Monday, 31 December 2007


It's two hours before midnight so it seemed appropriate to have a quick look back at the last year. (It's either that or succumb to Second Born's pleas to watch him balancing on the exercise ball. Again.)

This has been an interesting year and pretty good in many ways. I am about 3 stone lighter now than I was at the end of 2006. Unfortunately I am now about 7 pounds heavier than I was at the end of October, but we will gloss over that. Last year I could barely run for a mile without keeling over. Now I can run 6km (that's about 3.5 miles in old money). I still keel over but I am further away from home when I do it.

I ran a real honest-to-goodness race in public for the first time in 2007, a week after I turned 40. I am still not sure which was more traumatic. I also ran two races against my 7 year old son and he beat me hollow in both. I couldn't have been more pleased. I then used this public drubbing to raise money for charity, for which I was rewarded with........further publicising my humiliation on radio and TV. (Well, I wasn't really on TV - you can only see me a couple of times. I now know who Shayne Ward is though!)

And last but not least I discovered the wonderful world of blogging, first reading them and then taking the plunge and writing them. Thanks to the strange intimacy of blogs I now feel like I know dozens of complete strangers around the world. I am on tenterhooks, waiting to hear news of the births of children I will never meet (can't send enough congratulations to Julia!) , celebrating new jobs for people I would not recognise in the street and occasionally weeping at the sad news of people who are, in real life, complete strangers. They don't feel like strangers though and that is what I love about blogs. They give one an insight into other people's lives and experiences and that feels like a rare privilege. Life would feel less rich, now, without them.

So thank you to everyone who blogs, not for money or recognition, but just because it is rewarding to write and extraordingarily exciting to know people are reading. And especially thanks to Isabelle and K, both for their writing, which I love, and for being brave enough to meet me earlier today for coffee. It was just brilliant to meet these two in real life and I could have talked to them all day (especially as we were discussing Shauna's book. My copy arrived, all shiny and luscious, from Amazon this morning and Isabelle was going off to hunt it down in Waterstone's). They even seemed to forgive me for suggesting we meet in a coffee shop which was (1) right in the centre of Edinburgh on Hogmanay, when the town was absolutely heaving with people and (2) closed. Since November. At least now they'll believe me when I blog about my complete lack of organisational skills!

Well, I think I had better stop there as Second Born has just bounced off the ball alarmingly close to the Christmas tree. It is still our only Christmas decoration and I'd hate to lose it to a freak exercise ball accident less than 2 hours before the New Year. Happy Hogmanay to everyone.

Sunday, 30 December 2007

It comes to us all eventually

You know you are definitely getting on a bit when after getting out of the shower, you find your first grey hair. On your leg. Not that that has happened to me. Necessarily.

Friday, 28 December 2007

I'll be alright in a minute, honest

I am feeling a little faint still, I must confess. Better than I was feeling earlier this afternoon though, obviously. It takes a little while for the effects of an experience that traumatic to wear off. The children, ironically, are showing no after-effects at all.

I have been to Toys R Us. A couple of days after Christmas. It was......not relaxing. The boys had both been given a gift card for Christmas and were desparate to spend it. (I am actually impressed they managed to last from Tuesday to Friday without exploding due to the anticipation.) The car park was, as expected, absolutely heaving and we had to drive round a bit to get a space. There were crowds of people EVERYWHERE. They appeared to be getting bodies into Marks & Spencer with the aid of a crowbar. Not being a recreational shopper, I find it hard to understand why people want to spend their precious days off fighting their way round shops a scant few days after they have completed the most intensive bout of shopping of the year. I would happily not go near a shop until March, left to my own devices.

Anyway, we got into Toys R Us (is it just me, or is that shop just permanently....grubby?) and the boys went into stimulation overload. The sheer amount of coloured branded plastic on offer was almost too much to cope with. They ran around from the Dr Who display to the Lego to the Star Wars figures to the Lego Star Wars stuff and back again about, oh, several hundred times. All the while, approximately eleventy dozen other children (mostly boys, interestingly) were doing exactly the same, feverishly clutching their Christmas money. First Born had to be dissuaded from buying yet another plastic laser gun that goes "Wheedle-eeedle-eedle-ooo!" at precisely the pitch to make you want to pack your ears with Polyfilla.

Amazingly, Second Born decided there wasn't anything he really wanted - he spent a few pounds on a Lego model kit but left with the bulk of his gift card intact. Even First Born didn't spend his entire allowance. He bought a Darth Vader figure and a laser screwdriver (the Master's one from Dr Who if you're interested) and more Lego, but he summoned the necessary inner strength to leave with £5 unspent. Believe me, that is a first. And on a positive note, I don't have girls so I didn't have to brave the Pink Aisles. The ones that are so brightly, aggresively cerise that from a distance they seem to pulsate slightly. They scare me a bit.

We then negotiated the car park again, sat in queues of traffic (have I told you how much I hate sitting in traffic?) and got home through absolutely torrential rain and a bit of localised flash flooding. The boys liked this last bit - the water was deep enough that cars going past us were spraying water right up over our car's roof. Very exciting. So we have yet more cardboard to dispose of, more Lego to add to the three hundredweight we already had and First Born has another piece of battery-powered plastic that lights up and goes "Wheeeeeeeee!"

Tomorrow, I plan to go for a run to try to atone for the remains of the box of Lindor I have just polished off whilst reading blogs and watching TV. Unless it's raining again. I'm not feeling that guilty.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Santa was good to me

Well, our Christmas went pretty well, all things considered. The children didn't get up until 7am to check out their stockings (which I had managed to get in and fill, undetected, just before midnight) and they kindly then went back to bed for a wee while. Their stockings contained, amongst other things, a kazoo and a swany whistle. Extra credit to anyone who can identify, from that information, to which show we have successfully addicted our children. We are very proud.

My father in law was through from Troon staying with us, and it was really nice to have him here. He has been a bit unwell and in fact this time last year was in hospital, so we are grateful he is out and back home. The slight downside has been that his medication makes him a little more drowsy and lethargic than he used to be, and he needs to sleep more. We managed to keep the children under control, told him to go for a nap whenever he needed to and he seemed to really enjoy his stay, despite not much happening. I think they are trying to reduce the amount of drugs he has to take so fingers crossed he may improve even more.

On Christmas morning I had felt a cold coming on so had taken some precautionary cold medication - you know, that stuff that dries up all the fluids in your body, including all fluid in your brain? This led to my normally pretty sound ability to get all of the elements of a meal ready and on the table at the same time completely deserting me. In my slightly befuddled state I decided that it would take more time to cook carrots than to roast potatoes. Not even close. So everyone had to wait a bit while the tatties caught up with everything else. It all came out okay though (at least, all 9 people round the table ate plenty of everything and no-one died!) And I got to pinch the extra chipolatas which are my favourite part of the Christmas lunch, bar none. In fact I think I enjoy picking at the food before and after the meal more than eating the lunch itself!

Christmas puddings were provided by the son of a good friend of mine who happens to be a chef (the son, not the friend) and they were just fabulous: boozy and sweet and not too rich. I texted my friend with my thanks and a request to adopt her son. He's 33, but I will overlook that if he continues to make me Christmas puddings. They were that good.

We rounded off Christmas day by going out for a walk in the biting cold and frost. We played "Spot the most garish Christmas lights" and took my FIL round the corner to a spot where he could try calling for his cat. When he was admitted to hospital at the end of 2006 we initially arranged for one of his neighbours to go in and feed his cat. However as it became clear that FIL would be in hospital for some time, we had to do something about Towser, so my sister-in-law (who lives opposite us) brought the cat through to live with her. Unfortunately, Towser got out and vanished. We tried all the usual searches, contacted all the authorities, put up posters and so on, to no avail. We had a couple of reported sightings nearby - a lady who feeds various stray cats was positive she had seen him - but they didn't come to anything.

We doubted there was any chance whatsoever that Towser was still around but FIL really wanted to go and look, so we took him round the area, with him whistling and calling all the way. It was a bit sad and my SIL was quite upset as she naturally feels particularly bad that Towser escaped "on her watch". It wasn't her fault but she can't help feeling guilty. Whilst it was a bit of a painful experience, at least FIL seems to have accepted now that Towser has found himself another berth and is even talking about getting another cat, so it may have been for the best.

And now it is Boxing Day, FIL has gone home, we have spent the day lazing around and doing not very much. We dragged the children out for a walk mid-afternoon, very much against their will (they wanted to watch more Dr Who) but we are keenly aware that small boys are like dogs: they have to be exercised and let off the leash for a while every day or they start ricocheting off the walls in an alarming and vaguely destructive way. They are now in bed and husband and I are each sitting with our laptops and a glass of water like the hard-living rebels we are.

Oh! And I nearly forgot! Great Christmas present from husband (in addition to the cookbook and the DVDs of "The Lives of Others" and "Animaniacs" - my tastes are nothing if not varied) If you wander over when you have a minute to, you will discover that I am the proud owner of my own domain name! Just like a proper blogger (once I figure out how to move over from Blogger onto Wordpress or whatever it is I need to do.) Not for nothing is my husband known as "Lord of the Domains". No, really, he is.

PS - Thanks to Coffeedog for commenting - much appreciated!!

Monday, 24 December 2007

Belt and braces

Well, despite all the eye rolling and "We're too old for that now!" and "Santa doesn't exist!" stuff, the boys have gone off to bed and our coffee table bears its traditional offering of a carrot, a chocolate chip cookie and a glass of single malt (Santa knows what he likes!). I suspect it may be just a fondness for the ritual that caused them to want to leave the goodies out for Santa, although there may also be an element of covering all the bases. No point in upsetting the big guy in the red suit if it turns out he was in charge of the presents all along!

