Archive for July, 2009

Summer hols: week 2

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Week 1 was spent at my parents’, mostly sitting on my bum drinking endless cups of tea (all made for me) while they catered and entertained the children. Lovely and restful and rejuvenative, and C (who commuted into london every day, which I think he rather enjoyed; change good as rest and all that) & I even managed a meal out. Together. Caught up with a selection of friends and mostly the sun shone.

This week has been sunshine and heavy heavy showers, and nicely busy. So lovely getting up in a normal way in the mornings; no rushing about shrieking SHOES! On Monday we went to Chatsworth to meet a whole forum of ladies with babies born in November 2006 (so Tamsin’s age). Having “known” them for over 3 years, I was still surprised that they were all as imagined; not a hairy middleaged trucker to be seen. We had a really lovely day and I hope we will see them again! Tuesday, predictably, we were knackered so did very little apart from a friend’s “barbeque” (cooked under brolly, eaten indoors) in the evening – a late night for the children saw Maggie sleep in past 8 the next morning! Garden centre to meet anther new online friend yesterday morning then a jolly trip to Costco in the afternoon. Very interesting for me, never having been before, but rather less so for the hooligans. And this morning Tamsin is at nursery. Maggie and I have had such a nice quality time together! Went into town on the bus (it felt just like the old days, when I was expecting T and we used to take the bus in to go to the library), popped to Starbucks and the toy shop at a  leisurely pace (shopping with Tamsin is just not fun), pottered in and out of various other shops, and wandered home again.

First day of the holidays…

Monday, July 20th, 2009

An updatey sort of a post. In bullets, because that is the sort of focused and efficient mind I have.

  • We survived M’s first year of school! Relatively unscathed: she’s reading beautifully and seems so grown up. Am extremely glad to have 6 lovely weeks of not spending 10 minutes every morning shouting shoes! bag! coat! shoes! SHOES!*
  • Anomaly scan on Friday showed no problems with new baby. Girls behaved beautifully and were very interested (sonographer had a student in so explained very well, and was really nice to the children too).  Tamsin was slightly anxious – held my hand throughout and was very worried about the gel “it’s all gluey“. Midwife completely thrown by my non-standard notes and made me explain why I hadn’t had a dating scan and justify why I was using an IM this time. Interestingly, the hospital printouts contain “EDD by dating scan” so I have no idea where that has come from.
  • Had C’s parents down this weekend – walked at Loggerheads yesterday. Rain held off until we got to our picnic – and we walked 3 miles to the Devil’s Gorge and back, even the children** – though the sandwiches got a bit soggy. Some sort of iron-age reconstruction people were there, which was quite interesting – I am always intrigued by the re-enactors, how do they pick their era? What makes them think yes, I will devote my life to being a Pict goodness me I would hate to be a Roman/Medieval person/Sealed Knot type? (Though having done a bit of wiki investigation, I find they don’t necessarily devote their lives: there is apparently 3 categories, ranging from “farbs” who might – gasp – wear polyester or trainers – to “stitch counters” who are very hardcore. Hmm.)

*We will just overlook the shouting that has already happened, 1 hour into the holiday, because I have no patience for the two of them screeching at each other.

**T was carried for half of it.

Tuesday May 28th 2002

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

This is from my diary from when we first relocated to Japan – pre-blog. Other entries can be found here.

Busy busy – work is manic. Did little but, last week – C was out every night except Thurs so I just worked. Friday night I had bad cabin fever so we went to Fujimamas for dinner – no wait despite not being able to book. Then on Satuday we went to Hakone. Plan was to walk but it was a bit late to start by the time we got there, so we abandoned (postponed!) the plan and went to the open-air museum instead – basically a sculpture park, it was fantastic! Spent much longer than we expected to, what a great place! Up on a mountainside, hot and sunny too so we had a great afternoon. Then we headed to our ryokan, which I’d booked online. It was fine – nothing special, but fine. I like the outdoor onsen, although it was not quite as outdoors as I had envisaged. Can’t beat a good soak in scalding water after an afternoon of tramping about on a mountain! After dinner (much “what do you think that is?” and “I’m not eating that, it’s a funny colour!”) we went to the bar, where we were the only people for a while – not surprised at ¥1000 a drink! – until a group of men came in and entertained us with their karaoke. The barlady was quite annoying, applauding after every single line and shaking her tambourine, and unfortunately we left before the men got sufficiently into it to join in with their own tambourines and squeaky toys, which they had with them. The bar snacks looked like cat treats.

