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A road less travelled ... or when to take the muddy path

Hah! Sometimes poets know best.

... take Robert Frost for example and his poem "The Road Not Taken". Had I heeded his advice; had I heeded the advice knowingly tutt-tutting inside my head; had I stopped for a moment to acknowledge the glee on Four-legged-friend's face when he realised I was about to allow him the muddiest bath of his life ...

well! ...

... here's the sorry tale and a muddy tail for good measure -

"Two roads diverged in a wood
... long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth"



The road ahead was shorter. The road behind had two dog walkers, a pair of Labradors (one being an extremely cantankerous old lady, whom we normally avoid at all costs, sometimes with considerable elongation of our walk) and two black bears (Newfoundlands actually, swimming in the stream I had wanted to give Four-legged-friend a dip in, before I worried about him being swept away by the recent-rain-swollen torrent of water, or e…

Of ranting, love and jingle bells

Rant alert sirens can be turned off. I did enough ranting yesterday, thoroughly ranted out ... until the next time.

If you want to see what got under my skin, have a look at this http://jottify.com/works/suffer-the-children-no-more/

or read the papers. Got to change the subject quick or I'll be off again.


I've said it before, but - you've guessed it - I'm going to say it again, the best three words in the English language are "I love you, Mummy." For daddies, insert Daddy. Oops! I never was good at maths, or even basic counting ... four words! These are the best four words, probably in any language. In my house, they are usually followed by several minutes of "I love you more" and "No, I love you more" and "You can't know how much I love you anyway, but it's definitely more than you love me" and "I love you infinity much" and "I love you infinity-much-times-a-hundred" and "Which is still infinity,…

Rejecting the rejection ... and why Littlest isn't an atheist

Huh!

Being rejected is never easy. But  J K Rowling was allegedly rejected eighteen times before Christopher Little took her on, so my current tally of seven means I have a way to go yet. Ho hum. Can I bear another three months of daily stealing myself to open my otherwise sleepy email account - the one reserved for secret ordering of gifts;  receipt of work related journals and newspaper subscriptions that would otherwise clog up the home account and make the recipient of secret gifts less than happy; registration of my facebook, twitter, blogger and jottify accounts; oh! and agent submissions, of course? Following this stealing activity and relief at lack of a reply, there's the bit where I kid myself - maybe I haven't heard because they're reading it; maybe they like it and are waiting 'til the evening or weekend to phone; maybe someone will finally give me licence to spend all day, every day being a writer ... I tend at this point to drift off into fantasy. Until t…

Magic!

"I was born to believe in magic."

Thus pronounced Littlest from the back seat of the car.

"After all, I have to, because I've seen a fairy."

She asked if I believe in magic and in a rather oblique way (not wanting to hurt the feelings of the child, off school, sporting a fever, who was distraught to discover that I don't believe her teddies have sensitive feelings too) I replied that there are some things that happen that I don't understand and that if she wants to call that lack of understanding magic then that's fine.

She quickly put me in my place, "Just because you haven't seen something doesn't mean it's not real. Look at God - well you can't obviously look at him - because no-one's seen him. Well he's real. And he's magic of course. Just like Father Christmas!"

Of hopeful time wasting, present lists and planting trees

Written on Saturday 8th December:

"But that would be a waste of my time," I replied to Littlest's request to spend time browsing in shops this morning.

I then listed all the chores I planned to do, when we got home.

She paused, thinking, then asked, "If you did have any time to waste how long would it be?"

And persevered, "Surely you have some time you could waste. I just want to know how long. We could waste time together."

Her idea of wasting time was to browse and add to her Christmas list: the list that she had taken shopping with her ... on a clipboard!



The chores I had to complete on getting home mainly involved the planting of trees. Or to be more precise, the final planting of the final tree in our fruit-pie/apple-crumble-generating orchard - the one that will feed fruity puddings to our grandchildren. This task has not been easy to finish -

It got off to a good start. Garden centre visited, trees selected, paid for (those puddings had better…

All I want for Christmas

How do you answer the question, "What would you like for Christmas?"