Rather irritatingly, it appears that my husband has nominated himself to dispose of the whisky and the chocolate cookie, leaving me with the job of impersonating Rudolph. Well, at least it's healthy. Off now to haul bags of goodies down the stairs hopefully without disturbing the offspring. I hope all my readers (all 3 of you) have a spectacular and peaceful Christmas.

Friday, 21 December 2007

Nearly there

Last day at work before Christmas today and would you believe it, I have two client meetings. Because I will definitely be able to get you divorced in the two and a half hours between our meeting and the whole of Edinburgh shutting down for Christmas. Honest.

Christmas is shaping up okay, I think. I seem to be the designated wrapper this year. I wrapped my Dad's presents to my Mum this morning because I had ordered them for him on the interweb and I know he can't wrap for toffee so I did it for him. I wrapped husband's presents for friends of his from work on Wednesday night (again because husband can't wrap. Or rap for that matter) when I was feeling nice and "relaxed" after our office Christmas lunch. And tonight I will be wrapping our presents for the boys and my father-in-law's presents for the boys which we have bought for him because he has been unwell and though he is much better now, he isn't up to deciphering precisely which Dr Who figures are the ones our offspring crave. Good job I like wrapping stuff. And I do. I love that orderly, tidy pile of neatly wrapped packages beneath the tree when I have finished. I think all my organisational and neatness impulses go into wrapping presents at Christmas and I have none left over for the rest of the year for, you know, hoovering and dusting and stuff.

We are off through to sunny Troon tomorrow to pick up father-in-law and bring him back to Edinburgh for Christmas with us. Our plan is to spend the day there, take him out for a meal and then drive back through. First Born is particularly pleased about this - we will be going for chinese food and as he plaintively said this morning "I haven't had chinese for TWO WEEKS!". Oh, the humanity. Call Social Services.

I don't know whether my FIL will have decorated his house or not. I really hope he has put his tree up as I remember vividly the first time I saw it. I spent my first Christmas with husband's family rather than mine about, gosh, 20 years ago now. I walked into the living room of FIL's house to be met with the vision that was a purple tinsel Christmas tree in all its Seventies splendour. Better yet, it had a severed head hanging from it. When I finally plucked up the courage to ask husband-of-the-future about that, he seemed mildly surprised that I found it odd. "We used to have an angel for the top of the tree," he explained. "But the body fell off so we hung the head on the tree." As you do. They had been doing this for years and never considered it.......weird. Which is partly why I married him.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

The Magic of Christmas

This is the first Christmas with our boys when they have not either believed in Santa or at least been willing to humour us. Last year they were still buying in to the whole "presents come from Santa" routine, although they have always known that we parents also have a big role in the production too. We have a special relationship with the fairies, you see. Did you not know about the fairies? Let me enlighten you. Mummies and Daddies (and aunties and uncles and grannies etc etc) choose your presents because they know what you want and what you like. Then the fairies come and take those presents away to the North Pole where Santa lives (or Lapland, depending on your own family's version of the mythology). And, providing you are good (for we cannot give up the excellent blackmail material that Christmas provides), Santa brings the presents from your family on Christmas day.

We have my husband's mother to thank for that arrangement. She had a similar arrangement with the fairies herself. It is excellent because it also gets round the problem of small boy changing HIS ENTIRE CHRISTMAS LIST ON DECEMBER 23RD!!! ("Oh, I'm sorry, I think the fairies have already taken the presents you said you wanted away to Santa! But you would still like those, wouldn't you?")

Anyway, this year the boys haven't mentioned Santa, neither have we and they know who is getting them what as they made up a VERY detailed list which they then distributed to anyone within reach. Another milestone passes. They are still going to get stockings though - I'll just worry less about being seen creeping into their room at 2am to fill them. Which I always am, because the boys usually awake at 3am to eat the sweets they find in there.

Which reminds me of an excellent family anecdote (from husband's family, but he won't mind). My mother-in-law has 2 cousins, brothers, one of whom is now a judge so I come across him in a professional capacity now and again. (It is irrelevant that he is a judge, but I do remember this story every time I see him. I wonder if it scarred him for life). One Christmas Eve when they were quite young, they were pretending to be asleep when their father crept into the room dressed as Santa to fill the stockings. One brother obviously gave it away that he was awake so Santa leaned over and hissed "LIE STILL!!!" I like to imagine him being found, rigid and petrified in the morning. That's one scary Santa.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Typical Monday morning

I did not get out for a run this weekend mainly due to other commitments like shopping, cleaning and so on. (Had to tackle the horror that is the boys' bathroom as my father-in-law is coming to stay this Saturday and he will have to share it with them.) We did manage to have a nice long walk all together yesterday, stomping across the frosty fields with the boys jumping on the frozen puddles and trying to scrape the frost together to make a snowball.

I was feeling sufficiently guilty about the lack of running however that last night I made husband promise to physically turf me out of bed this morning to go for a run. And he did. At 6am. He's just too damn efficient for his own good!

So, I struggled into several layers of clothes, including a fleece that will zip up to my nose if I need it to. Did you know it was COLD this morning? Minus 6 outside our house. It was however really nice to be out in the frosty dark with no-one else around. Gave me a satisfyingly smug feeling. I had no feeling in my face and fingers to start with, but after about 5 minutes I warmed up nicely and even the fingers (I can't run wearing gloves, it just feels odd) defrosted. I saw absolutely no-one else out and about and even the wildlife seemed to have decided to stay in bed. I ran about 3.5km in about 27 minutes, taking things fairly easily as I wasn't sure how slippery it was going to be underfoot. It was actually fine as what we had was a thick white frost rather than ice and it didn't seem to be too treacherous. The weather has been sufficiently weird this year that there were loads of gardens with flowers out, completely coated in frost. We even saw daisies in the grass yesterday, preserved in ice!

As I got back to the house I was eyeing up the car, which was coated with frost, and mentally calculating how long it was going to take me to scrape it off and get it ready for the drive to school and work. As it happens I needn't have worried. It wouldn't start anyway. When I turned the ignition I just got a sort of n-n-n-n-no way noise. Engine wouldn't even fire. I am hoping it was just the long cold night causing the diesel to freeze up and that it will be okay by tonight. Anyway, the boys and I had to call a taxi.

Second Born was actually quite pleased about that. He had been saying yesterday that despite having reached the grand old age of 7, he had never been in a taxi. I am now wondering if he has sabotaged the car just to get a go in a cab! Whatever the cause, it has confirmed to me that the boys need to get their bikes and scooters and assorted junk out of the garage and into their shed so we can get the car in there! A job for Wednesday when school finishes up, methinks. Bet that will go down well!

EDITED FOR THE BENEFIT OF MY HUSBAND: Okay, you're TOO damn efficient, not "to damn efficient". Happy now? (You're still damn efficient!)

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Gradually distilling that Christmas spirit

It's taking a while but I am gradually getting into the Christmas mood. I suspect because we are pretty much having Christmas delivered by eBay and Amazon, and I am therefore not out in the shops much, it takes longer for it to really sink in that Christmas is almost upon us. There is something about hearing Slade drilling remorselessly into your ears that really brings it home that the festive season is nigh. Not surprisingly, we don't play that particular song on a loop while we surf the net so haven't succumbed to its insidious charms.

On Friday I attended First Born's P4 and P5 Christmas concert at a church near his school. He wasn't doing anything particular - I mean he was there and singing with the rest but not doing a solo or playing an instrument or anything. (He has not, it would appear, inherited his father's musical aptitude. Or if he has, he is keeping it very quiet.) A girl we have known since she was 4 as she used to be in FB's nursery class opened the proceedings by singing Emmanuel. Solo and unaccompanied in front of a couple of hundred of her schoolmates, assorted teachers and hordes of parents and grandparents. She's not my daughter but I still got a lump in my throat. God help me if one of mine ever does something similar - I will dissolve so fast they will need to scrape me off the floor and send me home in a bucket.

The singing of various carols, finishing off with "O Come All Ye Faithful", got the Christmas spirit going at long last. I used to sing (badly) in choirs all the way through school and every Christmas sang in the Christmas concert. The sound of those carols and Christmas songs (we used to do a very jazzy medley of stuff like Frosty the Snowman and Winter Wonderland) takes me right back in an instant to my childhood.

My mum and my gran would always come to those concerts and either really enjoyed them or did a splendid job of pretending. My dad worked abroad in Saudi Arabia so more often than not was not around for Christmas itself. We spent many hours on various Christmas days struggling with the frankly Kafka-esque Saudi telephone system trying to get through to speak to him for a couple of brief minutes. My Christmas memories therefore do not always include my dad, which is a shame.

They do however include my mum outside in the garden raking through the bin because my brother tore through his presents like a tasmanian devil (the Bugs Bunny incarnation of course) and invariably missed the little card from my other granny with a £5 postal order in it which then went out in the bin with the wrapping paper debris. Christmas wasn't Christmas unless my mum was up to her armpits in the bin, outside in the freezing cold, shouting "What colour was the wrapping paper??????" Makes me wonder what our own children's memories of Christmas will be when they are grown up. Mostly the Dr Who Christmas Special, I suspect.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007


Just been for a quick lunchtime visit to the new gym and it went pretty well. On closer inspection, the changing rooms were even more utilitarian than I remembered (think painted breeze block walls, reminiscent of primary school) but they were spotlessly clean and EMPTY. I could have danced around naked to my heart's content without frightening anyone. You know, if I'd wanted to.

