Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

10th June 2002

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

This is from my diary from when we first relocated to Japan – pre-blog. Other entries can be found here.
Went to Kobe for the World Cup on Friday: what a fantastic trip! We had to leave here at 7am but go onto our shinkansen in loads of time for the 3 1/2-hour journey. When we got there we got a taxi to our hotel, which was a very nice high-rise right by the waterfront. Think there were some FIFA officials or something staying there. Didn’t hang about – put on our football tops (Celtic for C, Sweden for me) and headed to the stadium. Suddenly the streets were full of green and yellow (and Japanese blue) and C started to count Celtic tops. His enthusiasm petered out fairly quickly and he stopped when he reached 7 or 8. Quick sushi lunch from the 7-11 then we joined the throng and went in.
People-watched for a bit – small children playing, laughed at the fans, then the Sweden team came out to have a look at the pitch so we had a debate about whether the chap with no hair was Larsson or not. No matter, because when they changed and came back out he was definitely there – C went down to the front to take some pictures and got a wave!
The match was pretty exciting, even for me – an American girl next to Cameron had to have him explain the offside rule, which I think he secretly enjoyed. There were some Swedes and one very keen English boy behind us, and an Irish man with his Japanese girlfriend next to me – they seemed to be supporting Nigeria. I was hoping for a tie (but was happy to see Sweden win as it made everybody else happy).
At half time, a man in a Celtic top came over to say hello – we bumped into him in a pub that evening and karaoke’d until 4am, but that comes later. After the match, we hung about in the stadium chatting (mostly to people in Celtic tops – one Japanese lad wanted to know why there were so many). Lots of Glaswegians – some with Larsson masks, some in kilts. We had our picture taken loads of time – I kept my mouth shut as I didn’t want to disappoint anybody by not being Swedish.
We did eventually leave and walked about 100 miles around the subway station before being allowed into it. Back to the hotel for a quick shower then out to the nearest Irish bar to watch the England match. Bumped into aforementioned Celtic top-wearer (Eddie) and his mates (Kevin, Allan) – not too keen to support England but they did manage to say they were happy when we won. Not convinced they meant it!
Bar was full to the brim with people standing on the bar to see…and only one barman, poor chap. Some Japanese girls had come especially to scream and swoon when David Beckham came on screen. There were a couple of other English people there but mostly Japanese, who could be persuaded to cheer for either side – or any other side. Important not to offend. (Kevin told us about when they’d been on a train on their way to Ireland-Germany, there were two Japanese boys on the train in Germany shirts. At the next stop, the train filled up with Irish fans shouting and singing – apparently the boys looked at one another then got Ireland shirts from their bags, put them on, and joined in the singing! ha ha.)
Once the match was over and the bar had emptied, we went to “Mickey’s bar” and did karaoke until 4 or so. Cameron made friends with – we think – a prostitute; one woman tried to sing Britney Spears; I howled my way through Puff the Magic Dragon…then a woman arrived who could actually sing, so we called it a night.
Next morning passed us by completely but we eventually made it back to the station to leave our bags then went and looked at Kobe. A nice city though we were perhaps a bit knackered to completely appreciate it. Saw a shrine, chinatown (bought a new bag and some chopstick rests), a huge shopping centre then the old area where Westerners first lived, before riding up and down the mountain on a cable car and coming home. Only to discover that the house had been broken into, but I don’t want to write about that.

Jenny’s animals

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Mao – cat

oosh-oosh – dog

bish – fish

nnnn – cow

nn-nn – monkey

rah – giraffe

gok-gok – horse

gak-gak – duck/bird


Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

I ordered some, um, kits from Clothkits in their January sale – cutting and paper patterns is the bit of learning to sew I am most intimidated by, so I thought these would let me practise sewing a bit before I had to do any of that. And here is Jenny in a pretty green pinny; I had to make buttonholes and most exciting of all figured out how to sew on a button using my machine. Given that my usual approach to an off button is to ignore the garment for several months before sliding it into a charity bag, this could change my life!

One mystery remains, which doesn’t appear to be solved in any of my newly bought books: I asked Earthenwitch, who muttered something about folding it tightly or chopping a bit off. (I am considering demoting her from sewing guru, to be honest.) You know when you need to make a hem on a flarey thing, like the skirt of this here pinafore? So the foldy up hemmy bit is wider than the skirty bit to which it is destined to be attached? What does one do with the excess material? The underside of this dress must never be looked at by anybody who knows, because I just sort of made some creasey tucky bits and sewed over them hard.

The back of it is here.

Morning song (Sylvia Plath)

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.

All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s. The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.

Born yesterday (Philip Larkin)

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Tightly-folded bud,
I have wished you something
None of the others would:
Not the usual stuff
About being beautiful,
Or running off a spring
Of innocence and love –
They will all wish you that,
And should it prove possible,
Well, you’re a lucky girl.

But if it shouldn’t, then
May you be ordinary;
Have, like other women,
An average of talents:
Not ugly, not good-looking,
Nothing uncustomary
To pull you off your balance,
That, unworkable itself,
Stops all the rest from working.
In fact, may you be dull –
If that is what a skilled,
Vigilant, flexible,
Unemphasised, enthralled
Catching of happiness is called.