Do you carry a mental list around in your head? Or do you have a special little piece of paper tucked into a pocket in anticipation of bumping into a generously inclined relative? Worse still, do you email your list to friends and family? Or do you still write to Father Christmas?

Littlest writes several lists, starting in August, and deposits them in books, pencil cases and boxes in her bedroom, lest she forgets something important. These are either lost forever, or are later amalgamated into a letter that sits on the hearth day after regularly-checked-day until the 'elves' remember to post it to the big man in red. These elves clearly work in the same disorganised department as the tooth fairy. Littlest then adds things to her list. And changes her mind. Of course, Father Christmas knows that she has changed her mind 'because he's magic.' She has been known to change her mind on Christ…

Lots of leaves, giggles and dirty dogs

The pup is growing - first autumn, first leaves, first bonfire-building activity:



Eat the leaves; lick the blue ones.



'If I eat the bonfire, there won't be so much to burn.'
Busy pup = sleepy pup. Bed of ... laundry?



... or someone else's bed?



First walk today - "Why can't I run ahead like him? Why, Mum? It's not fair!"



"How much further?"


Why did we get a friend for FLF in a pale shade of 'shows-all-the-dirt' colour?









I'm bigger than you! Parp! Warning: bit of a rant.

Good morning?
Better morning?
The usual growling angry morning?
Yup!
It’s that “I’m bigger than you” mentality that drives me mad every morning; although when I say 'mad' I do not mean the red fog of fury that some drivers suffer from which constitutes road rage, but a deeply rooted frustration; the sort of feeling that niggles throughout the rest of the day, like a thorn in your shoe that you know is there, but are either too busy to remove or repeatedly forget about until the next time it pricks you. Unsettling. Grrr! Why? - because you know that tomorrow will be the same. And the next day.
Let me elaborate – my morning school run is approximately 15 miles of which there are about seven miles of rural single track roads – might sound horrendous to some urban mum’s out there, but barring tractors, beet lorries and horses, I can do it in just over 25 minutes. How many hours would it take to cover the same distance in London? And we see pheasant, foxes and deer so often that the chi…

If this isn't the best ... part 1

If this isn’t the best view in the world... then I challenge you to prove otherwise -



Perhaps I'm biased, but in case you don't yet agree here's more ... 



I say 'one of' because when middle daughter gets back from her grandparents with her phone, I can download a picture of THE best view in the world. And yes, I am 100% biased. 100% a Scot at heart. 100% passionately in love with the west coast of Scotland. Aren't we all just a little bit nostalgic about the place we grew up? And doesn't nostalgia sometimes blur into a deep passion?



Here's more ... 



Add wellies; sea-shell-gathering ...



... and crab hunting; squealing oystercatchers in conversation with squealing Littlest; “sinking sand!!”... 



... and sea “anenomenomees.”

Flashbacks to my own childhood – running down silver sand-dunes; carrying BBQ and picnic and drinks; swimming towels; cricket bats and balls; long-treasured friends now far-flung with their own children – and wondering if a part of me is forev…

Blog therapy and dreaming

Hah!

Just when you thought I'd properly gone - forgotten to WTD; misplaced my laptop (netbook, actually); taken a trip (wouldn't that be nice - New Zealand, maybe?) - up I pop again. Released. Free to blog. Or to be more exact, free-ish.

WTD has been ... well? Rather empty in recent months.Kind of hope you've noticed. Cause? - other writing projects (hmm, more about these later - I add in a tantalising, playful way *smile*); a little (extremely) boring something called appraisal, which is nearly - oh, so nearly done - but not yet executed i.e. subjected to third party scrutiny. Eek! Fingers crossed for early November; school holidays and start of term and (daily) finding of hockey sticks; trainers (both feet!); water bottles; times tables practising early morning brain; piano books and the correct hair ties (no, not the scrunchy one with decapitated bear's head attached!); and ... well, you know - an agonising, prolonged bout of procrastination, coupled with fingers st…

Sad little wardrobe story

Ever wondered how you would notice that you are getting old? Apart from the greying hair and creaking joints and half a dozen attempts it takes to link the correct name to the child standing in front of you. Your own child.