I just wanted a quick run so I set the treadmill for 30 minutes, 1% incline and 8kph and off I went. I ran for 30 minutes and then cooled down for 5. Covered 4 and a bit km. BUT! I should get extra credit because on the TV screen for most of that run was Cliff Richard on Loose Women. I know I couldn't hear him but I could see him and he was trying to dance (like he did on SCD on Sunday night) and at one point they had his calendar out and were showing a picture of him pretending to shave and wearing nothing but a towel. Frankly I deserve a medal for not gagging and falling off the treadmill at that point. Someone needs to take Sir Cliff off to one side and tell him that (a) he is too old for leather trousers. By about 50 years. And (b) he is just...icky and should stop. Just stop.*

*Sorry to any Cliff fans reading.**

** Except not really. What are you thinking?????

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

It's a worry

Just had a conversation with Second Born. I was in the kitchen, preparing some of the mountain of fruit this family gets through in a week when he appeared and demanded a hug. I dutifully got down on my knees (having wiped the pineapple off my hands) and gave the requested cuddle. Second Born then pulled back and looked at me with a very serious face.

"I am concerned" he said.


"Yes. Concerned"

"Oh dear, what are you concerned about?" (Thinks: He looks really serious. What could it be? Fallen out with friend? Broken something and wants to own up? Bullied at school? WHAT?!!!)

"Yes. My friend on Club Penguin* has two bamboo sofas in his igloo with a rug in between them and they look really nice and I can't figure out how to get them like that in my igloo. Mine just don't look right."

Interior design. It's a worry.

* Club Penguin, for those without children, is a social networking-type site for children where their characters are penguins and they have their own igloos which they can furnish how they like, purchasing stuff from a catalogue using the coins they earn working in the Pizza restaurant or playing games. Glad you asked now, aren't you?

Monday, 10 December 2007

Oh, was that the weekend?.....

At the risk of repeating myself, the weekends just vanish like snow off a dyke these days. I'm sure in the days BC (before children) weekends were long and lazy and langorous. I'm sure I used to read the newspapers. All of them. And we used to have lengthy breakfast-come-brunches involving fresh bread, still warm from the oven.

Actually, that is one of the things I miss about living where we do now. We used to live in Marchmont, which is the heart of middle-class bohemia mixed with student-land. On a weekend morning, we could stroll to our nearest corner shop for brunch supplies, but in Marchmont corner shops, there were a dozen different kinds of bread, many baked right there on the premises, and croissants and pains au chocolat. There were scores of different kinds of cheeses and olives and what have you. We moved up here to the suburbs (two kids = can't afford to live in Marchmont any more!) and discovered that the bread in our local shop is steadfastly plastic wrapped and your choice of cheese is either shrink wrapped orange cheddar or Dairylea. Takes the spontaneity out of weekend brunches if you have to pack the kids into the car and to go Sainsbury's.

Anyway, where was I? Oh the weekend. Early shopping on Saturday so that husband could have a jam session with his friend (very loud. We have a drumkit. And friend has just acquired a big amp which they wanted to "blow the dust out of"). I spent the day finishing off my sister-in-law's birthday cake. She has a phobia about eyeballs so of course I made her a cake with a big icing eyeball on it, complete with wee red veins. I would show you a photo, but we didn't take one. It tasted good though and my children enjoyed shouting "You're eating EYEBALL!" at her.

Sunday I took First Born to karate and went in the gym while he karate-d. I ran on the treadmill, which was lovely because the gym has a window and you can see sky and trees and stuff, and I stretched and did sit-ups and a wee stint on the exercise bike. Then I went home, showered and drove Second Born to a birthday party in Bonnyrigg. Went fruitlessly looking for some Christmas presents and then picked him up again and took him home.

Made pizza for dinner for everyone and that was pretty much it. Watched Strictly Come Dancing of course. I am a bit sorry to see Letitia go. She is the same age as me and I liked to fantasise that with a bit of BBC makeup and wardrobe magic, I too could look like that (the fact my legs are about 9 inches shorter than hers and my hair is mousy brown and short is of course irrelevant). I liked the fact that she was real-life-woman-shaped and proud of it.

You know you're getting old when the highlight of your weekend involves Bruce Forsyth.

Friday, 7 December 2007

I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it

Running slightly behind time this morning, the boys had not appeared downstairs after going up to get washed and dressed. Or at least dressed. I loaded all the paraphernalia into the car and then headed upstairs to find out what was happening, as usually they like a couple of minutes of Gameboy time before we leave and it's not like them to miss out on it.

I found them both deep in discussion of some Star Wars role playing type game (First Born again being Darth Maul I think. Handy, as the jam on his face is red). FB is pretty much dressed. He shrugs his blazer on and disappears downstairs. Second Born does not yet have tie, jumper, blazer or shoes on. He dashes around getting ready and grabs his blazer. Then he wails "Mum! It's too big for me! I need a new blazer!" I look back. He is indeed swamped by the blazer. I call FB back upstairs. "Is your blazer okay?"

"Yeah" he shrugs. I shake my head in disbelief and position both boys in front of the mirror. FB's shoulders are up around his ears and his blazer barely reaches his backside. SB can hardly be seen for his. "Any suggestions as to what might have happened here?" I ask.

There is a pause before realisation dawns and the fighting starts "You stole my blazer!" "I didn't know it was your blazer and anyway you took mine" "I don't want yours...." etc etc. Normality resumes. I should have just let them go like that.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Boys will be boys

Before I had children, I used to believe, in a woolly half-thought-out sort of way, that how kids turned out was mostly to do with how they were brought up. Nurture versus nature. It was the kind of thinking that had me deciding, before my first son was born, that he would not be allowed to drink anything but milk and water (no sugary fruit juice for my child!); that he would watch very little TV (Yes. Well. Moving right along.); and that he would not have violent toys such as guns and so on.

Those of you with sons are now either wiping tears of laughter from your eyes or shaking your head in disbelief at my naivety. Children are born (are you ready for this?) with fully formed personalities. And! All your carefully considered decisions about how you are going to raise your perfect child go out the window when you bring your little bundle home and actually have to figure out strategies to get through the day. And more importantly, the night. Hate the idea of dummies but your baby likes to suck on something to get to sleep? No contest. Your need to sleep, and therefore function like something resembling a human being, triumphs and the dummy is purchased.

Now, I am way past all of that stuff as my offspring are now big lumps of boy but I was reminded this morning of our very short-lived attempts not to allow the boys violent toys such as guns, lasers, thermo-nuclear devices and so on. I will let you into a secret: boys like that stuff. If you don't let them have actual toy laser guns, they will make them out of anything they can lay their hands on: lego, twigs, cutlery, you name it. Eventually you realise there is no point in trying to shield your little angel from the influence of a toy sonic blaster when he is playing at melting his brother's face with a chopstick.

This morning, our two were playing at Star Wars in the living room as we got the car packed ready for the day. The living room door was closed (in order to exclude the boring adults who insisted that the death of Darth Maul must wait till after school), but we could see them as it has glass panels. When we were ready to go, husband and I stood at the door and scratched pathetically at it to be allowed in. First Born spotted us and howled "No!". Second Born appeared at the door and repelled us with the immortal threat "Get back! I have a sheep and I am not afraid to use it!"

See, in the hands of a 7 year old, even a stuffed toy is a lethal weapon.

Sunday, 2 December 2007


A very housebound weekend we have had (gone all Yoda there for some reason). We had planned to go swimming with the boys and my ex-brother-in-law (husband is allergic to chlorine and is therefore excused such outings. Just the sound of a swimming pool brings him out in a rash) but we cancelled that as First Born has picked up a belter of a cough/cold thing and I decided it was not fair on the citizens of Edinburgh to let him loose in a pool, exuding unpleasant secretions as he is.

We had expected absolutely awful weather from every weather forecast we had seen: reports of gale force winds, rain, plagues of frogs etc. None of which actually arrived. We had a standard early December weekend. Cool, overcast, a bit dreich. I think we would be as well to go back to the traditional "bit of seaweed outside the window" method of weather forecasting.

So we have been indoors for pretty much the whole weekend. With First Born snorting and coughing and gurgling on the couch. Can anyone tell me how you train a 9 year old boy to blow his nose on a tissue rather than, say, to snort loudly and then wipe his nose with his hand/sleeve? I should be grateful I suppose, that we are past the stage when he was using my sleeve or whatever part of me happened to be handy, or indeed just appearing with......"stuff" on the end of his finger to be dealt with. The joys of toddler parenthood: drive-by snottings.

Friday, 30 November 2007

A-a-a-and relax.

30th November. Last NaBloPoMo post and I can't decide if I am relieved or disappointed. I have sort of enjoyed the discipline of putting digits to keyboard every day and although I doubt any of the posts will be in the running for a Pulitzer prize, they give an interesting insight into my less than interesting life. Or at least the bits of it occupying my brain at the point I sat down in front of the laptop.

Also, it has just occurred to me that I think the Na in NaBloPoMo stands for National. Since I am not, nor have I ever been, American (not that I would mind being American, I just wasn't born that way), it would make more sense to me to call it World Blog Posting Month. WoBloMoPo. Heh.