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.

testing testing 1 2 3

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Can you try to leave a comment on this post please?


Thursday, November 13th, 2008

Maggie is a very lovely big sister and came home from school yesterday with a card she had made for Tamsin. Unfortunately she also brought a Lurgy, so all birthday activities have been called off in favour of sitting for an hour in the doctor’s waiting room at lunchtime (then for half an hour in with the doctor – luckily we were the last appointment – as we discussed cider-making, pig-slaughtering, local vs organic, and the keeping of chickens. And allotments. And lurgies.) Still, Tamsin doesn’t seem to have minded. I suppose a day at home playing with one’s new toys and big sister is probably preferable, at two, to trawling round Liverpool in the rain: I am disappointed though. (And I had intended taking advantage of my mum and dad being here to hit Ikea tomorrow, which I won’t now be able to do.)

two candles

Skipper Dupes a German U Boat

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

East Fife Observer, 13 July 1916

An interesting account given by Mr Alex Watson, Abbey Road, skipper of the motor fishing boat “Andrewina” on to which the German U boat transferred the crews of the Lowestoft steam drifter “Peep o’ Day” and the North Shields motor fishing boat “Annie Anderson”, which were submarined in the North Sea early last Wednesday evening. When lying almost becalmed, 18 miles from Shields, Skipper Watson stated all hands on board the Andrewina were turned out by the man on watch, who sighted a submarine and a small boat with a crew of eight men coming towards them. On reaching the Andrewina, the German in charge of the small boat stood with a revolver in hand and demanded the flag. He then turned to the submarined crew and inquired what type of craft the Andrewina was. The men replied she was a small fishing boat of between 45 and 50 feet, with no motor, although in reality she is one of Pittenweem’s largest, and measures 70 ft. He then asked if she would hold them all, and the men readily responded, “We’ll do if we get aboard her..” The submarine, Skipper Watson stated, one of the latest type, and carried three light quick-firing guns and one five or six inch gun on her deck. She lay only a distance of 100 yards from the Andrewina when the men were being transferred. When the German in the small boat set off to transfer from the submarine the crew of the Peep o’ Day, Skipper Watson said, “I grasped the situation, and as he had not previously boarded our boat, I ordered the crew to prepare the mast and set the sail ready, there being very little wind blowing at the time, and thus we duped the Huns that the Andrewina was a sail boat. Our small boat,” he added, “was hidden from their view, being covered by the mizzen sail on the port side.

When the submarine’s small boat arrived the second time, a member of the crew of the Andrewina ventured to ask, “How is the war getting on in Germany now?” and for a reply received “I wish to H— it was over and me out of this. The German in charge admitted that the Germans knew they were beaten, and the war, he said, would be over in three months. He was almost ruined, and wished the war had never started. However, it would soon be over and the British would win. The Germans, he admitted, were too hard pressed on both fronts now, but “when you go ashore you can tell the people we are not yet starving in Germany.” He stated he was sent across to sink all the fishing fleet and, he added “We will do it. If we fail to do our duty we will be shot when we return to Germany”. Bags of flour were taken from the doomed vessels before they were sent below, and one fisherman who forgot his watch had it handed back to him by the Germans. The fishermen were suffering from cold owing to their clothes being drenched, and were taken below to the cabin of the submarine and were kindly treated. They were also entertained for about two hours to gramophone selections. Skipper Watson also stated the Germans were very anxious to gain information and inquired if the trawlers carried guns on board, but needless to say the Scotch fishermen were not being drawn, and acted “green” on this point, even although the Germans threatened to shoot them. They also referred to the loss they had sustained in the recent naval engagement off Jutland, and prior to leaving shook hands with several members of the three crews, wished them good luck, and at the same time were overheard to remark that the Andrewina would have been a good prize, too.

The submarine, Skipper Watson stated, appeared to be going in the direction of the fishing fleet, and after she was out of sight they started their motor and made for Shields. The thick weather prevailing saved the fishing fleet, otherwise, in Skipper Watson’s opinion, many more crafts would have been doomed by her. This is the second narrow escape Skipper Watson has experienced, having, while fishing off Yarmouth only a year ago, captured a live German torpedo, for which he received a reward of £24.

* Cameron’s great-grandfather

Breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner*

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

I am completely thrilled. I don’t think I have ever won anything in my entire life, ever, yet a great big pile of gardening tools is now standing in my hall, free. I filled in a coupon for a prize draw (not even a proper competition!) in Gardens Monthly magazine and they have very kindly sent me – and 2 other lucky winners – a spade, fork, border spade, border fork, rake, sprung rake, half-moon edgy thing and hoe. Spear and Jackson E series, very shiny, very posh of handle. Quite heavy, maybe, though I will report back properly when I’ve had a go with them (at the moment they are all still wrapped), but sure to be better than the tools I have had for the past 10 years, which were a job lot from Argos. (And have suited very well: I’m not knocking Argos. Apart from the trowel, which is bent and a bit knackered, but I don’t have a replacement for that.)

*(I’m the one who is the winner.)