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Showing posts from April, 2013

Bubbles, boys and bananas

What is round; rainbow coloured; floats out of Littlest's hand; runs away in a bobbing, up and down, teasing manner; can be chased; and is most unsatisfying and unwholesome when eaten? Bubbles! These pictures were taken shortly before Bertie Baggins and Four-legged-friend discovered an unopened bag of dog food in the garage. And opened it. Of course. And being Labradors with absolutely no idea of when enough is enough, they ate and ate. And gorged themselves on dry dog biscuits, which are now expanding in their tummies, making them thirstier than normal and rendering them prostrate on the floor in a stretched-out, tummy-hurting, bloated and drunk-with-food sleepy state. They are not even interested in the roast dinner! I'd be deluding myself - wouldn't I - if I thought they might learn from their greed? I must resolve to be a better dog mummy and ensure the transit time for sacks of dog food from car boot to utility room cupboard must be shorter

Four-legged-friend and the night patrol

Picture this - dusk; last birds crescendoing into their twilight chorus; Littlest in bed; glass of wine poured; dinner (almost) in the oven; teenager engaging with arias at the piano; Bertie Baggins heavy-lidded, creeping, body close to the floor in case we see him, towards his desired destination curled up against the Aga; last jobs of the day in hand - laundry being folded and mis-matched socks paired; idle chatter or none at all - peace has indeed descended ... on the household inside . Outside , Four-legged-friend is gearing his voice up for the night bark, the need to let the world out there know that 'I'm here, this is a dog-protected haven and I AM THE PROTECTOR! So jolly-well go and create your mischief somewhere else. There will be no mischief-making on my watch.' If I go outside and shout at him, it either panics him because suddenly his mum is outside and she above all (as principle provider of sustenance) needs to be kept safe, or he thinks I'm joining in

A bird in the bush inspires two drawn by hand.

Spring is ... What? Sprung. Springing. Filling our days with longer light. Rubbing in the fact that the neglected garden can be neglected no more. Accelerating toward frost-free days when we can plant and restore our privacy where the old hedge was removed in the autumn. Revealing sadly what has drowned, frozen, or given-up the fight to live over the winter. And filling the garden with song. Fling open the music room doors and sing A Little Fall Of Rain to the daffodils; maybe the willow catkins would like some Bernstein; or the primulae something from Moulin Rouge? But it's not just Littlest and siblings who are in lively voice, step outside and listen to the birds. They are falling over themselves to attract mates; show off about it when they have and establish their territory. The nest building that follows is a comparatively quiet affair. This pair of long-tailed tits, called Lottie and Louis by Littlest (we vetoed Boob1 and Boob2!!) are nesting outside the kitchen wind

Piles and piles

When is a pile not a pile? I guess it depends what type of pile is being considered. In this case, it is Littlest's assertion - the day before she goes back to school - that she is the only one in her class who returns at the start of term unencumbered by a mini-mountain, or small library of books, that represents her holiday literacy effort. She "loves reading" but to say she reads at a glacial pace might imply an element of speed that is distinctly lacking. What she "loves" is a good story with interesting characters that might do adventurous things and meet real monsters and travel to exciting places and need strange and inventive clothes and perhaps a decorated cardboard box or two to live in and several pets to care for and exotic food to eat and ... was there a book? Really? Her imagination is fertile and terribly time consuming. She reads and dreams. I am NOT advocating a war on dreams. I never would. If a child can't indulge her fantasies who

Balls, boys and bouncing

It's been a busy week. There ... too clich├ęd; too lame? ... the most impoverished of all poor excuses - "I've been busy." So anyone left dangling on a thread of anxiety for Bertie Baggins and his unfortunate post-op complication, has had to wait. And wait. While I marshalled children - feeding them, laundering their clothes, listening to their revision woes - and worked to earn the cash for their keep. Makes it sound like I don't like the holidays. However, the opposite is true. I have never been able to relate to the type of parent who gets stressed at the thought of having their child/ren home for a full 24 hours, or worse, for several 24 hour stretches in a row. They are usually the ambitious must-fill-every-waking-second-of-little-George-or-Daisy's-day-with-something-deeply-meaningful. (Apologies, if I have temporarily forgotten that I know someone with a child called George or Daisy, I am not referring to you!) These are sometimes called 'helico

Death, dying, legacies and lampshades

How do you want to be remembered? Is it something you worry about? Once you are gone, does it even matter? We spend our lives (or I spend mine ...) worrying about what other people think. And at the end of our lives ... maybe we worry about how people will remember us. Some want to do something monumental like become the first female prime minister, win a war, and leave the world with a political '-ism' while others are simply happy if they live on fondly ... in a few people's memories ... for a while. Ever Googled yourself? It's soul destroying, unless you are an actor or famous author or politician or sportsman or ... or .... or ... but if you are just plain old you, you might get a couple of mentions if you have been in the right place at the right time and are very lucky, or you may just not be there at all. I suspect that most of us would like to leave something. Something solid, tangible, something that shows you mattered. What would you like to leave? A b

Bertie Baggins has lost his bounce

Oh dear. One castrated puppy and four trips to the vet in two days has resulted in a collective feeling of guilt. Hmmm ... I'm wondering to what extent it is collective, or if this may be an example of where the dogs suddenly become mine and I therefore have sole responsibility and ALL the guilt? I guess some of you reading this may perhaps quite reasonably think "So you should be, that's a despicable thing you just did to your pet" and ... I partially agree, but he was becoming increasingly randy and more aggressive in his play and castration is meant to 'calm him down' - a sort of life-time-cold-shower. Also, in the negotiation process of relentless nagging, persuasion and final acquiescence that was involved in first acquiring a pet, it was a condition of getting male dogs - along the lines of 'we can have males, if we get them done, so that we don't have any humping of trouser legs and furniture.' Well, right now, Bertie Baggins will not

A cappella, unseasonal attire and chocolate brownies

Littlest has an Easter holiday project to complete. For an English exam next term. She's nine. She coped with her recent piano exam (scoring 135) thanks to her "spiders," so perhaps she can draw on a bit of that calmness-under-pressure, when delivering her prepared presentation. Which is about 'a cappella' - her choice, influenced by her position as smallest fan of her brother's university group and encouraged by her teacher, who won't have to endure another talk titled 'My Pet.' Perhaps we can 'sell' it to her as a performance rather than English homework ... Parents (we have a homework sheet, too) are to encourage, assist, film (!), supervise, but absolutely not to do their children's projects for them. Hmm ... only once to my knowledge have I been accused of doing my child's project and when I heard second hand what had apparently been said, I wanted to march up to the silly, little man in question and point out to him that, ap