Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2011

Santa stuffed

Love this time of year: It's the look in their eyes tomorrow morning that does it for me. Four-legged-friend also stuffed. The look in his eyes is one of confusion; why is there a  red man hanging on the door? And why does he smell of chocolate? But whatever puzzles him, he is always happy to snuggle up to a hot oven:

Felonious kleptosquaters

A new, invisible kleptomaniac is squatting in our home. I can picture him, and the other thieves already in residence, stealing out from their various hidey-holes from beneath beds, behind doors, and under chairs, in the middle of the night and tiptoeing to the linen cupboard, where they hunch down in a felonious ring around a lighted candle and plot their next raid. They believe we don't know they exist, but actually, I know more about them than they would care to think: the one with a penchant for footwear is colour blind, because he only ever steals odd socks; the new one, who is partial to pencils, has toothache, because, if I find any he has hidden, they are invariably chewed; the one who slides half-finished mugs of hot chocolate beneath the children's beds has perennial rhinitis, because only a permanently blocked nose could be oblivious to the awful smell of rancid, sugary milk; and the one who tosses dog biscuits all over the utility room is perhaps a little differ

Inequality at breakfast

The mum vs. dad balance of early morning duties are a little lop-sided in our house, but I suspect this is nothing unusual. I also suspect that although the mum could be accused of being the creator and perpetuator of this imbalance, she would choose not to alter it. Why? Because the dad wouldn't cope. Brutal, but true. Take today for example: I got up this morning, reluctantly, after snatching a few extra minutes since the 'getting up' was not for the first time, because Four-legged-friend wanted to go out at ten to five. Woke Littlest - the hot little body tucked into mine, squeezing along the edge of our bed. Came downstairs, after gathering her schooliform and waking Middle Daughter. Put the kettle on. Fed Four-legged-friend and put him out twenty seconds later when food gone. Emptied dishwasher and loaded it with last night's dinner plates. Put a load of washing in machine and switched it on. Made hot chocolates x2. Found Littlest's homework and piano bag. Ma

On sleep

Beset with poorly child who cannot sleep and feeling guilty that I told her I needed to sleep, my guilt is now keeping me awake. Sleep is a funny thing - we love it, especially in the winter, when we can wrap up warm after a hot bath, and snuggle down under the covers; we hate it when we are too busy to stop, when needing to sleep slows us down and makes us slow and jeopardises deadlines; we appreciate it when a noisy, restless child finally closes his eyes and snores softly; we are grateful for it when we can rest our weary limbs; and without it, we would cease to exist - we need it. Sleep is fragile - it evaporates if we are afraid, anxious or worried. It is sometimes elusive and although we chase through our memories and thoughts it sometimes hides away too well. We can do it in funny places - at the cinema, in the dentist's chair, in the classroom, in front of the television, on the beach, and in bed. We can do it lying down, sitting up, slumped on a sofa, but not n

Recipe for a bonfire that is all flame and not much smoke

Bit of a gripe follows - sorry: First , ensure that you are really, incredibly tired: Littlest couldn't sleep last night, and the result ... I couldn't sleep either. After she appeared bleary-eyed at midnight and chatted til after 1am, we eventually fell asleep, in her single bed, with me wedged against the wall. So multi-yawning fest today... Next , be irritating. Unintentionally of course, the 'not my fault type', the type that makes you pussy-foot everywhere for fear of irritation escalation. If you succeed, then later in the day, you will be drawn by self-preservation, to the far end of the garden. For as long as possible. Doing something important. Something that has been a source of irritation itself, because weeks have gone by, you've been reminded, many times, and still you haven't got round to doing it, until today. Exemplary timing. Lastly , in consideration of neighbours and in interests of preventing hedgerow blaze, start fire small, let it ge

Wondrous imaginings of Littlest

Question to Littlest: How does the tooth fairy know that your tooth has fallen out? "Well ... if you take an x-ray then you'll see right deep inside the tooth there's a tiny message. When the tooth falls out the message is released and flies off to the tooth fairy. She receives it on her phone - hundreds and hundreds of messages every day, round about three thousand - and she scrolls down them to see where she has to go. Then she comes." Quite simple really. "Oh, and she makes a special wish, like a spell,  for the child when she collects the tooth - like: I hope your teeth will grow big and strong and that you'll look after them for ever. And depending on how good you have been since you were born that decides how much money you get - if you have been an extremely brilliant girl and made no mistakes in your life then you probably deserve about two pounds!" I wonder how much the tooth fairy will leave ...

The almost pansy thief; urgent notification to tooth fairy

Littlest has decided she wants to be a "gardenist" when she grows up, especially if that means she can be an artist, too. So here is her recipe for a trough of winter-flowering pansies: First, put on mum's fleece - it's warm; keeps your own clothes clean; and has sleeves long enough to pinch up and use as gardening gloves Next, place crocks in base of pot. Make face and jump backwards, startling Four-legged-friend, every time a beetle, fly or spider has the impudence to trespass into the pot. Use elbows, bottom and mum's sleeves to push, shove and slap Four-legged-friend out of the way. Ask for help when Four-legged-friend decides that compost is second breakfast and eats it as fast as little handfuls can transfer it to the pot. Then relax into routine of compost filling; hot chocolate; colour based placing of pansies in pot (stripey pattern); scooping out hollows for each plant; hot chocolate; and bedding in with more compost - calm gardenist activit

Things we talk about in the car

As I have mentioned before, we have a very long journey home at the end of the school day and plenty of time, therefore, to talk (which is precisely why I don't mind the length of the journey!) "There are three words, Mummy, aren't there?" announced Littlest, shortly after I had strapped her into her car seat. "Well, yes, probably," say I, starting the engine, "but that depends on what three words you are talking about." "Two of them begin with an 'a'. They're for what you believe in. You know?" "Eh, Christian, agnostic and atheist?" I hesitate, and correct myself, "It could be any religion, it doesn't have to be Christian." "Yes! That's right! Do I have to be one of them?" "No ... do you know what they mean?" She does. And the conversation leaps onto how can you believe in something you can't see, how no-one has ever proved that God actually does exist and, in he

Best gift in the world?