In other news, I went to the gym today for the last time as my membership expires today. On the upside, I will no longer be paying £48 per month for the privilege of sitting at my desk thinking "Nah, I'll just read instead". On the downside, it is a nice gym, it is handy for my office, it has parking and I enjoyed it when I went. Watch this space to see if I follow through on the whole "get a Leisure Card and start using the gyms your astronomical council tax helps pay for" plan.

I will try to keep posting at least fairly regularly, despite not having WoBloPoMo as a spur (hee! I just typed "sput" by mistake. I wish that was a real word.). You can decide for yourselves whether you think that is a good thing or not. Hope everyone has a nice (if windy - forecast here is hurricane force winds!!!) weekend.

Thursday, 29 November 2007


Well, hubby and I trotted off to see Beowulf last night. We even got some popcorn (£7.40 for 2 bags of popcorn - what's that in dollars for our North American cousins? $15?! It's an outrage I tell you!). Despite being a 5.30 showing on a week night the cinema was pretty busy. High proportion of young single guys of the slightly geek-ish persuasion. And the film is just a great laugh.

It is not deep or thoughtful and the plot is thin-ish and as expected, takes some liberties with the original, but it is absolutely fantastic to look at. If you want to see it, definitely go and see it in the cinema as it will be a complete waste of time watching it on a small screen. And if you are going to go to the cinema to see it, try to see it in 3D. All those arrows and swords and spears flying at you will be just pointless (hah! pointless!) if they don't make you sit back in your seat as they come at your nose. And you get spattered with blood and other fluids quite often, in a virtual way. But the fight and chase scenes are magnificent. Grendel is really well done - possibly the best realisation of the film - and you forget you are watching computer animation half the time. Ray Winstone is memorable in the title role (think dodgy East End car salesman: "Oi've come ta kill yer monstah!") leading to an outbreak of imitation last night and this morning in our house. "Oi've come ta put the bins aht!" This will run and run, I suspect.

One note of caution: the film is certified 12A here which means kids under 12 can see it if they are with an adult. There were some kids of about 11 or so in the cinema but I really reckon it's not for kids under 12 unless they are made of pretty stout stuff. The violence is pretty graphic and thanks to the 3D you are right in among it. And the humour is pretty earthy in places and you don't want to know what Angelina Jolie asks Beowulf to do. Or maybe you do, but not with your kids sitting beside you. My kids (a sensitive 9 year old and a more robust 7 year old) would have found it hard going in places, I think.

So there you have it. Thumbs up for 3D Beowulf (and fingers crossed that Angelina Jolie had to be significantly computer enhanced because if she really looks anything like that in real life, well, life just isn't fair). And tomorrow is the last day of NaBloPoMo and provided I manage to crawl to the computer sometime on Friday, I will have posted every day of November.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

I'm so excited

No, I didn't find my watch (sadly) and it's not the prospect of the exciting summons I have to draft this afternoon. It's not the fact that I got the last one of the absolutely out-of-this-world french chocolates our occasional French/Spanish work assistant brought us (proper marzipan in dark chocolate - bliss!). It's not the prospect of a cup of tea shortly (though being Scottish, that is always cause for a little celebration). It's not the fact that I found the file for which I've been looking for a few (*cough* five *cough*) days. It's the fact that, after work today, my husband and I are going out. To the cinema. On our own. Sans children. My sister-in-law is kindly doing the boy wrangling for us this evening and we are off to see Beowulf. In 3D no less! I know it's a popcorn movie and I know it will bear little or no resemblance to the epic poem (we actually have the excellent Seamus Heaney translation at home, for we are interleckshewall) but I reckon it will be a good bit of mindless escapism. My only concern is that if I am put in a comfy seat in a darkened room and allowed to sit still and do nothing for 2 hours, I may just doze off. Either way, I'll enjoy myself. Review tomorrow!

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

I apologise for this post in advance

Nothing interesting has happened to me today (other than that I have lost my watch which fell off my wrist because it has been needing a new strap for a while and I am dumb and didn't replace it. I got the watch for my 21st birthday mumble-teen years ago so I am kind of upset about that) I have been at my desk all day other than that and am due to participate in a partners' meeting tonight which I can tell you in advance will not qualify as interesting or entertaining on any criteria you care to mention. Partnership meetings, certainly in my experience, consist of us all getting together, moaning about how we don't like being lawyers and failing to make any decisions on any topic at all until we all get bored and go home. Oh, and the others talk about football for a while but I glaze over during that. So. There you go. A mixture of dull and dumb. Not a brilliant Tuesday really. (And needless to say I did not get out for a run at lunchtime because I was busy phoning shops to see if they had my watch. They didn't.) Rainbows and sunshine and unicorns tomorrow, promise.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Well, shucks, how kind of you

Monday morning, so back to work after the heady excitement of the weekend and Strictly Come Dancing (I can stop any time I want, honest I can). Had a nice morning today as I had a meeting with a new client. She is an older lady who isn't able to get out so I went to see her. She got me on side immediately by saying "Oh, I wondered if you would be a young thing or a middle aged lady.." I laughed and said "Well, middle aged is I think the accurate description" but she patted my arm and said "Oh, no, you're just a lass!" I like this lady.

I always feel slightly like a fraud when I am in full solicitor persona, as if someone at some point is going to point at me and shout "She's not a proper lawyer! Stop her!" This may have something to do with my deep seated insecurities and possibly a little to do with the fact that at least three clients of mine, with no connection to each other have said "You don't talk like a lawyer" or words to that effect. I am never quite sure what to make of that but it does seem to suggest that whatever I am doing, it is not what people expect a lawyer to be like. Whether this is because people have very mistaken ideas about what lawyers are like or because I am genuinely not like a real lawyer, I will leave you to guess!

But I must tell you of the best recommendation anyone has ever given for my firm. I acted for a client in a fairly lengthy matter and got a good result for him. He then recommended us to a friend of his with the immortal line "Use XY, you'll like them. They're no' up themselves". We are seriously considering using that as our advertising strapline "XY. We're no' up oursel's" Could catch on.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Wow, I'm go-o-o-od!

I wish I could get my water to pick the lottery numbers, I tell you!

I need a lie down

Well, I did it. I went out this morning, iPod clad, to do a long run - aiming, in fact, to do the longest run I have ever done. I have never got further than about 5 or 5.5km before and wanted to try to do 6km. I have to run 10km in public next year and thought it might be a good idea to start trying gently to increase the distance I can cover. I should reiterate at this point that while I can manage to run for about 30 minutes non-stop, more often I tend to run for about 15 minutes, then walk a minute and then repeat longer running with shorter walking breaks until I get round the appointed route or reach the allotted time on my feet.

I used to really worry that this meant I wasn't really running. I genuinely thought that all those people who run 10ks, half marathons, even marathons, all run without ever stopping to walk. I now know this is not true, so am a bit more relaxed about walking for a moment if I feel I need to. I still run at least 8 or 9 minutes for every one I walk so I am not too bothered. I figure I will gradually improve and need to walk less often. Incidentally, on this topic, I read on someone's blog (Zoot's, I suspect) about an interview done after a full marathon with both the winner and the person who came in last. The winner had run the marathon in, oh, 2 and a half hours or something, and the last person had taken 7 hours. The last guy in turned to the winner in awe and said "You can run a marathon in 2 and a half hours???". The winner turned to the last guy and said in amazement "You can run for 7 hours??!!!" I liked that - kind of put it in perspective.

Anyway, one way or another I got round my 6km route (including taking some wrong turnings in some residential streets I don't know well which kept turning out to be culs-de-sac) so I feel quite proud of myself. Then this afternoon, the boys, husband and I went out for a walk and I covered much of the same ground again at a more sedate pace and with less puffing and sweating. And swearing under my breath. (It was the hills - they deserved it.) I have a massive blister to show for my efforts which is now tucked up under a Compeed plaster and has confirmed for me again that I need to get some new shoes. So now I am off to make roast chicken, gravy, potatoes, stuffing, cauliflower, sweetcorn, bread sauce and cranberry for dinner and then SB and I will watch the Strictly Come Dancing results. (John Barnes is going out, I feel it in my water.)

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Iceberg ahoy!

Do you know how, if you are 9, you make an iceberg? No? Well, settle in and let me enlighten you. You get a carrier bag, fill it with water (do this upstairs so you have to carry it downstairs again, full of water), and then you put it in the chest freezer in the garage and wait for it to freeze. If you like, you can put it right beside that cup of dry tea leaves you put in there last week just to see what would happen. DO NOT ask for permission/help from any grownup. They will just spoil the fun by insisting you do stuff like check if the bag has holes in it.

Do you know how NOT to make an iceberg if you are 9? Get the aforesaid perforated carrier bag, place it in the bathroom sink and turn on the tap to fill it. Get called down for dinner by your Granny and think "Great! Noodles and tuna, my favourite!" Run downstairs for dinner. Eat dinner, happily humming to yourself. 20 minutes later, think "Uh-oh!" when Granny says "I am sure I can hear water running somewhere........."

Discover that, interestingly, your bathroom is located right above the entrance hall. Right above that damp patch shaped like Luxembourg. Wait, France. No wait, Canada.......

Friday, 23 November 2007

Well, it's Friday

This NaBloPoMo thing has definitely been interesting as more than once I have found myself facing a blank laptop screen , devoid of inspiration but needing to write something. Most days something has occurred to me, albeit not always something terribly enlightening or entertaining. Tonight is a blank night. It is 7.30pm. I am home from work. Husband is out doing musical type stuff and the boys and I are lounging in the living room. First Born is playing Gameboy. Second Born is producing another of his fantastical Lego creations (last night's was a car which was controlled by the driver's mind and with an engine that you unplugged and took with you when you left so it wasn't worth stealing the car). I have every intention of preparing something comforting to eat later and vegging in front of the TV.

