Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Things I am currently not good at

Blogging apparently. I don't know why, but every time I think about writing something at the moment, the details of my doings just sound so mundane that I can't believe anyone would want to read it. I certainly can't be bothered writing it! I'm not saying I want my life to be full of drama (drama in life tends to be, on balance, a negative thing a lot of the time) but something interesting now and again would be nice.

So, with that stellar build-up, what have I been up to? Not a great deal, really. We have booked ourselves a little holiday as we planned - off to a farm cottage near Pickering in Yorkshire for the school October week. My Mum and Dad will hopefully join us straight from a babysitting stint for my brother in the Lake District so that should be fun. I haven't spent much time in Yorkshire (sum total of visits so far: a couple of nights visiting our former flatmate when she was a prison officer in York and a couple of nights in Harrogate when our friends got married there) so looking forward to doing a bit of exploring.

It has just occurred to me actually that both of the Yorkshire friends referred to have married and divorced since we visited. I knew that there was a period in your life when your friends all got married and then another when they all started having kids. I just hadn't appreciated that there is also a period when lots of your friends get divorced, but it does seem to be the case.

Anyway, Husband is jetting off tomorrow for work. This time it is Basingstoke (via Southampton) - tres glamourous n'est-ce pas? I will be at home, boy-herding and packing for us all to pop off to Ex-Brother-in-Law's family cottage up near Arbroath for the weekend. I really like Arbroath and we are all looking forward to decent fish and chips and lots of wet and windy walks (this being October in Scotland). Oh, and all four of us will be sleeping in a glorified garden shed perched on the edge of a cliff. Which is always fun.

What else?..........Nope can't really think of anything. I will try to post something less mundane soon, promise.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

10 minutes

They were bickering within 10 minutes of being re-united when Second Born returned from camp. That's probably a record, actually - last time SB was still on the steps of the bus when FB started on him.

Second Born had a whale of a time at camp with all the tree-climbing and kayaking and making water filters out of moss and bracken and general running around in the forest. Astonishingly, more than half of the clothes I had sent him with came back unworn AND CLEAN. First Born, when he went, brought back unworn clothes but packed said clean clothes under and around some very unclean wellies, thus negating the benefit. Second Born was at least smart enough to quarantine the wellies thus earning some brownie points from Mum.

The weekend was equal parts lazy and manic. Saturday was relaxed and lazy. We did little other than eat and read and SB and I watched Strictly Come Dancing (our joint guilty pleasure). We compounded the couch-potato-ness of the day by obtaining our dinner from the chippie.

Today has been a bit more hectic. Birthday party for SB in a laser quest sort of venue near Portobello (where I am sure the only females who ever set foot are mothers of small and not-so-small boys. No girls have been spotted voluntarily entering the premises any time I have been there.) SB was eating a Mars bar with a knife and fork when I arrived to collect him. Either the tail end of a party game or his friend's mother is really strict about table manners.

The party was followed pretty much immediately by a little mini-celebration for the husband of my mother-in-law (I'll call him E) who was 86 today. He is in terrifyingly good shape and is probably fitter at 86 than I am now, at 42. Husband had come up trumps with a birthday gift for E - a DVD about the aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm in WWII. E was a pilot in the Fleet Air Arm so the present really hit the spot - he was itching to put the DVD on before we even left after cake and tea had been consumed.

I spent the rest of the afternoon making dinner for all of us (roast chicken, stuffing, roast potatoes, sweetcorn, bread sauce, gravy and Yorkshire puddings. My children now insist we have Yorkshire puddings with any sort of roast dinner, not just beef.) The boys are now in bed and in between reading blogs and writing this, I am nosing around on the net looking for a cottage to rent for the school October week holiday. We are thinking of Yorkshire somewhere - fairly easy to get to, lots of nice walks and I really quite fancy visiting Whitby, given my fondness for Dracula.

Off now for a cup of tea before bedtime. Sadly no cookies though - I cannot bake at the moment having accidentally melted my kitchen scales. I have ordered new ones but until they arrive, no baking is possible. My children are not happy.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

I'm so proud

It's very quiet round here just now. Second Born is away at school camp so we only have one boy to herd around. He is, admittedly, the biggest and loudest of the two (his technique for getting downstairs, for example, seems to involve standing at the top of the stairs and just sort of....letting himself fall, ricocheting off the walls as he goes. Not delicate.) but nonetheless, without a brother to argue with, it is remarkably peaceful around here. No disputes over what to have for dinner, who gets the use of the laptop first, who is breathing too loud, who looked at me funny, etc......... I would almost say it is a recommendation for having only one child were it not for the fact that all the useless information and discussion which FB would normally share with his brother, he is kindly passing on to us instead. My brain may explode with the........the..........eleven-year-old-boyness of it all.