Just spent the day trawling through the Christmas catalogues. And binning most of them. What we want and what we need are such different things! Take Four-legged-friend, for example - what he wants is to eat every hour of the day; what he needs is a nutritious meal twice a day. What Littlest wants - really wants - is a pink plastic gizmo that will keep her entertained for just as long as it takes her to realise there are several computers and laptops in the house far more sophisticated  and clever than pink gizmo. What she needs is longer-term and more fulfilling, but I plan to give it to her slowly - metaphorically - and let her unwrap it as she grows. "When you wish upon a star" ... lovely song (particularly the current rendition by male British artist - you'll have to look it up) and equally lovely sentiment, because what follows is ... "your dreams come true." Wishes and dreams - children make wishes blowing the candles out on a cake, blowing an eyelash of

Sore feet

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a person in possession of sore feet is a very unfortunate person indeed. My feet are only comfortable when cocooned within memory-foam (bliss!) soled wellies, or cushioned by fitflops (which are somewhat impractical in cold, damp weather). This makes Four-legged-friend happy, because my welly-wearing-going-for-a-walk self is happy. Middle daughter is also happy, because the heels are migrating to her wardrobe. I however remain unhappy and have a dilemma - wellies to a black tie event next week???

Autumn ramblings

Thought it was about time that Walking the Dog actually lists a blog about walking the dog: so took Four-legged-friend for an autumn ramble this morning. I love this time of year - the colours, the misty skies, the excuse to wrap up warm, the smell of distant bonfires, the feeling that you can pull up the drawbridge and retreat into the warmth and comfort of your home, the promise of Christmas and the sparkle it puts in a child's eyes, and the hearty, healthy foods of a winter kitchen. Four-legged-friend seemed to be quite appreciative of it too - water in the stream again; scent of hare (the one that raced past us like a fleeting wood sprite, briefly glanced just long enough to tell it was hare not rabbit); and his personal favourite - harvest spilt all over the ground. And of course, given that it was at least an hour since he had been fed and he was obviously completely starving, much of the harvest was harvested!


Curmudgeonly - another brilliant word. And one that the Blogger dictionary appears to recognise! Try rolling your lips round this one - currr-mudge-onleee - and you'll find it quite Edmund Blackadderish. Like discom- bob- ulate, yesterday. I use curmudgeon, or curmudgeonly, a lot. Secretly; inside my head. It's so much better than annoying, irritating, sarcastic, illogical, contrary ... or male!


Littlest is planning to try this out on her teacher tomorrow - "Miss -----, I'm feeling a bit discombobulated!" She loves funny sounding words and is blessed with a brain like a sponge that allows her to remember and manipulate her lips round them. And she finds it funny, which stops it being too precocious. Hopefully her teacher will have better luck with the word than the Blogger dictionary, which failed to recognise it. It also doesn't recognise itself!!!!! - "Blogger" gets a wobbly red line too!! You could say that the Blogger dictionary finds itself somewhat discombobulating. Go on - say it out loud - dis-com- bob -u-lating - if you emphasize the bob and exaggerate the articulation, you'll look and feel just like Edmund Blackadder!

Difficult for dogs: decisions, empty bowls and decorating

Many things are difficult for dogs, but some are more difficult than others:   Which one first? The white fluffiest one would be the easiest to mess up a bit, but, on second thoughts the blue alien (Snitch? Glitch? Or perhaps, Stitch?) looks a tougher challenge - better stuffed, therefore more to get my teeth into. Or maybe, I could toy with the wee Scottish sheep first; as an aperitif? The grey dog looks a bit too sad, so I'd probably leave him alone. Too much choice: where decisions don't involve (proper) food, they are really difficult for a dog ... And after a spot of soft toy tossing, the last thing a dog wants to find is this - Soft toys give a dog a terrible thirst - all the dust and fluff and clumps of spongy stuffing. And the sink taps are much too difficult for a dog. But in my opinion, far worse than difficult choices and empty bowls, is the disruption in my sleeping, warming, treat stealing, floor-crumb-scavenging, foot nibbling, body leaning room. The room

A day of CPD, meatballs and homecomings

Warning received at work, yesterday, that I was due to see, today, and have to deal with a problem that I have less than limited experience of managing. While being extremely grateful to colleague who alerted me to this, I am embarrassed to admit that it threw me into a single-minded panic: single-minded, in that I thought about little else until I had found the references I needed, sat down and restored my lost knowledge. Do others get thrown into similar fugs of despair, plummeting confidence and I've-got-to-find-something-else-to-do panics? I hope they do, because if it's just me, then ... well, that is rather depressing. And distressing. CPD (as in the title of the blog) refers to Continuous Professional Development, something I have to do rather a lot of and prove that I have done, in order to fulfil the constraints governing the continuity of my professional role. Me, who would far rather be outside walking the dog, or gardening, or doing something with my kids, or writin

Littlest's creations

These are "farm fairies" They have an elephant, a caterpillar and two cats on their farm. Their names are Zara and Issy. Tomorrow, Littlest plans to make them a house.

Shadow picture - Four-legged-friend

Helping in the garden King for a week definitely over and back to the usual bottom of the heap in the family pecking order. Note fed-up expression ...