Monthly Archives: June 2007


I had been a bit worried by how non-commital and unenthusiastic he sounded on the phone.
Now the penny has dropped.
He’s a teenage boy and there were other people in the room.

Yesterday I had a proper talk with him and, apart from really missing us (a good thing), he’s thoroughly enjoying himself. And he was ringing to see if he could go out for the weekend to the home of one of his new friends who’s a weekly boarder (and who, conveniently, lives just across on the other side of the Solent).

Apparently he was going to write me a letter yesterday evening during prep, as he had no homework to do. Now, should I hold my breath in anticipation?

Photos to follow soon

My camera was loaded with photos.
it broke.


Not so good when your digital camera breaks, is it? Not so easy to retrieve the photos.

But last night an amazing thing happened. I mended it.
Photos will follow when I am less exasperated.

A story for Jennyanydots

I may have told you this before.

Jennyanydots was talking about the difficulty of being a slightly “different from normal” expectant mother in awaiting the arrival of a son or daughter who was slightly older than the average newborn! It reminded me of many events with my two, but especially one which happened before Smudgelet arrived into the family and when Tiddles had been with me only about a year.

We were visiting my very good friends and my goddaughters over in England – the first time we’d been to visit. It was a resounding success – Tiddles making a great hit with my goddaughters and the three of them getting on like a house on fire. On this particular day, my friend L took the younger daughter off to visit grandparents while I took my older goddaughter (aged about five) and Tiddles (about seven) to the park to play on the swings. The two were having great fun and, as children do, were pretending they were brother and sister as they played.

Along came an elderly gentleman with his 2-year-old granddaughter who was really quite agile and well-coordinated for one so small. The granddaughter, that is, not the elderly gentleman. He was somewhat less agile, though still rather well coordinated, and somewhat bigger than her. The three children played while I talked with the old man and expressed my amazement at how daring the little one was.

“She’s my only granddaughter. I don’t have anyone to compare her with, but yes, she does seem quite advanced to me. How old was your daughter when she first walked?”

I explained that H was not actually my daughter but was my goddaughter – although I was able to tell him that she’d been quite an early walker too. Just as I was explaining, H came running up and, continuing the game, shouted “mummy, mummy”. She insisted on calling me mummy and talked to me as though that were our relationship. Extremely embarrassing as I explained that the boy was mine and that they were pretending to be brother and sister.

“Ah, so that’s your son. How old was he when he started to walk then?”

Hmmmm……. so I have a girl I regard as my goddaughter, despite her insisting I’m her mother, and am able to recall almost to the day the first time she walked, and I have a boy that I claim is my son but have no idea about his development at all.. and he insists on referring to my goddaughter as “sis”.

I wonder why the elderly gentleman so suddenly swept up his granddaughter and left!

Out of puff

Don’t you just hate it when you’ve worked really hard on typing up something that you really didn’t want to write and which took blood, sweat and tears before you got the wording precisely how you wanted it…. only to find out that your printer’s out of ink?!

Still, at least I can email it to myself at work and print it out using their ink and paper (without the slightest smidgeon of guilt seeing as I print off enough stuff for school at home). I pulled myself together this evening (after getting an email from Flylady telling me it was anti-procrastination week) and wrote half a dozen begging letters to various charitable institutions which might consider helping with Tiddles’ school fees. Not something I enjoyed doing but I guess it’s doing wonders for my humility, of which I am very proud ;). I think the worst thing about asking people to help financially is that I then feel incredibly guilty that we’re going to France in the summer, even though I know it’s something that the boys and I need as a family and that it’s not really that much more expensive than a holiday at home.

I can’t use the same excuse for indulging in a Thorntons this afternoon, but Honorary Auntie M and I were both feeling rather fed up and decided that fed up friends needed feeding up. We both needed to go into town anyway, so it was a good excuse. She was fed up after being let down rather majorly by someone who’d volunteered to organise a big event and has dropped out at the last minute, I was fed up after a morning of teaching children who, quite frankly, did not want to make any effort whatsoever to do anything and did little all morning except moan and whinge and complain. “Do we have to do this?” “It’s too hard, I don’t get it” “I don’t want to use a dictionary, if you won’t tell me how to spell the word then I’ll just spell it wrong” “Why?” (sorry, remember to read this with the correct intonation – an elongated YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY which starts high, dips and then rises again) and the classic “I don’t do it the way you said, miss, I’ve got my own way. I’m stuck. I don’t want to listen to you saying to do it the way you taught us, I want you to explain to me how to do it my way, cos it’s better than yours.”