In the meantime, I am thinking of starting a sweepstake: how many minutes or seconds will have elapsed after SB's return on Friday before the squabbling starts again? I am guessing 90 seconds or so. But that might just be my sunny streak of optimism coming out again.

On a positive note, the aforementioned First Born recently informed me that "I have just taken the penultimate pair of boxer shorts from my drawer."

I don't know which makes me happier: the fact that he is remembering to tell me he needs clean underwear before he runs out and we need to rummage in the laundry for the least rank pair to re-use (What? Don't tell me you haven't been forced to do the same at some point) or the use of the word "penultimate".

Who am I kidding? It's the word, no contest.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

My last remaining iota of street cred has gone.

I really really wish I had taken a photo of my garden last week. I had booked a gardener to come on Friday and fully intended a great "before and after" post. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on the level of importance one attaches to blog posts and the need for material for same) they finished a job early and turned up instead at lunchtime on Thursday.

When I say "gardener", what actually turned up was the gardener himself and a team of chaps and some heavy-duty shredding, chopping, cutting and obliterating equipment. After a mere 4 hours, the garden looked like it had been targeted by a particularly well-drilled plague of locusts. The buddleia is gone, as is much of the foliage in the back garden (nettles included) and I can actually see my garden wall again.

The cat, however, is back in a huff. If you thought she gave me a hard time when I threw out her smelly old doormat, you should see the air of martyrdom she has adopted now that she has no cover to hide in and has to poop in public. If she had an opposable thumb and a stepladder, she would have phoned in to report me to the SSPCA by now.

The garden now looks rather bare (who knew stinging nettles took up so much room?) so some advice from you green fingered types out there would be welcome (Isabelle? Put that marking down, my garden needs you.)

I have an area of ground in the back garden, roughly about 12 feet by 4 feet which is now empty, dug over and begging to be filled. The plot is right beside my high, stone, garden wall and faces east. It is pretty well drained (in other words I have never noticed it being particularly water-logged) and that is all I know. We sort of like the idea of planting some vegetables some time but don't know what or when, and otherwise just need pointers on what to plant that will look pretty and need virtually no help to survive and thrive. Suggestions?

In other news, Husband and I went to see Kajagoogoo in concert on Friday. This was my birthday gift from Husband and I can honestly say it was a lot better than I was expecting. Mind you, I went to see them in 1983 as a 16 year old and I left before the concert finished so my expectations were perhaps not very high. That said, the people watching opportunities were wonderful. The concert was at The Ferry in Glasgow and the table next to ours was occupied by a girls' night out. Not just any girls' night out either. A Glasgow girls' night out. A fair amount of fake tan, cleavage and what I always privately think of as "stripper shoes" - the kind that look like they weigh a ton and need six months of intensive training to learn to walk in.

There was a lot of shrieking and giggling and HUGE amounts of photo taking. In fact there was so much photo-taking that there did not seem to be any time for anything else. It was as if they were s0 determined to have photographic evidence that they had had a good time, they didn't actually have any time to ........have a good time. A bit sad really.

At one point prior to the concert actually starting, the band members wandered nonchalantly across the dancefloor on their way backstage. The girls spotted them and woo-hooed loudly. My Husband gazed sympathetically at Limahl and co. "Poor sods must get that everywhere they go" he commented. "Ironic whooping".

The concert itself was really rather good. Kajagoogoo live are a very talented, very tight little funk band. Limahl is a camp little article and probably the least talented of the five of them, but the bass player is frankly brillient. Their live set is very entertaining and bears little resemblance to their recorded music. I rather enjoyed it.

I went to see Kajagoogoo (or "The Goo" as they were laughingly calling themselves) and liked it. So there you go.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Woo hoo!

Just booked our flights to Halifax for next summer! Something to look forward to again!

Friday, 11 September 2009

I feel inadequate.

It is 8.15pm. It is dark (this being Scotland in September) and my neighbour is outside mowing her lawn.

Weekly Roundup

So, where were we? Oh yes. Nits. Thankfully the boys seem to be nit-free (after much lotion-ing and combing with a teensy tiny comb and scratching our heads in sympathy) so haircuts will happen soon and I will no longer have to consider putting their hair in pigtails.

