Archive for the 'wittering' Category

:: right now ::

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

(a la Earthenwitch). Right now I am:

cuddling a sad and bruised youngest daughter and wondering where all the blood came from (update: she’s fine, just got a huge fat lip. Teeth all intact.)

Packing. And fretting. We appear to have extremely nervous buyers who have now sent three surveyors round (and the third, this morning, warned me that a fourth might be forthcoming). Fortunately I have surveyor-charming skills and have made them all tell me what they find (I’m not supposed to tell you but). Seriously: they are buying a 110-year-old house, it is going to have, ahem, quirks. Features. Oddly, their solicitor does not seem to know they are doing all this. On which note…

waiting for our solicitor to call me back. Nothing so far has led me to believe the poor woman knows how to operate a telephone.

reading umpteen magazines (crafty homey ones, mostly) while resolving to kick the expensive, pointless magazine habit.

trying to get a reading group off the ground: who’d have thought it would be so difficult to get more than two people together in the same place, with books, at the same time.

making (a mess, ha ha) – lazy-days skirts. Flowers for M and hungry-caterpillar circles for T.

editing some nonsense about dogs

using up the contents of fridge/freezer/cupboard with weird and unpredictable results.

A song by Tamsin

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Go to sleep Jenny-wrenny
Jenny go to sleep
Shut your eyes
(repeat at random for ages)
There’s a plastic beeeeeach
And it has plastic on
And frolicks in the ocean in a land called honalee
(repeat lines about Jenny going to sleep until your mother wants to weep)

Meet me Monday

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

I’m all about the memes just now – so am joining in with the “for the love of blogging” week-long project (probably: you know me, am unlikely to manage all week) hosted at Sluiter Nation. Which means that, ahem, yesterday I was supposed to introduce myself.
I can’t believe a soul will read this who doesn’t already know me: how blogging has changed since those halcyon days of blogrolls and webrings! I’ve been here and previously here since 2002, on and off. Very on to  begin with: I was child-poor time-rich and we were living abroad. I got tired of writing variations on the same emails to lots of different people (yes we had email in those days, cheeky – but not skype, no) so I had a bit of a look about to see if I could figure out a way to share our adventures online. And discovered blogs.
We’ve been back in Blighty since the end of 2004 and in the interim years have become child-rich time-poor; also and sadly it must be said that Chester, nice as it is, is significantly less exciting than Tokyo so I don’t find myself with daily adventures to share. I still like my blog but I don’t have a niche these days: I can’t be a mummy blogger because everybody else does that better (plus I have no Philosophy beyond doing what has to be done) – yet frankly, what else do I do. So sporadic wittering is what it is all about. The archives are fun though, I promise 🙂
This .me.uk site has been a work in progress for several years now but what can I say – see note above about time. I do have one other linked page up and running, which is my reading list.

Saturday, three children no husband

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

(who left for China at an exceedingly unnecessary 4 am, just as I settled the baby back to sleep for the I-don’t-know-how-manyth time)