Mwahahahaha …. sweet (clean) revenge

While Smudgelet was in the bath, getting himself clean and ready for bed, I did a quick clean-up in the kitchen.
Then, with a clear conscience, I called him to do the last of his investigations – a swab test of the work surfaces.
He had a rather interesting stick made of some white substance. He had carefully to open the wrapper halfway, hold the stick about half way up, and slide the anged tip along the work surface. Then he had to return it to the wrapper, squeeze a little bubble of liquid at the bottom until it burst and allowed the yellow substance to flow over the tip of the stick. And then he had to remove it and report on the colour it turned – yellow would imply the surface was clean, but any sign of bacteria would turn green or blue.

I was most relieved to find the tip of the swab stayed pristine yellow.

Suddenly Smudgelet cried out “But look, it’s turning green”. In total surprise, I looked and discovered…. it was turning bright green about half way up the swab stick. Yes, precisely where his fingers, clean from the bath, had been holding it! 😀 😀 😀

Strange but true… next thing I knew he was at the kitchen sink, washing his hands!

Comings and goings

I have to say this is rather a nice box. I think I might have a bit of the lid next.

A couple of weeks ago, my sisters took my uncle out for a meal. He’s the last uncle (reminiscent of “The Last Melon” in the film “Ice Age”, although they treated him rather more carefully than the dodos did the melon). Being a bit of a “family-minded” family, we were delighted to discover that he’s been researching his family tree. He gave us a copy of all the work he’s done so far. He’s traced it back quite a long way so far, although the printout was a bit pale so we have a good idea of the names and dates but no trace of the lines which show how they’re all connected. It’s quite exciting, and it prompted me to register with Genes Reunited in the hope of maybe filling in Dad’s side of the tree.

Mind you, I did think my uncle might have tried a little harder to cover up the fact that there was a significant, and easily researchable, part of his family tree not yet completed. You’re right – he’d forgotten to put US on!

But here’s the exciting bit. I did my little bit of my immediate family tree. And Genes Reunited tells you whether anyone else of the same name appears on someone else’s tree. My mum appeared on my uncle’s, of course, but to my amazement two other people had someone of the same name. Coincidence. So I typed in my uncle’s name. The same two people had someone of my uncle’s name on there. So then I typed in one of my mum’s sisters. Yes, yet again. How exciting. A quick exchange of emails later and I discover that yes, these two people are indeed distant relatives. One is the great-great-great-great-great grandson of my great-great-great-great-grandfather (OK, you genealogy experts – what relationship is that?) and the other is the husband of, incredibly, my fifth cousin. I am getting quite excited about the prospect of seeing their family trees, and especially excited to see that my fifth cousin lives in the town of my birth.

It had felt quite depressing that my Dad was last of his family, and only my uncle survives of mum’s siblings. Finding unknown relations is rather a treat.

Risk of even emptier nest

I wonder if they have internet connections in prison.
I may find out soon enough. I am in danger of pulverising my youngest son.
Now bear in mind, in reading this, that two of the main features of his character are a) a tendency to get obsessive about things and b) a marked difficulty with the concept of “tact” or “subtlety”.

I signed the letter from school quite willingly when it arrived inviting my son to participate in a Science project. I declared myself willing for him to bring home a box of valuable scientific equipment, to support him in carrying out a few experiments at home, to ensure he returned the box and its contents safely on Monday morning. Let this be a lesson to me to check the small print even…. indeed, especially, on letters home from my son’s school.