I half-heartedly thought of joining in the fun of photographing the fridge contents but as I am (a) really feeling very lazy indeed, (b) a bit dense about operating our camera, and (c) due to go shopping tomorrow and the fridge is accordingly so bare that I'm sure I saw tumbleweed rolling across the salad drawer, I have decided not to. (Yet!)

The weekend in prospect is full of the usual joys: shopping, running (I hope to do 6km this weekend. You may shout at me on Monday if I haven't at least tried), washing and if we are very lucky, a family walk at some point. The weekend weather has been unremittingly awful recently so it would be nice to get up into the hills again for a bit of fresh air if we can. OH! And Strictly Come Dancing of course. Second Born and I are predicting that John Barnes will go out this week. Maybe I had better schedule some nice rough football practice for the boys too. Just to redress the balance....

Thursday, 22 November 2007


I got myself off to the gym at lunchtime today for a run (on the dreaded Treadmill of Terminal Boredom but a run nonetheless). This is the second time this week I have been to the gym for a run. Which is twice more than I have been to the gym in the whole of the last 2 months. And would you like to know what has finally motivated me to get off my backside? I cancelled my gym membership. It was costing me about £48 per month and I was barely going, so each trip was costing £12 or something, and frankly I could not justify the expense if I was not using it at least 2 or 3 times a week.

So I cancelled it, and my membership ends on 30 November. I have therefore been motivated to go to the gym at long last by the fact that soon I won't be able to go to the gym any more. This is so ridiculously perverse that I want to grab myself by the scruff of the neck and shake myself.

I have decided to try getting an Edinburgh Council Leisure Card, which for the cost of one month's gym membership, will give me discounted entry to any of the many Edinburgh Council leisure centres. There is a swim centre/small gym about 10 minutes from my office, a pool and bigger gym 3 minutes by car or about 10 minutes on foot from my house and the place where I take First Born for karate on a Sunday also has a local authority gym in it. So in theory, with so much choice, I should be able to go to a place that suits me when it suits me.

I am now taking bets on how often I actually go to any of these places once I have bought the card. And on whether I decide in 4 weeks' time that I truly love my Virgin Active gym with its shiny lockers and comfy bar after all and re-join. I'm fickle like that.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Whee! A book meme!

I was tagged for this by the lovely Isabelle and since it's about books I could hardly wait!

Hardcover or paperback and why? I kind of answered this in Isabelle's comments. Paperback definitely. I do other things while I read such as eat and stir dinner and you just can't hold a hardback in one hand. And I'm cheap. Oh! And I have been getting lots of books recently via a wonderful website called which I thoroughly recommend if you read a lot, and the books I get from there just tend to be paperbacks.

If I were to own a bookshop I would call it... this is my regular fantasy - my own bookshop. I have even decided what kind of bookshop it would be - it would specialise in Scottish literature so that the hordes of tourists who come here would have something better than a fake kilt and a stuffed Loch Ness Monster to take home. Books by everyone from Neil Gunn and George Mackay Brown to Iain Banks and Christopher Brookmyre. And a coffee shop selling my cookies, naturally. Don't know what I would call it though........I'll think about that one. I'd be tempted to call it Guddle, as with my organisational skills, I suspect that's what it would become

My favourite quote from a book (mention the title) Difficult one. I have always liked "It was the day my grandmother exploded." which is the opening line of The Crow Road by Iain Banks. Although it is a very obvious attention grabber, it still sort of sums up the attitude of the book and of Iain Banks' fiction generally. And there are loads of good one-liners in the stories of Saki, but if I start listing those, I'll be here all day.

The author (alive or deceased) I would love to have lunch with would be.. someone like Jane Austen. It would be fantastic to be able to tell them that their books are still read and loved hundreds of years later.

If I was going to a deserted island and could only bring one book, except for the SAS survival guide it would be... gah! Impossible question! Erm...I think I may go for the complete works of Saki just because it is light and frivolous and clever and would transport you away from your predicament. And you can dip in and out of it. (I love Saki as you can tell. I used to really covet a t-shirt I saw once which said "H. H. Munro is a wry swine". For I am a nerd)

I would love someone to invent a bookish gadget that....marked your page for you at the point where your attention started to stray because you are reading in bed and dozing off, so you don't have to go back looking for the last place where you actually took in any information, rather than where you actually stuck the bookmark. Or a gadget that allowed you to fall asleep reading and gently took your book out of your hands, marked your page, put it on your bedside table and switched off the light. Too much to ask for?

The smell of an old book reminds me of... law library, unfortunately.

The most overestimated book of all time is..... a close run thing between anything by James Joyce (I just don't get it) or "The Catcher in the Rye" which I LOATHED. Never wanted to slap a main character so much in my life.

I hate it when a book.. tries too hard to be deep. I like good, multi-layered, thought-provoking literature but I also like a good yarn with no pretensions. I hate it when the latter tries to dress itself up as the former. It's like those american sitcoms that try to incorporate deep moral lessons. Urgh.

If I could be the lead character in a book (mention the title) it would be... isn't that weird, the first couple of characters who popped into my head aren't the lead character, but sort of supporting cast. What does that say about me, I wonder? I really like "The Crow Road" by Iain Banks and a large part of this is because I like the character of Ashley. She is a well-drawn female character and I just wish I was like her in real life! But if I am thinking the other way, ie what character would I like to be in a book I would have to say Thursday Next in Jasper Fforde's books - jumping in and out of any book you want? Brilliant! And who wouldn't want a pet dodo?

I'm too scared to tag anyone else again so anyone reading this who likes books? Consider yourself tagged. And thanks, Isabelle - I enjoyed that.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Sad Persons Anonymous

I have a confession to make. I watch Strictly Come Dancing. Religiously, on a Saturday night, I watch the entire show. It is the only TV programme I specifically sit down to watch. And I watch the results show on Sunday (although, BBC? We all know the Sunday show is a con. It is recorded on Saturday night and could be a grand total of 15 minutes long and still happily include the recap, the results, the dance-off and the ejection of the losing couple. Don't make me sit through Westlife please.)

I also watch Strictly Come Dancing It Takes Two on weekday evenings. In my defence, I am usually pottering about the kitchen anyway so have it on in the background but I do specifically turn it on. I love Claudia and I especially love Claudia getting dancing lessons from Len. That's the week's best 5 minutes of comedy on TV. Second Born too, likes his SCD. He and I creep upstairs on a Saturday to watch it together sprawled on my bed making scathing comments (we are experts, you know). But I am slightly worried that this is not a good influence on SB

I may have mentioned before that we are not a sporty household. I am married to one of only about half a dozen Scottish men who couldn't care less about sport, and particuarly about football. My brother has in the past stated that bringing boys up in this heathen atmosphere is tantamount to child abuse. This issue was thrown into sharp relief yesterday morning.

We drop the boys at school at a pedestrian crossing manned by a very nice lollipop man. He always chats to the kids while they are waiting to cross and on Monday, he started with the opening gambit which would have worked with 99% of the Scottish population: "What did you think of the result on Saturday, eh? Rotten, wasn't it?" My boys both looked a bit blank and I suddenly realised that SB might take this as a SCD reference and the lollipop man's reference to Scotland's defeat at the hands (feet?) of Italy would be greeted by "What do you mean? Kate and Anton were long overdue to be kicked out! That pasa doble was rubbish!"

Fortunately, the light changed and the boys crossed before they had a chance to answer. SB's reputation as a Scottish male is intact. For now.

Monday, 19 November 2007

A peek inside my head

I have recurring dreams. Yes, I know, fascinating aren't I? What bothers me though is how mundane they are. And useless. I would love to be able to write about some completely surreal dream I keep having which needs careful thought and insight to decipher. Or to have dreams that inspire me to write brilliant fiction or that give me ideas for inventions or even just new and effective ways of getting that burnt-on brown stuff off the cooker. But my dreams are stubbornly, boringly mundane and pointless and a 5 year old could interpret them. You want examples?

1. I am in a strange building/shopping mall/city street/my old school and I am desparately in need of a toilet. There are lots of toilets but they are all either filthy and revolting (think that scene from "Trainspotting") or bizarrely open to public view with no doors. Interpretation? I shouldn't have had that last cup of tea before going to bed (duh!)

2. I am back at University, the exams are tomorrow and I have mysteriously managed to forget to go to any of the classes all year. Is there anyone alive who HASN'T had this dream? I mean, it is embarassingly unoriginal.

3. Suddenly noticing I am either naked or wearing very little in public. See number 2.

4. I am out trying to go for a run and I can't run. Literally - it is like my ankles have been shackled together and I can't take strides properly and people are looking at me weirdly as I stumble along. Hmmmm. Don't think we need to look too far for the meaning of that one either.

See what I mean? No earth-shattering revelations to be found in any of those. I am boring myself even when I am asleep! My husband on the other hand has spectacular dreams - Hollywood quality epics involving invasion and going on the run to avoid the enemy troops and what have you. How do I get those instead? Someone should invent an iPod-like gizmo that lets you share someone else's dreams. Never mind the iPhone, I'd be first in the queue for one of those.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Sunday again

I can't believe how quickly the weekends go these days. One minute it is Friday evening and in a blink of an eye it is Sunday evening and I am shepherding boys into the shower with a cattle prod. It was a dreich Sunday today in Edinburgh. First Born had his karate class and Second Born and I cemented our return to the mundane after our media debut by taking a trip to Makro.