6.30 – M awake: the tooth fairy has been (hooray!) but not replied to her note (boo!) go back to bed it is still night time {brief argument about why Tamsin is in my bed but asleep and whether the baby is still asleep – answer she was until you came down}.
7.00 – give up, all downstairs for breakfast and telly.
8.00 – Jenny has a rather lovely toy, a “discovery cylinder” – basically a portable hidey hole that she is supposed to put soft stuffed shapes in and out of. Just retrieved my car key, an old shrivelled bit of cucumber and 4 raisins.
9.00 – come on come on come on we have things to do! Co-op (croissants, paper, blueberries, cash); market (ice cream, bacon, steak, bread, tea cakes no we don’t need fairy cakes today; yes they are very pretty; yes I see them); home to put ice cream in freezer; costa coffee (where I remembered I had forgotten to eat breakfast myself so had some toast, what an excellent scheme). I can’t imagine what possessed me to think that would be a pleasant and civilised start to the weekend: not only was the only available paper the Mail (eurgh), the children hoovered their babyccinos in record time then set about being slightly too loud for the poor chap at the next table who clearly did like a civilised start to his weekend. They weren’t bad, they were just not operating at coffee-shop volume. Hobbycraft, where some sort of financial shift in the time-space continuum ensures I never come out without spending 20 quid, despite only needing some elastic. Tumbletots for Tamsin: I did actually read a bit of my paper, Jenny ate cereal and practised walking (just a few steps at a time, from chair to table to chair to table to chair…), Maggie read and coloured. Rather relaxing actually, despite the squawking recorders in the next room.
12.00 – home, exhausted. J asleep, girls have a plan: let’s play with barbies all afternoon! Which means their bedroom will look like a barbie bomb has gone off (and for some reason the bathroom is invariably flooded) but on the bright side I have peace and quiet which I feel I have earnt.
1.30 – I seem to have spent an hour on the PC without even opening the manuscript I intended to finish today. Microwaved leftover takeaway for me (momentarily glad C is away so I don’t have to share!); boiled eggs and soldiers for the big girls. J still asleep.
3.30 – dishwasher unloaded/filled; pots washed; laundry on tumbledrier on clean laundry folded ironing done; kitchen wiped down and swept (only because I had the news quiz on – otherwise wouldn’t have bothered as I am planning to have the kids make tea); Jenny’s entire breakfast and lunch picked up off the floor. Nice cup of tea with paper…3, 2, 1 Muuum!
5.00 – have finally opened up that word file, although I don’t have to listen very carefully to hear the wine plaintively calling my name from the fridge. When Cameron is about, we often don’t drink at all apart from at weekends (and there is a Wednesday ballet exclusion clause if necessary). When he is away I mostly have one glass around teatime every evening.
8.00 – One baby asleep (which is fortunate, as daddy has put her to bed since early December – wasn’t at all sure I could remember how); two big girls in bed in a reasonably barbieless bedroom; one manuscript near-as-damnit finished. One glass of wine drunk; homemade pizzas consumed. Washing dishes can wait until tomorrow. I am off duty!

November update; December intentions, shameless or otherwise

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

That Earthenwitch is at it again. Of November’s intentions, I did survive sanity intact thanks mainly to some very good friends, both local and very old, my crack team of babysitters, and rather a lot of wine. Tamsin’s birthday went off very well; she was overheard singing “I’m four I’m four happy four I  used to be three but now I am four” from which one deduces that she enjoyed her special day – a few photos here. Shoes to go with my Dress were located at the back of my wardrobe, which is always nice. Jenny’s naming day was fabulously cold, crisp and clear: the humanist ceremony was just lovely, then we had a wee tramp around the zoo (the baby giraffe!), then back for warm winter pimms and afternoon tea. Even my mass catering efforts over the weekend went reasonably well, with the more senior members of the family being astonished by nachos. I like to astonish.

None of the other intentions were realised, which allows me to add them to December’s list, as follows:

-finish making the pressies that are nearly done; felt a couple more stars to go with the lonely one and make it look like a theme not an accident; open some of the children’s Christmas craft sets and do something with them.

-list of presents is made so next I must purchase.

-cards! Must not miss last posting date for abroad this year.

-J’s birthday

-sad tomato plants still in garden, currently under an inch of snow (just the one)

-muck out playroom, get rid of too-small baby clothes yadda yadda yadda

-find next-size-up clothes for J and figure out if she needs things

-get roof fixed, carpet cleaned, etc

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.


Friday, October 8th, 2010

Mostly, having three is great. Apart from never quite feeling like you have your eye on the ball (which is probably a good thing from their point of view), it has much to recommend it. It all goes to pieces, however, when one’s husband is about as far away as he can possibly get (I got a middle-of-the-night text “in Sydney on harbour cruise”); I am half-expecting him to announce his entry to NASA’s astronaut-training programme in a bid to get even further. When one has put the baby to bed at midday mere minutes before the school rings to say the 6-year-old has been sick and is very pale and can I come to get her please. I managed that, even persuading the baby back to bed on our return, but the collection of the 3-year-old from nursery was just beyond me. Fortunately we live in a Village with a Village Ethos and my very lovely friend not only went and collected her, and collected another friend’s little boy from school who I had been supposed to be looking after, but gave them tea and kept them until bedtime. And picked her up this morning for preschool. And brought her back again afterwards! Meanwhile, I have been trying to cuddle the poorly one as much as she wants, although 9-month-old babies are not entirely understanding of that. So it’s been cuddles during baby naps and pop her up to bed for some peace in between; I have consumed much cake in compensation for the two flights of stairs and can feel the cabin fever mounting. She is much better today, so I haven’t felt I have to check her quite so often – her breathing was scary yesterday and she wasn’t keeping anything down, not even a sip of water. I couldn’t have a medicinal glass of wine last night because I was slightly concerned I might end up driving to A&E, though by the time I went to bed she was relatively peaceful and her chest sounded rattly rather than wheezy. And she has eaten a bit of toast and a bowl of my smugly medicinal home-made chicken and fennel soup.