I arrived home on Wednesday afternoon, accompanied by two rather special guests who were visiting for the afternoon from distant shores, to be greeted by said son crying “I am never going to eat anything from your fridge ever again – it’s unhygienic in there and I’ll get food poisoning”. Thank you, son. Apparently this science project (a really good one, in many ways, and presented really well) is funded by the Food Standards Agency. My son has to be a secret agent on the search for bugs. He has to examine my kitchen for hygiene standards. He’s measuring the temperature of my fridge – apparently a disgusting two degrees warmer than it should be (“which is against the law”, he informed me). He’s taking swabs of the work surfaces and chopping boards in the kitchen and testing them with a bug detector. He’s checking the cupboards for out of date foodstuffs, and the fridge for food incorrectly stored. He’s even taking a sample of the gunge underneath the stove and taking it back to school to analyse it under the microscope. That is, if he lives that long.

I have informed him that there’s something in our household far more dangerous than bacteria and far more to be feared……. ME, IF HE KEEPS ON LECTURING ME ABOUT THE STATE OF THE KITCHEN!

Empty nest

Yes, my baby is gone.
How ironic – a month or so ago I couldn’t wait to see the back of him, last week I was fighting back the tears at the thought of him going, and this week I spent the first few days as a total wreck, unable to think of anything but how he was doing.

We delivered him safely last Sunday. Two delightful lads had given up their entire day to watch out for his arrival and help him settle in. My sister had decided to accompany us on our visit, just in case she needed to know where the school was for any reason (just as well – she didn’t know at the time that she was going to end up volunteering to fetch him home for the summer for me!), so it was a lovely family day out and we found a delightful spot for a picnic before arriving at the school.

Tiddles was incredibly nervous – nerves and excitement all rolled into one. I can remember thinking how hard it would be simply to leave him there and drive away. As it was, it was eased by a certain circumstance – a mountain of second-hand uniform waiting in matron’s office for him, all of it needing labels sewn on. The team of two matrons, myself and a rather reluctant auntie took an hour of sewing to get it all labelled up (and all four of us chickened out of turning his trousers up and simply left them for the laundry lady with a note that they needed four inches taking off!). The benefit was that this was after we’d had our third school tour, he’d tried his uniform on, he’d found where he was sleeping… which meant he went off and played with M and M, his two new classmates, and just called back occasionally to see whether we were ready to leave yet. By 4pm he was itching to say goodbye and get on with some serious swimming in their beautiful outdoor pool, and I felt all the happier for seeing him so well settled….. in fact, I managed to drive all the way back to my sister’s before bursting into tears!

He is homesick, of course. This is quite something for a boy who has difficulty feeling his feelings. He rang me Tuesday night. It was so good to hear his voice – I’d been battling against the desire to ring matron and ask how he was! But I bravely and without a single noticeable quiver in my voice suggested he shouldn’t ring again before the weekend but should save his money and spend the time getting to know his new classmates better instead.

I do miss him, though.

Has it come to this?

How’s this for a picture of an impoverished life? I am sitting here in the dark, eating a box.
Yes, you did read that correctly. Eating a box. I finished the chocolates two days ago so there was nothing left for it this evening but to eat the box the chocolates came in. As for the dark, the lights have just fused, and it’s too dark to find where on earth I put the torch which I purchased for the express purpose of helping me see where to replace the fuse. So it looks like an early night tonight. Just as soon as I’ve updated my blog and finished my box.

Rough justice

I regretted saying “As long as you’re honest and own up who stole it, nothing more will be said about it”. Cos when Smudgelet, after some very convincing amateur dramatics which had me almost at the point of believing that it must have been the “voice-recording-keyring-fairy” who took it as both boys were so utterly adamant that they were innocent, finally said “I don’t like being accused so I am going to admit it – it was me” I couldn’t do anything despite the fact that he was totally unrepentant.

Am I evil for having a sly chuckle when I discovered I didn’t need to say or do anything?

He came storming up to me this morning from the breakfast table. “Tiddles keeps going on and on about me stealing that keyring and he won’t let it drop and it’s really getting on my nerves” he ranted indignantly.
“Oh dear,” I replied. “Maybe it’s got something to do with the fact that he’s working really hard to regain my trust and was a bit put out that you convinced me that it was HIM who had stolen it. And possibly it might be to do with the fact that I suggested you might apologise to him for blaming him when you both knew all along it was you, but you refused to do so. How about you go back in there and realise that it’s the natural consequence of what you chose to do and say… and that a sincere apology would have gone a long way at the appropriate time.”

Mwahahahahahahaha… and I didn’t have to do a thing 😀