I have to confess to a secret fondness for Makro. There is something alluring about all those familiar products but in HUGE quantities. The sight of boxes and boxes of Caramac, for example, always sets the heart racing! The shopping we do there is pretty dull though - toilet roll, kitchen roll, washing up liquid, trays of tins of tuna and plum tomatoes and beans. It does feel a bit like you are settling in for a siege when you get home. Second Born as always enjoyed being on his own without his older brother and was very helpful (small boys are useful for climbing into the very back of those big shelves to fish out the last of the BOGOF Bounty kitchen roll!) Rest of the day has been spent cooking, washing, forcing First Born to do some work for his project that is due in on Tuesday - the usual. I now fully intend to watch the Strictly Come Dancing results (please please please let Kate be put out this week!), eat something unhealthy and get to bed early. Hope everyone else had a good weekend too.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

So did you see my nose?

Second Born and I got ourselves togged up in something approaching our running clothes yesterday afternoon and set off for Glasgow for the Scottish end of the Children in Need live broadcast. SB navigated like an expert, reading out the directions I had printed off from the AA website (which I duly ignored and followed my gut instead. Fortunately, my guts were on form). We arrived safely and queued up to get in to the studios. The BBC building in Glasgow is just HUGE - it's a whacking great 5 storey slab of light and glass sitting on the water. Very impressive.

The studio was quite big with rows of cinema-like seats at the back and some round tables and chairs artfully arranged down the front where the stages were. SB and I were gobsmacked, upon displaying our wristbands, to find ourselves described as "featured fundraisers" and ushered to seats at one of those tables. There was a huge amount of activity as you would expect in the immediate run-up to a live broadcast. Scores of people in "crew" t-shirts and headsets running around, warning the audience in the cinema seats not to stand up or raise their arms or they would lose a limb to the crane camera that swoops over the audience getting those fast tracking shots. That camera is seriously huge too - they all are. I was very impressed by how smoothly the operators swished around the studio without hitting each other.

Jackie Bird was practising pieces to camera (she is both taller and skinnier in real life than on TV. Seriously, not only can you see her ribs, I think you can actually see through them). The bloke dressed up as Pudsey bear was led into position (given how carefully he was led around, I surmise he can't see a damn thing in that costume). As we sat waiting, a guy wandered onto the stage nearest us - about 8 feet from where we sat. I didn't pay much attention until the girl at the next table started to hyperventilate. It would appear the gentleman concerned was Shayne Ward. I had no idea who he was (I had to Google him just now to check how to spell his name) thus confirming that I am indeed old. He was quite good though, despite his inability to pronounce "Calderburn".

After what seemed like no time, our little stint was over and we headed out (clutching two stuffed Pudseys - can't leave First Born out unless we want never to forget "that time that not only did I not get on TV but SB got a Pudsey and I didn't and you hate me don't you??"). SB and I stopped in Govan for a McDonalds (for we are brave) and SB was asleep in the car by the time we got home. It was a great experience and I am really glad we went. And if you looked really closely at the audience during Shayne Ward's song, you could see the back of my head and most of SB. So now we are famous.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Well that was weird

Just did the wee spot on Fred Macauley's show for Children in Need on Radio Scotland. And I have to tell you it is a bit of a surreal experience to be speaking to a studio full of people on the phone at my desk, surrounded by the usual piles of files and papers and faxes. I think I managed not to garble too much but I doubt that a career in broadcasting beckons.

My poor mother meantime was apparently phoning my office switchboard in a paddy because she could not find a radio in my house on which to listen to the broadcast. Now, we have digital TV which includes all the radio stations. We have a laptop sitting in the living room on which you can listen online. We have an ancient hi-fi there too, with its tuner. We have a "ghetto blaster" type CD player in the dining room with a radio and a tape deck. Her car (out on the drive) has a radio. I was laughing afterwards with her and pointing all of this out to her. "Well, you have to realise" she said "that us older people can't work that stuff out".

"You were looking for something Bakelite with a big light-up dial, weren't you?" I said. She was.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

My first!

Heather tagged me for a meme! I've never been tagged before! This is almost as exciting as my first comment. I feel so grown up in an interwebby sort of way. (So, Heather, should we exchange rings or something?)

And since this is the month of NaBloPoMo there is no way I am going to turn down the opening for a post. The meme is the variation on a favourite "8 random things about me" so here goes:

1. I am terrified of moths. I know they can't bite, sting or throw things at me but just the sight of one makes me go all shaky and adrenaline-y. I can now just about handle the little ones, but those big hairy ones with faces? Eurgh. I'll be in another room until you KILL IT!

2. I don't like clothes shopping or shoe shopping. If I have to buy something, I will go in and out of the shop as fast as possible. When I find something that fits the bill, I stop. Don't know how to browse aimlessly.

3. I can make fart noises with my hands - really expressive ones. I am talented. I taught First Born to do this and REALLY wish I hadn't.

4. I once won first, second AND third prize in a fancy dress contest. Because no-one else entered. (I suppose it could have been worse - I might still not have won)

5. Uncannily similar to Heather, I like looking at the sale listings for other people's houses, but particularly in Canada where we go on holiday. I remarked only the other day to Husband that I would like to spend part of our holiday looking at houses for sale there. The only things stopping me doing so are (1) the children would never view this as a fun holiday activity and (2) I would feel so guilty at wasting the real estate agents' time.

6. I can bite my toenails. I mean, I don't but I could.

7. I used to like to drink cold coffee (with milk in it) as a child. That disgusts me too, now.

8. I am a lawyer and became one because a teacher told me, when I was 17, that "Law is a good degree. You should study law" and I shrugged, and did, and here I am. I would like to go back to my 17 year old self and tell her to run, RUN! in the other direction and go off and study something I actually choose myself.

9. I really hate celery. Oh, you knew that.....

There you are. I am supposed to tag 8 other unsuspecting victims. I don't think I know 8 other bloggers well enough to tag, so I will (with trepidation) tag K, Lynsey, Anne and Isabelle. Anyone else reading this who has a blog and hasn't done this meme? Consider yourself tagged too.

And if you haven't already done so, go and read Heather's blog. It's cool.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

I have a really bad....uh......thingummy

I am turning into my Granny. Or, to be more accurate, my mum is turning into my Granny and I am following behind her. I used to laugh at my granny as a child because she could never remember my name. I was right in front of her, my mum only had 2 kids and the other one was a boy, and still she couldn't get my name right. In fact what she most often called me was "(my mum's name) err.. I mean (my aunt's name) I mean (my name)!" Every time. I thought it was just my granny's idiosyncrasy. But now I know better. Now I know that children rot your brain cells and at the same time, fill up the ones you have left with a pile of stuff to remember (school trips, packed lunches, clean swimming kit, tell him to cut his nails or I'll paint them pink) so there is no room left for the other stuff. Like your kid's names. I now frequently find myself addressing a child as "Hey, First Born, I mean Second Born, I mean Fred or whatever your name is!" And I once addressed my dear child by the cat's name. He answered too. He knew what I meant.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

On the road again

Well, I managed to get up this morning for a run and this feat was achieved by telling husband last night that I had to be up at 6am for a run and to prod me until I moved. I then laid the running gear out on the floor like a deflated me, ready to crawl into. Husband duly performed said duty (I think he took a perverse pleasure in it, but that perception may be down to my sparkling mood at 6am in the dark).

I headed out onto the streets. I had already decided not to run my usual morning route because it goes down some pretty isolated streets and I thought it would not be wise in the dark. Anyway given that I have not been a picture of health recently, I suspected I would struggle to run for 30 minutes non-stop and that I should therefore, break myself back in gently with a wee 20 minute jog. So I just headed off into the residential streets near my house.

And it was dark. I mean, I knew it wouldn't be light at 6.10ish, but I thought maybe it would be sort of "rosy fingers of dawn peeping over the rooftops"-esque. But no. It was "Good grief woman, it's the middle of the night, what are you doing out here when all sane people are still under the duvet?!" dark. And the dark made it harder to see where I was going (amazing, I know) so I had to keep an extra sharp lookout for obstacles on the pavement such as those left by the less well-managed dogs around here. I was not however, expecting a gate. Rounding a corner in a street of bungalows, I came across the gates to someone's drive left opened fully outwards across the pavement. And by "came across" I mean " ran straight into with a deafening clang". I presume the homeowner concerned was worried about disturbing his neighbours with the noise of opening his gates in the morning (or maybe he was just lazy) but if so, I ruined that tactic as I think they may have heard the impact in Glasgow. I await the bruise with interest. It should be a good one.

Anyway, I managed a not too spectacular 22 minutes so at least I am back on the road.

Monday, 12 November 2007

This is getting silly

The BBC called today (you have no idea how giggly the sound of those words makes me. I am shallow) and as well as going to the TV studios on Friday evening with Second Born, I am now pencilled in to chat to Fred Macauley (people in Scotland nod knowingly, people elsewhere shout "Who?" in unison) on BBC Radio Scotland on Friday. It appears that someone in the Beeb finds the idea of me being roundly beaten in a race by a 7 year old amusing. I tell you, I had better raise some more money before Friday - I will feel slightly daft brandishing one of those big cardboard cheques for only £130. Which reminds me, must contact bank and ask about big cardboard cheque........