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.


Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Busy busy. Mum came to look after us for a fortnight, which was lovely: so nice to have that extra pair of hands to pass the baby to, or to peel potatoes, or colour with Tamsin, or do Maggie’s homework. (I mean, of course, help M with her homework.) And now she has gone and we are working out how to manage three children two grownups; it seems the way to manage is mostly to do no housework beyond the absolute essential* and to live in a midden. So naturally I have upped the ante by choosing this week to put the house on the market. Any buyers out there who can see past the toys and clutter and non-cream walls and distinct lack of immaculacy?

We have a new car, so can all leave the house simultaneously and not in convoy. It is a Toyota so may well be recalled for weirdy accelerator issues:  it will have to go back anyway as they have not fitted the reverse parky beepy things that we requested. Not sure if it is the fault of the lease company or Toyota; frankly I don’t much care as long as it is resolved before I reverse into something. Cameron sold his at the weekend and is now driving my old one, muttering under his breath about the yogurt and crumbs and mud and general unpleasantness of it: he tried to get it valeted on Sunday but was turned away from two places. We are not sure if they were scared by the state of it or just about to close.

Jenny** is growing and growing and I know this is a good thing and what babies are supposed to do yet couldn’t help feeling sad as I realised I had to stop cramming her little feet into newborn-sized babygros and get out the next size. It is a novelty for me to have a big baby (she’s not huge, just biggish) after the other two tots, and she is such a happy content sweet thing with bright eyes and a double chin. Maggie is reading, properly – just discovering the Secret Seven and really not that interested in being read to or even in reading out loud but just wants to be left in peace with her nose stuck in. Just like her mum. She’s a sensitive soul who was upset when Granny went home. Tamsin is, well, three, and didn’t give a monkeys. Very three. She’s enjoying preschool but still refuses to speak there (but will whisper, with some sort of 3-year-old logic) and is great at jigsaws -oh, and she has started ballet lessons which she loves.

* Essential = one hot meal a day, clean plates to eat it from, clean clothes.
**Links are to photos


Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

OK so I haven’t quite been here as much as I intended.  Part two of our hol has not yet appeared. Today: a new term, a new school year. And boy are we back to normal: Mag loved school of course, despite a small wibble when we went in to her new classroom, saying goodbye to Ruby (different class this year) and not knowing where her drawer was. But apparently her new school shoes were brilliant. Tamsin and I zipped into town on the bus to visit the market for 2 kg of plums – I have an unexplained urge to make wine – and some damsons for gin, then she went off to preschool. Cameron has gone to Italy via London (he is showing some press people round Ferrari, how horrible for him) and I am home alone in the rain with a short deadline. And actually rather enjoying being on my own for the first time since July!

I haven’t set foot on the allotment since being kicked off: am going to have to stop being sad and embarrassed and get myself down there. There’s a sandpit and two raised beds (and some lovely veg, and a rhubarb crown that I know they have been coveting) that I will not leave for the next person. It’s raining though; did I mention that?

english ones

I’ve been reading…not that I am ever without a book, but I’ve been getting through them at a better rate (we’ll see what happens now it is term-time again). One of my reads was not on the label, an interesting book in the same vein as tescopoly or fast food nation. It wasn’t full of surprises but has reinforced a lot of the things I was trying to do anyway – so I am back baking bread, which had slipped over the holidays (and early pregnancy too, don’t forget – a pretty damn good excuse if you ask me) and stepping back from the meat-centric diet we had drifted towards. (This is complicated by Tamsin being almost exclusively carnivorous.) I have dug out my excellent river cottage bread book and today attempted english muffins (that’s them in the picture); bagels are next on the hit list. I am unsure about prawns, the farmed fish/wild fish thing continues to confuse me, but I feel quietly smug (and lucky) to have an organic farm shop in the next village that competes with the supermarkets price-wise and stocks about 95% of things I want.