The next morning when I was lying in my futon waiting for C to get back from his bath, the staff came and told me to get up and go for breakfast – not entirely sure what that was about, but we were not allowed to wait until 8.20, as we had planned.

Toyed with the idea of doing the walk, but decided we probably should use our free passes so we did the circuit: train, funicular, bus (cablecar out of order), look at the smelly sulfur springs and Mt Fuji (just! through the haze), cablecar, boat, walk, bus. Extraordinarily hot and sunny, I am still feeling quite burnt; then when we got home there was a fantastic thunderstorm. Had to buy an umbrella at the convenience store by the station.


Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

What am I supposed to do with this? It’s Maggie’s First Ever sports day this afternoon: she’s been looking forward to it and practising for it (and quietly worrying what if I don’t win my race?) for weeks. I need to go. Only Tamsin is poorly on the sofa: sore ear, disgusting runny nose, sporadic vomit (though not for a few hours, touch wood). Cameron is in London, where he doesn’t answer his phone – and realistically, even if he did answer his phone (it is a good job it is not a real emergency), he can’t do much from there.

I think I have to bundle T into the buggy and we have to go to sports day. While hoping she doesn’t have anything wildly contagious and that I am not being horribly irresponsible. This is only going to get worse when there are three of them, isn’t it?

In other news, while I am keen that this blog doesn’t become a “cute things about my kids” thing, I have two things to share. The first, Maggie trying to decide what everybody’s hobbies are* – mine, apparently, are knitting, cooking, gardening, and getting things off high shelves.

The second, and this makes me so proud, is this piece of work she brought home from school yesterday. I assume she did it herself in the writing corner, rather than it being a teacher-supervised activity, as it reads: The monsturus** monster had a willey. The pig had a willey. The pig had a wee and a poo. The Watson had a car***.

*It is rather like being back in Japan, where everybody who remembered their school English inquired “what is your hobby?”

**Good use of adjectives.

***No idea.

Rob is very very very very clever

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

and has helped me fix this so in principle FB should now see a link to my website with a summary, rather than reams and reams and reams of writing; I hope people will now leave comments at turquoise rather than on FB where they are ephemeral like the wind not carved in stone to haunt you forever more.

Let’s see if it works with this long and convoluted test post.

Also, Torchwood is on.

May 13th 2002

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

This is from my diary from when we first relocated to Japan – pre-blog. Other entries can be found here.

Phew! Work has certainly picked up – I’ve been doing 9-hour days with posters and slides. Cam got home on Saturday afternoon, surprisingly non-tired and with a new pair of shoes (!). I didn’t do much on Saturday: pottered into Shibuya for Metropolis and bought a hoe. Had intended to poke about some nice shops but that was a bit impractical carrying a hoe, so I just came home. (Hoe has stood in the hallway ever since, I really should do some weeding.) Side-tracked on my way home by an arum lily in sunshine yellow, I was doing so well not buying plants but I’d been coveting it all week and decided I deserved a treat. It is beautiful!

Sunday was a bit of a failure. I wanted to go and see the cat sculptures at…um, well I’ve forgotten its name – we got the trainto Nishi-nippori, anyway. Had a nice walk – saw plenty of real cats, but could not find the museum at all. Eventually gave up – and found it on the map at the station. I had trusted the map in my guidebook (and assumed there was a typo in the address) and it was wrong! Bah. Am hoping to convince C to try again next weekend. We stopped at Harajuku on the way back – saw some freaks (they seem to sing these days) and the dancing teddy boys, and went to the Thai food festival in Yoyogi Park. Food looked and smelt fab, but it was really busy so we went for rotating sushi instead. Today I have worked (and worked) with just a quick dash to Shinjuku for printer ink. C has gone to dinner at the British Embassy tonight – lucky him – so I am in on my own again.