Where does getting excited about a piece of furniture rank in the scale of getting-old-warnings? I suspect it would be up there with preferring sensible shoes; investing in a wine cellar; and agreeing with a play of reluctance to husband's wish to own a mid-life-crisis car, especially since it meant I could have a puppy! Does that mean that my mid-life-crisis is a dog? Or maybe that my mid-life has gone to the dogs?

Anyway, back to the wardrobe - not the one in Narnia; sadly - wouldn't that be fun! - but the one in our upgraded room in a delightful hotel in Norfolk.Yes! We were upgraded! The manageress put us in a larger room with bath, because "it was free" (otherwise unoccupied) that night.The warm, marble, floor tiles in the bathroom took some …

The best things in life are free

Defining 'Best' depends on the day; the time; the weather; how much sleep I've had the night before; whether someone else has finished all the chocolate; how many puddles of puppy wee I've had to mop up; whether or not I have to work tomorrow;  and how cold the wine is ... among other things.

As the song goes, these are a few of my favourite things:

a cold, wet nose snuffling into your neck when NBFLF (see previous blog) is carried out to the garden at 5.45am to 'do his business'and the way he curls himself into your arms for the journey back; his little whimpers trying to say, "The grass is cold, Mum. And wet! And my paws are damp and chilly."waking up two hours later with a child folded into the space left next to you in bed. Asleep.watching her stir.listening to her sleepy whisper, "I love you, Mummy."a hot shower.proper coffee. Hot! (not the one that resembles an oil slick, thick and separating, and foul; abandoned on the top of a cupboar…

Blogging when you can't ... and when you can

How to blog when you really can't blog?

How to write, when what you want to write, is a secret?

How to keep quiet, keep your kids quiet and their friends quiet?

Waiting is hard! Social networking silence is harder.

But worth it:



Littlest marked the occasion with a portrait:




We must be mad. Two dogs. Several children. Jobs!
We even read to our puppy




Walking The Dog or WTD needs to change to WTDs. Maybe.

And Four-Legged-Friend's nephew (!) needs a blog name ...
nephew-of-FLF or NOFLFlittle-FLF or LFLFsmaller-FLF or SFLFblonde-FLF or BFLFmini-FLF or MFLFI'll-never-be-as-big-as-the-original-FLF or INBABATOFLFI'll-be-boss-of-FLF-one-day or IBBOFLFODfeed-me-weetabix-and-I'm-happy-FLF or FMWAIHFLFdoesn't-mum-know-that-five-in-the-morning-in-play-time-FLF or DMKTFITMIPTFLFso-Dad-can-have-his-four-wheeled-mid-life-crisis-now-that-Mum's-got-me-FLF or SDCHHFWMLCNTMGMFLFI-like-a-better-quality-of-newspaper-to wee-on-FLF or ILABQONTWOFLFand while on the subject of newspa…

The "What-is-a-condom?" place, a trip to the North Atlantic and abandoning children in Foreign climes

Son, who is currently running a hotel for his friends, might recall a visit several years ago to a French restaurant, where seated at a round table, set with wine glasses, fluted, linen napkins and immaculate table cloth, he announced to the dimly candle-lit room, in an unfortunately clear, resonant, high-pitched voice, "What is a condom?"


He was probably seven years old.


We ate at the same restaurant last night – same table settings, same atmospheric lighting, same owner whose gentle politeness is unchanged, but whose English is better (or maybe our French is worse) – this time ‘sans enfants’ to mark our wedding anniversary. The food “with zee sauces made by my ‘usband” was unchanged in its fabulousness: I do not like tuna, but the unordered hors-d'oeuvre of triangles of thin toast and shot-glasses half filled with a rich tuna paste topped with a cream sauce and chives, was utterly amazing. This was followed by a hot millefeuille filled with a melting slice of foie gras (…