one of which there were no showers at all. Astounding. We walked to a castle and down by a river and, OK, wellies were quite welcome but still. Nil precipitation. My washing dried.

This weekend is back to normal: I failed to leave the house yesterday then today we zipped around the zoo, dashing for shelter every time the rain came back on – but I am really not complaining too hard as we saw some different animals. Our usual zoo route, led by Maggie, goes elephants, monkeys optional, bats optional, giraffes, okapi, chimps, orangutans*, flamingoes, penguins, sealions, play. Tigers, Lions, marmots, home. Today we saw rhinos! Meerkats! Lots of antelopey things and wildy horses! And managed to end up at the posh ice-cream stand at the appropriate time (as opposed to the cheapo Nestle stuff that we are usually forced into). 

Of course I’ve been reading a bit of Harry too. Not page by breathless page, as I’ve consumed the others – one just doesn’t get stretches of uninterrupted time any more – but zipping through it nonetheless. The postie handed it to Cameron yesterday morning with a cheery “Harry Potter” (I imagine he had a fair few to deliver), confusing Cameron somewhat. He’s not a fan. He has, however, read the last couple of pages.

Oh, and we finished season 3 of Lost. What the …?!

*Anybody in the vicinity of Chester Zoo: the new orangutan house is fantastic. I recommend.

I’ll name that baby in four

Monday, July 16th, 2007

Tamsin’s naming ceremony went really well: the sun shone (for only the second day this summer) – we even managed a barbeque in the evening without needing the emergency gazebo I’d bought – the children behaved impeccably*, the registrar was jolly, the flowers pretty and the afternoon tea delicious. Everybody looked very nice (though in an ideal world my hairdryer might not have broken down 10 minutes before we needed to leave the house – lucky I had a baby to distract people with, eh!). There are some photos here.

We had three lovely readings, read by Tamsin’s three lovely ungodlyparents (or whatever one is supposed to call them):  

Children, from The Prophet (Kahlil Gibran)

And he said:
Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness; for even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

A piece by Francis Thompson and William Blake

Know you what it is to be a child? … It is to have a spirit yet streaming from the waters of baptism; it is to believe in love, to believe in loveliness, to believe in belief; it is to be so little that the elves can reach to whisper in your ear; it is to turn pumpkins into coaches, and mice into horses, lowness into loftiness, and nothing into everything, – for each child has a fairy god-mother in his/her own soul; it is to live in a nutshell and count yourself the king/queen of infinite space; it is:
To see the World in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

A wish for my children (Evangeline Paterson)

On this doorstep I stand
year after year
to watch you going

and think: May you not
skin your knees. May you
not catch your fingers
in car doors. May
your hearts not break.

May tide and weather
wait for your coming

and may you grow strong
to break
all webs of my weaving

*Apart from Maggie and Mia having a wee nibble of the cake icing, but who could blame them when it had such beautiful flowers on!

Feeding the five thousand

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

It’s Tamsin’s naming ceremony on Saturday (she’ll be 8 months tomorrow!), which means I have extra mouths at every meal between now and Monday. Which is fine: I generally like having visitors, but I confess to feeling somewhat overwhelmed tonight. I’ve done an Ocado shop – and, naturally, started making a list of all the things I forgot to put on it (like milk, for goodness sake). Cameron can nip to Sainsburys on Saturday. I’ve got a gazebo and lots of sausages and some ketchup. I suspect if I’d had more than 90 minutes’ unbroken sleep at some point in the past fortnight I’d be quite on top of things – as it is I just feel desperate. And the house won’t get its usual Friday clean tomorrow (unless she just turns up as normal? It could happen.).

A good middle-class moan

Monday, July 9th, 2007

I am trying very hard to suppress the rising panic I feel in my chest. My cleaner appears to have gone awol. I love my cleaner, she’s like a human whirlwind – except she tidies rather than messing: an anti-whirlwind? An anti-whirlwind that leaves a trail of folded, dusted, re-arranged items that smell fresh and fragrant. Anyway: she didn’t turn up Friday which isn’t in itself all that unusual; what is unusual is not texting to say she’ll be along Saturday/Monday/whenever. So I texted her – no reply. I tried again – nothing. Decided to actually ring today and got a number unobtainable tone. I’m not really sure what to do: if she’s quit for some reason without feeling she could tell me – and changed her phone number in case I turn stalker? – I’d like my keys back, and to know so I can try to find somebody else.

It has taken me the entire day to muck out and dust the living room. Haven’t hoovered yet, haven’t got to any other rooms. There is a good reason why we have a cleaner: I am just rubbish at it. Too easily distracted and insufficiently interested in or motivated by housework.

Popped to the allotment for a whole 20 minutes this morning (that was all I was permitted before littlun started screaming and the rain started again) – just long enough to pop in some purple-sprouting that will hopefully be our first taste next spring if the pigeons don’t get it first.

Mrs Smug from Smugtown

Saturday, July 7th, 2007

Dinners usually go to Lisa’s Dinners (as the details of this one have also) but I just needed to gloat a little. First allotment excursion in weeks; I am a little overwhelmed by all the weeds and spent a good 45 minutes trying to tie up my Jerusalem artichokes who decided to have a lie down when confronted with wind, but we came home with potatoes, broad beans, peas, radishes and lots of lettuce. The minute carrots were grown in pots on the patio, too.

under the chair

Friday, July 6th, 2007