Something beginning with G

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Maggie is starting a (low-key) campaign for a pet. What about a cat? she asked, hopefully. I would love a cat – in fact I hate not having one – but am scared after losing one on the road that it would happen again. We have barky dogs on all three sides of our back garden so any peace-loving cat is bound to venture forwards, and the cars come awfully fast along our bit of (30 mph) road. She thought about that. Well, what about a goldfish? I don’t think they like roads. Yes, fish are nice but you can’t cuddle a fish, can you (for some reason she found this hilariously funny). If I’m having a pet I’d like to be able to cuddle it.

She thought some more. OK then, how about a goat or a gecko?

So there we are. A goat or a gecko it is.

For local people

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

I felt like a terrible mother yesterday as we heard the sound of the brass band coming up our road and went out to see Maggie’s rainbow troop (are they a troop?) parading past, followed by lots of her schoolfriends on a float in their pretty posh dresses (“the rose queen”), followed by various other people we know. Fortunately the day was saved by Cameron taking the girls down to the village fete and buying them sweets, but she still wondered why she wasn’t there parading. The reason? We have only lived in the village for 3 years which is not long enough to Just Know what is going on. I was vaguely aware of the rose queen thing, as there was some letter about a rehearsal home from school, and when we watched her making her promise at rainbows there was some vague comment about well it’s the rose queen next weekend and you all know what to do if you are walking with us (?) So if I was any sort of proper mother I should have been more proactive and gone to find out but I honestly had no idea what it was, and certainly no idea that they would walk past our sodding house!

On the bright side: Tamsin was actually physically born in the village which might allow her to tap into the collective mind. Give it a few years and she can tell us what is going on, where and when.


Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

This is from my diary from when we first relocated to Japan – pre-blog. Other entries can be found here.
Oops! That’s a whole week flown past without writing. I’ve been so busy…

Cameron was just about recovered at the weekend; fit for a couple of low-key outings, anyway. On Saturday we went to Shinjuku, to the bookshop then to Shinjuku-gyoen where the wisteria was just about over, the irises not quite there yet (why is nothing ever out?). It will be beautiful when the waterlilies flower though I have no idea whatsoever when that might be. We sat on a bench and listened to the crows for a bit.

Sunday was HOT! We went to Omotesando for cash (hooray! Bank account now operable) then to the Togo shrine in Harajuku where there was a flea market. Poked about there for ages, while staying out of the sun, then walked (by mistake) to Shibuya and (realising our mistake) back again. Eventually found what we were looking for, the Nezu institute of fine arts. Museum itself a little disappointing (I am still wondering if we missed some of it) but lovely garden full of statues and lanterns. Nice and shady, which was necessary, and the irises there were out. Saw a turtle sunning itself – I am still not blasé about turtles!

Monday I worked and C flew off to Houston. The bad news is they got the flight transfer they wanted so won’t be back until Saturday. It’s too bad – Monday should have been a holiday and trvelling at the weekend too. Bad Shell.

Went to yoga on Tuesday morning – I think the teacher may be trying to kill us and I still hurt today. Coffee after with Gail, and Gail’s mum and dad, then I went and joined the library, which has certainly got enough books to occupy me for a while. Then to Shibuya for a mop, bucket and broom – with my yoga mat as well, I was popular on the train! Yesterday was hectic (I don’t honestly have time to work) with the rest of the lease furniture arriving and a chap coming to fix the satellite tv all at once – they’ve taken away my desk! So I’ve set up the patio furniture in the office…of course the only way to fix the TV was for me to buy a new box! Still, if it does work it will be worth it and this one does seem much better. Then in the afternoon, the mad Yolly arrived to clean and iron and ask why we have no babies and tell me I am like her daughter. Barking. Had to pop back to Omotesando for more cash after all that (but I do have a nice clean house). She even folded our carrier bags!

And today I went cooking, which I enjoyed. There was a nice American gir l called Karen, an Israeli girl, and a Japanese woman who has been going for years and years – and the teacher. It was good! And we ate it afterwards, which was good too. Gochisosama deshita.

Bus, back end of

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

c.f. full term with Tamsin – not so much smaller, is it! (Is obviously not a mega-baby this time, is rather more to do with pies and the consumption thereof, and exercise, a dearth of.)