Archive for October, 2007

Brain dump

Monday, October 29th, 2007
  • Manuscript 1: something about family connections in weirdy brain tumours
  • Book chimney sweep
  • Get copy of invoice from electrician
  • Manuscript 2: slugs and snails in cancer?*
  • Buy winter boots for M
  • Return library books (pay fines)
  • Find plumber or competent person to replace kitchen taps
  • Make appointment to view primary school
  • Radio Lymm website
  • Send letter registered post to woman who drove into C’s car
  • Order turkey and think about other christmas catering – book supermarket delivery slot now?
  • Change sheets in spare room
  • Think about T’s birthday: plan cake, birthday tea, etc

*On reflection, this one sounds peculiar. Perhaps if I could get more than 5 consecutive minutes too look at it, all would become clear. But T is poorly (cold/cough/query teeth) and wakes up for a shout every 7 minutes, requiring a minute of back-patting each time. I feel bad my authors are probably not getting their money’s worth, but what am I supposed to do? I’ll read it properly tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

Blue-arsed fly

Friday, October 26th, 2007

When my sister and I were younger we used to laugh at our mum for claiming she had had such a busy day she hadn’t even had time to go to the toilet. That’s been me the past few weeks and let me tell you it is quite uncomfortable! I bet you all thought I had disappeared into therapy after my previous traumatic post.

The past two weeks have been a complete blur of activity. Mostly pleasant and taking advantage of the glorious autumn (forest walks, farm visits, Chester zoo, visitors, soft play and I’ve even visited the allotment!), some less so (M had her booster jabs; C went to Edinburgh and back in a day for a funeral) and my evenings have included an unseemly amount of actual paid work. Can’t turn it down; can’t find time to do it (before 10 pm). (Look! I made this!) I don’t help myself by insisting on proper home-made soups and stews for lunch and so on: just pile on that to-do list.

I’m here now! Today I find myself at a loose end. Just some household tasks, and a friend coming for dinner, and some cards to buy (oh, and two large manuscripts and a website to work on – but I don’t work during daylight hours). I intended whizzing to the allotment as soon as T showed signs of sleepiness but it is so grey and gloomy (and cold) out there that I can’t find much enthusiasm. I am a fair-weather allotmenteer and not ashamed to admit it. Perhaps I should curl up with seed catalogues; it’s that or the ironing.

Curds and whey

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

The spider situation is getting worse. Last night – and I can hardly bring myself to type this without shuddering and pacing the room jerking my hands in horror – one walked on me.

I was getting the bath ready for the girls, and the girls ready for the bath, when I felt an itch on the back of my neck. Scratched it, didn’t think anything of it then a few seconds later Maggie said Mummy you have a hairy spider on you. The next few minutes are a bit of a blur as I realised what she was saying, flailed my arms wildly until it dropped on the floor, registered the size of it (bloody enormous. Really. Not just fear speaking, it was huge.) and abandoned my children to run shrieking into the bedroom. So much for motherly instinct to protect my babies.

Once in the bedroom I did remember I had children and forced myself back to the bathroom (what is the point of having a husband who is not there on these occasions?) Maggie, who is fortunately not at all bothered by spiders, even those that are nearly as big as she is, told me it had gone under the wardrobe, then I spent the rest of bathtime explaining no no I wasn’t frightened of it, silly, it just made me jump. If Tamsin grows up to be arachnophobic I accept full responsibility.

The spider hid next to the wardrobe for the entire bath – so I am really quite impressed with myself in that it was in full view yet I still got clean children. And to vindicate my reaction, which I know half of you are thinking is completely over the top even while the other half think I was utterly rational and actually very restrained, Cameron agreed it was a large spider when he finally got home and evicted it.

Flashbacks all evening even when soothed with a large glass of wine. Shudder.

When cider goes mad

Monday, October 8th, 2007

Every year, we make cider. We had two lovely apple trees at the last house and  – what luck! – we have two here (also we have a source of boxes and boxes of pears so we’ve recently been adding them to the mix. A kind of perry-cider combo). The best ever was a batch we thought had gone wrong but didn’t get away to throwing out before we moved to Japan. On our return, Cameron eventually decided to empty the demijohns that had stood undisturbed in the garage for all that time. As he was pouring it down the sink he though hmm, doesn’t smell too bad. We bravely tried a bit (expecting instant blindness and insanity to strike) and it was fantastic! Clear and sparkly and not too sweet.

This year, it has gone mad. There’s a vague fermenty smell to the entire house and the kitchen is full of plop-plop-plop mad-sciencey noises. Whether we* moved it from brewing bucket to demijohn before it was really ready to go, I don’t know (perhaps sitting on the underfloor-heated tiles in the kitchen has had some effect?) but every time we turn our back it escapes up through the traps and spreads over the table.

*When I say we, Cameron is i/c brewing.

Weekend in Wales

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

Despite the memory lapse that saw Cameron in London on Friday lunchtime rather than here-with-the-afternoon-off, we had a super weekend away (Sara came in my car, we went in convoy with Ian and Nona, and Cameron arrived by train that evening). If you can rustle up 20 friends* I can recommend Plas Glansevin enormously: never have I seen such a well-equipped kitchen (and I mean never, not just never in a holiday cottage). A barbecue in the pouring rain on Friday night; Maggie stayed up until 10.30! She was having so much fun running with the pack (children aged 7, 10, 11 and a couple of 13 year olds, plus a games room with ping pong and table football – though Tamsin’s walker was a big hit too - and a special secret lounge**.) Saturday morning, once everybody was up and dressed and breakfasted, a walk was proposed. Round the Usk Reservoir, “around 3 miles”, no problem, we thought. A bit grey and drizzly but it will be fine. And fine it was – once we’d crossed the dam and out of the chilly wind (that child needs a hat), it was really very pleasant. Maggie did spectacularly well and walked and walked and walked, despite it being significantly further than 3 miles (I reckon maybe 5),  despite nobody having brought any food or drink, and despite wearing wellies. Blackberries is all she (and the rest of us) had to eat en route. She was carried towards the end but nothing wrong with that. Tamsin, of course, was carried the whole way and had a lovely sleep for most of it. On the way home we drove past the red kite feeding station and saw loads of lovely birds! Didn’t stop, which was a shame, but we were engrossed in trying to get a convoy of vehicles (we were like rush hour all on our own) past a sheep trailer on a bend in a one-lane road.

Another barbecue tea and the children went to bed earlier if not exactly early. I have no idea how M survived the weekend (but she has slept until 8 every morning this week so I am not complaining).

Sunday was warm and sunny so we decided to go for a short stroll up the hill. Predictably, Guy with the GPS and the map could not prevent us getting lost (we are not lost we know exactly where we are) and it turned into another 5 mile trek. Interesting, though: we met some farmers, a lady with a chainsaw, and I wonder if the old farmers are still talking about the woman who pulled a baby off her back, perched on a gate and breastfed it in the field while waiting for a herd of sheep to run past – complete with sheepdogs, Maggie was thrilled. More blackberries and one apple between the whole group, we were very happy when we finally found the house and discovered Nona and Irene had lunch all prepared. Could have done without the kitten death in front of some of the children in the afternoon (stray terrier running amok), and it was a shame our second expedition to the red kite centre was mis-timed so they had all been fed before we got there. But otherwise we had a lovely weekend and came back all refreshed. And with bags of laundry, naturally.

*I didn’t rustle, I was rustled.
**I sneaked off upstairs with my book on a couple of occasions: most comfy.