PS I will not definitely be on the radio but if I am, it will be between 11.30 and 12 noon on Friday. Feel free to listen out for me disseminating the details of my humiliation to the nation. (Oh, and I had better make sure my grammar is up to scratch if Isabelle is listening!!)

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Me and my big mouth

I ought to have known better. It was tempting fate in a big way. After my wee tummy bug or whatever it was at the beginning of last week, I finished a post with something like "It could have been worse - at least I wasn't ill on the weekend". Well, guess what. I've been ill on the weekend. Second Born has been ill this weekend - his turn with the virus - and I seem to have at least partially come out in sympathy.

I went to bed at 10pm last night and had to haul myself out again at 11am this morning. Managed to take First Born to his karate class and then came back and basically folded myself onto the couch with Second Born and stayed there. We watched old Doctor Who episodes, back to back Jamie Oliver (which is a bit too perky when you're not well, to be honest) followed by Star Wars episode VI which is the old episode 3 I think - the one with those little furry things (you can tell I was really concentrating). I have had the grand total of one bowl of Rice Krispies all day and I have every intention of going to bed in the next half hour or so. Oh! and I finally finished reading the last Harry Potter book to the boys and I managed not to cry too much and they didn't take the mickey too much when I sniffled. So we'll have to find something else to read at night now.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Fame at last

A letter from BBC Scotland dropped through our letterbox this morning inviting Second Born and I to attend the BBC studio in Glasgow this Friday for the early evening slot of the Children in Need live broadcast. Second Born is delighted of course (First Born less so).

I am quite looking forward to seeing the inside of a real TV studio and to seeing whether they do indeed surreptitiously drug those studio audiences in order to achieve the required level of enthusiastic hysteria. If you see me standing on a chair, whooping at the top of my voice, you will know that they have slipped something into my diet coke.

The downside (you knew I'd find one, didn't you?) is that they would like us to come in our running gear. That's fine for Second Born but I am not sure the country's retinas are quite ready for the spectacle of me in lycra. Do you think they will believe me if I claim I always run in a full length dressing gown?

Friday, 9 November 2007


I had some vegetable soup for lunch yesterday. (You're fascinated already, aren't you?) It was perfectly nice soup except....a couple of spoonfuls in, floating just under the surface...I found.......(deep breath)........celery. Please bear with me while I rant briefly.

What is the point of celery?????? It is bitter and stringy when raw. Foul and squishy when cooked. It taints everything it touches but confusingly it looks lovely. Shiny people in 70s american dramas who brought their shopping home in those brown paper bags always had celery peeking out of the top. There used to be a TV advert when I was small with a smiling wumman dunking it in peanut butter and munching deliriously and that looked FANTASTIC! I couldn't wait to try it and when I did? My lifelong love affair with peanut butter began and at one and the same time it was confirmed beyond all doubt that celery is just VILE.

There are lots of other things that are "acquired" tastes, things only grownups tend to like that I have persevered with and grown to like. Olives. Anchovies. Gin. Watching the news instead of cartoons (well maybe not that last one) But the attraction of celery eludes me. When I finally rule the world, make no mistake, celery will be outlawed.

Thank you. I feel better for having got that off my chest.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

End of week 1

Well, I seem to have struggled through week one of Nablopomo posting every day. I can't pretend the posts are good ones, but they are at least there. The imperative to sit down for five minutes each and every day has been interesting. Basically I thought more fun stuff happened on a daily basis in my life than seems to be the case. Although I suppose spending a couple of days moaning and clutching my head and stomach haven't really helped.

Last night was Parents' Night at school for both boys. Nice to see the boys' new teachers in a one-to-one setting. Less good sitting on those teeny wee chairs and trying to haul ourselves out of them afterwards. We were, as always, mugged on the way back into the house by the two boys trying to get details of what their teachers said about them. So of course we told them that the school said they were both awful and they wanted them out of there by Friday. To howls of "No, they didn't, be serious!", we conceded that okay, the school didn't really say that and in fact the teachers just said that they were both a bit smelly, especially around the feet, and could we please do something about that. I think the boys still aren't buying that but since we have not sat them down for a "Talk" they know the reports were pretty good (which they were).

So, back to work now and hopefully out for another run sometime this century.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Death wish

One of these days I am going to kill someone and chances are they won't even notice I've done it. I drive into work every day (I know, carbon footprint etc but there are no buses that go the way I need to go in the morning to get the kids to school and then to work so I'd have to take about 4 different buses and that would mean getting up yesterday to be there in time so, no) Husband and I drop the children off in the vicinity of school, then I drop husband off and then I go to work (husband only works about 500 yards from where I do, so it's not so bad).

But nearly every morning I come close to maiming or injuring someone. People going to work nowadays are in full 21st century armour - iPod earphones in and mobile phone held about 12 inches from their faces as they text away. They are completely oblivious to what is going on around them and I cannot count the number of times I have had to brake sharply to avoid a pedestrian who has wandered into the road I am turning into, without looking, and then looks positively astonished to see a car! On the road! About to knock their legs out from under them! I am convinced that we are shortly going to discover that the statistics for pedestrians injured in accidents with cars are soaring due to the iPod/mobile effect. And that is why my 7 year old is getting neither an iPod nor a mobile phone for Christmas. At least that's my excuse.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Well, I'm vertical

After yesterday's exciting post I succumbed to the dreaded lergy and went home to bed, thanking Heaven that my mum and dad are around to help with the kids. I can't begin to imagine how difficult all this sort of stuff is for parents who both work and don't have such excellent, willing and capable childcare on tap. Anyway after about 6 hours sleep I surfaced briefly in the early evening and then went back to bed again at 8pm. Woke this morning feeling not exactly well, but not nearly as bad as I was, so I am back to work. On the plus side, I have not felt like eating so the return to the wagon after the Halloween binge is off to a flying start!

First Born is still off school having moved from being sick to having problems at the other end. Fortunately he is now big enough that he looks after himself in that department and even managed to change his own pyjamas etc, so we didn't even discover he'd been unwell until this morning! Second Born is pouting slightly at being completely healthy and therefore required to attend school. I mean, what unreasonable parents we are - there is nothing wrong with him and we still insist he goes to school. Tyrants, we are.

Normal service will hopefully be resumed here now and I should soon be able to post something slightly more interesting than a run-down of the state of various family members' digestive tracts.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Eurgh, it's Monday

Not a good start to the week. First Born wasn't well yesterday and finally threw up late last night. He managed to do so into a bucket rather than all over his bed, so I should be thankful for small mercies. (As an aside, I always laugh when I hear new parents-to-be worrying about whether they will be able to cope with dirty nappies. Dirty nappies are nothing, NOTHING compared to having a small child vomit down your neck, in your hair and your ears at 3am and then having to clean up not only the child, and yourself, but the bed said child also covered with puke. I'll take any number of nappy explosions if I never again have to scrape a mattress and pillow in the wee small hours.)

Anyway, having vomitted last night, school policy dictates he must be off school today. Which meant an early morning call to my mother to ask if she can come in early to look after him so we can get to work. I note at this point that I am feeling a bit off-colour myself. Put it down to the chinese food we had last night and crack on. My Dad (my hero!) arrived within an hour and we set off to drop Second Born off to school. Only to find that the road the school is on is being dug up and it took us the best part of 40 minutes to perform the drop which normally takes 10 minutes start to finish.

Got into work with 10 minutes to spare and remembered I have a dentist's appointment this morning. Note that I am beginning to feel worse and that if a dentist comes near me I am likely to throw up on him. So nipped along to the dentist's office (which is about 4 doors down from where I work) and his assistant took one look at me and agreed we should rearrange the appointment. Hmmmm. That can't be good. So I am now sitting at my desk nursing a headache and a vague queasiness and wondering whether I should just give in and go home.

First Born of course is now full of beans and is IMing me about the videos he is watching on YouTube (we're such a modern family!). Mind you, it could have been worse. I could have been sick all weekend.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Very dull but it's a post

Well, I actually managed to get out and go for a run this morning. And before 8am. On a Sunday. You're impressed, aren't you? I wasn't expecting much and I lived up - or should that be down? - to expectations. I allowed myself to walk when I felt I needed it, which turned out to be every 10 to 12 minutes or so but I did manage a total outing of 42 minutes so that's not too bad. My legs are, even as we speak, reminding me of every step.

Since then, it has been what is now a fairly standard Sunday. Taking Second Born to a birthday party, taking First Born to karate, picking Second Born up from the party, commiserating with First Born who had to leave karate early because he is not feeling well (just a cold I think but he was quite spectacularly pale), then doing washing, baking cookies - the usual. Planning to spend the rest of the day slobbing about.

This has been a quite amazingly dull post but Sundays aren't supposed to be exciting, are they? Hope everyone else is having as nice a day as I am. I'll try to come up with something spellbinding for tomorrow, promise.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

A visual treat

Thought you might like to see some genuine photographic proof that an unfit, overweight, 40-ish mother of two does occasionally drag herself round a muddy field on a Sunday morning in the wake of her sprightly offspring. (I might add that this was taken a wee while after the race when my face had calmed down a bit and I'd had a cup of tea. A photo taken in the immediate aftermath would have been too awful to contemplate).

Friday, 2 November 2007

The chocolate has eyes

I'm not kidding. It's looking at me. All that calorie-stuffed nutrition-free sugar-laden goodness. I mean badness. I know I double wrapped it in plastic bags. And then put it in the garage. On the top shelf. The one I have to get the stepladder down to reach. But still. I can feel that it's looking at me, calling to me. I could of course go and throw it in the bin right now and be done with it but is there a red-blooded Scottish person alive who can throw away perfectly good sweeties? And if I go near enough to pick up the bag to throw it out I am scared I will be sucked into its sugary gravity field and, well, things will only get messy from there.