We were in sunny Troon last weekend (it rained) visiting Father-in-law who had a bit of a bad turn recently but was in great form when we visited. He was chatty, cracking jokes and reminiscent of the Grandad the boys remembered. We ate a lot, including birthday cake and chinese food, chatted and generally hung out. The boys and I also paid a quick visit to Asda (so glamourous I know, you're all jealous). I am actually rather dangerous in places like Asda. I have a bit of a weakness for cookware and kitchen stuff - a visit to Lakeland or the marketplace bit of Ikea, for example, could cause a major dent in my bank account - and even places like Asda are risky. We only went looking for some cheap and cheerful cutlery for FIL and I left with a couple of stainless steel mixing bowls (£1 each! Bargain!) and had to be forcibly restrained by my children from buying big steel serving spoons too.

The working week kicked off as normal with parents' night for First Born who is now in Primary 7. Most of the presentation I had heard before but there was one bit of good news - the school has produced a guide to how they teach maths these days. This is essential to avoid the painful homework sessions with cries of "But that's not how they did subtraction when I was at school!" At least now I'll have a rough idea what the boys are supposed to be doing.

First Born in fact had a remarkably good week. On Thursday he came home and announced that he had had swimming and had been awarded a star sticker from the swimming teacher. Swimming is not one of his strong points, what with the dyspraxia and all.

"Oh great! What was that for?" I asked.

"It" (First Born's brain often works so fast his mouth struggles to keep up)

"Not drowning?" I suggested.

"Yeah!" he grinned.


Later on Thursday he had his drum lesson, which went brilliantly. He can sight read drum notation. Which amazes me every time I see him do it. At the end of the lesson he was presented with the award for Drum Student of the Month by his teacher. FB was struck dumb and BELIEVE ME it takes a lot to do that. It is immensely satisfying to see him doing something complicated well. And enjoying it.

Other than that, not much has been going on here at Casa Loth.

What's that you say? Running? Well, since you ask.....ooh look! The Porcine Aerobatic Display Team are going past the window!........

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Rain check?

Okay, so I didn't go running this morning, but in my defence, if you could see the weather here in Edinburgh you would forgive me. Honest. I promise I will have done the first run by the end of the weekend. Promise. Pinky swear.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Tempting fate and why you shouldn't do it

Remember in my last post when I said I had threatened SB with a session with a fine-toothed comb if he didn't get the last of the glue out of his hair? Well, Fate was listening in. And sniggering to himself. Fine-toothed combs were indeed to be wielded shortly. And those of you who have, or have had, children are probably wa-a-a-a-y ahead of me.

After my dire threats, the glue was declared gone and I took the boys for haircuts yesterday. At which point we discovered that FB had come home from school with some little friends. A wee case of head lice. His first. My first, for that matter. (Incidentally, is it wrong that my first reaction wasn't traditional middle-class mortification but "Oooh, can I see?!")

No haircuts then. Instead, off to the chemist we went for nit-annihilation lotion and, yes, the aforementioned fine-toothed comb. An entertaining evening was had by all, let me tell you. I certainly enjoyed myself as I gleefully pointed out that this would all be much easier and less painful IF THEIR HAIR WASN'T SO LONG! However it has not escaped my notice that the end result is two boys who still have long hair. Surely they wouldn't? Even they are not that devious.

I also had the fun job of phoning the boys' best friend's mum to give her the good news. She is a teacher so took it in her stride, head lice being really rather common in schoolchildren. Her parting comment was "Okay, but next time you're thinking of sending me a present, I really prefer flowers and chocolates...." I like this woman.

In other news, I have decided I need to start running again (and yes, XUP, I know walking is just as good but I used to really quite enjoy running). I stopped after running staggering the 2008 Great Edinburgh Run 10k and never got started again. Fitting exercise in is always tricky and I know from experience that running (once I get my backside out of bed) can be done first thing in the morning and what's more I actually enjoy it. Sort of. I have been making all sorts of excuses recently for not getting the running shoes on. The most ridiculous one being that my heart rate monitor needs new batteries and obviously I can't run if I can't time myself in tenths of a second, log my average heart rate and calculate the calories burned, can I?

Of course I can. I have downloaded a couch-to-5k podcast, just for a change, so tomorrow morning I aim to climb into my oversized t-shirt and joggers, slap on the iPod and head out for an amble round the neighbourhood for half an hour. Feel free to point and mock if I don't make it. I'll deserve it.

PS Hands up if you have scratched your head while reading this. Yeah, me too.