Blooming polite guisers/trick-or-treaters - all their fault. Kept telling them to take handfuls and they all took one or two pieces each. Halloween is hard for those of us with no willpower.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

I did what now?

Um, in a moment of optimistic madness I seem to have signed up for Nablopomoohno! Which means I have to try to post every day in November. And November was really far away when I signed up and thought "I'll have plenty of time between now and then to come up with a stock of witty, articulate, thought-provoking posts to draw on when inspiration dries up". And now it's......not so far away. And I have nothing in reserve. So can I just apologise for the next 29 days in advance? And if any of you kind people out there have ideas for posts or even questions to ask that I can answer and call it a post, go ahead and let me know.
And as I am typing this on Halloween evening, I have to give you the best joke from guisers so far, courtesy of Josh who is 5 and lives over the road:

Knock! Knock!
Who's there?
Dunnup who?

Well I laughed.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Humiliation complete

We set off this morning for the depths of sunny Livingston for our fun run. I was not optimistic about my chances, not having been out running in any meaningful way for about 3 weeks. And was that a cough I could feel brewing in my chest?..... Added to that, Second Born has been making a point of telling me precisely how many training laps of the playground he has been doing each day in preparation for trouncing me good style.

The run was at a sports centre in Livingston and was, as always seems to be the case with these runs put on by small local running clubs, really well organised and very friendly. Everyone from the marshals to the girls behind the registration desks to the ladies wielding industrial size teapots was chatty and encouraging. We got our numbers, warmed up and even managed to get to the start line in time (we nearly missed it last time and had to run to the race!)

There were about 30 or so runners, almost all keen looking kids in club vests. Only 3 or 4 adults like me running with kids. Another mum and I exchanged "What on earth have we let ourelves in for?" looks. And we were off. I knew I should start slowly - I can't run fast in any circumstances - but the kids whizzed off and it's really hard to run slowly when everyone else tears off into the distance. Added to that - the first part of the race was one and a half laps round a race track before heading off across the car park. So if I ran at my usual pace, I was in serious danger of being publicly lapped by a 10 year old after only 2 minutes! I do have some pride so I ran faster than normal. And faster than I should have, as it turned out. Got out of breath too quickly and never got it back so had a pretty rubbishy run.

SB on the other hand set off well, kept his pace steady, didn't walk at all (more than his mum can say) and crossed the finish line barely breaking sweat. He managed a time of 10 minutes 38 seconds. I staggered in after him at 11 minutes 44. I am really proud of the wee one - he really can run!

He is now agitating to participate in the Great Winter Run (junior version) in January. I think I may have to let him. And I had better get training for that 10K next year. On today's performance, I have some work to do.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Hello! I'm home!

Truth be told I've been home for a few days but boy is work busy just now. In fact I am feeling slightly guilty about taking 10 minutes with my cup of tea to post this. Lake District was nice, lovely to see my brother and his family and we stayed in a lovely old 17th century farmhouse. Full of idiosyncrasies: 2 doors into the bathroom (one from the hall, one from the kitchen) and so big it was full of furniture. Including a chaise longue. I really want a chaise longue in my own bathroom now except I'd have to climb over it to get to the loo.

Didn't manage to either run or eat properly whilst away with the result that I am (1) seriously not in good shape for the weekend coming and (2) 6 pounds heavier than I was when I last looked. So trying to get back on the wagon (or at least remember where I left the wagon) this week.

This weekend coming is of course the weekend of the grudge match take 2. Second born and I are running in a 2km fun run on Sunday morning. We last raced together in June and he beat me hollow. Came in across the line a whole 1.5 minutes ahead of me and was scoffing his snacks out of his goody bag as I panted over the finish. I had toyed with the idea of setting up a sweepstake to raise money for charity - more interesting than straight sponsorship - but I have been so busy that I haven't had time. The idea was I was going to get people to make a donation and in return they would be allowed a guess at how many minutes and seconds Second Born will beat me by on Sunday. I would have donated a bottle of champagne or something for the closest guess. But, as I say, that idea stayed just an idea. However if you would like to guess just how badly I will be humiliated by a 7 year old on Sunday, feel free to have a go! Last race was 2.5km rather than the 2km we will run on Sunday and although I came in 1 minute and 32 seconds behind SB, in my defence I had a chest infection at the time. Although to be honest, I am perfectly healthy now and I still expect to be trounced come the weekend.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Behave yourselves while I am away

Right, I need to finish up at work, pack for everyone, find someone to feed the cat while we are gone (oops! Almost forgot that one!) and empty the fridge of anything likely to go yucky. No internet access down in the Lake District so I won't be able to say Hi for a week or so. Be good while I am away. You can have a couple of friends round, there are drinks in the fridge. No wild parties or at least, if you do, make sure you clean up really well. And to keep you amused, this meme-type thing which I saw at Zoot's and since it's about books, I couldn't resist. I've done it, and if you want to do it too, knock yourselves out. Just leave me a comment so I can come over and compare notes.

Bold those you’ve read.

Italicize books you have started but couldn’t finish.

Add an asterisk* to those you have read more than once.

Underline those on your To Be Read list. (Be honest!)

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights*
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: A Novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice*
Jane Eyre*
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies
War and Peace*
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveller’s Wife*
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian*
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (GAH!)
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World*
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility*
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

Ignore the underlining - I can't figure out how to make it go away! So I put the ones waiting to be read in pink!

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Holidays: blessing or curse? Discuss

I am due to be away from work on holiday next week because it is the school October week. Months ago we planned to actually take the time off and go down to the Lake District to see my brother and his family who moved there not long ago. It seemed like a really good idea. Husband has to go to Geneva for a couple of days for a conference (he's so jetset and glamourous) but he can fly out of a local airport and then come back and join us. Sounds good, yes?

The problem of course is that now I am a day or two away from the week off and I have more work to do than I would realistically be able to manage even if I was here all next week. Result is you are stressed to the nines before you go on holiday and you return to an office where you can't actually see the desk for the work which has piled up in your absence. Which stresses you all over again.

It's partly my own fault: I have to leave the office at 5pm to get home for the kids. I could, theoretically, organise childcare or a nanny so I could work late but I don't want to do that. I am not knocking those who have such arrangements (I'm a lawyer so goodness knows, I know plenty of people who have to do that) but my own personal choice was that once I had kids, I wanted to be home for them in the evenings and at weekends. Which means trying to squeeze a full-time job into 9 to 5. It's a tight squeeze.

Well having read that back to myself, I can almost smell the self-pity dripping off it! Sorry, internet, I am just letting off steam. I know I am fortunate to have a job and a healthy family. I will go on holiday, we'll have a lovely time and I'll manage the work somehow. But if you happen to be a client of mine reading this? Sorry! I'll get back to you as soon as I can, honest!

Monday, 8 October 2007


Went a bit quiet there for a wee while, sorry. Week pretty uneventful. Realised I had a black tie ball to go to on Saturday, which doesn't happen to me very often. I have one outfit suitable for a black tie affair but I got it when I was at my heaviest and it is a size 22. I tried it on anyway and it fell off. Sigh. (It cost a fortune and I wore it once. I really liked it and it was flattering and now I can't bring myself to throw it out even though I never want to allow myself to get to that size again. Do you know anyone who would like it? Seriously, let me know.)

So, had to go shopping which I (a) am bad at and (b) hate. Eventually got frock on Friday afternoon (last minute as always) Actually quite enjoyed parts of the experience as it is such a novelty being able to look for clothes I like rather than starting from "What have they got that might fit". Giggled to myself like a loon when size 14 dresses zipped up.

I ended up paying more than I wanted to but at least I like the dress I got enough that I will wear it again. And I found it and picked it all by myself. Am almost a grown up. Also a girl. Who knew?

Friend at work tried to persuade me to wear said frock with black feather boa. Responded with my best withering stare. Same response to the offer of long black evening gloves. I may be turning into a girl, but I am a long, long way from being able to carry off that sort of malarkey.

Ball was perfectly nice. I reckon I was older than about 80% of the attendees - I spent a bit of time mentally noting the girls who were going to have trouble keeping their dresses under control once the dancing started - but our table was very nice. Good chat, nice food and plenty of wine. Also small bottles of soft "detox" type drinks on the table. 3 different kinds, all sampled and all declared "umm......weird" by everyone. I don't know about you, but when thirsty I have never ever thought "You know, what I really fancy is a drink containing Siberian ginseng and globe artichoke". And I promise, I made up neither of those ingredients.

I saw one older lady at the ball wearing the one other dress I tried on and swithered about but rejected. So......phew. Although I am told the cool thing to do when you do see someone else wearing the same outfit as you is to march straight up and compliment them on having the best taste in the room. Or you could just hide in the toilets till it's time to go home.

Husband was happy because the band for the second half of the night (after the ceileidh. No I did not dance. In those shoes? Are you mad?) was doing cover versions and did "Play that funky music, white boy" which is one of his favourite songs for some reason. Along with "Word Up" by Cameo. He is strange.

Home just after midnight. Unscathed and, thanks to the smoking ban, unkippered. It makes such a difference these days coming home from a social event and not feeling the need to jump in the shower to wash the smell of smoke out of your hair and then soak your clothes in Febreze for a week.

And look, a whole post from me with no exclamation marks. Next time: no brackets (I don't think)